Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:59 pm

Thanks guys :)

Although Daniel, I think it sounds sad when you call Croatian "an obscure and small language" :(

Btw, I meant to tell you that I have been working through the Easy Croatian AZW3 file on my (4th generation) Kindle this week during some longer commutes and it's been working perfectly :)
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Serpent » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:04 am

Fantastic achievement and fantastic post about your progress ;) Congrats!!!!! I'm pretty sure you're the first who's done it in a language that's not Spanish/German/French/English :P

And oops sorry for distracting you from Croatian series then :P :oops:

As for copyrights, I think they have nothing to do with political correctness. Many creators of original content consider the laws too restrictive. The only thing that's not allowed are actual links btw. Otherwise it's totally fine to be honest about how you got your stuff (edit: without giving any instructions), especially as you would've loved to purchase it legally :) And yes I feel your pain :evil: Italy actually has a good e-book market, but for example I used to buy from ibs.it, but now to buy e-books you need an Italian credit card :x Fortunately I bought way more than I've been able to read :D And omg, I checked and right now I can't even access http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ at all :shock:
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:14 pm

Serpent wrote:Fantastic achievement and fantastic post about your progress ;) Congrats!!!!! I'm pretty sure you're the first who's done it in a language that's not Spanish/German/French/English :P


Thank you :) It looks like someone has done it in Japanese which I'm sure is a lot harder but I'm proud to have finished it in a Slavic language :)

And oops sorry for distracting you from Croatian series then :P :oops:


I meant this as a positive thing, in that my Croatian is now good enough for me to maintain a conversation on Facebook or Twitter with someone on my phone while watching TV on my laptop and still being able to follow the plot :D Previously I would have had to not talk to anyone until the programme was over or pause the programme if something important came up, so this is much more efficient :)

And yes I feel your pain :evil: Italy actually has a good e-book market, but for example I used to buy from ibs.it, but now to buy e-books you need an Italian credit card :x Fortunately I bought way more than I've been able to read :D And omg, I checked and right now I can't even access http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ at all :shock:


That's really frustrating :( I had something similar when I found a Croatian ebook website but it turned out you needed a Croatian mobile phone number to make a purchase.
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Daniel N. » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:48 pm

It would be interesting if you could give your general impressions about learning Croatian: what was easy - in the language itself - and what was hard, what turned to be not as you expected, was there anything really surprising and do you have any advice for unfortunate ones who will once try to learn it...
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:12 pm

That's an interesting idea for a post :)

What was easy?
  • Gender. German was my first foreign language and learning the arbitrary genders of words was one of the things I found really challenging. These days, not having much opportunity to actively practise my German, it's the area I make mistakes with most frequently. Gender in Croatian (and other Slavic languages) is refreshingly simple in comparison :) The list of exceptions to the general rules is small enough that learning it isn't a chore.
  • Pronunciation. The thing I've found most difficult about the other Slavic languages I've tried and failed to learn is trying to remember the correct voicing/devoicing of consonants. One of the best things about Croatian for me is how the spelling just changes in these instances and so you really can just say what you see, eg. I can just learn that the feminine version of težak is teška without having to think "OMG, now a ž is next to a k so one of these consonants is not going to sound how I think it ought to but I can't remember which one changes and now I have to go and cry over the voicing chapter in my textbook again" ;)
  • Past and future tenses. These are really easy to learn and give you a great sense of achievement once done.

What was hard about the language itself?
  • The months of the year! These made me want to give up and learn Serbian instead. I spent weeks repeating them to myself over and over in my head, a year with the Croatian months written next to the English ones on my calendar, and even now if I want to figure some of the months out I have to count them on my fingers. Telling people that "lipanj" is June because that's the month of linden blossom doesn't really help much if you have no idea what linden blossom is!
  • Numbers. Textbooks try and explain that numbers ending in two, three or four are followed by genitive singulars but then omit to mention that this isn't true for 12, 13, 14 and great confusion ensues. Also it blows my mind how numbers ending in 5+ require verbs to be in the singular. I always get this wrong.
  • The future exact. Not sure I've ever started a sentence and thought "Wow, what I really need here is the future exact".
  • Punctuation. I'm rubbish at punctuation in any language but I get really confused in Croatian about which conjunctions ought to be proceeded by a comma and which don't.

What is hard about learning Croatian in general?
  • Lack of resources. There are resources, but you have to hunt for them and when you find them you have to make the best of what you've got. When I was learning French I could buy a new course book every time I got bored or wanted a new perspective on the grammar. With Croatian, the pages are falling out of most of my textbooks because I have read and reread the same courses so many times. I would have loved "501 Croatian verbs" or "A Croatian-English parallel text". I once spent an awkward afternoon going round bookshops in Zagreb looking for these things and being laughed at by Croatian booksellers.
  • The politics. You write something on Lang8, and someone accuses you of using an expression which is too Serbian, even though it wasn't too Serbian when you said exactly the same thing yesterday.

What turned out to be not as I expected?
  • The culture is so much more interesting than I expected. I had never given Croatian culture any thought at all and I started learning just for the purpose of holiday travel. Then I discovered the fascinating history, the grilled meat and the punk music and became obsessed :)
  • I imagined aspect to be a big scary grammatical concept I'd never be able to understand. I still make a lot of mistakes with it, but overall it's far more intuitive than I imagined. I think it's possible to develop a "feel" for the correct aspect to use in certain circumstances from extensive reading and listening rather than memorising pages of verbs in textbooks.

Anything really surprising?
  • The swearing :lol: Croatian swearing sounds really bad when you try to translate it into English! And I finally found out why Esperantists from eastern Europe found it hilarious when I used to tell them I was the secretaryof Junularo Esperantista Brita which in the UK Esperanto community we all innocently refer to as JEB :oops:
  • Sometimes there are better resources for learning Croatian available in German than in English. For example I eventually found a book of Croatian verb tables in German. I guess it's because Germany has a longer history of sending tourists to Croatia :)

Despite having finished the Super Challenge, I still have plenty left to learn in Croatian! My plan for next year is to focus much more heavily on my active skills :)
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Daniel N. » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:14 am

I will shortly comment on some things:
Radioclare wrote:One of the best things about Croatian for me is how the spelling just changes in these instances and so you really can just say what you see, eg. I can just learn that the feminine version of težak is teška without having to think "OMG, now a ž is next to a k so one of these consonants is not going to sound how I think it ought to but I can't remember which one changes and now I have to go and cry over the voicing chapter in my textbook again" ;)

In the 19th century, the prevailing spelling was without changes in script, as you can see in e.g. this 19th century collection of folk sayings:

Težko onom, tko pameti neima. Source

(you will also notice that negation ne was always spelled with all verbs back then, and the letter đ was not yet invented.)
Radioclare wrote:The months of the year! These made me want to give up and learn Serbian instead. I spent weeks repeating them to myself over and over in my head, a year with the Croatian months written next to the English ones on my calendar, and even now if I want to figure some of the months out I have to count them on my fingers. Telling people that "lipanj" is June because that's the month of linden blossom doesn't really help much if you have no idea what linden blossom is!

If that gives you any comfort, I'm mixing up svibanj and lipanj all the time as well. The reason is that names of months are almost never used in colloquial speech, at home people refer to months only by ordinal numbers, and even in when filling forms etc. people will write dates with numbers only.
Radioclare wrote:The future exact. Not sure I've ever started a sentence and thought "Wow, what I really need here is the future exact".

Again, in the real life (e.g. newspapers, internet) people are using just simple future when the "exact future" should be used according to the Standard rules.
Radioclare wrote:The politics. You write something on Lang8, and someone accuses you of using an expression which is too Serbian, even though it wasn't too Serbian when you said exactly the same thing yesterday.

This is unfortunately telling more about people than language :(
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Serpent » Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:13 am

Radioclare wrote: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 :)

This is so lovely btw :D :) :) :) ;)

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 :)

Me too :) Which was the one exception? And do you think you'd enjoy some of them more now that you can understand better?
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Serpent wrote:Me too :) Which was the one exception? And do you think you'd enjoy some of them more now that you can understand better?


I guess I might enjoy them more now I can understand better... perhaps I ought to try again some time. I do have access to films via the OYO service I'm subscribing to and I think there's a way to search only for ex-yu ones rather than American ones.

The exception was "Pjevajte nešto ljubavno". I won't link to it but you can find it on Youtube if you're interested. The title comes from the name of a Hladno Pivo song:



The song is about a band who are fed up of playing their music in basements and debating whether they should play something more mainstream. This is essentially the premise of the film; it's about a band with no money who decide to "sell out" and play at a wedding to make some cash. There's quite a good trailer here:



I enjoyed it because I love Hladno Pivo and there's moment where one of the characters plays my favourite Hladno Pivo song:



Also the lead actor (the guy singing in that clip) is Ivan Herceg, who is my favourite Croatian actor and the reason I can sit through so many episodes of Larin Izbor :lol:

I've watched it twice already and I've found it quite a challenge because the characters talk fast (well, fast for TV characters, perhaps what real Croatians would consider a normal speed!). I'd like to watch it again now I'm at the end of the challenge and see how much more I can understand than I did at the start, but it's a question of trying to find time!
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Radioclare » Sat Nov 21, 2015 3:16 pm

Avoid this post if you don't want the plot of Larin Izbor spoiled for you!

I haven't had much time for languages over the past week (work, work, more work!) but I have fitted in a few episodes of Larin Izbor in the evenings. Last night the storyline got to a crucial point where Lara finally left her second husband, Nikša.

I'm up to episode 128 now and the storyline thus far is basically: Lara meets, falls in love with and marries Jakov. Jakov is a captain and goes off to sea, promising to be back soon. Jakov's evil half-brother arranges for him to be arrested in South Africa for trafficking heroine, for which Jakov is sentenced to 40 years in jail. Jakov escapes from jail by faking his own death but is shipwrecked on a desert island with a beautiful Yemeni woman for two years as he tries to get home to Croatia. Jakov betrays Lara with the Yemeni woman because his evil mother wrote a fake letter from Lara when he was in jail saying she no longer loved him. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Jakov, Lara is thrown out of his family home by his evil mother, discovers she is pregnant and gives birth to his son, Zlaja. Lara is told Jakov is dead, attends his funeral, spends 18 months wearing black as his widow and passes most of her time crying at his grave. Eventually her friends tell her she needs to get over it, so she takes off her mourning and marries Nikša, who happens to live in the pub where she took refuge after being cast out by Jakov's family. They became close after he helped her give birth to Zlaja when she went into labour unexpectedly, following an attempt by Jakov's evil half-brother to rape her. When Jakov eventually makes it back from the deserted island to Croatia, he's about 10 minutes too late to stop Lara marrying Nikša. It seems that under Croatian law, because she was officially his widow, her marriage to Nikša is valid, despite the fact Jakov is actually alive.

Lara is clearly still in love with Jakov but feels a sense of loyalty to Nikša and isn't prepared to break her wedding vows... until her father dies, and his final wish is that Lara and Jakov go to her native Korčula to scatter his ashes. They do so, and after a bizarre plot twist where it turns out they once met as small children on the island, Lara realises it is her destiny to be with Jakov and they spend the night together. Hurray! Lara is going to leave Nikša, but Nikša figures this out and decides to burn down a boat shed in which Jakov is keeping a boat he has just built, aptly named after Lara. What Nikša doesn't know is that Jakov's sister is inside the boat, waiting for a secret tryst with her new boyfriend. Nikša manages to save Jakov's sister from the flames but Jakov is pretty angry when he finds out what has happened. He storms round to the pub and demands that Lara leave Nikša immediately and that they call the police to arrest him. Nikša already has a criminal record, so he's going to get into a lot of trouble. Lara is conflicted because she still feels she owes some loyalty to Nikša. She begs Jakov not to have him arrested, but Jakov isn't interested. The police arrive and Lara provides Nikša with a false alibi, saying he was actually with her when the fire was lit so it couldn't have been him. She then feels she is square with Nikša and no longer owes him anything. Jakov is furious and feels that Lara has chosen Nikša over him. Actually, Lara was still hoping to get back with Jakov, but when Jakov storms off in rage she somehow ends up staying with Nikša by default.

Jakov can't bear the thought of Nikša bringing up Zlaja (because Zlaja probably already thinks Nikša is his father) and Jakov's evil mother convinces him to call social services, on the basis that it isn't healthy for the child to be growing up in a room above a pub. Jakov's mother bribes the social worker to take Zlaja away from Lara. Jakov thinks he will get custody instead, but after a gruelling court case it is decided that Jakov's mother will be the one who gets custody. Lara is devastated and screams that she hates Jakov, although in fairness, Jakov is pretty devastated by this too and realises he has made a dreadful mistake. Lara can't cope without Zlaja and eventually suffers a breakdown, which causes Jakov's mother to see reason and give the child back. Lara is thrilled, but she's gone back to Korčula to recover from her breakdown and after standing on the beach where she kissed Jakov, she feels the need to tell Nikša about her infidelity. Nikša is furious and they split up.

In the scene in the Youtube clip below, Jakov has just heard the news that Lara's relationship with Nikša is over. He's come straight round to the pub to see Lara, in the hope that she will now get back with him. He's about to be bitterly disappointed.



I felt like I have done so much "extensive" listening now that I ought to try some "intensive" listening like Expugnator, so I listened to the clip several times this morning and tried to write down what was being said. This is the result :)

Lara: Jakove, šta je bilo?

Jakov: Ti. Zašto mi nisi rekla?

Lara: Zato što sam htjela uzet' neko vrijeme sama sebi da smirem emocije.

Jakov: Dobro. Kad je išta između nas bilo mirno?

Lara: Nikad. Šta si sad došao?

Jakov: Još me pitaš?

Lara: Jakove, šta radiš?

Jakov: Lara, idemo!

Lara: Čekaj, smiri se malo.

Jakov: Lara, dovoljno smo čekali! Sad je red na nas.

Jakov: Nemamo više šta čekat'. Uzmi naše dijete i idemo.... Lara, zasto šutiš?

Lara: Zato što Zlaja i ja ne idemo nigdje.

Jakov: A zašto? Odgovori mi zašto, molim te.

Lara: Ti dobro znaš zašto i ne trebam te sto put odgovarat' na istom pitanje. Ne vjerujem ti, ne mogu ti oprostit. Žao mi je. Ne mogu i molim te, nemoj više dolazit'. Samo mučiš i sebi i meni kad ovako dolaziš. Ajde, odi ča.

Jakov: Znači je tako. Ostaješ ovdje s njim.

Lara: To šta ostajem u konobi nema veze s Nikšom.

Jakov: Nema. Ajde me onda molim te reci zašto ostaješ ovdje jer meni stvarno nije jasno.

Lara: Zato što je ovo moj dom.

Jakov: A ne misliš li možda da je vrijeme da izgradiš novi dom, tamo gdje ti je i mjesto.

Lara: Dobro, di bi ja to trebala gradit' novi dom, adje mi molim te reci. Kako ne shvaćaš da je ova konoba jedino misto gdje sam pronašla sebe, prijatelje, posao. Tu sam dite rodila. To je jedino misto u ovom gradu gdje sam se osjećala prihvaćeno. Ali naravno da ti to niti možeš niti želiš shvatiti. Nemaš pojma kako je to kad se osjećaš kao uljež među ljudima koji bi ti trebali biti obitelj, koji bi ti mogli i morali pomoći. A ne žele jednostavno dopušta da se tako osjećaš.

Jakov: Lara, ako ti misliš da ja ne znam za taj osjećaj, onda... onda me ni ne poznaješ.

Lara: Možda je to istina. Neka. Ali ti si onako napravio toliko stvari koje tebi nisam očekivala.

Jakov: Da. Znam. To si mi ponovila, i to više puta.

Lara: Pa, žao mi je.

Jakov: Pa i meni je žao. Lara, i meni je žao, i koliko ti puta to moram reć' da me opet počeš vjerovat'.

Lara: Prestani mene krvi za ono sto si ti napravio.

Jakov: Dobro Lara, nećemo se sada raspravljat'. Nema smisla. Ti si odlučila, jel tako? Znači ostaješ ovdje u ovoj krčmi do dalje...

Lara: Ne znam, ne znam Jakove. Možda odem u Korčulu, nemam pojma. U svakom slučaju...

Jakov: U svakom slučaju želiš bit što dalje od mene.

Lara: Nisam to rekla, ne uzima mi riječi iz usta. U svakom slučaju imat ćeš priliku da budeš ravno prava roditelj našim djetetom. Toga se ne te baš bojat'.

Jakov: Znaš šta ja mislim, Lara. Ja mislim da si ti jedna kukavica. Da si ti jedna najobičnija kukavica koja se zapravo boji reć' šta želi i šta zapravo osjeća.

Lara: Kako osuđuješ ti govori me tako nešto u mojoj kući.

Jakov: Zato što je to istina. Adje, pogledaj me u oči i reci da nije tako!

Jakov: Ti stvarno misliš da si ti toliko jaka da ćeš moć' viječ nalagat' sebi.

Lara: Jedino što sam sigurna je da nisam toliko jaka da podnesim još jedan ovakav razgovor.

Jakov: Dobro, a zašto Lara?

Lara: Prestani Jakove, pusti me.

Jakov: Priznaj, čekaj samo malo. Šta je toliko teško podnijet moju blizinu. Čega se ti bojiš? Da nećeš izdržat (can't catch what comes next but ends with something like)... opet popustiš, jel?

Lara: Pusti me na miru!

Jakov: Lara, molim te, molim te, priznaj da me voliš, priznaj da me želiš isto kao i ja tebe. Molim te, nemoj se opirat', znaš da imamo samo jedan život.

Lara: Makni se od mene, makni se od mene. Osjećam ništa više prema tebi. Ništa!

Jakov: Lara, lažeš.

Lara: Ne lažem. Kunem ti se životom da ne lažem. Jedino do čega mi je stalo je moja Zlaja. Jedino. Samo na njega mislim. Samo o tome. A tebe više ne želim, ti si jednostavno stvar prošlost i šta god da napraviš, šta god da kažeš ne možeš to promijeniti. Ugasio si me, uništio si me, ne mogu ti to nikad oprostit' i neću ti nikad oprostiti, kunem ti to. Ti si kriv za sve to i bilo bi ti pametnije da to prihvatiš šta prije.


In English (roughly!):

Lara: Jakov, what's up?

Jakov: You. Why didn't you tell me?

Lara: Because I wanted to take some time for myself to calm my emotions.

Jakov: Ok. When has anything between us been ever been peaceful?

Lara: Never. Why have you come now?

Jakov: You're still asking me that?

Lara: Jakov, what are you doing?

Jakov: Lara, let's go!

Lara: Wait, calm down a bit.

Jakov: Lara, we've waited long enough! Now it's our turn.

Jakov: We don't have anything else to wait for. Let's take our child and go.... Lara, why are you silent?

Lara: Because me and Zlaja aren't going anywhere.

Jakov: But why? Tell me why, please.

Lara: You know very well and I don't have to answer the same question a hundred times. I don't trust you and I can't forgive you. I'm sorry. I can't, and please, don't come again. You're just tormenting yourself and me when you come like this. Go on, go away.

Jakov: So it's like that. You're staying here with him.

Lara: The fact that I'm staying here in the tavern hasn't got anything to do with Nikša.

Jakov: Doesn't it? Go on then, please tell me why you're staying here because it really isn't clear to me.

Lara: Because this is my home.

Jakov: And don't you think that maybe it's time to build a new home, where you belong.

Lara: Okay and where am I supposed to build a new home, go on, please tell me! How do you not realise that this tavern is the only place where I've found myself, friends, work. This is where I gave birth to a child. This is the only place in this town where I've felt accepted. But of course, you neither can nor want to understand that. You don't have a clue what it's like to feel like an intruder among people who are supposed to be your family, who could and should help you. And I simply don't want to feel that way.

Jakov: Lara, if you think I don't know that feeling, then... then you don't know me at all.

Lara: Maybe that's true. Whatever. You have done so many things that I didn't expect from you.

Jakov: Yes, I know. You've repeated that to me, many times.

Lara: Well, I'm sorry.

Jakov: Well, I'm sorry too. Lara, I'm sorry too, and how many times do I have to say so for you to start trusting me again?

Lara: Stop blaming me for what you've done.

Jakov: Okay Lara, let's not discuss it now. There's no point. You've decided, haven't you? You're staying here in this tavern for the foreseeable future...

Lara: I don't know, I don't know Jakov. Perhaps I'll go to Korčula, I have no idea. In any case...

Jakov: In any case, you want to be as far away from me as possible. (Can't catch next sentence)

Lara: That's not what I said, don't put words in my mouth. In any case, you will have the chance to be a real parent to our child. You don't have to worry about that.

Jakov: Do you know what I think, Lara? I think that you are a coward. That you are nothing but a coward, who is scared to say what she wants and what she actually feels.

Lara: How dare you say something like that to me in my house?

Jakov: Because that's the truth. Come on, look me in the eyes and tell me that it isn't.

Jakov: Do you really think that you're strong enough to be able to lie to yourself forever.

Lara: The only thing I'm certain of is that I'm not strong enough to bear another conversation like this.

Jakov: Very well, but why Lara?

Lara: Stop it, Jakov, let me go.

Jakov: Admit it, just wait a minute. Why is it so difficult to endure being near me? What is it that you're scared of? That you won't be able to hold out? (Not quite sure but something like..) That you'll give in again?

Lara: Leave me alone!

Jakov: Lara, please, I'm begging you, admit that you love me, admit that you want me the same way I want you. Please, don't resist, you know that we have only one life.

Lara: Get away from me, get away from me! I don't feel anything towards you any more. Nothing!

Jakov: Lara, you're lyng!

Lara: I'm not lying. I swear on my life that I'm not lying. The only thing I care about is my Zlaja. The only thing. I only think of him. Only of that. And I don't want you any more, you are simply a thing of the past and whatever you do, whatever you say, you can't change that. You have extinguished me, you have destroyed me, I can never forgive you for that and I never will forgive you, I swear. You are to blame for everything and it would be wise for you to accept that as soon as possible.
Last edited by Radioclare on Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Expugnator
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1680
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:45 pm
Location: Belo Horizonte
Languages: Native Brazilian Portuguese#advanced fluency English, French, Papiamento#basic fluency Italian, Norwegian#intermediate Spanish, German, Georgian and Chinese (Mandarin)#basic Russian, Estonian, Greek (Modern)#just started Indonesian, Hebrew (Modern), Guarani
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9931
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Re: Radioclare's temporary(?!) log

Postby Expugnator » Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:56 pm

Impressive!! I should try some intensive listening as well, like you say I'm doing :lol: :lol:

Seriously, I usually do intensive listening for the vocabulary only, not for the listening itself. Not pausing for words I didn't understand the audio for. I still use the subtitles largely as a crutch. I really need to try focusing on the audio, pausing, rewarding. The one person who has been doing intensive listening the way you did is lorinth, with Mandarin. It is something really useful and necessary at some moments in the journey, though it's tiresome indeed.
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Corrections welcome for any language.


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