My language log

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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).

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.

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.

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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Languages: Norwegian (N) English (C2), French (C2), Spanish (C2), German (B2), Romansh (B2), Italian (B2), Catalan (B2), Russian (B1), Latin (B1), Dutch (B1), Arabic (studying), (Modern) Greek (studying)
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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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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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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: ... 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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