My language log

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David27
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My language log

Postby David27 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:39 am

Hello! My first post is a forum self-introduction and I'll post my estimated levels and experiences in each language, in future posts I'll discuss goals and what I'm actively doing now in a bit more detail. I love following other language logs and seeing feedback, and so I decided it would be fun to participate as well!

I am currently in my final year of internal medicine residency currently, and plan on specializing next year in Endocrinology, so that is demanding and takes up the bulk of my time, but with my spare time I enjoy language learning (my favorite hobby), reading fiction and nonfiction, music, and playing soccer/exercising. With all the hobbies I am realistic about my language learning goals. I know (and I've seen) that I'll make slow progress as long as I consistently put some time into it.

I'll estimate my abilities below and put them by categories (not completely language families... but how I organize them in my head).

Romance:
French C1-C2: The first foreign language I've studied. I spent one summer in Lyon doing an intensive French study program in college. Since I've used it while I was in medical school consistently and even worked as an interpreter, mostly interacting with West Africans and Haitians (when they spoke standard French, as I struggle a lot with Haitian). Lately I haven't used much French. I do love French cinema, literature, and traveling to France, so I foresee myself always coming back to it at some points and working to improve.

Spanish C1-C2: I learned Spanish after French. I took 2 University courses and then 1 writing in Spanish course. After English, Spanish is the language I use most professionally and in daily life.

Italian B2: I've worked in Milan in 2012 for a month, and travelled a bit that year in Italy. I love the country, and my wife has family friends who live in Tuscany. They are wonderful people and hopefully I'll get to visit them someday. I love traveling in Italy so I try to maintain my Italian at a comfortable B2.

Portuguese (Brazilian) B1-B2: Low hanging fruit after having learned the above languages. Not actively working on Portuguese, so it's a bit rusty. Like Italian my goal in Portuguese is to maintain at a B2.

Slavic
Russian B2: Probably my favorite language to learn. I love Russian history, literature, and culture. I also have a great group of Russian speaking friends in New York so I try keep my Russian active to use it with them (even though we all speak English as well). I really want to push Russian to full C1-C2, but my output (especially writing) is keeping me back at B2 right now even though my listening and reading comprehension are better.

Polish A1: I've done some basic Polish (studied in the past with Pimsleur and Asimil), currently not studying.

Czech 0: I bought a Colloquial Czech book for $8. Haven't opened it yet. One of my Russian friends lives in Prague. I hope to visit someday, and would like to learn some Czech before going.

Germanic
German B1-B2: I learned German because I wanted to read more German literature and philosophy someday. I practically used it to travel through Germany for 3 weeks in 2014. I've also been able to read Kafka's metamorphasis and short stories with the help of a dictionary. I would like to further my German in the future, but am not actively working on it at present.

Dutch A1-A2: I've studied Dutch with Duolingo and LingQ and traveled in the Netherlands in 2014 (when I was in Germany). I really like the country and bought a copy of an old Teach Yourself Dutch for under 5 dollars, but haven't studied it seriously yet.

East Asian
Mandarin Chinese A2: I've lightly studied Mandarin for 4-5 years now, and in all that time I have made some progress to where I can now read and write basic things and communicate effectively at a basic level. I love the challenge of it, I love Chinese history and food, and hope to visit China someday (preferably once I'm in the B1-B2 range). I've exhaustively been studying Assimil's Chinese with ease and completed Pimsleur 1-3 and have use LingQ, CCTV growing up Chinese, and many different mnemonic techniques for character reading/writing. My final ideal goal would be B1-B2 Mandarin, to comfortably travel in China and read basic things in Chinese comfortably.

Japanese A2: I started studying Japanese with a friend who loves Japanese culture. I am a huge fan of their cuisine and do like their culture (such emphasis on courtesy, respect, and customer service!) and history, but have never been into anime or manga. My friend quit Japanese long ago but I've stuck with it as I've come to learn to love the language as well, and enjoy studying it very slowly along with Mandarin. I'm in no rush to learn Mandarin or Japanese, and am enjoying it at my pace (recently ~10 hours/month). I've studied through Colloquial Japanese, done Pimsleur 1-3, and have been using a lot of Japanesepod 101, and also am using the Genki courses.

Middle-Eastern/South Asian
With so much on my plate right now I don't have time to begin another language, but in the future (hopefully before I'm 35?) I'd like to delve into learning more about this part of the world. I've accumulated a lot of Arabic materials that I've found at book sales over the years, and have a tiny bit of farsi material as well. The problem for these languages is I don't know which ones I will want to devote myself too, since I'm limited by time I know I could never learn them all. I'm torn between Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Pashto, and Hindi/Urdu.
Last edited by David27 on Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ogrim
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Location: Alsace, France
Languages: Norwegian (N) English (C2), French (C2), Spanish (C2), German (B2), Romansh (B2), Italian (B2), Catalan (B2), Russian (B1), Latin (B1), Dutch (B1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?t=873
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Re: My language log

Postby Ogrim » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:11 am

Welcome to the Forum! You have a great list of languages, which largely coincides with my own. I am also working on brining my Russian to C1, and I have been studying Arabic for a few months. It is a tough one, much more challenging than all the other languages I have learnt so far, but a fascinating language well worth the effort.

I look forward to reading your log.
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David27
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Languages: English (N)
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:38 pm

I know we're almost half way through December, but things have been busy and when I do have some extra time, I want to use it for studying! (usually) But here is my delayed post, with my logged hours for November.

Mandarin: 10 hours, 35 minutes
Japanese: 10 hours, 20 minutes
Russian: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Spanish: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Italian: 1 hour, 25 minutes
German: 35 minutes
French: 30 minutes
Portuguese: 25 minutes

Most of my Japanese time is spent on Japanesepod101. I'm doing a lot of listening now, less reading or writing. For Mandarin, I am using CCTV growing up Chinese series along with writing out all of the Assimil lessons (currently on lesson 70) to practice my writing and review the Assimil series again on this second pass. I also occasionally do LingQ lessons (a lot of good courses on the Mandarin side).

For the rest, I'm watching occasional episodes of the Russian series Ликвидация for free on youtube. Если вы изучаете русский, сердично рекомендую эту серию. Обычно мне не так нравится русские серие (исключение для тех основанные на классической литературе например Мастер и Маргарита, Доктор Живаго, Идиот...), но это качественная.

For Spanish I have mostly been using it at work, but this month I made it my goal (really in the next 2 weeks) to finally finish Inés del alma Mia by Isabel Allende. I like the historic narrative to learn about Spanish conquest and colonization of Chile, but I lose interest with the historic fiction element, in which the author puts a modern voice into the protagonist Inés Suarez.

So moving forward to the next week or two, I am planning on watching an episode or two of Ликвидация, reading about 50 pages of Inés del alma mia, and continuing studying Japanese and Mandarin, with the goal of >10 hours this month in each.
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David27
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:40 pm

Time for a 2017 foreign language study recap! But first, on a more personal note, I'm moving back to New York City in July to do an endocrinology fellowship (and probably to settle down either in New York area or at least New England). I've loved Texas, and it's been great for my Spanish, but my wife really wants to be back close to family and friends, and I have a good group of friends in New York and loved living there (it's just so expensive). Moving back to NYC will be great for my overall language learning for diversifying, but it might hurt the depth of study in languages. For example here in Texas I've consistently used Spanish month after month, and have been pretty good about just focusing up on my Mandarin and Japanese outside of that. In New York I would meet people from all different backgrounds on a weekly basis, and my studies would suffer from more wanderlust and less consistency... but on the other hand I have a good group of Russian friends there which will boost my Russian, and a lot more native speakers to drive my enthusiasm, which is good for my language study, so in the end maybe it probably have a positive effect on my overall language study.

In December I finished reading Inés del Alma Mía, and met my >10 hour goal in Mandarin and Japanese with the same tools as before.

December hours:
Chinese: 10 hours, 20 minutes
Japanese: 10 hours, 0 minutes
Spanish: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Russian: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Portuguese: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Italian: 1 hour
German: 40 minutes
French: 35 minutes
Dutch: 30 minutes

2017 language total:
Japanese: 118 hours, 30 minutes
Mandarin: 54 hours, 35 minutes
Spanish: 50 hours, 40 minutes
Russian: 45 hours, 30 minutes
Italian: 20 hours, 50 minutes
German: 13 hours, 35 minutes
French: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Portuguese: 8 hours, 45 minutes
Other: 2 hours, 0 minutes

Total hours: 324 hours and 20 minutes. Most studied in a year: 566 hours, 10 minutes.

My 2018 goals by language are below!

Mandarin: I want to study at a similar pace as my Japanese, >10 hours/month (with a yearly goal of over 100 hours in each, giving me room to slip up a few months with having to move, pass boards, start fellowship... which will take a toll on free time to relax and study languages) More acutely I plan to finish my second pass through Assimil's Chinese with Ease (I'm on lesson 70 now), where i write out every lesson to work on learning characters and handwriting. I want to finish CCTV growing up Chinese 100 lesson series this year, continue doing popup Chinese podcast lessons on the side, and possibly after the Assimil course I'll buy the John DeFrancis course since I've heard so many good things about it (and start learning traditional characters... ugh). I also am going to try to push myself out of my comfort zone, and cross the threshold to start actively using the language and speaking. I plan 1-2 italki tutor sessions/month in both Mandarin and Japanese, which will be difficult, but it's just what I need at this stage to get myself to the next level. I'll be tracking how well I do with output.

Japanese: I plan to continue the same pace as last year with ~10/mo. with a goal of 100/yr as described in the Mandarin section. Last year I finished Colloquial's Japanese course, and now I'm going through Genki and still doing a lot of listening on Japanesepod101. Speaking goal with italki as mentioned above in the Mandarin section. I also really want to get into Japanese media. It has a massive amount of movies and television, but I have never been a huge fan of Japanese television/movies from what I've seen, so I never searched out things that suit my interest. Specifically I'm not into soap operas or children's shows/anime (although I watched the anime One-Punch and thought it was great... very tongue-in-cheek with common manga/anime tropes). If any readers have favorite shows/movies that you loved let me know!

Russian: I want to read 2 books, continue watching tv series and Russian movies. Eventually I want to revisit the advanced Russian grammar course I have to work out some of the more nuanced parts of the language and improve my usage. I also want to regularly use the language with friends or on italki.

Spanish: Simple goals. One Spanish book, and to use Spanish regularly when I move back to New York like I do here in Texas.

French/Portuguese/Italian/German: Nothing specific. If I find something particularly interesting or a reason comes up to dive into one of these languages I will absolutely take it. I miss studying them, but for time constraints they are on the back burner, just watching youtube, reading news, maybe a book in one or two of the languages.

Other: Try to avoid wanderlust this year into Polish/Czech/Dutch/Esperanto/Farsi/Arabic/other? but I'm bad and regularly dip my toes very briefly at times into these languages before stopping to keep from spreading myself even thinner.

Reading goals:
I didn’t read much for leisure last year, only finishing 6 books (2 in Spanish, 1 in Italian, and 3 in English). My goals for next year are 2 in Russian, 1 in Spanish, and 3 in English at the minimum. I know people in this forum are regularly putting me to shame... which hurts because I love literature and used to read avidly! But most of my reading is for work these days, a lot less leisure reading (I usually put that time towards language study- sometimes killing two birds with one stone by reading in a foreign language, but not always). Right now I'm reading nonfiction "In the Shadow of the Sword" by Tom Holland about the rise of the Islam and the Arab Empire. It's an interesting read but I took issue with some of his historical claims and presentation. This critique by the Guardian is spot on: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/ ... om-holland. Anyway, it's really making me want to study Arabic which I know I just don't have time to do... but maybe just a little bit this month ;).
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David27
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:11 pm

2018 was off to a strong start (by my language learning standards at least). Hopefully I can maintain motivation and pace!

Japanese: While by time it looks like this has been my focus, I really spent most of this time on japanesepod101 lessons, which is great for improving my basic listening comprehension and picking up some new vocabulary, but at this phase I need to start spending more time actively studying. I did a 1 hour tutor session in Japanese and it was a struggle to speak in Japanese for an hour! At the end I was physically tired and a bit sweaty like I just exercised. I want to still do occasional hour lessons to work on active use of the language, but also I want to spend more time with my textbook and active vocabulary learning (I have my own Goldlist esque vocabulary technique that I haven't been using for Japanese, but should).

Mandarin: I've done a much better job balancing my study with Mandarin than Japanese, with equal division between textbook study/reading, writing characters, listening to audio, and I did 1.5 hours of speaking lessons on italki (3 half hour sessions), and while I still struggle and have to ask for clarification in English at times, I felt more comfortable in my Mandarin lessons than in Japanese.

Russian: Almost finished the first season of likvidacia (not sure if there is a second series? Will look into). Also reading Russian news, listening to music (I like Russian 90's music like Любэ, Виктор Цой, but also older Russian songs (Черные очи, Цигоночка/две гитары, etc)). I also did 3 hours of italki lessons, which are nice, relaxing, and I can communicate the whole time without needing any English so that's great practice for me.

Based on recommendations I've found here, I've started watching Ainsi soient ils which is fun to watch when I'm tired. I have spent the last 5 years or so ignoring French (apart from one weekend layover for a wedding in Greece when I took my wife to Paris, and an occasional novel that I've read in the past years in French). At one time I worked as a French interpreter, had French friends, always watched French movies or TV, now I feel very out of contact with the country and culture, so it's good to now have something (3 seasons) to watch in French to at least have some consistent contact with the language for the next few months (or year, depending on how slowly I take it).

Yes... I have Pimsleur's Eastern arabic that I got for free along with several other courses for doing an advertisement for them years ago... and listened to lesson 1 a couple times and lesson 2 once plus some reading. I don't know if it will last... but it was fun. I'm not going to actively start going after Arabic, but an occasional audio lesson never hurt anybody...

For the others, youtube, reading news... except Spanish which I mostly use at work and listen to Spanish radio. Also I decided I would start tracking how much I'm playing music. I used to play the clarinet for a few hours a day through high school and until I was 19-20 and since have almost completely stopped. I got out my music and played occasionally a song or exercise, and then try to play melodies I know in different keys by ear (which I need to work at).

Japanese: 13 hours, 15 minutes
Mandarin: 10 hours, 0 minutes
Russian: 10 hours, 0 minutes
Spanish: 5 hours, 0 minutes
French: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Arabic: 1 hour, 35 minutes
German: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Portuguese: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Italian: 40 minutes

Music:
Clarinet: 1 hour, 30 minutes
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David27
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Languages: English (N)
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm

For those studying German, I discovered a Netflix series called Babylon Berlin. Episode one was decent enough to hold my attention.
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David27
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:05 pm

This month has been busy so far with increased hours at the hospital and a lot of call, which means less formal study outside of work, and more passive exposure (occasionally reading a bit of news, listening to Spanish radio in the car, or watching an occasional tv show).

Я не очень терпеливый с серией, очень часто меня надоедают. Но я наконец закончил серию "Ликвидация". В целом мне понравилась. Я хотел бы знать мнение русских и украинцев о серии, потому что сделана в 2007 году, до войны в Украине, и фильм изображает центральную советскую (русскую) власть можно и хорошо для добропорядочных граждан Одессы, а Украинские националисты злие. я больше об этом здесь не пишу потому что здесь нельзя о политике говорить, но для серии было бы интереснее если все не было такое "черно-белое". Серия тоже не имеет ясный главный сюжет. Сначало это о городе Одесса после войны, и как создать жизнь снова после трагедии второй мировой войны... но потом кажется больше о братстве в трудные времена и месть за убитый друг, и наконец этот только о истории любви главных персонажей и большая игра "Кот и Мышь". Но в конце концов... я все таки рекомендую посмотреть.

En français je regardais quelques episodes de "ainsi soient ils" (The Churchmen) sur Netflix grâce aux recommendations que j'ai lu ici. Mais comme j'ai déjà écrit au-dessus en russe, je m'ennuie assez rapidement des series, et j'ai seulement vu 4 épisodes. Je m'intéressais vraiment dans le personnage du père Frommenger, mais pour les autres il y avaient trop des petites histoires là-dedans pour vraiment les développer bien. Aussi ils ont essayé trop vite d'aborder à chaque thème polémique de l'église catholique à une vitesse effréné. C'est dommage parce que je perds l'habitude de pratiquer le français, et il me manque. En général je préfère les films français que les series télévisées.

Para mi español escucho la radio en el carro casi todos los días cuando conduzco al trabajo. Sino trataba de ver la tercera temporada de Narcos en Netflix pero perdí el interés. También trataba de ver "Morocco, Love in times of war" pero no lo soportaba bien tampoco. En el proximo mes quiero comprar el libro "el sueño del Celta" de Vargas Llosa. La ciudad y los Perros es mi libro favorito en español que leí hasta ahora, y tengo un viaje a Irlanda en abril con la familia de mi esposa, y siempre quería leer mas de Vargas Llosa entonces es el tiempo perfecto de empezar.
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David27
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Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:53 pm

March hours

Japanese: 9 hours, 0 minutes
Russian: 8 hours, 0 minutes
Mandarin: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Spanish: 4 hours, 10 minutes
French: 3 hours, 15 minutes
German: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Italian: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 1 hour, 0 minutes
Esperanto: 15 minutes

Clarinet: 1 hour, 25 minutes, piano 15 minutes

2018 Total Hours:

Japanese: 22 hours, 15 minutes
Russian: 18 hours, 0 minutes
Mandarin: 16 hours, 15 minutes
Spanish: 9 hours, 10 minutes
French: 5 hours, 40 minutes
German: 3 hour, 45 minutes
Portuguese: 2 hour, 25 minutes
Italian: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Arabic: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Esperanto: 15 minutes

Clarinet practice: 2 hours, 55 minutes, piano 15 minutes
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David27
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:36 pm

As you can see from my hours in the above post I did not meet goals last month, but it wasn’t from lack of effort or from lack of motivation! My work hours have been heavy, last few weeks being at work about 75 hours a week so that limits my free time, and some of that “free” time is for work from home for relaxing. My Mandarin hours are falling behind my Japanese, but I find my Mandarin time to be more focused and intense study, whereas most of my japanese is still podcast lessons, so even though the time is unbalanced I think my overall learning is balanced between the two.

I’m looking for a good kanji book for my japanese. If anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear. I’d ideally like one that’s not just list but incorporates sentences and usage to copy out. What has worked for others?
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David27
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
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Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:03 pm

I’ve been interested in diving into other new European languages this month. I’ve wanted to further either Polish or start Czech, work on Dutch or start Yiddish.... but those moments pass and I continue to stick to my East Asian language study, and when I start having frustration and want to move to another language I watch something in one of my maintenance languages (mostly a news article or YouTube video, occasional tv show or movie). That’s kept the wanderlust at bay for now.

I’m happy with my current progress in Japanese and Mandarin this month. Mandarin working a lot on vocab from my prior mentioned sources and charecror writing, Japanese a lot of listening but working in occasional kana and kanji writing practice with a tiny bit of reading.
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