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Lawyer&Mom, Less is More (French & German)

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:14 am
by Lawyer&Mom
The FLC inspired me to pick up Russian again. After all, I’m not really cheating on French if I’m not spending any money, right? (As if time isn’t priceless...) I strongly prefer an immersion approach. With French I settled on Assimil, Clozemaster and massive input. For Russian, no money means no Assimil. This made me sad. I really, really love Assimil. Just think of the Russian dad jokes I’m missing! This also made me scared. Could I jump straight into Clozemaster!?!

Short answer: Yes.

But first I tried Memrise and Duolingo. Both are slick and fun, with lots of hand holding, but both expect you to type words in Russian right away. I hate this. Spelling in a new script is just painful, and completely interrupts my flow. I wish there was a way to kill just those questions and do the remainder of the courses. Nope.

But Clozemaster is multiple choice. Yay! Holding my breath, I jumped in. It was agonizing. Super stressful. At first you just have to blindly guess, and then you really, really want to remember. I could feel my heart pounding. Once I got 19 incorrect answers on a set of 10 sentences. I was drowning.

And then I wasn’t. Honestly, the worst was over after the first hundred sentences. It was bad again when I jumped from 100 most common to 500 most common words, but not that bad.

It’s been a week, and I’ve done 2500 sentences. Here are my thoughts.

You guys made Russian sound so freaking hard. Thank you. I was super surprised and delighted that Russian isn’t actually impossible. Now, Russian is my fifth or sixth Indo-European language, and I’ve studied Latin and German, so I have a big source pool for cognates, and case declension isn’t a strange concept.

So far, the grammar is okay. Word order isn’t crazy. I can usually identify prepositions and pronouns, which helps. (As in, “I think that word is a pronoun!” even if I don’t know which one.) Wow, verb stems are wild and woolly. Like maybe one letter in the middle stays the same between tenses? Yikes.

Something is literally “What-Thing” and anybody is “Who-Thing.” This makes me very happy. I think Russian and I are going to get along.

How does Clozemaster at A0 compare to more traditional approaches? Think Islands in the Stream. If I had spent a week with a textbook, I’d be introduced to a few discrete islands of nouns and adjectives: Names, nationalities, body parts, contents of a classroom, etc. In contrast, beginning Clozemaster is all stream, a constant churning current of verbs and pronouns. “I thought you already knew about them.” “He said he told you all about her.” “I know I don’t want to have it now.” Seriously, after 2500 sentences, I think I know about 5 nouns. This is okay. I feel like I’ve been exposed to way, way more language in a week than I would have with any other approach. And nouns will come, when I get to the 1000 most common words. Only 14,000 more sentences to go!

(Seriously, I’m used to playing exclusively Fluency Fast Track with French. That won’t work this time. Russian is going to be sloooow.)

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:13 am
by Lawyer&Mom
Hit the jackpot this weekend at Goodwill. We go almost every weekend, my husband looks for records, I scour the foreign language section and the kids add to their collection of Disney pablum. (Its hard to say no when the books are so cheap, and because they put up with us searching for our grownup vices.) Anyway, the local German school did a purge of their adult books, and I got some great picks. Isabelle Allende, Milan Kundera, Bernhard Schlink... And a couple of random Krimis, probably translated. I exercised some restraint and didn't grab everything, but I still wonder when on earth I'm going to find time to read any of this. I have a huge pile of French books to get through too. I also found a Anne B. Ragde hardcover in Norwegian. She's one of the most popular Norwegian authors, I actually own the same book in German. Norwegian books are a real find, they are much more difficult and expensive to order online than German or French books. When I'll get back to Norwegian is a whole other question, but I never feel guilty about snapping up any decent looking Norwegian books I stumble across.

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:44 am
by ロータス
For Russian, are you doing anything to remember the words, such as writing new words down or flashcards? While going through Clozemaster, are you looking up each word or just going off recognition? What will you be doing for grammar?

Also Welcome to the forum!

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:50 pm
by Lawyer&Mom
I’m just straight up doing Clozemaster. No stopping, no looking, just plow through. It is way harder to retain the vocabulary with Russian than it was with French, but there is so much repetition... so, so much repetition... it all starts to stick eventually!

Seriously, I think Clozemaster is magic. But I’m very comfortable with drinking the firehose and going along for the ride. I don’t need to achieve anything in particular with Russian, and I’m very confident that Clozemaster will get me there.

That said, I found the BBC Russian service last night, and it was beyond thrilling to watch (young, attractive) human beings speaking Russian. It’s a real language, and not just a torture device found on my phone!

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:52 pm
by Deinonysus
Duolingo doesn't teach typing in different scripts very well (or at all, really). You may have better luck learning to touch type in Russian with this:

https://www.keybr.com/#!game

(You will need to click settings -> keyboard layout and switch the language to Russian, and your Windows keyboard will also need to be set to Russian).

It shouldn't take you more than a few hours to learn to touch type slowly but confidently in Russian.

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:37 am
by Lawyer&Mom
The problem isn't really the typing. I don't mind hunting and pecking on my iPhone keyboard. (Hey, it's small.) The problem is that I can't remember how to spell the words. The new letters just don't stick in my mind yet. I'm not worried, it will come, but it has put me off Duolingo and Memrise for now. Which is fine. I think Clozemaster is more efficient for brute force input.

Speaking of input, any recommendations for super easy content with subtitles? I've found some Masha on YouiTube, but the Russian subs were computer generated, so not the best. I'm not a Netflix subscriber at the moment, as I was spending all my time watching non-Netflix French content so I cancelled my subscription... I know there would be some options there.

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:25 am
by MamaPata
The youtube channel Easy Languages has a section for Russian. I don't know if you've come across it - they interview people on the street about their favourite food or book or so on. It's available in quite a few languages. Because the answers are short it's not too overwhelming. They include subtitles in Russian, a transliteration and a translation. For the Russian section, they now have a section aimed specifically at beginners (called super easy Russian or something).

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:31 pm
by Lawyer&Mom
I have seen the Easy Languages Russian. It’s very cool, I just wish there was a way to turn off the English subs... (I know, such amazing free content that would be completely unimaginable when I started learning languages, and I still find a way to complain!)

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:59 am
by Lawyer&Mom
Good day today. 200 Clozemaster sentences in Russian, 100 each in French and German. Watched an Episode of ER in French. (Urgences! All *14* seasons for about $70 including shipping. Yes, its region 2, but I have a dedicated laptop for that.). I'm about halfway through season 3 and I've already noticed such an improvement in my understanding. How much can I improve with 11 more seasons!?! Stay tuned!

Watched an episode of Russian-dubbed Dora the Explorer on YouTube. I understood whole words! Even the very occasional phrase! It was colorful and fun, which helps when your understanding is <5%... Let me share my snazzy trick for finding children's cartoons. I look the show up on English Wikipedia, then check on the sidebar if there is an article in my TL. If there is, I can copy and paste the TL title into Google. Magic! I impress myself every time.

Re: Lawyer&Mom does it all (French, German, FLC Russian)

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:10 am
by kujichagulia
Lawyer&Mom wrote:Let me share my snazzy trick for finding children's cartoons. I look the show up on English Wikipedia, then check on the sidebar if there is an article in my TL. If there is, I can copy and paste the TL title into Google. Magic! I impress myself every time.

I’m impressed by your astonishing wizardry! :D