Neurotip 2020: Greek, Icelandic, things like that

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Neurotip
Green Belt
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:02 pm
Location: London, UK
Languages: eng N; active: ita B2-C1, fra B2?, ell B1-2, ísl A2; inactive: deu B1-2, spa A1-2?, swe A1?
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9850
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Neurotip 2020: Greek, Icelandic, things like that

Postby Neurotip » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:49 pm

Whoops, another month has gone by and time for a log post. tl;dr: so far so good.

As per plan, I'm taking a more relaxed approach to both Icelandic and Greek than previously. I'm dividing my time about 50/50 between listening and reading. Listening is some didactic (VLI for Icelandic, again, and FSI and HAU for Greek) and some native podcast material (see last few log posts for links). Reading is almost exclusively Snjóblinda and Κάτι θα γίνει, θα δεις; I'm relying mostly on dictionaries (paperback Oxford for Greek, UWDC for Icelandic) - I have the English translation of Snowblind, but not only is it not literal enough to be very useful, the translator has also taken considerable liberties with the text, changing the order of lines and adding entire paragraphs at some points. I wonder if the Icelandic author has read it? :) (cf. the Icelandic Dracula...)

Anyway, whether listening or reading, I'll take in a sentence or two, then speak or write-and-speak it out from memory, then check against the original and analyse errors (in writing, this is in effect scriptorium); except with the podcasts which I just listen to without stopping, even if I'm only understanding 20%. I fondly imagine my speaking skills are improving through all this, but I'm also trying to get in a few minutes of talking to myself most days.

In actual fact I understand substantially more in Greek than Icelandic, probably a combination of the amount of listening I've done so far and the smooshed-together-yness of spoken Icelandic. I was musing earlier today on the sentence 'Hvað ertu búinn að vera lengi hér á landi?', which the dictionary says ought to have fourteen syllables but I reckon would normally consist of about nine. Greek sort of does this too, but in much more tractable ways (basically it just elides vowel-vowel sequences between words, not unlike Italian).

I am not doing Anki or Icelandic Online (sorry IOL) - I just can't get them to fit into my daily routine. Listening is for the morning walk to work, reading is for bedtime; screen/keyboard stuff just doesn't have a place in the day.

As per plan, I'm alternating seven days Greek with seven days Icelandic. As far as I can tell this is going fine. I'm certainly not getting bored with either language, they're not interfering with each other significantly, and I'm not feeling any problem coming back to one after a week with the other. Whether I'm making as much progress per day of study as I would be if I was concentrating on one language, that's hard to know, but since this year's goal is really to have fun rather than to reach any particular level, so far so good!
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User avatar
Neurotip
Green Belt
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:02 pm
Location: London, UK
Languages: eng N; active: ita B2-C1, fra B2?, ell B1-2, ísl A2; inactive: deu B1-2, spa A1-2?, swe A1?
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9850
x 493

Re: Neurotip 2020: Greek, Icelandic, things like that

Postby Neurotip » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:42 pm

Greek
The plan of one week Greek / one week Icelandic is still going, well, to plan. I've pretty much come to a halt with FSI around unit 50, since it's become impractical to listen without spending time with the written text as well. For my listening at the moment I've gravitated towards Easy Greek, which is at a good level for me - I can understand about 50% first time, and about 80% with repeated listening. It also lends itself to a listen-repeat format, like the FSI method, and has the advantage of representing 'ordinary' modern Greek and having a wide range of speakers of various ages. I think, I think, I can feel a slight improvement in fluency when I'm doing this, but it's hard to be sure. Reading is still Κάτι θα γίνει, θα δεις, either using the paper Pocket Oxford dictionary or just ploughing on and trying to get the gist. There are quite a few words that aren't in the dictionary anyway!

Icelandic
Listening is still VLI - up to number 15 now so not long to go before I have to find some alternative suitable material. Any ideas? Snjóblinda now on chapter 10; my ebook reader doesn't provide an accurate word count, but I think I'm about 7k-8k words in. I'm feeling that very common words and turns of phrase are becoming familiar to me without entering the sphere of what I can actually produce, which is frustrating but normal I suppose. Maybe it would make a difference if I actually practised speaking sometimes. :) Oh, and while at home with a cold last week (yes, a cold...) I learned 'Viltu koma að gera snjókarl?', because I'm sentimental and I like learning song lyrics, and anyway why not. Mrs Neurotip did give me a slightly funny look when she saw 'Icelandic DisneyPrincess' [spacing and capitalisation sic] among my YouTube subscriptions, but I think she knows me well enough by now...

Egyptian Arabic
whaa?
Regular readers will know that I've been toying with the idea of Arabic for a while, and in mid-Feb I suddenly lost control, downloaded a load of materials, ordered a book and started doing Language Transfer. What draws me to Arabic in particular? The sheer different-ness of it, of course; the fact that I know several native speakers and come into contact with new ones fairly often; the writing system and calligraphy (always loved that), which I also come across fairly often here and there; the culture, to a degree, or at least I'm curious to hear and read what Arabs say to each other; the maddeningly weird sociolinguistic situation with the 'dialects'; and hey I don't have an FSI category 4 language under my belt yet. From a phonetic point of view it doesn't appeal hugely, but I've always enjoyed a phonetic challenge. So why Egyptian Arabic rather than Levantine or MSA? Fundamentally because Egypt is the main Arabic-speaking country I'd like to visit (and I suspect/hope a bit of Arabic would come in pretty handy as a tourist in Egypt), and also the native speaker I know best is Egyptian.
I've got as far as track 20 of LT. I don't know if I'll continue with it but starting a new language is always super fun and this is no exception. Also I'm very pleased with myself (and kudos to Mihalis too) that I correctly identified which Arabic was Egyptian in this video, and I'm starting to pick up the odd word and even phrase in our current weekend viewing Fauda.

It is possible that I might have two big deadlines at work coming up and am desperately trying to come up with things to distract myself. If you think this is the case, don't tell me. 8-)
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