Well, I couldn't wait until the end of today to write this, so I'll just include what I did today in my next log.Week 2
- 2 episodes of Klem (without subtitles)
- 1 episode of Klem (ditto)
- 5 pages of Nederlands als taal van wetenschap en hoger onderwijs
Week 2 total: 135 minutes and 5 pages.
Week 1 total: 249 minutes and 0 (recorded) pages
Total: 384/18000 minutes and 5/10000 pagesComments
Oof. Maybe I should have waited and included today
. It could be worse, but it could certainly be better, especially considering this is week 2 of when I started, not week 2 of the SC. But anyways, even if I started the SC at the start of 2019, I'd still only need to read 30 pages a day and watch 50 minutes a day of TV. The reading doesn't feel like that much (I can certainly see why the original SC was 100 pages per book) but the 'movies'...that will be hard for me, so I'm glad that I got off to a relatively decent start with them. It certainly will be a marathon like I thought.
As to the actual content, my ears did get used to Klem just like they did with Penoza. I knew that they might, but I still had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind. I should be less fearful about going into the unknown and this is known territory by now. I still can't understand all of it, but a lot more without subtitles than I could when I first begun. I'm also finding that I'm able to look up words that I don't know from the audio alone, which is nice, and I usually get the spelling right. Progress? Or could I do this before when I was actively watching things but now I have more confidence? Perhaps a bit of both. I've only got 3 episodes of Klem left so I'll have to find something else after I'm done. Perhaps more of Maartens moestuin.
Nederlands als taal van wetenschap en hoger onderwijs. Fun title to impress people with
. It talks about the status of Dutch in science and higher learning. More and more things are being taught in English at Dutch universities and more and more research is published in English. I haven't gotten that far into it, but so far it's really interesting. I've read a couple more pages of it before writing this post. One problem it brings up is that even if English becomes completely accepted as a good 'universal' research language, research should be made available in Dutch for people who might not know English but still might be interested in it, yet IIRC, the article says that that's currently not happening as much as it should be. I actually found this fairly easy to read, probably since I'm used to the academic language that it uses from my English literature studies, or perhaps because they aimed to be clear in their language and succeeded. I looked up all the words I didn't know (in my monolingual dictionary when possible), and I think I'll be taking this approach throughout the SC since it's different from what I usually do. It certainly feels more productive in any case. I also have been reading some news/blog articles in Dutch but haven't been counting them because that'd be somewhat tedious. More is always better anyways. Some more ramblings about language learning in general
That's pretty much it for the content itself but now onto something more general. The 'more on that later' comment from my previous entry that I forgot to address. I said then that I hadn't read much. The more on that is that this is why I think my vocabulary is still fairly low. I just haven't been reading enough, or watching/listening to things enough, for it to grow to a decent size. I've been learning Dutch for nearly 4 years now, off and on, and in total during that time I've read around... 10 books I think? 7 of which I think were translations. That's simply not enough to grow your vocabulary at a reasonable speed at, especially if you do mostly extensive reading as I was doing. If it was intensive, perhaps I would have learned a lot, but for the most part it wasn't. Even breaking it down into 200 page books, I've only likely read 20, max. That might seem like a decent amount, and it's certainly okay, but it's not enough if extensive reading has become your main method of vocabulary acquisition. In short, I need to read more. I like reading, so it shouldn't be a problem, but I've been having a relative dry spell lately, even in English. Hopefully the SC will turn this around.On tests/quizzes and stuff
How do you know you're progressing well in your language learning? Quizzes! This is probably why I got annoyed at dialang. One of the places that people say is good at estimating your level and I got B2 on the placement test and C2 on everything else.
If I thought that was accurate, it'd be great, but I don't think it is and so, now what? Where do I go to test my level? I've already taken the NT2 sample exams for listening and reading, the only official ones that I can mark myself. So in a sense, I felt cheated. Out of a potentially useful tool to measure my progress. Now I've realized that if I get higher on the placement test, the tests will become harder and so perhaps dialang will be useful for me. Hopefully that goes well but yeah. The above was part of why I was so annoyed at dialang in my posts earlier about it.
Now I don't want to get into a debate about dialang or my precise level again. But this does lead to an interesting potential conversation topic. What do you do when you're C2? That is, what do you do when you've exhausted all tests, all somewhat objective (as objective as is possible anyways) measures of progress? I don't think I'm C2 yet, but still, it's worth thinking about and perhaps something I'll ponder over here later.
Fortunately, I haven't exhausted such tests. I'll be taking some intake tests to determine my level of Dutch when I study at Leiden in the fall and I've decided to set a goal for myself: Get to C1 by the end of my time at Leiden, and, more importantly than that, take the CNaVT EDUP (C1) test to see if I succeeded. There's no C2 test, so if I'm C1 in some areas already and just don't know it, then hopefully I'll pass it with flying colours.
I don't want to take it now, since I want to only take it once and hopefully ace it. But I also want to set a time so that I don't put it off forever, so I feel that this plan is reasonable.
My main weakness is vocabulary. I can chat about lots of things with my current vocabulary, and everything if I use a dictionary and plug words I look up into sentence structures that I know the grammar like the back of my hand for, but I hate that I still rely on a dictionary so much. My written Dutch might look impressive, but it's shallow. I wonder if this is how some people who are learning English feel when they're complemented on their writing. I bet that some of them are just like me. Even grammar wise, while I've internalized a lot of what I now consider the basics, there's still stuff that I need to learn, and there's still things that I need to get used to (like how dat is used far more in Dutch than that is in English).
When it comes to vocabulary, I'll be using what I can understand when reading and also http://woordentest.ugent.be/woordentest
to measure my progress. The arealme test, although I felt my result was roughly accurate, I took mostly for fun, but I forgot to mention that earlier. Some Dutch natives also took it and they found that it kinda sucked, but whatevs. The woordentest link though I've felt is one of the better ones out there, as long as you don't guess. I got 4% when I did it on the 16th, but I forget what they described it as.
But this post has gone on long enough. Apparently it's around 4 pages long.
Oh, one more thing. Here's some links to some of the resources I've been using during this SC and in general. All legal, but not all free, sorry.Links
(for grammar and vocabulary use)http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/index.php?n=Grammar.DutchGrammar
(I don't use this much anymore but I used it a ton when I started. When I use it now, I use the Dutch version of the site.)http://taalunieversum.org/publicatieshttps://www.npostart.nl/
Lots of region blocking and some paid stuff, but you can still find a lot for free even without a VPN.https://vandale.nl/opzoeken
Free online versions of the pocket dictionaries. Now that I've got the bigger dictionaries, I don't use this but the bigger ones certainly aren't free.
- Various chatroom sites/apps such as Skype, Discord, etc., to talk with my fiance and others.
- Various newspapers such as https://jeugdjournaal.nl/
when I was starting out (it's still useful for when I want some nice news for a change.
And I still learn new words here and there. ) and https://nos.nl/
- The NPO radio apps.
- Ebooks (I prefer kobo but it doesn't matter)
- Physical books (either bought in the Netherlands or from bol.com)
- codeplus A0-A1 and A1-A2 books/online courses (I did these at university as a part of my Dutch classes, and even though I was already B1 at that point, they were still quite helpful).
- Van Dale Nederlands woordenboek - Pro (the Hedendaags Nederlands dictionary in app form)
- Van Dale Engels woordenboek - Pro (The Groot English to Dutch and Dutch to English dictionaries in one app)
I got both of the above apps on sale for around 50 euros total IIRC so it was quite a good deal. I find the Hedendaags super useful, but the Dutch/English one I find useful as well. The only dictionary out there with more words and just as good quality is the Dikke Van Dale but even Van Dale recommends most people to get the Hedendaags since it contains both more modern words (past 50 years) and also lists of synonyms and related words. For example, when I search for the Dutch word 'plant', I get a list with probably 100+ types of plants among other things, and each one listed is clickable and has its own entry. Of course plant is an extreme example, but it's still quite useful.
The English/Dutch dictionary is probably the biggest and best Dutch/English dictionary out there. It doesn't have those word lists, but it's still quite a useful dictionary. If I had to pay full price, I'd probably only have bought the Hedendaagse for now, given my level. But if you know you need to know Dutch and have the money, then this will save you from having to buy any other Dutch/English dictionary meant for native speakers. I bought a couple before I bought this and I wish I could have just had this from the beginning. The dictionaries are available in several forms, but I just prefer the apps.
Ugh. I just realized how much the above sounds like an advertisement.
It's not, and perhaps I should put these links and whatnot in my other log. But anyways, the point of talking about all of this is to answer the question 'How has trui learned Dutch up until now?' If someone sees my level and asks how I got here, well, the above is how, at least a good deal of how, and I rambled so much about those dictionaries because they've been invaluable to me, though native speakers have of course by far been the most valuable in terms of their patience and help. All the dictionaries let me do is bug them less.
To make this into something more general and not just me gushing about vandale, I'll say that I think that a good set of dictionaries is very useful when learning a language, especially when reading a lot like during the SC. If you have the money, don't be afraid to invest in some, especially if you know you'll be in it for the long haul. Buy better dictionaries then you think you need. It's worth it, trust me. If you can't afford paid dictionaries then don't despair. Even with super amazing dictionaries, you need to make sure the words you look up are actually used and furthermore, are used in the way you think they are. And that requires asking native speakers about them or finding them 'in the wild' so to speak (in books, news, tv, people talking, etc). With free dictionaries, you'll just have to do that more frequently and occasionally rely on natives as your dictionaries for some less common words.
But time to get back to reading!