The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Spoonary » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:26 pm

Yeah, I feel guilty now for not being remotely 'active'. I want to be though, so I think I'll be doing some Greek tonight! :P
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby rdearman » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:34 pm

iguanamon wrote:To everyone participating. I would like to ask you, when you feel you are ready, to discuss- what has surprised you after having undertaken this challenge?; what has been of benefit to you in your learning from doing the challenge that you can apply outside the challenge to other languages?; do you feel that it forces you to make your own connections in a way that's different from having ideal resources available?; what does being restricted to a few less than ideal resources change for you in your learning, in other words, what are you doing differently in the FLC vs your non-restricted learning?


Well, I guess I can start the ball rolling. We aren't much time into the FLC but some things I noticed straight-away was posting a log and asking for help was a great method for getting more resources. Also there are actually a lot of resources available on the forum itself. One observation I made earlier is forum members have an easier time getting resources than others might, simply because we have a strong network of language learners to rely on.

I am doing 2 FLC's one straight and one with the library exception. Czech (library exception) and Setswana (straight FLC). Czech is more closely related to the language learning which I've done before. There are courses available, you can find them at the library, the library also has a lot of free materials and even an Internet course which I can have for free. Books and audio is easier to find for Czech than Setswana. This is obviously because of the relative size of the speaker base for each language. Czech has around 10 million speakers, while Setswana has less than half of that with only 4 million speakers. There is more literature available for Czech since it is a European language with a long written history. The earliest literary works written in Czech date to the 14th century. Setswana didn't acquire a written format until the 1880's and had a mostly oral history. Setswana authors are still few in number. All the information I could find shows ~19,000 books published in Czech each year, while Setswana is less than 200 per annum.

A scarcity of resource really isn't a problem for Czech. I have Clozemaster, Free online course from the library, I have course books I can check out of the library. In addition there are books you can get as well as audio resources. Even a FSI Course. You can look at the resources I found in my FLC Log. There are also Czech speakers here on the forum. So a FLC with a base of 10+ million speakers will probably be fairly easy to do.

Setswana resources are a whole other ballgame. Because of a relatively recent period of literature there isn't a lot of old books to read. Because of the small speaker base it is much harder to get materials. I have found it almost impossible to find a native speaker without paying somewhere like iTalki, and even then there was only one person who listed it as a language. The thing which surprised me is actually the amount of resources which I did actually find! I went in assuming it was going to be difficult to find resources, but I found a lot of resources relatively quickly. Radio stations to listen to, grammar books, online dictionary, courses from the Peace Corps. Even YouTube videos showing pronunciation and some TV series in Setswana which are on YouTube. While there is actually more content than I expected, there isn't as much as I want.

One of the fun things I've discovered is Twitter. You might have not have heard of this website before, and other than the SC Bot I never really used it. But I have found it useful to get some read (if short) text exchanges between native speakers. I've copied these into a file and worked my way through a lot of literal translation where I couldn't find the word in the online dictionary (the only dictionary I can get) I ask the original poster what the words mean. My success rate is about 70% of the posters respond with the answer.

I think twitter might be useful for other languages where you're spoiled for choice like Mandarin, French, etc. but I haven't really searched for anyone to follow yet. The FLC shows there are resources out there for just about every language. Languages with a long tradition of written literature makes it even easier for people who want to learn. I couldn't do a super challenge in Setswana simply because there isn't enough books available to me. But there probably is enough videos and things on YouTube to get me 1/2 way through a film portion. Unless I wanted to read the Bible 10 times.

Because there aren't a lot of resources, repetition is required. You keep reading the same thing over and over, so having people posting exchanges on twitter is a god send since it is new, different and modern.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Ketutar » Tue May 01, 2018 1:13 pm

rdearman wrote:Also there are actually a lot of resources available on the forum itself. One observation I made earlier is forum members have an easier time getting resources than others might, simply because we have a strong network of language learners to rely on.

Yes, absolutely agree on this! This forum is amazing!

rdearman wrote:Books and audio is easier to find for Czech than Setswana. This is obviously because of the relative size of the speaker base for each language... (continues)

Yes... which is why I chose Chinese for this challenge. Easy access to a lot of free material. A lot.
But this access thing is very interesting... I was shocked by the lack of materials in studying Sáme in Sweden. I went to the library, and found one (1) course. Sáme is an official minority language in Sweden, and there should be plenty of material, but there isn't. It's even harder to find free material online. Now, I have the benefit of being a Finnish speaker and living in a country where they broadcast news in Sáme once a week in national television, which is accessible free for me through internet. But... I need the written language to feel comfortable with learning a language... I don't want to listen to the news not understanding much and hoping to catch it. :-(
Other languages with limited resources are Maltese and Albanian. Now, that Maltese has very limited resources is no wonder - only half a million speakers - but there's over 5 million native speakers of Albanian... Interestingly enough, Wikipedia says there are some 400 books published in Maltese every year, but only some 150 in Albanian... Don't they read? Or don't read Albanian?

rdearman wrote:While there is actually more content than I expected, there isn't as much as I want.


Yes. Oh, yes. Recognize that, too.

rdearman wrote:One of the fun things I've discovered is Twitter. You might have not have heard of this website before, and other than the SC Bot I never really used it. But I have found it useful to get some read (if short) text exchanges between native speakers. I've copied these into a file and worked my way through a lot of literal translation where I couldn't find the word in the online dictionary (the only dictionary I can get) I ask the original poster what the words mean. My success rate is about 70% of the posters respond with the answer.


Interesting! Thanks!
rdearman wrote:I couldn't do a super challenge in Setswana simply because there isn't enough books available to me.

Well... actually, the super challenge doesn't require 100 DIFFERENT books. You could be rereading the one book you have over and over again, and win the super challenge :_D But, as you said, reading the Bible over and over again (though it has enough pages to count as 100 50-pages books) doesn't sound like that much fun...

Have you found the news in Setswana?
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby rdearman » Tue May 01, 2018 1:41 pm

Ketutar wrote:Have you found the news in Setswana?

Yes, there is the radio online, and also the main TV station in Botswana has a YouTube presence and they broadcast news and some other TV series.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Ketutar » Wed May 02, 2018 11:26 am

rdearman wrote:
Ketutar wrote:Have you found the news in Setswana?

Yes, there is the radio online, and also the main TV station in Botswana has a YouTube presence and they broadcast news and some other TV series.

I'm sorry, I was unclear. I meant news as in newspapers.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby rdearman » Wed May 02, 2018 12:09 pm

Ketutar wrote:
rdearman wrote:
Ketutar wrote:Have you found the news in Setswana?

Yes, there is the radio online, and also the main TV station in Botswana has a YouTube presence and they broadcast news and some other TV series.

I'm sorry, I was unclear. I meant news as in newspapers.

I'm glad you asked! I hadn't looked so I did a search and found some online newspapers from Botswana. Most seem to be in English, but I'll keep looking.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Elsa Maria » Fri May 04, 2018 1:42 pm

Some thoughts on my experience with the challenge so far:

I am VERY glad that I took this on. I was going to take on Dutch anyway, but the restraints of the challenge have kept me from spending any money on Dutch. I spent some money buying Danish DVDs instead. But now at least I don't feel like I should have split the expense with Dutch :)

There is more than enough free material to explore and use before I would NEED to buy something to propel forward. I am far more restrained by time than by resources.

I don't like Twitter very much, but I do like Instagram. I am now following several Dutch posters with whom I share hobbies/interests.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Systematiker » Sun May 06, 2018 3:13 am

I haven’t abandoned the challenge, I just haven’t been on the forum in weeks.

If I don’t make the goal it will be motivation and time management more than resources - I’ve since found very good materials for both the variants I’m trying, certainly enough to reach my goals, all told.

I’m not entirely sure I’m doing that much differently, though - I’ve always been frugal when it comes to language learning, so the restrictions haven’t made a huge difference for me. I need to think a bit more about iguanamon’s question, though.
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby Tristano » Tue May 29, 2018 9:00 am

I'm going to do it with Bulgarian. However, I'm not starting another log (sorry).
If I'm ever so crazy that I keep doing it (which is not likely) I'll post some update here.

FAQ
Q: why Bulgarian?

A: I would like to go to Bulgaria on vacation next year. This year I went to Slovenia and even though I didn't need to know the language, I hated the fact that I couldn't read the 99% of the signs. I bought 2 books and one day I will able to read them. However, there is very little material for Slovenian, so it would be much easier to learn the language with previous knowledge of some slavic language (which I haven't). It's a different story with Bulgarian!

Q: no Duolingo, no Assimil. What are you going to use then?
A: Memrise, 50 Languages and Clozemaster. I will get a vocabulary base (without knowing how all the words are stressed - who cares), move on on reading articles on Wikipedia. Eventually, I'll find some free and legal audio at the right difficulty to listen in the car.

Q: can you do it? A2 in 9 months???
A: probably not. is it that important?
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Re: The Free and Legal Challenge- Discussion

Postby rdearman » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:50 pm

I have another question. At the polyglot gathering i won a prize of seven topics on utalk for free. One of the languages they support is setswana my FLC language. Can I use this?

It was free, but I am not sure if it meets any of the exceptions.
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