Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

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eido
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Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

Postby eido » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:28 am

So this thread isn't really going to ask about one language, though the answer will probably be the same for all of them.

In the last thread I did like this, I was dramatic but genuinely curious if I should study another language to learn yet another. We decided on German. I haven't studied it since, except for buying a course, getting a refund on it, studying one lesson from Deustch Welle in Spanish, liking it, but finding German... bleh? I did enjoy the program enough though that I might incorporate it into my study routine, because the Spanish used was very accessible.

So here I'm narrowing it down to three priority languages: Spanish, Korean, and Icelandic. Three languages, all from different families. Should make for enough variety and keeping things separate. You can make fun of me for writing A1.5 in my summary of Korean in my log. If people can put pluses after their level in their profile, I can put .5.

Here's the deal:

Spanish is the language of my major at undergrad (here's hoping I get in). Even if I don't get in, I'm studying this thing 'til I can use it professionally, because it's damn useful, or so I've heard. And yeah, I like it. I like it so much my word order in English switches over to Spanish at times because I translate violently in my head when composing my B1-level PMs and Skype messages.

I've broken the habit of watching a cartoon a day in this language, because I'd eventually binge and watch too much, making my actual course of study suffer. I know I need some concentrated grammar study, because besides learning conjugation tables and ir + a + infinitive, etc. the finer points of grammar were never integrated into my brain model in formal classes. I absorbed more complex stuff from studying the output of translators. And if I'm going to rock this as my strongest second language, I need to speak it well. So, trial and error + vocab. Where does that lead?

Ideally I'd want to do this:
- Thirty minute block of listening per day. If time permits, let it go up to an hour.
- Spend 45 minutes a week on studying grammar. Grámatica de Uso del Español for intermediate grammar points? Cronómetro for testing that grammar?
- I have tried translating news articles, fan articles, my own stories. Anything is more interesting than what I actually write about most of the time, which are posts like these. Which would actually improve my output skills? Big question, 'cause I don't know.
- I have a stockpile of Spanish-language books. To me, about 8 is a stockpile. That includes an interestingly translated Sherlock Holmes story, Paco Ardit's graded readers... I should probably take people's recommendations. There was something about a magical-realism story written for 9 year-olds or so. What happened to that? No sé.
- Bi-weekly professional italki lesson. Or tutor lesson if y'all think that's better for me. What do you think?

Korean and Icelandic are tied. Whichever I can get to B1 first will be the one I can hopefully convince the graduate advisor at my chosen school that I learned to a sufficient level and which I don't need a study plan for, or need to study another language and spend an inordinate amount of money to be approved for a piece of paper. Only Icelandic is the one I can't spend any money on, because it's my FLC language.

For Korean, I've been taking one professional italki language every two weeks, but it's moving slowly. I've been flicking through TTMIK for the past three weeks and am now on level 5 of 10. I just started listening to Pimsleur in the car. I sometimes fool around with Glossika. I want to read Korean Grammar in Use. I use @Evita's deck, and click in every day. But there is no concrete plan.

For Icelandic, I bounce around between two free textbooks and Icelandic Online. I translate everything in these books using the available tools. I'll probably use kids' news to get me started with native texts, but that's a long way off. I also am using Clozemaster, a deck on Anki for colloquial Icelandic phrases, and I tried to use a 5,000 word Memrise deck. But it's the first 5,000 words in an Icelandic dictionary, not the most common, and I'm not a good judge of what I need to know. There is no plan.

That said, I actually do want to speak both of these languages well.

So, what's the advice going to be? Don't bounce around so much? Or spread yourself around the bread of knowledge like the butter of a smooth, gallivanting, yet hyper wanderluster?

Or don't study that many at once? Yeah, probably that one.

I guess my question is, do I have the beginnings of a good start here, or am I totally whack?
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Re: Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

Postby Cèid Donn » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:12 am

Spanish is the language of my major at undergrad (here's hoping I get in).


If this is your goal at the moment with Spanish, then I would suggest structuring your studies towards that. First, do you know what the requirements and expectations are for Spanish majors at the college(s) you hope to get into? If not, find out. And start with that.

If you are not able to get officially assessed via a standardized test for Spanish, you should be able to get a hold of some practice tests for the DELE, and see how well you do and what your weaknesses are.

As for italki vs a tutor, I would probably lean toward in-person tutoring myself, but really it's whatever works best for your situtation. Either way, make sure that the time you spend with the italki teacher or the in-person tutor is structured and aimed at improving and progressing what you need. This means being your own learning progress advocate and being able to tell your teacher/tutor that something you're doing isn't helping you progress and to ask for different topics/materials to be covered.

Reading is good. Translating is good. Practicing grammar is good. The only suggestion I can make here is for what your goal is--to be a Spanish major--you should being doing some dictation. I don't know if there is a site for Spanish dictation lessons--maybe someone here knows of one. If not, you'll have to improvise some way to practicing dictation, like using Spanish language podcasts and then checking your dictation against the transcription.

If you want to major in a specific language, you are going to have to be able to spend a lot time with that language. This is very different from studying that language as a hobby. You're going to be paying tuition for classes and getting graded. You're going to feel burnt out and overwhelmed and you'll have to be able to work through that. So you're going to want to be as prepared for that as possible. Ideally, yes, you should probably drop any other language that isn't relevant to your future college plans, for now, but if you can manage to balance it so you are spending enough time on Spanish and still have time to spare, I don't think other languages would hurt. It's really about managing your time.

That's just my thoughts on it. If it helps, great, but if not, feel free to disregard.
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Re: Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

Postby Axon » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:36 pm

I know you enjoy translation, so why not keep doing that? You might want to experiment with different styles of translating the same thing. For instance, translating the main points of a news article and keeping yourself within a constraint of half the original word count. Or reading two articles on the same topic from two sites and then writing a translation incorporating both. Then you could post these on iTalki for corrections. (Have I ever done this? Absolutely not. They sound like good ideas though.)

You also said you enjoy reading self-help books in Spanish, even though you were worried because you understood them too well, or something. Do more of that! I've been having a blast reading a travelogue in Spanish at a glacial pace. Our user Kraut gets a lot of his Spanish from Tripadvisor reviews. What if you read the reviews in Spanish of the books you enjoy? And translated them, and wrote your own, and posted them online for corrections? You'd improve, that's what.

Do you have Grámatica already? 45 minutes a week sounds like a little bit too little for how you seem to be concerned about it. I'd work through that sucker every day. (Except I don't, because apparently I just think of good ways to study and then don't do them.) If you don't know specifically which grammar problems you want to target, have a look at Spanish Stack Exchange and Spanish WordReference and the Spanish Help Community Forum. Browse through the questions and answers and see if you know what they're discussing. If you don't, read their discussion and study the point in your grammar book. If you do, keep reading.

In addition to daily listening and grammar, you should aim for a certain number of pieces written or recorded per week. Personally I don't like counting words/minutes of output if I'm making my own goals because then it feels like a job - instead write whatever and speak whatever as long as you're getting it done. Start with two. If you fail that goal, lower the number and try again. If you achieve the goal, raise the number. Soon you'll find what's sustainable.

I have some friends who like to play music. One of them said "I'll write two songs every week" and he's written one song so far because that's hard and that's a lot of pressure. I said "I'll write one song this month" and I wrote my February song already and I feel very accomplished. Feeling accomplished makes me want to write more songs. Feeling pressured makes me want to put my guitar away and browse forum.language-learners.org.

Icelandic and Korean:

In my opinion the best thing for you to do is to keep progressing through your coursebooks. The other activities are very important, but so is Spanish. Start with one lesson every two days for both languages. Pimsleur in the car is great if you can keep that up. If that's too much work, drop it down. But slowly progress through the courses so that you don't have to think about how to start two hard languages at the same time while perfecting your Spanish - let the course do that thinking for you. Your plan should be "finish the courses and then re-evaluate the plan."
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Re: Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

Postby eido » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:49 pm

Cèid Donn wrote:If this is your goal at the moment with Spanish, then I would suggest structuring your studies towards that. First, do you know what the requirements and expectations are for Spanish majors at the college(s) you hope to get into? If not, find out. And start with that.

If you are not able to get officially assessed via a standardized test for Spanish, you should be able to get a hold of some practice tests for the DELE, and see how well you do and what your weaknesses are.
...
Reading is good. Translating is good. Practicing grammar is good. The only suggestion I can make here is for what your goal is--to be a Spanish major--you should being doing some dictation. I don't know if there is a site for Spanish dictation lessons--maybe someone here knows of one. If not, you'll have to improvise some way to practicing dictation, like using Spanish language podcasts and then checking your dictation against the transcription.

Ideally, yes, you should probably drop any other language that isn't relevant to your future college plans, for now, but if you can manage to balance it so you are spending enough time on Spanish and still have time to spare, I don't think other languages would hurt. It's really about managing your time.

What sort of questions would I ask? Like, "How will I be tested? What are the exit requirements?" Things like that? It's an online college, if that matters.

I've been taking practice CEFR listening and reading tests for a while now, but there's only so much available that I can find.

I tried transcribing cartoons - is that good material for dictation?

One of those two other languages is a requirement of some sort. For the graduate school I like, you need a "bonus language", as I call it. You need a B1 or higher in a language of you choice from their list, following an approved curriculum. So I'm trying to be practical, but it's not coming out that way.
Axon wrote:Do you have Grámatica already? 45 minutes a week sounds like a little bit too little for how you seem to be concerned about it. I'd work through that sucker every day. (Except I don't, because apparently I just think of good ways to study and then don't do them.) If you don't know specifically which grammar problems you want to target, have a look at Spanish Stack Exchange and Spanish WordReference and the Spanish Help Community Forum. Browse through the questions and answers and see if you know what they're discussing. If you don't, read their discussion and study the point in your grammar book. If you do, keep reading.
...
In my opinion the best thing for you to do is to keep progressing through your coursebooks. The other activities are very important, but so is Spanish. Start with one lesson every two days for both languages. Pimsleur in the car is great if you can keep that up. If that's too much work, drop it down. But slowly progress through the courses so that you don't have to think about how to start two hard languages at the same time while perfecting your Spanish - let the course do that thinking for you. Your plan should be "finish the courses and then re-evaluate the plan."

I don't already have that book. I was looking at both I mentioned. I thought the number was a little low, but I'm not sure where I'm going to be able to fit all this in. I like the Stack Exchange idea. I was just thinking of reading through the entire Grammar in Use book without looking for a specific grammar point to zero in on.
I'll keep that in mind about the courses. Normally I like courses to do all the thinking for me, no matter how hard the language.
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eido
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Re: Eido's Fiasco Thread Part Deux - Structuring a Plan

Postby eido » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:42 pm

Turns out there’s many types of oral exit interviews. But I’d don’t know how that’ll work for online classes.
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