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Re: Aloyse's study log (ZH, JP, maybe EN, ES, AR ?)

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:20 pm
by cjareck
There is a legend about this coat of arms:
That is called "jelita" in Polish (intestines). According to the
However, the legend says that coat of arms was granted by King Władysław Łokietek to a peasant soldier (and his family) after the Battle of Płowce (1331) in which the Polish armies defeated the 40,000-strong force of the Teutonic Knights with minimal casualties. The man fought with great courage and only fell in battle when pierced by three spears in the abdominal region which caused his bowels to fall out. Shortly before death, the King ennobled the fatally wounded man. Hence the three crossed spears in the coat of arms as well as the name Jelita - Bowels or Guts.

Wikipedia's entry missed the connection to your problems - the King asked: "Does it hurt much?"
The mortally wounded man (I also heard a variation that he survived) answered: "Not that much as the bad neighbor."

So the problems with neighbors are very, very old ones and you can imagine how bad his neighbor was ;)


Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:39 am
by Aloyse
Grocery day dessert:
a Frissons d'hiver herbal tea
+ a tiny chocolate cake from the good bakery
+ a pear (yes, the fruit)
= yummiest of all yummies.

The only fly in the ointment today was that I met another agressive-bonjour guy. Perhaps it was the same one as last week, they both had a dog. But last week's was a bearded dude, this one had a facemask. Am I supposed to recognize people when they're wearing facemasks now? I'm confused.
Tempers are getting frayed all around, but anyway, let's enjoy the nice things in life. Upstairs neighbour hasn't started making noise yet, nice sunshine but not directly hitting my windows yet, had a good meal and even better dessert, no stinky smells yet, life is (temporarily) pretty enjoyable.

I've been taking it easy this week, so no real progress on languages. My current imandarinpod track is about 印泥, not riveting but still interesting. I intend to make a few notecards about counting various things in Japanese in order to mix language review with stair climbing. I need a cheat sheet because it would be pointless to recite ななか and なのつ when it's in fact なのか (七日) and ななつ (七つ), and I'm not 100% confident that I can recall all the correct forms yet.

my languages

Posted: Fri May 01, 2020 3:23 pm
by Aloyse
Warning: this post will probably get edited as I think of more languages I've had an interest in.
These are in more or less chronological order.

Lifelong interests
Past interests
Ephemeral interests

I chose English over German as my first mandatory language school subject (LV1 in the French school system) in the 6th grade. That year, our school made us buy tapes, but the teacher never assigned any listening homework, nor did she explain how to use the tapes for self-study. Needless to say, I never used them.
I kept English as LV1 through the rest of my school and university years. Total 12 years of classes ranging from 4 hours to 1hour a week. I also started reading novels in English when I was in university. Passed the CAE at some point (apparently my writing and reading are good enough to compensate for the fact that my pronunciation is terrible).

My first contact with German was from lots of French movies in which the bad guys shouted orders at poor Occupied France civilians. I also had a summer vacation friend whose father was German.
As a child my conclusion was that German sounded harsh and I didn't want to take it as a school subject.
As an adult, I started learning it from a pocket book, but never persevered long enough to gain any kind of proficiency.

When it came time to choose an LV2 (8th grade), I had a choice of German, Spanish or Italian. I didn't like German and played classical guitar. I had Spanish classes at school for about 6 years (also ranging from 4 hours to 1 hour a week). Four of my five teachers were just awesome.

Also started in 8th grade, found it interesting enough to take it for 5 years (2 hours/week).
Only one of our teachers was a man, who made us (16yo all female class) read Ovid's "Ars Amatoria".
The last year of high school I didn't review for the Bac and got a 0 (edit: meaning zero, not "outstanding").

Berber (Taqbaylit):
I first thought about studying Berber in middle school. My family has relatives who speak Taqbaylit and we went to visit them one summer, so I learnt a few words from some cousins.
Afterwards I found out that some of my classmates took Berber language and culture lessons in my hometown, but these were mixed with religious classes so I never attended.
However I got one of the kids to lend me their Taqbaylit textbook and photocopied it. This was the start of an on and off study of Taqbaylit and accumulation of textbooks that lasted until now.
I never gained any sort of proficiency beyond a few basic words and sentences.

I learnt a few words from a classmate in high school. Just because I thought it sounded cool.

Found my grandpa's Italian textbook in the attic.

A neighbour gave me a pocket book about learning Portuguese.

Various Occitan dialects:
As a child I learnt a single word of patois, which the farmers shouted to call their cows back to the stable in the evenings. Later on, I bought the Assimil "L' Occitan" book, which I did not study. Basically I was tempted to learn the local dialect of any place I lived in or visited often enough in South Eastern France.

At some point during my late teenage years, I started accumulating Assimil books about all kinds of languages. I didn't buy the expensive tapes, and at the time I never studied those books long enough to learn anything from them either. However years later (around 2001/2002 ?) the small "Japonais sans peine tome 1" book was my companion during long underground+train daily commutes, and to my surprise, I finished it.
I promptly gave up Japanese to study Arabic.
Restarted learning Japanese two years ago.

Modern Standard Arabic:
Around 2002/2003 I had an opportunity to take Arabic night classes at a renowned higher education oriental languages institute. I though this could be a good way to learn some Arabic sounds which could be useful for my on and off Berber study. Registration was easy, the fee was ridiculously low, the classes were ridiculously overcrowded, attrition during the first year was ridiculously high, all standard public university undergraduate conditions/practices in France at the time.
I mostly self-studied the textbook for the next two years and only occasionally attended class. I did use the tapes this time, as well as pronunciation training files found on the internet.
Passed my language exams without a hitch, flunked the geography, history and literature exams (they had no night classes and no textbooks for these subjects).
I gave up during the 3rd year as the level was much higher, there was no textbook anymore so I couldn't pre-study at my own pace during the summer, and my vocabulary and free time were clearly insufficient.

Dialectal Arabic (Darja) :
Bought several books, considered attending classes at the same institute as above, but they had no night classes and no official textbook. I self-studied for a few weeks.

Considered learning it as my company at the time was working with a well-known Finnish company. Went through a few pages of the FSI course.

It looked easy. Bought a book. Didn't study.

Chinese (Mandarin):
In 2009 I went to China and came back with an obsession about learning Chinese. Started with my old Assimil books, but this time I got the tapes and didn't stop after the first few lessons.
Passed HSK4 at some point. Studying Chinese occupied 100% of my free time for several years, but I never got beyond B1 at the highest.
Most of it was self study, with a few group classes thrown in.
Recently I have been barely maintaining my Chinese by listening to podcasts and other low-effort activities. But Chinese has been part of my daily life for the past 11 years with a few off months here and there.

I think I must have been tempted by Greek, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian, Cantonese, Hebrew, Korean, Esperanto and a few other languages at some point...


Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 2:17 pm
by Aloyse
I've been busy with work lately, but Manuel d'Arabe Moderne lesson 6 has still been playing twice a day from my trusty USB key. I'm quite pleased with this. It seems to be an effective way of keeping track of where I was before life interrupted, all the while dripping a tiny bit of review into my brain everyday.

So, the first version of my new hardware arrived (several weeks late). I obtained my essential worker certificate from my boss in order to go to the office, and spent two harrowing days setting it up and trying it out.
All the preparation (and overtime) I did beforehand payed off, since I was able to sort out the problems that arose in a timely fashion. If the hardware had been on time, it would certainly have taken more than a week to get the same results.
Now I've decided to slow down a little. There are still some things I need to prepare for the next round, but since the project lead told me that the current priority is elsewhere (!) and he feels that my workload is light (!) so I should help my colleagues, and my boss's boss seemed bummed to learn that the final version of the hardware still hasn't arrived (!), and there is still a critical compatibility issue with another piece of hardware that isn't working as it should (and not in my purview), I feel I would only be setting myself up for disappointment if I keep thinking about it 24/7.
Anyway, all the energy I spent has served its purpose, which was to lower my anxiety ahead of the first trial.

So today (holiday) I've been sewing another facemask while listening to 北京故事广播. It was something about nuclear weapons, I grew bored of it rather quickly, so I switched to an episode of 新闻天天谈 about spending patterns for 五一.
I've also read a few more pages of my novel in Spanish.
And I've found a few Youtube exercise videos in Spanish that seem appropriate for my fitness level. Mostly 15' to 30' low impact cardio. I haven't tried any of them yet, but I probably will soon. I'm reaching the end of my previous series of videos (daily 15' exercise for sedentary people, 1st level, in French) and I previewed the 2nd level but didn't like the new exercises in it.
Anyway, with déconfinement starting next Monday, I'll probably be going to the office 2-3 days a week, so there will be less need (and less time) for exercising at home.
Sadly, I haven't lost any weight. My initial weight loss was probably merely muscle atrophy. I've put that weight back on since (hopefully by regrowing muscle? my clothes don't fit any differently).

New normal

Posted: Sat May 16, 2020 10:17 am
by Aloyse
I'm getting used to this new normal of spending some days or half days at the office and some at home.
Morning routines are in crumbles, so no Japanese class review/transcribing and no at-home exercising this past week.
Last weekend I followed along 2 youtube videos: 高齡者健康操 and cardio bajo impacto 15 minutos. Left knee and left shoulder not happy about this. However climbing the stairs at work went fine.
I did 15' of Arabic written work. That's it.
Updating my USB key with a new imandarinpod episode.

Edit: while I was at it, I edited an Assimil "Kabyle de poche" audio track to shorten it to about 1 minute and put it on the USB key as well.


Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 1:10 pm
by Aloyse
2nd round of (somewhat disappointing) hardware trials ==> mostly 11h workdays this week. My toys will be unavailable starting this Monday so I made the most of the time I had.

Still on Arabic lesson 6, which I can now recite (كان درس اليوم صعباً)

Reviewed counting in Taqbaylit, intending to review counting in Darja next.
I listed my Taqbaylit resources (the books I'd like to review/study are in bold):
    2 colonial era dialectology studies,
    1 colonial era textbook.
    1 seventies/eighties textbook (Tizi Wwuccen) with plenty of tapes.
    1 binder with handwritten notes and some photocopies of another (unnamed) textbook.
    1 assimil "de poche" booklet with CD.
    4 grammar/linguistics textbooks.
    1 conjugation textbook.
    10 literature books (poems, fables, riddles, children's books, a novel) in Taqbaylit or French translation
    1 (ber/fr and fr/ber) dictionary
    2 colonial era cultural/ethnological books.
    1 recent book about culture.
    1 recent cookbook with cultural notes.

Current imandarinpod episode: 有鼻子有眼 (said of a particularly lifelike and/or truthful sounding description or story).

Procrastinating filling out my Déclaration d'impôt sur le revenu.


Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:55 pm
by Aloyse
These past two weeks have been quite mediocre. I was tired and going to bed too late and procrastinating by reading fanfiction in English (so, not learning anything). Work was alternately stressful and boring. There were some annoyances like neighbours smoking pot and silverfish clinging to the tiny interstice where the ceiling meets the wall (how did it get up there? Paranoia level 100: lights are staying on 24/7).
I'm considering buying an air purifier (see: pot-smoking neighbours). Also, a bamboo mattress topper, which I'd need to order right away to get in time for the summer heat.

Japanese class is restarting tomorrow but I'm not really excited about it.

While procrastinating I found out that some Chinese universities offer their summer classes online due to the current situation.
Paris time:
    BLCU: 02:30-06:30 or 12:00-15:50 (4 classes per day, 4 weeks)
    also 14:00-15:50 (2 classes per day during 8 weeks)
    also 13:00-14:50 (special topics, 3 days a week during 4 weeks)

    SJTU: 10:00-12:30 (3 classes per day)

    PKU: something like 02:30--11:00

    SHNU: 08-11:15 and? 13:00-14:30
Since I will be working, and I need 8-9 hours of sleep, attending any of these is highly unlikely, which didn't prevent me from considering:
Waking up at 2am to attend class from 2:30 to 6:30.
Then 30' meal, 30' showering + getting dressed, 30' commute, I'd be at work around 8.
So possibly back home between 17:00 and 17:30.
I'd need to go to bed by 18:00 at the latest.

Somewhat more likely projects for the boring summer months:
1) Hiring a local Chinese teacher at least once a week.
2) Attending a local 1-week semi-intensive class like I did last year (which requires a week of vacation time).
3) Working around my job (possibly taking some half days off) and attending BLCU's special 中国概况 class 3x/week.
4) I'm working in industry X but my training is in Y, and although I had some basic courses on X, it didn't stick. Which is at times a hindrance to my job and could also land me in trouble when applying for future jobs.
I've been "reading" a few wikipedia pages on X in Spanish (while procrastinating at work). Not easy both language and content wise.
I could make it a goal to review the basics of X in Spanish and Chinese (possibly a tiny bit of Arabic and Japanese as well).

Edit: but who needs sleep, right? Also if I can take 2 half-days off a week to attend the 中国概况 class, I could instead take 2 half-days off a week to catch up on my sleep...

Edit: I need to stop obsessing about this "unique opportunity to study at 北语" and go to bed earlier.

No waking up at 2am

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:55 pm
by Aloyse
Multi-Lingual Technical Reading : 3x this past week.

Leisurely Maghrebi Studies : updated my USB key with the Berber "greetings" track. Thinking about recording the grammar part of Manuel d'Arabe Moderne lesson 6 so that I can put it on my USB key and hopefully finish reviewing this lesson some day.

Japanese Distraction : merely going to class and updating my USB key. I don't really open the books at home. Since they have been outside, I'm reluctant to touch them once I have changed into my inside clothes (a process that involves washing my hands several times as I am a little paranoid).

Chinese Obsession : flared up once again but I'm working on tamping it down. Anyway, on to the next imandarinpod episode I suppose.

(Microwaved ready meal) Ravioles au Saint-Marcellin : total waste of stomach space. The gooey cheese obliterates the delicate flavor of the ravioles. Didn't finish it. Polished off a box of chocolate wafers out of frustration.

At work tomorrow: let's try not to break the 80K€ equipment.

Edit: The pot-smoking neighbours are at it again. Considering calling the police.

Re: No waking up at 2am

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:43 pm
by cjareck
Aloyse wrote:Edit: The pot-smoking neighbours are at it again. Considering calling the police.

Maybe it would be better to talk to them first? If it doesn't help, you can call the Police next time. If the Police first, then it is too late for talking.

Re: No waking up at 2am

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:03 pm
by Aloyse
cjareck wrote:Maybe it would be better to talk to them first?

I did that last year when the culprits were visible from my balcony. This time I can't see them so I don't know which flat they live in...