zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

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zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:36 am

Brun Ugle wrote:Wait. Why did you have a Croatian deck? Are you learning Croatian?


Well, not any more. :) It was from a trip a few years back. My goal was minimum travel phrases.

I've been working off physical books - you are right, I should try a few ebooks or bilingual readers.
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Brun Ugle
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:15 am

zenmonkey wrote:
Brun Ugle wrote:Wait. Why did you have a Croatian deck? Are you learning Croatian?


Well, not any more. :) It was from a trip a few years back. My goal was minimum travel phrases.

I've been working off physical books - you are right, I should try a few ebooks or bilingual readers.

Actually, my point was more that you should read Star Trek. Star Trek is fun! Back in high school, I used to always read Star Trek in class, with the book hidden below my desk or behind my textbook, fooling nobody. :)
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Iversen
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby Iversen » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:22 am

I only know Startrek from the TV shows - and only to a small extent, since it always has bothered me that the expeditions happened to run into exactly one planet with nasty Anglophone humanlike inhabitants per show. Come on... how likely is that? Most planets would be too hostile for life or only host lowlevel bacteria-like critters. But of course I liked ideas like the beam-me-up-Scotty machine and the warp drive because they made me think about the limitations of cosmology...

Science fiction and fantasy were actually the last two genres I could stand before I gave completely up reading literature. At least they gave me new worlds and not just our usual world rehashed. The third last genre was detective stories, but only if they had a plot that was as tightly knit as a sudoku or chess puzzle - and I got tired of elderly ladies and members of the English nobility who lived in peaceful surroundings where somebody constantly accidentally murdered a fellow human being in a way that could be unraveled by sheer logic like a puzzle. Too much of a coincidence ..
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zenmonkey
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Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:17 pm

Brun Ugle wrote:Actually, my point was more that you should read Star Trek. Star Trek is fun! Back in high school, I used to always read Star Trek in class, with the book hidden below my desk or behind my textbook, fooling nobody. :)


I'm a huge fan of sci-fi but I've always been a bit doubtful of Trek or Star Wars books. Are they canon?

Iversen wrote:Science fiction and fantasy were actually the last two genres I could stand before I gave completely up reading literature. At least they gave me new worlds and not just our usual world rehashed.


This is really what I still enjoy reading the most. My current in German pile of books includes Peter F. Hamilton series (about 5K pages) that I very much enjoyed in English. I can recommend him as a more current sci-fi author. Particularly The Void Trilogy.
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Brun Ugle
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:25 pm

zenmonkey wrote:
Brun Ugle wrote:Actually, my point was more that you should read Star Trek. Star Trek is fun! Back in high school, I used to always read Star Trek in class, with the book hidden below my desk or behind my textbook, fooling nobody. :)


I'm a huge fan of sci-fi but I've always been a bit doubtful of Trek or Star Wars books. Are they canon?

The authors generally try to write them so that they can fit into the Trek universe, but since many were written before the shows ended, sometimes something happened later in the show that maybe made the book not quite fit. I wouldn’t call the books canon, no. They are basically fan fiction, I suppose. But they are frequently written by known science fiction writers, so it can be pretty good fan fiction. Anyway, I think they are fun and they are apparently very popular among German speakers because tons of them have been translated to German.
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:53 pm

Shtisel Is such a wonderful show. I only had access to the first season on my streaming platform, but it was just so good. I watched Srugim first, which is also quite good, but not as dreamy as Shtisel.
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zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:44 am

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Shtisel Is such a wonderful show. I only had access to the first season on my streaming platform, but it was just so good. I watched Srugim first, which is also quite good, but not as dreamy as Shtisel.


I think "dreamy" is a pretty good description of the show. There is definitely that quality about it.
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zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:10 pm

I signed up for the 6WC for Hebrew so I'm only going to log my time here until the end of January, from then on, I'll post my tracking to the twitter bot. I really need to finish my tracking app to have a single place to track, while reporting in multiple places.

This week i've finished watching Shtisel and enjoyed it so much, I might restart it completely. I'm watching When Heroes Fly for the moment but the thematics is a lot less "dreamy". I'm understanding 10-15% of the dialog directly which is great at this point. I think that when I started the show, I was really understanding nothing. I'm not yet taking notes or looking anything up, maybe at the third pass... This week I also had my first Hebrew Skype lesson for the year. I'm going to switch to two a week for the next 6 weeks and see if that helps. We've also agreed to start working again with Hebrew from Scratch. In the Hebrew Anki thread, we were discussing a deck sourced from these material, so I decided to add that to my material. It's the most advanced deck of cards I've ever seen. It has links to on line dictionaries, rollover fonts, clickable tables, etc... It's quite the nice deck but I had to spend some time looking into the code and then prioritising the cards to focus on the first chapters of HfS. I've also started the Memrise HfS deck.
I've blown out of the water my time goals with Hebrew but I'm not convinced that this tv watching is really that effective (at this time), but I'm enjoying it.

I've been keeping up with Setswana quite nicely and expect to finish the Memrise deck in the next weeks. I'll work with it as review for a while and start working with the Anki decks with recording I created.

Tibetan & Portuguese took a nap this week.



Time log

Hebrew - Task goal (2 hrs / week)

- 28.1 Shtisel 150 min
- 29.1 Shtisel 50 min
- 30.1 Shtisel 50 min
- 30.1 Anki 20 min
- 31.1 Shtisel 50 min
- 31.1 Anki 30 min

Anki: Hebrew from Scratch, Hebrew Alphabet, Hello Hello Father 

Hebrew Total 350 min

German - Task goal (2 hrs / week)
- 28.1 Anki 30 min
- 29.1 Anki 20 min
- 29.1 Exchange 30 min
- 30.1 Anki 20 min
- 31.1 Dogs of Berlin 50 min
Anki : New Words, Movie, Song, Minimal Pairs
German Total 150 min

Tibetan Task (2 hrs / week)
None
Anki : MTL deck
Tibetan Total 0 min

Setswana - Task (1 hrs / week)
- 28.1 Memrise 40 min
- 29.1 Memrise 50 min Lesson 53
- 30.1 Memrise 20 min
- 31.1 Memrise 30 min

Setswana Total 110 min

Portuguese - Task (?? hrs / week)
None
Anki : Assimil
Portuguese Total 0 min

Prep Time
Prep Time - Total time 0 min



My Current Daily Pick List
Hebrew - Shtisel/When Heroes Fly > Anki > Clozemaster > FSI > Assimil > Other
German - Anki > B Grammatik > DW.de > Elemantarfragen
Tibetan - Anki > MTL > Memrise
Setswana - Memrise > Anki > A Course in Tswana
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Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
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zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
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Re: zenmonkey's multilingual adventures of a traveller

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:04 pm

Today's Hebrew Lesson ended with this little gem from the Kotzke Rebbe

הרבי מקוצק:
אם אני אני כי אתה אתה, ואתה אתה כי אני אני, אז אני לא אני ואתה לא אתה. אבל אם אני אני כי אני אני, ואתה אתה כי אתה אתה, אז אני אני ואתה אתה.


If I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not me and you are not you. However, if I am I because I am I and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you.

I like it, definitely describes my thinking about language challenges.


Which makes me think of the poem Als das Kind Kind war

I found a really nice version in Spanish.


Maybe I'll translate it to Hebrew.
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Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
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User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
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Setswana! and beyond!

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:29 am

First things first. I finished the Introduction to Setswana course on Memrise! I finally ploughed through this morning through the last module. That's 30 days of continued Memrise study, which is a first for me. The interesting thing has been my ability to create a few sentences spontaneously - I think last night I told my daughter to "tell your teacher you want to learn to speak Setswana". She promptly rolled her eyes. Which was exactly what I was expecting.

There are some mistakes in it, but apparently the author is also very critical of the original Peace Corp material. And this brings me to an aside.

The price of negativity...
I noticed a few errors early on the Setswana course - I had two choices, go through them and ignore them, perhaps using them as reminders of possible mistakes (and possibly I learned a few things incorrectly) or dropping the course. If this was a language that had huge amounts of perfect learning material I could have taken the time to switch to better material. But perfection being the enemy of good enough ... I'm glad this material had its faults. It made me reflect on something I see here quite a lot. We spend a lot of time writing about how Pimsleur, Rosetta, Michel Thomas, Language Transfer, Benny Lewis, ASSIMIL, FSI, (insert your object of hate), etc. are all not good enough, old, use the worst methods for reason x, y, or z. The price of that negativity is that we stop using material that is, often enough in its imperfection, adequate.

Early on, I used Michel Thomas to start my German journey and found it useful. It fit my study style at the time (no book, in transport, rapid hooks into the language) and I quickly moved on. I had no expectations, no focus on efficiency, I hadn't read how terrible it was and I had it for free (aren't libraries wonderful?). I knew I'd use it for a few weeks and move on. I still recommend it as a good intro that one should move through quickly.

But if I had read all the reviews on it, I would have probably approached it skeptically, mistrusting the method, content and worst of all, my use of the time. I suspect that these pernicious little doubts would have quickly left me doubting my study with the additional emotional cost. I might have dropped that start, I might have stopped using MT and searched out "better" material. And probably I would have wasted a lot of time looking for the "most efficient" or "ideal beginner" material.

I'm going to try to stop listening to the nay sayers, internal and external, and focus on using material that is useful and adequate. If I were to score the Setswana course I just completed, I'd probably give it a 3 stars out of 5 - it has errors, no sound, yada, yada, yada. Who wants to spend time on a 3 when you can hunt out the mythical 5 star language learning material? Well, in Setswana, as far as I can tell there is no 5 star material. This is as good as it get, so getting it done and moving on is one effective strategy.

But the same seems to hold for some of the languages I study were the material is much more abundant. I haven't seen the perfect 5 start course for German (I've seen better that this Setswana course, for sure!). Each time, something is off, the level, the material, the boredom factor ... whatever it is, I can always find why some adequate material is just missing something and should only get a 4 out of 5 in my scorecard. But really 4 out of 5 is adequate. It's good enough. It's let do this and go beyond!

Is it Adequate?
So what really makes material adequate? I think I have two simple questions in my mind:

- If I focus and complete this material will it improve my knowledge in a way that is evident to me?
- Can I complete this quickly and move on or should I invest time identifying material that is more adequate for me right now?

It is really about being comfortable in the ambiguous quality of material and the language learning process.

So, for Setswana, I'm moving on, mostly. As part of my learning process, I still plan to do reviews of this material for the next 30 days and go back to the book and do some focused study (now that I have a large part of the vocabulary in my head).

The next 30 days of Setswana are going to be focused on ... ? Well, I need to figure that out but I think I have a lot of cards with sound, recordings, a few books... And I need to spending time talking, of course. I think 30 days of consolidating (after I get my material back in place) and I might be ready to start a conversation class on line. I've got a few leads...

I need to write about Bruno Ganz, Hebrew, Memrise to Anki experience, my week with my daughters, Georgian, WordNet ... later.
[tags: #tagLangTSN #tagMethodMemrise]

Image



My two youngest are here in Germany this week. We've visited Darmstadt and Frankfurt and had dinner with some multilingual friends. My girls speak French/German/English/Spanish (order of strengths) and my friends' girls speak (English father, Spanish mother) - German/English/Spanish. I've always thought my friends kids spoke better Spanish and English than my daughters but I think that is an extended version of self-doubt and self-criticism - listening carefully I can see where they have imperfections or missing vocabulary. I tend to be more critical of my own and it is objectively ok to see that my girls are weaker in their L4 compared to what is consecutive L2s in the other girls. Different learning strategies!

But that isn't why I'm mentioning this. What I loved from our dinner was how quickly and spontaneously the four settled into speaking German with each other. Part of it must be habit, they are each used to speaking with unknown children in German here. Part of it is negotiated ease - none of the adults speak German as well as the kids and despite our attempts at influence language choice, German was really it... when they wanted to include us, English or Spanish would crop in. Among the adults, we spoke mostly English and Spanish.

Having my two youngest daughters here also helped me look at some language material I would never consider. L, the older of the two is actively trying to improve her Spanish so we listened to Slow News in Spanish podcasts in the car going to and from Frankfurt. I paused it quite a bit and we worked on vocabulary and meaning along the way. I have to say, it is an excellent podcast. Part of it is behind a pay wall and if I was learning Spanish I'd really think about paying for this. The content just seems really worth it. Anyway, if you're looking into Spanish - take a look at the free part of the Slow News in Spanish.

We also watched a few movies on Netflix - they had no cultural reference to the 80's brat pack classics. A lot of that was in English with German or English subtitles. And I watched Moonlight with the older of the two (the younger one just wasn't interested.) purely in English - a lot of the accent and register was very foreign and difficult for her. But it was engaging enough that she struggled through it with enjoyment. There is a lesson there. I think I like watching movies as passive listening quite a bit and I need to seek it out more. I've often been critical that this isn't real studying but there is a place for it.

So we've been trying to stick to English and Spanish most days - with about 50% of our conversations are not in French. This is a success I think. Heading back to France later today.


I'm going to subject them to hours of talk podcasts...

Image




Brief update to My Current Resources:

Setswana
Memrise: Intro to Spoken Setswana (completed)
There are 2-3 other courses but I'm not yet actively working with them
Anki: Peacecorp (rdearman's) and Unisa (mine) decks with sound
Books:
A Course in Tswana
Peace Corps: Intro to Spoken Setswana
Peace Corp : There is no word for grammar in Setswana
Kauderwelsch Setswana
Apps
uTalk modules
and the setswana oxford dictionary https://tn.oxforddictionaries.com/
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Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com


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