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Re: General language log
Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:56 am
I’ve moved on to watching more of the tv shows and movies I’ve studied on subs2srs. At first it does feel unnatural to watch. It’s like I’m remembering what I studied rather than understanding. Usually if I watch it a few times in a less focused way it starts to feel more natural. There’s also a few parts I miss. Probably because of suspended cards. I’m also starting to study more subtitled Hebrew videos. Stuff like tv segments and teen shows. Still not sure if it’s an efficient learning method. I’m definitely looking up a lot of words. I’ve tried this method for a long time, but I’ve only been able to keep at it recently. It’s fairly mentally draining, but it’s getting better and better. I’m happy to hear that Luca Lampariello considers it intense even if it’s a short video. According to reverso I’ve made 6351 searches in total. I know some of them are probably repeats, but it’s interesting to see how much I’ve studied. I’m noticing that my comprehension is improving, but I don’t seem to get moments where I dramatically understand more like I used to. What I do notice is that more and more subs2srs Shtisel cards are becoming redundant. I guess my ultimate goal is that all the cards I’ll get will be redundant and I’ll be able to watch it normally.
Re: General language log
Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:38 pm
Just boarded the plane to Iceland. My Icelandic listening comprehension is poor like I expected. It was never that great to begin with. I had questionable study habits. I was scared to study from flashcards because I thought it would encourage mental translation. Icelandiconline seemed to be a good structured course, but structured courses don’t really give me listening comprehension. I need a lot of content and I’m not sure I can get that with Icelandic. I might buy some things in Icelandic if they look cool enough and are a good enough price. Even if they’re not, I’ll use them as a decoration. I was kind of happy I didn’t decide to brush up on Icelandic because I bet it would really strain my mind. I definitely felt that the first time I went to Iceland. Right now I’m pretty much not trying to understand.
Re: General language log
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:33 am
Haven’t posted an update in a while. Lately I’ve been watching more YouTube videos and doing less subs2srs. It’s been pretty tiring. I’d say I generally know around 60-80% of words, so it’s pretty tiring. Most videos come with subtitles or captions, so I can work with that range. My comprehension depends on how much of the context I know. One time I was having a strangely easy time understanding a documentary on the Jewish cult Lev Tahor. After I watched it for a while I realized I’ve already watched a CBC documentary on Lev Tahor, so my mind could kind of fill in the blanks. One thing that lowers my comprehension a lot would be a bunch of unknown phrases in a row. Since listening comprehension is a strength of mine, slurred or fast speaking doesn’t have too much effect on my listening comprehension. I occasionally come across individual people or videos that are hard to understand. Fast speech becomes hard for me if the material itself is harder. It’s just hard to process a bunch of new and unknown words and complicated sentences quickly.
One big weakness I have is reading comprehension. It’s getting more and more frustrating when I’m trying to find videos to watch. I did intend to get more listening comprehension before reading to avoid bad pronunciation and feel more connected to the language. So right now I’m kind of slowing down and finding ways improve my reading comprehension and reading a grammar book. Since learning about Judaism and the Bible was a big motivation I just started listening to some lectures on Biblical Hebrew. One annoying thing about the lectures is that a lot of them have very American sounding pronunciations.
Since I’ve studied Modern Hebrew for about a year I don’t feel as uncomfortable hearing bad pronunciation. I’m mostly watching them to get more familiar with grammar and the general process of learning Biblical Hebrew. Those lectures also teach me some cultural and religious stuff. I know there’s some lessons by native Hebrew speakers for when I want to focus on pronunciation more. So far these Biblical Hebrew lessons kind of let me relax and appreciate my current reading skills since they’re still teaching the alphabet. There’s a few things about the alphabet I still have knowledge gaps on, so it’s not a complete waste of time to learn some things about the alphabet.
In terms of grammar books right now I’m reading Modern Hebrew An Essential Grammar. I don’t know what I think of this book yet. I just found a free pdf of it. My main goal with this book is to learn some Hebrew grammar terms and learn some vowel patterns in particular. I don’t enjoy feeling illiterate when I read some Hebrew text and come across a bunch of unknown words. So far I’m just reading through the book before bed. Oftentimes re-reading sections after a few days will help them sink in better.
I also come across a lot of grammar I’ve already partially learned more implicitly. I think implicit and explicit learning can complement each other well. I personally can’t learn anything explicitly without plenty of exposure to it before. For me “exposure” can be a lot of things. Even things that people don’t count as studying like listening to music or watching movies with English subtitles. I seem to build some mental structure of things I get enough exposure to. This mental structure is like a mix between mental images and gut feelings. This doesn’t just happen with languages. I find if information can stick to this structure I’ll have a pretty easy time remembering it. If there’s no structure for it to stick to, I won’t have very much luck remember things.
One thing I seem to have a mental structure for is Finnish. I just feel like I can visualize the structure of the language a bit when I hear people speak it. Similar things have happened with Estonian. I’ve never intentionally studied it, nor am I claiming any level of fluency. It’s just a feeling. I’ve learned about the Finnish language through articles I’ve found online, discussions online and a few YouTube videos. I didn’t really look at anything aimed at Finnish learners. I looked at stuff aimed more at language geeks like Langfocus or Wikipedia. The reason I didn’t study Finnish was because I was fed up with Icelandic and language learning in general.
People kept calling Finnish very hard and at the moment I didn’t feel like studying any hard languages. I was also enjoying Finnish music enough without understanding much of it. I think I’ll give Finnish a try one day. Right now I’m not studying Finnish because I don’t enjoy studying multiple languages at once. I think studying Finnish would be easier for me than Icelandic because it has more resources and I’m better at learning languages now.
For vocabulary I got a lot through song titles on songs I torrented. I’ll get a song title like Musta Lindu (Black Bird). Since I’ve seen other song titles with the word musta or similar looking words to musta I know musta means black and lindu is probably some sort of bird. Reading online discussions about Finnish songs I listen to and meanings of song titles or songs as a whole makes me pick up even more Finnish. When I listen to Finnish songs I can also hear some Finnish words I recognize. I think at one point I may have been listening to Finnish music for five or six hours a day. Maybe it’s not the most “efficient” way of learning a language, but I got a ridiculous amount of exposure to Finnish. I just really enjoyed Finnish music and any Finnish I picked up was just a bonus.
Re: General language log
Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:20 am
Listening to podcasts has become a regular part of my routine now. I do it at night before I study from a grammar book. I listen to the podcast while I’m playing a fun game on my phone that doesn’t require a lot of reading and won’t end up distracting me from the podcast. Since I’m not sure how “efficient” it is, I feel better about listening to a podcast if I’m doing something leisurely. At least I enjoyed a fun game if listening to something above my level is really a waste of time.
When I first listened to that podcast I was surprised how much I understood, but now my comprehension just feels average. I don’t know if it’s because I’m actually understanding less or I’m getting used to a better level of comprehension. I sometimes feel like I “can’t understand” Hebrew when I come across a bunch of unknown words or feel like I’m missing a lot of details. I get a reality check when I listen to some Scandinavian languages I used to dabble in. I sometimes sort of catch a word here and there if I concentrate, but I pretty much never have a clue what they’re actually talking about.
One reason I listen to the podcast is to make the Hebrew reading voice in my head less annoying. It works pretty well for this. I also think I notice that when I watch Hebrew YouTube videos my attention span is getting longer. I’ve always been fairly good at hearing sounds and parsing sounds in native speech. What I haven’t been so great is processing the meaning itself. I would have to pause a video to process what things mean. At first it was for ridiculously easy things like “hi, how are you?” It makes sense because a lot of my listening practice involved listening to really short clips of native speech. This attention span has gradually gotten better, but it seems to have improved a lot since I started listening to podcasts regularly. Now I notice I don’t really need to pause as much to process what things mean. Maybe I’m having good days, but it also seems like watching YouTube videos consumes less mental energy in general. Even going through a bunch of unknown words.
Re: General language log
Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:55 pm
After listening to a lot of podcasts I find my usual study methods are becoming too easy. I always knew this would happen one day. A lot of my study methods were “dumbed down” since they were focused a lot on raw listening comprehension. It’s already been happening. It’s a good thing, but it means I have to rework some of my study methods. Specially subs2srs. I’ve already been pruning a lot of cards. What I could benefit from is some subs2srs for material that is more difficult than the movies I currently have it for. Subs2srs was a good way to familiarize myself with the way people phrase things.
Re: General language log
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:10 am
Coronavirus has really changed my study routine. I’m spending a lot more time driving and no time going to cafes anymore. The only studying I can really do while driving is listening to podcasts. The pros of podcasts are that they force me to just listen to people speaking for a long time. I could keep pausing it if I like to, but I don’t. It’s pretty easy to listen to podcasts for an hour a day. One con is that they have no transcripts, so it’s harder to learn vocabulary from them. I can sometimes spell words I hear or sometimes I can just read the episode description and learn unknown words from there.
Listening to podcasts has also sort of shown me where I have gaps in my knowledge. I can have a pretty easy time understanding some podcasts on generic self-help topics, but I’ll have more trouble with economy or history. I’m pretty bad at following history in English, so it’s no surprise I’m not too good at it in Hebrew.
I think I’ll continue my strategy of trying to learn more vocabulary in certain categories. One big category I want more vocabulary is Judaism. I’ll probably just learn more about Judaism in English as well. Another category would be more literary language. I think I can learn some of it through songs. Another place I’ll learn it is from the Hebrew translation of The Little Prince. I’m still working on a parallel text for it.
I think I’ll also give some YouTube videos on economics a try. Just to make all those economics podcasts understandable. One problem I have is that I’m just not good at understanding numbers in Hebrew. In theory I know them, but I just don’t understand them fluently enough.
So I’m watching a children’s math show in Hebrew. The good thing about that show is that it comes with actual captions rather than hardsubs and it can be kind of entertaining sometimes. The bad part is, is that it has cheesy songs like a lot of children’s shows. I just started, so I’m not entirely sure how effective it would be at making me more fluent with the numbers. I think I’ll watch them every three days or so. They’re usually about 25 minutes, while the typical video I’ll study from is about five minutes long. So there’re pretty time consuming compared to the typical video I study from. The other videos I study from are more dense with information and new words. So they’re more mentally draining.
Re: General language log
Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:23 am
I’ve been thinking about how I’ll get back into speaking Hebrew. I used to do the Olle Kjellin chorusing method. I kind of got into a habit of doing his method. He suggests recording yourself doing that. I tried it once and it terrified me way too much. I hate the sound of my voice. It’s stopped me from even practicing speaking at all for over a year.
I’ve realized what the problem was. I’m not comfortable with my voice at all. Not even in English. I’m forced to speak English every day, so I of course I’ll speak English despite hating my voice. Oftentimes too much. I do avoid stuff like talking on the phone and pronouncing certain words.
I also hate introducing myself. I can introduce myself by my first name with a lot of awkwardness, but I don’t know what to do with my last name. It’s a hyphenated Spanish last name. I haven’t spoken Spanish in a long time. Even if I was comfortable with Spanish, I still find it super awkward to switch language mid-sentence. I once did hear some news anchor saying my first last name nicely. It wasn’t obnoxiously Anglo or Spanish sounding. It just sounded like a normal name and I barely even noticed it was my last name. I don’t want to talk like a news anchor during my day to day life, but it’s cool someone proved to me you can say Hispanic names in a normal way.
Another issue I have is that I can’t properly roll my Rs. A lot of other aspects of my Spanish pronunciation were fairly good, but for some reason I’ve never been great with rolling my Rs. Thankfully my first last name doesn’t have any Rs in it.
I think now I’ll start recording myself doing stream of consciousness talks in English on my iPhone. That will take care of a lot of issues. I may even start a YouTube channel if I get good at it. I’ve been seeing quite a few semi-popular youtubers with about the same charisma and attractiveness as me. I expect my videos to be shit and I’ll try not to care. I don’t have to show anyone. Not even myself. People hear my voice every day and that’s a shitty thing I have to accept. I’m hoping it will at least help me be less awkward. I often avoid talking to people just because I don’t like my voice, mannerisms or appearance. Once I’m comfortable with English, I’ll be able to tackle other languages as well.
Re: General language log
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:50 am
I’ve already done two of my daily videos. About as awkward as expected. Thankfully not as awkward as when I was fifteen. I’m hoping I’ll just get less awkward as I make more videos without having to do too many intentional changes. On the positive side I didn’t get the unbearable anxiety I got recording myself doing shadowing. Just a constant level of awkwardness.
I think it’s awkward in general for people to talk into a camera or microphone. So it’s only natural it will be awkward for me as well. I think I’ll do this for about 30 days and see how I feel 30 days later. I’m thinking of it as my way of getting garbage out. So if I ever make a YouTube channel, my videos won’t be completely awful.
I’m still debating what I would make my YouTube channel about. One option is to make it about language learning. I’ve heard more niche videos do better. I’ll have to see which video topics I’m the best at. Another option is a more personal YouTube channel. The positive of that is that I can talk about more topics, but maybe that isn’t a positive. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have much of a life beyond language learning. I also might get a larger audience if my channel is more personal. One negative would be people feeling more connected to me. I’ve had several online stalkers even without being a YouTuber.
It’s fun to think about what my YouTube videos might be about even though I’m still not sure if I’ll make a YouTube channel. The important thing is that this has made me feel more alive. I’ve been fairly numb due to this whole coronavirus crap. So it’s nice to be less numb.
Re: General language log
Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:54 am
I couldn’t do my daily video yesterday because I had a terrible migraine. I did do one today. I decided to record it on my old iPhone this time. Since I had a nap I think I was more expressive, I also talked a lot about stuff that upset me and I think that showed in the video. When I talked briefly about learning Hebrew I did notice some change in body language. I found I had a more awkward voice when I talked about hobbies. I’d describe it as an awkward monotone voice with a hint of disgust. Sadly I think I talk like that most of the time because I’m disgusted at how my voice sounds.
So maybe I’ll practice talking about learning Hebrew as if it’s a normal thing. The main reason I don’t feel it’s normal to learn Hebrew is because I’m learning it. I don’t see myself as normal, so anything that seems too unique to me must not be normal. Another big reason I don’t share that I’m learning Hebrew is that I don’t think I act normal about it. It’s also hard to sum up a timeline when people ask how long I’ve been studying. I’ll write my rough timeline here. It will be fairly boring. After doing this maybe I’ll think of an unboring way of talking about it. I think if people were to ask me how long I’ve been studying Hebrew I’d say about a year, but got interested in learning Hebrew seven years ago.
I think I first wanted to learn Hebrew at about 2013 or 2014. I did a half hearted attempt and ended up learning the alphabet and some very basic words a bit. I didn’t really feel like putting the effort into learning a language, so I think I studied it for a month at most. I also found one Israeli musician I kind of liked, but not enough to immerse with.
I’ve been immersing in Hebrew music since 2018. I did a few duolingo lessons here or there and other stuff very inconsistently. I think I also did a bit of pronunciation stuff, since I heard it was. I think the pronunciation drills I did contributed a lot to my listening comprehension. I’m not sure I would count this stage as truly studying Hebrew since I pretty much had no vocabulary.
According to this log my vocabulary was at around 500 on February 6 2019. I think sometime slightly before March 1st I started working more with phrases rather than words. On March 4th I got started with subs2srs. On March 15th when I got my new chromebook, I think that’s about the time my studying went up a lot.
At around March 21st I felt like my level at Hebrew was at about the same level as my Icelandic level once was. I’d describe that stage as the stage when your brain starts to be able to process sentences instead of just spotting words you might know.
According to my log at May 8th I definitely was doing subs2srs regularly. So I’d count that as “time studying”.
I guess one way I can sum up my studying is that I haven’t successfully gotten into structured courses. I sometimes blamed slight plateaus on the lack of structured courses. Usually just adding on new unstructured activities would help me get over the plateau. Some big examples would be clozemaster and languagetools.io. Clozemaster helped me make sense of sentences, while languagetools.io helped me quickly acquire vocabulary from captioned YouTube videos. I got into Clozemaster in July 26. That was the time I was getting pretty frustrated I could sometimes know most or all words in a sentence, but not understand the sentence.
I think I started noticing improvements from clozemaster within a month. I first tried listening to podcasts in September. I understood them a bit, but my lack of comprehension annoyed me so I quickly quit.
I think my ability to have listening comprehension for longer periods of time and understand things based on context and previous knowledge got way better at around late February and March. That’s about the time podcasts became a more regular part of my study routine. Before that they were just frustrating experiments. I think today I’ll listen to some podcasts I tried back in September to see if I improved a lot or just got unlucky with that one podcast.
Re: General language log
Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:31 pm
I joined languagetools.io on November 20th 2019, so I think it took three months for languagetools to get me out of a plateau. A bit longer than clozemaster took, but I think it’s way harder. I was also pretty bad at finding good podcasts. I listened to a few podcasts I struggled with and I still struggle with them. I think I’m improving at finding content I’m likely to understand. Since I took some philosophy courses I find philosophy and psychology podcasts relatively easy to understand. It’s probably fairly introductory stuff. But if I try to listen to podcasts on unfamiliar current events or historical events I get pretty lost. I also tried listening to a podcast on parenting for whatever reason and I didn’t have much luck either.