Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

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Radioclare
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:05 pm

Busy, busy week at work. I worked all Saturday to catch up but somehow still seem to be drowning in stuff. I've also spent many hours this week writing the annual report for the Esperanto charity I help run in my spare time, all of which means I am in a pitiful 17th place in the 6WC at the moment (for target language) and only have 12 hours logged overall for anything all week. Oh dear.

I'm still watching Larin Izbor but have only managed 3 episodes since Sunday. I think I only need to watch another three to complete the double challenge, which is exciting :) The storyline is frustrating though because Lara is making all the wrong izbors and after she and Jakov were on the tantalising edge of getting back together and living happily ever after, it all went horribly wrong and now they hate each others guts and are locked in a custody battle over their child.

The new expression I have picked up this week is "bome". I can't find it in a dictionary but I think it is a word used for emphasis. Like if one character says "Jesi li gladna?" (Are you hungry?) and the other character is starving they might reply "Bome jesam", which means that they really are hungry. At least, I think that's what it means. I'm guessing it's quite an informal expression.

I'm still playing with Russian Duolingo (and getting on much better with the mnemonic keyboard thanks to everyone's help!). I'm on level 4, whatever that means. I'm still trying to get used to the whole concept of Duolingo. Could you really use this to learn a language? Perhaps a language like Esperanto that doesn't take a lot of learning. I mean it's fun and I can see it's a bit addictive to keep going, but if this was my first exposure to a language where I didn't even know the alphabet then I think I'd be pretty confused.

I'm quite excited because tomorrow I'm going to Italy. Coming back on Monday, so it's just a long weekend because I found I had an extra day of holiday I hadn't used. We're flying to Pisa and then travelling to Florence, so should be fun. It will be my first time in Pisa so I'm looking forward to seeing the tower. And I'm hoping that the weather will be a bit brighter than in the UK :)
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Radioclare
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:09 pm

Yesterday was a momentous day for me:

I finished my Double Challenge!!! :D :D :D

I might just be a little bit happy about this :)

I'm just going to summarise what I've read and watched throughout the challenge here in case I want to refer to it in future.

Books read
1 Ubojstvo u Orient Expressu - 241 pages
2 Vrata Rima - 371 pages
3 Sumrak - 478 pages
4 Mladi Mjesec- 521 pages
5 Pomrčina - 798 pages
6 Praskozorje - 556 pages
7 Polje Mačeva - 486 pages
8 Veliki rječnik hrvatsko-esperantski - 8 pages
9 100 godina hrvatske knjizevnosti na esperantu - 27 pages
10 Bogovi Rata - 464 pages
11 Pedeset Nijansi Siva - 463 pages
12 Pedeset nijansi mračniji - 547 pages
13 Pedeset nijansi slobodniji - 540 pages
14 Dnevnik Anne Frank- 17 pages
15 Čarobnjakov nećak- 172 pages
16 Старац преварио дивове - 12 pages
17  Lav vještica i ormar - 150 pages
18 Konj I njegov dječak - 174 pages
19 Ušica igle - 386 pages
20 Dolina Lavova - 410 pages
21 Rajski čekić - 484 pages
22 Što je muškarac bez brkova - 249 pages
23 Sanjao sam slonove - 370 pages
24 Raskol - 333 pages
25 Plovidba broda zorogaza - 157 pags
26 Dani u nedelji - 31 pages
27 Srebrni Stolac - 207 pages
28 Posljednja bitka - 166 pages
29 Nespokoj- 268 pages
30 Три Мускетара - 75 pages
31 Misionarska Pesma- 370 pages
32 Krpar, krojač, soldat, špijun - 480 pages
33 Чаробњак из Оза - 74 pages
34 Krv Bogova - 351 pages
35 Књига о џунгли - 212 pages
36 Reketaš - 375 pages
37 Izgubljeni simbol - 501 pages
38 Hobit - 270 pages
39 Pljačkaš vešala - 26 pages
40 Izuzetni Izazov - 84 pages
41 Pregled povijesti, gramatike I pravopisa hrvatskoga jezika -166 pages
42 Krvna Veza - 158 pages

Total read so far = 12, 228 pages = 244.5 books

Films watched

1 Postar Pet - 45 mins
2 Pjevajte nesto ljubavno - 216 mins
3 Eurobox - 270 mins
4 Jezik za svakoga- 20 mins
5 Bitange i princeze - series 1- 390 mins
6 Bitange i princeze - series 2 - 885 mins
7 Bitange i princeze - series 3 - 762 mins
8 Bitange i princeze - series 4 - 825 mins
9 Bitange i princeze - series 5 - 784 mins
10 Galeb - 100 mins
11 Sumrak- 122 mins
12 Mladi mjesec - 130 mins
13 Pomrčina - 124 mins
14 Praskozorje 1 - 117 mins
15 Praskozorje 2- 115 mins
16 Hrvatska-Meksiko- 90 mins
17 Grimizna Studija - 653 mins
18 Ljubav dolazi kasnije - 76 mins
19 Korak po Korak - 99 mins
20 Julije Cezar- 96 mins
21 Težina lanaca - 122 mins
22 Neke druge priče - 55 mins
23 Misterija sedam brojčanika - 549 mins
24 Ušica igle - 722 mins
25 Pedeset nijansi - 211 mins
26 Istorije slučaja- 363 mins
27 što je muškarac bez brkova - 112 mins
28 Papirni Novac - 29 mins
29 Budva na pjenu od mora - series 1- 637 mins
30 Budva na pjenu od mora - series 2- 725 mins
31 Budva na pjenu od mora - series 3- 2150 mins
32 Dolina straha - 131 mins
33 Larin Izbor - series 1 - 5723 mins
34 Mačka među golubovima - 405 mins
35 Dolina lavova- 244 mins

Total minutes watched = 18,097 = 201 films

Just to break down my film stats a bit to make them easier to understand...

Croatian/Montenegrin TV series = 71.4%
Croatian/Serbian films = 3.8%
Current affairs programmes = 1.6%
Live theatre = 0.6%
English films with Croatian subtitles = 3.9%
Football = 0.5%
Audiobooks = 18.3%

I know that according to the infographic the current affairs/theatre was a bit borderline, but given that it's such a small percentage of what I've watched overall I'm hoping no one will be offended :)
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Cavesa » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:14 pm

That's absolutely awesome! Congratulations!!!
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:58 pm

Thank you Cavesa :)

I guess this would be a good time to summarise my thoughts on how the challenge has gone for me.

Reflections on the book part of the challenge
  • This seemed to be easier for me than for a lot of people, because I don't have difficulty integrating reading into my lifestyle (eg. I have at least 60 minutes per day while commuting that can be spent reading) and I don't have a problem with reading extensively even if my comprehension is low.
  • My biggest problem at the start of the challenge was actually finding enough books to read. It's expensive to ship books from Croatia and Serbia and there's a limit to how many I can fit in my suitcase when I travel. Croatian and Serbian e-books aren't really a thing yet.
  • I wouldn't have been able to complete the challenge if it wasn't for illegitimate pdfs of books which I've found online. Sorry - I know that's not a PC thing to say here - but it's true.
  • The highlight of the challenge for me was discovering Twilight :lol:
  • It will be obvious from my list of books that the overwhelming majority of what I've read has been translations of English and American fiction into Croatian and Serbian. So far I've read 2.5 original books. So for me this challenge has been about learning how to read in Croatian and not about discovering Croatian literature. I'm a bit ashamed about that because when I learned German I read exclusively original literature but (even if finding materials was no issue) I don't think I could have done that in Croatian. I have found learning my first Slavic language really, really hard. Even with a translation of a simple English book like "Murder on the Orient Express" (the first book I read for the challenge) there were dozens of words on every page that I couldn't even guess the meaning of until I looked them all up. This wasn't the time for me to be appreciating great literature because I was too busy battling to understand basic sentences.
  • If I do the challenge again (and that's a big if!) I will definitely concentrate more on original literature though. I'm at the stage where I'm able to do that now and I bought a few original novels when I was in Rijeka over the summer.
  • I joke about Twilight but it was actually a breakthrough point of the challenge for me. Reading so many words by the same author in a short space of time took my Croatian reading from painful to bearable and enabled me to get more out of the more complex/better-written books I tackled later in the challenge.
  • One of the most important things I've got from this challenge was exposure to written Serbian. I initially didn't intend to read any Serbian at all, but was forced into it because I couldn't afford to be fussy about whether the pdfs I found online were in Croatian or Serbian. It's easy to say there are no differences between the languages once you have a certain level of familiarity with both, but the first time you try to read Serbian if you've only ever learned Croatian is actually quite hard. For me it was less about new vocabulary words and more about the ekavian spellings. The first time I saw a simple word like "ceo" I had literally no idea what it meant. Or the first time I encountered the word "plen" I incorrectly assumed it was some weird Serbian spelling of English "plan" rather than the ekavian spelling of "plijen" :oops:
  • I'm so glad I persevered with the Serbian reading though and I really enjoyed my visit to Serbia partway through the challenge. I still think it's a good strategy to start with one variant of the language as a beginner, but I think it would be a big mistake to ignore the other variants indefinitely.
  • The achievement I am most proud of is reading my first children's book in Serbian Cyrillic. I found it so difficult but getting to the end was one of the best feelings ever :)
  • It goes without saying that my vocabulary and Croatian reading speed have increased massively during the course of the challenge. I was sitting on a plane back from Italy on Monday evening reading a Croatian "krimi" about a man shot dead while drinking coffee in central Zagreb, and after I landed and switched my phone back on, I went to log the reading time for the 6WC on Twitter... as German!... because reading had felt so natural to me that it hadn't occurred to me I was reading in Croatian. That's a wonderful gift to take away from the challenge :)

Reflections on the film part of the challenge
  • This part of the challenge seemed to be way harder for me than for many others. I don't normally watch TV in English so I couldn't adopt the strategy of switching my usual viewing time to Croatian. I struggled to find any appropriate time in my schedule to add TV-watching and I felt like I was being anti-social by sticking in earphones and watching things which excluded my boyfriend.
  • I have learned that as a rule I don't enjoy watching films. Obviously that's a big generalisation and occasionally I do enjoy a trip to the cinema. I own a few DVDs of German films I really love. I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and watch films towards the start of the challenge and the results were dismal. With one exception, I didn't enjoy them at all and I understood very little. Over the course of the challenge I've come to terms with the fact that I'm just not a films person, and that's okay :)
  • Because I moaned so much in my log, several people suggested I would do better with audiobooks. It was a challenge for me to find any audiobooks in Croatian and again I have to confess that I haven't successfully purchased a single one. I eventually found a website to download illegal copies of things which seemed to have been borrowed from the Zagreb library for the blind. During my 2014 summer trip to the Balkans I had several bus journeys of 12 hours which I spent listening to these audiobooks and at that point I think I started to finally make some progress with my listening comprehension.
  • Prior to the commencement of the challenge the only Croatian listening exposure I had was listening to the Croatian news on Deutsche Welle (very clearly spoken so comparatively easy to understand for beginners) and the Croatian version of Thomas the Tank Engine on Youtube. I was sad that current affairs programmes weren't a legitimate activity for the challenge and honestly, I still don't understand why these are less valid than watching American films with Croatian subtitles, but I've tried to respect the rules of the challenge.
  • Because I was struggling with films and audiobooks only really work for me on long journeys, I've spent most of the challenge watching TV series. The first one - Bitange i Princeze - was a comedy series set in Zagreb. It's like a Croatian spoof on friends and the bits I understood were really, really funny :) Unfortunately I didn't understand a lot of it, especially the first few series. Partly because the characters spoke quite quickly and used a lot of Zagreb slang and partly because my listening comprehension just wasn't good enough.
  • When I moved onto the Montenegrin soap opera - Budva na pjenu od mora - things got a lot easier for me because the characters spoke a lot more slowly and, despite the curious accents, the language was more standard and easier to understand. Somewhere in the three series of this programme I made huge improvements and began to be able to watch for pleasure.
  • What I mean by that is that when I was watching Bitange i Princeze I felt like I was in a French listening exam at school :lol: I could only cope with one episode of 30 minutes some days because I was concentrating so hard to try and catch any words I could and it was mentally exhausting. By the time I got to the middle of Budva, I was able to watch two 60-minute episodes back-to-back without frying my brain. I was still watching with ear-phones in to block out all other background noise and make sure I caught every word, but as time went on I could understand the majority of the dialogue without special effort.
  • My final breakthrough with listening came when I discovered the Croatian TV subscription service OYO and started watching the telenovella Larin Izbor. I've watched 120 episodes of this now and am completely addicted. I am 100% watching it for pleasure rather than to improve my Croatian, and it's now my default activity when I'm too tired to do anything else useful. I'm certainly going to continue watching despite the challenge being over and will watch the second series (another 180 episodes) next year even if I don't sign up for another SC.
  • Do I understand every single word spoken in Larin Izbor? No, but I'm at the stage now where if I don't understand a word it stands out to me that I haven't understood it. If I've heard the word but not understood what it means, I look it up on Google Translate while I continue watching. If I haven't actually caught what the word or phrase was, I often rewind and concentrate a bit harder until I get it. Often if I don't catch a whole sentence or exchange it's because I'm doing something else while watching like exchanging messages with Serpent or trying to stop a cat fighting my earphones :D I generally understand well enough now to be able to tell if someone uses a strange dialectical pronunciation or a non-standard word, to laugh at the jokes and to cry when someone says something sad.
  • It's hard for me to express properly in words what a dramatic change this is in my Croatian listening abilities and it's 100% due to extensive input from this challenge. I'm so grateful that this challenge exists and that I was able to sign up for it, because there is absolutely no way I would ever have pushed myself to do an activity which doesn't come naturally to me and watch so much TV in Croatian if it wasn't for the motivation of seeing my stats slowly increasing on the SC Bot page. The results have been amazing and I would recommend the challenge to anyone, with the caveat that for me at least, 100 films wasn't enough to make a true breakthrough; I really needed the full 200.
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Expugnator » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:25 pm

Thank you for the outstanding report on the Super Challenge. I am happy for you who reached your goals and I'm happy for us other learners who now have a detailed report on how to keep moving in order to improve one's comprehension on the written and spoken languages .
Last edited by Expugnator on Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Cavesa » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:24 pm

I totally agree with Expug!

Thanks for your report, it is captivating!

No suprise ebooks are not that much of a thing in Croatian. They are having hard time here as well but mostly due to the mistakes made by the distributors. Few people are gonna buy an ebook that costs nearly as much as the paper book. I suppose all the "small markets" are having similar troubles. Or another mistake being the artificial obstacles in buying, regional copyright crap and so on. Combine that with absolute lack of institutions like Alliance Francaise with libraries and piracy is the only way. I wish it was different.

Thanks for your notes on the effect of whole 200 movies. I actually felt a huge progress after about a hundred or earlier but that applied to easier languages for me. And it convinces me even further about the need of large challenges and goals. :-)

A question: have you experienced influence of the Super Challenges on your active skills? I consider the SC to be the main part of getting my spoken French from barely B2 to C2 and I've been curious whether other people have experienced a similar thing.

Another question: While you stayed mostly with translations when it cames to reading, you've included lots of original Croatian tv into your SC. How did you like it? Was it better/worse compared to your expectations?
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:47 pm

Thanks guys :)

I do find the lack of e-books frustrating as I would happily buy them legally if I could find a way to do it, but the options are really limited. I'm hopeful that within the next few years things will really improve though. When I started learning Croatian it seemed like there were very limited possibilities for watching Croatian TV online also, but over the past couple of years several new sites have appeared that make this much easier, so I'm hoping that if I'm patient the same thing will happen with e-books :)

A question: have you experienced influence of the Super Challenges on your active skills? I consider the SC to be the main part of getting my spoken French from barely B2 to C2 and I've been curious whether other people have experienced a similar thing.


They have definitely improved, and probably would have improved more if I hadn't been so lazy and had practised harder! I think the Super Challenge has helped me to unconsciously absorb the correct structures and start developing an instinct as to whether a sentence sounds "right" or not, even if I don't know why. I think my next goal needs to be to practise my active skills more and also to trust my intuition. When I was trying to write every day for the Output Challenge I kept coming up with phrases I thought were right, then doubting myself because I'd never explicitly learned the meaning of some of the words, so spending ages looking them up only to conclude I'd been correct in the first place. So I think I have learned a lot from context and this should help me with writing in future. As far as speaking goes, I am still not very confident but when I was in Croatia this summer I was much less stressed about not understanding what people said to me, because most of the time I found I could understand what they were saying, even if I wasn't able to respond in quite the way I wanted. I also think all the TV has been really beneficial to my pronunciation and intonation when I speak. I am not someone who can learn whether a word has a rising or falling tone for example by looking at tonal marks above vowels in my textbook. But I do seem able to learn it to some extent by listening to and imitating the characters on TV, which is a big relief for me :)

Another question: While you stayed mostly with translations when it cames to reading, you've included lots of original Croatian tv into your SC. How did you like it? Was it better/worse compared to your expectations?


It was much better than my expectations :lol: I had a preconception that Croatian TV would be quite low budget and not very good, like some of the third rate channels we have in the UK, or that Croatian TV channels would just play subtitled American programmes. But I was completely wrong, and there are some really good quality and hilariously funny original programmes out there. I feel like I've gained a lot of cultural insights from the programmes I've watched (especially insights into Montenegro from the Montenegrin series) and this has compensated for the fact that I concentrated so much on translated literature :)
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Expugnator » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:57 pm

I can relate to the above. I feel more motivated to learn Croatian now that I know there are good series on YouTube (though I'd still need to start with subtitles) and I even changed the reason I am studying Russian as I figured out how many good Russian series are there with great production quality and how the Russian humor relates to what I like.
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Teango » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:49 am

Radioclare wrote:I was sitting on a plane back from Italy on Monday evening reading a Croatian "krimi" about a man shot dead while drinking coffee in central Zagreb, and after I landed and switched my phone back on, I went to log the reading time for the 6WC on Twitter... as German!... because reading had felt so natural to me that it hadn't occurred to me I was reading in Croatian.

.....My final breakthrough with listening came when I discovered the Croatian TV subscription service OYO and started watching the telenovella Larin Izbor. I've watched 120 episodes of this now and am completely addicted. I am 100% watching it for pleasure rather than to improve my Croatian, and it's now my default activity when I'm too tired to do anything else useful.

Wonderful summary, and well done on making such great progress during this challenge, Radioclare!! I levelled up from A2 to B1 in Hawaiian as part of the 6WC back in May this year, and I think you've now sold me on taking the next Super Challenge seriously too.
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Daniel N. » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:48 pm

Congratulations! You have basically mastered an obscure and small language...

bome = bogme :)

čestitam!
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