The Super Challenge - discussion thread 2016/2017

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
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BAnna
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby BAnna » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:50 pm

My compulsion to reach 200 of each format in German and Spanish made the last month of the Super Challenge rather intense for me, but made me aware of how fast I can read now in Spanish. I don't think I'm going to partake in the new one, not because I don't think it's valuable (I do), but it feeds my insane self-induced pressure. I don't regret doing the SC, but it did help me realize how obsessive I can get and that's something I need to work on letting go of from for my own health and sanity... :shock:

I let go of Russian pretty early in the SC, but it doesn't look like 2016 will provide time for me to dive back in yet.
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Turkish Study: 121 / 300

Half SC Turkish Reading: 153 / 2500
Half SC Turkish Films: 1605 / 4500

Half SC Russian Reading: 4 / 2500
Half SC Russian Films: 0 / 4500

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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby Serpent » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:23 am

Hehe, my goals in individual languages are much smaller, but in December I ended up, eh, biting my own tail :P 8-) I watched nearly 60 items, including 21 in Belarusian (I was determined to get that one star) and 10 each in Italian and Croatian. Around September-October it didn't look particularly challenging.. I had for example 112 items done in Croatian and 90 in Italian. 43 or something in German. The next star was in sight.

And yes, these were mostly matches I would have watched anyway (but none in Belarusian!). This doesn't mean I would've completed the stars without thinking, though. In Finnish and Ukrainian I simply didn't get enough opportunities to watch stuff (and my non-football watching was full of Belarusian and Danish). I'm always grateful just for being able to watch almost anything in either Spanish or Portuguese. I can't really be picky. So yeah it took a lot of effort, and right until December 30 I wasn't sure if I would have to get back into Budva for my last BCMS item.

I'm now skipping the January Tadoku, because I definitely need some rest from all that :D But I'll certainly be doing the next SC :)
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Emme
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby Emme » Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:29 pm

I wrote a final report on the Super Challenge to add here, but it turned out so long that I thought it better to post it on my log in order not to bore you to tears. I’ll just repeat the gist here.

First of all, a big shout out to Cristina and Surrealix (the former for inventing the Challenge, the latter for setting up and maintaining the bot) and to all those who took part in this crazy adventure: you were awesome travelling companions and a great source of inspiration!

I find it almost impossible to assess the progress (if any) I made over the past 20 months: for sure my active skills (speaking and writing) have atrophied since I devoted all my leisure time to the Super Challenge, to the detriment of all other language-related activities. But what about my passive skills? Did they improve at all?

I certainly haven’t seen much widening of my vocabulary or the sudden clicking of a grammar concept that had eluded me before the challenge. My English was already too advanced for something like that to happen. So was it all in vain? Certainly not!

As evilado wrote uptread:

evilado wrote:[...] The major benefit of the Super challenge has been introducing me to more regionalisms and idioms [...]

I totally agree about this! I believe that when you reach an advanced level in a language the only progress you can make is by getting better at recognizing regional varieties of the language, understanding and placing different accents, and exploring the wide range of registers the language can offer. And for that you really need an awful lot of exposure.

BAnna wrote:[...] [the Super Challenge] feeds my insane self-induced pressure. I don't regret doing the SC, but it did help me realize how obsessive I can get [...]

How true that is for me too! In fact, I’m still sitting on the fence about signing up again in May. I’ve noticed how the Super Challenge became the focus of my leisure time almost to the point of obsession and I’m not sure that's particularly healthy.
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kanewai
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby kanewai » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:23 pm

I came close this round - I finished 100 movies in Italian and French, and 99 books in each.

For French reading I've gotten more comfortable just picking up a paperback novel and reading it, usually without needing a dictionary. For Italian I went from completely dependent to semi-dependent on a dictionary. Italian is still slow for me, though; after about ten pages I need to take a mental break.

It's hard to assess my French audio skills. Movies are still difficult to impossible without subtitles. Podcasts are a bit easier for me to follow along, although I think I made the big breakthrough with audio in the break between challenges.

Italian media was a challenge. I watched the few classics that netflix has, and then tried to watch the more modern ones - and was bored with most of them. Sometimes I think I'm damaged: if you give me a nostalgic and life-affirming movie that everyone loved at Sundance and that the critics guarantee will warm my heart, I will probably hate it. I took a break from movies, then discovered Fandor, which focuses more on independent directors and genre movies. That kept me busy for awhile, but I ran out of Italian films quickly. Then MHZ Choice came out right at the end of the Challenge, with twelve different detective shows (and 30 seasons in total!), and I was able to binge at the end.

I'll do individual posts for actual book and movie reviews; that will be easier for people to find them, or skip them, as needed.

(that, and I like the idea of having a separate section on the forums for reviews, & this is a way to see if those types of posts will work)

Like others, I'm not sure what my plans are next year. This is super rewarding, but it also took up almost all my 'language' time, and also way too much of my free time at the end (it sounds like a couple of us became a bit obsessive). For French I've plateaued, and would like to do more standard studying with an advanced coursebook, and more work that focuses on production. For Italian this was a one-shot deal, and I'll be moving back to Spanish soon. I still want to finish the books on my shelf, though! That should take a couple more months.
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Santiago Posteguillo, La traición de Roma: 48 / 100
Marcel Proust, Le temps retrouvé: 10 / 10
Umberto Eco, Historia de la belleza: 0 / 25
Greek 101: 15 / 60
Assimil German: 56 / 100

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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby Serpent » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:19 pm

There's the thread for book reviews for external challenges :)

I bought so many books for the first Italian SC that I still haven't read even a half of them :lol:

I didn't even consider not doing the next SC, but maybe that would be relieving indeed :shock: And for me the motivation boost would be bigger with the total rankings at least enabled :?
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby emk » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:31 pm

I didn't read enough actual books in French this year, and my comprehension of rare vocabulary slipped slightly. It's nothing I can't get back with a couple of months of regular reading, but I'm thinking I ought to do a Super Challenge (5,000 page version) in French this coming April. That's not actually very demanding for me—I could finish it in a few months—but I could use some incentive to keep me reading regularly in French.

I'm definitely a huge fan of the Super Challenge. It had really remarkable effects on my French, much like sfuqua has been seeing lately with his Spanish. It's one of the best things I ever did, language-wise. I skipped it last time because I was burnt out after 10,000 pages in the first challenge, but I'd definitely like to do it again some day.
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby rdearman » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:26 pm

Just a quick update on the Super Challenge Bot which we've all enjoyed using this last super challenge. Surrealix very kindly posted all the code to github here and after some reverse engineering and a lot of assistance from both EMK & Surrealix I have managed to get a copy of the code up and running on a test web-server. There is still a lot of work to be done before we change start hosting it here, but I'm very optimistic. Surrealix has also offered to investigate migration of the Twitter account over to the forum, so that we can use the same @langchallenge user.

If anyone would like to contribute to the code base, it would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to see some improvements put in before the SC starts again this year. I'm also trying to modify the code so it is more "generic" and could potentially be used for my Output Challenge, and some of the other challanges which we are all so fond of here.

If you'd like to help with the programming, please have clone a copy from github and have a look. If you'd like to make suggestions for the Bot, or a more generic Bot, then please feel free to create a topic in the Technical Room. (I'm too tired to do it myself.)
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:43 am

I signed up for a double French SC and didn't complete the single French SC. I think I passed 100 films in French but have no idea how I went with the number of books. It's not that important as my focus kept shifting until finally I stopped counting my reading and watching, but at least I kept learning. As I read (past and present tense) nearly all of my content out loud (as I always focus on pronunciation in French) I wonder if this slows me down considerably- perhaps this will be the last thing of my 'perfectionism' to be dropped, but right now I think it's still very important to me. However, I've certainly never been a quick reader in English and really have not read that many books in English compared to most people my age and of a similar educational level.

I intend on doing the next SC in French only again in May and anticipate (hope- with effort) that this is what pushes me beyond B2- my ultimate aim since focusing on French seriously from Jan 2014 onwards. It's taken much longer than what I expected for intrinsic, extrinsic and unrealistic reasons. Still I'm committed to continue and content that this isn't so much a race anymore but a journey. I believe I could pass a B2 exam now, how well, i'm not sure. I'm shifting my focus away from courses but would like to have a well balanced approach this year including some course work, but I'll be more serious with regards to the SC this year. I'm attempting to take on board all the experiences of more experienced/accomplished language learners on this site and apply the changes that appear to be holding me back. I don't want to lose sight of intensive study/reading altogether though- I think Expugnator reveals the importace of focused study in his post on page 3 of this thread, but I certainly need extensive exposure now. So I'll attempt a double French SC again this time around and if I don't make it I don't, but I'll certainly be continually mixing my French intensive and extensive learning methods in a much more balanced approach to learning to push my French farther than ever before.

Finally, I'm thinking if I simply drop all of my French study and stare at a photo of the Eiffel Tower every day for 16 hours I'm likely to be fluent in French in 16 years. If not, who cares, it's not like it would've mattered, it's worth a shot and I'm going to give it a try. It's either that or make up my own language made up of all English words pronounced with an Australian accent and to be spoken predominantly in Australia. Bet no-one's ever thought of these things before. Damn i'm intelligent, and very wise too, i'll give me that. Peace up, know what I'm sayin?
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby sfuqua » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:00 pm

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.
Is a super challenge starting in May?
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: 2145 / 9000 100 movies
: 2770 / 50000 50000 reps (irish)
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Re: The Super Challenge - discussion thread

Postby rdearman » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:15 pm

Solfrid Cristin wrote:Hi everyone,

The 2016-17 Super Challenge will indeed start on May 2016. In the mean time: Make the most of your time by participating in other challenges.

Particularly those who are not too strong in their languages can benefit from spending the next 4 months on grammar and vocabulary, to have a more solid foundation for the next challenge.

I know I most certainly will do that :-)


Yes, it starts in May.
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