Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

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StringerBell
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Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:30 am
Languages: English (n)
Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ~B1/B2 speaking
Polish : ~ B1
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:27 pm

I wanted to share something cool I stumbled upon. I was having a really hard time finding any books in Italian or Polish on the U.S. Amazon site, and even a few times when I did find something, often when I searched by title later on it wouldn't show up in the search results anymore. So I ditched Amazon and ordered my Polish books + audiobooks from Empik.

Then I came across this strategy which yielded some better results. It's pretty basic, maybe other people have already figured this out and I'm the only one late to the party. This works well at least in the U.S.:

1) I choose either the kindle or the books category, depending on whether I'm looking for a physical or digital copy.

2) I type either "Italian Edition" or "Polish Edition" in the search field. If I'm looking for a specific book, I'll also include the author's name in the search but not the book title.

3) If I sort by price low to high, all the free and cheap options appear first. Doing this, I found 4 Polish bilingual text children's books for free, and I found not only a bunch of free Italian books, but also translations of books I wanted to read in Italian but was convinced Amazon didn't have them.

When I used this strategy to search physical books, I was able to find an Italian translation of a non-fiction book I loved (and highly recommend) called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain, aka: "Quiet. Il potere degli introversi in un mondo che non sa smettere di parlare". It was used but in excellent condition and shipped from the UK for $6. After I ordered it, there were no more copies left, so if you happen to find a great price on a used copy, you have to jump on it. Great thing about Italian non-fiction is that I don't have to deal with narration exclusively in my arch-enemy, Passato Remoto! :evil:

I also found a physical copy of an Italian translation of "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver, one of the few modern authors I really love for $6, also used. I couldn't pass it up, even though I probably won't get to it for a while.
2 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500

MattNeilsen
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=8869
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby MattNeilsen » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:39 am

That's a really smart idea - I hadn't thought about that. I just tried it with Hebrew but unfortunately wasn't able to find much. Everything is so expensive in Hebrew (e.g. Harry Potter books are ~$40-50 each at a minimum).

However, perhaps my Amazon-fu isn't up to snuff - I'll definitely try this again down the road.
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StringerBell
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Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:30 am
Languages: English (n)
Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ~B1/B2 speaking
Polish : ~ B1
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:30 pm

MattNeilsen wrote:That's a really smart idea - I hadn't thought about that. I just tried it with Hebrew but unfortunately wasn't able to find much. Everything is so expensive in Hebrew (e.g. Harry Potter books are ~$40-50 each at a minimum).


I've noticed that even in the last few weeks AMZ seems to have increased the offer of foreign language books on the U.S. market, so it might be that in the coming weeks/months there will start to be some Hebrew material. Is there an Israeli version of the site?


POLISH:

I'm about 1/4 way through Dzieci z Bullerbyn. It's a lot of fun, I'm still enjoying it. I also read one of the children's ebooks I got for free on the AMZ site. It was easy as pie, though there were a couple of new words, so I can't raise my head too high. :roll: It's something I probably should have started out with many months ago, but the benefit of reading it now was that I could breeze through it in a few minutes and say: I can read as well as a 7 year old! Well, actually, I bet 7 year old children in Poland have a better accent than I do and also have a much better command of the words they do know... (head lowers a little more).

As I alluded to in an earlier post, I have recently restarted some Anki drills. I'm using words/phrases/sentences I've mined from my reading that I either find particularly useful, or I know receptively but can't produce when speaking. My main issue is how much time I end up devoting to these drills. I'm unclear if they are worth the time suck or not. It doesn't feel like I'm adding an excessive amount of cards daily, yet it took me 45 minutes to get through my review today.

However, I am saying the words on the cards out loud, including all the sample sentences I've added (which I do for every card). I'm treating this as a simultaneous memory practice and pronunciation practice. Maybe that's how everybody does Anki and I should have known that to begin with? Compared to how I was doing Anki initially (going through the cards silently) this is working much better. I also think saying all the words out loud is better for my memory. When I don't get words/phrases correct, I say them out loud 5-10 times. I also don't let myself move away from the deck until I've come up with the right answer for each card at least once that session. I will say more about Anki later.

OH! I think I learned something kind of fun. In English, when we're trying to figure out where something is hidden, we say, "You're hot/getting hotter" or "You're cold/getting colder". In Polish, you say: "jest ptak" (it's a bird) or "jest ryba" (it's a fish) to mean the thing is up high or it's down low. cjareck, did I get that right?

ITALIAN:

I am officially 1/3 of the way through my 500 article challenge. I'm both glad and annoyed that I'm doing this. Glad because having the challenge is really motivating me to read in Italian when I'd otherwise watch TV in Italian. I like the article challenge because I'm not committed to a whole book, an individual article of 1,000 words is a relatively mild undertaking compared to a chapter of a book (at least it feels that way to me).

At this point, I think I've gained as much (or close to it) as I can from watching TV. My listening comprehension is pretty dang good. My reading is not yet where I want it to be, so that's what I need to be focusing on. I'm trying to read out loud ~15 minutes a day. Reading out loud is pretty annoying, mainly because it makes me concentrate on my pronunciation, which still needs some work.

I'm still coming across new verbs and vocabulary but it seems like the ratio new words:known words is feeling heavily skewed toward known words. This might just be due to the fact that I'm reading everything from one source (a personal growth website). I have a feeling that once I focus more on books that ratio will flip right back to being skewed towards new words. So I'm simultaneously dreading moving on to books, but also excited for it.

I have a massive amount of words and phrases and sentences saved in my word doc. What to do with it? Most of the stuff that gets repeated a fair amount I remember, but the lower-frequency stuff is tricky. I will probably have to start devoting some time to putting it into Anki. :? It feels like a monumental task that I'm not looking forward to, but it's probably the most efficient way to deal with it.
3 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500

StringerBell
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Languages: English (n)
Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ~B1/B2 speaking
Polish : ~ B1
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:51 pm

I discovered this really fascinating doctor of neuroscience, Dr. Robert Bjork (How else? Mentioned by my buddy, Steve Kaufman.) He focuses much of his research on learning. He doesn't specifically apply his findings to language learning, but it's very easy to see how it would apply. Watching his videos changed some of my preconceptions of language learning and caused me to rethink some things. One of these being Anki. I'm going to include some of the videos I found particularly relevant, but there are others on YT if you are interested.

EDIT: Don't be afraid, each video is only ~5 minutes. Each was cut from one long video into bite-sized morsels.

I think the title says it all (and interestingly, it's not even about language learning). This video made me question the efficacy of doing all input with zero output, and was why I decided to start talking at least a little bit every week in Polish even before finishing my 1100 challenge.


Luckily I was already kind of interleaving my studies before watching this video, but it helped me to realize that it's probably better to work on many skills in rotation rather than just one at a time until I reach "mastery" and then focusing on another.


This video helped me to appreciate that slow learning is better for long term results.


And lastly, this is the video that made me reconsider using Anki. I still don't like flashcards for language learning, but I think that I can find a way to use them as a complement to my routine in a way I don't totally hate. The thing is, reading and listening and speaking is a viable way to ensure that you repeatedly encounter words over time. Anki just ensures that you encounter specific words at specific intervals.
Last edited by StringerBell on Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
4 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500

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Chmury
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Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:43 am
Location: East Coast Australia
Languages: English (N), Castellano (Adv), Dutch (Int), German (Beg), Polski (currently inactive, but I will return to it)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1516
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby Chmury » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:39 am

StringerBell wrote:However, I am saying the words on the cards out loud, including all the sample sentences I've added (which I do for every card). I'm treating this as a simultaneous memory practice and pronunciation practice. Maybe that's how everybody does Anki and I should have known that to begin with? Compared to how I was doing Anki initially (going through the cards silently) this is working much better. I also think saying all the words out loud is better for my memory. When I don't get words/phrases correct, I say them out loud 5-10 times. I also don't let myself move away from the deck until I've come up with the right answer for each card at least once that session. I will say more about Anki later.


Haha I’m not sure if everyone does it that way, but I know I certainly do and find reading everything out to be very effective.

Just wanted to drop by and say your log is fantastic! Really enjoying it and lots of great info and updates, and your dedication and progress in Polish is really impressive. Awesome work. Polish is a language I’ll be returning to at some point in the future. Do you listen to much Polish music? They’ve got such a strong music scene over there and are putting out some really great stuff. One of my favourites of late is Bitamina. Beautiful voice and some really unique backing sounds. Nie Wiem Jak from her album Kawalerka is stunning, so moving. She’s got a gift for melodies that Bitamina.

Also in regards to finding books in your target languages, have you tried Book Depository? Free international shipping, good prices, and a decent range of books in foreign languages. Just ordered the first Harry Potter in German from them for $20 Australian dollars. Cheaper than buying it here. Just do an advanced search and in the bottom right corner, choose the language you’re looking for.

Anyways keep up the awesome work StringerBell, really enjoying following your progress and the discoveries you make in Polish.

By the way, are you mainly learning Polish for your kids? Are you living over in Poland? Just curious. The reasons for learning a language are endless and each I find interesting.
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cjareck
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby cjareck » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:53 am

StringerBell wrote:In Polish, you say: "jest ptak" (it's a bird) or "jest ryba" (it's a fish) to mean the thing is up high or it's down low. cjareck, did I get that right?

I wanted to say that I hadn't remembered that, but I asked my 8th-year-old daughters and they said that the group tells it to the searcher at the beginning of the play to give him a general idea where to look for the object. Also "pies" (dog) is used to indicate that something is between high and low levels.
When the search starts we say "ciepło" (warm), "cieplej" (warmer), "gorąco" (hot) and "parzy" (burns) if someone nearly touches it. If the searcher looks in the wrong place, it is "zimno" (cold) or "zimniej" (colder) respectively.
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StringerBell
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Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ~B1/B2 speaking
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:44 pm

Chmury wrote: Just wanted to drop by and say your log is fantastic! Really enjoying it and lots of great info and updates, and your dedication and progress in Polish is really impressive.


Thanks!

Chmury wrote:Do you listen to much Polish music? They’ve got such a strong music scene over there and are putting out some really great stuff. One of my favourites of late is Bitamina. Beautiful voice and some really unique backing sounds. Nie Wiem Jak from her album Kawalerka is stunning, so moving. She’s got a gift for melodies that Bitamina.

Also in regards to finding books in your target languages, have you tried Book Depository? Free international shipping, good prices, and a decent range of books in foreign languages. Just ordered the first Harry Potter in German from them for $20 Australian dollars. Cheaper than buying it here. Just do an advanced search and in the bottom right corner, choose the language you’re looking for.


Thank you for the recommendations. I would love to discover some great Polish music, I will definitely check this out, and also look into that source for books!

Chmury wrote:By the way, are you mainly learning Polish for your kids? Are you living over in Poland? Just curious. The reasons for learning a language are endless and each I find interesting.


I have no kids, nor do I live in Poland. My family originally comes from Poland on both my mother's and father's side, though only my mother speaks Polish. I wasn't raised to be bilingual, which has always really bothered me. I tried learning this language many times off and on as an adult, but never really was able to make much progress until I began this year with my new strategy.
3 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500

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Chmury
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Location: East Coast Australia
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Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1516
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby Chmury » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:22 am

StringerBell wrote:I have no kids, nor do I live in Poland. My family originally comes from Poland on both my mother's and father's side, though only my mother speaks Polish. I wasn't raised to be bilingual, which has always really bothered me. I tried learning this language many times off and on as an adult, but never really was able to make much progress until I began this year with my new strategy.


Ah, apologies. Don’t know where the hell I got that from then. I thought I’d read in your blog somewhere that you had kids but clearly I’m mixing you up with someone else on here. Again, I do apologise.

Seems like we’ve had quite similar experiences regarding our upbringings and languages. I’m half Dutch half Polish and my parents didn’t teach me either of their languages either, something which like you, really bothered me as an adult. Thankfully, I guess, they all spoke a dialect of Dutch at home (though broken English to me), so I managed to get a bit of the feel for the language growing up through osmosis, but sadly didn’t learn a word of Polish. So for the past decade I’ve had the desire to learn both Dutch and Polish to a very high level. I find Polish to be a beautiful and intriguing (infuriating?) language and I listen to Polish music quite a lot despite only knowing a few words. Will definitely be returning to it one day.

I’ll leave you with another of my favourite songs and albums. This is Ślady by Fisz Emade Tworzywo from their album Mamut. The entire album is awesome but this was the first song I heard from it which got me hooked (and I was in Kraków when I heard it for the first time!). Also if you like hiphop, -for some reason Poland does incredible hiphop-, Fisz, and also Fisz Emade’s earlier albums are fantastic.

Well keep up the awesome work StringerBell!
2 x

StringerBell
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:12 pm

Chmury wrote:Ah, apologies. Don’t know where the hell I got that from then. I thought I’d read in your blog somewhere that you had kids but clearly I’m mixing you up with someone else on here. Again, I do apologise.


No worries, I'm not offended ;)

Chmury wrote:I’ll leave you with another of my favourite songs and albums. This is Ślady by Fisz Emade Tworzywo from their album Mamut. The entire album is awesome but this was the first song I heard from it which got me hooked (and I was in Kraków when I heard it for the first time!). Also if you like hiphop, -for some reason Poland does incredible hiphop-, Fisz, and also Fisz Emade’s earlier albums are fantastic.


I really appreciate the music recommendations, if any others come to mind, please let me know!
0 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500

StringerBell
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Languages: English (n)
Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ~B1/B2 speaking
Polish : ~ B1
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Re: Italian + Polish with comprehensible input

Postby StringerBell » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:01 am

First, a POLISH grammar question for my sage advisor, cjareck: I am a little confused about future tenses in Polish. In all the stories/podcasts I'm listening+reading, I always see future tense like this:

future tense of być + past tense of the other verb:
będę się opiekował moją żoną. (stupid example sentence)

When I listen to one episode of a quick Polish grammar podcast just to see how it was (Bloggy Polish, I think) they said, "Hey, making past tenses in Polish is super easy, you just use future tense of być and the infinitive of the other verb. I had not seen past tenses done like this at all, so I was very confused.

Then when I was reading a paragraph in Dzieci z Bullerbyn, I came across this paragraph where they use both ways of making past tense:
będziemy nocowały AND będziemy nocować

Here is the paragraph where those two come from:
Pewnego dnia Bosse powiedział do mnie: “Dziś Lasse i ja będziemy nocować w stogu siana. I Olle też, jeśli mu pozwolą.” “Tylko włóczędzy śpią w stogach,” oświadczyłam. “Z pewnością nie,” zaprzeczył Bosse. “Spytaliśmy się mamy, czy nam pozwoli.” Pobiegłam powtórzyć do Britcie i Annie. “W takim razie my będziemy nocowały w naszym stogu,” powiedziały. “I ty też, Liso.” Ach, jak będzie wesoło!


***What is going on here??? :o Is there some difference in meaning between these two ways of forming future tense, or are do they have the same meaning? Does it matter which form I use? Is one way more common/preferred?

POLISH:

Aside from my confusion with this past tense situation, I have been able to do a few extra hours this week. I'm anticipating having less time in the next week due to work-related tasks, so I'm trying to get some extra time in now while I can. So far I've done a few days of Anki and still on the fence about whether I'll continue with it or not. But I did notice two days after starting with Anki (3rd time's the charm?), I did spontaneously use 2 new phrases that I'd just reviewed on Anki earlier that day. Coincidence? :?: If I start seeing this kind of thing happen regularly, I will probably stay sufficiently motivated to continue...as long as I don't start getting bored/annoyed by it.

Side note: Yesterday I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of love for this language. It made me think back to when I first tried to learn it many years ago - with steam pouring out of my ears and endless flashcards tucked into every pocket. This language felt like a Sisyphean task at the time and I can't believe it took me ~10 years to finally figure out how to approach it.

ITALIAN:

So far I'm keeping up the pace with speaking and reading. When I first started out with Italian, I really liked the freedom of doing whatever I wanted because I needed to improve everything. But now that the things I want to improve require doing things less "fun" than watching TV (OK, in the beginning watching TV was not fun, but it is now), making these challenges for myself provides good motivation. I really like checking things off a list, reaching small daily/weekly goals, etc... It gives me a sense of steady progress, and helps to prevent me from focusing on pointless things like, "am I actually improving?" or "but how much am I improving? Not enough? Why bother trying?!"

There continues to be an enormous variation in my speaking ability depending on the day. A few days ago I was on fire; my husband said he was impressed with how much new stuff I was throwing out, I was making very few mistakes, and using some impressive grammatical constructions. Then the next day I was doing so crappy that he said he gave up correcting me because it seemed counterproductive. I know some level of fluctuation is normal and unavoidable, but I wonder if other people fluctuate that much???
2 x
Polish goal: 1100 hours in 2018 : 994 / 1100
Italian "Output Challenge": 250 hours speaking Oct 2018-Sept 2019 : 29 / 200
Italian "Super Article Challenge": read 500 articles : 237 / 500


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