Little by little (TUR, DUT, ITA, FRE)

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Sonjaconjota
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Little by little (TUR, DUT, ITA, FRE)

Postby Sonjaconjota » Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:11 pm

So, I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and to create my own language log.
I would like to introduce myself properly: My name is Sonja, I’m German, but I’ve been living in Barcelona, Spain, for nearly 20 years.
I've loved languages since I was a kid, and I actually have a language-related job: I’m a book translator.
I’ve come back to active language learning during the pandemic and have discovered a whole new world of possibilities online, so my motivation has been huge.
I’m not sure if I can maintain this enthusiasm in the long run, when (if?) we go back to some kind of normality.
But that’s precisely why I’ve decided to create this log.
At the moment, my idea is to check in more or less at the beginning of each month, reflect on what I have done and on what I want to do during the following weeks.
What I’m working on right now:
I’m a beginner in Turkish, and I want to level up my Dutch, Italian and French.
Last edited by Sonjaconjota on Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Xenops
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Re: Little by little

Postby Xenops » Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:18 pm

Ooh! What resources are you using for Turkish? :D There aren’t as many resources compared to other languages.
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Sonjaconjota
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Re: Little by little

Postby Sonjaconjota » Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:01 pm

Xenops wrote:Ooh! What resources are you using for Turkish? :D There aren’t as many resources compared to other languages.


My main resource is a book for German speakers called "Kolay gelsin". I did a distance course for Turkish, and the material they sent me was based on the first book of the series, but edited for self-learners. I'm currently working through it for the second time.
I've other resources for German native speakers, a short grammar by Pons and two books for vocabulary training by Hueber, but I guess those are not so interesting to you.
I'm using Assimil for comprehensible input, and I'm reviewing grammar with "Turkish Grammar in Practice" by Yusuf Buz.
I have also bought "The Delights of Learning Turkish" by Yaşar Esendal Kuzucu, but I have not started to use it yet.
I've worked through the audio material by Pimsleur, Language Transfer and Earworms.
I've found several good options for graded readers: İmren Gökce: "Turkish for the Speakers of English: Reading A1" (a bit home-made looking, but I appreciate that the texts are supereasy), Short stories by LingoMastery and by Olly Richards (both with audio available) and "Son durak İstanbul", a book with crime stories by the great publishers Circon Verlag (aimed at German speakers, but enjoyable even if you don't speak German).
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Re: Little by little

Postby iguanamon » Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:04 pm

Welcome to the forum, "Sonja with a j"! I'm curious as to which language(s) you translate books into and from which original language(s). If I were to guess, I'd guess Spanish or Catalan into German, given that you have lived for so long in Barcelona. Do you specialize in any genre(s) of literature?

How do you find learning a non-Indo-European, agglutinative, language like Turkish compared to your previous language-learning experiences? Do you have a motivation for learning Turkish. I'm curious. Hope you'll like it here.
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Sonjaconjota
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Re: Little by little

Postby Sonjaconjota » Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:56 pm

iguanamon wrote:Welcome to the forum, "Sonja with a j"! I'm curious as to which language(s) you translate books into and from which original language(s). If I were to guess, I'd guess Spanish or Catalan into German, given that you have lived for so long in Barcelona. Do you specialize in any genre(s) of literature?

How do you find learning a non-Indo-European, agglutinative, language like Turkish compared to your previous language-learning experiences? Do you have a motivation for learning Turkish. I'm curious. Hope you'll like it here.

Great questions! :D
I usually translate from English into German, but yes, I also offer Spanish and Catalan as source languages, there just aren't as many projects. But they are always a nice change.
I specialize in romantic novels, chick lit, not by choice though. I would have loved to do crime fiction, but these things just develop in a certain way, you do one project, then another, and suddenly you're the expert for romantic stuff. :roll:
A friend of mine from university ended up as a cookbook translator in the same way, without really intending to.
I've also done some historic novels and non-fiction, mainly self-help books.
When it comes to Turkish - well, I wanted a challenge, something completely different from my previous languages, something non-(Indo)European. I ended up choosing Turkish because of the close ties between my home country Germany and Turkey, and also because I was planning a trip to Istanbul in September 2020 (which didn't happen, obviously ...).
I didn't really know anything about Turkish, but I'm enjoying it very much, although it really is a challenge. You absolutely have to rethink everything structure-wise. It is a very logical language, but I guess I'm just not the most logically thinking person in the world, and all those suffixes are killing me. But I've really fallen in love with this language, I think the structure has something beautiful about it, really poetic, and it sounds lovely. I also adore the fact that it opens a window to a new culture. I'm advancing very, very slowly, but I'm starting to notice now that I understand more when my Turkish language buddies send me messages or when I'm watching a series. So I'm very proud and happy.
Oh, and one thing that I appreciate: With my other languages, I have so many problems because I'm confusing things and mixing them up . Especially with Dutch, because I'm always worried that I'm just translating from German word by word.
This problem really doesn't exist in Turkish. Apart from a few French loanwords, every word and structure I learn is completely new for me. So I have either memorised how to say something, or I'm just not able to express it. I like that I don't have to doubt myself all the time.
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Re: Little by little

Postby IronMike » Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:11 am

iguanamon wrote:Welcome to the forum, "Sonja with a j"!

I love this, as my wife is "Sonja with a j"!

Welcome Sonja!
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Sonjaconjota
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Re: Little by little

Postby Sonjaconjota » Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:40 pm

What I’ve done lately:

Turkish: It is my priority, but I’m not getting a lot done recently. I’ve had a couple of intense study sessions during July, working on reviewing part 6 (out of 12) of my introduction course.
I’m also being quite diligent with my vocabulary flashcards.
I’ve been watching “The Gift” again and was very happy I understood a lot more than last year. Sometimes I can actually follow a whole dialogue of three or four short sentences.

French:
Hm … I’ve done some reading, I think.
Oh, and I had a couple of interactions with native speakers while driving through France, and felt a bit dumb. I’m able to talk about abstract things, but I was stuttering like an idiot when I wanted to ask someone “Is the toilet free or are you waiting?” (By the way, would you use “libre” in this context?)

Italian:
I’ve listened to two audiobooks and watched some films on netflix. (There was a strange moment when I realized that the Turkish actor Mehmet Günsür from “The Gift” was in one of those films. It turns out that he has an Italian wife and speaks perfect Italian.)
Oh, and I’ve read “101 conversations in intermediate Italian”, by Olly Richards. It was a quick, easy read, and I enjoyed it more than his short stories, maybe because I like the crime genre.
At some point I’m going to come back to it to work on the unknown vocabulary.

Dutch:
I finished the last lessons of my beginners’ grammar, I’ve nearly finished writing flashcards for all the words from my beginners’ vocabulary book, and I’ve done some listening, mainly with the first “Percy Jackson” audiobook.

This month, I’m visiting my parents in Germany and have plans for activities with family and friends. So I won’t dedicate a lot of time to languages.
Here are my modest language plans:

Turkish:
- go on studying vocabulary with flashcards
- finish reviewing at least part 6 of my Turkish course
- have at least one in-person interaction in Turkish while I’m in Germany – I’ll try to meet at least one of my language buddies

Italian:
- audiobook (“Harry Potter 6”)
- I want to finish reading “Language Hacking Italian” by Benny Lewis. I’m not a beginner anymore, but I wanted to see what his books are about. I’m mainly skim reading it, not really working through it, but I’m taking notes when I come across interesting words and expressions.

Dutch:
- write the last flashcards for my vocabulary book
- listen to another audiobook (probably “Percy Jackson 2”)

French:
- read a Maigret-book
- write some vocabulary flashcards

Let's see how it goes!
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Sonjaconjota
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Re: Little by little

Postby Sonjaconjota » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:12 am

The month isn’t over yet, but during and after my trip to Germany I’ve been thinking about language-related stuff that wouldn’t really interest my friends in “real life”, so I thought I might post my musings here.

German
Some observations about my mother tongue:
- I have not been living in Germany for nearly twenty years, and I’ve noticed through media and my regular visits there that the language has been shifting towards something more informal.
Still I was very surprised that in shops and cafés this time I was mostly addressed by the informal “du”, and seldom by the formal “Sie”, the way it would have been in my youth. This seems to have changed very quickly in recent years.
- I don’t have children and actually know very few. During my visit with my family I spent a lot of time with my nephew. He’s a clever little eight year old who likes to read and write (and talk). He also has grandparents who are retired schoolteachers. They try to speak in a very correct way with him and play games that help with the development of verbal expression etc. I would guess that his level in his native language is a bit above average for his age, and yet he still made so many mistakes in regard to grammar and vocabulary. He was very aware of his limitations, and in some situations answered “It’s complicated” when I had asked him to describe or explain something. There were also a couple of quarrels when he had interpreted things the wrong way, for example when he had mixed up “einholen” (to catch up) and “überholen“ (to overtake) while playing.
To me this just reinforces my belief that children are very slow language learners, and that approaches promoting the idea of “acquiring a language like a child” aren’t very efficient. But I’m probably just looking for arguments in favour of my point of view ...
- My parents like to play games and recently have been very much into a language card game.
You get ten cards with letters and have to get rid of them by forming words, in this case nouns in their singular form.
After two years of regular playing, my parents have become real experts, and I have to say I’m a bit shocked by how many German words they know that I had never heard before.
It’s no surprise that they have collected a lot of words with just two or three letters, because they are important for the game: Od, Uz, Ul, Ai …
It was also expectable that my dad, a retired geography teacher, was often able to pull some name of an Austrian mountain or a Russian river out of the hat.
But there were so many other words, some old, some regional, some just unusual, that were completely new to me:
Gaube, Sore, Leu, Hube, Aar, Ger, Trosse, Schof, Kar, Fase, Ritzel, Egart ...
I think I might have to start studying vocabulary in my own native language.

Accents
My accent is the one thing I’m not happy with in English.
English was the first language I started learning, back in school. All the teachers I had were Germans and had a strong German accent themselves, and it was a time before internet, so I guess it’s understandable. But it irks me that I’m not able to get rid of the German melody.
Many people don’t consider it important to try and sound like a native, as long as ones’ way of speaking is clear and easy to understand.
In the past I really didn’t agree, maybe because many foreign accents do not sound pleasing to my ear.
But spending a couple of days in France while driving through is making me reconsider.
Something I once read somewhere on the internet: If you have an obvious accent, people will assume that you do not understand absolutely everything, both in regard to language and culture. But if you speak with a perfect accent, people might not be aware of any misunderstandings and look at you like a weirdo. (I’m paraphrasing …)
And that was my feeling when I was in France. My French teacher was German as well, but he spoke with a very good accent, maybe because he had a French wife and spent all his holidays in France. Anyway, my French sounds more convincing when I only speak a couple of words, but I always feel like people are taking me for a stammering idiot.
On the other hand I might have been overthinking things. I mean, in most countries, people try to speak more clearly or even change to English when in front of a foreigner. But many French people just go on chatting away happily, don’t they?

Buying books
I bought some books both in Germany and France.
I love novels, they were always one of the most important things in life for me, and I’ve even become a book translator.
But back home I had a look at all the books I already own and still want to read, and thought about all the downloaded ones on my kindle, and I thought: Am I too greedy?
I mean, some days, I see all those books as exciting possibilities at my fingertips, but other days they just seem like a burden (as well as all my puzzles, knitting projects and language learning resources).
Should I be stricter with myself, forbid myself to buy any new books, discipline myself to read the more difficult ones first?
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DaveAgain
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Re: Little by little

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:47 am

Sonjaconjota wrote:Should I be stricter with myself, forbid myself to buy any new books, discipline myself to read the more difficult ones first?
Yes! But you're certainly not alone on this one. :-)
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Re: Little by little

Postby gsbod » Mon Aug 23, 2021 12:38 pm

Sonjaconjota wrote:Should I be stricter with myself, forbid myself to buy any new books, discipline myself to read the more difficult ones first?


No!

You are not alone here, I've felt the same way before. I always buy more books than I can read, and start more books than I can finish. But I still love books and enjoy reading. Nowadays I just feel grateful that I have the resources to either support the publishing industry by buying new books, or support local charities by buying and donating secondhand books.

Just try not to think of your personal library as a to do list, and it takes the pressure off.
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