Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

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David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:26 pm

I put away my Assimil Chinese with Ease volume 2 yesterday. Goodbye old friend! I abused those books, wrote in them, went through and transcribed all the lessons, and made it my primary source for years, actually hindering quicker progress than if I had more time and pushed myself to move on to other more challenging sources... but I’m not in a rush to become fluent, so I stick with my course and found comfort in its familiarity in a language so foreign to me. I after ~4 passes through it (and multiple times that listening to the audio), there isn’t much more I can gain from it, so I shelved it.

I’m keeping the audio files on my phone just to listen to them in the background when out and about sometimes, but likely will move to other podcasts. Also going through John DeFrancis, which I bought years ago but now the beginning reader is too Easy, I’ll probably just make one pass through it then try to find a copy of the intermediate reader.
6 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:14 am

This month I took a new job, and I’m so far very happy with the office and my employer, but with starting a new job there is a lot of new training, new scenarios and being pushed to learn new things and adapt to new environment which for me can be challenging and took up some time. Also I now have a commute and spend on average an hour in the car per day. With the drive sometimes I listen to language podcasts in Spanish, occasionally Russian, or occasional Japanese/Chinese lessons. A lot of the time I am pretty tired, and just want something entertaining, so sometimes I just listen to the Football Ramble Daily, which is a fun talk-show focused around the English Premier League (I had always enjoyed playing the sport and still played pre-COVID, this year is the first year I followed it closely at the professional level). I tried finding a foreign language equivalent, and found ESPN’s Fuera de Juego, but I find the hosts’ constant arguing and talking over one another to be unpleasant to listen to. If anyone has good sports podcast suggestions in foreign languages I’m all ears.

现在我觉得我得写一点中文。我需要练习我的 “output”,和我不想说话跟 italki,我来家的时候,我累死了,和我确定我的爱人不想听我的中文课。我继续跟DeFrancis Chinese Reader,我也发现一个很有意思的youtube channel, jjsays. 她说中文说的非常好,和唱中国的歌。她的话不太难明白,因为是很好新学中文的resource。

I feel like when it comes to speaking I can say more in Japanese than in Mandarin, but when I felt like writing something, I felt comfortable writing that above without needing to go to a dictionary or look up how to say things, but if I were to attempt the same in Japanese I think I would have have more trouble. Also Japanese keyboard is confusing to me, and I find more cumbersome using hiragana to find the right kanji, vs. just typing in pinyin and picking the correct 汉字 (not to say that my Mandarin writing ability is anything beyond basic…).

Outside of that I had a similar language picture to June, I was inspired by Luke Ranieri’s youtube channel ScorpioMartianus and his reading through Lingua Latina per se Illustrata and started learning a bit of Latin which has been a lot of fun, comparing with the modern romance languages. Still doing occasional Dutch and Norwegian, and other language maintenance in my other languages.

July Hours:
Mandarin: 15 hours, 25 minutes
Japanese: 15 hours, 5 minutes
Spanish: 5 hours, 30 minutes (increase, mix using at work at trying out some new Spanish language podcasts)
German: 4 hours, 0 minutes
Russian: 3 hours, 40 minutes (big decrease, a lot less reading and stopped consistently doing weekly Russian podcasts)
Italian: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Dutch: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Latin: 2 hours, 30 minutes
French: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Portuguese: 1 hour, 0 minutes
Norwegian: 1 hour, 0 minutes

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 107 hours, 35 minutes
Mandarin: 107 hours, 10 minutes
Russian: 79 hours, 45 minutes
Spanish: 23 hours, 35 minutes
German: 19 hours, 55 minutes
French: 12 hours, 25 minutes
Italian: 11 hours, 25 minutes
Dutch: 9 hours, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 7 hours, 55 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Polish: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Latin: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Norwegian: 1 hour, 25 minutes
3 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:01 pm

I have encountered Fula/Fulani/Pulaar twice in the last two weeks. I’ve mentioned it before because this is a member of the Niger-Congo family that is more closely related to Wolof (Senegambian branch), but while every 4-6 months in NYC I’ll meet Fula speakers, but I have yet to meet anyone who speaks Wolof. It could be because the Wolof speakers also speak French or English and use that (I also hear and see Bengali regularly but never Hindi, I suspect because the Hindi speakers I meet use English? They must be here given the large Indian population In New York). It’s interesting to me because I see a lot more resources for Wolof and occasionally will meet someone learning Wolof (still very rare), but never heard or seen anyone or any resources for Fula.

Hearing it spoken is interesting, a lot of French is mixed in, even when they don’t speak French, so I do pick out words in the sentences, not enough for any kind of understanding though.
2 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:47 am

Time for my update. I'm still enjoying work, but things definitely picking up. With that, less time for language, so my side mini-projects have mostly fallen to the side, and I'm stripped down to bare-bones essentials, with my Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Russian making up my main foci of study as usual. I also finally fished off reading метро 2033. The completionist in me hurting me, even when I didn't really enjoy it and stopped multiple times, eventually I reached the end, and really the ending was probably the best part of the book.

For September I don't have any vacation planned, plenty of work to do, so likely will be still be just bare bones study. I want to do a bit more German though, as I missed it. Maybe start the "Meistererzählungen von Kafka und Rilka" dual-language book I have and read a short story or two and watch a bit of tv in German. I also was watching a bit of лучше чем люди based on a recommendation I read here and I've enjoyed that series as well.

August hours:
Japanese: 15 hours, 55 minutes
Mandarin: 15 hours, 40 minutes
Russian: 7 hours, 0 minutes
Spanish: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Here is where the big dropoff hits from just being busier....
German 25 minutes
Portuguese 25 minutes
French: 20 minutes
Latin: 20 minutes
Italian: 15 minutes
Polish: 5 minutes
Dutch/Norwegian: 0

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 123 hours, 30 minutes
Mandarin: 122 hours, 50 minutes
Russian: 86 hours, 45 minutes
Spanish: 29 hours, 50 minutes
German: 20 hours, 20 minutes
French: 12 hours, 45 minutes
Italian: 11 hours, 40 minutes
Dutch: 9 hours, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Latin: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Polish: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Norwegian: 1 hour, 25 minutes
6 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: My language log

Postby David27 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:33 pm

September has been busy for me at work, and with the extra professional obligations (a lot of them needing significant time and effort outside of working hours), my time for language study was reduced drastically. October will be worse, I'll get back on schedule in November. My language time will be restricted to time in the car listening to podcasts or reading news when I wake up and have coffee.

Spanish I use almost daily, so that has remained steady. I don’t study it per se, but will look up a new word that I come across, and try to expand my active vocabulary (my passive vocabulary is quite broad, but just trying to be able to use a more varied vocabulary in my speech as well). I’m also listening to news in Spanish, downloading and trying different podcasts in Spanish, and in general improve my Spanish, because the big news is that my wife is pregnant! And our due date is March, it will be our first child, and I want to try to teach a foreign language. I have read a lot of experiences and advice from people attempting to raise bilingual children, seen success stories, failures, frustrations, etc. and trying to decide what will work for me. The first step was picking a second language… with the obvious choice always being Spanish, but I had wasn't sure if that was right for me. Even though I don’t use French almost at all anymore, I still feel that if I made a concerted effort to do a bit of French every day, it would easily be the second most comfortable language for me to use. I studied in France before, have had a lot of French friends, and read most extensively in French in the past, even though over the last 4 or 5 years I have used it much less. The language I enjoy using and studying the most (that I can actually speak, sorry Japanese and Mandarin) is Russian. And while I feel I could use Russian and make it my everyday language… it just doesn’t seem as practical of a choice. Another plus for French or Russian is that there is a target accent and prestige dialect that I have known in each and try to imitate. With Spanish… it is much more difficult as my interactions are all over the place without any consistency. Most importantly though, my wife is half Puerto-Rican. And even though all her family uses English, she can understand Spanish and speak some Spanish when she needs to, so that really sealed the deal for Spanish to be the choice language. The most difficult barrier for me that I see is that English is the community language, and my wife and my common language, both of our extended family’s language, so creating a large enough bubble for Spanish to succeed may be difficult. I also am not one of those extroverted self-confident language learners who go out and just start speaking all the time. If others around me speak English, even if I could use Spanish in the situation, I sometimes feel uncomfortable or too showy using Spanish as an obvious gringo (you could insert Russian or French or whatever here, but opportunities to use Spanish are the most frequent living in the New York). So generally use it only after I know someone and have met them several times or when it is necessary at work, which it frequently is, and is where I most commonly speak Spanish but this won’t help for baby immersion. For this to work, I think I’m going to need the assistance eventually of a Spanish speaking nanny, Spanish speaking daycare etc, otherwise I think the child will understand some Spanish, but only be comfortable speaking English (which is still better than nothing!).

I have seen first hand the challenges that will arise. My brother-in-law is Venezuelan, but speaks English almost perfectly like an American (even slightly better than Luca Lampariello). My sister’s passive understanding of Spanish is ok, but doesn’t speak a word (she could if she wanted to, but probably shy? just doesn’t have the language learning bug). Their common language in the house is English, but he has spoken only in Spanish to the 3 children. It helps that the children’s titi (Aunt) lives in the same city, and only Speaks Spanish to them, and also abuela comes to visit for long periods of time and speaks only Spanish. My nieces are now 5, 3, and 1, and the 5 and 3 year old understand Spanish, but will respond in English, and only answer in Spanish if directly prompted or bribed (although with grandmother and Aunt, likely use Spanish? I haven’t seen it but if alone with them and father maybe they do better). They have started to make them watch some TV shows in Spanish instead of English to try to increase Spanish immersion, but the 5 year old will ask in English if they can switch to English, and show signs of resistance (3 year old doesn’t care much about TV). I think that since the common language in the house is still English, my parents live nearby and often watch them, school, day care, friends all speak English, and when Dad interacts with anyone in the community it’s always in English, they identify Spanish as different, and so they identify strongly with English and resist Spanish. When I speak Spanish to the 5 year old, who understands well, she shrugs and gets shy and looks away or maybe giggle, and respond in English, and have to be prompted by Dad with the Spanish response. When I also think of what my comfort language would be, children’s books and songs that I know and love from growing up, all of that is English and of course that will be something I share and pass along, so I won’t even be speaking Spanish all the time either. With all this in mind, my expectations are not that my child is perfectly bilingual, but I hope that they understand Spanish and have an easier time with Spanish from using it since early on. With this, starting in November when time opens up, I'm going to be reading more books in Spanish. I'm also going to be listening more to Spanish, which may cut into my Japanese and Mandarin studies, and definitely cut back on my Russian. I just need to start surrounding myself more and more with Spanish prior to March (again, with November being able to do more, as this next month is going to be intense at work).

I had wanted to do some short stories in German, but haven’t done any reading for pleasure this month (just occasional news reading in Russian in the morning). I’ve also found some easy Japanese podcasts that 100% use Japanese, and started listening to that in the car occasionally and finding my listening comprehension is getting far better, and I can follow along with the topic (still can’t understand Japanese podcasts targeted at native speakers though).

Lastly, with the pandemic it made me think of my own travel habits. I’m not flying or traveling anywhere in 2020. This weekend I’m taking a trip just 1 hour away to spend some time outside, in November I’m planning a week vacation, also will stay in an air B and B within 5 hours of where I live (upstate New York, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey are contenders). I think my recent travel habits in the past 10 years, while fun, are not environmentally friendly and not sustainable. Instead of intercontinental travel as a rare treat, I was taking yearly trips abroad. This pandemic has made me re-think what is needed, how privileged I had been, but what the consequences on the environment and on local communities that have warped into popular tourist destinations (honestly I had thought about this quite a bit even while traveling, and felt torn about it, but loved traveling and visiting other countries, so kept it up). I have come to appreciate the nature and small towns that I have locally, and that I can cherish and spend more time in. While I will miss my international trips, I think it will be a long time before I go back to Europe or Asia, and I’m ok with that.

September hours:
Japanese: 12 hours, 50 minutes
Mandarin: 10 hours, 25 minutes
Spanish: 6 hours, 5 minutes
Russian: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 1 hour, 20 minutes (felt the itch a few days in a row, reviewed material I had covered before)
Portuguese: 1 hour, 15 minutes
French: 45 minutes
Italian: 10 minutes

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 136 hours, 20 minutes
Mandarin: 133 hours, 15 minutes
Russian: 89 hours, 5 minutes
Spanish: 35 hours, 55 minutes
German: 20 hours, 20 minutes
French: 13 hours, 30 minutes
Italian: 11 hours, 50 minutes
Dutch: 9 hours, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 9 hours, 35 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Latin: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Polish: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Norwegian: 1 hour, 25 minutes
9 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

Postby David27 » Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:03 am

Today, Wednesday November 4th I had a major exam for work which took about 9 hours, on top of having the election yesterday (and ongoing), I’m feeling drained. The last month more and more of my energy was poured into reviewing material and practicing for the test. The closer I got to the test, the less Mandarin and Japanese I did, as they generally take a bit more effort and focus for me. That being said, my attention span isn’t perfect, and I need small distractions, so I did some Dutch and Polish in mid-ish October. Then NTNU’s Norwegian course popped back up, as did doing some LingQ Norwegian and Latin in the last week, (so divided between end October and early November hours). This doesn’t add up to much serious study, merely 5-10 minutes here and there but I enjoyed the breaks.

Now that I’m off my learning routine, we’ll see how long it takes me to recover my good habits I established earlier this year. Today post test I’m feeling fatigued, and the next few days I’ll be recovering and catching back up on my work responsibilities, so it may not be immediate. It’s been a long time since early June since I took a vacation, so this month I’ll take a week off, I’ll do some reading maybe in English and Spanish, and I’ll do work out of the DeFrancis textbook and Genki, go on hikes and get some exercise… sounds lovely to me.

Not coincidentally some of the my brief detours over the past 3 or so weeks correspond to languages I've seen people pick up or start here on this forum. If I have 0 experience in a language, it's easier to say no, that's not for me. But if I have some materials and even some minimal background, it's easy to get taken up with the enthusiasm and dabble a bit once again.

October Hours:
Spanish: 8 hours, 55 minutes
Japanese: 8 hours, 40 minutes
Mandarin: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Russian: 3 hours, 40 minutes
German: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Italian: 2 hours, 20 minutes
French: 45 minutes
Portuguese: 40 minutes
Dutch: 35 minutes
Latin: 25 minutes
Polish: 20 minutes
Norwegian: 15 minutes

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 145 hours, 0 minutes
Mandarin: 138 hours, 0 minutes
Russian: 92 hours, 45 minutes
Spanish: 44 hours, 50 minutes
German: 22 hours, 55 minutes
French: 14 hours, 15 minutes
Italian: 14 hours, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 10 hours, 15 minutes
Dutch: 9 hours, 45 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Latin: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Polish: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Norwegian: 1 hour, 40 minutes
3 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

Postby David27 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:29 am

November Language Hours
Very delayed entry. Life has been busy, and I've lost the routine of 30 minutes Japanese/30 minutes Mandarin a day since ~last third of October, and it's hard to get it back. My Japanese is picking back up to near 30 minutes a day average, Mandarin is doing ok, but definitely lagging behind still even into December. These things happen, work gets busy, other priorities and hobbies come up at home. For the last half of December though, my goal is to get back on track with everyday minimum 30/30 between the two to finish the year with a strong kick. This year I've made more progress in these languages then any other year, this consistency has been very helpful, and it's something I plan to carry into 2021. More on that in the next post.

For Japanese I started watching anime shows in the last year to get extra listening practice in (and general exposure to Japanese media/culture). I'm understanding more and more, but I've never been an anime fan growing up, so as I mentioned before, getting into it as an adult is not as appealing. I haven't watched any episodes in over 2 months now, picking that back up I'm sure would be an easy way to increase my listening practice, I think I just need to try to shop around for a new show that catches my interest when I have some time. I've watched Full Metal Alchemist this year which I liked, and I watched a lot of Naruto, which sometimes I enjoy and other times it just seems to drag and get boring or silly, so never finished that (but it's familiar, maybe I'll pick that up again?). Another reason why I often stop watching is because I'm not really into these fighting shows, so maybe finding a non-fighting alternative... but on Netflix the only non-fighting anime show I see that looks popular is one about volleyball... which doesn't really peak my interest.

Back to November, not a lot else new to report. German has been seeing a good amount of time. I've been enjoying the EasyGerman podcast. I like the hosts and just hearing them chat about different topics is relaxing as I drive through crazy traffic to and from work. I also finished watching the latest season of Babylon Berlin on Netflix, which I love the idea of a show about politics and drama in the Weimar Republic, but in execution I would say it's just ok. A lot of fans of the show loved this latest season, but it was my least favorite so far. I'm slowly watching лучше чем люди, which I'm enjoying (rare for me to give out a positive review as I tend to be a tough critic, and usually modern-made Russian shows/movies I don't like, so this was a good find).

Part of the reason I'm feeling driven to German again is my forays into Dutch and occasional glimpses at Norwegian. German is my Germanic "anchor" language, and whenever I spend more time with these other languages, I feel I need my German to get up to ~C1, to help not mix them up, and to just have deeper roots in the language family tree. In December so far I've continued doing a lot of German (already done more in December than all of November).

Japanese: 10 hours, 20 minutes
Mandarin: 8 hours, 0 minutes
Spanish: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Russian: 3 hours, 40 minutes
German: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Dutch: 3 hours, 0 minutes
Italian: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Portuguese: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 1 hour, 0 minutes
Norwegian: 40 minutes
Latin: 40 minutes
French: 20 minutes

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 155 hours, 20 minutes
Mandarin: 146 hours, 0 minutes
Russian: 96 hours, 25 minutes
Spanish: 49 hours, 20 minutes
German: 26 hours, 25 minutes
Italian: 16 hours, 0 minutes
French: 14 hours, 35 minutes
Dutch: 12 hours, 45 minutes
Portuguese: 11 hours, 40 minutes
Levantine Arabic: 8 hours, 35 minutes
Latin: 3 hours, 55 minutes
Polish: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Norwegian: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Also if anyone is interested, I had made occasional youtube videos for years. It's something that I like (especially now that I'm able to look back so many years and see old videos). And ashamed of. I have poor quality video, audio, no preparations for the videos (usually I just start talking about whatever I feel like on a particular day... which doesn't come across great or super interesting, but this isn't something I'm willing to invest in to improve. But if anyone wants to hear my speaking abilities (and see my flaws first-hand lol) I made a new video this weekend (first one in over a year?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NflUOokMYAQ&t=1s
7 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

Postby David27 » Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:35 am

2020 In review
This post will be a bit longer than most, first will be a review of what I did in 2020, then I'll put my December hours and total 2020 hours, then I'll close with my plans for 2021.

Happy New Years!

Time to review 2020 (as it relates to my language learning). I enjoy reading old posts from a year ago, see how much has changed and how my goals have changed. Overall, pretty successful year language learning wise. I set humble and attainable goals last year.

East Asian: I'm going to count this as a win. Last year, I set the goal to strengthen my Mandarin and Japanese. I wanted to study on average 30 minutes a day of both Japanese and Mandarin, and I was imperfect, missing it a bit, but that kind of overall day in day out consistency did help me get real noticeable progress on these difficult languages. I made a goal to myself to complete Assimil Mandarin for good, and to start John DeFrancis, which occurred (80 pages into it). I've also restarted popupchinese, going through their intermediate lessons to increase my audio practice. For Japanese, I almost completed my goal. I wanted to finish Genki book 1 and move onto book 2. I am currently on the last chapter of Genki 1, and want to still review the exercises and do a speed pass of it again before moving onto Genki 2. I also got through a lot of Japanesepod101 path to advanced Japanese. I've completed through lesson 80, having listened to them several times and read through their pdfs. The reading of example sentences on the pdf's has also helped my Kanji knowledge.

Slavic: For this year, could just change the name to Russian. In 2019 I had toyed around with both Polish and Czech. Both of them were pretty much squashed in 2020. I did meet my Russian goals, however. I had wanted to do 100 hours of Russian study, and read 2 books. I read >800 pages in Russian this year, completed a small collection of short stories by Victoria Tokareva, read Metro 2033 and Azazel by Boris Akunin. I also watched ~5 Russian movies this year, and watched the first 8 episodes of "лучше чем люди"

Germanic: No set goals made last year. I had a few periods of the year where I got into Dutch. I completed the Teach Yourself Dutch (went through it twice), and also got interested in Norwegian during the year. However as I just dipped my toes into the Norwegian pond I found the water a bit too icy for me still. I would like to shore up my German and Dutch prior to adding another Germanic language, which did push me to do a lot more in German and Dutch in the last few months. In German, I watched season 3 of Babylon Berlin, and I watched season 1 and 2 of Dark. I had hoped to read something in German this year, but failed on that end. EasyGerman's podcasts are nice easy listening, 30 minute episodes, relaxing, and perfect for my commute. I found them in 11/2020, and they have contributed to my recent spike in German hours.

Romance: I didn't have any specific goals set. I read one book in French, 0 in Spanish (I had hoped for 1 each, which is what I usually do most years, the extra reading in Russian I guess took away from the Spanish?). Minimal maintenance continued on Portuguese/Italian... I had asked for a Catalan course for my birthday, but didn't get it... which is for the best. However I did discover ScorpioMartianus on youtube, and enjoy his content and studying a bit of Latin at times, which I plan on continuing light latin studies through my life, to hopefully one day be able to read in latin.

English: Only read one book in English in 2020 for free reading/pleasure reading, a translation of A bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric.

Other: Levantine Arabic and Bengali both were 'almost' successfully removed from my study. I still toy around with Arabic when I am on vacation and have spare time, but really haven't done much with Bengali since Spring/2020. I have had 4-5 Bengali speaking patients in the last 2 months alone, which does tempt me to crack out the course books and start studying again, but I've been so busy with work and just maintaining what I have that I content myself with the introductory phrases I know, and don't study it more.

December 2019 Hours
Japanese: 15 hours, 5 minutes

Mandarin: 10 hours, 15 minutes

German: 7 hours, 30 minutes

Russian: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Spanish: 5 hours, 0 minutes

Dutch: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Portuguese: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Levantine Arabic: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Italian: 1 hour, 10 minutes

French: 20 minutes

Latin: 10 minutes

2020 Running total:
Japanese: 170 hours, 25 minutes

Mandarin: 156 hours, 15 minutes

Russian: 101 hours, 55 minutes

Spanish: 54 hours, 20 minutes

German: 33 hours, 55 minutes

Italian: 17 hours, 10 minutes

Dutch: 15 hours, 30 minutes

French: 14 hours, 55 minutes

Portuguese: 14 hours, 10 minutes

Levantine Arabic: 10 hours, 5 minutes

Latin: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Polish: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Bengali: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Norwegian: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Total: 600 hours, 15 minutes
This is a new all time high, the consistency of the 30 minute daily goal for Japanese and Mandarin really helped, also finding more podcasts and listening to keep consistency and more exposure in foreign languages helped. Last year I did 549 hours, 45 minutes by comparison.

2021 Goals:
East Asian: Going to try to mimic the success I had last year. 30 minutes of Mandarin and Japanese a day (so far successful for January 1st!).

Japanese: I will finish Genki 1 and 100% of my review of this book in January, then I will move on to Genki 2. I will set the goal to complete it in by the end of the year and all review of it. This is a bit ambitious given how slowly I work through textbooks, but I hope to be consistent and make real progress in Japanese, so that by 2022 I can start working on reading graded readers. Also plan to complete the "Path to advanced Japaneses on japanesepod101, and work through a decent bit of lingQ courses (all of the short stories series, go through a few others). This will be my main focus language

Mandarin: I hope to still do 30 minutes a day, but I'm ok to drop this to 20 minutes a day if I continue to enjoy Japanese more and just want to ride that enthusiasm. My goal for Mandarin is to complete the DeFrancis elementary Chinese reader. Also plan for LingQ work (complete the short stories series, maybe move on to others), and complete the popupchinese intermediate lesson bank.

Romance: My main goal is incorporate Spanish into my life to use it on a daily basis, and to speak it with my son or daughter who will be born in 2 months (yikes!). While I use it a lot at work, I don't use it casually enough or listen to enough Spanish media. I have tried several podcasts. I've also started collecting children's books in Spanish to read to them. Also plan to read Amor en los tiempos de colera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and 1 other book during the year. For French... it gets a bit rusty from disuse but doesn't take that much to refreshen, since I put so much time into it in the past, but plan for my yearly 1 book in French. No specific plans to do much outside of regular maintenance on Portuguese and Italian still. Continue to dabble in Latin when it strikes my fancy, which may occur more as I spend more time with Spanish.

Russian: Not going to label this Slavic, no plans to restart Polish or Czech this year. For Russian, decrease my goal to make room for more Spanish in my life. Goal of 1 book and >25 hours of Russian. A bit of a de-emphasis next year.

Germanic: Plan to finally read my dual-language collection of stories of Kafka and Rilke, beef up my German a bit and continue German podcasts. With the LingQ use of Japanese and Mandarin I also want to do some Dutch. Now that I finished Teach Yourself Dutch, I need more exposure, as I still need quite a bit more input to get comfortable. Hold off on Norwegian until I'm happy with my Dutch.

Other: Hold on studies of Arabic and Bengali still for 2021. I feel that I already have too much on my plate.
12 x

David27
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm
Languages: English (N)
French, Spanish (C1)
Russian, Portuguese, Italian, German (B2)
Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch (A2)
Abandoned languages (for now) :( Greek, Czech, Bengali, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish
x 496

Re: Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

Postby David27 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:20 pm

January overall was pretty productive. The end of the month was complicated by more work and decrease in language study. Main points are that I (mostly) stuck to my Japanese and Mandarin plan. For Japanese, I did complete the Genki book 1, and some review of vocabulary and writing within it. I'm going through the supplemental reading and writing exercises at the end of the book which are good review of main grammar points and some key vocabulary that was covered in the book. So I haven't fully put the book away yet. Plan for February is to be happy with where I am and put that book away, so that I can move on to book 2. I also moved forward with Japanese pod101 listening (each lesson 2-4 times, depending on how useful the lesson is), and reviewing and reading the pdf. I've now complete through lesson 92 of the path to advanced. Also going through LIngQ mini-stories occasionally (I believe I've done 1-6). Also watched 2 episodes of Giri/Haji on Netflix which I enjoyed.

For Mandarin, I haven't been doing almost any textbook work, just mostly listening to popupchinese lessons, I have old recordings of the assimil lessons on my phone which I listen to in the car (benefit that it's familiar and no English explanations), and some LingQ mini stories (1-7).

Spanish I started to read Amor en los tiempos de colera, and also used a lot at work. Listened to several Spanish podcast episodes. Russian and German largely podcasts, French I watched the first 2 episodes of Lupin on Netflix, which I thought were pretty good, it also just put me into more of a French mood, listening to some French songs I used to like and occasionally reading an article in French. Very low work for Dutch and Latin, but not completely abandoned.

February main plans: Finishish Genki 1 completely and put away, continue with steady listening/reading on LingQ, popupchinese, japanesepod101, continue reading Amor en los tiempos de colera (get to page 100). Occasional Netflix foreign language shows (Better than us (ru), Lupin (fr), Giri/Haji (Ja)

Japanese: 15 hours, 25 minutes
Mandarin: 14 hours, 45 minutes
Spanish: 7 hours, 45 minutes
Russian: 5 hours, 5 minutes
German: 2 hours, 25 minutes
French: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Italian: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Dutch: 1 hour, 0 minute
Latin: 25 minutes
4 x

User avatar
Dr Mack Rettosy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:53 pm
Location: USA, The Great Lakes
Languages: English (N), Mandarin
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16180
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Re: Japanese and Mandarin in 50 years, with a lot of detours.

Postby Dr Mack Rettosy » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:50 pm

Hi David,
Wonderful log. Just finished reading through it all. It's incredibly inspiring how you've kept at languages through a demanding career in medicine. How wonderful that your hobby allows you to make connections with your patients! Also, congratulations on the news of an expanding family! Bringing a child into the fold will present scheduling challenges but also opportunities (like your interest in raising bilingual children).

I'm all in on Mandarin at the moment, so wanted to share a few ideas for Mandarin listening materials.

Have you considered a youtube premium account? Doing so allows you to download videos and listen w/o data or wifi. There's also the benefit of being able to multitask (use another app) or shut off your phone screen (save battery) while listening. Subscription is $15/month but the first month is free so you could give it a try? I ended up paying for the subscription and using it as my singular listening source. Some ideas of what to listen to:

I'll leave you with that, but happy to share more.

Curious, did you ever manage that beach-destination vacation you had planned for the first two weeks of March 2020? Myself and my SO also vacationed during that time and had quite the memorable experience with COVID-19 beginning to spread (fortunately, it was only domestic travel).
3 x
Mandarin goals:
Heisig RSH Vol I: 1276 / 1500 / 1500 汉字
Anki Spoonfed Chinese: 135 / 8017 / 8000 sentences
Study: 527 / 5000 / 5000 hours


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