General language log

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:10 am

After my experiment with Swedish on Netflix I’m thinking of watching some learner videos YouTube. My criteria is the video being in slow Swedish with bilingual subtitles. I think I’ll do the same with German. I’m hoping this will make watching Netflix shows with bilingual subtitles less tiring. One thing that is interesting is that German sounds way clearer to me than Icelandic or Swedish.
0 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:34 am

Today was another low sleep day. So no new anki cards today. I did add one word to the deck, but I’m not actually getting new cards. I actually had no sleep one night, so I ended up actually skipping a day. Naturally that would make my reviews pile up a bit, but I had a good long study session that day and discovered an interesting looking Israeli series.

Today I ended up watching 36 minutes of YouTube and I read three paragraphs from an article. It looks like my spaced repetition system works well for things that are short and hard. It didn’t work so well for those longer videos. Maybe if I split the video up into parts or change the intervals. It was originally going to be for reading anyways. It’s cool how my comprehension goes up when I reread things.

For the rest of the day I was dabbling with other languages by watching videos with bilingual subtitles. I tried some Swedish again. I kind of found the videos boring and tiring. So I went to Finnish. In some way my comprehension kind of feels the same. I’m getting semi-familiar with some Finnish words, but I’m not so familiar with actual Swedish words. I kind of am familiar with similar languages to Swedish, but not Swedish in particular.

Afterwards I gave Easy German a try again. It was pretty relaxing compared to Swedish and Finnish. I used to find German pretty tiring. Even Easy German. Last year I even tried to study some frequency anki decks. It didn’t go too well. I don’t know if it’s a fluke or if something about German has clicked for me. I watched a fun German movie on Netflix with bilingual subtitles. I didn’t get tired.

I’ve been thinking about getting more into German again. One good reason is that it just has more content and it’s more practical. It will also improve more obscure languages like Icelandic and Yiddish. It was the original reason I wanted to learn German. I guess now I have more relaxed way of studying it. If I really want to improve it I have plenty of resources available.

Now I only dabble in other languages in my leisure time. I also only use lazy methods like bilingual subtitles for now. Basically nothing that demands consistency. My goal is more to have fun and relax than make fast progress or have any practical skills.

I personally think “practicality” ruins a lot of resources. At least for me. I really find the constant dialogues about generic topics annoying. Some are good, but I just need variety. If there’s more variety it’s just easier to see patterns. I saw a post on reddit about old textbooks. It interested me. Maybe I’d enjoy old textbooks. I really don’t care for the communicative approach so far.
2 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:14 am

I just discovered a site called YouGlish. Which is exactly what I was looking for. It searches all captions on YouTube, so I can hear how a word is pronounced. I’ve stumbled across so much interesting content. Kind of gets me off on tangents a bit. I have done some good sentence mining from there.

The spaced repetition system for reading articles seems to be working decently. I think I’ll add in clips from TV shows. The pace of TV shows makes them too mentally draining even though I don’t have too many issues watching vlogs with natives casually talking to each other. I’ve found it helpful to watch short clips from tv shows and I think it will fit in well with my spaced repetition system. One goal before changing my main language is being able to comfortably understand TV shows. I’m still not as clear on my goals for reading. I do want to get into literature at one point, but I’m not sure how. All I can do right now is try to improve my general reading comprehension.


Today I tried the site Nicos Weg. I’ve heard good things about the site. The concept kind of reminds me of Icelandiconline. Not sure what to think yet. It has exercises and dialogues and it’s mainly aimed at immigrants. Not my favorite format, but it’s free and online which makes it easier to do. I still don’t understand how a lot of basic German sentences work. Maybe they’ll explain in later lessons. What I like about that format is that it isn’t naggy like Duolingo.

I haven’t been doing as much Finnish lately. Not a huge deal since I expect a lot of ebb and flow from languages I’m dabbling in. I’ll probably go back to it since I often get moments where I really want to spend time with Finnish. Something about it keeps making me want to come back to it.

If I’m comparing German and Swedish, it seems like German is winning. It’s a larger language, so it has more resources. I also know it has a lot of content. I’m hoping learning German will help me get my head around Icelandic grammar.

I kind of chose Swedish arbitrarily. I kind of find all Scandinavian languages “cool”, so it’s hard to pick one. Probably the same issue people have with picking a Romance language. They’re all about equally feasible. With Jewish languages that’s not really the case. The only only convenient language is Modern Hebrew. I committed to it, so I’ve made progress. Even if it doesn’t always satisfy me.

I don’t expect to make too much progress in these languages. I hope I’ll at least make some progress on deciding which language to commit to.
0 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:30 am

I’ve kind of lazy with German. I decided to try to do two lessons in one day instead of one. It backfired. I just stopped doing lessons. I can’t expect much from a language I’m dabbling in. Not doing too much Finnish either.

I do notice slight progress with Finnish. When I watch the learner videos I find I recognize most of the words. Which means I know which English word they correspond to. I definitely don’t understand most of them. Even when I do reach the point of understanding most words, I still know it’s a far cry from actually understanding.

I just got a smart tv, so I’m going to start watching more tv shows in Hebrew. What I notice with a lot of tv shows is that I actually do know a lot of vocabulary. I’m just not fluent enough to keep up. It feels a lot like it did when I first started listening to podcasts. My comprehension felt fairly low. I wasn’t sure if listening to podcasts was helpful at my level. I think within a month I improved dramatically.

I’ll still watch videos more intensely on my laptop. I’m also dedicating a certain day of the week to watching tv episodes intensely. Right now it’s Sunday, but I might change it. On that day I make my anki deck review only. Saturdays are also review only. I think I’ll dedicate Saturdays to making extra anki cards.

I do find it pretty challenging to keep up with making anki cards. I have a vocabulary list that is a to-do list. Once I make a flashcard or decide I know the word I check it off. The list got pretty long. I just split it up so I have a goal of about five a day. They take a long time for me to make because I take my time finding good sentences. I guess I can just think of that time as study time.

Watching clips of tv shows intensively did help a lot with my listening. Before I watched them I found YouTube videos slightly too fast. Now most of them are fairly comfortable. I think it’s very important to get things to a comfortable level for the sake of long-term maintenance. At the moment I can watch several types of YouTube videos, even on bad days.

I still don’t have a good plan for reading literature. I may be able to find some literature courses on YouTube. The best I can do right now is just improve my general reading ability. I’m still reading a few paragraphs a day. It’s maybe not ideal for overall reading comprehension, but it’s honestly all I can realistically manage every day. When my reading ability is better maybe I’ll be able to handle an article a day.
3 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:13 am

I think I’ll start listening to French podcasts to fall asleep regularly. I did listen to two episodes of InnerFrench last night and it worked pretty well. My comprehension was fairly low. I found the InnerFrench videos a bit easier because I got a lot of helpful visuals. That guy is really good at creating comprehensible input.

I knew what the podcasts were about, but I obviously missed a lot of details. French is a language I know is useful, but it’s one of those languages I don’t have all that motivation to learn. There are also some aspects of French culture I appreciate. Right now my main motivation is to fall asleep quickly. There’s nothing like listening to a lower intermediate language before going to bed. I get sleepy pretty quickly, but I end up getting weird dreams.

I wonder how far I can get just by listening to French before bed. I think I’ll occasionally also watch some Easy French as a supplement. They have some pretty funny and entertaining videos. One of my favorites is “Do French people shower?”

Hebrew is a bit different. It’s obviously a lot more distant than French. It took about a year to get to that lower intermediate level, but after a month or two I had a huge improvement. With French I’m going off of my English and Spanish knowledge. I also get some passive exposure to French since I live in Canada.

Like most Canadians I wouldn’t say I put any real effort into French. I took French a bit in school and even had French immersion. I don’t think I remember much, since I was about seven years old. I’d say I’m actually more of a beginner in French. On an online grammar/vocabulary test I got 7/40 for French and 31/40 for Hebrew. Even though I think I had roughly the same comprehension in both languages. I think having to study all that vocabulary exposed me to grammar. While I just got a lot of my French comprehension for free.

With Hebrew I actually had to study a lot of vocabulary. I also listened to a lot of music to get exposure. Music isn’t the most time efficient way to get exposure, but it definitely seems better than nothing. Since I love spending time listening to music in other languages, why not make it my target language? Trying to passively listen to the radio, tv shows or podcasts too early on is too frustrating for me, so music is a good compromise.

It would be interesting to see how quick my French progress is compared to my Hebrew progress. One big difference between the French and Hebrew podcasts is the target audience. The French podcasts are for learners, while the Hebrew podcasts were definitely for native speakers. I’d say my starting comprehension is about the same. Maybe a bit higher for Hebrew because I was listening to podcasts for natives.

On the first Hebrew podcast I regularly listened to I remember them mentioning a book I was familiar with. So I could guess a lot of it by context. I do the same with the French podcasts by reading the title. One thing that helps is listening to podcasts that stick to one topic. If they jump around to different topics that makes them way harder to understand at the lower intermediate level. I don’t even like that format in English. It felt like I was faking at first, but now I actually feel like I understand Hebrew. Guess I faked it til I made it.
2 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:10 am

I just created a language learning journal on Notion. I’ve been thinking of doing it for a while and I finally did yesterday. I like Notion because it’s easy to make things aesthetically pleasing. I also love the flexible structure of it. On the journal I made a simple form I can fill out. I picked easy to answer questions like my sleep or if I did certain habits. The only reason sleep is easy is because I have a Fitbit.

The journal itself pretty much asks how my main study session went in general, what went well and what I can improve. I ask the same questions about the evening and afternoon because I sometimes study a bit and it’s relevant to how I sleep.

I find it pretty easy to write with that format so far. I find most journal formats too open ended and rigid at the same time. The worst question in my opinion is any variation of the question how are you doing or what are you doing. Another question I struggle with is the whole gratitude thing.

With my language learning journal I start on an easy topic. Language learning. Inevitably I end up taking about other topics as well. On this journal I feel kind of guilty about that, on my personal journal I can do that all I want to. I think when I write about what went good in my language learning I get into the zone of gratitude.

When I’m asked to be grateful I struggle to think of anything meaningful to me. My mind is either completely blank or I just think of generic answers that don’t mean anything to me. This whole gratitude thing just makes me frustrated.

I think keeping this journal will help me with my progress and also help me get into journaling in general. I’ve tried journaling many times, but I’ve never been able to get into it for a long time.
3 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sun Nov 08, 2020 12:47 am

The experiment with listening to French podcasts is going “interestingly.” I understand about as much as I understood the Hebrew podcasts and the topics are more interesting. I was still far more motivated to listen to Hebrew podcasts. I’ll be fine listening an episode or two before bed. If I get up in the middle of the night and listen to the podcast I just get annoyed. I thought it would be a good way to fall back asleep.

I’m just not motivated enough to take French seriously in any way. I think I’ll still have fun seeing how much progress I can make. Same thing with other languages I’m dabbling in. Still thinking of what to do about Icelandic. I don’t know whether I should I wait until later to study it or start studying it a bit. There’s a premade anki deck with audio. I can see quite a few i+1 sentences. Maybe I’ll just study that deck casually. Before I add that I think I’ll clean up the decks I don’t use. I can also make a subs2srs deck if I want to.

My new revision system seems to be working well so far. Since I followed a YouTube tutorial, I know how the formula works better. So I can still can play with it. I already adjusted some review dates. One day had two longish videos due. So I moved the video with a longer interval one day forward.
1 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:35 am

I’m done with letting Icelandic drive me crazy. So I’m finally deciding to study it part time. I’ve been avoiding it for ten years and that hasn’t been helping. It’s stuck in this rusty pre-intermediate hell. I’d say being pre-intermediate is worse than being intermediate. I think pre-intermediate is a better word to describe my level than beginner. I was fairly invested in studying Icelandic, but I didn’t have any consistent study habits. I also had pretty bad listening comprehension, so that made my level feel low. Another issue is that written media is usually more complicated than the spoken language. So maybe I could have found comprehensible input if I had a better listening comprehension.

I already downloaded a premade anki deck. One issue is that it has text to speech. Icelandic is very phonetic, so that isn’t too much of an issue. One problem is that I really notice the lack of context. Since the grammar is complicated I can really notice it.

It’s just lacking the human touch. So I’m making a subs2srs deck for it. I found one movie that seems to be decently timed. I’d say my Icelandic level is a bit higher than my Hebrew level was when I was first starting subs2srs. I think the whole reading and listening mismatch along with other things makes it hard to judge. It doesn’t seem to have exact subtitles for all the lines. Hopefully the anki deck will close the gap well enough for me.

With Icelandic my reading is better than my listening. I also find that I feel like I’m at a lower level at unrelated languages even if I’m at an equal level. I remember a year or two ago I watched a dumb hyperpolyglot video when I was bored. He spoke a lot of languages including Swedish and Hebrew. I remember being surprised I understood the Hebrew better. I categorized both languages as beginner or pre-beginner languages. I knew I studied Hebrew more, but Swedish almost seemed more familiar to me. I think this also happens to me with French. It seems very familiar to me due to English, Spanish and having passive exposure. But I perform terribly in French grammar tests. It’s actually pretty funny.

My main goal is to improve my listening and just give Icelandic its own identity in my head. I’m also hoping to pick up some grammar by seeing a lot of examples and English translations.

One issue that might make it seem like languages are interfering is that in my head Hebrew interferes with all my languages. I guess this happens when you have a main target language. You’re working very hard to hear it everywhere. I get kind of OCDish about this happening. It’s happened to me in Spanish since the word for doing is similar in Hebrew and Spanish. It also happened to me in French since the word זה(ze) sounds similar to the word c’est. It also has the same meaning. I just end up laughing when Hebrew interferes with French for me. It even interferes with English for one word since the Hebrew word makes a bit more sense to me.
5 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:41 am

Today I’ve been exhausted so things are weird. I had no issues with my listening comprehension in Hebrew. My reading was sort of okay as well. What is challenging was learning new words and intensively studying news clips. My vocabulary deck for Hebrew is usually fairly intense since it’s all reading. I also have a lot of monolingual cards now. So even studying for 20 minutes can feel fairly intense. Usually by 30 minutes it starts to feel like too much. Watching YouTube videos or listening to podcasts for an hour usually doesn’t feel all that intense.

I tried to watch the Icelandic movie with English only subtitles to make it less tiring. Didn’t work. It was still extremely exhausting. It might mainly be because I’m tired, but Icelandic movies and music has a tendency to make me tired. Actually studying anki wasn’t all that tiring. For the generic sentence deck I did forget what several words and phrases meant. It’s just not as sticky as Hebrew is, but it does seem stickier than German. Subs2srs was pretty nice. I think I am starting to hear more details. It’s hard to tell. What I do notice is how Icelandic differs from other languages I know. At least how it sounds.

I think subs2srs is also a good way to practice using dictionaries. Icelandic dictionaries are very finicky. Because of the complicated grammar, words often seem to have ten meaning each. When I have an English translation I don’t have that problem anymore. When I was studying ten years ago I found the dictionary issues very discouraging.

I guess the catch 22 for me is that the more I understand, the less I care about unknown words. I still remember the day I watched a Hebrew documentary normally for the first time. I did notice unknown words, but I was so into the documentary I didn’t care. Now this has become the norm for a lot of things in Hebrew. I sometimes don’t even notice unknown words even though I’m sure there probably is some. Especially on long podcasts. If this can happen with Hebrew I’m sure this can eventually happen with other languages.

It is hard to be comfortable with ambiguity. I know that I can’t force it. It can be counterproductive to try to force it. I find the whole learn from context advice annoying because it’s incomplete. Especially when you’re a beginner. It seems like people expect me to just pick up words as a beginner. I can’t do it and I kind of felt broken because of it. I could have used that time to just do more explicit study.

Right now I’m comfortable not being comfortable with ambiguity in Icelandic. I still haven’t had enough exposure to the language and the grammar concepts are pretty fuzzy to me. I can say the same about a lot of things in Hebrew. Sometimes I’ll just intensely study some stuff if it has subtitles. You can’t always get comprehensible input, especially for less common languages. In my experience studying things above my level definitely makes my level higher.
3 x

User avatar
sporedandroid
Green Belt
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
x 494

Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:10 am

I’m still trying to find a balance for reading Hebrew. If I don’t read enough I won’t improve fast enough. If I read too much, I get exhausted. Some days I can read an easy article or two, but I honestly don’t think that can be a daily habit right now. I think I’ve found some articles where I know enough vocabulary. Maybe not quite the ideal 98%. I think my main issue is that I don’t read enough.

I guess my anki deck counts as reading practice since it has no audio and sentences. I also read paragraphs from articles repetitively. I can’t read the whole article in one go yet. This does seem to be getting easier. Another thing I do is go on Israeli news sites and just read the headlines. That’s actually fairly challenging for me.

I didn’t study Icelandic yesterday, but I did today. If I have a good flow going on with Hebrew I prefer to not study any other languages. I just notice some days I start to get diminishing returns. Usually if I did intense study on Hebrew. Normally on those days I’ll just end up bored and wasting my time doing things in English. It’s not a waste of time if I’m truly enjoying it, but a lot of the time I’m just passing the time and just feel dead inside.

For Icelandic I’m definitely forgetting a lot of words. So I just end up repeating them. I’ll probably disable leaches and if the review count gets high I’ll disable new cards for a while. I think I’ll also get into IcelandicOnline again. My main issue with that site is the lack of audio.

I think I’ll do it while I’m doing my subs2srs deck to sort of make up for that. One big pro is that I’ve used that resource in the past. I’ve heard that’s good for reviving languages. I think I need that course to understand the grammar better. I remember learning grammar on that course, but I honestly don’t know how well it teaches it.

I think I got up to the A2 level. I ended up quitting because of my perceived lack of progress. I think part of the lack of progress was listening comprehension. Another issue was grammar. So I couldn’t figure out what things meant even with the dictionary. I also didn’t use anki, so I just didn’t review enough.
1 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: FeoGringo and 1 guest