Morgana goes down the rabbit hole (German, Russian, Swedish)

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Morgana
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Morgana goes down the rabbit hole (German, Russian, Swedish)

Postby Morgana » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:00 am

go down the rabbit hole
    To enter into a situation or begin a process or journey that is particularly strange, problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic, especially one that becomes increasingly so as it develops or unfolds. (An allusion to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.)


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My Swedish journey so far (07/2019):

Courses I've finished:
  • Duolingo
  • Linguaphone Complete
  • Pimsleur Level I (the only level available)
  • Rivstart A1+A2
Courses I started but did not finish:
  • Mango Languages
  • learningswedish.se
  • Form i fokus A (grammar workbook for CEFR level A)
  • probably others but I forget now
Other learning aids and strategies I've used:
  • the Memrise deck for the Duolingo course
  • Clozemaster
  • Anki
  • Radio Sweden på lätt svenska
  • http://sverigesradio.se/ - loads of podcasts if that's your thing
  • storytel.se (It's an audiobook streaming service with a lot of content. Technically, I don't think this should work outside of Sweden but I was able to subscribe for the two-week free trial and then pay for one month after that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ That said, you can get some audiobooks fairly cheap on Bokus, if audiobooks are even your thing (they aren't mine))
  • Bokus and Bokon for ordering books (Bokon just ebooks, Bokus for ebooks, audiobooks, physical books...)
  • Listening-Reading
  • chorusing (Olle Kjellin)
  • reading the news on dn.se, svt.se, etc.
  • Alex & Sigge's podcast http://alexosigge.libsyn.com/
Dictionaries:
  • ord.se - my fave SV-EN dictionary
  • https://en.bab.la/dictionary/swedish-english/ - for all the words ord.se doesn’t have
  • https://www.wordreference.com/sven/ - not quite as good as bab.la but it works better on mobile for whatever reason
  • https://www.saob.se/ - for when you’re ready for a monolingual dictionary (really helps with understanding differences between synonyms)
  • Google Translate - not that bad and tbh it’s the most convenient to use when lazy/on mobile/watching tv
  • For Kindle - https://sourceforge.net/projects/sv-en-kindle/ - you can also buy this on Amazon if you prefer; it's not by any means thorough but it does cut down how much I need to use the other dictionaries and that makes for an overall better reading experience
At this point I read books, watch tv, and occasionally listen to audiobooks. I am somewhere in intermediate territory. My comprehension fluctuates depending on the content I'm consuming. I'm not yet where I want to be and my current strategy is input, input, input.

My primary advice to anyone reading this and who happens to want to learn Swedish: there are better examples than me to follow :lol: My secondary advice is to not get bogged down on what courses to do, or how many. Just do 1-2 courses if you're going to do any. Do something everyday if you can, and get to native material as soon as you can tolerate it without it overwhelming you. Starting to read and listen for real is quite disheartening after "mastering" a few courses, it can feel like starting all over again, so you might as well get there asap rather than think you're going to prevent that struggle by doing yet another beginner course. Just go for it! My first book was Odinsbarn by Siri Pettersen, a YA book, it was tough going because I had to rely on a dictionary so much for all the words I didn't know (there were a lot!). But things got much easier after about 500 pages of reading, and then got easier again after another 2,000 or so pages, and it just gets easier gradually as long as you keep reading.

The most important thing is sticking with it. I have been wildly inconsistent at times but still made progress. You can take a day off here and there, you can do bare minimums if you're having a hard time as well. The information is not going to fall out of your head if you skip a week. But try not to do that too often. For one thing, eventually you will start forgetting what you've worked so hard to learn, for another, taking too much time off just makes it take all that much longer to get up to where you can do fun things like read easily and understand tv shows. So try to keep at it regularly. Think of it like building momentum: regular, daily contact with the language is going to help it stick in your brain better with less effort. Doing something daily or near-daily is telling your brain "this sh*t is important!!" and your brain is likelier to assimilate it that way.

Swedish is a fun language and if you're interested you should go for it. It doesn't have the same selection in entertainment media as the big languages like French or Spanish do, but there is quite a bit of entertainment if you figure out where to look and how to access it. Good luck!

Where to buy books in Swedish:
1. Bokus: Apparently they do not ship to the U.S. but I've never had problems getting stuff sent to Canada. Shipping is expensive but that goes for more than just getting stuff sent from Sweden. I've bought physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks (as digital downloads) from Bokus. It's so convenient to get everything I need from one place.
2. Bokon: Ok, so sometimes I get ebooks from Bokon and not Bokus. Why? Bokon will send the books directly to my Kindle. One can just use calibre software and convert the .epub to .mobi, and then load it to your Kindle yourself... but sometimes I just want to skip all the work.

Where to watch Swedish-language tv:
In North America (because that’s where I am): SVT, MHZ Choice, Netflix. Those are the ones I use. SVT has Swedish subtitles for their programs. MHZ Choice has English subtitles and you can’t turn them off, but they do have 30+ series so cover the subtitles or something. Netflix Canada seems to have fewer Swedish offerings than the U.S. version, but there are a few series on there. Not sure if I’d bother subscribing just for the Swedish content though.


************************************

This is not a 2019 log. This is a reset.

Bored with how stagnant my routine had become, I conjured up a ridiculous challenge with a couple friends for the month of December.

Duolingo. As many languages as we fancied. One lesson in each language per day for the month of December.

We picked a group language (German), and then each of us separately picked one language that the other two would learn. I gave them Romanian. One of them gave me Japanese, the other Korean. I have to admit, those two languages were never in my plans for learning :lol: Neither was Romanian, but to show my team spirit I'm learning it as well.

One rule was already mentioned: do one lesson everyday in each of the languages one is learning. Another rule is that we cannot drop the group language or the languages that were chosen for us for the duration of the month. Outside of those three languages, we can choose as many languages as we want for ourselves, and those extra languages can be dropped or added at any time throughout December.

My self-selected languages are French, Italian, Polish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Czech, Spanish, and the aforementioned Romanian. That's 11 languages in total. Remember, though, the commitment is only to do one lesson per language per day. The purpose is to explore, have fun, and, for me at least, to re-energize my study routine overall. The lessons are short, and can be spread throughout the day. It's just for 31 days, and the bare minimum commitment is only three languages (for me: German, Japanese, Korean).

Apart from that madness, Swedish continues. I'm shaking this up by putting 20-minute boundaries on each activity (tv excluded). It makes just about everything eminently doable. Read the news, read Harry Potter, do a bit of course/grammar work, get Anki done. Treat myself to an episode of a tv show.

The last language activity I've got going on this December is Pimsleur level I Icelandic. Uh, yup, Icelandic is back, for now. If I do one Pimsleur lesson per day I will finish on the 31st. Would you believe a local library has a copy!? Maybe breaking from Colloquial Icelandic will rekindle the flame.

If there is anything I want to work on going forward, it is finding the middle ground. Stop living on the fringes, the extremes of attitudes. Stop oscillating between taking on too much and doing too little. And I want that middle ground to be my middle ground, as in: stop going in whichever direction the wind blows. There will be days/weeks/months where I feel invincible, and there will be days/weeks/months where the weight of the task is too much and I feel like quitting. There will be times where it seems like everybody else has better ideas than I do, more time than I do, more achievements, etc. None of that matters. Each day one can choose to be paralyzed in the face of it all, or to keep moving. A mile, a meter, an inch. Doesn’t matter. Just keep moving.

Well, that's it! Happy December! Happy learning!
Last edited by Morgana on Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:27 pm, edited 22 times in total.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby SGP » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:33 am

Morgana wrote:We picked a group language (German), and then each of us separately picked one language that the other two would learn. I gave them Romanian. One of them gave me Japanese, the other Korean. I have to admit, those two languages were never in my plans for learning :lol: Neither was Romanian, but to show my team spirit I'm learning it as well.
If it is a challenge, did you (pl.) also keep in mind that some of them are easier to learn then others?

The last language activity I've got going on this December is Pimsleur level I Icelandic. Uh, yup, Icelandic is back, for now.
Didn't see that coming (at least for now), especially after what you previously wrote in the other log.

Maybe breaking from Colloquial Icelandic will rekindle the flame.
As they say, que será, será.

There will be days/weeks/months where I feel invincible,
Like a female version of Super Mario maybe? Talking about that star that makes him blink... #ExplicatoryAnalogy #PersonallyNotPlayingAnyVideoGames

and there will be days/weeks/months where the weight of the task is too much and I feel like quitting. There will be times where it seems like everybody else has better ideas than I do, more time than I do, more achievements, etc. None of that matters. Each day one can choose to be paralyzed in the face of it all, or to keep moving. A mile, a meter, an inch. Doesn’t matter. Just keep moving.
Good to hear about that whole "No Matter if They Learn Faster" idea. Still wondering why exactly so many people out there have the "I must beat everyone at everything" idea.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby MamaPata » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:06 pm

Hah, what a lovely idea! It's not something I want to do right now but I look forward to hearing how it goes for you!
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby Morgana » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:04 am

SGP wrote:
Morgana wrote:We picked a group language (German), and then each of us separately picked one language that the other two would learn. I gave them Romanian. One of them gave me Japanese, the other Korean. I have to admit, those two languages were never in my plans for learning :lol: Neither was Romanian, but to show my team spirit I'm learning it as well.
If it is a challenge, did you (pl.) also keep in mind that some of them are easier to learn then others?
No. There's no goal or outcome to be achieved other than doing the one lesson per day in each language during December. After the 31st we are all free to quit the entire thing.

MamaPata wrote:Hah, what a lovely idea! It's not something I want to do right now but I look forward to hearing how it goes for you!
Thanks. It is a bit chaotic at first, with 11 languages, but I did it to myself and I'm not complaining 8-) After the 10th, I intend to reduce the number of languages from 11 down to 5-7.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby SGP » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:03 am

Morgana wrote:No. There's no goal or outcome to be achieved other than doing the one lesson per day in each language during December. After the 31st we are all free to quit the entire thing.
I just might try something similar in the future (on my own, and without Duolingo). Simply doing one lesson per day for some time, then moving on.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby Cavesa » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:51 pm

A great idea, I hope it goes well for you and your friends. I really like that it is activity oriented and not goal oriented, that looks like a very reasonable and motivating way to go.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby Morgana » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:58 am

Duolingo Update:
Juggling 11 languages on Duolingo quickly becomes boring, at least how I'm doing them. I'm not getting into much of the grammar, and I'm not using any other resources to help explain anything. Being serious wasn't the point :D Anyway, I've discontinued Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, French, Spanish, Czech, and Norwegian. I still have German, Japanese, Korean, and Romanian going, and I picked up Russian.

A friend recommended Lingodeer so I gave it a shot for several days. It does do a bit better at teaching the characters for each of Japanese and Korean, however, I stopped using it once I was exceeding one hour per day on it for a couple days in a row! I don't want the rest of my studies to be derailed by what was meant to be a fun and low-commitment challenge.


Swedish:
Still reading, still watching tv. Keeping up with Anki reviews, but not adding much in the way of new cards. I got rid of reading the news and the course/grammar stuff because I wasn't enjoying those.

I was reading some threads here and in other places where the 10,000 pages figure gets mentioned, and it put into perspective my own progress. By the end of the current Harry Potter novel I'm reading, I'll still only be at around 1,900 pages read. I can relax about where I'm at. And I've got a new target to aim for that is not time-dependent.


Icelandic:
9/30 Pimsleur level I Icelandic units completed. I fell behind because I find Pimsleur so mindnumbingly boring. I don't think I'm going to keep going with this!

I've returned to Colloquial Icelandic on the side and have been adding 20-30 pieces of new vocab to my Anki deck daily. I'm at the start of unit 8 and though the first dialogue was fairly light, it was followed by three pages of food-related vocabulary lists.


Other:
I tried out Readlang with Swedish for a couple days. What persuaded me was the flashcard exporting feature. In practice it doesn't save me much time because I am particular about the formatting of my cards so I end up doing a lot of editing anyway. The pop-up dictionary is faster than Kindle's, but some of the translations are a bit odd, bordering on maybe not even being words. So there again, no time saved when I start opening tabs to check Norstedts or Lexin.


Well that's that. My aim is to get HP2 finished by the end of the month, and maybe unit 8 from Colloquial Icelandic as well. Apart from that, just trying to think ahead for what to focus on in 2019.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby Morgana » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:55 pm

According to Spotify I listened to just under 3 hours/day of music this year. If only I could learn a language by playing it in the background for 3 hours/day, I'd be fluent in no time :roll: :lol:


Duolingo
I sure am looking forward to the end of this form of language dabbling. The only three languages I've consistently stuck to since the start of the month are the ones I wasn't allowed to drop: German, Japanese, Korean. I've still got Russian going, and I've added back French. I've dropped Romanian since last time, but only because I know I won't continue with that language past the 31st. Otherwise, Romanian seemed pretty cool. As for JA and KO, Duolingo is entirely the wrong medium to start off with in those and I have not succeeded at memorizing/"learning" more than a handful of the characters in each language at this stage. If I were being more studious I would absolutely use other resources and put more effort into it, but that wasn't the purpose of this challenge.

As for German, the longer I continue into the Duolingo tree, the more cognates I see with Swedish, and the less I like German based off of that :lol: It's like Swedish, but spelled funny, and pronounced funny, and eventually it will have way more complicated grammar, why would I do that to myself?? I'm just kidding around. Maybe one day German will have a place in my life, but not just yet.

As for Russian and French, well, read on.


Swedish
Just a few chapters left of HP2. I've got a series on SVT that I'm trying to keep up with an episode per day of because it's only available until the start of January. Outside of reading and listening, I'm just doing my Anki reviews everyday (no new cards).

I'm glad where I'm at with Swedish but it's not easy. I'm glad pop-up dictionaries exist and that someone on the internet made one for Swedish on Kindle. I try to imagine a day where I hardly have to look up words, but that day is likely still several years off as I am not even out of YA territory with loads of look ups. I could be much farther ahead if I had more discipline, but I don't and I'm just starting to be ok with that. I consider these points whenever I have thoughts of adding languages.


Icelandic
Pimsleur is on hold indefinitely. I have not completed anymore units since last post.

Work through Colloquial Icelandic unit 8 continues however. I may actually get it done by the 31st. It just covered impersonal constructions, and how the "subject" in those kinds of constructions is not really a subject, so it isn't in the nominative case. It's a bit weird to get your head around but simple enough to memorize. There's usually an exercise or two for every new grammar point covered, but it's not enough to really absorb the new information. Despite my Anki cards covering case endings, despite my prior efforts to go through earlier readings in the text line by line to process the cases, it's still not sticking. Though, now that I think about it, I haven't applied the same effort to remember the genders of words. I kind of hope it all just "comes together" with time because I can't see brute force memorization being The Way. Mostly because I'm unwilling to brute-force-memorize 8-)


Other
I have managed to refrain from posting about this all month but I've been going from one end of the scale to other re: add a third language or not. It could be fun, it could be frustrating, it would probably be both. There's no real point to adding one. There's no real point that I study Swedish or Icelandic either, so usefulness or lack of has never stopped me (though it gives me pause from time to time). I could do something non-language-related with my time, but everything I might do that way is just as effort- and time-intensive as another language would be, and just as much lacking a real purpose to it. However, all of it has a purpose: something to do, to continue learning, to broaden my mind and my skills, and even sometimes enjoy whatever it is I'm filling the time with ;) So it's a toss-up between doing more languages or doing something else, both options have the same positives and negatives. And for that reason I don't seem to settle on one option over all the others.

At this point I'm throwing my hands in the air and just going ahead with Russian and French, not seriously, and knowing full well I may not get very far. I want to be ok with inconsistency and slow progress. I think it'd be good for me all around. Why don't I just practice getting ok with those things in Swedish and Icelandic? Good point. The answer is that I've got a bit more time to fill than I could do with just those languages. I don't like doing just one thing for hours per day if I don't have to! And tbh I might also do non-language-related things and rotate activities, do whatever feels most appealing on any given day. It's not work time, it's my free time, I can structure that however I want. Maybe SV and IS will also get shifted into this pattern too.

Russian is basically entirely new, I still remember about half of the alphabet from a few months ago when I dabbled with a few Assimil lessons. French isn't new, I've got lots of high school and uni credits there but it's all over a decade old now. I did the Dialang listening test a few months ago and got an A2, so I'm not starting from nothing. (If I was I probably wouldn't add it.) I have no goals in these languages, and I'm going to try not to spend any money on learning them, at least for a few months. I'm also not intending to be consistent, I'll engage on days I feel like it and skip them on the days I don't.

I'll try to make a post about 2019 soon, but mercifully that's all I have to say right now!!
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby SGP » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:03 am

Morgana wrote: I've dropped Romanian since last time, but only because I know I won't continue with that language past the 31st. Otherwise, Romanian seemed pretty cool.

Can't disagree. Something Latin-based with great Slavonic influence. Sort of a rarity, I guess. You can't buy that at McDonald's.

As for JA and KO, Duolingo is entirely the wrong medium to start off with in those and I have not succeeded at memorizing/"learning" more than a handful of the characters in each language at this stage.

Now why isn't the (Mean?) Green Owl the best Japanese and Korean from Zero Teacher?

As for German, the longer I continue into the Duolingo tree, the more cognates I see with Swedish, and the less I like German based off of that :lol: It's like Swedish, but spelled funny, and pronounced funny, and eventually it will have way more complicated grammar, why would I do that to myself?? I'm just kidding around.

Do you know that some of "us" could say the very same thing about Swedish, too? "Swedish is like German, but spelled funny, and pronounced funny, and it also has less complicated grammar, but I really need the Vier Superwichtige Fälle Der Deutschen Sprache to express myself!".

But, mind you, this is no Retourkutsche ("return carriage", i.e. a tit-for-tat response). By the way, "Luftspiegelung" (literally it means sth. like "air mirroring") is the native word for the (also well-known) Fata Morgana. And me too, I am Just Kidding Around. Because I am a Schelm. :lol:

I really like the idea of being able to unqueue Swedish in the not-so-distant future once again. And I do hope that this day will come.

What do you think about the following?
I (later) could try to reach Swedish B2, because you are at B1 right now. And then I would press the Swedish Pause Button, so you could try to reach C1, thus "beating" me once again, just as you already are doing right now if you can actively use B1 Swedish. #ThisIsNotReallyAChallengeOffer #SimplyMentioningTheSolePossibilityOfANoEnvyChallenge
#YesIDidReadYourWholePostInItsEntirety

[ ] Yes
[ ] No
[ ] Maybe
[ ] Not telling ya! Because that way, I can secretly plan some more Swedish learning activities, without yourself even realizing anything.
Last edited by SGP on Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just keep moving.

Postby SGP » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:05 am

I'm glad where I'm at with Swedish but it's not easy. I'm glad pop-up dictionaries exist and that someone on the internet made one for Swedish on Kindle.

If I am not mistaken, the Swedish one, too, is monolingual. Is this approach much more useful to you than using a bilingual one?

Work through Colloquial Icelandic unit 8 continues however. I may actually get it done by the 31st. It just covered impersonal constructions, and how the "subject" in those kinds of constructions is not really a subject, so it isn't in the nominative case. It's a bit weird to get your head around but simple enough to memorize.

Recently had a Polish experience. Reading about it might be a bit useful to you, too.

"Jest" (he/she/ [it?] is) takes the instrumental case. So when someone states that "he/she" is _____ , this means "instrumentalizing" that noun in order to express something.

And "mam" (I have) takes the genitive case. This is like saying "I have [some/all] of a certain thing".

What I am trying to say is that there is some inner-language logic. After knowing it, remembering grammar could be even easier.


Though, now that I think about it, I haven't applied the same effort to remember the genders of words. I kind of hope it all just "comes together" with time because I can't see brute force memorization being The Way.

First, I learned German Word Genders. #GermanSpeakingBabyHomeSchool #ToddlerTeachings
Then, a long, long time later, it was about these Retro-Italian Daughters. They are very talkative. They kept providing me "all the day" with some Word Gender Information. And I did try both of "Robotic Rote Memorization" (a.k.a. Brute Force) ;) and the immersion and exposure approach. Now guess which one worked better for me?

Mostly because I'm unwilling to brute-force-memorize 8-)

Underbar!
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