General language log

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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Mon May 11, 2020 8:17 am

Day 22. Maybe the video was a bit better, but not all that interesting.

My Hebrew reading seems to be improving. Especially on my anki cards. It’s definitely rote memorization, but that hasn’t stopped me from learning in the past. When I was first doing anki cards I was doing this with listening comprehension.

What I would do is listen to the same card several times in a row. This would let me process and analyze every little sound I hear. This isn’t practical for trying to listen to anything real time, but it definitely is for an anki deck. I would kind of be rote memorizing. Since I do this with a lot of cards, I think I notice patterns and go beyond rote memorization. That means my improvements first show up on individual anki cards, but my overall skills improve as I improve more anki cards.

Right now I’d say my listening comprehension is comfortable. For me that means I can understand most speech in movies or podcasts without much issues. Sometimes there’s moments where it’s a struggle. That could mean I miss some words or have to focus more. With more broad listening I can understand more unclear speech by context. Luckily it’s usually more filler or high frequency words that tend to be glossed over more.

My goal is to make reading comfortable. The main thing that makes reading uncomfortable is not being good at predicting how unknown words are pronounced. I know there’s a lot of grammar rules that govern it. I tried reading a grammar book just for that, but I can’t be consistent with it.

I think what might work is the anki deck I’m using right now. When I try to read unknown words I’ll get immediate feedback on how correct I was. Right now I’m wrong most of the time, but I’m hoping to get better with more feedback. When I get quicker at going through my anki decks I’ll increase the new cards I get to ramp this process up even more. I already guessed one unknown word correctly which is a huge accomplishment for me right now.

I’m at the stage where doing extensive listening is more beneficial than really narrow listening. I think if you feel like most speech is too fast or hard to understand you would benefit from more narrow listening. Another aspect of listening comprehension is just being able to process words and follow ideas. That is one thing I have more issues with. I think going through multiple videos on readingtools helps with that, but also podcasts.

Podcasts let me get more listening in, while readingtools lets me do more detailed work. This includes looking up words and pausing to analyze what a sentence means. I used to worry about this being bad for language acquisition. Especially before I could understand anything without stopping to analyze it.

I still remember the first time I could do this. I was watching a documentary on an extreme Jewish sect. It was a documentary in Hebrew. I just watched it and felt like I could understand it. I definitely didn’t understand every detail, but I could just watch and learn about it. That was cool and all, but it was even more cool to read the comments. I saw some English comments complaining about it being in Hebrew. Those comments made it really sink in that I just watched a documentary in Hebrew.

Right now it’s a balancing act between analyzing something or just trying to go with the flow. Now that there’s podcasts I can understand it’s easy to just go with the flow. I have no choice. For captioned YouTube videos I think it’s better to analyze them. I could go with the flow if I wanted to, but since it’s so convenient to analyze them I think that’s a better use of my time.

I try to pick material that is on a topic that I find interesting or relevant. After that I indiscriminately look up words. You never know where you’ll see those unknown words next.
It’s fairly practical to do on languagetools and anki. What’s a bit more of a grey area is YouTube videos with hardsubs. You can look up unknown words, but it’s fairly cumbersome.

I just watched an interesting video by Matt vs. Japan that gave me a good idea of what I’m aiming for in output. He talked about why natives don’t correct all mistakes. It’s because when people talk there is a lot of mistakes. So people can’t really decide what to correct. It’s definitely been my experience with non-native English speakers. Especially when it comes to pronunciation.

I remember someone asking to help me with her pronunciation. She had a pretty strong accent. I think she rolled her Rs and a bunch of other issues. Like a lot of people I decided to just correct the most obvious issues. It was easy to hear she had an accent, but I had no way to show her how to improve.

This is less of a problem with grammar, but correcting grammar can still be hard. Some grammar mistakes are pretty easy to fix. Other times I can correct someone’s grammar, but even after the correction it’s very unnatural. It definitely takes skill and I don’t think the average person has it.

I think this explains why beginners get corrected less sometimes. They have so many mistakes people have a hard time correcting them. So they stick to only correcting easy to correct mistakes. As you progress you make less mistakes, so you become easier to correct.

This is explains why it bugs me when people say language is for communication. I’ve met many people who make very glaring mistakes, but still get their message across. So I like focusing more on input. I realize this comes from a place of privilege. Some people have no choice but to output as early as possible. I don’t have to, so I choose not to. I think this is one reason I’ve picked more uncommon languages. I don’t like having pressure to speak.

I think I have some degree of output skills in Hebrew. I seem to score pretty well on grammar online tests compared to French and even Spanish. I’m fairly good at reading French. I just have zero grammar. On Clozemaster multiple choice I find it fairly easy to get correct answers. Typing in answers is another story. I couldn’t think of words. Sometimes a Hebrew word would pop up in my head.

It’s hard to say how many of those skills come from Clozemaster and how many come from input. I’ve tried making sentences of my own. When I tried to just think of it my mind blanked out. So I tried to translate from something I wrote in English. I’m not sure that it’s the best idea. I did notice that some things I expressed in English couldn’t be expressed in Hebrew. After some thinking I would find something that would work better. I used reverso and google to check how natural I was.

This does take a while, but so did input at the beginning. Now what I’m aiming for is to be easy to correct, so I can get useful corrections. There’s also several ways of looking up how to say things. There’s no use looking up how to say hanging out in a dictionary by looking up the word hanging and out and trying to make that grammatically correct. On reverso this is very straight forward to look up. There is examples where this doesn’t work in reverso. In those cases I just tried different ideas that convey the same message.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Wed May 13, 2020 7:32 am

I did day 23. As I expected I don’t think doing YouTube videos is for me. I don’t really enjoy filming videos of myself so far. Probably because I’m pretty tired some days and the quality of the video drops. Fluctuations in performance really bother me. Maybe I’d enjoy them if I had a different approach. I still want to improve my public speaking skills. Even if I was good at filming myself I don’t know if I could handle being a YouTuber. People who don’t know you see you as a friend. I’ve experienced this and didn’t like it. On other forums I’ve had “fans” and it was always very weird. Maybe it’s less weird when you have a YouTube channel and you want fans. I do not like having fans when I’m posting on forums.

I didn’t really study any Finnish today. I don’t know how much I’ll commit to Finnish. I also like the regular Scandinavian languages as well. I’m kind of drawn to Danish. When I first heard Danish as a seven year old I thought it was funny sounding. So funny sounding I decided to imitate them. They talked back to me and I thought I tricked them. When I was in high school I got into Danish music. Some of it was actually in Danish. I also had a fun time imitating Danish sounds despite my fear of speaking foreign languages.

Right now I still like some of the Danish music I used to like, but some of the pop music doesn’t quite hold up. I used to have a lot of fun reading celebrity gossip in Danish. I used the dictionary a lot, but I had fun reading about Danish musicians. Another possible reason I want to learn Danish is because of Kierkegaard. I haven’t read his stuff in English, but people seem to like him. Particularly Jewish people.

I find Danish movies pretty appealing as well. I could say the same about Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian movies. Same thing with books. I just can’t decide on which Northern European language to learn. Which is probably why I haven’t studied any in ages. Maybe I’m not at as interested in Northern European culture as I think. Maybe I’m just stuck in the past. That trip to Iceland where I could blend in made quite an impression. I wonder what would have happened if I never went to Iceland.

It also feels like choosing languages based on liking music is pretty arbitrary. So far I’ve really gotten into music from Iceland, Denmark and Finland. I’ve also gotten into music from Sweden quite a bit. A bit from Norway, but definitely not as much as the other Nordic countries. Unsurprisingly I got tired of Nordic music. Or should I say the Nordic music I regularly listened to.

So I took a break from listening to music. After the break my music taste was pretty random. When I decided I wanted to try Hebrew again I got into Israeli music. I got into it more than I thought. Did I really just pick some arbitrary country and get into their music? It’s definitely not an arbitrary language, but I pretty much knew nothing about Israeli music before. So now it feels like all the music I’ve liked in the past is meaningless.

Now that I’ve been doing a bit more Finnish it seems like my inner Finnish voice isn’t as good as I thought it was. Sometimes it sounds good and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now the same could be said about my Hebrew voice. It seems like I always pick up another language when I’m frustrated with Hebrew.

I was definitely frustrated with Hebrew when I picked up German. I was frustrated I couldn’t understand what sentences meant despite knowing the words. I tried unsuccessfully to get into textbooks. I almost tried some language learning podcasts. So glad I didn’t pay for any of that. Time and Clozemaster fixed it.

I guess my frustration right now was more about anki being too easy. My lack of reading comprehension is also starting to frustrate me. Now I made my anki decks focus on reading. It definitely solved the problem of my study routine being too easy. Right now it’s a bit too hard. I’m already noticing improvements in my reading, but reading still frustrates me quite a bit.

One thing that’s been nagging at me for a while is that my personality isn’t suited to Israel or speaking Hebrew. I feel kind of silly because I didn’t learn Hebrew because I thought I had an Israeli personality. Same thing with any other culture I’ve been interested. One thing might be is that people have already told me I have a Scandinavian personality, so I can’t have an Israeli personality.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri May 15, 2020 8:07 am

I did day 24 yesterday, but I didn’t do day 25 today. It is really seeming like making videos is not for me. I might try different formats, but so far I don’t seem to enjoy it all that much. I was excited at first, but that was probably just the novelty. Same thing with Finnish. For now I’ll continue with my low intensity study. Low intensity study seems to be fairly discouraged in the language learning community. So I have to try some of those methods for myself. I think they are useful for the beginner stage because there’s only so much you can study as a beginner. Textbooks are usually suggested, but they honestly make no sense to me.

I’m hoping to get a vocabulary of 500-1,000 words in about one to three months. I’m not expecting all that much and won’t be disappointed if I don’t make that goal. Maybe I’ll vaguely know 500-1000 words and pretty much not understand anything. I think that’s a good stage to be in as a beginner. It will make it easier to analyze sentences and analyzing sentences turns into actual comprehension. I won’t try to memorize a frequency Anki deck. I still find it interesting to look through a frequency list since a lot of those words do look awfully familiar.

I watched some videos by Finnished today. I tried analyzing them, but the video I picked was a bit too hard. I’m sure if I put more effort into it I could analyze it, but I don’t feel like doing that for Finnish right now. So I just watched without analyzing. It definitely felt like some gears were turning. I did pick up some words that were repeated a lot that I’ve now forgotten. This is what I expect from being an absolute beginner. Things don’t exactly stick and I’m okay with that. I also came across some words I previously learned as well.

It does seem like lately I’ve been getting interested in Finnish or other languages when I’m frustrated by Hebrew. Covid19 is making me feel less passionate about things in general and kind of wishy-washy. So I did have some moments I worried about losing my passion for Hebrew. Right now that worry is kind of gone. Right now I kind of feel like my passion for Finnish is gone. My interest in Finnish keeps on returning, so it will be nice to have it even at a basic level.

Right now the main reason I’m interested in Finnish is because I’m trying out different ways of starting a new language. Particularly since conversation is not an immediate goal. So a lot of methods aren’t really for me. They put too much emphasis on trying to activate knowledge.

My goal is more to build a web of knowledge that will make it easier to study from native content as early as possible. That includes high frequency vocabulary along with the grammar that I need to understand things. I still don’t know if studying grammar for comprehension is any different than studying grammar for conversations. I have a gut feeling it probably won’t rely as much on memorization since you’re not expected to make any sentences. The only real objective is to make sure things make sense.

I’ll take advantage of my wishy-washiness to explore different methods or even different languages. When coffee shops re-open I’ll probably be more disciplined with my new anki routine. It’s definitely going better, but still fairly tough. For a while my anki routine was off, so even when I had coffee shops I was still fairly wishy-washy. I think when they re-open I’ll do Anki at coffee shops, but at home I’ll probably analyze captioned YouTube videos or search for more content I can understand and enjoy.

I think I’ve reached the point or I’m approaching the point in Hebrew where I can benefit from getting more exposure. The problem I have is that I have no “willpower” to really do it. While I’m driving I’ll listen to podcasts in Hebrew with no issues. I just don’t feel like watching YouTube in Hebrew. There’s too much YouTube in English that I enjoy! I think part of the reason listening to podcasts in Hebrew was so easy for me is because I don’t really listen to them in English. So I’m not taking away time from any English podcasts I like.

I seem to be able to understand enough of the podcasts for it to be language practice, but I don’t understand enough for a lot of tv shows to be enjoyable. I also don’t have much familiarity with media in Hebrew. So maybe there’s some media out there I can already understand and enjoy. I’m just using that mental energy to practice reading right now. My reading definitely is improving, so it’s paying off.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri May 22, 2020 4:28 am

I haven’t been doing those videos. Maybe it’s the stream of consciousness style that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the fact I don’t feel like watching the videos. I’m not completely giving up on the idea. Maybe one day I’ll film them more like actual YouTube videos and maybe once a week instead of daily. I’m guessing I’ll make actual improvements that way.

Local coffee shops are starting to re-open again. I don’t know how good their atmosphere will be for studying. If it is good, I think it should improve my motivation to do anki and analyze videos. Maybe it won’t because going to coffee shops may become more complicated. One reason is that I just started driving. I’m getting plenty of opportunities to improve at driving because of the less crowded roads, but I still haven’t figured out parking. It seems to be pretty tough in my city.

In terms of Finnish, I don’t know how much I’ll stick with it. I know I keep getting interested in Finnish, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I really get into it one day. I’ll continue exploring low intensity methods for Finnish. One language I’ll start studying a bit is French.

French is interesting because I already have some background in it. I speak English and Spanish and I actually did French immersion for one year as a kid. Even without French immersion I’m exposed to written French on packaging and warning signs simply because I live in Canada. Since French is such a common language to learn, there is a lot of resources. That includes quite a bit of learner content.

I seem to do an alright job understanding this learner content. I definitely need to concentrate on it more than I would compared to Hebrew content. I think what I’ll do is just watch one innerfrench YouTube video a day with French subtitles and do nothing else. I’ll see how much my French improves just by doing that. I won’t be looking up unknown words or any other effort. I’ll also do Clozemaster once in a while for fun.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:40 am

I don’t think I’ll continue with Finnish for now. It was kind of fun to do for a really short period of time. I definitely am not better at remembering Finnish words compared to Hebrew words. I kind of did have the feeling my head voice for Finnish was better than my head voice for Hebrew. That didn’t actually turn out to be true. My head voice in Finnish seemed to degrade when I started learning some basic vocabulary.

Maybe I was focusing too much on the written language. As an absolute beginner it’s definitely easier to get the repetition I need with sentences on Clozemaster. I’m not even sure if it is reading because I had the same issue when I was first learning Hebrew. It seems like it’s more related to trying remember vocabulary than reading.

I don’t think I’ll continue with Finnish because I think Finnish deserves better. I think I’ll start of Finnish the same way I started out Hebrew. I’ll do audio lingual courses like finnishpod101 or maybe 50languages. Even though I don’t remember words very well with that method it will help me really hone in on the sounds. I may also do some chorusing/shadowing. After the audio courses I may go back to studying the YouTube videos.

I don’t know how well subs2srs will go at the beginning because Finnish has dialects and subtitles are written in standard Finnish. I think by the time I’d get started on Finnish I’ll have totally different studying habits. It is very hard to know whether my study habits change because I’m growing as a language learner or progressing in one specific language.

Like I suspected I mainly got interested in Finnish because I’m frustrated with Hebrew. I often get interested in other languages when Hebrew frustrates me. I got interested in German because it’s similar to Yiddish and would have cognates with English and Scandinavian languages. Sadly it didn’t have as many cognates as I hoped. I found Finnish attractive because I love how it sounds and felt I had a better ear for it. What keeps me returning to Hebrew is that I always find whatever new language I’m studying harder or less interesting than Hebrew.

I find it incredibly difficult to be an absolute beginner in a language. I do not progress at all as an absolute beginner, so I don’t get that dopamine boost. I get dopamine boosts thinking about starting a language or watching some movies with English subtitles. Actual studying is very hard. I had to force myself to study Hebrew until I got to a level where I could do more enjoyable methods.

Often I would make studying more enjoyable by going to coffee shops. That is one way Covid19 has affected my studying. Leading up to Covid19 my study routine was losing effectiveness. Right now I have the new reading routine. I think I need to get more consistent at it. Right now my Hebrew reading abilities seem to fluctuate a lot. It drives me crazy. Sometimes my listening comprehension seems to fluctuate, but often times it’s because the difficulty is actually changing.

Right now for example I notice I do far better with non-fiction than fiction. So I seem to do decent at podcasts in topics I’m familiar with, but as soon as someone tells a story I’m lost. I also struggle to watch tv shows, even shows like Arthur. It’s about the same as when I started listening to podcasts. I wasn’t sure if I understood enough for it to benefit me. I did annoying stuff like mental translation and just feeling awkward. So I think Arthur is a good show to introduce.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:08 am

Like I said before my new anki routine is still very intense. All I did was remove audio from the front of the card. Now I have to read the card in my head and reproduce the sounds in my head. Right now my ability to do this fluctuates a lot. Yesterday it was very hard, but today it was relatively easy. Still a bit tiring, but doable. I did 26 minutes in one sitting, which was pretty good.

Partially it’s because of how much sleep I got. I’ve always struggled with sleep and this quarantine shit makes it worse. I do not like to hear about how much superpowers sleep gives you because I’ll only get more worried about getting less sleep. None of the generic advice people give about sleep are helpful. Sometimes doing mentally tiring things before bed could kind of help me fall asleep, but that can make me wake up four hours later.

I’m hoping I’m actually doing better because I was doing a bunch of piled up reviews on anki. So my rote memory is helping me go through the cards a bit. If it’s that, I think I should just work at being consistent, which is very hard right now. I can’t believe they reopened a local coffee shop and closed it again!

I’m doing my anki cards in a way that makes them not pile up too much. I mark the card as good regardless of how well I did with it until the interval gets to 10 days. When I do poorly with a card, I will reread it and replay it several times.

Another thing that seems to affect my skills a lot is how much exposure I get to Hebrew. For a while this wasn’t much of an issue because I listened to a lot of Israeli music. Sadly I’m getting burned out on a lot of it. So I’m not listening much to it unless I have some specific music in mind or feel like exploring more music. I really did find far more Israeli music than I expected to, but right now I feel like I’ve sort of run out. There is an Israeli music podcast that seems promising.

It mostly exposes me to non-Israeli music, which is kind of a good thing. I don’t really know what non-Israeli music I’m interested in. I can’t just ask people what non-Israeli music I should listen to since I cannot stand being told what to be interested in. Mainly because no one, not even me can fully understand what I like about Israeli or any other music in the first place. Most people would probably think I like “middle eastern” or “exotic” music and just recommend me anything that fits those categories for them.

I actually used to think I hated middle eastern music. Now I realized I’m more indifferent to it. I’m not the type to like music *because* it’s middle eastern, but music having middle eastern elements to it won’t stop me from liking it. One big reason I didn’t like it in the past was because it was *lacking* elements in music that I like. A lot of Israeli music has middle eastern influence to it, but doesn’t lack things I like in music. Middle eastern music is also pretty diverse, so it’s natural I’ll like some of it and hate a lot of it.

Part of my problem is that it’s hard to encourage myself to listen to podcasts. My goal is to change my lifestyle in a way that will encourage me to listen to more podcasts. It’s easy to listen to when I’m driving, but not so easy when I’m at home. I usually want to read things online and that interrupts podcasts in any language. The advantage of podcasts is I've found some I’m comfortable with.

The issue with podcasts is that they can be awkward to listen to and they may not always be the most interesting or enjoyable. Some are genuinely enjoyable, but most are just comfortable. Right now it’s just a more passive way of studying Hebrew. It definitely improves my ability to understand the meaning of things. One example is that I was listening to a song in Hebrew that I knew fairly well and suddenly realized it was about being transgender. I didn’t suddenly learn a bunch of new words. I was just tuned into meaning more.

Getting myself to find videos in Hebrew can be challenging. Israel doesn’t seem to have much of a YouTube culture, so I haven’t found any YouTubers I really like. I did find some clickbaity listicle video I enjoyed, but that channel didn’t make any more of that content. I also have to compete against English YouTube videos that I’m very into. There isn’t really any English podcasts I enjoy, so I don’t have that issue with podcasts.

There is also tv, but it’s hard to find tv that’s at my level. Maybe I’ll continue trying to watch Arthur or SpongeBob to see if that will get me ready for tv. There’s no guarantee I’ll find tv shows I enjoy. I once saw this talk show that featured some live music and a man talking about wearing a turban. I wish I noted it down. It was fairly easy to understand.

Finding content I enjoy is a job in itself. It’s fairly frustrating and I could be using that time for more structured studying. The big issue is my reading level, which is why it’s a priority right now. Maybe in a year I’ll be able to find things I enjoy reading and in the meantime it will make it easier to find other content. At the beginning of the year I knew reading would be a priority and the more I’m progressing the more reasons I’m finding for it to be a priority.

Finnish is an odd place for me. I did find when I listened to some Finnish music again I did seem to recognize words I’ve studied and even know what they mean. My problem is that Hebrew is such a dominant language for me. I notice Hebrew butting in for all of my weaker languages even if they’re completely unrelated. This doesn’t happen with Spanish or even French very much. It may be because I’m at a stage in Hebrew where I’m trying to absorb as much as possible. Maybe when my Hebrew is more advanced this will stop happening.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 11, 2020 7:47 am

Since there isn’t too many coffee shops around, I have to force myself to study at home. I was going through a period of time of not studying anki very much before COVID19 happened. Mainly because it was getting too easy to study. What I mean by too easy is no meaningful way to make cards pass or fail. So I found it easy to breeze through cards and I wasn’t sure how much benefit I was getting.

I did get to study at the coffee shop. I didn’t really focus as well as I do at home, but it was way more fun. I also noticed that since there’s background noise, it was a better environment to practice listening comprehension. My reading is improving. I’m no longer having as many issues reading words I already know. I’m also improving at spotting patterns, so I’m getting better at guessing how new words are pronounced. I want to get pretty good at this before I get more into reading.

For now I’m trying to limit my reading to things that have audio to them. After anki decks I move onto videos from כאן(Kan) which all have transcriptions. What I’ll do with these videos is try my best to read a sentence and afterwards play the video and see how accurate I was at reading. It’s nice to get some instant feedback on how I did at reading. I think one good thing about those videos is the slightly more formal language.

Besides podcasts I’m still having a hard time finding content I like in Hebrew. So far I haven’t really found any youtubers I like. I also haven’t really found any shows I like and can understand. I did find some older cartoons for children which weren’t too bad. I actually found them nice and relaxing to watch. I found one on the bible. Right now finding content isn’t a huge priority. I will still do it once in a while, but it does get pretty frustrating.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:43 am

One way I can sum up my level is that I need to warm up a lot. It seems like studying hard one day will temporarily boost my skills, while slacking off will make them drop. All within very short periods of time, so to me it seems like my skills fluctuate a lot. I cannot stand when things fluctuate. Today was a surprisingly good day despite my poor sleep. Possibly because I studied pretty hard yesterday.

Since reading is one of my weaker skills it’s the skill that fluctuates the most. One way of helping me warm up for reading is listening. From now on maybe I’ll listen to a bit of a podcast before I do anki. I always get annoyed at how I’m a bit worse at reading the first few minutes I study. My listening comprehension also fluctuates. Usually things like remembering vocabulary or making sense of the message.

I also find that simple things like listening to music in Hebrew will improve my skills for that day. Some days I don’t listen to music in Hebrew because I can’t think of any music in Hebrew I particularly want to listen to. I’m really making sure I don’t exhaust my favorite music. I’m still discovering songs I find fun to listen to, but it does seem like I’m really slowing down at finding music in Hebrew.

Part of this is just depression symptoms from what’s going on in the world. So I get pretty apathetic and tired. I think it’s a great time for me to work really hard at improving my reading. Some days I barely get any pleasure out of anything, but I’m still into the routine of language learning. On those days I feel satisfied that I got studying done even though I didn’t really enjoy myself.

I think I’m slowing down at finding music in general. I’ve just never truly been into one broad genre like rock or jazz.
I definitely get into small niches, but they can get exhausted. I don’t really think I have the best language to describe the music I like. Even when I try, it generally isn’t all that useful for finding new music.

One issue I have is that I find a lot of music boring. I can try to ask people for non-boring music all the time, but that generally doesn’t work too well. Even I like music that I could consider boring. I don’t know why I end up liking that music, but I do. Same thing with bad music. Sometimes I love bad music.

I generally like music with a high bpm. Israeli music, European folk music and a lot of my guilty pleasure music definitely fits into that category. Icelandic music doesn’t generally have a high tempo and I used to love Icelandic music. I still like it, but it kind of fucks with my mind right now.

I think one big issue with my music taste is that it often has to serve a purpose. Right now my purpose is learning Hebrew. So a lot of the time I lack interest in music that isn’t in Hebrew even though my music taste is far more broad than that. Sometimes I genuinely am happy fulfilling my purpose, but it also gets stale.

At one point my purpose was listening to music that is indie or cool. I’ve often wondered if my music taste is really genuine if it’s fitting some arbitrary sounding purpose. After I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized it is. I remember that there was many indie rock bands I could just not get into.

Now that Spotify is showing me really random Israeli music, I’m also discovering a bunch of Israeli music I don’t care for all that much. I seem to like a lot of the critically acclaimed Israeli classics. So when I was first getting into Israeli music, it did seem like I liked all of it. I’ve been getting a bit into pop. I find it more hit or miss and I think I burn through songs more.

Luckily I found an Israeli music podcast that seems to have decent music. I’ve mentioned it before, but I never really made any time to listen to it. Now I think morning is a good time to listen to it. It also seems like like night time is a potential time to explore new content. If I get tired because I find it hard, it’s no big deal.
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sporedandroid
Green Belt
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:25 am

I’ve been thinking more about when to start speaking or if I even want to speak. I was contemplating beginning to speak or do some output this year. I realized I just wanted a goal for the sake of having a goal. I’ve been starting to get some diminishing returns on practicing listening comprehension. A lot of my study sessions were too easy. Lately I’ve been getting more and more bothered by my reading comprehension. It didn’t really bother me last year, but when I’m doing things like looking for videos and podcasts I really start to notice it. Since I’m interested in a lot of literature in Hebrew, reading makes a bit more sense than output as a goal.

One worry I had about reading was ruining pronunciation in the future. I think with the method I’m doing it, it might actually help. What I essentially do is read a card in my head and try to read it in my head. I can definitely tell when the way I say something in my head is off. When I play the audio I can really hear some obvious differences. As I do it more and more I think I get better at this.

Most sane and regular people would tell me to start speaking RIGHT NOW. That just doesn’t resonate with me. Most things people say don’t resonate with me. I also know my opinions will evolve over time on their own. When I was fourteen years old, I would have never really imagined I would ever start learning Hebrew.

I was just watching a video about when to start outputting. It was by Matt vs. Japan. A lot of the stuff he says does resonate with me. Some of it doesn’t. He did say that you should wait until you understand nearly everything before you start speaking. I haven’t reached that point yet. I‘d say I’m intermediate. That’s how I seem to score on listening comprehension tests and some grammar tests as well.

What I definitely know is that my output skills are not at the intermediate level. I think my score on grammar tests has more to do with my ability to know how correct something sounds than my speaking abilities. It also has to do with how well I can figure out what something means using a dictionary. The one reason I started working on my grammar was because I couldn’t figure out what things meant even using a dictionary. I don’t notice this problem all that often with Hebrew, but when I was taking an Old English class recently I really noticed this issue.

One thing Matt said in that video is to make a video of yourself speaking spontaneously without thinking about it. I’m not sure I agree. What I’m guessing is that thinking about what you say is an intermediate stage between not speaking and speaking spontaneously. That’s what learning to understand Hebrew was like for me.

At first I only analyzed what sentences and phrases meant with English translations available. I would use a dictionary to learn what a word meant and try to make a connection between what it says in Hebrew and the translation. At first I truly didn’t know a lot of words. After a while I kind of did know words, but couldn’t make the connection until I saw the English translation. I kind of worried I wouldn’t be able to understand Hebrew normally.

After doing that for a while I was ready to move onto analyzing videos with transcripts. I did have quite a hard time interpreting what things meant at first. Even with a dictionary. It reminded me of when I was studying Icelandic and trying to analyze newspaper articles. I also sort of worried I wouldn’t start understanding things normally. Analyzing articles just doesn’t feel natural. It’s not something babies do. That doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.

On my own without very much practice I was developing the ability to understand things normally. It kind of started off with understanding the gist of videos. I really noticed it when I watched a documentary in Hebrew. I could enjoy it without looking up all that many words. What really made it sink in was that there was a bunch of English comments complaining about how it’s in Hebrew.

Since I noticed I felt more comfortable reading after doing listening I decided to start listening to podcasts. I didn’t listen to them to understand them at first. I just wanted to hear more spoken Hebrew. I started realizing I could get the gist of them. By listening to them more, I got more practice listening for meaning. Maybe I should have started listening to them earlier.

What I’m saying is that maybe speaking follows a similar evolution. I think before I start speaking I’ll try to make sure I’m satisfied with my pronunciation. I’m not sure when I’ll start practicing my pronunciation. I’m not even sure if I ever will be. Once I’m better at reading, I’ll probably start writing in Hebrew. I might also use them as some sort of script or template to help me speak one day.
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sporedandroid
Green Belt
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:54 am
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:29 am

I’ve been debating with myself whether I want to relearn Icelandic or not. I still have moments where I just feel like relearning it one day. I don’t know how valid my reasons are. It could be a case of the grass being greener on the other side. Maybe because I’m a bit frustrated with Israeli Youtubers. I feel like I can understand them decently, but I just don’t enjoy the videos all that much.

I felt like I enjoyed Icelandic youtubers way more even though I understood them far less. Maybe the only enjoyment I got out of them was being able to understand them at all. I feel like if I revisited those videos with more comprehension I may not enjoy them all that much either. Maybe I will. Who knows. Maybe it also had to do with it being ten years ago. The internet and Iceland itself was quite different back then.

I didn’t expect to really struggle with finding Israeli youtubers or TV I enjoy. What I did expect to have issues with was Israeli music. What I thought would happen is that after trying a lot of Israeli music that I may like 3 or 4 artists and just leave it at that. Instead what happened is that I ended up liking Israeli music in general and it sort of took over my music taste. I guess that’s good for immersion and exposure, but it was fairly unexpected.

Before I try to get back into Icelandic at all I want my Hebrew to be solid. I’m still trying to figure out what “solid” will mean for me. I think I have to learn more about Judaism. This is the reason I started Hebrew in the first place. Several years ago I suddenly got intensely interested in Judaism without actually knowing all that much about it.

I’m starting to get some vague ideas about why I’m gravitating towards Judaism or Jewish culture, but I still have to admit I don’t know all that much about it. I don’t really know how to go about learning more about it. I kind of have a feeling I have to engage with my local Jewish community to really get a feeling for it. I just don’t know how I would even approach them. I know conversion isn’t the smartest idea. I don’t even know what I’m after, so how do I expect some people I don’t even know to know what I’m after.

Since I sort of had some experience with language learning I decided to just start learning Modern Hebrew. It isn’t 100% what I’m supposedly seeking out, but I get something out of it. I have a feeling that if I don’t seek out what I was originally after, studying Modern Hebrew will start to feel empty. It sometimes kind of does, but maybe it’s just the usual frustration of learning a language.

I also started learning Hebrew because I know how connected to something I can feel by learning a language. The problem I have is that I don’t really feel like there is a Jewish country or language. Israel kind of satisfies it. Maybe 50% of what I find attractive about Judaism seems to exist in Israel. Like any other countries there is some things I’ve grown to like about Israeli culture. It isn’t the direct connection I got for Iceland. Nor did I expect it to be. I knew that Israel being in the Middle East and having conflicts would introduce some new elements to it.

What I do know right now is that studying Icelandic is just a mindfuck for me right now. I’ve had several fears about mixing it up with Hebrew. Even though they’re unrelated languages. For me they’re both self-taught languages I’m sort of ashamed of learning. When I compare how I actually feel listening to each language, they definitely have a different feel to them. Words don’t really do it justice. I do notice that Hebrew kind of has a sharp energizing earthy sensation, while Icelandic feels more like a soft enclosed dreamy sensation. English and Spanish have their own unique sensations as well. English seems to feel like a flowing river for some reason. Maybe because of all the s and sh sounds. Spanish kind of has its own sensations, but I can’t really think of any way of describing it. French is even harder to describe even though I understand it better than Icelandic.

These sensations are pretty intense for me. It isn’t all that noticeable when I’m just studying one language at a time. It just feels like language learning to me. Until I listen to another language I know. What I’m really wondering is if these different sensations I feel are observable to other people. On my first trip to Iceland a lot of people spoke to me in Icelandic. I was really feeling Iceland on that trip. On the second trip my experience was pretty different.

Since I was really into learning Hebrew my connection to Iceland seemed diluted. I did get some people speaking Icelandic to me at the airport, but other than that I felt like a tourist there. I still had an enjoyable trip. I think it made the trip a lot less intense which is kind of a good thing. In order to not REDACTED with my mind too much I just used that trip as an opportunity to take a break from language learning. I think it was a wise choice to not try to rapidly improve my Icelandic before that trip. I had pretty much zero expectations for myself, so I was happy when I understood anything at all.
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