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Perdida (6wc Sp)

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:06 am
by aloysius
I don’t choose what languages to study by calculating their return on (time) investment or by doing cost/benefit analyses … but what if I did? Then Spanish would probably surface as a likely candidate. I recently spent a few days in Biarritz close to the Spanish border and it struck me as absurd that I’ve never so far crossed that border, especially so since I usually go abroad on holiday every year and I restrict my travelling to Europe. (And Spain is by the way the most popular country of all for travelling among Swedish people). So I will definitely go there in the near future and that of course is a great motivator for this project.

I took two years of Spanish back in school more than 30 years ago but since then I’ve never studied it with any consistency. A bit of vocabulary revision, a few hours of Assimil or flipping through a grammar book and some LR dispersed over several years. That’s about it. I rarely watch Spanish films and right now I try in vain to remember any Spanish TV series whatsoever (hey, come on, there must be something I’ve seen). Nowadays I can read French (probably B2) better than Spanish (possibly B1) and I very much doubt I would get by in a Spanish speaking country without recourse to other languages.

Using this 6wc for a massive injection of Spanish seems like a golden opportunity to get me somewhere real fast. I will use the following resources:
1. Assimil Spanish ohne mühe(book + audio)
2. Langenscheidt Vocabulearn (book + smartaudio)
3. German Wikipedia article on Spanish grammar (which seems solid enough)
4. Gone Girl/Perdida by Gillian Flynn (book + audiobook in English and Spanish)

My goal is to reach a B2 for recognition and a B1 for production by the end of this year. It remains to be seen where I will be in six weeks …
Hopefully, I will have a lot of free time for the first three weeks of the challenge, since I’m free from work then. However I’m unsure whether I will be online, therefore updates might come a bit infrequently.

Re: Perdida (6wc Sp)

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:34 am
by aloysius
We are now two weeks in to the challenge and a report here is long since due. So far I have put in close to 30 hours, which is less than I intended to. No reason to be disappointed though, since I’m enjoying myself and am happy with the rapid progress so far.

Nearly half of that time I have spent on Assimil and I have now reached lesson 60 of the passive phase. The first week I was visiting relatives and forgot to bring the audio so I was just reading along and translating into German. Since then I have also done a couple of hours of shadowing and next week I plan to start writing as well. This is actually one of the more boring Assimil courses I have used, as far as contents go, but as I learn a lot I see no reason to stop using it. If I make it through I have Assimil Spanisch in der Praxis waiting as well.

I’m quite fond of the Vokabeltrainer from Langenscheidt and have spent seven hours on it so far. I have the printed book as well as the PC software and the vocabulary is almost the same, I believe, but the sentences that go along with the words differ and there are more of them in the software version. I haven’t used the SRS yet this time but it can be configured in a lot of ways. What I really find most useful though is the Smart Audio function, which lets you export the audio and use it on the go. I´ve mainly settled for words followed by sentences in German-Spanish-Spanish for one theme at a time (you could have them randomly sorted as well). This keeps me active guessing for the translation and having it immediately corrected. If it´s too difficult I just go along and shadow the Spanish. Most of the time I have no problem parsing the sentences but I don´t get every single word.

I’m using Perdida for LR and have done 25% so far. Maybe it wasn’t an ideal choice to start out with because it uses quite a few expressions I’m not even familiar with in English (but which I usually am able to understand from context). It is popular fiction and not really difficult but still not elementary. I would also have preferred to have the audio in European Spanish but that’s not really a big deal. What might have been a mistake was to go for a novel I had not read before. I have sampled some Camus and Orwell in Spanish this week, works I’ve read many times in various languages, and using them would have been more in line with LR philosophy. However, I found no Spanish audio on Audible.

Apart from the above I’ve done some more reading and listening. I have started listening to Los hombres que no amaban a las mujeres by Stieg Larsson. I know the story well and have listened to it in Italian as well as in French. Initially I found it quite difficult (and there is some irritating background music on this recording) but it’s getting better and better and makes for good listening practice. The day before yesterday I also started Reading-Listening (with German audio) El mundo de Sofia by Jostein Gaarder. I appreciate this book very much for language learning since it is long, written in a simple language (for youths, the protagonist is about to become fifteen years old) and it is a mix of fiction and text book prose (a philosophy course) dealing with quite a bit of the history of western civilization. I’ve never finished the whole book but have read about a third of it in French and Italian.

Looking forward to next week. I will take a trip to the mountains and plan to spend a lot of time on my Spanish!

Re: Perdida (6wc Sp)

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:37 am
by aloysius
Another week gone and this one has been spent almost entirely in the company of books and audiobooks in Spanish. My current 6wc score is now 78 hours. I have finished LR Perdida (555 pages, 19 h 46 min) and I have read El juego del ángel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón with English audio (667 pages, 15 h 23 min). I have also read the beginning (an hour or so) of La verdad sobre el caso Harry Quebert by Joël Dicker several times with French, English (not a good translation for this purpose), Spanish and German audio. And some other stuff as well, including a a few hours of El mundo de Sofia and quite a few poems by Federico García Lorca, which I found in an edition with Swedish parallel text just before I left Stockholm.

And this massive input has proved successful. I did a few reading tests of around 1000 words each and got the following results:

96.8 %. El Mundo de Sofia, chapter not previously read.
95.4 %. Marina (by Zafón), not read before, written for youths.
93.1 %. La ladrona de libros (by Markus Zusak), read it in English several years ago. Also written with a young audience in mind. Uncomplicated syntax but a more literary style.

The numbers are for the coverage of my present vocabulary (known and guessable words plus proper nouns). All in all very promising. I am also happy with the way my listening comprehension is coming along. Today I listened to a couple of chapters of Harry Quebert (which I read in French last summer) and understood most of it, not every word but I could follow the story line without difficulty.