kanewai's book shelf

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:33 pm

August Update - I seem to be on a three week cycle. I'll find a groove, it will work for me for almost a month, and then I'll lose the groove and try to find a new one. Part of this reflects how unsettled my life is (and all our lives are) at the moment. Last month I found myself doing more and more easy stuff (that is, Memrise), and not having the concentration to focus on anything more challenging.

Epic Greek
Only finished three more lessons. It's getting a lot more challenging ... there are so many cases tenses moods etc., many of which seem the same to me. I'm torn between just powering through, and taking a break.


German
I took a break and just did Memrise for a few weeks. For me that program does the bare minimum to keep a language somewhat fresh, but I don't think I make any progress with it. Rather, I think it just slows the rate of decline. I tried Speakly, but it was too hard and frustrating for the level I'm at. And so I'll go back to Assimil.


French
I started doing Kwiziq again last week, and it feels good to be studying properly. I'm a little bit embarrassed by how quickly my active skills slip, even though I can read and listen at a higher level.


Spanish
See French. I made three-quarters of the way through La traición de Roma, and then skimmed through until the end. Overall I think this is one of the greatest historical series I've read, but this last book was far too long. The first two books focused on the epic war between Carthage and Rome. This book covered what came next - wars in the east, wars in the west, wars in Egypt, family drama in the Escipion household, and lots of political intrigue in Rome. It was well written, and interesting enough - but not 800-pages plus of interesting. Imagine if Lord of the Rings went on for 800-pages after Frodo destroys the ring, and you'll get a sense for La traición de Roma.


Italian
I started in on Elena Ferrante's La vita bugiardi degli adulti. It covers some of the same themes as her Napoli quartet, though this time the main character is from an upper middle class family & the main friendship is between a teenager and her "brutta" aunt.


Arabic and Turkish.
I started in on Memrise again, but it always starts off as an easy way to pass the time, and then turns into a huge time and energy sink. And so I was going to stop, but then a friend sent me the newest video from Amr Diab and I could actually read a few of the lyrics, and I found myself dreaming about a trip to Turkey one weekend (when this drama is over) ... so we'll see.
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Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:49 am

kanewai wrote:August Update - I seem to be on a three week cycle. I'll find a groove, it will work for me for almost a month, and then I'll lose the groove and try to find a new one. Part of this reflects how unsettled my life is (and all our lives are) at the moment. Last month I found myself doing more and more easy stuff (that is, Memrise), and not having the concentration to focus on anything more challenging.


This got me thinking of something I wrote back in Oct 2016:
I've just realized something. The Latin/Greek fling lasted one month. So did the Finnish with pain. It's not a time issue - it's just that I have to find a way to stay motivated. Maybe that means that I should change my methods after one month, or even during the first month. Or totally ignore any kind of daily schedule. :roll:
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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:25 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:This got me thinking of something I wrote back in Oct 2016:
I've just realized something. The Latin/Greek fling lasted one month. So did the Finnish with pain. It's not a time issue - it's just that I have to find a way to stay motivated. Maybe that means that I should change my methods after one month, or even during the first month. Or totally ignore any kind of daily schedule. :roll:
I think this is why I have a harder time with the more complex (to an English speaker) languages. With the FIGS languages, and even with Turkish and Indonesian, I could find enough resources that it was ok to jump around after an initial intensive push. With languages like Epic Greek or Arabic that initial intensive push takes so long that I never really reach a point where I can jump methods.
3 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:21 am

Par for the course, I'm mixing things up again.

Epic Greek
It hurts to admit this, but I just don't have the time. I love Greek, but she's a demanding mistress. I can do Greek and only Greek, or I can play with other languages too. And so ... Ἀχιλλεύς and Ἕκτωρ and the amazing Ἀθηνᾶ will just have to wait ... and oh but who am I kidding. I'll see if I can find room for them this weekend, and then decide whether to put all the books back on the shelf or not.

Editorial note: Athena is one of the greatest characters in classical fiction, and it is crying (sexist) shame that she gets cut out of every Hollywood movie about the Trojan War.


German
I took a look at the first couple paragraphs of Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen - and understood next to nothing, even though I probably know the opening by heart at this point. That was disheartening. I thought it would at least be somewhat recognizable. I'm only on lesson 68 (passive) and 18 (active) with Assimil; I just need to slowly work my way through it and then test my knowledge at the end. I'm at that dangerous point where I think, why don't I know this language already???


French and Italian and Spanish
I'm doing ok with my reading and podcasts. My active skills are dismal. For French and Spanish I'll rotate through Kwiziq, alternating nights. I should work Italian w/ Speakly into the mix, but though I like Speakly it's just not at the same level as Kwiziq. I have a tendency to want to do it all, to push on every language (or no language) every night, but that's a tendency I need to fight.


Arabic and Turkish.
I quit Memrise every couple weeks, but I don't delete the app. Weeks later I'll start playing with it again. I'm realizing that Memrise is not a substitute for actual study, but it is a good substitute for Pokémon and Candy Crush. As in: if I'm on the couch doing nothing, and too tired to think, & just playing games, Memrise is as good a game as any other. The problem I have with it is when it encroaches on actual language learning.

Final note: In a perfect world there'd be infinite resources and I could 'graduate' certain languages to the next course. I would quit Speakly Italian and start Kwiziq Italian; I would quite Memrise Turkish and start Speakly Turkish. I would take a break with Memrise Homeric Greek if it existed. And so on.
10 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm

kanewai wrote:German
I took a look at the first couple paragraphs of Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen - and understood next to nothing, even though I probably know the opening by heart at this point. /.../I'm at that dangerous point where I think, why don't I know this language already???


I've been asking myself the same question for many years now. :( On a good day, I understand most of what I read. Unfortunately, the good days are in the minority.
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Leabhair/Greannáin léite as Gaeilge: 9 / 18
Ar an seastán oíche: Oileán an Órchiste
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Finnish with extra pain : 100 / 100

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:04 am

Decision time.

Epic Greek - Out. Oddly enough, it's not other languages that interfere with Greek. I've been doing a lot of ancestry research, and my grandmother's great-aunt was a missionary to the American west in 1838. I found copies of her diary, along with three other missionaries on what turned out to be a very difficult journey. I've been posting excerpts on social media one day at a time, in essence journeying along with them. This, of all things, takes up the mental energy that Greek would need. But this also more of an after-the-fact justification; I haven't touched my Greek books in weeks.

German - In. It takes me a couple nights to get through one Assimil lesson at this point, so it's very slow pregress. But, at the end of the day, it is still progress.

French and Italian and Spanish - All good. With the lockdown this year I've accumulated a lot of vacation time, so my new dream is to walk from Aosta to Rome on the Via Francigena in 2021. It should take six to seven weeks. That will keep me motivated for Italian, at least.

Arabic - Out. Only because Memrise Arabic II is getting too difficult. If it were more structured, or had any kind of logical progression between the lessons, I would keep with it.

Turkish. - In. Only because Memrise Turkish II is still fun. And it's only still fun because I'd previously put in the hard work with Turkish, so this is still more of a review of something I once knew. But of course, every study session will trigger dreams of traveling back to Turkey.
7 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:11 pm

I've taken Jeffers spreadsheet and bent it to my uses. I added commands that gave me an updated tally every ten days, and then plotted it on a graph. I set my goal for 150 hours rather than 100 movies - the time works out to be the same. Similarly, I'm tracking 5000 pages rather than 100 "books."

Audio.JPG
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books aug 18.JPG
books aug 18.JPG (52.46 KiB) Viewed 385 times


I tried to make one with the non-super challenge languages I study, but I couldn't find a good metric that would be consistent across languages and courses. I still track things on excel:

excel.JPG
excel.JPG (156.48 KiB) Viewed 385 times


Since I'm dropping all my pretty charts here, here's Jeffer's original, letting me know that I'm in danger!

progress.JPG
progress.JPG (127.11 KiB) Viewed 385 times
6 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:36 am

And then there were four.

The past month has been a bit of a whirlwind - in about a three week period I went from arguing with my landlord's kids about repairs to going on a rent-strike to finding a new place and moving out. And though it involved drama, it's for the best: I now live one block from the beach.

I did almost no language study, or reading, or much of anything that didn't involve cleaning, packing, or drinking for the past month. I kept up with my podcasts and audiobooks, at least.

Out: German - For the third time (or is it the fourth time already?) I'm putting the German books back on the shelf. I just don't have the time to dedicate to it properly.

French - Reading Désert by Le Clézio, and watching season 5 of Le Bureau des légendes. Studying with Kwiziq.

Italian - Reading La vita bugiardi degli adulti by Elena Ferrante, and listening to the Italian audiobook of Dune. Studying with Speakly.

Spanish - Reading Tiempos Recios by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Turkish - Studying with Memrise. Turkish is an oddity - I only studied for seven weeks before taking my first trip to Turkey, and then travelled solo for three weeks. The language was hard, to be sure, but I progressed. I've put more effort into German, which is theoretically faster to learn - but Turkish is the one that stuck. It's amazing how much full-immersion will help things stick long term. Memrise is mostly review; I'm certainly not learning anything new.
10 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:08 pm

I finally finished some of the books that I've been reading for months. Others I just quit.

I went back and tracked how many days I had actually studied on Memrise, Kwiziq, Speakly, etc. this past month. It wasn't much. There'd be days where I'd do a lot of all of them, and then days when I did nothing. I'm going to try a new approach, and just focus on one at a time, and rotate every week or so. And so last practiced with Kwiziq Spanish each night, and this week I'll work on Italian with Speakly. At least initially this feels more sustainable than my scatter-shot approach, and I feel like I actually made a bit of progress on Spanish. A bit, but progress nonetheless.

I finished a bunch of books, some of which I have been trying to finish for months. And for the first time in ages I don't have any ready to pick up.


Le Clézio, Désert (1980)

A one-dimensional story set in Morroco about a young girl who loves the desert. I suspect that it's anti-colonial perspective might have felt more innovative back in 1980, which would explain all the prizes it won. The writing itself was beautiful, but the story itself lacked depth or insight beyond "the desert is beautiful, the city is bad."

Le Bureau des légendes (Season 5)

The show was excellent right up until the last two episodes. There was a new director for the finale, and it felt like he gave every character a new personality, and changed the show into a generic spy caper with surprise twists that made absolutely no sense. It wasn't as bad as the Game of Thrones finale, but it was still a horrible way to end a great series.

Elena Ferrante, La vita bugiarda degli adulti (2019)

This is chick-lit with a dark side. As a guy, you feel like you’re reading something private that really wasn’t meant for you. And yet, maybe you keep reading it.

We’re back in Naples, like with Ferrante’s other books, but in an upper middle class family in the hills this time. One day the young Giovanna overhears her father say that she is becoming ‘brutta,’ ugly, just like his estranged sister Vittoria. Giovanni becomes obsessed with this mean (per her father) and ugly (ditto) aunt.

To say any more would spoil the ride. This isn’t as tight or as epic as the Neapolitan quartet, but it’s still a very intense look into one girl’s coming-of-age.

Mario Vargas Llosa, Tiempos Recios (2019)

At the beginning of the cold war, the United Fruit Company hires a New York public relations firm to fight against democratic and agrarian reforms in Guatemala. The firm invents a communist conspiracy that didn't exist - "una mentira que pasó por verdad" - the Eisenhower regime reacts by supporting a 'liberation army' to invade, and Central America and the Caribbean descends into bloody chaos for generations.

Politically, it's a fascinating story. As a novel, it was rough at first. There were too many characters to follow, and it was hard to get a grip on the events. The second half of the book, that follows a few characters who become victims of the very violence that they helped initiate, is much more effective.
7 x
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Khéops: 120 / 350
Posteguillo, Y Julia Retó a los Dioses: 0 / 100
Elsa Morante, L isola di Arturo: 100 / 100
Assimil, Le grec: 45 / 100
Language Transfer Greek: 75 / 120

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tangleweeds
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby tangleweeds » Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:15 am

Very late to comment on this one, but I just had to respond to a few of these!

kanewai wrote:Editorial note: Athena is one of the greatest characters in classical fiction, and it is crying (sexist) shame that she gets cut out of every Hollywood movie about the Trojan War.
<3 <3 <3
Right???

kanewai wrote:I'm at that dangerous point where I think, why don't I know this language already???
:lol: Again, right??? I think we all end up teetering on that cliff sometimes.

kanewai wrote:I'm realizing that Memrise is not a substitute for actual study, but it is a good substitute for Pokémon and Candy Crush. As in: if I'm on the couch doing nothing, and too tired to think, & just playing games, Memrise is as good a game as any other. The problem I have with it is when it encroaches on actual language learning.
This, this, so much this. I've realized that substituting stuff like Memrise for "real" games is painless and scratches the same itch (for me at least).

Exception: When I was recovering from my neuro-injury, "games" like Memrise or Lingodeer were the most I could handle and I was grateful for them. I suspect they were far better for the healing process than Candy Crush or binge TV would have been. And I even learned a bit about a few languages in the process.

kanewai wrote:As a guy, you feel like you’re reading something private that really wasn’t meant for you. And yet, maybe you keep reading it.
:lol: :lol: :lol: from a girl

Lovely charts too, BTW. I'm enviously tempted to divert more of my (failing to) study time to my spreadsheets...
3 x
Ho-hum, waiting for the latest neurological relapse to pass.
Study tips for (mental) invalids welcome!


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