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malach's log - Bengali and German

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:49 pm
by malach
Hi folks

After getting very annoyed with my poor memory of German during a recent holiday, I've decided to make a commitment to get to A2 level this November - the Goethe Institute test is my motivating target.

I'm one of those "false beginners" with too many aborted attempts behind me to count. I'm not totally hopeless - I did manage to buy some things using just German, and mostly understand airport announcements. Looking at the Goethe Institute's materials, the A1-level test looks almost in reach (I would need to brush up on some noun cases and such grammatical things). But the A2-level looks, at the moment, a significant jump. So I'm hoping with around 90 days and a couple of hours average per day I can learn enough.

The plan for now is:

1. Work through TY Complete German (although I'm not sure yet how many chapters I'll need for A2-level)
2. Use Memrise courses for some vocabulary training
3. Pick up random Youtube channels for listening practice

After a few weeks I will try to get a tutor, for some speaking practice.

So far, I have breezed through the first 8-9 chapters of the book, and now have to slow down and make sure I practice the sentence structures and vocabulary enough.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:05 pm
by malach
Steady progress this week:

  • Completed the 12th chapter in TY Complete
  • Completed Memrise 1-2 and now part-way through Memrise 3
  • Watching some Easy German videos
I made a conscious decision to pause after the 12th chapter (it's kind of half way - one of the two CDs is now complete!) to focus on using what I have learnt actively. Meaning by writing and, as much as I can manage, by speaking.

I also bought Brian Smith's "Pre-Intermediate Reader", which seems at an ideal level for me. It has new vocabulary but mostly I can read the early stories. The sentence structures are also understandable. I will try to write some things at this kind of level.

Currently I am getting tripped up too often by not knowing the details of nouns. I'm sure more reading/listening will help make common expressions familar without needing to think about grammar, but for now I need to learn my nouns more completely.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:44 pm
by renaissancemedici
Good luck. Ich will auch selbst lernen, ohne Lehrer. Es ist nicht so schwer. (Good old Assimil…)

You seem to be going fast, that's great. I'll be following your log.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:40 pm
by malach
This week has been great fun. I have read several of the stories from Brian Smith's Pre-Intermediate Reader. Each one has several words that I don't understand at first, so I have to look these up or rely on the translation on the opposite page. But after one read through I can mostly recall the words the next time I read the story. I'm reading fairly intensively initially, trying to understand the role of each word and any grammar as I go. I then read the story again, in the next day or two, but so far I've not been able to manage many repeats as it's only been a week! I also read the story out loud, to help get used to 'speaking' German. The first story was technically very easy, but the difficulty level is slowly increasing. I am spending about an hour on the book a day, with each story taking about 30 minutes on an initial read through.

In addition:

  • I've continued with some Memrise vocabulary learning - today I was pleased to come across a word I had first learnt in the book, 'weh tun' for 'hurt'. I spend about 30 minutes a day.
  • I have also written some German, with about half a page in my notebook taking around 15 minutes. So far I'm writing 'diary-entries' about the day, but I plan to write about the stories soon, and get the vocabulary into active use.
  • And finally, I've done roughly 30 minutes each day of listening to Easy German videos. These are challenging still without the subtitles, but I try without and with.
I now plan to return to the TY book and work through the next few chapters. The Reader uses more complex grammar which I need to have some idea about, and I feel I've consolidated the material from the first 12 chapters.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:42 am
by renaissancemedici
malach wrote:[*]I have also written some German, with about half a page in my notebook taking around 15 minutes. So far I'm writing 'diary-entries' about the day, but I plan to write about the stories soon, and get the vocabulary into active use.

That's a great idea, the diary I mean. Writing stories is difficult even in one's own language, so if you will be able to do that, my hat off to you!

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:37 am
by malach
renaissancemedici wrote:Writing stories is difficult even in one's own language, so if you will be able to do that, my hat off to you!

I would be impressed too! :D

But I meant more that I would write about the story I had read, trying to use the new vocabulary. It's easy to remember the basic 'plot', and trying to put a summary of that down on paper means activating those words and phrases I have hopefully acquired by re-reading the story. Anyway, that's the plan.

My obsession with German over the past couple of weeks has entered my dreams - last night I dreamt I was taking the A2 test I'm aiming for! Though it was not set in an exam room, I was saying several things in German. At least, they made sense as German at the time...

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:11 pm
by malach
I'm still keeping to the TY Complete German book as my base source. I have moved along to chapter 15 and completed a thorough revision of all the grammar points. This covers present and present perfect tenses, articles, comparatives, prepositions with accusative and dative, and some adjective endings.

Reading has become my new favourite activity. I have about a fifth left of the Pre-Intermediate Reader. I have read and re-read the earlier stories several times and sentences from the earlier part are coming to my mind almost unbidden - things like work activities, removing shoes, cooking etc.

I have also bought Cafe in Berlin, which is straightforward but includes some basic vocabulary which I found new. And I also ordered two books from the Black Cat catalogue at the A2 level. I hadn't expected tuition and exercises in them, but they look like they will be interesting to go through, and at the right level.

I try to vary my reading - first time through I have to check up new words. Second time through I try to just read it for understanding. And sometimes I read through trying to see that I understand the grammar, especially constructions that I've already studied in my TY book. There are also constructions used that are fairly easy to understand but I have yet to formally study, like the future tense and the genitive case. I also read the story out loud, and try to recall the stories later, verbally and in writing. Yes, I'm trying to squeeze everything out of the stories that I can!

All together, in summary:

  • TY Complete German - now completed chapters 1-15 and reviewed the grammar.
  • Reading - nearly finished "Pre-Intermediate Reader".
  • Listening - hearing a Bavarian radio station whilst at the computer, plus more of the Easy German videos.
  • Writing - Approximately 500 words of hand written German.
  • SRS - continued with Memrise, and a bit of Duolingo and Clozemaster.
Oh, and I'm trying to think German so much I nearly "vielen Dank"-ed the man at the checkout in Sainsbury's last week! :lol:

It's the last day in August, and somehow I have done 60 hours of work in the last few weeks on German. September looks like being a bumpy month, so I'll have to see how well I can continue. I still plan to take the Goethe Institute test in November, and I have October in mind for booking it and getting hold of some test materials etc to prepare.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:17 pm
by malach
Steady progress, I'm glad to report:

  • TY Complete German is now at chapter 18 of 23. I'm going to finish the book.
  • Finished Brian Smith's German Pre-Intermediate Reader.
  • Started Stefan Zweig's Schachnovelle. I knew around 95% of the words from the first two chapters, so some new words to learn.
  • Continued with Memrise, Duoling and Clozemaster, up to an hour a day.
Going forward:

  • Continue with the TY book. I want to redo and make the most of each of the role-playing situations.
  • I am adding the TY book's vocab to an Anki deck for revision purposes, and will try to learn the nouns and verbs correctly.
  • I ordered two DVD sets through, season 1 of Big Bang Theory and NCIS. When these come, I'll have some alternative listening practice.
  • Continue with the reading and writing, and some time with Memrise etc.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:00 pm
by malach
One of my DVDs arrived, the first series of Big Bang Theory. Starting on these is probably going to double my time on the language! Listening is hard work of course - I'm catching a good number of words, and even some phrases. And picked up some new expressions already.

When listening to German I do get tripped up by 'garden path' words. Words like 'will' and 'wer' get me thinking of the equivalent English, and a 'noch' in a sentence sounds like a negative. So, more practice is needed to get in the habit of listening to German as German.

I finished Memrise German 3 today! That's over a thousand words seen through that website, and it is paying off. I recognised at least two words when hearing BBT that I know I learnt off Memrise, and there are probably more. I seem to know about half the words in these courses already, but there's still enough new terms to make it worthwhile. I'm continuing on with German 4.

Every source I'm using has a different 'first thousand words':

  • In TY Complete German, I have around 800 words entered into Anki from the book's glossary.
  • Brian Smith's 'Pre-Intermediate Reader' apparently uses the 1000 'most common' words
  • Memrise 1-3 covers a thousand words
I'm not sure what the union is, but it feels a lot more than a thousand!

For vocabulary, I aim to master the TY glossary (using Anki), and also keep up with the reviews from whatever I cover in Memrise. That will hopefully form a solid core vocabulary. I will learn additional words from the DVDs and especially the reading that I am doing. When I come to preparing specifically for the test, I will check myself against the vocabulary lists that the Goethe Institute provides.

Re: malach - die Zeit ist jetzt

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:36 pm
by malach
I have now crossed 100 recorded hours of German study! I'm not sure that's a meaningful landmark, but it's a nice-round number. I was thinking 200 hours should be enough to get to A2 standard, so I'm halfway in planned commitment.

I have accomplished several things since the last entry here:

  • Daily with Anki to make sure I know the TY book's vocabulary.
  • Daily with Memrise: I quickly finished Memrise 4 as most of the words were known to me, but there were many more phrases using the individual words together, which is useful practice.
  • I finished reading Zweig's Schachnovelle. I still have a few words to look up, but I was pleased at how much I felt I understood. (I sometimes have to revise my interpretation when I look up all the unknown words!)
  • I have heard series 1 of the Big Bang Theory a couple of times now, and am gradually getting my ear in to the speech.