languist's lazy language lunacy - 2019

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Xenops
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR, ES) - Summer 2018

Postby Xenops » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:49 pm

I say this as someone who has also gone through the wringer a couple of times (I just got a job after being unemployed for nearly a year), and I would encourage you to find professional help, or at the very least, find a group of people that can support you. You are going through a very hard time, and you are being too hard on yourself for not having the enthusiasm for studying languages. This lack of interest is only a symptom of your mental and emotional distress. Please get some professional help. There is no shame in getting help: I currently take meds and see professionals because I struggle with depression.
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HelloTalk / language exchange problems

Postby languist » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:14 pm

Let's talk language exchange. In my particular case, I've used HelloTalk and italki.

I find to be both excellent resources for finding native speakers; unfortunately it's the humans themselves which remain problematic! I'm writing this as I've just escaped from a call during which a (quite pleasant, reasonably interesting) Columbian boy monologued to me for 20 minutes in English about many different topics. For example, I didn't know that Columbia exports a lot of flowers to the USA during Valentine's. Or about panela, a kind of sugar product. Or about this boy's fleeting crushes on a Spanish and a German girl who he met during a volunteering trip to Essex (he was kicked off the program; in the end, the only information he didn't give me was the one piece I actually wanted to know - why!). In a sense, I learnt a lot - none of it pertaining to Spanish.

I've met some really wonderful people via these platforms, and gained some invaluable knowledge on resource-scarce dialects and the like. However. I cannot bear to wade through another 37,349 "how are you? where are you from?" tortuous phatic exchanges seemingly delivered straight from the depths of purgatory, only to find that the one sane-ish, reasonably enthusiastic, appropriately skilled human on the app is actually incapable of holding a balanced conversation.

Okay, maybe there is more than one. But still ! I love communicating with people - I'm a human, after all. But this is tough. All of the longterm friends I've acquired from these things have been advanced English speakers. In most cases, either people are too boring/incompatible ((boring)), because it's generally easy to be compatible if you put in the littlest effort), don't know how to explain the mysteries of their language (or don't want to), or only want to speak English, bar a few token greetings. Of course, there are exceptions, and I've ran into many very helpful individuals too. After so many instances of feeling bound to English, I nearly feel guilty to be taking their time for my TL !

What's that you're saying? Just get a teacher? Well, it's looking that way. In fact, I enjoy language exchanges because I enjoy teaching English in this informal manner. I'm very happy to give up my time to help people, and sometimes (when I should be doing something more productive, like learning Spanish...) I open up my HelloTalk app and spend an hour just helping as many people as possible. But it's so tiring when it's all you're doing. It seems that the best way to hold a language exchange is much like scheduling a language lesson - book a time, pick a topic, set rules.

Has anyone cracked the code on language exchanges? Does anyone use HelloTalk as it is intended (for chatting, rather than just organising skype calls a la italki)? Any tips?

disclaimer: this post is meant to be a bit facetious in its negativity, but at the same time, i think i'm showing that i'm getting a bit jaded about this whole language-speed-dating sort of scene
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR, ES) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:07 pm

MamaPata wrote:I have taught English before so feel free to message me if you have any questions.

Look after yourself! Just because other people have suffered more doesn't mean that you aren't also suffering.

Xenops wrote:I say this as someone who has also gone through the wringer a couple of times (I just got a job after being unemployed for nearly a year), and I would encourage you to find professional help, or at the very least, find a group of people that can support you. You are going through a very hard time, and you are being too hard on yourself for not having the enthusiasm for studying languages. This lack of interest is only a symptom of your mental and emotional distress. Please get some professional help. There is no shame in getting help: I currently take meds and see professionals because I struggle with depression.


Thank you very much again for your support and kind words. I'm only addressing you now, because it's taken me some time to come to terms with where I'm at with my life and how I'm feeling at the moment. I've been lurking on this forum for a few weeks now, but not engaging with anything, here or otherwise. I've finally left my job, a place I was very attached to, because of bullying, by some superiors and someone I used to love. It's been a time of humiliation and disrespect, and as a result I've been too anxious to leave the house, and too despondent to do ANYTHING whilst I'm stuck here being a hermit. And there are a multitude of other issues. Yeah, it's been grim.

It's a bit ironic that this is the most free time I have ever had in my life (I haven't been to work, or done anything, or had any commitments, for three weeks), and yet it's also the least time I've spent doing anything I like. Less ironic than unfortunate, I guess. As a result of all of this, I've been reevaluating pretty much every aspect of my life. I'll maybe apply for a new job soon, but it won't be language-related or have an international element to the workforce. I'm undecided though, because I'm sort of between homes now, so I'll maybe just move country rather than just move house, because I lost all the things tying me to this place simultaneously, so...

In the meantime, I've also adjusted my views and priorities in regards to language learning. For me, the purpose of learning a language has always been for the sake of communication - practical, and for amusement - with those around me, rather than for writing essays or reading (sophisticated) literature. So it was always my view that it's better (for me personally) to speak four languages at B1/2 than one at C1/2. However, things are different now. My mission in 2019 will be to bring my French (probably B2) and Spanish (maybe A2? to be honest, I only refer to these levels on this forum) up to C1/'professionally useful' standards. It's quite surreal for me, as I started 2018 with no love or real interest in romance languages. Still, I'd rather be learning Russian, Arabic, or Kabardian, but life has been calling in vain for practical decisions, and I've finally decided to listen to those pleas.
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR, ES) - Summer 2018

Postby Xenops » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:17 am

languist wrote:
It's a bit ironic that this is the most free time I have ever had in my life (I haven't been to work, or done anything, or had any commitments, for three weeks), and yet it's also the least time I've spent doing anything I like. Less ironic than unfortunate, I guess. As a result of all of this, I've been reevaluating pretty much every aspect of my life. I'll maybe apply for a new job soon, but it won't be language-related or have an international element to the workforce. I'm undecided though, because I'm sort of between homes now, so I'll maybe just move country rather than just move house, because I lost all the things tying me to this place simultaneously, so...
.


Very normal, I assure you. ;) I too didn’t make use of my time, because I thought “I lost my job—I don’t have permission to do something interesting or fun. I can only look for jobs.”

A change of place, even country, might be a good idea. Take care of yourself, do what you need to do career-wise.

I do wonder about the lack of interest in Romance languages: while they are considered “easy”, if you don’t have the enthusiasm, they can be as hard as Arabic. I came to this realization recently, and how despite its difficulties, Japanese is just more interesting to study for me. Remember, only the languages you know well will serve you beyond surface needs.
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Re: Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR, ES) - Summer 2018

Postby languist » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:29 am

@Xenops: it's not a lack of interest exactly, more that I've "been there done that" with French, and unfortunately have no one in real life to speak it with anymore (all of my French-speaking acquaintances were Moroccan or Algerian, and have either moved back, or are in the workplace I can no longer return to), and Spanish is a language which arrived really out of nowhere into my life (spoken by the person who ruined my life, ha!), although I've met many local speakers since then. Meanwhile, I've long had a plan to visit Russia, specifically the Caucasus, so I'd love to spend my time on Russian and Kabardian - but it's not practical at the moment. Likewise, Darija is calling me but unfortunately I have to resist for now. :(

On that note, I should mention that on Friday and Sunday, I took Spanish italki lessons which I'd paid for as part of a package - in March. :oops: I speak very slowly and with a terrible accent, but I managed to speak only Spanish for two full hours this weekend. It's incredible to me, considering the lack of active study/practice of the language I've done. It's a testament to how "easy" (ie. accessible) Spanish is, rather than to my linguistic ability; after so many years, I still don't think I could speak only Slovak for two full hours. But this is exactly why I've decided to focus on improving my French & Spanish - they represent the quickest and most painless path to shifting my professional prospects languagewards. On Monday, I also went to my Spanish GCSE class con mi amigo, where we learnt about Christmas season traditions. My luck has been so pitiful lately, I think I'll be eating 12 uvas at midnight this New Year's !

In fact, I've settled on some goals for the coming year. My usual downfall is one which I'm sure many of us succumb to - making endless lists of grand but vague goals to achieve, ie. "get fit, learn yoga, learn french, spanish, russian, arabic, slovak, circassian, greek..., learn to cook", etc. This year, for the first time, I'm going for a lighter list with more concrete aims.

1. French - achieve solid B2 level, possibly with qualification. Reevaluate and aim for C1 if it seems feasible.
2. Spanish - achieve A* at GCSE (supposedly B1 level), aiming for solid B2. Reevaluate and aim for C1 if it seems feasible.
3. English - achieve TEFL qualification, begin teaching on italki.
4. Coding - learn swift programming language, make fully functioning app*.

*yes this would be language-learning related

I have many other things which I'd like to achieve, and micro-missions - and there's an entire universe of skills for me to learn to even imagine being able to develop even the simplest app of my dreams - but these are the only four major goals which I'll focus on. With everything which has happened in my life, and suddenly being here, without an income and no clear career path... this is the moment for me to begin to focus on the fields which interest me, no matter how intimidatingly opaque they may seem.

So it's time to change the title of this limping log. Out with Multilang Goals (RU, SK, KBD, FR, ES) - Summer 2018, and in with Shoot the Moon (FR, ES) - 2019. (Especially fitting in these trying times because my pet-names from partners have been; mesiačik, самза, caraluna. Let's shoot the moon indeed !)
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Shoot the Moon (FR, ES) - 2019

Postby languist » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:50 am

languist wrote:My luck has been so pitiful lately, I think I'll be eating 12 uvas at midnight this New Year's !


I did indeed. Maybe it really worked?

My year got off to a very bumpy start, for many reasons. Many aspects of my life are still in shambles, or in limbo. However, it's impossible to say that I'm not newly optimistic about this coming chapter.

languist wrote:1. French - achieve solid B2 level, possibly with qualification. Reevaluate and aim for C1 if it seems feasible.
2. Spanish - achieve A* at GCSE (supposedly B1 level), aiming for solid B2. Reevaluate and aim for C1 if it seems feasible.
3. English - achieve TEFL qualification, begin teaching on italki.
4. Coding - learn swift programming language, make fully functioning app*.


I've started teaching English on italki already - and it's changed everything. It was always my dream to one day make my living on italki, because of the geographical freedom this job offers (amongst other reasons), but I never thought it would really be financially viable. I know I'll never be rich via italki - but I thought there simply wouldn't be enough students per week to sustain an income to cover even my most basic expenses. So far, I'm more than on the right track. I have so much to say about this experience, but I'll try to sum it up in a few sentences.

I made some very specific goals to achieve over the course of this year. One of them was to make my first £1 (or as it turns out, $1) online on 1st January 2019. Much to my amazement (and amusement), I managed to make $4 from a gig on fiverr within those first 24 hours. I also decided that I wanted to complete the application to be an italki teacher/tutor (in my case, Community Tutor), by the end of 1/1/19. So I started it on the last day of 2018 and sent it shortly after celebrating the New Year. Then I spent the next week working flat-out on amazon mturk, inhabiting the strange world of Human Intelligence Tasks, while I waited for the italki application to be approved. In the meantime, I made a kind of "three-six month plan". On 10th January, I had my first lesson; I'm writing this in the early morning of 30th January, and I've already hit every milestone I'd expected to reach by the end of March. As of this moment, I've completed 150 lessons and have 180 booked!

I'd expected this to happen at a much slower pace, and that I'd have lots of time to casually work through swift lessons and Spanish/French material, but in reality I'm teaching for 9 hours per day, and basically just exhausted for the rest. I've been sticking to the "365" mentality of doing a little bit of Spanish every day, but I'm just doing the minimum and don't really feel a lot of progress. My exam is approaching and although I understand Spanish perfectly well, I really need to focus on my production - so I decided, while I'm basically already living on Skype, I may as well practice what I preach and do some regular italki sessions.

My friend & I go to our (real life) Spanish class every week, but aren't studying seriously enough! So I booked two packages on italki. One is with my old teacher, a boy from the south, and the other is a charming young girl from the north. I find his Andalusian accent much easier to understand than her Catalonian one, much to the surprise of every Spaniard I meet! I also realised that I should do some French speaking practice, because the fact that I "know" French/Spanish/Slovak has been helpful for me so far in terms of teaching students with these linguistic backgrounds, but it's frustrating me that I can't remember a lot of French which I used to know! And, because I couldn't resist, I decided to propose a challenge to a Moroccan teacher I'd spoken to briefly back in November: to teach me darija (Moroccan Arabic), through French. We're meeting for the first time on Thursday night. :lol:

I've been trying to speak more Slovak, and I'll be going to Russia, Georgia, and Greece, this summer, so I'm soooort of tempted to try to learn them all haha. And I'll probably be visiting my Circassian friends too, so I'd love to do some Kabardian...... but no! I'm going to resist. My entire focus now is on my italki "career". This job is bringing me so much fulfilment. I'm finally doing something I love, meeting people from all over the world, and it feels wonderful to not only be in control (of where I work, when I work), but also to know that I'm really helping people - to truly enjoy doing something, and then get feedback from people saying that they also truly enjoy and feel that they're benefitting from your efforts... it's amazing! I've never known this particular kind of joy. I'm suddenly getting almost everything I could want out of a job. There are some impracticalities, of course - at the moment, the money isn't great. It's not a physical job, and I miss moving around as part of my daily routine. My head and eyes are suffering from the screentime. But how wonderful is it to be able to work from home!
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Re: Shoot the Moon (FR, ES) - 2019

Postby languist » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:23 am

italki

I'm still spending 90% of my life on Skype, and I'm pretty sure I had a dream that I was trapped in the italki interface last night !

In a way, I've been too busy to do any of my own language study - and then in another, I'm probably doing more than ever. One of the great risks of being glued to italki all day long is that you start to fantasise again about all the languages you can learn, and the credits are already in your account, soooo.....

In reality, I've only purchased packages with three teachers so far (2 Spanish, 1 French/Darija), and an introductory lesson with one who teaches Spanish/Darija for next week, but I've also contacted a Slovak tutor, a Spanish/Russian/French tutor. And I have this fantasy of giving a speech in Greek at my best friend's wedding in September... :roll: Perhaps it's a bit extravagant, but I think she'd be touched by the effort. An unlikely pursuit, but we'll see.

Learning Darija (Moroccan Arabic) through French

I'd always been really sceptical - or terrified - of the concept of learning an entirely new language through one that I don't exactly feel confident in on its own. However, after 3 lessons of "Darija in French", I think I'm going to try to use the "L3 through L2" method wherever possible. It's true that these are not French lessons, and I'm not receiving corrections for my French, but simply being forced to process everything through this language which I never use has been so enjoyable and beneficial for me. In the end, it maybe wasn't the wisest decision, because darija in a way seems closer to English than French haha. My active Spanish is much weaker than my active French, so I'm not sure how my Darija/Spanish lesson will go... but in any case, the teacher agreed that we could switch to French if we need to.

I love that after only 2 lessons I was putting together little (question) sentences:

3lach kat chte7i haka? | why are you dancing like that?
sh kun had l’bent zwina? | who is this beautiful woman?
ash men loughat kay 3ellem? | which languages are you teaching?
ki fash nta kat n3ess daba m3a had l’moussi9a? | how are you sleeping now with this music?
ash nou nass f lmaghrib kay akoulou? | what do people eat in Morocco?
sh 7al del flouss bghiti? | how much money do you want?
dyal men had lkesswa? | whose is this dress?

My greatest challenge with this language is, by far, the pronunciation.
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Re: Shoot the Moon (FR, ES) - 2019

Postby Xenops » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:01 pm

I’m so glad iTalki is working for you :D :mrgreen: It’s encouraging when someone can get back on his feet again.

I suggest doing some language study before your classes: maybe fit some Greek in, too. ;)
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Re: Shoot the Moon (FR, ES) - 2019

Postby languist » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:55 am

Xenops wrote:I’m so glad iTalki is working for you :D :mrgreen: It’s encouraging when someone can get back on his feet again.

I suggest doing some language study before your classes: maybe fit some Greek in, too. ;)

Thank you so much! I truly feel so happy - I went through more than a girl should ever go through last year, but teaching English is helping me so much. I feel so much more fulfilled, and motivated to 'go to work'. It has always been my dream to do this, but I really didn't think it was going to be practical. At the moment, I'm teaching for 8-11 hours per day, so it's pretty much impossible to do anything else. Although I'm making sure to do 1-2 Darija/French lessons per week (just for fun, really - I have no reason to learn it), with hopes to pick up my Spanish lessons when my tutor is back from holiday, and add Greek once a week to work on this little project. Unfortunately I can't have the teacher I want because apparently he doesn't reply to messages.

My plan is to evaluate my financial situation at the end of March, then adjust my schedule to something more reasonable, then lead a healthier lifestyle. My father brought me up to always consider "mind, body, soul" in everything I do. I neglected to care for my soul last year and my mind and body suffered in major ways. Now, I'm going to repair it piece by piece: first, soul, then mind, through this work. However, it actively works against the body (sitting all day, staring at the screen, etc), so the idea is to follow some regime from April to address that aspect too.



Okay. So. I really can't help myself at all. Hahahaha -

    TEFL | español | français | الدارجة | ελληνικά | русский | адыгэбзэ | slovenčina
    English | Spanish | French | Darija | Greek | Russian | Kabardian | Slovak

I'm also playing with zenmonkey's Georgian alphabet app ahead of my trip in the summer. I doubt I'll actually learn any Georgian beyond the absolute basics though, because we'll only be there for a week, and between my English and my friend's Russian, we'll probably be fine.

TEFL | italki

Teaching full-time is motivating me to upgrade my own language learning habits. Because I KNOW how to learn a language. I'm using that knowledge to help other people. So why am I too disorganised and lazy (and now, busy) to follow my own advice? I already planned to get a TEFL qualification, but now my motivation is so that I can get "Professional Teacher" status on italki. Not because I want to offer more expensive or generally more structured classes, but because there is one specialist course I'd love to advertise. I'm really not a fan of 'accent reduction' as a phrase, because I believe there's nothing wrong with having a non-native accent (because there are usually hundreds of native accents for any one language anyway), but I love phonetics and working with people on really specific pronunciation issues, and I'd like to develop a robust and dynamic set of skills in order to teach this as a dedicated class.

Spanish | español

Doing the minimum due to lack of time. Sticking to 365 but mainly through measly Duolingo sessions. Devising an intensive regime to boost myself from shaky to strong when it comes to production.

French | français - & - Darija | الدارجة

1-2 italki lessons per week, playing around with creating sentences in darija. Not studying any grammar, just learning through working it out. This is the kind of approach which I enjoy the most, and why I probably should have been a field linguist. As for French; I'm impressed that I can conduct these lessons in French after not using the language for so long, but... the other day, I was very sleep deprived and had a morning class, and ended up so embarrassed because I couldn't string a sentence together. It knocked my confidence quite a bit. I was planning on starting lessons in French with a Spanish/Russian teacher, and Darija in Spanish, but now I'm kind of hesitant.

Greek | ελληνικά

I've decided to go for it and learn something. I think I'm going to live in Greece for a few months from the end of the summer onwards, as well as being there for my friend's wedding. So I'm going to have to upgrade my Greek from jokes, chat up lines, and cutlery vocab.

Russian | русский - & - Kabardian | адыгэбзэ

I've been helping my Kabardian friends (who are also bilingual in Russian) with their English, so now they're repaying the favour. I learnt the correct pronunciation of the two very essential words, пхъэдакъэ 'stump' and лъэхъуамбэшхуэ 'big toe' the other day.

Slovak | slovenčina

You live with Slovak people and you're still thinking of getting an italki tutor, whaaaa-?! Yes, because I'm a little bit too lazy to study grammar alone, I'm on italki all the time anyway, and my housemates are terrible teachers.

As for the timescale on all these fancies -

    TEFL - at my own pace
    Spanish - exams in May (reading, writing, listening, speaking)
    French - at my own pace
    Darija - at my own pace
    Greek - visiting/moving to Greece in August
    Russian - visiting Russia this summer
    Kabardian - visiting the Caucasus this summer
    Slovak - at my own pace
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Re: language lunacy - 2019

Postby MamaPata » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:30 am

Exciting plans!
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Corrections appreciated.


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