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

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

Postby iguanamon » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:37 pm

StringerBell wrote:...One thing that I notice is that I have no trouble when it comes to reading/listening to languages but the real trouble starts when I start trying to produce it and learn the grammar. I can labor for hundreds of hours deconstructing every word in a book, but ask me to start speaking or creating my own sentences and my frustration threshold drops and it feels impossible. I'm always amazed by people who want to start talking as soon as they learn a language because that's the part I dread the most - I think it's connected to performance anxiety. ...

Yes, this is the hard part of learning a language. For me, it has always been harder to produce than to understand. Production takes a lot of work and practice to become "automatic". When I was learning Portuguese, it was driving me crazy... at times (especially after speaking a lot of Spanish) it still does :) .
StringerBell wrote:...Studying Italian and Polish simultaneously has been mutually beneficial in a lot of ways. Quite a few concepts that I had to learn in Italian applied to Polish (the concept of reflexive verbs, using the 3rd person as a polite way of speaking to strangers, etc...) So now I'm trying to analyze how I dealt with similar frustrations with Italian to see if they could apply to Polish. I can remember quite a few times declaring that "I'll never learn Italian! I can't do it!" so it's possible this is just another iteration of that familiar pattern. As much as I thought I wanted to give up on Italian, it kept pulling me back. And after well over 1000 hours, I still have a long, long way to go with Italian before I can speak comfortably and be satisfied with my level, which I am at peace with. So why am I having trouble applying that same acceptance to Polish? Good question. ... It would really suck to walk away after having invested so much time and energy, but at the same time knowing that it's an option I can choose is important for me. ...

Along with everyone else, a break from Polish would probably be a good idea. It is mentally taxing learning two languages simultaneously. Giving yourself a few weeks break won't hurt you at this stage.
Brun Ugle wrote:...I also find that writing improves speaking more than people give it credit for. It’s often said that if you want to get good at speaking, you need to speak a lot, but I would say that writing a lot is just as useful. It let’s you slow down and think about the grammar and how to formulate things. If you’re trying to keep track of a lot of grammar at once, as you must in the beginning when you have multiple cases, genders, tenses, moods, etc to get right, it’s easier if you have more time to think. I also find that writing by hand imbeds things in my brain better.

This is so true for me. My advice would be for you to write a short review in L2 of something you are reading/watching/listening to. It doesn't have to be long, maybe just a few paragraphs. It doesn't even have to be written for correction. What writing does is it forces me to come up with the right way to say something in TL... and the brain tends to remember what takes effort to do. Hang in there StringerBell, and good luck whatever you decide!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:06 pm

POLISH:

I decided to take a break from Polish until August and then to return to my original of goal of only being able to passively understand Polish. I think it's totally out of my reach to construct even very simple sentences correctly, so I'm not going to strive toward that. I believe that I have the potential to make some small improvements over time, so if/when that happens, I will try to think of it as a pleasant surprise. In the meanwhile, I'm going to just focus on reading and listening; in this way, I think I can return to really enjoying the language even if speaking it eludes me.

LATIN:

After getting halfway through the Cambridge book, I decided to return almost to the beginning to write out all the stories (5x each sentence). I've now reached the point where I stopped originally. Redoing the first half of the book was a good call because I have a much better grip on things. I'm still shaky when it comes to identifying past perfect/imperfect, but I'm not going to get too hung up on that right now. I'm thinking of recording myself reading aloud the stories that don't have audio so that I can listen to them when I have a few minutes here and there. I think I've got a handle on how things are pronounced, but I'm not sure how to pronounce "aperuerunt" because I don't remember hearing a word with a "ue" combination before. My guess is to ignore the "u".

I used some Amazon Prime credit to buy two cheap used books - A Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Commentarii de Inepto Puero) and Winnie the Pooh (Winnie Ille Pu)! Supposedly the translations were done extremely well (by the official Vatican Latin translator). I can't really imagine reading either of these in Latin, but I'm looking forward to it after I get through my current Cambridge text, then Lingua Latina, then the supplemental Lingua Latina reader.

ITALIAN:

Using this link that Lingua shared, I found a bunch of Italian TV shows. Many of them are English originals dubbed into Italian, but there also ones that are produced in Italian. I chose one called "Il Tuo Incubo Peggiore" (Your Worst Nightmare) which is a series where each episode is a re-enactment of some kind of crime (murder, kidnapping) and includes some commentary/interviews with the people involved (if they survived) and their friends, family, and police officers. Each episode is ~45 minutes. I assumed at first it would be an Italian series, but it turned out to be dubbed. I basically binge-watched all 9 episodes in 2 days, and I was able to pick up 1-2 new expressions per episode like:

non è da lei = it's not like her
provarci con me = to hit on me / to flirt with me
a gonfie vele = smooth sailing / going well

I just started a new series yesterday that is an Italian original that seems to be a collection of real-life gialli (murders/crimes that were in the news). Each episode is 90 minutes, and consists of interviews and phone call excerpts. I watched half yesterday and was excited to finished it today but I can't figure out which series it was! It was in the Crime category, but all the titles seem to be slight variations of each other. So, I guess I will just have to watch everything and eventually figure out which one it was that I started yesterday. Next time I start a new series, I'll have to write down the title.

I also re-read one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I find these books really fun and easy to read, but I realized that there are so many sentences that I'd never be able to come up with myself. I'd like to try to use these books to improve the sentence structure and the way I phrase things when I speak, but I don't know how to go about doing it.

I ordered 3 more books in Italian. I need to stop myself from buying more books; I definitely have more than enough at this point. Now, I just need to read, read, read.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby Elsa Maria » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:45 pm

Some thoughts about Cambridge Latin:

I did scriptorium for the Cambridge book, and I felt like it helped a lot. That was actually the main thing that I did with the book. Our class exercises were mostly translation. It was to a great extent left up to the student to decide how to learn the Latin, and I went with scriptorium.

I thought that the text used the imperfect weirdly at times. For example, from page 142:

Statua nāsum frāctum habēbat. The statue was having a broken nose? That sounds odd. Why not use the perfect? I recall asking my instructor about this, but I do not recall getting an adequate answer!


Now a question about Polish. Do you have any tips for getting started with the Polish stories? I have the first five.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:05 pm

I've only read up to page 122, but when I get up to pg 142, I'll hopefully remember this and not let it throw me! I wonder if the choice to use the imperfect there was a crappy choice that should be blamed on the makers of the book, or if Latin and English don't always use the same verb tenses in certain situations?

I assume you mean the first 5 stories of the 100 Daily Polish Stories, right? When I started with those stories, I'd read them a few times, using the glossary of English definitions to understand the gist, then while I was listening and reading along, I'd refer to the glossary as needed. I relistened and reread them often - I've probably listened to each of those 100 DPS at least 100x each if not more. So the only thing I can suggest is just a lot of repetition!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby Elsa Maria » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:20 pm

StringerBell wrote:I've only read up to page 122, but when I get up to pg 142, I'll hopefully remember this and not let it throw me! I wonder if the choice to use the imperfect there was a crappy choice that should be blamed on the makers of the book, or if Latin and English don't always use the same verb tenses in certain situations?


Yep, I'd like to know that too. It is probably the latter and the imperfect can be used in Latin sometimes to render the perfect in English. But then that makes me think that the sentence is still a crappy choice for a beginner book if you (the textbook author) are not going to bother to explain such a sentence.

Thanks for the input on the Polish Stories. Yes, I meant the Daily Polish Stories. I got the first five as a preview. They look amazing but difficult. I really appreciate reading about the amount of repetition you have used. I need a lot of repetition for difficult things, but luckily I have a pretty high tolerance for repetition. I tolerate repetition better than ambiguity, I think.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:03 pm

ITALIAN:

I just scolded myself for buying too many foreign language books, so what did I immediately do? Go buy another, of course! I think I have a problem. :lol: I told myself that it was ok because (1) I bought an audiobook, of which I have very few in Italian, and (2) I didn't pay for it because I signed up with Audible and the first purchase is free. I'm thinking I'll probably cancel the membership before the first paying cycle kicks in because most of the Italian audiobooks they have that I'm interested in are cheaper to just buy without a membership.

I bought the audiobook: Molto Forte, Incredibilmente Vicino/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I remember reading this book more than a decade ago and crying and laughing on the subway while reading it, so I'm really excited to be listening to a book that at least I know that I like. Since I own this book in English (but not Italian), I'm doing a L-R which so far is working surprisingly well. Not that long ago doing this was really just impossible for me, but for some reason now I'm capable of listening to the Italian while keeping an eye on the English text but not paying so much attention to it that I tune out what I'm listening to. I'm actually enjoying this more than I expected. Maybe I'll start a competition with RDearman!

I'm almost up to page 100 in the Dominique Manotti book, Il Sentiero della Speranza/Rough Trade. Bleh. I was really looking forward to this one, but I can't wait to be done with it. Poorly written, no interesting characters, some kind of vague murder investigation that gets more and more convoluted - this one gets a big thumbs down. But I'm committed to finishing it, and I started a strategy of setting a timer for 1 hour each day and reading as much as I can, which turns out to be ~20-25 pages. Reading novels in Italian is still a struggle for me, and I hope it gets a little more enjoyable at some point soon. I think forcing my way through this book is the real reason I bought the audiobook of Molto Forte, Incredibilmente Vicino; I just needed something good to look forward to after spending an hour reading something crappy.

In addition to punishing myself with terrible books :lol: , I've been trying to read some articles which feel decidedly more manageable and enjoyable. Lately I've been enjoying the articles on this website which is Francesco Grandis' blog (the guy who wrote the book, Sulla Strada Giusta).
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:14 pm

ITALIAN:

Grammar:
I did a little bit more in my Practice Makes Perfect book; this chapter is on present tense verbs, which I thought I would just blow right through until I realized that the makers of the book decided to sneak in CONGIUNTIVO (subjunctive) in this chapter. This is a monster and I knew I'd have to deal with it at some point, I just wasn't expecting to deal with it right now. When I started going through all the verb patterns for congiuntivo in present tense, I really felt some serious despair.

But, rather than give into it, I decided to take things way slower than the way the book was doing things and only focus on -are verbs in present tense congiuntivo. I studied the pattern and realized that it wasn't too bad; I can definitely handle this in small doses. I found this very useful site https://www.idiomax.com/italian-verb-list.aspx which has a huge list of common verbs that you can click on for instant conjugations. I'm in the process of conjugating ALL of the -are verbs on that list for regular present tense and congiuntivo present tense, then confirming that my work is correct using the site.

I've got about 6 pages worth of conjugations done and I think I can do this form in my sleep at this point (and I'm still on verbs that start with the letter "c"). I could probably move on to -ire or -ere verbs, but I want to really nauseate myself with these -are verbs to reduce the risk of confusing myself once all the verbs are in play.

Reading:
I'm up to page 142 of my Italian novel. I was about to get excited about the fact that I'm 1/3 done, but then I realized that I should really go back through the whole thing and take some more notes; there is a ton of new-to-me colloquial expressions and vocabulary, and it would really be a shame to just move on and not try to get more out of it. Since I'm not looking forward to rereading this, I'll probably take a break and do something else before circling back to it.

I have been jotting down a few things here and there when something really stands out, like:

mi ha tirato il bidone = s/he stood me up, s/he scammed me
avere i mezzi = to have the means
fare quattrini = to make some dough (money)
essere drogato/a di... = to be really obsessed with something, to really, really like it (lit: to be drugged by...)

Transcription:
-I'm halfway through the second episode of Lucifer. I have the vague impression that it's getting slightly easier, but it still takes me about an hour to transcribe 6 or 7 minutes of dialogue.

POLISH:
I won't be officially returning to Polish for another week, but I find myself feeling more and more excited about resuming.

LATIN:

I've been meaning to ask this question for a while. The Cambridge book uses pronunciation markers over some vowels, just like in the example sentence Elsa Maria quoted:
Elsa Maria wrote:Statua nāsum frāctum habēbat.

but, as far as I can tell, they don't seem to correspond to any particular way of pronouncing those vowels, so clearly I must be missing something. I was expecting that they would indicate a hard vowels (like the "o" in boat) but they seem to also be over soft vowels (like the "a" in cat). What the heck are these markers trying to tell me?
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby cjareck » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:01 pm

StringerBell wrote:I've been meaning to ask this question for a while. The Cambridge book uses pronunciation markers over some vowels, just like in the example sentence Elsa Maria quoted:
Elsa Maria wrote:Statua nāsum frāctum habēbat.

but, as far as I can tell, they don't seem to correspond to any particular way of pronouncing those vowels, so clearly I must be missing something. I was expecting that they would indicate a hard vowels (like the "o" in boat) but they seem to also be over soft vowels (like the "a" in cat). What the heck are these markers trying to tell me?

I suppose that they are stress marks.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby Deinonysus » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:10 pm

cjareck wrote:
StringerBell wrote:I've been meaning to ask this question for a while. The Cambridge book uses pronunciation markers over some vowels, just like in the example sentence Elsa Maria quoted:
Elsa Maria wrote:Statua nāsum frāctum habēbat.

but, as far as I can tell, they don't seem to correspond to any particular way of pronouncing those vowels, so clearly I must be missing something. I was expecting that they would indicate a hard vowels (like the "o" in boat) but they seem to also be over soft vowels (like the "a" in cat). What the heck are these markers trying to tell me?

I suppose that they are stress marks.

No, they're unrelated to stress. The macrons mark long vowels. Stress is regular based on certain rules so it isn't marked.

I think the current consensus is that there was no vowel quality change between long and short vowels in classical Latin, the long vowels were just held longer.

Edit: well they're not quite unrelated to stress, since vowel length can affect where the stress falls.

Edit: I was wrong, there were vowel quality changes between every long-short vowel pair except for a and ā.
Last edited by Deinonysus on Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:36 pm

Does this mean I should just continue ignoring those marks? It seems that both short and long vowel sounds have them, so I can't understand why they are even used at all.
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