aaleks's log

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jeffers
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby jeffers » Sat May 09, 2020 12:54 pm

I think the context makes it clear with ".... will doubt your professionalism", but pig-headed describes a person who is particularly stubborn. It is rude, but I couldn't say whether it is inappropriate for the discussion. Describing the students as "stubborn" would be rude as well.
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sat May 09, 2020 4:58 pm

jeffers wrote:I think the context makes it clear with ".... will doubt your professionalism", but pig-headed describes a person who is particularly stubborn. It is rude, but I couldn't say whether it is inappropriate for the discussion. Describing the students as "stubborn" would be rude as well.

jeffers, thank you! :)

When I read that text the first time (three years ago) I thought it was rude. Recently I've had a discussion about that and because of that I wanted to know if I was wrong back then, and if I'm wrong now in thinking it is rude.

I'm not sure if that old discussion might be interesting to anyone on this forum, but since I've promised and for context's sake I'll post the link here http://efl1.ru/index.php?threads/how-sh ... ons.17417/ That is not exactly the original thread. It's some kind of archive of the old version of the forum that no longer exists. Because of that everyone there is called "New member" including the admin (the last post in the thread). I was alanta there. And one more warning. My English at that time was really bad, I kept leaving out articles and was making all kinds of mistakes an English learner could make.
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun May 10, 2020 6:07 pm

So... Back to French :)

It's been six months since I started my little French experiment. To be honest I don't like call it "experiment" because every time I do I feel like I'm lying. I'm experimenting with new approach(es) - that's true, but it is nothing like a science experiment. I'm not tracking hours, pages, in fact I'm not keeping any notes at all, besides this log.

6 months - is the demi final I've been speaking of before, so it's time for making something like a summary.
I started this experiment to see if it's possible to learn a language without dictionary and textbooks, and expecially I was interested to know if it's possible learning like that from the beginning. The answer is - yes, it is possible. Or at least it is possible for a not too distant language. I was really surprised on how easy I would pick up words from context even in the very beginning. I was especially impressed with my progress in reading. I'd actually thought it would be take me reading that book two times to get that result. When I started I saw a page full of the words I didn't know or couldn't recognized because of the spelling, in fact there seemed to be not even a single word I knew, and then I started understand more, and more, and more. I still don't know how exactly it happened at that initial stage. It just happened. When I was reading the last pages of the book there were words I didn't know but they didn't affect my comprehension of what was going on, and often I would get the feeling like there were no such words at all. As I said I don't know how exactly that happened. I've described before how I was figuring out the meaning of the word "menton" but if I had to do the same with every new word that would've been a very slow and painful process. My guess is that a lot of the figuring-out happens subconsciously. Also it might be that the guessing is a skill, and as with any other skills the more you practice it the better you become at it.

After I did Dialang test after two months of watching Hélène et les garçons I thought the next time would be the 6 month mark, but when I started working on my reading and making a noticeable, at least to me, progress I wanted to know if it wasn't just an illusion. The "problem" is I got B2 in the test, and there's no point in taking it now, two months later - I don't believe I could score higher if I took the test today or tomorrow. Reading, listening - doesn't matter, my level just can't be better than B2 at the moment. Yet, I can measure my progress, thanks to Hélène et les garçons. I don't watch the series every day as I used to, but still I keep slowly going through the episodes, and I can see that my listening comprehension has really improved - I can understand the dialogues and nuances I didn't understand when I was watching the series the first time. And recently I've had a similar experience with another series I watched earlier, the adaptation of the book I was reading. I'd watched it two times in a row, and then there was a break about two weeks or so. A couple of days ago I picked it up again, and another surprise - I could understand a lot more than before.

There's also one more thing I'd like to mention. It seems this no-dictionary-no-textbooks approach is a less stressful way of learning a language for me. To be honest, I don't remember using textbooks to be in any way stressful but I didn't use them much. But it was different with dictionary. Though when I started reading in English I didn't find the process of looking up words in a dictionary particularly annoying, the process of memorising all the words was exhausting and stressful, I just didn't realize that at that time. Now I not only don't look up words in a dictionary, I don't do anything to memorize them either. And yet I remember them.

One more thing I think I need to mention is that even though I'm kind of learning French through immersion it's not like I'm doing all French all the time. I haven't been spending every spare minite on French. Normally it's 1-2 hours per day, and sometimes I may skip a day or two. Probably if I spent more time on watching and reading in French I would progress faster. But I can't say for sure.
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Mon May 11, 2020 11:31 am

A couple of things I forgot to write about yesterday

The main principles I'm trying to follow:

- not trying but paying attention to what I watch or read. So it's supposed to be something I find ineresting.
- focusing on the thing I understand not the words I don't understand.

Also I use one "little trick" I used long time ago for getting rid of translating in my head when watching something in English. It's a kind of "mental shadowing" - I repeat the text I hear (dialogues in a series, etc). silently in my head focusing on that repeating process without thinking about meaning. For some reason this always increases my listening comprehension. I don't know why and how it works, it just works, at least for me.
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby Ingaræð » Mon May 11, 2020 8:05 pm

aaleks wrote:Also I use one "little trick" I used long time ago for getting rid of translating in my head when watching something in English. It's a kind of "mental shadowing" - I repeat the text I hear (dialogues in a series, etc). silently in my head focusing on that repeating process without thinking about meaning. For some reason this always increases my listening comprehension. I don't know why and how it works, it just works, at least for me.

This trick is amazingly good, and works at any level. I started doing this a few years ago for French, sort of mentally 'replaying' the audio I'd just heard, and my listening comprehension improved rapidly. Now I can hear something and instantly react appropriately, and a few moments later I realise that I didn't translate or shadow, and it's so weird that this 'understanding' just magically happened in my brain. :lol: It's like it's the same comprehension process as my native language, but it feels different somehow....
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Tue May 12, 2020 9:34 pm

What happened recently on the forum reminded me of the situation that made me left efl.ru three years ago. There is a link to that old thread in one of the posts above. First I was accused of something I didn't do, and then, after several days of let's call it "mild bulling" by two old members I was accused again, this time by the admin, of derailing the thread. Right above that last post of the admin those two other members were having uhmm... a little bickering which had nothing to do with the topic. Nevertheless it was me - a new (less-than-six-months) member of the forum - who was derailing the thread. I wasn't a troublemaker on that old forum. Maybe now, on the new version of the forum, I am :D . But back then the only thing of the kind I allowed myself to do was joking in a Practice English section. (maybe I had/have a wrong sense of humor?) My goal was English, I was trying to use every opportunity to practice my writing, but my level at the time wasn't good enough to write about serious topics, besides when I was joking it lowered the stress of the whole writing process. I didn't attact anyone without being attacked first, and tried to avoid such situations. Maybe I didn't try hard enough though. I don't know. The only thing I know - I tried. Turning back to the old story. I wasn't banned. There was just that short post. Yet I felt deeply offended. But that was not the reasone why I left. I left because the reaction of the admin made me understand that if something like that happened again I just couldn't defend myself - I wouldn't be allowed to. I left that forum and came here. And I really like(d?) this forum. I appreciate all the help and support I've received from the forum's members. But I really don't like some of the things I've read in that other thread about posts' deleting. And the whole situation makes me feel the same way as three years ago because what happened once may happens again, and there's no guarantee that one day this won't happen to me...

Sorry, but I'm really feeling sad at the moment
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Tue May 26, 2020 9:48 pm

Observations, goals, and other bla-bla-bla

Observations. I think every language learner knows that there are good days and bad days. On the good days you feel like you can understand everything, and on the bad days your comprehension drops so low that you feel like you can't understerstand anything at all. Today is kind of the latter. I watched one episode of Hélène et les garçons and then a new episode of SOKO München. Both times I felt like I barely understand what they're saying. It wasn't so bad with Hélène et les garçons though because a. I had watched the episode not so long time ago, b. my French is actually stronger than my German (at the moment German is the weakest of my four languages). In fact my comprehension of the Hélène et les garçons episode was better than it was when I watched it the first time, a lot better. But because my listening comprehension is better than it used to be back then I'd expected more. Anyway, the observation is that I tend to have the bad days in all my languages at once - at the same time, at the same day. It wasn't the first time I noticed that, it just seems I have never mentioned it before. I guess the least affected langauge of my four at the moment is English but only when it comes to passive skills. My writing is not on its highest, so sorry if this mumbling is difficult to read. (... and it seems it's gonna be another long mumbling :? ) Back to the observation. It seems to me that when I feel tired, sometimes without realising that, my level of listening comprehension drops - it becomes hard to focus on what I'm listening to and process the information.

Goals 1 (Italian and German). I can't say anything about my goals for Italian and German. I have yet to figure it out. The one thing I know for sure is that one should learn one language a time, not three languages at the same time. It's unreasonable and frustrating. At least it is for me. It feels like I know and at the same time don't really know these languages, and I don't like the feeling. It's like - who am I trying to fool, I don't know these three langauges even if I can understand them a little. Maybe my comprehension is better than just a little, the point is I don't like this half-half situation so my main goal is to not pick another language before I will feel comfortable in these three. After all I don't have a goal to become a polyglot, four languages are more than enough for me. It would be a miracle if one day I managed to learn all the four. So far my goal for Italian and German is not to loose them both. Italian seems to feel surprisingly well though but the problem is I have to put it on hold in the sense I can't let it progress because of it being a language closely related to French. I have to do it for the sake of the experiment - so I won't get too much help from Italian (cognates, etc).

Goals 2 (French). I guess, because of the experiment my goal for French is supposed to be to reach the same level as I have in English. There's one problem though, the end mark for my French experiment is going to be one year but it definitely will take me longer to reach that level. I don't know what I'm going to do about that. We'll see. Either way, my goal for French is to be C2 in the passive skills and around C1 in writing.

Goals 3 (English). Yes, I have a goal for English. Some time ago (a year, probably) I wrote that I stopped learning English. I haven't changed my mind. My goal may seem to be ambitious although to me it feels just to be natural. And the goal is actually about that - about naturalness. My goal is to make my English sound as natural as possible. I don't want to call it a native-like level because nativeness is a rather loaded term even if it might not seem like that. Nativeness, native-likeness, is a bit about identity, like if you're trying to pass for someone else. This is not my goal - to pass for some other person, I just want to express my thoughts in a clear and coherent way, or at least close to the way I do it in my native tongue :mrgreen: . I don't know how to reach this goal though, and how far I am from reaching it. This might even be not a goal but just a dream. It's just to me this is the same half-half situation as with Italian and German - a half learned language...

Bla-bla-bla. ;) There are plenty of it in every paragraph :D .

edited: a little proofreading, fixing all kinds of mistakes and typos
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eido
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby eido » Wed May 27, 2020 11:50 am

Well, you’ll always be Russian, even if you’re speaking English. And that’s perfectly fine! We English speakers need a little Russian flavor in our lives. Don’t throw away your identity for some silly English. I love reading your posts. They sound fluid as always. There are just a few errors that sound non-native, but that’s not a big deal. I mess up way more than you ever could. As my Korean friend would say, 파이팅!
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Thu May 28, 2020 2:37 pm

Today I came across this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1jYEwON-7k
it just was one of the videos on the front page of youtube. I had watched a couple of the video of that guy so I guess that's why youtube "decided" that I might find it interesting.

There are two reasons why I brought it here. The first one is kind of the point of the video - he's speaking about grammar, overlearning grammar, obsession with learning grammar in certain parts of the world. I agree with him on this. I'd even say that this view of language-is-grammar affected my own language learning in a bad way. Some of my problems with English come from that. I've already written about that here in the log. So I share his opinion on this heavy grammar/grammar comes first approach. I really do. But here comes the reason number two. I find this video offensive. It'd be okay of he just said that that other person was Russian (btw, according to the author himself his vis-a-vis might not be Russian at all, but live in any other Eastern or Central European country). The problem is that dumb fake Hollywood Russian accent he's using in the video when reading the answers of his opponent. To me it sounds very offensive. And it seems I'm not the only one how thinks that - there are several comments from other Russian speakers who pointed it out to him.

This video reminded me why often I feel so insecure about my English, and why sometimes I want it to be perfect even though I don't really need it to be perfect at all. Anyway, I think I need to stop worring about English and put more time in learning French. It's just this video is an example of the things, reasons, why I keep thinking - "my English sucks" (btw, this is almost the title of the video - the "sucks" part :lol: )
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby DaveAgain » Thu May 28, 2020 3:26 pm

aaleks wrote:But here comes the reason number two. I find this video offensive. It'd be okay of he just said that that other person was Russian (btw, according to the author himself his vis-a-vis might not be Russian at all, but live in any other Eastern or Central European country). The problem is that dumb fake Hollywood Russian accent he's using in the video when reading the answers of his opponent. To me it sounds very offensive. And it seems I'm not the only one how thinks that - there are several comments from other Russian speakers who pointed it out to him.

This video reminded me why often I feel so insecure about my English, and why sometimes I want it to be perfect even though I don't really need it to be perfect at all. Anyway, I think I need to stop worring about English and put more time in learning French. It's just this video is an example of the things, reasons, why I keep thinking - "my English sucks" (btw, this is almost the title of the video - the "sucks" part :lol: )
I'm never sure if offensive videos are intended to be offensive, to get attention, or reflect the real thoughts of the author. :?

Best just to ignore them.
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