General language log

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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:39 am

I kind of have been casually studying Finnish again. Right now it’s just from those YouTube videos with bilingual subtitles. What I do is simply just click on those videos whenever they seem interesting. Since I’m on YouTube a lot, they do pop up quite often. What I do to is just pause those videos a lot to allow myself time to process them. I don’t use any dictionaries or take any notes. Since I have some very basic Finnish vocabulary, I often review the words I do know and learn a few new words as well.

Even though Clozemaster was fun, I’m not sure I’ll do much. It relies too much on reading. I think it’s important to get a lot of audio at the beginning. I'll still use some text out of practicality, but I’ll just use those YouTube videos for now. I think they’ll be useful for a while. I think I’ll also give duolingo a try. I hope it has a lot of audio content.

I just watched a video from a polyglot YouTuber about watching movies in your target language with native language subtitles. Most people say it’s useless and even harmful, but he said it’s actually helpful in many ways. You can pick up filler words and cultural knowledge. He said it’s good for beginners and lower intermediates. I’d say I’m lower intermediate in Hebrew. When I watch things in Hebrew with bilingual or English subtitles, it’s pretty relaxing. It almost feels like I’m not studying. So I avoided it. Now I’ve changed my mind. I think I’ll do it to see what shows are out there.

I can’t say the same about Scandinavian languages. When I have bilingual subtitles or even just English ones it really does feel like I’m studying. I tried watching a Swedish show with bilingual subtitles as an experiment. It wasn’t very enjoyable because I kept trying to pause it to try to pick up as many words as I could. Since I haven’t studied Swedish the dialogue seemed very fast. So maybe it’s best to keep them off for netflix shows. If I find short videos on YouTube for learners I’ll definitely take advantage of them.

I’m terms of progress in Hebrew I think I’ve made pretty good progress at reading. It’s hard to know if it’s true solid progress or just a good day. I’ve had several good days where I felt like I mad a lot of progress, but then the good day would end and I’d get very disappointed. Coffee shops are reopening, so studying Hebrew is getting easier. It seems like my anki decks are getting too easy. So I also just read the transcripts to videos from the כאן YouTube channel. That is getting quite a bit easier. I’m finding it easier to know how unknown words are pronounced. The main thing I’m getting better at is just being able to read the words I already know.

I used to even struggle with that. I still kind of trip up. I notice some days it’s slower and more accurate and some days it’s quicker and a bit less accurate. I think both of those days help me improve my skills in different ways. On the more slow days I often understand things that would have been incomprehensible before. I’m taking about times when I have a dictionary available. There are times I can’t understand something even with a dictionary and time to think about it. I kind of took my ability to analyze texts in Hebrew with a dictionary until I took a class on Old English. It was incredibly hard to analyze texts even while using a dictionary.

I think I’m getting a hang of finding a balance between extensive reading and intensive reading. I’m including listening as well. When I have a transcript or text available, I’ll do intensive. I’ll look up every word I don’t know or I’m not clear on and skim English Wikipedia articles about topics I don’t know about. When I’m listening to podcasts I have no choice. It’s extensive listening for me. When I read the description of the episode I can sometimes learn new words. Oftentimes they’re used frequently in the episode. I know that I’ve gained so many skills from extensive listening I couldn’t gain from intensive reading or listening.

I think when I have more vocabulary I’ll probably naturally start to do more extensive reading. When I come across a particularly easy כאן video I let myself just guess what things mean and look up what it means afterwards. That will help me get better at acquiring words and also get feedback. I’m not going to pressure myself to try to guess what words mean when there truly isn’t enough context. At that point it’s more enjoyable to just look up the words I don’t know.

Now that I’m better at reading I think I’ll start keeping a diary of unknown words. I’ll probably include the context I found it in, another example sentence and the nikkud and dictionary entry. The amount of detail will probably vary with each word depending on how important I think it is or how much I can actually find on the word. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll actually do this. This is more of an idea than something I’m actually committing to.
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Re: General language log

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:03 pm

sporedandroid wrote:I can’t say the same about Scandinavian languages. When I have bilingual subtitles or even just English ones it really does feel like I’m studying. I tried watching a Swedish show with bilingual subtitles as an experiment. It wasn’t very enjoyable because I kept trying to pause it to try to pick up as many words as I could. Since I haven’t studied Swedish the dialogue seemed very fast. So maybe it’s best to keep them off for netflix shows. If I find short videos on YouTube for learners I’ll definitely take advantage of them.


What Swedish shows have you watched so far? Maybe the dialogues are fast, maybe it's a vocabulary thing, maybe they use a certain accent/register.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:00 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:
sporedandroid wrote:I can’t say the same about Scandinavian languages. When I have bilingual subtitles or even just English ones it really does feel like I’m studying. I tried watching a Swedish show with bilingual subtitles as an experiment. It wasn’t very enjoyable because I kept trying to pause it to try to pick up as many words as I could. Since I haven’t studied Swedish the dialogue seemed very fast. So maybe it’s best to keep them off for netflix shows. If I find short videos on YouTube for learners I’ll definitely take advantage of them.


What Swedish shows have you watched so far? Maybe the dialogues are fast, maybe it's a vocabulary thing, maybe they use a certain accent/register.

So far I’ve watched Caliphate. Haven’t really tried any other Swedish shows yet. I did hear from one language learning YouTuber that show has pretty easy language. It wasn’t all that easy for me, but I’m not officially learning Swedish. I just studied Icelandic in the past and dabbled a bit in Danish.
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sporedandroid
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Why I think I have a fear of speaking other languages

Postby sporedandroid » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:28 am

I think this fear began when I was young. I grew up speaking Spanish with my family. One of our family friends was an anthropologist. So she was fascinated with exotic cultures. She regularly heard me speak Spanish with my family. But she had an odd request for me. She wanted me to teach her Spanish. I was probably five years old or even younger. I felt very uncomfortable with it.

Most likely because it felt othering. It has a similar feel to when people ask me to say something in another language. I had no issues teaching my classmates naughty words in Spanish. I just had issues with being asked to teach people Spanish. I don’t like talking being seen as performance.

After that I had a huge fear of speaking French in French immersion. I just worried I would be bad at French for whatever reason. Maybe because people said I was bad at English for a while. So I assumed I would be bad at French as well. I was seven years old. The age kids supposedly have no fear of speaking other languages.

To this day even when I tell people I’m not comfortable speaking other languages they still want me to. They want me to speak Hebrew “for them.” I have issues with that mentality. Something about that makes me uncomfortable. I’m slightly more comfortable with maybe people seeing me speak Hebrew in a normal context.

What I don’t want to do is do it “for them.” It feels worse than being asked to take off my clothes for people. I know that the more I avoid it, the more “special” it becomes. Which is the last thing I want. Part of me just wants to move somewhere else and just start speaking other languages all the time. So it’s just something I normally do and nothing special.

I barely even want people to know I’m studying Hebrew. One reason is because I’m embarrassed with how obsessed I am. As it becomes a bigger part of my life it becomes harder to not talk about it. So I’m stuck with people wanting me to speak Hebrew for them. Even when I tell them how uncomfortable I am. Maybe I’ll start telling people when I get better at reading. I’ll just tell them I only know how to read.

It’s no big deal if I don’t speak it because it doesn’t really have too much negative impact on my life. I do not need to speak Hebrew. What I do need to do is study a language. There isn’t all that much progress in life, except for language learning. That progress isn’t just improvement at the language. It’s improvement in things like worth ethic. Before I noticed much progress I could still be proud of studying for an hour.

Outside of language learning I got interested in Judaism or Jewish culture. In Hebrew the word seems to be the same.
I was kind of worried I’d just go run off and convert to Judaism just because of my feelings. So I decided to go learn Hebrew a language associated with Judaism to quench that thirst. Hebrew is a bit of an odd language for me to learn because I normally seem to be into European languages. I wasn’t deliberately trying to get interested in a non-european language.

I do find it kind of questionable when people are intentionally trying to get interested in non-european or minority languages. It often involves the white savior complex. A lot of non-european languages don’t need saving. They do just fine on their own. Minority languages do need help, but I don’t outsiders learning it helps most of the time. I think for learning a lot of minority languages you need to join a community. I am happy to avoid those issues and just be an antisocial language learner.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:00 am

One thing I’ve been thinking about is balance. One thing I often have to balance is how intense I am. With Hebrew I’m a bit more on the intense side. It’s my main focus and I need to progress. Recently I’ve been really trying to improve my reading. For about a few weeks, it was far more intense than I wanted it to be. It was super hard and there wasn’t much I could do about it. Since it was so intense I improved pretty quickly. Being intense does help me improve quickly, but it isn’t something I can maintain for a long period of time.

A year ago I was desperate to learn Hebrew, but less experienced at language learning. I did several methods such as trying to recall what one word means on a flashcard. I knew I could probably find better methods, but my main goal was to get into the habit studying. Finding the perfect method was less important than improving my work ethic. I didn’t want the lack of good methods to be an excuse not to study. I think I balanced that out by constantly trying new methods. I still do. If I just stuck to my first method I probably would have quit. Same thing if I sit around waiting for the perfect method. With Finnish I’m benefitting from having more experience at language learning.

I think for a long time I’ve had a rough idea of what methods would work for me. I just didn’t know how to apply them. When I was learning Icelandic I knew comprehensible input was what I needed. Even though I didn’t know that exact terminology. I knew my course just didn’t provide enough input for me. I did try things like reading newspapers or watching YouTube videos. Unfortunately that material was too hard. Over the last year I’ve learned how to bridge that gap.

Another related point to that is preferring lower intensity at the beginner level. In my opinion a lot of beginner courses are way too intense. My goal isn’t to use languages right away, I just want to get exposure to the language I can understand. I struggled to find methods that fit those needs. In my opinion beginner dialogues just don’t show me enough variety. Now I know to search for natural method type videos. That way I can get a lot of exposure. Even as an absolute beginner I can see how words are used in different contexts.

The pure natural method relies on no translation at all. The videos I find online often use translation or rely on you being closer to the intermediate level. I haven’t seen any that teach you from zero without using translation. I personally find translation more practical. While I don’t like grammar translation exercises so far, I do like seeing sentences side by side and looking things up in the dictionary.

At the moment I don’t really care how quickly I learn Finnish. Just by watching those videos I’m picking up quite a few high frequency words. To keep it easy I’m not using dictionaries. That means I’m not learning 100% of the words. I experimented with watching normally and pausing more. I decided I enjoyed pausing a lot more. It gives me time to process things. Pausing a lot isn’t so fun when I’m watching shows on Netflix, but it’s fine when I’m watching videos for language learners on YouTube.

I’d really like to try this method for German and other languages. I wonder if there’s similar YouTube channels for German. I find it fun to slowly progress at other languages. It would be nice if Finnish could be at some mid or upper beginner level by the time I want to study it more intensely. I’m not even sure if I’d ever want to study Finnish more seriously. I just find Finnish so beautiful to listen to I can enjoy it without being able to understand it.

Maybe I’m just in a dabbling mood because reading Hebrew is still hard. I’ve improved a lot at it, but it still needs quite a bit of mental effort. Quite a bit more effort than casually studying Finnish. I’m still doing the exercise where I read transcripts for YouTube videos and play the video afterwards to see how accurate I was. I’m improving, but it still makes me tired. I have to wonder if I’m dabbling because Hebrew is kind of hard at the moment. I think the important thing is that I learn to dabble without it affecting my main language negatively.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:40 pm

I have an app idea. I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to execute it, but I have an idea. What I basically want is an app where you can study from snippets. You can study from audio or video files. You can use an srt file to automatically chop it up. You can edit the way it’s chopped up as you’re using it since srt files tend to have errors. You can choose to have bilingual subtitles, monolingual or no subtitles at all. You will mainly use a spaced repetition system. You can also mark snippets as a favorite, so you can do extra work on it or speaking practice. You can also have auto repeat or different speeds.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:53 am

Learning two languages at once has been something I’ve tried and failed to do several times. I think the reason I’ve failed in the past is because those languages were competing with Hebrew. When I tried learning some very basic Turkish for a vacation that was competing with Hebrew because I was doing the same exact pronunciation exercise. That vacation also never ended up happening. I also don’t remember any words. I don’t see that as a waste of time. It was fascinating how different it felt to speak each language.

Hebrew felt so much closer to English than Turkish did. This could mean several things. Maybe Hebrew really does sound more like English. Maybe I was more used to Hebrew. So I interpreted that as feeling more like English. The more unlikely explanations is that I had a stronger English accent in Hebrew. I highly doubt this because I’ve listened to far more Hebrew.

German didn’t go well because I was trying to do anki as well. I also didn’t pick the easiest methods. I was trying to remember words without much context. I did try getting an anki deck for German phrases. That deck was a massive failure. It was supposed to be ordered by difficulty. That didn’t work out too well because the “easier” cards had no context. When I tried reading some bilingual German kid’s books it did show me how much progress I made in Hebrew.

Even though I was still a beginner, German just felt harder to study. German was an odd language for me. I thought I would have an advantage because I used to study Icelandic. I think something that made German weird for me is that I haven’t actually been exposed all that much to German. I possibly had the same issue with Hebrew. Since I’m not Jewish I had no exposure beyond the word shalom or lechaim when I first wanted to learn.

I honestly don’t know how far I actually got studying Icelandic. I felt like I didn’t get very far, but I honestly don’t remember how far I got. I do know that my reading comprehension was better than my listening comprehension. I also remember that I was starting to read basic articles for learners. It was frustrating to me I couldn’t find more material for me at that level. I was nowhere near understanding native content. Something about the syntax was too confusing.

Despite all the issues I still tried to learn a bit of Finnish. At first it felt like a bit of a failure, but I tried again. I’m slowly, but steadily improving my vocabulary in Finnish. I also enjoy watching those learner videos and learning little things about Finland or language learning. For now the only resource I’m using is those learner videos.

I tried watching those learn Finnish with comedy videos. Even with English subtitles I didn’t get the jokes at all. I have a better chance understanding Hebrew jokes with no subtitles at all. It kind of makes sense because so far I haven’t found any Finns funny in English. But so far I’ve found Israelis funny in English. I haven’t heard great things about Israeli humor. I haven’t heard great things about French humor either, but I have found a few French films pretty funny.
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Re: General language log

Postby MythicalTongue » Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:14 am

sporedandroid wrote:
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.




That's because a surface view of Jewish culture/community in part will not answer these questions.
Jewish culture and Judaism were at one point deeply intertwined and connected. To truly understand either, begin your research of whom the Jews call אלהים


I appreciate your ability to internalize. That partly comes from spending a lot of time by yourself. I can relate.
I am a beginning Hebrew learner, prioritizing it, similar to your self (but only studying for around 3 months now) however our initial goals were polar opposites. My original goals (and still are) are to to be able to read and understand anything written in Hebrew, starting with the Hebrew Bible, with a much less emphasis on understanding modern spoken Hebrew. So I began with a more academic approach.

I intensely began studying the Hebrew אלפ-בית. I need to be able to thoroughly understand Hebrew syntax and sentence structure. As I see it, what good is vocabulary if you don't know how to read and place them into a legible grammatically correct sentence - written or spoken? Without going into deeper detail, I'm glad I did. Studying the alef-bet to near perfection for nearly a month truly helped the beginning phases of learning Biblical and Modern Hebrew. Not that it took me that long to learn it (a few days really), but since I am truly enamored with Hebrew's written form and its history (research Proto-Sinaitic, the Phoenicians did NOT have the worlds first alphabet), I spent a bit of time doing calligraphic works. But that too is another story.

I now realize being able to have some semblance of speaking ability (not just the spoken word itself, but the thought process of being able to speak) helps with recognizing the written word even faster. So my goals have slightly expanded.

Maybe I'll begin a language journal as yours has been an interesting read.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:20 am

MythicalTongue wrote:
sporedandroid wrote:
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.




That's because a surface view of Jewish culture/community in part will not answer these questions.
Jewish culture and Judaism were at one point deeply intertwined and connected. To truly understand either, begin your research of whom the Jews call אלהים

I’ve been starting to study more about the Jewish community and Judaism in general since I wrote that post. I think I’m getting more and more insight into Judaism and why I was drawn to it in the first place. I think part of the reason I got interested in Judaism is because Judaism doesn’t seem to be telling you what to believe like other religions have. It’s part of the reason Christianity wasn’t all that appealing. Before I learnt more about Judaism I didn’t understand why I would be drawn to Judaism, but not Christianity. Even though Christianity does accept the Hebrew Bible. Are you Jewish?
I appreciate your ability to internalize. That partly comes from spending a lot of time by yourself. I can relate.
I am a beginning Hebrew learner, prioritizing it, similar to your self (but only studying for around 3 months now) however our initial goals were polar opposites. My original goals (and still are) are to to be able to read and understand anything written in Hebrew, starting with the Hebrew Bible, with a much less emphasis on understanding modern spoken Hebrew. So I began with a more academic approach.

I began with understanding the spoken language because I just find I get a better feel for language that way. I think I’ve written before about how demotivating it is to not understand the spoken language. Being able to understand spoken Hebrew is very motivating. Even though I originally wanted to learn for reading. I’m also more comfortable with modern languages because it’s easier to get exposure to it. Studying Hebrew is also a way for me to learn to study languages in general. Since I got interested in Judaism a few years ago, Hebrew made the most sense to learn at the moment.

I’ve written quite a bit about how listening to music contributes to language learning for me. It is way easier to find music in Modern Hebrew, so that is one reason I’m focusing on it. I find music really makes me feel connected to a language and more motivated to study. Since listening to music in other languages is something I already enjoyed, it was pretty easy to start doing it with Hebrew from the beginning.

I intensely began studying the Hebrew אלפ-בית. I need to be able to thoroughly understand Hebrew syntax and sentence structure. As I see it, what good is vocabulary if you don't know how to read and place them into a legible grammatically correct sentence - written or spoken?

This is definitely a dilemma I run into when I study languages. It’s easier to learn vocabulary when you’re familiar with syntax and grammar. Learning syntax and grammar is really hard when I don’t have exposure to the language. I really don’t enjoy trying to learn things I have no exposure to.

I think I’m partially dealing with this with Finnish. I’m “studying” Finnish by watching some learner videos with bilingual subtitles. What I’m hoping to achieve is to learn vocabulary and pick up on grammar patterns. I’m definitely already picking up on vocabulary. It’s mostly subconscious, so it’s really hard for me to know if I’ve subconsciously learned Finnish grammar or not.

The nice thing about those videos is that it’s on topics that I find relevant including language learning or Finnish culture. I would have loved to be able to find videos like that for Hebrew when I was starting out.

It’s definitely a slower method, but I think it’s a good way to start a language. I’ve found most beginner methods are too intense. I’m doing this method for Finnish because I’m not sure if I want to seriously study Finnish or not. I love the way it sounds, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain it long term.
Without going into deeper detail, I'm glad I did. Studying the alef-bet to near perfection for nearly a month truly helped the beginning phases of learning Biblical and Modern Hebrew. Not that it took me that long to learn it (a few days really), but since I am truly enamored with Hebrew's written form and its history (research Proto-Sinaitic, the Phoenicians did NOT have the worlds first alphabet), I spent a bit of time doing calligraphic works. But that too is another story.

I now realize being able to have some semblance of speaking ability (not just the spoken word itself, but the thought process of being able to speak) helps with recognizing the written word even faster. So my goals have slightly expanded.

I definitely found Clozemaster helpful for modern Hebrew. Before I did Clozemaster I noticed I could recognize a lot of words in a sentence, but not understand the sentence. After I did it I noticed I got a lot better at understanding on a sentence level. If you don’t know what Clozemaster is, it’s an app where you have to fill the blanks on sentences. I often typed the word in, so I would have to think about grammar as well.
Maybe I'll begin a language journal as yours has been an interesting read.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:53 pm

Two days ago I finally started doing sentence mining on anki. As more of a beginner my challenge was needing audio. Now that I’m fairly satisfied my raw listening comprehension and I’ve improved my reading comprehension I’m ready for a text only anki deck. Making multimedia anki decks is fairly tedious, but text only is fairly quick and easy. Especially since I use example sentences.

I started by making about ten cards. The format my cards have is the word with nikkud(vowels) and an example sentence without nikkud. I get the list of words from my search history on reverso. I use reverso a lot to look up words on my phone. When I’m making anki cards I use the desktop version to find a good example sentence. For me a good example sentence is a sentence that is at my reading level and shows what the word means.

On the back I’ll have an English translation. I don’t think I’m quite ready for monolingual cards. I think these cards will help me read more fluently. Hebrew is noticeably more effort for me to read than English even if it’s my reading level. I can say the same about Spanish. Even though Spanish is “easy” to read, my listening is usually better. At least in clear dialects. Mainly because Spanish is a heritage language for me.

It’s just a lot of mental effort for me to read Spanish. I just feel a sense of dread when a bunch of paragraphs in Spanish. Even if I know 90%+ of the words. I also get mentally tired listening to conversations in Spanish. I listened to this Spanish interview with Luca Lampariello and it was pretty tiring after 20 minutes. Even though I understand them better than Hebrew. With Hebrew I’m fairly used to listening to podcasts, so they don’t usually make me tired. What makes me tired is fast paced tv shows and YouTube videos.

I'll still study from subs2srs decks since they help my inner voice sound better and help other reading skills. They just don’t help with vocabulary or grammar like they used to. That method has been plateauing for a while. So I’ll just use it more like a warm up. I didn’t want to let go of anki. I feel awkward watching YouTube videos in public. I think I’ll stick to watching them at home most of the time.
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