General language log

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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:44 pm

lingzz_langzz wrote:
sporedandroid wrote:I think there’s several factors that influence how foreign a language sounds to you. One is mere exposure. I listened to a whole lot of Scandinavian music growing up. For cultural purposes I’ll include Finland. I still find Finnish sounds less foreign to me than Hebrew even though I most definitely do not understand Finnish better. Another one might just be how similar I feel or how much choice I feel in hearing the language. I’ve been exposed to a whole lot of Persian, but it still sounds foreign to me. Same with other languages. I think since I chose to listen to Scandinavian music I ended up identifying with it more, so that explains why it sounds less foreign.


I totally agree! It happened to me with German and I feel like it also boosts your confidence cause right now even though I don't actually speak German, I understand a lot of it and if I had to, I would just start speaking it without even thinking about it.

How did you get to that point in German? It seems like I seriously got to this point in Finnish purely by listening to an insane amount of Finnish music. I didn’t consider listening to music a language learning method, but since I was so passionate about Finnish folk music I just listened for the music’s sake. I seem to be able to conjure up a Finnish voice in my head better than other languages. Even though I probably haven’t listened to a lot of spoken Finnish compared to other languages.
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lingzz_langzz
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Re: General language log

Postby lingzz_langzz » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:24 pm

sporedandroid wrote:
lingzz_langzz wrote:
sporedandroid wrote:I think there’s several factors that influence how foreign a language sounds to you. One is mere exposure. I listened to a whole lot of Scandinavian music growing up. For cultural purposes I’ll include Finland. I still find Finnish sounds less foreign to me than Hebrew even though I most definitely do not understand Finnish better. Another one might just be how similar I feel or how much choice I feel in hearing the language. I’ve been exposed to a whole lot of Persian, but it still sounds foreign to me. Same with other languages. I think since I chose to listen to Scandinavian music I ended up identifying with it more, so that explains why it sounds less foreign.


I totally agree! It happened to me with German and I feel like it also boosts your confidence cause right now even though I don't actually speak German, I understand a lot of it and if I had to, I would just start speaking it without even thinking about it.

How did you get to that point in German? It seems like I seriously got to this point in Finnish purely by listening to an insane amount of Finnish music. I didn’t consider listening to music a language learning method, but since I was so passionate about Finnish folk music I just listened for the music’s sake. I seem to be able to conjure up a Finnish voice in my head better than other languages. Even though I probably haven’t listened to a lot of spoken Finnish compared to other languages.


Well, German was my frist foreign language, that´s the first thing. Then I was kinda always exposed to it. When I was 4 I was already travelling to Germany which I honestly don´t even remember. We´d also go to Berlin with my parents very often so I guess this kind of exposure made me have my German like somewhere inside me and I feel like if you force me to speak it from now on with someone, it would really happen and I would learn it pretty quickly haha.

Also, now that I think of it. You have a great example of the magic of exposure. The thing is... do you acquire Finnish better than Hebrew for example? Have you tried experimenting about it?
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:21 pm

lingzz_langzz wrote:We´d also go to Berlin with my parents very often so I guess this kind of exposure made me have my German like somewhere inside me and I feel like if you force me to speak it from now on with someone, it would really happen and I would learn it pretty quickly haha.

Also, now that I think of it. You have a great example of the magic of exposure. The thing is... do you acquire Finnish better than Hebrew for example? Have you tried experimenting about it?

I definitely have Finnish inside me. Since I can’t understand it I obviously can’t speak it. But I have an idea of what I’ll sound like. I even have an idea of what my mannerisms would be like. A while back I tried a Finnish lesson on Mango Languages. I did seem to remember the words better. I haven’t tried studying grammar, so I have no idea how that would go. I think one reason Hebrew words were really hard at the beginning is because of the way Semitic words are structured. When you’re first starting out they all seem the same. I don’t know when I’ll start Finnish at this point. I haven’t had luck learning multiple languages at once in the past. It’s not necessarily mixing words up that is a problem, I’m more worried about time management and motivation.
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lingzz_langzz
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Re: General language log

Postby lingzz_langzz » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:43 pm

sporedandroid wrote:
lingzz_langzz wrote:We´d also go to Berlin with my parents very often so I guess this kind of exposure made me have my German like somewhere inside me and I feel like if you force me to speak it from now on with someone, it would really happen and I would learn it pretty quickly haha.

Also, now that I think of it. You have a great example of the magic of exposure. The thing is... do you acquire Finnish better than Hebrew for example? Have you tried experimenting about it?

I definitely have Finnish inside me. Since I can’t understand it I obviously can’t speak it. But I have an idea of what I’ll sound like. I even have an idea of what my mannerisms would be like. A while back I tried a Finnish lesson on Mango Languages. I did seem to remember the words better. I haven’t tried studying grammar, so I have no idea how that would go. I think one reason Hebrew words were really hard at the beginning is because of the way Semitic words are structured. When you’re first starting out they all seem the same. I don’t know when I’ll start Finnish at this point. I haven’t had luck learning multiple languages at once in the past. It’s not necessarily mixing words up that is a problem, I’m more worried about time management and motivation.


That´s interesting! Don´t you feel like more motivated to go with Finnish instead of Hebrew? Or it doesn´t influence your decision?
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:32 am

lingzz_langzz wrote:
sporedandroid wrote:
lingzz_langzz wrote:We´d also go to Berlin with my parents very often so I guess this kind of exposure made me have my German like somewhere inside me and I feel like if you force me to speak it from now on with someone, it would really happen and I would learn it pretty quickly haha.

Also, now that I think of it. You have a great example of the magic of exposure. The thing is... do you acquire Finnish better than Hebrew for example? Have you tried experimenting about it?

I definitely have Finnish inside me. Since I can’t understand it I obviously can’t speak it. But I have an idea of what I’ll sound like. I even have an idea of what my mannerisms would be like. A while back I tried a Finnish lesson on Mango Languages. I did seem to remember the words better. I haven’t tried studying grammar, so I have no idea how that would go. I think one reason Hebrew words were really hard at the beginning is because of the way Semitic words are structured. When you’re first starting out they all seem the same. I don’t know when I’ll start Finnish at this point. I haven’t had luck learning multiple languages at once in the past. It’s not necessarily mixing words up that is a problem, I’m more worried about time management and motivation.


That´s interesting! Don´t you feel like more motivated to go with Finnish instead of Hebrew? Or it doesn´t influence your decision?

I have several reasons I didn’t initially go with Finnish. Back when I was into Scandinavian languages I didn’t feel like learning a non-Indo European language. When I was most interested in Finnish I didn’t have motivation for language learning in general. I had other hobbies and my experiences with Icelandic didn’t make me all that motivated to learn a language.
Another reason is that so far I’ve been mainly interested in Finnish music. I don’t need to understand lyrics to enjoy music. As far as I can tell there isn’t a lot of notable literature, movies or tv shows in Finnish. So a potential lack of media is a bit demotivating.

The reasons I went with Hebrew are also complicated. The first time I tried studying Hebrew was because of Jewish people and the bible. I really didn’t last long on those reasons alone. The second time was because I was going through personal issues. Studying Hebrew helped me get my mind off of things and stop visiting certain websites. So there was plenty of negative consequences for not studying Hebrew. I’m also pretty motivated because a lot of people don’t like Israel and I kind of feel like a rebel. Even though I’m not involved in politics, I feel people push the idea of having strong opinions on world politics too much.

I find how much I like the sound of a language doesn’t really influence whether I want to learn it. For a long time I’ve kind of found it shallow. Mainly because I’ve know about many people who learn Italian because they like how it sounds, but never truly stick with it. It’s also been interesting to see how my perception of Hebrew changes as I listen to it more. At first I didn’t like how it sounded, but now I’m more used to it. I’ve been lucky to find a lot of music in Hebrew that I enjoy, so that was one way to bypass that problem and get used to how it sounds.
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Re: General language log

Postby lingzz_langzz » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:49 am

So are you planning on coming back to Finnish anytime soon? Or it´s all for Hebrew now? :)
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:46 am

lingzz_langzz wrote:So are you planning on coming back to Finnish anytime soon? Or it´s all for Hebrew now? :)

I never truly studied Finnish. Just picked up words from music and online discussions. I think what I’ll do is put more time into learning more about Finnish and other languages I may be interested in studying in the future. With Hebrew, I’m in the process of changing how I study it since I’m more intermediate now. A lot of the methods I’ve been using for Hebrew are more suitable for beginners. I’ve been listening to more podcasts than actively studying Hebrew lately.
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Re: General language log

Postby lingzz_langzz » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:18 am

Discovering languages you want to learn is such an amazing journey! If you need any help, I´m more than happy to help you, just let me know!
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:24 am

I skipped one day and I’m on day 13 now. Nothing super interesting about the video itself. Today I started a coursera course on machine learning. I’m pretty sure I don’t meet the prerequisites, but I don’t really care. It’s a free course anyways. I’ve been putting up learning about machine learning because I don’t have experience in programming, math or have a fancy computer.

I think I’ll just do the course and as I do the course I can learn more about the stuff that confuses me if I want to. I’m interested in machine learning because of all the interesting things it can do. I also find the process itself very interesting. I like how it focuses on non-explicit learning. I think non-explicit learning is interesting for both computers and human beings! I also love how non-linear it is.
I’ve never been a fan of linear learning, whether that is school courses or a textbook. I guess coursera itself is linear, so I don’t know how much I’ll even follow through with it. Maybe I’ll just watch whatever YouTube videos about machine learning I’m interested in. I think I’ll use that coursera course more to see where my knowledge gaps are than expect any results.

It’s not so much that linear learning is boring, for me it’s just non-sensical. Who decides what order things are supposed to be on a textbook? What makes something “easy” or “hard”? Who decides how quickly I’m supposed to learn a concept? I find textbooks always get that wrong. I’m perfectly capable of doing “boring” language learning tasks if they make sense to me and are effective. I’ve been applying a lot of those theories to my own language learning.

I think machine learning can be a good tool to explore my interests. That would include language learning, but also other interests like art. I’ve seen a lot of interesting art created by machine learning. I don’t think it will replace artists. I think it’s just a new medium. Another big positive of machine learning is that it can get me a good job. As much as I love language learning, I know it can’t get me a job. No employer could care less if I’ve been teaching myself Hebrew or any other language besides French. I think people even overestimate how important French, Chinese or Arabic is to employers.

I guess for language learning I’m still trying to find different ways of studying. One thing I’ve been trying to do is turn subs2srs cards into cloze deletion cards. It’s a bit tricky because of the right to left text. I also need to change the format of the cards so the front of the card doesn’t have audio. I found audio on both sides extremely helpful as a beginner, but now I don’t need as much repetition. I think it will also help my reading comprehension. It is pretty low compared to my listening comprehension.

I’m also thinking of ways of exploring other languages more intentionally. I’ve unintentionally done this with languages just by reading language learning forums. I think I’ll focus on learning about Finnish, but I’ll explore other languages as well. Those languages could include French, German, Yiddish and whatever other languages I might feel like exploring. I guess the main goal of this is to get a good overview of a language, but not put any effort into committing anything to memory. I mainly want to have a good idea of what resources to use and maybe ease the learning curve as well.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri May 01, 2020 6:15 am

I didn’t have a chance to do a video journal because I didn’t have chance to drive off somewhere. I’m still not comfortable doing them at home. So I made a post about the different language learning stages I’ve noticed. I’m mainly talking about passive skills since that is my main focus at the moment.

Introductory or Exploratory Stage
Goal: To lay the groundwork for memorization later on and decide if this is the language for you
This is typically a language you’re still exploring or just started out on. It could even be a language you heard a lot about though language learning forums. You’ve probably read articles about this language or watched videos about this language. It’s easy to get a this level accidentally by spending time on language learning forums. One goal for this level is to give yourself a familiarity with the language family, what grammar features the language has, get some basic cultural knowledge and get a rough idea how the language could be part of your life.

Another useful thing at this level is to see some sentences broken down for you and explaining how the grammar works. Especially when the sentence breakdowns do not assume you have any background in the language and do things like color coding or diagrams. Different people have different opinions on using translation in language learning. There is some language learning methods that seem to work well without translation. As a self-learner I simply don’t consider them practical. I appreciate having translations to help me make connections.

One thing I do not appreciate at this stage is any method that tries to make you commit anything to memory. I’m still getting an overview or skeleton of the language. One thing I can compare this stage to is when the snow first starts falling. There isn’t enough snow on the ground for a lot of information to truly stick. For unfamiliar languages like Hebrew, this stage was especially long and difficult. I think I would have been better off if I put effort into learning more about Hebrew rather than pushing myself into memorizing words. I do understand why I did because the main thing that stood out to me is not knowing words.

I think this is a legitimate goal to aim for. It’s also perfectly realistic to know ten or more languages at this level. So if you love learning about how languages work, this could be a better goal than trying to settle for one language. You don’t need to be fluent in a language to enjoy it. I think for any future languages I’ll aim for getting a good grasp of this level. Particularly ones that I know will have a lot of unfamiliar features.

What I really don’t enjoy about a lot of beginner resources is that they force you to memorize phrases such as “Hello, how are you?”, “My name is...”, “Where are you from?” “I am from America, how about you?” I am definitely not against learning greetings, it’s the part where I’m being forced to memorize things too early on. It also takes time away from getting exposed to more sentence structures and vocabulary. You can only learn so much about a language from greetings.

Thankfully there are resources closer to what I’m aiming for, but they’re typically not labeled as courses. I do see material like this in textbooks, but I don’t think they spend enough time on it. In my opinion they spend too much time on memorization, exercises and “practical” things which don’t give me a big enough picture of the language.

Beginner
Goal: Start to memorize core grammar and vocabulary. Get comfortable with interpreting native level text with a dictionary.

This is the point where I start to feel like I’m truly learning a language. It’s when I get the feel for a language. In the introductory phase I tend to feel like I’m wishy washy and not really studying a language. When I reach the beginner phase I notice that vocabulary and grammar rules are truly starting to stick. At first it’s mainly vocabulary you’ve already been exposed to a lot, but as I progress I notice new vocabulary is easier as well. This is probably because at this stage you start to notice more and more known words on sentences you choose to study. So those known words act as an anchor and give you more context.

What is pretty much absent in this stage for me is the ability to purely learn words by context. It is still incredibly hard to find comprehensible input. There are some language teaching methods that make an effort to make things comprehensible at this level, but this can be hard to come by. Especially as a self-learner learning more obscure languages. I think me and several language learners try to find comprehensible input at this level. Usually I would find it a waste of time and go back to my other methods.

I have heard some advice to try to understand things by context, but at a beginner stage this is frustrating advice. As a beginner of Hebrew I kind of thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t really learn anything by context. So as a beginner the most pain-free learning method was to figure out sentences with a dictionary.

When I’m in the introductory stage or lower beginner stage I typically find it helpful to analyze sentences that already have an English translation. This could be textbook example cases or in my case tatoeba sentences. I found tatoeba sentences helpful because they were typically fairly literal and quickly taught me high frequency words. When I was a lower beginner I found them fairly overwhelming since I often had to learn several new words at once.
After those sentences I started studying from movies and tv shows instead. I think they are a good stepping stone to interpreting text in your target language without an English translation. I think this works because the translations are less literal. So it’s a bit harder work to interpret, but not as hard as having not having a translation.

I think this is one reason my Icelandic got stuck at the beginner stage. I was too scared of using English translations. I’d say my German and Old English are at the introductory phase. Which is frustrating because I hoped I could skip forward to the beginner level. It is extremely hard for me to memorize words in those languages unless they’re cognates. My lack of grammar knowledge also makes it very hard to interpret things.

An exception is transparent languages. Since I know English and Spanish, I already know quite a bit of French vocabulary. So when I’m reading an article in French I can sometimes get a pretty good idea of what the article is about. Since I haven’t really studied French I do terribly on grammar tests.

For upper beginner, you are able to interpret a lot of native level text with the help of a dictionary. That means that you typically won’t understand most of it at first. After going through a dictionary and giving yourself to think you’ll be able to understand it. It’s easy to feel like you’re “cheating” at understanding. Until you try do this with lower level languages. I think this is very dependent on grammar. If the grammar is simple enough I can probably do it with pretty much no study. It definitely felt like a huge milestone for Hebrew. Doing this for a few months also moved me to intermediate level.
Intermediate

I’d say I’d consider myself intermediate when I can understand things without a dictionary. It is also when I begin to get the idea of learning words from context.
I can start the comprehensible input method. I also notice my comprehension is highly dependent on how familiar I am with the topic. Not understanding things in your target language starts to feel more like not understanding things in your native language. It feels more like things are fuzzy than things being in a foreign language you don’t understand.

I definitely get the fuzzy feeling in English sometimes. I’ve also experienced getting over it. I used to be very interested in learning about optometry. Some time in my early teen years I exhausted all the articles written for laymen. So I had to start reading more academic and technical texts. At first it was hard to understand, but the more I read the more I understood. I think I did look up some technical terms, but I think I mostly picked them up by context. I haven’t experienced the intermediate stage as much, so I don’t have as much to say about it.
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