rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

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rpg
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Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2), French (B1)
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby rpg » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:21 am

Funny thing that happened last night: last night I learned the (very vulgar) Peninsular expression me la suda. I was reading some forum posts talking about the precise meaning and origin of the phrase. Some of the posts were extremely funny (whether intentionally or not) so I shared one with my SO. I read it out--it was in English--and in the middle it had a Spanish phrase. After I read the phrase, I continued reading the English post, but for some reason my brain decided to continue in Spanish and what actually started coming out was a Spanish translation of what I was reading (but with English phonology). I was totally shocked, stopped reading, and had to take a few moments to wipe the serious "wtf" look from my face.
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Super challenge 2020/21
French reading: 88 / 5000      Spanish reading: 81 / 5000
French movies: 8 / 150       Spanish movies: 58 / 150

rpg
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Posts: 90
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby rpg » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:19 am

Another week's update:

In Spanish I finished season 2 of Elite (pretty solid overall) and watched the start of season 3, and I watched another couple episodes of Aqui no hay quien viva. I also paused my slow reading of Patria to restart (for the nth time) reading Corazón tan blanco, inspired by a conversation in kelvin921019's log. I'm still making tons of vocabulary flashcards while also limiting myself so that the flashcard backlog doesn't grow too large (don't want to be learning cards weeks after I make them or else I'm not going to remember how they got into the deck to begin with). I'm up over 600 cards learned now and counting. Still very pleased with the combined effect of flashcards + input.

It's funny how everything I'm doing with Spanish right now comes from Spain, incidentally. I've been learning an absolute ton of Peninsular colloquialisms.

I also did one of the fill-in-the-blank exercises on a DELE C1 paper. I believe I got 10 or 11 correct out of 14. Not bad but definitely still tons of room for improvement.

In German I finished another week of Lingoda classes. I believe I'm making steady progress. Haven't decided yet what I'm going to do after the Lingoda sprint finishes. I like having daily language classes a lot and I'd like to continue with that, but should it be for German? Mandarin? Alternating between them?

Nothing substantial to report for French. I watched a couple YouTube videos, I think. I usually don't bother recording them here.
4 x
Super challenge 2020/21
French reading: 88 / 5000      Spanish reading: 81 / 5000
French movies: 8 / 150       Spanish movies: 58 / 150

rpg
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Posts: 90
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Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2), French (B1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8368
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby rpg » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:09 am

On the subject of learning vocabulary, I feel like there are certain islands of things I think of as almost "pure vocabulary": categories of many different nouns that exist in some kind of taxonomy. Each individual item is low-frequency, but the category as a whole is still not unimportant. Things like:

  • Food (you could break this down further: fruits and vegetables, spices, sauces, dishes, etc etc)
  • Plants and animals (this breaks down further as well)
  • Places (countries, cities)

All together these things add up to an absolute ton of words, yet for the most part they're pretty standalone. I don't think any of these are really that fundamental to the language. They feel like almost trivia, in a way. Within each category some items are still high frequency or mid frequency, but there's also a long tail of low frequency words.

In my past couple Lingoda classes we've been learning food words. I find it a frustratingly bad use of time. At A1, I don't need to be learning how to say cauliflower and watermelon in German. I need to be learning the basic building blocks of the language, the ultra high frequency words. There's no point trying to teach low frequency words right now; they just ain't gonna stick. My brain's too busy processing all the high frequency stuff it hasn't learned yet.

Language learning materials in general often seem to be obsessed with thematic vocabulary. What a terrible conception, honestly. To boot, I saw some SLA research that it was less effective learning related words at the same time, since it was more likely to cause confusion. Blech.

Probably like many language learners, I've thought about creating my own language learning tool/platform/resource a number of times, and the idea is still warming on the back burners of my mind. I don't know what it would look like, but I *do* know that vocabulary would absolutely be taught by frequency. And that there would be tons of input!
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Super challenge 2020/21
French reading: 88 / 5000      Spanish reading: 81 / 5000
French movies: 8 / 150       Spanish movies: 58 / 150

rpg
Yellow Belt
Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:21 pm
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2), French (B1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8368
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby rpg » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:54 am

This week:

In German I finished another week of classes. I alluded to my unhappiness with the A1 curriculum earlier. Today's lesson was also a bit much: learning things like "renter's insurance" and other nonsense. This is the problem with curricula designed too heavily around specific skills/tasks: your curriculum designer thinks up a bunch of survival scenarios for someone who is in the country where the language has spoken (ask for directions! Buy groceries! Fill out government forms!) and builds a curriculum around combining those clusters of vocabulary with a fairly fixed grammar progression.

Personally I absolutely hate the phrasebook-on-steroids approach. It doesn't fit in with my language goals at all. Plus in practice I find that it's horribly ineffective anyway. My grocery store interactions aren't "where are the vegetables?". They're "do you have a loyalty card? Do you want a bag? By cash or by card?". I don't need to ask directions to a restaurant--this is the era of Google maps. I do need to be able to say "We have a reservation for XX" or "Could we get some tap water please" when I get there.

Anyway... in Spanish I'm past 700 flashcards. I had been accumulating a backlog of unseen cards, which I don't like--I think it's very valuable to learn the flashcard while you still remember learning the underlying material. In part because of that I didn't consume as much Spanish this week: two episodes of Elite and one of ANHQV. I only have four episodes left of Elite so I'll probably finish it within the next two weeks.

I also did the reading comprehension of a past B2 DELE exam on my phone before going to sleep. I got 34/36 correct which I can be pretty satisfied with. I feel like my Spanish these days is closer to C1 than to B2 and as I said a couple weeks ago I've been thinking about taking the DELE C1 at the end of this year.

Nothing else to report...been thinking about my language learning plan for the rest of the year but no decisions yet.
2 x
Super challenge 2020/21
French reading: 88 / 5000      Spanish reading: 81 / 5000
French movies: 8 / 150       Spanish movies: 58 / 150

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MorkTheFiddle
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Languages: English (N). Read (only) French and Spanish. Studying Ancient Greek, aiming for mastery by 2424. Studying a bit of Latin and Japanese. Once studied Old Norse. Dabbled in Catalan, Provençal and Italian.
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 11#p133911
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:35 pm

rpg wrote:Personally I absolutely hate the phrasebook-on-steroids approach. It doesn't fit in with my language goals at all. Plus in practice I find that it's horribly ineffective anyway. My grocery store interactions aren't "where are the vegetables?". They're "do you have a loyalty card? Do you want a bag? By cash or by card?". I don't need to ask directions to a restaurant--this is the era of Google maps. I do need to be able to say "We have a reservation for XX" or "Could we get some tap water please" when I get there.

100% agreed! Google Maps tell me where to go, my cell phone tells me when the train leaves for Lisbon and what time it is right now. Do our language guides suffer from being copied from other guides rather than being written from scratch about things relevant this year? :)
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Tu sabes cuando sales pero no sabes cuando regresas.

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chove
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Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (intermediate), Polish (very very low intermediate?), French (just started). I dabble sometimes but rarely commit.
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Re: rpg learns Spanish, French, German, Mandarin

Postby chove » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:09 pm

rpg wrote:Personally I absolutely hate the phrasebook-on-steroids approach. It doesn't fit in with my language goals at all. Plus in practice I find that it's horribly ineffective anyway.


My first year (university) courses in Spanish and German were very much like that, presumably because it was aimed at the learner taking one beginner's course to learn things they might use on holiday. But it was boring and useless for me - I wasn't planning on going anywhere - and I was relieved to move on to learning things I could use to read texts that interested me. I've got a Polish textbook (Teach Yourself, I think) that tells the story of researching someone's family history in Poland, so it was teaching me to talk about having contacts at the archive, which is something I've never even said in English.
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