Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019 -- now with Polish!!

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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby rdearman » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:55 pm

Yeah, it is a bit like shooting fish in a bucket.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Brun Ugle » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:55 pm

I'm so excited! :D :D :D :D Today was the Red Cross Norwegian Training at the library. First, I went to my friend, AG's apartment to fetch her. She is blind and needs someone to either drive her or walk with her, so whenever the weather is reasonably nice, I go to her apartment first and we walk to the library together. She is a really cheerful and friendly woman in her 70's and has lived in this town most of her life, so she knows a lot of people and people often call her name and come up to us when we're out walking. Today, as we neared the library, an eldery woman came up to us and started talking to us. I didn't know her from before, but she was very nice and friendly and it turns out --- Japanese! So, before I could get too nervous, I spoke to her in Japanese. She was very surprised and of course, wanted to know why I spoke Japanese. I didn't go into the whole story of my on-again-off-again relationship with Japanese, so I just told her that I'd started learning because I'd had a Japanese boyfriend back when I was about twenty. But I told her in Japanese! 8-) So, I actually managed to speak a few sentences of perfectly understandable Japanese today. After my Spanish fiasco last week, it was very satisfying. It's kind of funny that I failed on Spanish in spite of speaking it every week and reading or watching TV nearly every day, and yet with Japanese, which I haven't tried to speak in years and which I haven't been doing much with lately except the minimum of anki cards, I had no problems. The experience brought back a bit of my enthusiasm for Japanese though, so maybe I can use this to encourage myself to do a bit more work on it again.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Brun Ugle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:56 am

Hmmm. Five stars for my Spanish fiasco and 17 for my Japanese success. I guess happy stories “sell” better. I’ll keep that in mind. I do think that it’s good to include stories of one’s failures though. It keeps things realistic and that’s perhaps especially useful for those who’ve not yet successfully learned a language. It shows that we all struggle and failures are a natural part of the process.

I’ve kind of fallen out of my study routine lately. Part of it is that we’ve suddenly had a period of nice weather and I’ve got more energy. Somehow, that makes it harder to sit still and concentrate, but at least I’ve been getting a few other things done. German is especially difficult because I feel like I never know where to begin. I’m struggling to develop a good study plan for German, and to some extent for Spanish. With Spanish, I actually started learning from the beginning in a normal fashion, so I learned the basics well. My problem now is that it’s just hard to make progress at a higher level. I know I need to do some intensive work on writing and that that would push my level up a notch, but it’s hard trying to decide every day what to write and so on, so I tend to fall back on fun, easy activities like reading and watching TV. Lately my Spanish has been getting worse though, so I really need to find a way to get back to real studying. German is even worse because I’ve never properly learned the basics and I can’t find a good course or textbook that really suits me, so I end up just reading and watching TV and relying heavily on Norwegian to help me.

Japanese is easier to actually study at the moment than Spanish or German. And that’s because I have a simple routine and I know what I have to do every day. I basically just keep plugging away at my Anki deck. I’m more than a third of the way into the Japanese core 6K deck and it’s still going well, but it’s starting to get a bit harder. There are more and more words that mean basically the same thing or very similar things, and more words with rather abstract meanings. There are also more words written with the same kanji but with different meanings and pronunciations, which means every time that kanji or combination of kanji comes up, I have to think of all the variations because I don’t know which one is being asked for. Also, the reviews are starting to build up a bit more. I seem to be taking a break (planned or unplanned) about once every ten days. Unplanned means I just forgot, but if I intentionally decide not to do it because I don’t feel like it or whatever, I try to do at least some of the reviews so they don’t build up too much. I look forward to taking a slightly longer break during the Gathering. I’m hoping to just do reviews for a few days before to prevent a big build-up, and hopefully, I’ll even find a few minutes here and there to do some reviews during the Gathering which should make for a fairly relaxing start with relatively few reviews when I get home again.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:31 am

Brun Ugle wrote:German is even worse because I’ve never properly learned the basics and I can’t find a good course or textbook that really suits me, so I end up just reading and watching TV and relying heavily on Norwegian to help me.
I'm currently working through Deutsch interaktiv [flash plugin required] on DW.com. Several people have mentioned Nico's Weg (another DW.com course), and I think I'll probably try that once I've finished Deutsch interactiv.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Iversen » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:24 pm

rdearman wrote:Yeah, it is a bit like shooting fish in a bucket.

The legendary Mythbusters once proved that it is hard to shoot anything in a bucket of water - you need much more firepower than if you shoot it on dry land
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Brun Ugle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:45 pm

Iversen wrote:
rdearman wrote:Yeah, it is a bit like shooting fish in a bucket.

The legendary Mythbusters once proved that it is hard to shoot anything in a bucket of water - you need much more firepower than if you shoot it on dry land

So, it’s more like shooting fish on dry land then. That might be an even more apt expression in this case. Just like there is no need to shoot a fish that is already on land since it will die soon anyway, there is no need for anyone to try to sidetrack me with new languages because I’m always sidetracking myself.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby MamaPata » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:22 pm

I don’t think you can really compare the number of likes for those two posts. It can feel weird “liking” someone’s failure, even if if you sympathise and like that they are sharing the ups and downs.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby GnomeChomsky » Sun May 05, 2019 6:10 pm

Brun Ugle wrote: Today, as we neared the library, an eldery woman came up to us and started talking to us. I didn't know her from before, but she was very nice and friendly and it turns out --- Japanese! So, before I could get too nervous, I spoke to her in Japanese. She was very surprised and of course, wanted to know why I spoke Japanese. I didn't go into the whole story of my on-again-off-again relationship with Japanese, so I just told her that I'd started learning because I'd had a Japanese boyfriend back when I was about twenty. But I told her in Japanese! 8-) .



Inspirational! I love to read stories like these!
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun May 19, 2019 4:49 pm

Long time, no see. I’m still here, and still studying – sort of. I’ve been plagued by a series of illnesses this year that have caused me not to study as much or as seriously as I would have liked. Most recently, I’ve had a cough that wouldn’t go away and I ended up dropping reading aloud and doing recordings and reducing several other voice-related activities and now I feel like I’ve forgotten how to speak all my languages. I do have a bit more energy now though, so that’s something. And, except for today when I got another one of those weird combination stomach/head troubles that makes my brain cease functioning entirely, I’ve been able to think a bit more clearly. I would really like to understand why my brain stops working sometimes though. It’s really weird and kind of scary.

I’ve been slowly getting back into reading (in general, not just in foreign languages) and I think that’s a good thing. I think it has also contributed to slightly better sleep and lower stress. And doing it in foreign languages might help me to learn something too. I read this thread and if the one million sentences hypothesis is correct and the calculation of 3500 sentences per book is also correct and holds across languages, I need to read about 285 books per language. At the rate I’ve been reading (or mostly not reading) these past few years, that would take a long time, like the rest of my life. So, I need to increase the time I spend reading. I’ve already been working on this a bit and I like the effects at least on my stress levels and sleeping patterns, so I think I will continue and try to increase it even more. I could also increase my reading speed a bit and it will certainly increase a bit in my weaker languages as I go, but I don’t think speed-reading or similar super-fast reading techniques would be useful for absorbing a language as I think it would lead to ignoring the small details that are important to know if you want to produce the language even though they don’t really add a lot of meaning and can be hopped over in reading. On the contrary, I sometimes intentionally slow down and read aloud in order to better absorb the language itself.

I was doing a bit better with languages for a few weeks after mostly getting over my various illnesses, but these past couple of weeks have gone a bit downhill. I’m getting nervous about the Gathering and the whole business of getting there. Travel always makes me a bit stressed. I don’t really feel anxious, but whenever there is something going to happen, my subconscious seems to feel like it needs to be on alert at all times. It’s not as bad this year as previous years, but I’m still having memory problems and sleeping problems because my subconscious knows I have to wake up early on Sunday next week, so it’s practicing, or something. Another thing that has caused me a little stress is that I have a foster cat (Birk) and I really wish I could keep him, but at the same time, having a cat would make travel almost impossible and bring with it a number of other difficulties that I’m not sure I’m ready for at this time. So, I’m torn between wanting a cat (specifically this cat) and not wanting to have a cat. He’s such a well-behaved cat though and so sweet. He lets me carry him around like a baby and kiss his belly, just like my Carlitos used to.

Unfortunately, Zenmonkey won’t be able to come to the Gathering with us and that’s very sad. He and I had made a pact to speak together only in German and Spanish. Also, everyone else is going home on the 4th, and we were staying until the 5th, so he and I were going to go to Vienna together for the last day and now I have to go by myself. I booked a room near a big bookstore there, so I’m all set, but it would have been a lot of fun to have Zenmonkey there. I think Vienna will be OK, because I’ve been to that part of Vienna before and taken the bus to the airport from the station near where I’ll be staying. I’m a little nervous about getting the bus from the Vienna airport to Bratislava in the beginning of the trip though because the last two times, I always arrived at the airport around the same time as Dave and we took the bus together. I’m incredibly skilled at getting lost (A few days ago, I got lost in my own neighbourhood walking along the same path I walk every day.), so I’m a little nervous about that part. Once I meet up with the others, I will be with them until I go to Vienna, so then I can relax. They always take good care of me and make sure I don’t get lost too much (except that time I got lost after going to the bathroom, but I found them again pretty quickly).

I’m still mainly working through my Anki deck (core 6K) for Japanese and occasionally watching a video. I’m getting close to the halfway mark on the Anki deck and it’s definitely getting harder. I decided to cut down from 20 new cards per day to 10 for the next couple of days, and then cut done to 5 new cards per day from Tuesday. During the Gathering, I will leave it set to 5 cards per day, but I’ll only do them if I get through all the reviews first. My original plan was to set it back up to 20 per day afterward, but I might have to keep it down at 10 or 15 and just take a longer time to finish since it’s getting so much harder now. That might be a good thing as I could spend more time on other activities. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Anki and not feeling like doing anything else with Japanese afterwards. It was OK in the beginning when I could click “easy” on most words and didn’t have so many reviews, but now I can’t do that much and also, I’m failing more words than before, meaning even more reviews as they keep coming back again and again. I was kind of looking forward to finishing by the end of the year though.

The “movie” part of my Spanish Super Challenge is going well. I already passed my goal long ago and I’m still watching. I’ve put Cuéntame on hold for a while and am watching a Mexican telenovela (Qué pobres tan ricos) now. It’s just as silly and over-the-top as a good telenovela should be. And it’s kind of fun as the male protagonist and his sidekick are played by the same actors as the male protagonist and sidekick from the first telenovela I watched, so it brings back good memories. That was when I made my breakthrough on listening comprehension and it brought me so much happiness it almost made me manic. This time, I’m much more subdued, but it still makes me happy to see them again and remember that time. I do have a hard time understanding a few of the characters because they speak so strangely, but some of the other characters have trouble understanding them too. Also, telenovelas are made really quickly, so the sound quality is not as good as in series where they only do one episode a week, and I’m really noticing the difference.

I also finished the book-club book “La sombra del viento” close to a month ago. I loved it, but it seems a lot of the other book-club members were not that impressed. The local library has the other books in the series, so I will probably read them as well after I get home again.

I’ve come to the realization that I need more direction in my Spanish studies. As you probably know, my executive function is not really functional (the executive must be on permanent vacation), and if I don’t have some clear outside guidelines, I just run around in circles and get nothing done. It has to be a simple guide though, no complex, multi-layer plans. So, I’ve decided after I come back from the Gathering, I’ll buy an advanced textbook. I’m thinking of looking into the one Cavesa has been using (Vitamina C or something like that) as she seems to find it good and I’ve liked other textbooks she’s suggested. The main point is just to have a clear path to my studies. With a textbook, I always know what to do next and then I study like a machine, but without it, nothing gets done because I try to do everything at once and can’t decide what I should do next. In my “free time” I will, of course, continue to read and watch TV.

My German also needs direction. I think I made a big mistake with German. I assumed it would be easy because I already know Norwegian, and in a way, it is easy. I can read novels and watch simple TV series and documentaries without too much trouble, but my brain just ignores the details like genders, plurals, prepositions, etc because I don’t need them to understand. I’ve tried many times to start working on it, but I never seem to know where to start because it always seems too easy. Now though, I think I need to just learn from the beginning, or nearly the beginning. I happen to have “Themen aktuell” A2 and B1 and I’ve decided to work through them fairly quickly. Even though I don’t have much trouble understanding at that level, I feel like doing the exercises in the workbooks might help me to slow down and absorb the bits of grammar and vocabulary that I’m missing at the lower levels and fill in the gaps. I should be able to get through them quickly and then I will buy the B2 book, which probably corresponds better to my receptive level. The main point is to stop jumping from one thing to another in the search of the perfect course for my level and just work through everything and finally learn a few plurals and which prepositions go with which verbs. And maybe I’ll learn to speak real German instead of just Germanizing Norwegian words and switching the word-order around. Again, I will continue reading and watching TV in my free time.

I’m currently nearly finished with an Agatha Christie novel in German. I’ll probably finish tomorrow or maybe the day after at the latest. After that, I don’t know what I should read. Whatever it is, I’d like to finish before I leave, so it should probably be in Norwegian or English. I read more slowly in German and Spanish and don’t have anything very short in those languages that I could complete in that time.
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Re: Brun Ugle の mehrsprachige bitácora (NO, ES, DE, JA) 2019

Postby Brun Ugle » Fri May 24, 2019 7:16 pm

Well, I’m almost packed and ready to go. I always get so stressed before I travel somewhere, but now I’m much calmer than I was a few days ago. And a few weeks ago. I forgot to mention it, but I had a funny nightmare a few weeks ago involving this trip and some of you. In the dream, Rick, Dave and Zenmonkey were all staying at my house the night before we were to leave for the Gathering. Radioclare was supposed to drive us to the airport in the morning, but when it was time to go, I discovered I had completely forgotten to pack and also my house was huge with walk-in closets bigger than the bedrooms are in reality and they were all full of clothes, but I couldn’t find any of the clothes I needed. In reality, I started packing a couple weeks ago and most of my clothes have been packed for a week.

I finished that Agatha Christie translation in German already the same day as I wrote my last entry and since then, I’ve hardly done any German. I found a couple of books of short stories to read, one in Spanish and one in English. I figure that with short stories, I’m not likely to be in the middle of something when it’s time to leave. It’s too bad I don’t have a book of German short stories though. I could use some more German reading. The Spanish book is a collection of science fiction from 1979, translated from English. I remember finding it at a used book store years ago and trying and failing to read it several times over the years, but now it’s really not hard at all. Sometimes it’s nice to have something like that to remind you that you have actually improved. I often feel disappointed when I read something in Spanish and there are still so many unfamiliar words, but the thing is, I keep increasing the difficulty level. So, the things I struggle with now are objectively much harder than the things I struggled with some years ago, but the struggle kind of remains constant.

I cut way back on new cards in my Japanese Anki deck, but I keep looking at the stats to see how many reviews I’ll have after 10 days if I don’t review anything during that time, and it hardly seems to go down at all. It’s around 600 now. Maybe if I could stop failing cards, it would be OK, but my memory seems to have a six-month limit or something as I discovered when doing Goldlists. I would easily remember things for the required two weeks and cross them of the list, but then a few months later, I didn’t know them anymore.
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