A Slow Language Learner's Log

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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
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A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:06 am

Hello! Just to set the table, I'm a native English speaker who got it in her head back in 2010 to see if she could learn French to some sort utility in her life. The difficulties of French got me interested in Esperanto as a kind of easy 2nd language to acquire and Esperanto is one that I often find myself thinking in, especially at night when I'm drifting off to sleep.

Thanks to Duolingo, I've also spent a fair bit of time on the keyboards with the trees of French, Spanish, Esperanto, Portuguese and Italian. Those 5 are noteworthy in that I have in the past achieved Golden Owls in those, though they all have since, except for Italian, been revamped some and also of course now Duolingo uses a crown system.

I'm no fast learner of languages and don't know if I have any grand plans of being able to talk or write much in any of them, but maybe someday that could happen if I just keep adding slowly to my vocabularies and understandings of their grammars.

My current goals that I aim to achieve to help me along:

Fully crown out the Duolingo trees of Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Esperanto. Currently I'm at 328 crowns in Portuguese, 295 crowns in Spanish, 183 crowns in Esperanto, 195 crowns in French, 130 in Italian but I'm not working in that tree any presently, and thanks to this last weekend I have 44 crowns in the Dutch tree. Yeah, I think it would be good to branch out of the Romance languages some and study a Germanic language.

I know Duolingo isn't to everyone's tastes, but I find it useful to help expose me to the vocabulary and give me some sense of the grammar of a language, but of course sometimes you have to find some actual references and explanations that are lacking with Duolingo's trees.

I'm usually doing a small bit of study every day and lately on the weekends I tend to have a binge learning day where I get caught up in the feel of the languages slowly taking deeper root in me.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:31 am

During the week I tend to just kind of peck away at things and take on collecting more crowns on the Duolingo trees as I feel the energy and desire to do them. For the past few months, I've been prone to have 1 binge day on the weekends, when I feel good and it feels pleasurable and fun to work with the various languages. That's become an important theme to me over the years, do it for how it feels pleasurable and I've even in the times when I go hunting down explanations of grammar and more have largely abandoned putting any sort of super conscious effort into learning vocabulary or other elements of the language.

Which maybe means that I've kind of adopted a sort of Goldlist methodology to trying to absorb the languages ever deeper into me. But I am strongly considering buying a notebook or a few and maybe do some time with that style to see if it fits with how I've come to understand my own learning style and self.

This morning I reached 300 crowns on the Duolingo Spanish tree. Spanish is probably my strongest language other than my native English or Esperanto. It is certainly the one that I do the best at catching good chunks of it if listening to it or hearing it some out in public due to la comunidade latina that lives in the area.

Dutch has been fun with its early going. Sometimes it almost seems like if you can imagine how an English word sounds if spoken with a thick Dutch accent, you've figured it out. Not true of course, but the languages are closely related for sure. I also now of course understand the origin of the name Coney Island. Must have been lots of rabbits back when the Dutch first showed up in that area.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:25 pm

I didn't have a big binge day this past weekend like I've been having for some time now but still made some progress in my Duolingo trees for Portuguese, Spanish, French, Esperanto, and Dutch.

Portuguese is advancing a bit slowly right now as I'm getting farther along in the tree and I'm doing stuff that was a slog the first time I completed the tree. I now have about 340 crowns in it now.

Spanish is moving faster currently and it's certainly my strongest language after my native one and Esperanto. I'm starting to get an effect going that I noticed with Esperanto when it came to life in my head -- more and more as I listen to the radio in the car I'll find myself translating lyrics over into Spanish. I now have around 330 crowns completed for the Duolingo tree.

French is now over 200 crowns. French is the toughest language to understand when listening to it...

Dutch climbed up to 60 crowns this morning. I'm also now experimenting with the goldlist method for vocabulary acquisition with it. I'm starting with the words listened for the Germanic languages in the book The Loom of Language. It ended up giving me my funnest language recognition this weekend when I did the both the words bliksen and donder into a notebook. Donder, bliksen, donder, bliksen, oh my gosh, on Donner and Blitzen, two of Santa's reindeer! That made me shake my head and smile, now realizing those two are the thunder and lightning of Santa's team. Yesterday I met the Dutch word rug, back in English and thought of rucksacks, so I now see the connection there.

The plan is just to keep plugging along. I've also been glancing at times in the Teach Yourself Greek book I found at a used bookstore last Friday.
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User avatar
zjones
Green Belt
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:22 pm
Location: Northwest USA
Languages: English (N), French (B1 certified)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9860
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Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby zjones » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:23 pm

Hi Izabela! I'm impressed with the number of languages you're tackling, that must be fun! I'm equally impressed by your devotion to using Duolingo. I'm curious, do you use any other resources to supplement Duolingo? Do you use or plan on using any grammar books or native materials?
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:55 pm

zjones wrote:Hi Izabela! I'm impressed with the number of languages you're tackling, that must be fun! I'm equally impressed by your devotion to using Duolingo. I'm curious, do you use any other resources to supplement Duolingo? Do you use or plan on using any grammar books or native materials?


Howdy!

I also sometimes read from various sources to give me more time with the various languages and sometimes I tune into the Spanish language channels that the antenna pulls in where I live. I'm also seriously considering that I should start listening to Spanish podcasts in the car. One of the big things that helped me activate Esperanto in my head 5 or 6 years ago was listening to podcasts during my work commute, but that work commute was almost 2x as long as what's my current one.

I do have Assimil texts and audio for French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Currently though the basic plan is fully crown out the Duolingo trees and when I'm there, seriously think about how and what to do if I want to strengthen my understanding in all these languages. That's going to take some time and that suits my learning style fine. I don't need to get any of these languages active and alive up in the head, there's no deadline to this except my own mortality I suppose.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 pm

Sometimes my helpers like to stake themselves out on the desk that I'm using for when I use books and take notes, etc.

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:D

And of course I have some days when the languages feel like they are flowing well that I talk to the cats with the words, phrases and sentences that pop into my head.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:32 pm

I've been reluctant some to do serious amounts of study and practice due the enormous amount of stress I've been feeling and continue to feel. My anxiety levels are sky high and over the years I've certainly learned that the better my mood is, the better I do with language study. So it's kind of tough right now to sit down and feel inspired with practice and not have the ominous feelings welling up from within me.

But still progress!

Duolingo tree crown levels:

Portuguese 338
Spanish 332
French 204
Esperanto 186
Dutch 61

Also with Dutch since last Saturday I've begun goldlisting vocabulary and now have listed 400 words. I'm doing my lists in chunks of 20 words to start because I feel more comfortable with a shorter period of time before my brain wants to begin taking a break. I'm interested to see what happens in the coming weeks when I start to distill the words and if this proves to be an effective method of vocabulary building for me.

I also noted this morning that one of my weakest areas of language learning tends to be how I really really seem to dislike learning connecting types of words and phrases like but, whereas, moreover, however, etc. I should pay them more attention and not fear them like I seem to fear them? I don't know, it's a bit of weirdness in me.

Getting ready to go do errands but plan first to stop by a used bookstore and there I plan to buy a Dutch novel that I saw on the shelves, which I can mine for words to put into the goldlist notebook.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:12 pm

A little update as I woke up entirely too early today and now still have some time before work on my later work start day of Wednesday...

I'm still not studying as much as I was for some time thanks to anxiety about some things wearing me out and making it harder for me to feel a good mood when I start studying. On the other hand, I've still done at least a tiny bit every day and I'm feeling happier with my progress in Spanish. I can feel it beginning to activate some, it's easier for Spanish words and grammar to come to me without much effort. Still a long ways to go til it's anywhere near like what I have with Esperanto and of course Spanish is far more complex, so I'm sure there is plenty of learning still to do...

I bought a Dutch novel, De Wandelaar and El Prisionero del Cielo by Carlos Ruiz Zafón at the used bookstore on Saturday. I'm using these books to mine words and concepts for goldlisting. My Dutch goldlist notebook now has 540 words in it and the first distillation starts on Saturday.

Did I mention that Spanish is taking stronger and stronger hold in my head? I think this can be seen in how my Duolingo crown levels are going lately....

Spanish 348
Portuguese 339
French 207
Esperanto 187
Dutch 63

Finally, some more pictures of the 2 assistants I have:

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In case anyone is wondering and thinking, "Omg those 2 cats are declawed!" yes, they were declawed many years ago by the original owner. The gray one is 17 years old and the Burmese cat who shares my birthday is 13 years old. My niece adopted them from the original owner in the late aughts and then in 2015 I took them over because the man my niece married is horribly allergic to cats. So they've been with me for 3 years now and they don't mind if I speak other languages besides cat. :mrgreen:
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Morgana
Blue Belt
Posts: 657
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:02 pm
Languages: EN (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=9665
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Postby Morgana » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:30 pm

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Last edited by Morgana on Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Izabela
White Belt
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:48 pm
Languages: English (N), Esperanto (A language I often think in).
Spanish, Portuguese, French (Some ability to read in)
Italian and Dutch (rather beginner-ish)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9014
x 55

Re: A Slow Language Learner's Log

Postby Izabela » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:22 pm

¡Hola!

Yipes, it's been a rough week and a half since I last said something in the log. Along with the stress I've been feeling from some things, work has been busy and draining me of lots of energy too, making it hard for me to feel like spending time with the languages, making it more likely that I'll spend time with something easy without so much thought to it, like Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. :shock:

But I've still been doing at least some work everyday, including harvesting more crowns from the trees on Duolingo and today my learning streak there reached 300 days.

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So the crowns for the following languages are now this:

Spanish 366
Portuguese 346
French 217
Esperanto 192
Dutch 65

Along with the stress and work, I might also be in one of my language learning hibernation phases as I think of them when I don't feel the insistent motivation to push myself along. Though sometimes I think those hibernation phases are a bit necessary for me at least, it gives my brain time to recharge and consolidate things.

And maybe tomorrow if it's quiet and relaxing I will feel happy and good and do plenty of study then.
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