Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Portuguese/Russian)

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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:13 pm

My mood hasn't changed much since last week (or the week before, or the week before that...). Such draining times. Apparently it doesn't do much for my language learning: my spoken German was horrendous this week. I did get some useful corrections on written work, which I need to go through when my head is clearer. But generally my confidence took a bit of a hit and I started to question why I even bother. I think I'm over that now... I've listened to a lot of podcasts since, and remembered that German is a happy place for me - I just don't like interacting orally much in any language! Oh, and I did read some of my novel, just not much. Stress = inability to concentrate.

Russian has continued, with the usual classes and piles of homework. My reading is definitely becoming more solid - I can read something for sense without getting bogged down in the meaning of every single word. I still feel horribly behind on learning vocab - I just can't keep up with the pace. On the other hand, it's not as if continuing to move forward regardless is a bad thing, as the vocab is not going anywhere. I just need to put up with the feeling of being a bit out of control. My listening is also really lagging - another thing I need to fix!

French has remained quiet, but this week's L'Express looks to contain some interesting articles. I also plan to finish watching the most recent series of Le Bureau des Légendes.
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:13 pm

I should have updated over the weekend when I cheered up thanks to a new-found ability to speak German! (The start of the new week has brought me right back down to earth...). That gave me a boost, and I read some of my novel. When doing that I came across the expression "des Pudels Kern" (the gist of the matter), which I had to look up as my guess about the page being all about poodles was not helping with understanding what on earth was going on. To be fair, the novel did give me the background of the expression coming from Faust, but all the talk of a poodle being a devil was quite confusing without knowing the idiomatic expression. I'm also moving on to C1 material with my tutor, though I think I'll finish Erkundungen B2 on my own. I have just the last two chapters to go through, then various follow-up work to do with inputting vocab into Memrise, doing some writing to use the new vocab, etc. I also need to input B-Grammatik vocab into Memrise. But anyway, it's good for me to have a tutor to say I'm ready to move on, as my perfectionist tendencies otherwise tell me I haven't yet properly covered what came before and must do so before moving forward. And it feels nice to start a new level as a new year approaches. I've been listening to more podcasts (Deutschlandfunk is great), as well as the TV news, and am vaguely planning to try to do an hour of German listening each day next year - this should be more than doable, as I have a dog to walk, so the challenge will only be choosing German rather than English to have in the headphones.

Russian has also gone well. I had some interesting exercises to do, where I had to reformulate sentences using a different verb. The verbs were of course verbs that take different cases, with or without prepositions. It seemed quite a difficult task for my level, but I enjoyed the challenge - it was right on the edge of what I could manage with the help of a dictionary and grammar book. I still feel as though I'm drowning in vocab, but I think a large part of that is expecting myself to have perfect recall, which of course I don't.

French has not got a look in. I don't think it's a priority right now, or, rather, German and Russian are more important to me and I don't have the time to dedicate to French. In terms of resolutions, I have a huge pile of books I want to get through next year, and a few of them are in French, so I think I might keep it in the background and read those books (and L'Express), but otherwise not focus on it until I'm ready to put German in maintenance mode and have time to work on French properly.
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:49 am

A quick update to say there's not a whole lot to update on! Let's just say that when you're not convinced that the people in charge are making the best decisions, the atmosphere created is not the best in which to concentrate on study (or anything else for that matter). So I'm just crawling to the few days' holiday I have between Christmas and New Year.

I have managed to do about an hour of German listening most days. I've used it as a kind of trial run for a resolution, and think it's doable. It's easier on days when a new episode from one of my favourite podcasts comes out, and is harder when I have to do a bit of digging to find something. It is becoming something that doesn't require too much mental effort, though, which means even if I want to relax, German listening is an option and doesn't feel like a burden.

Russian has continued by way of lessons. Having them booked in makes me show up and do the work. I still feel massively behind, but it's definitely because I'm trying to do a lot rather than because I'm slacking. More complex constructions with verbs taking different cases have continued, which has been hard but doable; verbs of motion on the other hand remain something on which I can be sure to get 50% or less correct on any assignment! I get the theory, but I don't seem to have absorbed the Russian logic yet... I found last night when mindlessly messing about on my phone that Deutsche Welle have short videos and articles in Russian, so that's another source of materials to go on my ever-increasing list. I am also trying to pull together cultural information I'm learning - I tend to focus on the language and then the content of the lessons (about important buildings, historical events, etc) doesn't stick, which is a shame, and knowing more about the place where the language is spoken is important, I feel.

No French... Roll on Christmas!
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Postby Caromarlyse » Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:13 pm

Last week or so of 2020 update
I have had a bit of a break from Russian, as well as a break generally, which I think has done me good. I've wanted to do lots of German, so I have done so. I’m very nearly done going through Erkundungen B2, though I will still need to go back through five of the eight chapters to do some writing tasks and collate vocab. I’ve really loved this book, and I'm noticing that some collocations are becoming more automatic to me. I’ve also continued with the listening of podcasts whilst walking, which has been going really well too. The latest Zeit Verbrechen episode was fascinating (if gruesome) about piracy off the coast of Somalia - even though this podcast is shortly described as “true crime”, it tends to go into wider societal issues and I think is the better for it. I also made a bit of a dent through a French crime novel - I’ve started and put this book down a few times now (no fault of the book, really), but I’ve now got further than before, so I hope I’ll be able to keep it up. My concentration has still been shot, but I think I’ve given in to it enough now, and just need to force myself to pick up a book and do some reading each day.

2020 round-up
French
I watched:
Dix pour cent, series 2, episodes 4-6; series 3, episodes 1-6
Tanguy 1 + 2
Le bureau des légendes, all five series! (albeit with English subtitles as I wasn’t watching alone)

I read:
Kiffe kiffe demain by Faiza Guène
Ta deuxième vie commence quand tu comprends que tu n’en as qu’une by Raphaëlle Giordano
No et moi by Delphine de Vigan
L’homme chauvre-souris by Jo Nesbo
La soif by Jo Nesbo

Targeted study:
I did a handful of 1:1 lessons in which I presented on a complex topic and answered questions in a debate subsequently. I then followed a ten-week C1 exam preparation course, during which I gave a short presentation at the start of eight of the classes, did one fuller oral presentation, did some reading and listening comprehension exercises, and had seven written pieces marked. I also did “plans” for a couple of other topics.

Separately, I listened to podcasts whilst walking.

Most of this was in the first half of the year. My interest dropped off thereafter, though I have been reading Code 93 by Olivier Norek over the holidays, as mentioned above.

Overall assessment/plans:
I don’t think I made any improvement in my abilities over the year, but I don’t think I have gone backwards, either. I have realised, however, that I don’t enjoy focused study in this language/at this level (at least based on what is on offer/I can find/I am prepared to pay). It is also not a priority to me to make progress. I know from experience that I can drop the language altogether and it will stay pretty much where it is. I don’t want to do that - I want to read more of Olivier Norek’s books this year, and will continue to dip in and out of listening to/watching stuff when it is of interest - but it will not be a focus at all. My only goal for the year is to read those books in French that are on the pile of books I want to read this year. If I want to spend some time on French study, I have a few books I can pick up and do a discrete exercise from as and when. I like knowing the language and being able to use it as and when, but I don't love it - it's definitely a means to an end for me.

German
I watched:
3 Türken und ein Baby
Isi und Ossi
(I’m fussy about what I watch and haven’t found anything compelling (to me) in German.)

I read:
Eine unbeliebte Frau, Mordsfreunde, Tiefe Wunden,
Schneewittchen muss sterben, Wer Wind sät, Böser Wolf, Die Lebenden und die Toten, Im Wald, Muttertag, and Unter den Haien, all by Nele Neuhaus
Milchgeld by Volker Klüpfel and Michael Kobr

Targeted study:
I did a number of classes working through B2 material. I’ve also separately gone through all of B-Grammatik and almost all now of Erkundungen B2 (as noted above).

I’ve also listened to a lot of podcasts and watched German TV news, especially recently.

Overall assessment/plans:
I want to continue the listening, aiming for an hour a day. I won’t time it as such, but will consider the goal met if I listen to German when walking the dog (my husband and I share the walking duty evenly so I just get one walk, whose length fluctuates a bit depending on weather conditions) and then separately also watch the TV news daily. I'm not certain, but think I'll mainly be studying on my own. Looking back over the year, I think I should call bringing my long-forgotten German back up to the end of B2 a win.

Russian
I started this just under a year ago, on a bit of a whim. I’m now working with B1 material, so that’s got to be a win too, even if I had a bit of a freak-out over the holidays about being rubbish! I think I concluded that I need to slow down a bit and let the language seep in a bit more. I definitely also need to watch/listen more. My plan is to do 30 minutes every day of either listening or going through vocab (alternating so one day is the first activity, the second day the second, and so on). For the vocab, I think I will generate tests for myself in Quizlet and focus on what I don’t remember from those tests, as a way of not overwhelming myself going through flashcards. I also have verb drills audio files, which I want to download one by one onto my phone so I can listen to them during any downtime. I will continue with my classes, though there is some uncertainty as to how long they will continue, so I might have to adapt here. Generally, though, whilst I’m pleased with my progress, it has ended up being a bit overwhelming, and I’d like to take a little step back.

Portuguese
Ah yes, so new language started in a desperate attempt to forget about the angst caused by current circumstances. Nothing to see here…

Seriously, I did think about starting my A1/A2 Spanish textbook again (for what would be the third or fourth time) but I wasn’t feeling it. Seeing as I have no hard deadline or real need for any of these, and basically just do language learning as a hobby, I figured there was nothing stopping me looking elsewhere. And I thought that if I drop German classes and don’t know what’s happening with the Russian ones, I’ll appreciate having something scheduled each week, if only to help me remember which day it is! This all led to me trying a couple of tutors out, finding one who seems excellent, especially at meeting me at the level I'm at (everything in Portuguese from the start as I can guess a lot, and recommending a grammar book I can work through on my own), and deciding that committing to learning a new language properly was an excellent project for the new year... Although I think I'm mad, I also think, mentally, I'll appreciate the boost that comes from the early stages of language learning, and working with an excellent teacher (for Russian) has been quite a life saver this year so I'm pretty sure I'm going to appreciate my decision, despite all the new memorisation work I know is coming!
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AroAro
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Postby AroAro » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:02 pm

Caromarlyse wrote: The latest Zeit Verbrechen episode was fascinating (if gruesome) about piracy off the coast of Somalia - even though this podcast is shortly described as “true crime”, it tends to go into wider societal issues and I think is the better for it.


Just wanted to thank you for this recommendation, I'm definitely adding this podcast to my list. This episode was really good!

Caromarlyse wrote: I think I should call bringing my long-forgotten German back up to the end of B2 a win.


and by the way - congratulations!

Caromarlyse wrote: deciding that committing to learning a new language properly was an excellent project for the new year...


and starting a new language is never a bad idea ;)
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Portuguese/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:46 pm

I missed it live last night, but the final season of Spiral (Engrenages) has started to be broadcast on BBC Four in the UK, with a double header, and I now know what I will be doing tonight!
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Postby Caromarlyse » Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:14 pm

AroAro wrote:Just wanted to thank you for this recommendation, I'm definitely adding this podcast to my list. This episode was really good!


Glad you liked it! It was a particularly good episode, but generally I've listened to a lot of great German podcasts this year.
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Portuguese/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:05 pm

French
After saying I was going to put French on the back burner, I've actually done quite a bit of listening and watching this year. I've even got a good amount of reading done, so that I'm now engrossed in my book and should finish it in a couple of days. The last series of Engrenages coming on TV helped, but so did my resolution to listen to German in my dead time - I apparently have so much dead time that I exhaust German podcasts to listen to, or at least exhaust my desire to listen to more of them, so then move onto French. It's not going to become a focus, but I've been enjoying giving it some time, and have felt a bit more connected to the language/culture.

German
I've listened to loads of German, which I think has helped - at least, I had an hour-long conversation which was probably my most fluid yet. I had a bit of time off course books/grammar books after finishing the B level ones and thinking I should collate vocab and do more writing exercises before moving on. Today, however, I wanted some "feel good" German to do, and for me that translated into cracking open Erkundungen C1 and starting to work on that. I made what I thought were stupid mistakes on not using sein in the perfect tense, but that led me to my old Hammer's German grammar book, and I found all sorts of interesting stuff about verbs with the er- prefix. I now know that erklingen puts the stress on the action just starting, and so, as an intransitive verb indicating a change of state, needs to be conjugated with sein in the perfect tense. And I don't think my mistakes were as stupid as I originally thought. I think I'm going to like this book just as much as its predecessor.

Portuguese
I've had some classes, which I've enjoyed. I know I *could* manage without, but I think it's good for me to make myself talk from the beginning, as I'd otherwise avoid it. We're moving quickly, and I'm supplementing with a lot of work on my own. I bought a German textbook called Oi Brasil, which covers the A1 level (I have the A2 on back order too). There are nine chapters in it, and each chapter has a "class work" section and an exercises section. You then have a vocab list at the back (Portuguese/German), plus a separate grammar reference section, and a short section on European Portuguese. There are two CDs with the listening exercises, plus transcripts. I've almost worked through the first two chapters, and think I'm really going to enjoy this. I think it's well done, and comprehensive and thorough. I've separately got a grammar book, and I've started going through that too. I've, somewhat predictably, started taking this more seriously than I'd really intended, but it's all still fun, so all good!

Russian
I'm on a tiny Russian downer at the moment, but hopefully that should pass once I get back into the swing of classes. I have homework to do tomorrow, so need to find that motivation pretty quickly! In my book buying spree I also got the I love Russian B1.1 and B1.2 textbooks mentioned by @Radioclare (not the exercise keys yet, though - how e-books can be out of stock is beyond me, but there you go). They definitely seem a step up from New Souvenir 3 I've used so far, despite ostensibly being the same level. I reckon if I can do a page a day, I'll be finished by the end of the year! Sounds reasonable, right?! We'll see... In any case, I think I'm going to enjoy the books, and I think if I manage to work my way through them, I should have a pretty decent level indeed - it all seems pretty demanding stuff!
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Portuguese/Russian)

Postby Radioclare » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:37 pm

Look forward to hearing what the textbooks are like :) I think it's going to be April before I manage to finish Schaum's and get onto them.
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Caromarlyse
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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Portuguese/Russian)

Postby Caromarlyse » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:01 pm

Radioclare wrote:Look forward to hearing what the textbooks are like :) I think it's going to be April before I manage to finish Schaum's and get onto them.

I'll give an initial view after I've worked through the first chapter. So far, so good, though. I couldn't cope with Schaum's - I've noticed that I really need to remove as many obstacles as possible to me getting down and doing something, and being able to write in a book and annotate it as I wish somehow makes it so much easier for me than having to write on a separate piece of paper! It shouldn't matter, but it does. I would really like a German-style grammar book for Russian, though. You know how German books always list out in a nice little appendix verbs that take different cases and different prepositions, etc? It doesn't seem to be a "thing" with Russian books, and verbs + their cases/prepositions are just introduced as and when, requiring a lot of flipping back and forth when I inevitably forget.
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