languist's lazy language lunacy - 2019

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languist
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Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:03 am

rdearman wrote:Typically the best way to do this is to leave it on the defaults. I think the only thing I've ever changed is the number of new cards shown, and the gestures so that I can suspend a card from the cycle with one swipe right of the thumb.

...and I hadn't even stopped to consider that there may be an app !

When I plugged in my first pair of words, my immediate thought was that this card-flipping is useless without a test (obviously I'm so used to memrise that I assumed this would automatically be built in), so I added the code for typing out the answer. I suppose it needn't get more complex than that. I prefer to learn words with simultaneous audio, but then again I decided to use Anki specifically to work on L1 to L2 recall, rather than learning brand new words. Maybe in the future I'll add audio and try to organise a shareable Circassian deck.

edit:
zenmonkey wrote:Pretty much the same, added a few mods but mostly I've played around with Anki to change the aspect of the cards - fonts, colors and feel. I've set up mine so I can do strange writing systems like cursive Hebrew with print at the same time.

Suggest you don't spend too much time fiddling with the settings at first.

You're studying a language family I know nothing about but find interesting so, be forewarned, I've subscribed too.

By the way, consistency is ideal but don't knock yourself if you have lapses. Have fun!

oops you commented when I was posting, sorry !

Thank you both for the advice! I'll leave things alone for now. I think Anki will be very helpful for me, because I find that... yes.. I learn words with memrise, but sometimes I feel that I only know them within the actual app? As in, if someone were to stop me on the street and say "what's the (whatever) word for (a word you've done 20 times on memrise)?!" I may absolutely blank. So a strict L1->L2 diet should be healthy. AND I prefer to pick up vocab via conversations with people, which makes it easier to remember these things (for me), but also means I don't have any central vocab list, just things floating around in my head, and maybe buried 50 messages deep into a whatsapp thread. Anki will be my organisational saviour, I hope :)
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Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Postby zenmonkey » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:18 am

One of the things I do with Anki to fight that effect of only being able to build/learn the standard phrase and not pull it out in conversation is to do drills.

I have a Tibetan card for "I am not a girl." ང་པུམོ་མིན།

But here the idea isn't to just learn that phrase which likely I will never use. I use the card as a reminder to say:
"am not. I am not..." "am not. I am..." "am not. you are..." "am not. he is ..."

Anki cards can be prompts to a lot of different types of drills or work.
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Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Postby rdearman » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:01 pm

Another good card is a grammar type card which might be something like.

Say past, present and future of: I have a cat.

Or similar.
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Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Postby Elenia » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:21 pm

For accents, check out the chorusing method. Also, you can reduce your accent amazingly, such as forum member PeterMollenburg has done with a lot of hard graft and attention. You probably don't need to be quite as careful as he is, as your aim isn't necessarily to get rid of your accent entirely. We all work to our own standards, after all.
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languist
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:15 pm

Thank you zenmonkey and rdearman, both very good pieces of advice that I'm sure I'll eventually incorporate into my Anki learning (so far, I'm just using it for Circassian, and I'm not quite at the sentence-building stage yet).

Elenia, thank you, I'll look up the "chorusing method".

It's funny, because in general people around me are very complimentary of my attempts at their language, and usually (I think sincerely?) say how natural I sound even on my first attempt. The reason I say this isn't some weird form of gloating, but to say that I think in general I am good at copying sounds, which is probably why I am good at picking up vocab quickly when I hear it irl.

BUT RUSSIAN! Even yesterday, I had a Chechen tell me "Your Chechen is better than your Russian, let's stick with Chechen" and a Kabardian say "somehow you speak Kabardian better than Russian!"... !! :shock: :oops: This is why I originally intended to go to Russia and pay some ridiculous price for a month-long course in a language school, because I felt it would be worth it to finally force the right phonology down my throat (and out of my mouth?) - in the end, this didn't happen, and I'm sure I can eventually struggle through this at home, but it's the longest issue with pronunciation I have ever had. Even though I mentioned my French and Slovak before, in honesty, with some steady practice, I'm sure I will be fine - it's more a case of rustiness than inability.

Speaking of throats, a lot of the sounds in Caucasian languages are very unfamiliar for English speakers - but not too unfamiliar for Arabic speakers. So I've been spending some time watching youtube lessons teaching the pronunciation of relevant Arabic letters (hellooo, family of H's), and learning how to better control my throat. Ejective consonants (except a few) are no longer much of an issue, but 'ejective vowels' (if that's the correct term) haven't come so easily.
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby Elenia » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:40 pm

If you're generally good at mimicing sounds, it might well be a prosody or intonation thing, rather than an accent problem. If that's the case, chorusing might be even more effective, as it was developed by a Swedish teacher to get learners speaking with correct Swedish prosody (something I haven't even tried to do).
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languist
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:15 am

It's actually quite nice to see that my thread has been pushed back to the third page after only a few days! The activity on this forum is inspiring in itself, before you even check the content.

My little language diary;

On Monday, I had a three hour French class. Now, I hadn't slept (at all! zero zip nada!) for two days and this class was in the late evening, so I found myself literally slipping in and out of consciousness as I wrote. My level of French is a good bit above the class level, however I still value the opportunity to practice and actually engage with studying again, as it's been years since I studied/used French. So although I know I won't learn much of anything new, I equally know that I'd be extremely unlikely to touch French (and I need to, for my university application) without this course. So I found myself blazing through the exercises and was completely involuntarily about to nod off entirely when the teacher suddenly had us stand up and start speaking to each other in French. (Normally, there is also a native speaker who comes and takes groups of 2-3 people for a 10 minute chat, but she wasn't there today.) This really re-energised the room, and thankfully snapped me back into the waking world. In some ways, I could converse with some sense of flow, but I was truly exhausted, and got tripped up quite a lot on basic sentences, and kept accidentally throwing in Slovak words (it didn't help that we were speaking about Slovakia!).

Today, I met a French couple I know, and muddled through in French, but quite a few times struggled far too much over basic grammar/vocab, and ended up drifting off into English. We did speak French but it's definitely highlighted how rusty my skills are. However, I still can't be convinced to put in any work beyond this course, BUT I have decided to finally read a book. My bookshelves are full of French classics and poetry, which I used to love as a teenager, but I don't think I'd be able to tackle them at this stage, so I bought a book which I think will be more accessible. 'Le bizarre incident du chien pendant la nuit', a very famous book which I've never read in any language (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime). I bought it on a whim, during a generally indulgent trip to a charity shop which happened to be having a sale on books, so.... Yes, I'm a language book hoarder. :roll:

https://screenshot.net/5py7yf3

I decided to link the pic rather than embed it because I haven't yet found a way to make photos appropriately sized and yet retain their quality. One day I'll post my whole pointless collection, but for now - in this haul we have: a short Irish audio course, a "complete beginners" audio course in French by "Living Language", Teach Yourself Japanese, Colloquial Japanese in Four Weeks, Teach Yourself Greek (I already have Teach Yourself Modern Greek, so I thought... y'know why not), 'Get by in Turkish', Collins Yugoslav Phrasebook (purely because it says Yugoslav), the French Mark Haddon novel, and finally - a bilingual English/Hungarian book based on a Soviet lecture about God. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ All in all, not bad for £14.

In regards to Slovak, I haven't studied from a book or such again, but I've been making an effort to speak it more, and actively ask for corrections. I've written out a few stories and paragraphs etc, sent them to native friends, and then recoiled at the feedback. :lol: More or less, it's not that my writing has been utterly 'wrong', but simply that they have many ways for expressing the same idea, and mine have been the least natural sounding ways.

Now to talk about my dear old Russian. At last, I've been trying to write it to my Russian friends, but it's a slog, it's so tempting to slip back into English. For foundation-building, I've been zooming through the BBC Talk Russian book. It's aimed at a kind of 'tourist level', so it's a bit superficial, but I did pick up a few grammar points that I didn't know. Otherwise, playing on memrise and learning through song lyrics and chatting with natives. Tomorrow afternoon should be fun, because I have my first Russian lesson via italki. I'll be paying some poor girl to abuse me about my pronunciation for an hour until we get it right. I've already enjoyed (endured) a few pronunciation drills thanks to some friends, but I think it will be worth it to hire someone to give their undivided attention to the cause.

Most of my energy is dedicated to Circassian. I can't express how much I love this language, and all its cousins. Too much of my time has been spent playing word games with native speakers, picking up silly vocab. Truly, I love it. I've been acquiring the very basics of the grammar organically, which is nice and quite unexpected. Much like Russian, I've been doing some pronunciation drills, trying to shake off my accent and learn to tell the difference between (and attempt to produce) х хь хъ г гу гъ гъу. I've also been putting the most important phrases into Anki, which is definitely helping me get the hang of the tricky spelling of this language (and also to become re-acquainted with the Russian keyboard). Some Kabardian things which I've enjoyed this week;

- « лъап1э лъапэ » : "expensive foot" (not the correct grammatical construction, but an example of where ability to produce ejectives will make a difference!)
- « гъэмахуэ » : summer : "the bright time"
- « щ1ымахуэ » : winter : "brightground" (how cute !)

To be honest, the majority of my music these days is kavkaz (although today I had a nice cross-lingua 'get psyched' mix going :lol: ), and unfortunately most of my favourite songs aren't available on Youtube.... but please allow me to share with you this living Circassian legend! It's got all the cheesiness we know and love from Russian concerts, with added Cherkess charm :D To give you an idea of how the language sounds (if you don't already know), and also sneak a peek at some traditional Circassian dancing.



edit: decided to also add this https://vocaroo.com/i/s00IZcwIccEu because this was probably the first time I ever heard the Circassian language and it had an effect on me... at the start until 0:39 is a soldier singing during wartimes, from then on is a modern 'produced' version of the same song (both in Circassian), and then at 2:47 the song repeats in Abkhaz. It's something special.
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languist
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:51 am

Just a small check-in, after my ludicrously long post last week.

Russian - unfortunately, my teacher for my first Russian class last week did not turn up, so we rescheduled for tomorrow (because she seems like she'd be good, I didn't want to dismiss her immediately) but I have a feeling that it's going to go the same way. Also unfortunately, my favourite Russian colleague left my workplace on Sunday, so I'll hardly have anyone to chat to (irl) on a frequent basis. Otherwise been practicing a little and learnt a few idioms.

Slovak - just watching Czech/Slovak films and chatting, although I know I have to solidify some grammar/vocab acquisition habits soon.

French - couldn't go to my class today after all, but I started reading 'Le bizarre incident du chien pendant la nuit' and am delighted that I'm able to understand it so well. Although I specifically picked it because I knew the language would be simple, I'm pleasantly surprised at my level of comprehension. So, I'll continue to read this and make some notes, then eventually move on to something more complex.

Kabardian - absorbing as much as I can, and having a lot of fun doing so.

In unrelated language news, I had the funniest moment. A colleague said to me, "wait, which spoon should I use for this ice cream, the big one or the small one?" and I was in the middle of something so absent-mindedly answered "the big one".... it wasn't until a few moments later that I realised that she'd been speaking Italian the whole time. :))) Certainly a silly moment, but I'm amazed that through completely unengaged exposure, I can understand entire sentences in Italian, however simple they may be.

In unrelated-to-language news, a customer popped in to gift me a vegetarian haggis.

-
I've been thinking about this goldlist method thread. I'm confident that the "goldlist" method will be effective, although I find the mechanics a bit arbitrary. The reason I'm sure that it will be helpful, however, is because I (unintentionally) have been successful with memorising vocab like this many times. In my case, I would encounter a set of words and perhaps run through them on memrise once, or even write them in a book, and then forget about them for weeks (or months). Usually when I come across them again, I find that the recall is pretty high. In fact, the most successful ritual in my experience has been to intensely study a set of words (as many as you reasonably have the time to get through) for about a week - ie, use an srs several times a day (and especially before bed) for the same words every day for a week or so, usually less - and then to forget about them completely. Check them again in a few weeks and likely you'll find that only the very complex (eg, difficult spelling/phonemes, very long/unfamiliar structure) words will cause you any hassle - and even then, you may remember these specifically because you had to put in the extra brainwork to learn them in the first place.

I understand that the goldlist method is a little more complicated (and yet equally aims at streamlining the memorisation process), but I personally feel more inclined towards the method of short bursts of "overlearning", followed by a "cool down period". I've never taken any statistics down for this, although I may try, simply in order to compare them to what people will find over the coming months as they track their own success with the goldlist (and co).

This post is getting a little longer than intended... but I'll just briefly touch on a topic I've been wanting to discuss since I joined this forum. The "Memory Palace". I'm firmly of the belief that we learn best when we learn in context, and one form of context which humans are generally particularly good at memorising is 'spacial context'. Does anyone here incorporate this sort of thing into their language learning process? It isn't my main framework for learning words, but it's something which I have played with since I was very young (having first read about it when I was fascinated by magicians, illusionists, and card tricks).
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby Tristano » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:34 am

Hey man,
good luck!
You made me terribly curious. How is it that your native language is English, your partner's mother is Slovak, and you're full of Slovak colleagues but you don't live in Slovakia, you listen to Circassian music and you love Caucasian languages? Where are you from, where are you now? :o
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languist
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:34 pm

Tristano wrote:Hey man,
good luck!
You made me terribly curious. How is it that your native language is English, your partner's mother is Slovak, and you're full of Slovak colleagues but you don't live in Slovakia, you listen to Circassian music and you love Caucasian languages? Where are you from, where are you now? :o

Thank you! Haha, well, it's just like that actually. I was born (and live) in an English speaking country, but my partner moved here from Slovakia. I met them because I'd just happened to have become friends (and colleagues) with a group of Czech & Slovak people, and I still am around Czech/Slovaks a lot because I live and work with them. As for Circassian music and Caucasian languages, this is a purely personal passion - I have some friends from the Caucasus, but mainly I just find that I am drawn to the culture.

And I just LOVE languages, a feeling that I'm sure many on this forum can relate to. Yesterday I posted a video of the music I was enjoying to some social media, and my friend immediately called me out "Do you ever speak English?" :lol: There were songs in Circassian, Chechen, Dargwa, Russian, French, Armenian, Slovak, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Irish, Italian, Abkhaz, Polish, Afrikaans, Bulgarian, German, Korean, Turkish, Farsi, Georgian... and that's just one playlist. :lol: :lol: :lol:
(no, I don't speak all those languages!!)

- - - - -

I had my first Russian lesson! I was quite pleased to discover that I could understand 90% of what my teacher was saying. Of course, she spoke very slowly and only used the simplest vocabulary and structures, but I was once again pleasantly surprised by just how much I know. She also assured me that I actually don't have a terrible accent at all, that she couldn't tell where I'm from by my accent (not that I sound native - just that my native accent isn't coming through in Russian). So I guess my real issue is speaking with incorrect stress/prosody, mostly because I'm unsure, which leads me to being nervous and speaking awkwardly. I'm excited for my next lesson! It was quite unstructured, but my teacher never ran out of ideas for exercises to run through.

At last, my flights are booked for Slovakia, so I have a concrete date to work towards improving by - so, I should really start working... Also, we get the keys for our new apartment today, where I'll be transitioning from living with 1 Slovak + 2 Czechs to 2 Slovaks, which on a linguistic level, I much prefer. I find it harder to keep up with the pace of a conversation in Czech/mixed Czech-Slovak. Although I can understand, it takes me just that little bit longer that by the time I've formed my response, the topic has moved on.

Still reading 'Le bizarre incident du chien pendant la nuit', and also reading it out loud. Reading aloud did wonders for my French accent back in the day.

I've still been spending most of my active learning time on Kabardian. It's by far the least useful and necessary of the languages I'm learning, but definitely the most fun. I practice speaking with natives as much as possible, picking up vocab as we go - it's so nerdishly exciting for me when I see some text somewhere and I understand 3 of the 40 words haha. It's difficult for native speakers to give advice on how to pronounce their more challenging letters, but we're making some progress. My Kabardian friend described the letter къ [q] as "disgusting", whereas I find it beautiful. Another nice aspect of the language: "I like" = « сигу ирохь » which is akin to "my heart likes".

As we reach the end of the first month (of the year, of my log), it's clear that I haven't yet settled into the highly productive study schedule which I'd hoped for - but only three weeks ago, I wasn't turning up for language learning at all. Therefore I'm feeling positive.
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