Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

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Expugnator
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Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:40 pm

So, here we are, warming up for a new year. This year seems to be shorter (despite being actually a leap year), because the odds are higher that I might be involved in parallel projects - even language-related - other than my daily learning schedule.

That schedule model will remain basically unchanged. I'm going to study all my languages everyday, except for the newer, dabbling ones which I only take care of when there is enough time. That is to say, they go to the end of the schedule, once I have already rotated through the main languages satisfactorily.

As a matter of fact, the biggest novelty of 2017 has been my consistent adding up of dabbling languages to the end of the schedule. My experience with Estonian and Modern Greek showed me that it's possible to progress consistently over 1-2 years with only 5 minutes a day on an opaque language (and even on a transparent laguage such as Italian - it's just that progress is more noticeable for the former group). Therefore, I decided that since I'm not dealing with wanderlust but rather with a fixed, established list of languages I want to learn in my lifetime, so why wait so much to start? Why wait to "finish" Georgian, which eats up 1 hour of my daily schedule, before starting Modern Greek, if I can learn enough Modern Greek 5 minutes a day to be able to foresee an intermediate level in 2 years? That is almost like a compund interest rate model applied to language learning. That is what I'm calling Sustainable Dabbling at this log and it's what keeps my interest (pun non-intended) high on the perspective of adding new languages and thus getting in touch with new cultures while still making sound progress in my core, B1-B2ish plateaued language. This is not wanderlust when you fancy for a new language and forget about the previous ones; nor is it dabbling in multiple languages with no complete goals.

In my experience with Estonian and Modern Greek, after those 2 years of warm-up, comfortable initial contact with the language, I'm able to tackle native materials in an n+1 way while rounding up the grammar details. It's like I'm preparing for studying a language while I can't study it fully, but it's more than that (this actual situation would be what I'm doing with Clozemaster for languages I still haven't started sustainable dabbling for yet, like Finnish - or Indonesian prior to two months ago).

I have some personal goals other than just improving slowly my languages. I want to reach a B1 active level in Russian before June so I can be an asset during the World Cup and not just another English-only tour guide/tourist. This is going to be quite challenging because Russian is the language I have most trouble with. Words don't seem to stick, case endings don't move into my active command of the language and I can't hold Skype lessons in ways where it seems like I'm actually learning instead of just going over sentences I've already ran into during my self-study time.

I want to produce language material of my own - this remains a lifetime goal but I hope that with the increase of confidence thanks to the good results in Georgian, Mandarin and Estonian I might convince myself I have something to say. I also want to write books on specific languages for Brazilians. In order for this to happen, I need to maintain a well-round-up daily schedule and resist the temptation to just keep adding new watching activities when I notice the day has been calmer and there is much time left. I might start with writing guest posts for the static blog.

In order to actually start using my languages in a safe way, I want to have all my language islands (about me, family, work, education, hobbies, lifestyle, worldviews) rounded up for all my languages. This might include booking at least one Skype lesson per language because I don't want to disclose personal information on sites such as italki or lang-8, and I want to be as specific as the situation allows when talking about myself in real life. I'm not promising myself to keep writing regularly in my TLs because I know my schedule wades against that, even though now the situation is different as all languages have advanced and it's much easier to write a paragraph in each of my older ones.

Overall, I want to feel more relaxed and less strict about my schedule, and for this to happen I want to feel I'm advancing towards my goals in Russian, German and Norwegian. Once I'm comfortable with those languages, it will be more than ever a matter of just enjoying the journey.

So, now for individual languages:

Russian - The main language of the first semester, if all goes as planned and I am set to travel there during the World Cup. It's also my greatest challenge in language learning. I remain a shaky A2 active/B1 passive, despite doing the same I've been doing for Georgian and Estonian - and even more. I want to keep having lessons weekly. I am also going to try hard and watch more dubbed series, because that's what worked so well for Georgian.

Norwegian - I'm still on an asymptotic learning curve to B2, barred to my weak listening skills. Yet I feel I can speak the language. Having started an audiobook in Nynorsk might help understand more dialects. I don't have special plans for the language other than keeping textchatting a while. Italki lessons are expensive and the teachers tend to be booked out because they're so few, so they might not happen often.

German - I almost made it to basic reading fluency in 2017. My goal is being able to follow an audiobook, so in order for this happen I need to read more automatedly. I'm working on it right now by listening-reading the 2nd book in the Tintenherz trilogy, it's almost like narrow-reading. Active skills have al but deteriorated and for this I would really like to watch on italki and with the assistance of the occasional tutor. Getting my islands done is a must because I actually have real-life opportunities to talk in German-only and polyglot meetups.

French - I don't have any special goals other than finally figuring out which level I am. I want to watch native series and regain my better active skills. I'm listening to an audiobook and it's nearly transparent, but I'm moving slowly through it as it's the final resource of the day and usually I'm mentally exhausted.

English - I want to improve my writing skills through writing on relevant topics regarding language learning. This log might remain in macarronic English but I want at least my texts to read better.

Papiamento - I will keep my 15-minute a day quick reading/listening. I want to write often to an Aruban friend I have on FB. If the opportunity for writing a language course shows up again I'll take it, but I won't seek it actively.

Italian - I have mostly activation goals for this one. It's lagging behind too much regarding French. I want to read novels with relevant vocabulary more intensively - the past ones have been mostly skimming. I want to enjoy some native series but not as part of my daily routine. I want to keep listening to audiobooks.

Spanish - I want to write more, get my islands proofread before I dare say I speak Spanish. Then I want to practice it regularly at meetups. I want to finally start En Terapía and El Ministerio del Tiempo, even if not watching them regularly.

Georgian - I want to finally write more regularly. I want to improve my number of pages read somewhere during the year, by the time I notice I'm comfortable reading extensively. I want to address specific troublesome verbal tenses in class.

Mandarin - Practice, practice, practice. There is enough Mandarin knowledge here to allow me for having some fun conversations. I want to find a good italki teacher so I can book lessons often. I want to try reading some texts extensively once in a while.

Estonian - I want to finally revisit the basic nominal declension through drilling the FSI-like Basic Course in Estonian. Then I want to consolidate it through watching my own language islands. There is no tutor on italki so that will have to rely on the goodwill of natives and fellow learners on the Estonian subforum at Unilang.

Modern Greek - My goal is to have some basic language islands written up while keeping advancing through short-lesson-based courses such as Language Transfer and pod101. I want to consistenly keep listening-reading the audiobook while watching American series with Greek subtitles once in a while.

Hebrew - This is currently the language I'm enjoying the most learning at the moment. I've been waiting too long to start it for good (I had had 3 months-classes at the local Israeli Union back in 2005). I want to do 2 textbook resources at once the way I am doing for Greek, in order to progress more quickly (I'd still call this sustainable dabbling because both textbooks combined would be around 15, sometimes 20 minutes).

Indonesian - Yes, it is easy. Definitely. I want to start textbook proper learning while picking another short-lessons-based resource once in a while. I want to go serious with it and start chatting at the many groups I'm a member of.

Prospects

Somehow, someday if time allows I want to start Catalan. As for Swahili, I still hope I won't start it on my own. So, whoever joins me makes it a tandem and later a team. Turkish is a candidate for sustainable dabbling in the second semester, and so is Romanian in the transparent front. I'd really like to start Czech, but Russian is dragging all my slavolearnability at the moment. Maybe the second semester will see me getting even more serious with Russian and enjoying the momentum or instead setting myself free to put in on normal progress mode and finally add my second Slavic language. Ditto for Swedish, which depends on how comfortable I will be with Norwegian halfway 2018.

That is all I have planned for the moment. I don't have many set goals. I won't keep a resources slot placeholder, feel free to reply directly to this topic. I do have my list of resources which I'd be happy to share.

Best of luck to all fellow learners!
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Xmmm » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:59 pm

Expugnator wrote:This is going to be quite challenging because Russian is the language I have most trouble with. Words don't seem to stick, case endings don't move into my active command of the language and I can't hold Skype lessons in ways where it seems like I'm actually learning instead of just going over sentences I've already ran into during my self-study time.


My Russian Anki deck has a leech rate of 9%. By comparison, Indonesian was less than 3% and Italian was less than 1%.

I think I know what the reason is.

In English, we have verbs like: to drink, to eat, to swim, to fish, to drive.

If Russian were English, those verbs would look like: to predrinkilate, to predeatilate, to podswimyarate, to pofishilate, and to posdrivilate.

And Russians would have all kinds of clever and rational-sounding explanations for why it couldn't at least be "drinkilate" instead of "predrinkilate" and how the pre prefix added a whole layer of nuisance, etc.

It's the verbs, man!
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Systematiker » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:11 pm

Xmmm wrote:
....a whole layer of nuisance, etc.



Ah, the truth will out! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:02 pm

Xmmm wrote:It's the verbs, man!


I'd love to believe you, but Georgian has harder verbs and it doesn't make it harder! :? I think it's nearly everything being either harder than average or on average difficulty in Russian, plus the wide vocabulary you need even for the most commonplacew texts.

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The first day of study started chaotic, with a new student, a lot of redtape to take care of at work and dropping my portable HDD at home in the morning.

I'm really looking forward to becoming a Norwegian-Portuguese translator. It's a promising marketing but there are already a couple of translators out there. I'd love to translate fiction.

I wasn't expecting to find everything much easier after three weeks, in a type of bow effect; actually I have to adjust to the intense routine again. I couldn't do anything in the morning so I started 3 hours behind. Modern Russian Grammar is tiresome but useful as usual; the Chinese listening-reading was a breeze compared to reading Russian grammar with sample sentences.

My copy of Skam has no original audio, so no Skam for the time being. Side om side replaces it.

Finished the French film "Du rififi chez les hommes". A pretty old one. I still have around 60 film scheduled before I can start taking TV series.

Despite being short of three hours, I made it to the Georgian dubbed series. Not a bad start.
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby zatris » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:45 pm

Du rififi chez les hommes directed by Jules Dassin? I love that movie.

If you have the time and are willing to, could you talk a little about your efforts to become a translator, or link to posts you've written about it? It's an occupation I sometimes wish to pursue (not in Norwegian, though). I think I remember you mentioning your interest in the subject a couple of years ago - if I recall correctly, it was in the Portuguese thread. It seems you have made good progress on that path; congratulations and good luck!
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:16 pm

zatris wrote:Du rififi chez les hommes directed by Jules Dassin? I love that movie.

If you have the time and are willing to, could you talk a little about your efforts to become a translator, or link to posts you've written about it? It's an occupation I sometimes wish to pursue (not in Norwegian, though). I think I remember you mentioning your interest in the subject a couple of years ago - if I recall correctly, it was in the Portuguese thread. It seems you have made good progress on that path; congratulations and good luck!


The film seems interesting, I just didn't pay the attention it deserves, watching it 10 minutes a day in the busiest after-lunch hour.

Regarding translation, I'm not sure I was the one who mentioned being interested in translation a couple of years ago, as I only recently started seriously considering it. I'm looking for many ways to put my language knowledge for use on side jobs, and translation from less common languages directly into Portuguese would be one of these. Right now I'm not putting in any effort other than stuyding the language. Gettubg the first job is a challenge, and I have to think of a strategy to do so.

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Yesterday I totally forgot about Papiamento. It was a no-Papiamento day. Well, at least I managed to resume the French audiobook.

Today was different. I'd like to point this sentence where asta (a cognate to Spanish 'hasta' is used like 'até'in Portuguese (where it means not only 'until', 'up to', but also 'even').

Ret Karibense wrote:Pero asta si haña un invershonista nobo, ekspertonan ta duda si pueblo riba e isla lo haña airu mas limpi.


But even if a new investor is found, the experts doubt if people on the island will get cleaner air.

In Spanish, if I'm not mistaken, such sentence would involve 'aunque' instead of hasta.

The audiobooks are better than never. I'm caught at the story again at the Italian audiobook, after a chapter that was more like an interlude; Nynorsk seems transparent - it's always easier to understand a language that is read almost like it's written, with fewer silent letters. Mandarin Chinese is not bad either.

Side om Side is great but Skam is the priority now, and Side om side is put on hold. It was not hard at all to find proper Skam with native audio.

Just for a change on the ongoing rant, Russian listening-reading was more productive today. It helped that it was mostly dialogues.

The day wasn't that much productive again. Getting busy in the morning meant I had to try and catch up in the afternoon, but I only went as far as the Assimil Greek lesson, which is not much more than yesterday.
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:56 pm

Watching a soap-opera virtually means you'll never run out of material. I'm still in 2012 for the Estonian soap opera, after having watched over 70 episodes. And my Estonian comprehension is improving steadily.

I'm enjoying the film 'Un air de famille'. It's really about family and the vocabulary used, the expressions, the tones of voice are enriching for a French learner. The audio quality is good and most of the times I forget about the subtitles.

I usually just listen to the Georgian native soap-opera on the background, but as I understand more and more, today I had a good laugh just as I hit the play button for the first scene.

Finished the second season from Нюхач. Looks like the third season, besides the geoblock, might lack subtitles as well. I wonder if I shouldn't stick to dubbed series for the time being? There are transcripts for other series available, but searching for them and reading through Word files is getting tiresome.

I got in earlier, had a not so good start in the morning, had to solve some car documentation issues and so I'm leaving today at the same point as of Tuesday, only up to the Georgian series. Better luck tomorrow. I have to watch out whether it will become a trend.
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:53 pm

Today I resumed my weekly Russian classes, which I might continue as long as I have no classes booked as a teacher. The class was tiresome and Russian remains difficult. There are important words I want to be able to understand, while working on my overall active vocabulary. I didn't get to speak much nor did I retain much from the previous travelling vocabulary. I'll have to do some reviewing, but even so I'm still uncertain about forming sentences.

Meanwhile in Estonian everything is becoming easier to understand. It's not a nuisance to watch the soap opera for 14 minutes a day anymore, as I understand almost everything from the subtitles.

'Un air de famille' is definitely a good film. The main characters were in their late 40's, early 50's in the 90's (the film is from 1996) and so they were from the first generation that had a closer relationship to their parents, more like modern families. The scene where the three children enter their parents' room, open the curtain and start jumping on the bed to wake their parents is illustrative. They make me think of my own dad, who was like this. He and his sisters have a much closer relationship than my mother and her siblings. The film made me definitely nostalgic even more so that yesterday was my father's birthday and he started posting older pictures on the phone.

So, no more transcripts available for нюхач. I tried to watch episode 1 of the third season with no subs at all, and while I could get the gist, that's not enough for a cop series. I decided to go for Физрук then. It only has 1 season available, but that's 20 episodes which will keep me busy for a while. I don't foresee letting go of subtitles for the time being. I did watch the last season of Anzhelika without them, but that was enough of a loss of content and fun. My Russian still leaves much to desire and I'm better off having actual comprehensible input so as to fill in the some vocabulary and conversation gaps.

So, I could go one step/one resource further today and went through a Language Transfer Greek lesson. No Hebrew, Indonesian or Spanish. This means sustainable dabbling hasn't started in practice in 2018, as i've only worked on my older languages so far. Today I took 1 hour off of my studies for the Russian lesson, and this usually happens before study time. Let's see how next week comes along.
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Axon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:38 am

First off, I love your log.

Do you ever feel constrained when you're limiting the soap opera time? How often do you "give in" and watch more than the 14 minutes or so that you'd planned for?
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Re: Expug's 2018 Log - Sustainable Dabbling

Postby Expugnator » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:12 pm

Axon wrote:First off, I love your log.

Do you ever feel constrained when you're limiting the soap opera time? How often do you "give in" and watch more than the 14 minutes or so that you'd planned for?


Thanks for dropping by, Axon. I admire your commitment to learning difficult languages!

Regarding the soap opera, it's actually the other way round. I'm not very fond of watching TV and I usually have to hang on and finish the planned 10 minutes, so with 14 for Estonian it used to be a difficult mission. After all, it's a soap opera with a neverending plot over years, not quite like a Brazilian novela, to compare it with my closest reference. Add to this a language I was a beginner at, with many sentences I couldn't understood because of my level and because machine translation wasn't good enough to help me make sense of them when comparing to the original. Now I mean to say it's less of a burden because the language has become so familiar that it doesn't feel that uncomfortable to follow the dialogues anymore. As for feeling like watching more of whatever resource, it happens quite rarely because usually I'm looking forward to the next activity. I know, I should focus better, but I still have to learn more concentrated learning. It already got better, I might say.

==============
The weekend was mostly productive. The highlight was that I decided to restart using Speaky. The mobile app is functional now, which makes it more practical. Actually I decided to have a look at it while advising people at the local polyglot meetup (which was fun and crowded but it was mostly English).

At Speaky I talked to an Estonian lady who helped me enormously. I could understand almost everything she wrote, and I used GT mostly for confirming what I had in mind. My Estonian had definitely improved since last time and I am almost conversational. Some filler expressions come to mind naturally, even though there is some interference from Russian and Georgian, my not so obvious sources for filling in gaps given the common USSR past and even some similar phonology with mostly open syllables.

Anyway, apart from Estonian I also chatted in Italian and German and I was contacted by Russians, Chinese and Georgians, which means I can try having longer conversations during the week, if my hectic schedule allows. It all comes down to having the islands round up, as my overall level has improved for all the languages and I can mostly start forming sentences on my own, checking the translator just for confirmation.

I also had enough time for gathering material for both classes and self-study, plus songs for listening to on the treadmill. Only Clozemaster was neglected and I lost my streak from last week, so not much to regret in the end.

As for today, the new routine started. Classes in the morning, but the traffic is still good because it's January. I'll be giving classes mon-wed in the morning unless I find more students for the other two days. The good news is that the classes at the same place as last year start earlier, and the other one is just across the square near work. That means I'm going to have 15 min to 30 minutes more of study even at - or specially at - the busiest days. Today I could do more before lunch than the past few days - I managed to finish Norwegian and start the French video (then I started wondering how little I do for Norwegian each day, it's only extensive activities).

Anyway, back from lunch and I got carried on some prospecting and some speculations about whether the road between my hometown and my parents' hometown will be paved or not (this is a question that has been occupying my mind since my childhood because the shorter not-entirely-paved road is 240 km, 100 km shorter than the main road for which there is entirely asphalt; the middle-run expecation is of having a secondary road paved that will reduce the distance in around 50 km, which is enough to celebrate). Then finally reaching an agreement on the bills of the month and the year, chatting with friends and then back to studying 1 hour later.

Today was a good day for gathering material. Apart from Russian Through Reading (thanks daristani) I also got a book on Georgian verbs from Peace Corps and a dissertation on Georgian particles which actually has a good overview in Portuguese on Georgian grammar as a whole.

So, sustainable dabbling is officially launched. I managed to do 1 lesson of Hebrew today. It was the 7th lesson, which means it was a review lesson. Pretty straightforward. I hope there is no big jump in difficulty for lesson 8 as Assimil usually does, because my mind is not sharp for Hebrew that much after 4 weeks.

A Google Translate trick I never knew: it's possible to translate individual sentences on a sentence on GT just by selecting it with the keyboard. So far I have been deleting parts of the sentence so I could translate the remaining ones.

And with the Indonesian lesson the sustainable dabbling officially takes over. I resumed where I had stopped. As usual, I'm not overlearning. I'm retaining maybe little in terms of vocabulary but I'm managing to understand a lot of how the language works, and that's what matters for when I start 'serious' learning with a proper textbook (which I fear a bit as they either are formal Indonesian or unclear about register, while Indonesianpod101 has very clear register marks to each sentence, with differences being pointed out throughout the lessons).

Time for 10 minutes of dubbed Russian, my priority for post-schedule activities. Some Clozemaster, but not even half of it, then cleaning up some pending tasks.
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