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Re: General language log

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:32 am
by sporedandroid
Today I finally could watch an episode of a Hebrew tv show and actually be able to get into it. It’s probably a combination of stuff I’ve been doing lately and what I did today. One thing I did was just watch some YouTube videos in the morning before my main study session. It was kind of hard to. They don’t always speak the most clearly, but they’re usually pretty simple.

I did spend quite a bit of time relaxing and not really doing any studying. When I was up for reviewing something I found an interesting looking tv show and ended watching it. I guess one thing I’ve been doing lately is reviewing content more. I knew it could be useful for a while, but I couldn’t really find a good system to organize.

I finally did. I have been using one on Notion, but my issue was the lack of customization. There wasn’t an easy way to give feedback and the intervals just got too long to be useful. Now I have an easy way to give feedback. Usually I’ll just let the intervals grow since sometimes things improve with time. If it didn’t improve with time I can just reset it.

Usually if I have a hard time with something I’ll go through the vocabulary more. That will involve making anki cards for it or at least seeing it in more contexts.

While I like the idea of dabbling in other languages, it does seem like I function better in my target language if I stay in my target language and English. I’m by no means doing anything like AJATT. English is just too important to me. Language learning for me is about adding to my life, not subtracting from it.

Re: General language log

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:14 am
by sporedandroid
Language learning is a funny thing. On Thursday and Friday I was really into Hebrew. On Thursday I got exposed to so much Hebrew I almost had my own thoughts in Hebrew. My mind was buzzing with Hebrew. I’m usually busy with friends on Friday, so I often don’t study as much on Friday. This Friday was no different. I was so into Hebrew I was wondering if dabbling in other languages was a waste of time.

Until today. I got all my anki and reading done. I even enjoyed some music in Hebrew, but I didn’t have the same burning passion I had on Thursday and Friday. I watched the documentary about Greta Thunberg and suddenly wanted to study Swedish. I watched a bit of those Easy Swedish videos. Some were so slow I almost felt I could understand them without English subtitles.

I got a bit bored, so I tried watching without subtitles. Couldn’t quite do it. I moved onto my Icelandic anki decks. I didn’t do them for a few days. The reviews weren’t too bad since I didn’t start the decks too long ago. I noticed my listening ability actually improved. I could hear more detail in the movie dialogues. About the same rate of improvement I had with my Hebrew decks. I even got into the groove of listening to some interesting sounding dialogues over and over again. This is something I did a lot for my Hebrew decks.

When I did the anki deck with text to speech I also noticed an improvement. This deck doesn’t have any text on the front of the card. It was a bit annoying because I could barely understand what it was saying. I decided to keep that setting because I really want to improve my listening comprehension. Today I could actually understand quite a bit more.

I still don’t know how often I’ll use the Icelandic decks. So far it looks like it will be every few days. I’m not sure what I’ll do about reviews piling up. Right now they’re easy to manage since they’re new decks. I already had to do no new cards for one deck.

One reason I decided to go back to Icelandic is because I’d be ecstatic if I could understand it as well as Hebrew. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for mood for Scandinavian languages. I guess being in the mood for certain languages will help me maintain them in the future. I always think about how I’ll maintain languages in the future. To make it easier I have to make sure I can really have fun in a target language.

I’m making good steps towards that in Hebrew, but I also know I’m not quite there yet. I’m letting myself dabble in other languages, but I know Hebrew still has to be my main language. I still want to be able to enjoy poetry and literature. I honestly don’t know how to get started on that. For now I’m just improving my reading.

I’ve tried some Biblical Hebrew courses online, but I didn’t like any of the teachers. They were American and had very bad pronunciation. I also just didn’t like their teaching style. One thing I might just do is just learn in Modern Hebrew. I can find several lectures if I search for שיעור תה ך. The issue I have is that they can be kind of tedious to watch because I’m still not super fluent in Modern Hebrew.

I often get started with those videos, but not keep on watching them. I guess that isn’t too different than the English videos for me.

Re: General language log

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:37 am
by sporedandroid
It seems like my reading in Hebrew has really improved in the last few days. I think it’s because of repetitive reading. At first I mainly noticed the passages I reread getting easier. Now I notice reading in general is easier as well. It was definitely pretty hard and time consuming to even read a paragraph at first.

I used to dread reading those paragraphs and often went to the videos first. Now it’s the other way around since reading those paragraphs is quicker and easier now. I’ve also been looking at some Hebrew books on Amazon. I’m not sure I’m ready for reading a book yet, but I still get plenty of reading practice just reading what the books are about.

I wonder if my improvement might also have to do with taking more breaks. Because of COVID I get pretty bored at night time. I’d get so bored I’d just end up cramming a lot of Hebrew vocabulary. It really wasn’t fun, but it was slightly better than being bored. It may have been helpful, but I sometimes studied so much I could barely think.

Now I use that time to dabble in other languages. Today I watched a bunch of Slow Swedish videos. I recognized a lot of vocabulary from Icelandic. They were pretty fun. I also studied my Icelandic anki decks. It wasn’t entirely “fun” today, but it does seem like something I can keep up. I think I’ll just make the Icelandic sentence deck have text on the front as well. My retention is just so bad like this. I’d rather practice my listening skills with actual human voices.

I also tried IcelandicOnline again on Sunday. I was hoping I could log into my old account, but I couldn’t. I used the site back when it was is. instead of .com. It did have dialogue with audio like I remember. The text only parts were just a summary of the lesson. It also had some grammar exercises. I got them all correct, but it’s all super basic A1 stuff. The lessons are actually ranked by CEFR levels. When I first studied them I didn’t know what they meant.

The Icelandic grammar exercises seem more fun than the German ones. I don’t know if it’s because they actually are more fun or I’m just not as motivated to learn German. I had a similar experience with listening to Hebrew vs. French podcasts. I could motivate myself to listen to Hebrew podcasts every night. I can’t motivate myself to listen to French podcasts every night. Even though the French podcasts are technically more interesting.

I don’t think I’ll end up doing IcelandicOnline every day. I think I’ll mainly do it when I feel very motivated to study Icelandic and I’m done with my anki decks. I’m making an effort at not letting my anki decks pile up too much. Even with my Hebrew deck I don’t add new words when my reviews go above 60.

Re: General language log

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:16 am
by sporedandroid
My laptop broke, so I set anki to review only. I ended up listening to more podcasts to sort of make up for it. I have noticed a lot of the words on my anki deck appear in the podcasts. Thankfully I got a replacement. I’ve been thinking of getting my first book in Hebrew soon. I think I’m approaching the reading level where extensive reading will start to be helpful.

I think several middle grade novels could be the most helpful. If they don’t have overly specialized vocabulary I seem to be able to know a high enough percentage of words. I think they’ll have a lot more re-reading value than any shorter books. Still debating whether to get digital or physical books. Digital is more practical, but physical is more sentimental. It would also be cool to turn the pages in the opposite direction. If it doesn’t ship to me I guess I can only do digital.

Since I got tired of looking for books I decided to study some Icelandic. I’m getting better at understanding the text to speech voice for one deck. I know blind people are capable of understanding text to speech that is too fast for most people. With the other deck it’s still too early to tell.

I’ve noticed there’s several stages to sound perception. I’m calling it sound perception because it’s distinct from language. For clearly spoken dialogues in textbooks or radio shows I could have the right sound perception, but not have the language. The reverse has happened to a lot of language learners, especially if you learn mainly through reading.

In stage 0 things are bird chatter or inaudible. This happens a lot to me with Icelandic right now. The average movie dialogue might be 30% stage 0 for me. That means that even with subtitles I can’t tell if people actually said it. This might be happening because Icelandic subtitles aren’t always word for word. I honestly can’t tell right now. You can’t make instant progress with stage 0 things. Sometimes I can surprise myself and understand them better in a day or week. Sometimes it will take more like a month or two. Thankfully you can usually find easier things to focus on.

In stage 1 things are easier to work with. Things might sound fast, mumbled or even jumbled. You start to get a good idea of how it corresponds to the subtitles. This is the stage when you notice the most visible progress. I’ve often noticed it within a few repetitions. A lot of Icelandic seems to be in early stage 1 for me.

Stage 2 is when things get interesting. I find this is the stage where I want to repetitively listen. I’d probably struggle to understand it in a normal context, but it seems easy on subs2srs. I can just feel it beginning to click. It’s what I want to spend most of my time on. I’m still debating if stage 1 or 2 is more useful. I have a few Icelandic subs2srs cards at this stage.

Stage 3 is comfortable listening. For Icelandic textbook dialogues are at this stage. I remember when most Hebrew subs2srs cards got to this stage. It started to become boring and redundant. The catch was that I didn’t do any extensive listening because it was “too hard” for me. I got started with about 80% vocabulary and a lot of context clues.

This extensive listening is definitely different than the quick intensive listening I do. When I didn’t do enough extensive listening I found it hard to follow thoughts long enough. I think there’s also a stage 4 that you can only really get to with more extensive listening. It’s when you can understand very quickly. The catch is that extensive listening is pretty inefficient for stage 0 and 1. I think it works a lot better for stage 2 and 3.

I think things being too quick can be due to two reasons. One reason isn’t hearing the sounds clearly enough. That would be the case for Icelandic, French and certain dialects of Spanish. Another reason is not processing the language quickly enough. I think that’s what usually happens when I find Hebrew tv shows too fast. I think too many newly learned words or less common conjugations can also make this problem worse. I’d be able to understand if it could be a bit slower.

I guess what I learned from this is that once I start encountering a lot of stage 3 cards in Icelandic it’s time to start listening to podcasts. Right now it’s hard to imagine that day ever arriving. I rarely got anything stage 0 for Hebrew. I think it was mostly late stage 1 even at the beginning.

I don’t know what podcasts are available for Icelandic. It’s probably way better than listening to the radio. I remember listening to Icelandic radio stations. I got extremely frustrated when I would kind of understand some bits and be completely lost for other parts. Since most podcasts stick to one topic it’s easier to understand based on context and keep some level of consistency.

Re: General language log

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:27 am
by sporedandroid
I haven’t been back into Icelandic long enough to know, but so far it seems like a slow and steady language so far. By slow I mean that it’s not my main language at the moment. By steady I mean that I seem to be able to be more consistent with it compared to other languages. I don’t just study it when I feel like it. I can usually just do it. Usually during the evening and a bit more on weekends.

Maybe it’s more steady because I never truly wanted to quit. I quit more out of frustration than lack of interest and now I’ve thought of some strategies to mitigate some frustrations I had. Eventually I did lack interest, but getting into language learning and traveling to Iceland last year kind of brought my interest back.
1. Not being able to understand native content.

I know being able to understand native content will take a while. I think what frustrated me the most was not having anything I could work with. My listening comprehension was too bad to really listen to anything. As some people know, Icelandic doesn’t use subtitles very much. Newspapers frustrated me because I often couldn’t understand them too well even with a dictionary. I also had no strategies to retain all the new words I was learning. I think having subs2srs decks will take care of this issue for a long time. Not only is it native content, but it helps with my listening comprehension and it makes ambiguity easier to deal with.

2. Ambiguity
Icelandic grammar is fairly complicated, so dictionary look ups are more complicated as well. It could be because it’s an obscure language, but Finnish seems to have similar issues. Now that I’m more a more experienced language learning I try not too spend too much time on things that confuse me. On anki I just mark it as good and hope I understand it better in the future. I think having an English translation also helps. I may not know why it means something, but at least I know what it means. My main goal as a beginner is to gradually get better at knowing the why.

3. Being Overwhelmed
I think the main way I solve this issue is to just do more review. In my case it’s mainly anki. I think when I get to the phase of diving into native content I’ll probably have a vocabulary deck. I’ll probably also do repetitive listening and reading. Particularly in the phase where I can understand things with a dictionary, but not without. It’s hard work doing intensive reading and it’s kind of a waste it I can’t review it.

Re: General language log

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:20 am
by sporedandroid
I think one thing that makes it easier to learn multiple languages at once is having different activities associated with it. When I was studying German that wasn’t really the case. I needed to use premade sentence decks for both German and Hebrew. So they were sort of competing and that ended up annoying me.

What made Icelandic easier to fit in to my schedule is that I missed the subs2srs phase. I missed the quick jumps in listening comprehension and vocabulary. I also miss having all the vocabulary I need on one spot. On the other hand I do enjoy being able to improve just by listening to podcasts. I also get satisfied by hearing words in a podcast that I remember making an anki card for.

I know Icelandic isn’t all that practical. It also doesn’t have the most resources. When I tried to get into French I realized I don’t care as much about it as I thought I did. I do enjoy InnerFrench and the fact that French has so many resources. I just don’t have all that much patience for French. I’ll still revisit it from time to time. I just don’t expect myself to actually be consistent with it. I can think of a bunch of reasons I appreciate French or French culture. That doesn’t really change the fact I don’t actually care for French.

So far I’ve found ways to deal with the lack of resources. For me it’s a fun challenge to think of ways of dealing with the lack of resources. I think one way Icelandic is practical for me is that it can help me comprehend other Germanic languages. There’s so many Germanic languages I’m interested in as well. To be honest German and Icelandic both have zero practical use for my life. So I don’t think I’d be any further in life if I chose German instead.

Re: General language log

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:28 am
by sporedandroid
I notice that I’m more motivated to study Icelandic on weekends and some evenings. One reason I’m motivated to learn Icelandic is because I’m annoyed at French. I want to understand Icelandic as well as French or even better. I guess French is my frenemy. I just want some language I can help me fall asleep. I’m starting to really get into the flow of studying Icelandic anki cards. Sometimes I’ll really stretch out my study sessions so I can get more time to listen. Sometimes I’ll let the study sessions stay shorter if I just want to review vocabulary.

I think it’s actually good for my Hebrew because it kind of gives my brain a break without losing momentum. There’s also sort of a limited amount of Hebrew I can study during the day before I get tired or run out of things to do. I think as I get more advanced in a language I can find more and more things to do. Right now I think I get about 2-3 hours of Hebrew a day.

For Hebrew I’ll listen to podcasts during commutes or lineups. This varies day by day. I also do a study session where I alternate between watching YouTube videos and doing anki. Anki usually takes about 20 minutes while the YouTube videos are around 45 minutes. I also recently a reading/revision list. I don’t know how long it takes, but I’m guessing it takes around 20 minutes. Maybe 40 minutes if I’m intensively watching a video above my level with subtitles. For today in particular I think I listened to about 30 minutes of podcasts, 1:23 hours of YouTube videos and a 39 minute long tv episode. I think about three hours of studying and exposure. After that I just kind of ran out of things to do in English and Hebrew.

If I could reliably understand TV shows, maybe I’d be watching TV shows. I bet that could add several hours of exposure to Hebrew. Most TV shows are still a bit too hard for me. For now I only really watch them on high motivation days. I’m guessing I’ll naturally start watching more TV shows as my level gets higher.

YouTube used to be in that grey area as well. I could understand quite a bit, but it was very draining. I kind of watched them randomly, but it wasn’t a regular thing. I mostly just got listening practice through podcasts. I think I started watching YouTube more regularly when I started my text only anki deck. Now I can watch every day with no problems. A lot of videos are almost as easy as English now. My issue with YouTube videos is that I can only really watch videos on simple topics like fashion or vlogging. I enjoy that, but only for an hour or so a day.

For a while I was wondering how I’d fit in Icelandic or any other additional language. Now I just study it when I have extra time. Maybe that time is better spent studying Hebrew, but I’m not sure. For the last few weeks I’ve been happier using that time to study Icelandic. I do worry I’ll run out of content for Icelandic. One nice thing about Icelandic is that it’s related to other languages I want to learn.

Re: General language log

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:11 am
by sporedandroid
I finally bought my first book in Hebrew. I did decide to go with What I like about that site is that I can read the first chapter for free. This is great for getting a sense of the reading level. I chose a book for kids learning to read, so the vowels are written out. It’s a chapter book, so it isn’t too short for me. I could read it fairly easily without looking too many words up. I think it’s at the right level for extensive reading.

I reworked the schedule for my intensive reading. The intervals used to be too small, so my reviews would pile up. This isn’t all that bad for anki, but it is pretty bad for reviewing content. Now the reviews are one day later for stage 1, one week later for stage 2, one month later for stage 3 and some longer interval for stage 4. If I feel like I struggled to read I can always go back down to stage 1 or 2. Now my reviews are a lot more manageable.

I also just watched the first episode of season 3 in Shtisel. It was my goal to be able to watch season 3 without English subtitles when it got released. I guess the fact that season 3 got delayed made my goal more achievable. I think I understood most of the plot, but there was some parts I had trouble understanding. I looked up some words, but that’s about it. I don’t feel the need to pause just to keep up like I used to.

I think one thing that helps a lot with listening is watching vlogs on YouTube. I can hear clear and mostly natural speech, but also completely unscripted and less clear speech in the background. I don’t really care about getting all the details, so I’m more relaxed.

Motivation for Icelandic is weird. It’s definitely higher than my motivation to study French, German or even Finnish. Sometimes it’s even higher than my motivation to study Hebrew. That worries me sometimes. I think for about a week I was studying pretty much every day for 20-30 minutes. Some days even went to about 40 minutes. At the same time I haven’t studied Icelandic for a few days due to being busy with Christmas or tired.

I kind of knew this would happen. I’m guessing that if I get into reading books and watching tv shows in Hebrew, maybe I just won’t have time to study Icelandic. Icelandic is sort of a backup language for me. If I’m having a bad day where I feel like I might not be as fluent in Hebrew, I might study Icelandic that day. It’s also good for days where I’m very bored. If there’s any lockdown I could see myself studying more Icelandic.

I think Icelandic actually helped me feel more at ease with reading Hebrew. I used to get very bothered by subvocalizing. Because Icelandic uses the Latin alphabet I’m fairly comfortable reading it. I didn’t get as bothered by my subvocalizing. I realized it’s kind of an excuse. Now I think the combination of a less familiar alphabet and subvocalizing makes Hebrew uncomfortable to read. I also found that studying Icelandic made me subvocalize less.

One thing that may be challenging about studying Icelandic is anki reviews piling up. I think what I’ll do is study 40-60 reviews a day if I do end up getting a lot of reviews. I knew I wouldn’t study it as consistently as Hebrew. With Hebrew I’m really forcing myself to be consistent. With Icelandic not so much. I don’t just study when I feel like it, but if I’m too busy or tired I probably won’t study. I also don’t study if I’m really into Hebrew.

Re: General language log

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:25 am
by sporedandroid
Yesterday I really got into watching shows in Hebrew. The first episode I watched was the second episode in the third season of Shtisel. Not quite as good as the first episode, but still pretty good. I also watched another show. It was some teen show about a robot. I actually find teen shows slightly harder than adult shows. I just find the faster paced plot kept me binge watching. Unsurprisingly I had no time for Icelandic. I also ended up dreaming a lot in Hebrew. That didn’t surprise me because a lot of Hebrew phrases were buzzing in my head.

I still can’t say I can comfortably watch TV shows. I still have to look up words pretty often to keep up with the plot. If I force myself not to look up words I just end up getting confused. I’m still trying to find a good balance for looking up words. I think that as my level gets higher I’ll find a better balance. I find that the more vocabulary I know the less temped I am to look up a bunch of words. I’m hoping by the end of the year I can watch some TV shows as comfortably as I can watch vlogs.

Today I did study Icelandic. I’m glad I have two anki decks. One is an anki deck that’s ordered by difficulty and has a text to speech voice. I study that deck pretty quickly. The subs2srs deck is slower and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t have a whole lot of options for subs2srs decks, so I’m in no rush to finish it. Today I studied 10 new cards for the text to speech deck, but I studied 0 new cards on the subs2srs deck.

The thing that slows me down is repetitively listening to the audio. I usually do that if I notice subtleties I couldn’t hear before or I just find it interesting to listen to. If it’s too hard or not interesting I’ll just let the interval grow. Often times I’ll notice new subtleties in more mature cards. For Hebrew I did this for 45 minutes to an hour a day on average. It was very effective at improving my listening comprehension, but maybe some of it was redundant. For Icelandic I’m only really doing 20-30 minutes on average. Progress does seem slower, but I’ve always found listening harder in Icelandic.

Re: General language log

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:02 am
by sporedandroid
Tracking listening progress is hard in Icelandic. When I first started it I think I remember a lot of it being unclear. Now quite a bit of the dialogue I hear sounds fairly clear. What I don’t know is if that clear sounding dialogue sounded clear to me in the past. I’m noticing progress, but I’m not getting that instant progress I got in the past. I actually did get it once today. I wonder if I’ll get more of it the future.

One thing I’m doing with Icelandic is letting myself learn more passively if I want to. My reasoning is that I’ll be able to get more deeply into something another time. It also helps me stay more consistent. I think that when I don’t quite get something it’s best to press good and move on. I could press suspend, but I don’t think I’d go out of way to manually unsuspend cards.