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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:00 am
by Brun Ugle
Well, that didn’t go as planned. I mentioned last time that my two orphaned foster kittens were now big enough to eat by themselves, allowing me to sleep through the night, and that I would be able to get back into my study routine. Ha! The animal protection society gave me two more kittens, so now I have four kittens in the house. The orphans are easy at this point. But the two new ones are feral kittens around three months old and I have to tame them. That means I have to spend a good bit of time stroking them (frequently against their will), talking to them, and playing with them. So, I don’t have nearly as much time as I thought I would. I’m also trying to get a bunch of stuff done around the house that I have neglected to do because it was too cold, too hot, or I was too tired and busy with kittens. I have done a little bit of language stuff, but I didn’t get back to my daily study routine yet, nor have I gotten back to my daily exercise routine and I’m definitely feeling that as well.

Spanish
I’m really enjoying Vitamina C1 so far. I’m definitely not going to be going through a chapter a week like I’d imagined though. I’ll be lucky if I get through a chapter a month at this rate. The chapters are very involved, so I don’t think I could get through one a week anyway unless I was working intensively and exclusively on Spanish, or cut corners on the exercises. After I’ve gone through a chapter or two, I’m planning to do a proper review of the book, but it seems really good so far. There are ten chapters and each chapter is divided into four sections each focusing on a grammar point. The exercises in the textbook are often designed for classroom use, but so far, they seem easy to adapt to individual use too. If it says to discuss something, I usually just write it up as an essay giving an account of different possible viewpoints. Within each section of the chapter is a small textbox explaining the relevant grammar point, but there is also an appendix where each grammar point is explained in much more detail. There are also several exercises directly related to the grammar point given in the appendix. The workbook has the same chapter and section divisions as the textbook, but the exercises are more geared towards homework to be done individually rather than in the classroom. It also has exercises scattered throughout the book that are designed to be similar to the tasks in the DELE. Depending on the nature of the exercise, solutions can often be found in the back of the textbook or workbook. The solutions are often very short and simple though. I generally try to give longer, more involved answers when doing the exercises, so usually I can only get through one or two small exercises in a day, if that. All the audios are available online and there are appendices with the transcripts in the books.

In addition to textbook work, I’ve finished the telenovela I was watching (Qué pobres tan ricos), which I think is my new favorite now. I guess now I should go back to watching Cuéntame, though maybe less intensively than before. There’s not much point in writing down all the vocabulary if I don’t do anything with it anyway.

I also had another conversation with the girl I met at the Gathering. I was really rusty after a whole summer with nearly no active use of the language, so it was very frustrating. I need to get back to making at least occasional recordings again.

German
I’ve barely touched German since last time, but I did do a few exercises in Themen aktuell. I think it was a good idea to start with the level A2 book. A lot of it seems pretty easy, but there are also exercises in the latter half of the book that make me think and that feel rather difficult. It’s exposing some of the holes left by my haphazard, mostly input-based method of learning German. I need some active grammar study as well. One recent exercise was a fill-in-the-blank exercise where the only thing missing was the separable verb prefix. There were about 20 sentences and there was a box at the top listing the six or seven prefixes to be used in the exercise. Even with that help, it felt really hard. I kept questioning what exactly the sentence meant to express. Were they sending the thing out? Away? In? I ended up getting almost all of them right, but it did show me that I don’t feel very confident in that area.

Japanese
I haven’t really touched Anki in ages. I guess I’ve reached my saturation point for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it later. For now, I decided to sign up for a year of Satori Reader. It seems like a fairly relaxed way to study and maybe I can absorb enough to feel comfortable watching TV and reading. I don’t really have plans to become good at speaking Japanese, but I would like to be able to read and listen without too much struggle.

Polish
I’ve still barely gotten anywhere with Polish. I’m not as enthusiastic about it as I’d thought I would be. I think my problem is that I want to learn every language except the one that I “have to” learn. I loved Norwegian until I moved here and had to learn it, the Language Jam seemed like a great idea until I was actually assigned a language and just felt “meh”, and every time I’ve made an agreement to learn a language with a group, I’ve given up fairly quickly, even if I’d been actively studying the language earlier. Still, I’m going to try to get into Polish. I think the thing that frustrates me the most at the moment is the pronunciation. I don’t really know what the difference is between all those different letters that sound the same, (which is basically all of them). So far, I’ve done a tiny bit of Memrise and I’ve found out I should be extra careful not to step on anyone’s foot in Poland, because in Polish, “sorry” definitely is one of the hardest things to say. Somebody should really buy them a vowel or two.

I’ve also done a little with Glossika. They have a new system where you have to type the sentence out each time and I hated it at first, but it’s grown on me. I use voice-entry for the most part rather than actually typing, but some of those Polish sentences are impossible. I’m not sure how much of the problem is my bad pronunciation and how much is the fault of the voice-entry system, but sometimes I’ll try twenty times and every time, it just writes nonsense. The Pimsleur I ordered through the library finally came too. I ripped the disks to my computer, but I haven’t transferred them to my phone yet. I’ll try to do that soon and then I can try taking some walks with Pimsleur and get some exercise and some studying in at the same time. Unfortunately, there are only eight lessons in this version, so it won’t take me very far.

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:15 am
by zenmonkey
Brun Ugle wrote:Polish


NO, no, NO!

<kicks and screams>

You guys dragged me on various language safaris and left me there. Way of the lazy fist... way of the crowded bus... way of kicking and screaming ...

No.

(I may have an old Assimil tape set I can convert to MP3s along the way....)

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:12 pm
by StringerBell
Brun Ugle wrote: But the two new ones are feral kittens around three months old and I have to tame them. That means I have to spend a good bit of time stroking them (frequently against their will), talking to them, and playing with them.


I'm pretty sure all cats are pet against their will. :D My cats always acted like they were doing me a really big favor by allowing me to pet them.

Brun Ugle wrote:Polish
I’ve still barely gotten anywhere with Polish.

Me, too! :lol:

Brun Ugle wrote:I think the thing that frustrates me the most at the moment is the pronunciation. I don’t really know what the difference is between all those different letters that sound the same, (which is basically all of them).


I think you are talking about the sound difference between pairs like ś and sz, or ć and cz, right? The secret is there is no difference! Even if someone claims there's a difference, if after 1,500+ listening I can't detect a difference, any possible difference is negligible, so I think of them as being interchangeable in terms of the sound they make, which hasn't affected my pronunciation or understanding, so I wouldn't worry about this at all.
ś and sz = the English sound "sh"
ć and cz = the English "ch"

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:29 pm
by tungemål
Hey, we got exactly the same languages!

I did Polish for a year and I think it is a beautiful language. I will get back to it some day. Polish pronunciation is not that hard actually. It is written totally phonetic, and some letter combinations really are pronounced the same even though they look different. They distinguish between ś and sz, ć and cz and so on, and this distinction could be hard. But if you got the "kj" sound in Norwegian down, you can leverage that to pronounce ś, because they share the same tongue position. When I discovered that it became easy, for me as a Norwegian. As an aside Mandarin got this same distinction: xi-sh, qi-ch are analogous to ś-sz, ć-cz.

Brun Ugle wrote:Polish
...
I think the thing that frustrates me the most at the moment is the pronunciation. I don’t really know what the difference is between all those different letters that sound the same, (which is basically all of them). So far, I’ve done a tiny bit of Memrise and I’ve found out I should be extra careful not to step on anyone’s foot in Poland, because in Polish, “sorry” definitely is one of the hardest things to say. Somebody should really buy them a vowel or two.

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:46 pm
by cjareck
StringerBell wrote:Even if someone claims there's a difference, if after 1,500+ listening I can't detect a difference, any possible difference is negligible, so I think of them as being interchangeable in terms of the sound they make, which hasn't affected my pronunciation or understanding, so I wouldn't worry about this at all.
ś and sz = the English sound "sh"
ć and cz = the English "ch"

Only the sh sounds like sz and ch like cz. With ć and ś and ź it is more complicated. They are perfectly distinguishable fo native speakers

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:36 am
by Morgana

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

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:57 pm
by brilliantyears
Brun Ugle wrote:Japanese
I haven’t really touched Anki in ages. I guess I’ve reached my saturation point for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it later. For now, I decided to sign up for a year of Satori Reader. It seems like a fairly relaxed way to study and maybe I can absorb enough to feel comfortable watching TV and reading. I don’t really have plans to become good at speaking Japanese, but I would like to be able to read and listen without too much struggle.

I'm very curious what your experience with Satori Reader is. I hadn't heard of it before until I read your post, but it looks interesting!

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

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:53 am
by Brun Ugle
Thanks for the help, everyone!

I can’t believe that I’ve been using Wikipedia’s phonology pages for various languages all this time and it never even occurred to me to look to see if they had an orthography page. That turned out to be very useful. Anyway, I think I’ve got my sounds more or less sorted now. I kind of understood the difference before, but wasn’t really sure which letter was which. I’m still not necessarily good at hearing them, but now I know which letter corresponds to which sound and I can at least put my tongue in the right place and hope for the best when it comes to producing them. I find that learning to produce a sound helps me to also hear it with time, and as I get better at hearing it, I can adjust my pronunciation and make that better, which in turn helps me hear it even better, and so on. So, the first step for me is just to read a description to figure out the general mouth-shape and tongue-position and try to follow it as best as I can.

I haven’t made much progress with Polish or any of my other languages these past couple of weeks. All the cats ended up getting sick and it was a big mess. I eventually asked them to take back the two wild cats because I was exhausted and overwhelmed and I didn’t have time for them. I also had a bunch of things I wanted to get done around the house that I hadn’t been able to do earlier when I was exhausted from getting up in the night to bottle-feed the kittens when they were small. Anyway, after the cats got better and the two wild cats left, I spent about a week and a half getting done some of what I didn’t get done earlier this summer. Not all of it, by any means, but enough that I feel reasonably satisfied. So, now maybe I can try to get back into my language routine, but I have a feeling that is going to be difficult. Ever since I got a life, it’s been getting in the way of studying. Back when I was lonely and depressed and had nothing to do, I could often get 8-9 hours a day in.

I think I made it to about lesson 5 of Pimsleur Polish. I’m still planning to finish it, but I don’t really like it much. I had tried Pimsleur once before because my father had it for Chinese. I didn’t like it much then either. It just seemed slow and I hated the whole bit with the obnoxious guy hitting on the woman and not understanding that she wasn’t interested. However, since Chinese isn’t a heavily gendered language like Polish, there was something I didn’t notice which makes the Polish course even more annoying. I have to pretend to be a man the whole time. The whole thing is based on a conversation between an American man and a Polish woman and I’m supposed to be the American man which means I have to say everything using masculine forms. That is, whenever they say, “How would YOU say ‘x’?” I have to say it as a man. I think they could have avoided that whole problem with only minor changes by asking, “How would the man say ‘x’?” and “How would the woman say ‘x’?” They already do that to some extent when they want to ask how the woman would say something, but for the man they always say “you”. If they want to ask, “How would you say…?” then they could just give the answer with “A woman would say ‘x’ and a man would say ‘y’.” As it is, I’m always trying to come up with two answers --- how I would really say the phrase as a woman, and the answer that will be given on the recording, which is the masculine version. The other thing I don’t like is that I don’t think it’s very helpful for learning to pronounce the language correctly. They’ll occasionally say things like “Did you hear the sh-sound in that word?” But Polish has two sh-sounds, and you can’t really expect someone coming from a language that doesn’t have those two sounds to hear the difference, so I think they need to be much clearer on the different sounds and how to produce them.

I’ve virtually ignored Spanish except for a few random articles or short videos that I’ve stumbled across. Since finishing my telenovela, I haven’t even been watching anything. Even at this level, my Spanish goes quickly downhill as soon as I stop working on it, so I need to get back to it soon. I’ve been almost ignoring German too, except for reading a book that I found at the book crossing at the Gathering. It’s a simple chick-lit type of book that I figured would be fairly easy to read in bed without needing a dictionary or anything. The first paragraph threw me off a bit, but that was mostly because I didn’t have any context yet and it was a notation in the protagonist’s notebook in a telegraphic style. Otherwise the book was pretty light and easy to read. I don’t understand every word, but the few that I don’t know I can either get from context or comfortably ignore. It’s definitely not great literature, but it’s a very comfortable book to real in a language you don’t know terribly well. In addition, it has a lot of dialogue and the narration is in the present tense, in case anyone is struggling with past tenses and is looking for a book like that. It’s call “Die Espressologin” (original title in English “The Espressologist”) by Kristina Springer, and it’s about a girl who works in a coffee shop and works out a system to match people with their perfect partner according to what kind of coffee drinks they like. So, pure, light fluff, but great for reading in a foreign language. Someday, I’ll go back to the mystery I was reading, but I think I’ll leave it until my German is a bit better.

Japanese is also getting ignored, but now I need to get back to doing Satori Reader, especially since I’m paying for it. I think it’s a pretty good resource. I’ve only read a few parts of one series so far, but I think it could be very useful. Each instalment of the story has two versions, easier and harder. I read the easy one first and then the hard one. There is an accompanying high-quality audio recording of the entire story for both versions and you can also listen to each sentence individually. I use this for shadowing. You can click any word to see the definition and to show any extra notes about the expression. There is also a button to show the translation of the whole sentence if you’re still unsure. There is a discussion thread under each story and it looks like the answers to the questions people ask about the expressions used in the story eventually end up as part of the notes that you see when you click on those words. So, I imagine if you read a completely new story, there will probably still be a few things you might wonder about, but most of those things will be part of the notes already if you read one of the older stories. You can also add any words you click on to flashcards and review them in a built-in SRS system. I was doing this at first, but quickly found that I got just as frustrated as I was with Anki, so I think I’m better off just reading the stories and the notes and moving on. Some of it is sure to stick anyway. I think they could use a bit of work on things like a how-to section and other things to make it a bit more user-friendly, but once you figure out what you’re doing, it isn’t so bad. They really should find a new rating system though. As it is, the users rate each story according to how interesting they found it and also according to how difficult they found it. So, all the difficulty ratings end up in the middle since people naturally look for something that is suited to their level. I think it would be much better and more useful to have a more objective rating of difficulty, like CEFR level, JLPT level or even terms like upper-beginner and lower-intermediate. As it is, all you know is that the readers on average found the story “just right”, but you don’t know if those people are beginners or advanced students.

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

Posted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:30 am
by Brun Ugle
After another long absence, I’m back again. I’m kind of thinking of making a fresh start with a new log even though I usually wait until the New Year for that kind of thing, but I’m making major changes in my life and routines and also this log has been kind of a bust, so maybe I’ll just do that. But first a wrap up of the past month or so. My studying never really got back of the ground after the Gathering and it still isn’t going so well, but it is just about starting to pick up again. The three kittens are now gone off to their “forever-homes”. Of course, I cried when they left. But it is a lot quieter and easier to study without them. Now I just have a big tomcat that hides under the sofa most of the time, so he’s not much work. I really have a new-found respect for the parents out there with two or three little kids who still manage to study. I don’t know how you do it. For a month or so before the kittens left, I could hardly manage to sit down long enough to actually learn anything. As soon as I sat down, one or more kittens would be climbing all over me demanding attention or they would get into something so that I had to run off to stop them or to clean up the mess they’d just made.

The kittens and I became briefly famous (at least among the age 60+ crowd who watch local news and listen to local radio) when we were asked to appear on local radio and TV for a segment about the animal protection society. So, that was exciting. I was rather nervous about it though and I think it shows a bit, particularly in the radio piece which is the one we did first. My voice sounds rather high and thin :oops: . At least my mind didn’t go completely blank when they asked me stuff. I didn’t know ahead of time what they would ask except that it would, of course, be cat-related. Here is the program from the local radio. There are several bits about the animal protection society (Dyrebeskyttelsen), but the one that I’m in starts about one hour into the program. It’s the third one on “Dyrebeskyttelsen”. Here is the piece from the local TV news. You can click on number four “Dyrebesyttelsen” to see me and the kitties. And now that I’ve embarrassed myself thoroughly, I think I should definitely start a new log.

My life and study routine have also been disrupted by my having a new boyfriend, the same fellow I said I was going to turn down as being too young; he convinced me otherwise. But now that the newness has worn off and we have settled down into a routine, I find that he doesn’t really disrupt my studying too much. I just try to rearrange my studying so that I can do most of the bits where I do a lot of talking to myself while he isn’t here. Not that he would be so bothered by my talking to myself, but that I find it a little embarrassing to have him hear me, especially if it’s a language he can understand somewhat.

At the moment I’m sick with a cold that has lasted nearly two weeks already, but I’m feeling confident that I’ll be able to get back into proper study mode in time for the November 6WC. The last time I did a 6WC was February, I think. I didn’t do May’s because it always gets interrupted by the Gathering and that brings my score so far down that I get rather demotivated by it. And August was complicated by the page being gone and the bot not working the first week, so I didn’t bother on that one. I wouldn’t have done well anyway since I was being disturbed by kittens 200 times a day.

Japanese
At the moment, I think of all the languages I’m supposed to be studying, it is actually Japanese that is going the best, and that is really surprising since I’ve had such a hard time motivating myself to work on it for so long. I think it’s because I decided to put it on the back burner and let it simmer and not worry about trying to get anywhere. I’m enjoying the stories in Satori Reader enough that I find myself wanting to read the next instalment each time. I’ve managed to make myself a little routine that feels like almost no work at all, but still seems to help me progress. It’s very simple and since it doesn’t feel like work, I don’t try to avoid it. First, I review the story from last time by just listening to the whole thing once through, sometimes twice. The stories are so short that it only takes a minute or two to listen to the whole thing. If I struggle on some word or expression, I’ll have a quick look at the text to refresh my memory of the meaning, otherwise, I just mark it as complete and move on to the episode I want to work on that day. First, I listen once or twice without looking. Then I listen while reading the text. This usually clears up a few things for me since I often understand the kanji even though I might not know the word when spoken. Then I go through the whole text sentence by sentence, listening to the sentence and shadowing it, clicking on unknown words and phrases as well as any special notes to look them up, and sometimes checking the English translation of the sentence as a whole. Once I understand the whole text and can shadow the sentences individually. I try shadowing the audio as a whole. Then I finish by listening to the audio without looking at the text and leave the lesson marked as incomplete so that I can listen one more time as a review during the next session. I then preview the next story by listening once or twice without looking. Sometimes, if I’m feeling like I want more, I might go through the whole story as described above, but usually I just preview it and leave it for next time. In the beginning, I tried using the flashcard function, but I found that made me not want to do study, so I cut it out. I figure this method is slow in terms of how much I’m likely to learn, but it’s better than trying to do more and giving up. I’ve also decided that Japanese is a language I don’t care about speaking above B1, but I would like to be able to understand well enough to enjoy popular literature and movies.

Polish
I did eventually finish the Pimsleur short course. I hated every minute of it, so I won’t be buying the longer course for myself. Since I’m still struggling to motivate myself for Polish, I’m giving it the back-burner treatment too. At the moment, all I’m doing is a bit of Memrise and watching Peppa Pig. I’m am noticing that Peppa is getting clearer and easier to understand though.

Speaking of Memrise, I’m a bit annoyed with the latest update. First of all, it crashes sometimes, but not enough to really bother me too much. I was annoyed though the other day when it ignored the fifty reviews I’d just done and made me do the exact same words in the exact same order all over again. The thing that really bugs me though is that they’ve tried to make it easier. I generally use the app on my iPad and until recently when you had to type in a word, the keyboard came up automatically, but now you have to touch the blank fill-in space to make the keyboard come up. I liked that I could put down the keyboard and see the little choose-the-letters field with just a few letters when I came across a hard word that I couldn’t answer without that extra hint, but I don’t want the hint if I don’t need it. On the phone version, I think it was always the hint-keyboard that came up, but I don’t really use it much on the phone and on the rare occasions that I do, it doesn’t bother me so much because it can be hard typing on a phone-sized keyboard with tiny buttons, but on my iPad, that isn’t a problem so why this update to dumb things down again?

German and Spanish
I really haven’t been doing so much on these two, just a bit of textbook work a few times a week, not even every day. I really need to start reading a book or watching a series or something in addition or my abilities will start to deteriorate. Even in Spanish, I need to hear it regularly or I forget it. I don’t really forget it I suppose, but it gets lost in the attic of my brain and I start to have trouble retrieving it. I’m supposed to be talking with Zenmonkey once or twice a week, but other than a couple of times in August, I think it was, we haven’t been Skyping at all. We just take turns cancelling. Lately, I’ve been the guilty party because of my cold, but we’re both pretty good at cancelling our sessions.

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

Posted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:21 pm
by MamaPata
Adorable kittens! (Your Norwegian sounded great to me, as someone who speaks no Norwegian). Congrats on the new relationship.