Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby lingua » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:42 am

Yes, there is a Clozemaster for Latin. There are only a little over 6000 sentences. As a point of reference, Italian has well over 100,000.

What is it that you like about the Cambridge books? I'm not all that happy with any of the Latin texts that I have. I am probably going to buy the Lingua Latina books sometime next year.
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film: 10585 / 9000 books: 6659 / 5000 IT
film: 9139 / 9000 books: 177 / 5000 DE
film: 9836 / 9000 books: 3319 / 5000 FR, PT, PMS, SCN

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IT: wrote: 317 / 50000 recorded: 782 / 3000
PT: wrote: 3717 / 50000 recorded: 22 / 3000

PT: Read 100 books: 13 / 100

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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:37 pm

lingua wrote:What is it that you like about the Cambridge books? I'm not all that happy with any of the Latin texts that I have. I am probably going to buy the Lingua Latina books sometime next year.


What I like about the Cambridge Unit 1 book:
1) The graded stories start out extremely simple and slowly become more complex as new words, case endings, or verb conjugations are introduced.
2) It feels like they put a lot of consideration into choosing phrasing so that it reinforces the point they are trying to teach (or something previously learned). For example, to reinforced verb conjugations, there might be a section like:

"I want 60 denarius for this toga."
"You want 60 denarios! No way. I offer you 10 denarios."
"You offer me 10 denarios! What an insult. I want 50 denarios."

By seeing "I want" right next to "you want" it reinforces the different verb conjugations in an effective way. Plus, seeing "you offer me" next to "I offer you" back to back reinforces how to say "to me" vs. "to you".

3) While I wouldn't call the graded stories riveting, they are interesting enough that I'm eager to keep reading them, and they occasionally even make me laugh out loud or fume silently - one story was about election fraud (there is an actual word in Latin specifically for the people whose job it is to bribe voters to support a specific candidate, and apparently it was not uncommon for people who weren't legally allowed to vote to pretend to be someone else in order to vote for a candidate so that they could accept this bribe. Man, Italy never had a chance.

4) The feeling I get from the book is that the stories drive the vocabulary introduced, not the other way around. A lot of very common vocabulary is introduced and learned effortless simply from encountering it repeatedly, but there is also some less-frequent vocabulary thrown in (like the words farm manager and peacock). It doesn't feel like someone took a list of the 1,000 most common Latin words then tried to create artificial stories based on those words (though who knows, that's probably what they did). It feels more like they tried to come up with simple stories based on every day life that just happened to use a lot of beginner vocab.

5) I like the way they teach grammar concepts; after a few stories there's a simple and short page that looks something like: "you probably noticed that certain words had x ending. This is because it's x declension. Below is a short table with 3 examples of how certain word endings change in x declension." Then these ending continue to be repeated in the following stories until they are fairly easy to identify. Even if I can't use the proper endings, myself, I can at least recognize these endings when I see them now. The book also does a good job at reminding you what the noun is in the nominative (regular dictionary form) case before introducing it in a changed format with a different case to reinforce the fact that the ending is changing and what it changes to.

for example:

"why are you headed into town," asks Holconius. "I need to get home," Caecilius tells Holconio. (<diff case ending)

6) I also like the way the book intersperses historical information of every day life in Pompei, which always has something to do with the short stories presented in the chapter. All of the short stories involve typical things that people in Ancient Rome would have done, which includes events that actually happened (like a riot in which people were killed)
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby lingua » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:08 am

Thanks you so much for taking the time to provide that much detail. I'm think you've sold me on it.
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Super Challenge 2020-21:
film: 10585 / 9000 books: 6659 / 5000 IT
film: 9139 / 9000 books: 177 / 5000 DE
film: 9836 / 9000 books: 3319 / 5000 FR, PT, PMS, SCN

Output Challenge 2021:
IT: wrote: 317 / 50000 recorded: 782 / 3000
PT: wrote: 3717 / 50000 recorded: 22 / 3000

PT: Read 100 books: 13 / 100

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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:09 am

lingua wrote:Thanks you so much for taking the time to provide that much detail. I'm think you've sold me on it.


You can probably find a good condition used copy of unit 1 on Amazon for fairly cheap (mine was ~$5). The only thing that was a little pricey was the audio CD, which doesn't have audio for every story, only about 1/2 of them - but they are done very well. I like having some audio because it helped me to hear the words in my head as I was reading. You might not care about audio, but if you do, I'd be happy to send you my audio CD since I converted the tracks to MP3 format and no longer need the physical CD. Brand-new they charge about $25 for the CD, which in my opinion is way too much, since each track is only ~2 minutes and they didn't do all the stories.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:43 pm

ITALIAN:

No progress on transcribing the last 3 episodes of Lucifer, but I did finally finish the Practice Makes Perfect book! I still have Anki reviews to do on what I entered recently, so I'm not technically done "studying" it yet. I deleted a few decks that I felt I'd practiced enough, so I think I'm down to ~12 decks even with the new ones added in the last few days. It was hard to delete those decks, because even when I keep getting cards right, I never really feel like I know them.

Overall, going through the book was useful; it cleared up some confusion and helped me to get a better grip on some grammar topics, but I don't feel like I've mastered everything - or even most - of what's in the book. I probably never will really be able to conjugate effortlessly no matter how much I drill and practice.

One huge weak point of mine that no amount of drilling/practice seems to improve is using the correct auxiliary verb (essere vs. avere) especially when making various past/future/conditional tenses. Verbs that require essere are a bit of a dumpster fire in the conjugation department.

And trying to use "piacere" in more complex situations (he likes her, they didn't like those books, etc...) is torture. My husband, who always defends Italian, even recently admitted that he thinks the Italian way of expressing "liking" something is unnecessarily convoluted. Somehow that felt like vindication even though it doesn't mean anything. Whether it's convoluted or not is irrelevant; it simply is this way and I have to figure it out somehow.

While writing this post, it occurred to me that Italy Made Easy has an 8-part video series on YT about using "piacere", so I should probably watch those videos because Manu explains grammar topics really well. Maybe I just need to have it explained a bunch of times until it finally clicks.

LATIN:

I finished doing scriptorium for Cambridge Unit 1! I simultaneously feel like I learned a lot and nothing at all. I continue to encounter English and Italian words never before seen (or I may have seen them, but not bothered to look them up, so just seeing them in context was not enough to know/remember what they meant - the dark side of extensive reading!) that I recognize from Latin, which is a pretty cool feeling, especially since I am such a beginner with Latin that I wouldn't have assumed the little I know would be useful for anything.

One Italian word I recognized from Latin was ingenti which I came across reading an article about the flooding right now in Venice. I'd never seen the word ingenti before, but "ingens" means huge in Latin, and apparently it's a higher-level word in Italian that means the same thing. In English, the word I came across was epistolary (or something similar) which I recognized from Latin because I recently read a story where a character was writing a letter (epistula) so I was right in assuming it had something to do with letter-writing.

Next step: Lingua Latina. Deep breath!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:29 pm

ITALIAN:

I transcribed 25% of episode 8 yesterday. It was rough; multiple scenes where characters were talking over each other/simultaneously. I'm hoping to knock off at least another 25% today.

I've been doing 2 Italian exchanges per week with my LEP now for a few months; we continue to do spontaneous monologues on random topics for a few minutes, get feedback, and then redo them. This is proving to be quite effective and I wish we'd started this sooner.

ENGLISH:

Kindle tells me I'm 75% through Antifragile. It has turned out to be a really excellent book that has been replaying in the back of my mind throughout ever since I started reading it. While many of the things he mentions in the book aren't new to me, he does a fantastic job of tying everything together under the theme of becoming more robust in the presence of uncertainty/stress in a way that I never thought of before.

I've decided this book isn't a good candidate for reading in translation because of the vocabulary he uses (in many cases he kind of makes up words/uses them in novel ways to illustrate a point like "Procrustean" or "Extremestan". I feel this kind of language in translation just wouldn't work very well and might even be counterproductive. In flipping through one of his other books (The Black Swan), I realized it's a much better candidate to read/listen to in translation, so I'm going to go with that for my huge SC/R-L challenge starting in Jan.

A few months ago I watched this interview that Olly Richards did with Scott:

Scott became famous for his MIT Challenge, where he learned all the content of a 4-year MIT computer science degree on his own in 1 year using lectures/sample problems sets/tests/textboook lists from MIT courses that were freely available online. He has applied (and helped others apply) this kind of learning to various topics, including languages. After a failed immersion attempt in French years earlier, he decided to do a challenge he calls "The Year Without English" where he went to 4 different countries for 3 months each and attempted to speak that language from day (sounds like what Benny Lewis has done).

Ever since watching the interview, I've had this gnawing desire to read Scott's book, UltraLearning, so I finally ordered it and blew through it in 3 days. It was hard to put down until I reached the end. There was a lot of really useful practical information on what makes someone an UltraLearner (or really, just an effective learner in general).

I especially liked his emphasis on direct practice - actually doing the thing you want to learn rather than reading about how to do it or attempt to practice it in a way that doesn't resemble the skill in real life; the reason why people who only ever use apps like Duolingo typically don't learn to speak the foreign language - in real life, speaking a new language doesn't come with a limited multiple choice answer set that requires recognition of the right answer.

I didn't expect the book to have much that I didn't already know, but it was such an enjoyable and motivational read that it felt like that was irrelevant. I've been planning for a big challenge next year involving a lot more reading, writing, and output (the areas that I want to improve) and this book made me feel like I'm on the right track with the direction I'm planning to take. It also motivated me to learn other non-language related things that I've been wanting to learn about for some time but felt were out of reach.

POLISH:

I haven't talked about Polish in a while. I decided that in January I would start a SC/R-L challenge to try to make some headway with Polish but I can feel that there's still a heavy resistance to resuming this language. The main problem is that I feel convinced that I just can't do it - ironic, considering what I wrote about UltraLearning above. Interestingly, my listening comprehension for simple Polish is still not too bad (for instance, I have no trouble understanding what my grandmother is saying as she slips back and forth between English and Polish) and when my LEP is struggling to say something in English, she sometimes switches over to Polish, which I can almost always understand just fine. Understanding TV, though, is totally out of reach.

I know that I've lost a good chunk of the knowledge I had, but it's not completely gone and will probably come back without too much effort. The block is that I feel convinced that I just can't speak it. I'm not sure why this is such a sticking point and I'm not sure what I can do to get rid of this block. It feels like the more I try to psych myself up and feel motivated to give speaking another try the more resistant I feel toward doing it.

Interestingly, while I will probably always struggle with speaking Italian with ease, somehow Italian feels possible in a way that Polish doesn't. This could be due to the fact that as a Romance language, Italian is much more similar to English than Polish, but Italian grammar certainly isn't any easier. Maybe it's the fact that since it's my husband's native language I can't escape it - for many years I did have the feeling with Italian that I have now with Polish (I can't do it!) so this could just be a necessary stage I have to learn how to get through. I don't expect answers from anyone about it, I just wanted to see if writing out my issues with the language could help me get past them.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby cjareck » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:17 pm

StringerBell wrote: The block is that I feel convinced that I just can't speak it. I'm not sure why this is such a sticking point and I'm not sure what I can do to get rid of this block.

Let's take the reasons for the blockade - you are shy and do not believe in your own possibilities. Your level of Polish has no influence on that. So in such a situation, there is some liquid blockade remover ;) It is widely used by Polish native speakers or Russians, but please do not overdose it since side effects are dangerous.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:49 pm

Morgana wrote:What if it was just Polish, this language that seems impossible, but the fact that it seems impossible doesn't bother you, because you're going to try anyway? And it doesn't matter if it is impossible, because you don't have expectations? And even if it's impossible, if you keep going, there's no way you could be any worse than you are now, just as how you are now with Polish isn't any worse than when you started (in fact, it's much better).


I think you're right about expectations being the key to this thing. When I had a similar block with Italian a year ago, the way I got over it was to convince myself that I'd never be able to speak Italian - that I was terrible, there was no way I could ever hope get much better than I was, but so what? Even if I could only make tiny, microscopic improvements that was still better than the nothing that I was capable of. As soon as I embraced this mentality it was like a switch flipped: my expectations disappeared and I enjoyed talking and LE again. This is probably the opposite of what would work for most people, but it's been the only thing so far that seems to get rid of my expectations. I think I will start trying to apply this to Polish. Thank you for the suggestion!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:35 pm

ITALIAN:

I finished transcribing episode 8 of Lucifer. Two episodes left! I'm going to try to get started on episode 9 more quickly rather than taking my usual week(s) of downtime.

We just booked airplane tickets for my Italian in-laws to come for Xmas. This will be the longest time they have ever stayed with us (a little over 4 weeks) which we decided to do because it was the only way to find a good price. Since they won't be returning home until the second week of January, this will postpone my SC start date a bit. I'm hoping the "Italian immersion" goes a little better this year. I've already decided not to try to avoid speaking English, as this kind of challenge backfired spectacularly last year. But I will do my best to speak as much as I feel capable of.

LATIN:

I read a couple of pages in Lingua Latina. So far I'm not impressed, but I'm trying to reserve judgment until I get past the beginning. There's no convenient glossary of terms on the same page like with Cambridge, so I'll have to look up unknown words online, which I find irritating. There are some little notes in the margins, some of which are referring to things that I already understand because I learned them from the Cambridge, but there are some notes that I don't understand - they might as well be written in hieroglyphics. I have no idea what they're trying to tell me.

There's plenty of repetition, which is good (Italy is a country in Europe. Greece is a country in Europe. Italy and Greece are countries in Europe, etc...) but so far it's dry as toast and I'm having a hard time motivating myself to read it. I really hope it starts focusing more on stories and less on stating geographical facts. I'm glad I didn't start out with this book because I think I would have given up on Latin pretty quickly.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:45 am

ITALIAN:

I'm done with Anki. I was thinking for awhile there that it could be a practical way to study/practice grammar from the PMP book, but I had a startling revelation: It doesn't work. Not much of a revelation since I kind of already knew this, but I periodically return to it thinking that maybe this time will be different. I thought I had finally fixed my issue with spelling differences between future tense/conditional tense for 1st person plural (which I have to memorize because I can't hear a difference). I was confident that I had it down cold after practicing with variations for weeks and weeks.

Then while transcribing episode 9 in the past two days, I realized I had no idea how to spell the future tense vs. conditional (faremo/faremmo) - I thought I'd been doing it right during that episode but it turns out I wasn't. Even after an impromptu refresher, I still have no idea whether future is potremo or potremmo. WTH? I spent such a freaking long time with those damn Anki cards. What a waste of time. I guess whatever I don't know I'll continue to not know until I find something that actually works for me.

I'm ready to be done with transcribing. I would just stop right now, since I'm confident that it's not helping me anymore, but I committed to doing all 10 episodes, so I'm going to finish. I unexpectedly had some down time from work in the last couple of days, so I dove right into episode 9, which I'm 65% done with. I won't say that transcribing is a waste of time, since I'm definitely making fewer mistakes than I was making in the first few episodes. But I think I've maxed out what I can get from this activity since once I hit episode ~4 or ~5 I don't seem to be improving. So I guess transcribing isn't a silver bullet, either.

Since it seems like there's a good chance I'll be able to finish transcribing by the end of November, I've been thinking about doing a 1 week test drive the first week of December to see how feasible my SC/R-L/output challenge plans are. If my expectations are way too ambitious, I think it will be obvious pretty quickly and I can adjust what I start doing in January to be more reasonable.
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