Languages vs Time

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aokoye
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:23 pm

白田龍 wrote:I'm currently trying to find time to work on my beginner Japanese and Arabic, and advanced Persian and Mandarin...
My advanced languages are worked through narrow reading (in order to minimize the number of new words) and haphazard listening/watching schedule. I add the new words to SRS for reinforcement, but the cards are deleted after I can remember it past a few days. Lower level languages, however, are too much of a drain, I really don't have the time for this anymore... I will work intensively when I on vacations from work, and through the rest of the year I will just passively watch some media every once in a while for maintenance.

Yeah see part of the thing with me is that, while I can watch videos and listen to podcasts/the news in German to my heart's content, I know that that won't help my grammar skills. I do really enjoy doing that and it's one of my procrastination methods, but it's not going to help with grammar. It will help with receptive vocabulary, which isn't a bad thing - though reading would be a little more useful in terms of skills that I feel the need to improve.
I also just have a fairly high amount of motivation for learning both French and Biblical Hebrew. It would be very easy for me to focus on those to and maintain my current level of German, but improving it while also focusing on those two is hard. French is somewhat high stakes as I'm taking a university class, but it's very easy to work at the pace we're going at. I suppose this is the one good thing about it not being an intensive course. And then Biblical Hebrew is one of the few language that I keep coming back to as feeling a very strong desire to learn for various reasons and I'm currently taking it very slowly which is working well for me. There's also a lot of relevance for me which is helpful and, unlike any other language I've studied, I'll kick myself for having put it to the side when I realize how much I could have learned had I not (Dutch is almost like that, but not quite).

Dutch is where things get almost more complicated because there is tons of linguistic transfer from German and English. It's probably the most fun language for me for that reason (it's the one language that makes me really excited when I figure out a new concept
and that I even kind of look forward to studying grammar in), but out of the 4 it's the one that I have the least motivation to learn. It's very fun for me, but I just have less motivation. If I was taking an in person class at a college then I'd have as much if not more motivation than French, but I'm not. It's kind of one of those, "I know I can get to a very high level in Dutch without much cognitive effort, I just need to do it."

I think figuring out where I'm going to go to grad school at will really be what launches me into putting more focus in German or Dutch. I'm applying to programs in both countries (all but one of which is in English). Really once I find out whether or not I've gotten a very large scholarship will be when things change or stay the same.
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aokoye
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:24 am

I'm back from the AAAL and it went really well - save for me being sick the entire time. It steep but short arch in terms of how sick I got and for how long (or short) of a time. I was back to 85% by my last full day there, though I currently have a bit of vertigo with increased physical activity (we'll see how rowing goes tomorrow morning). Thankfully I have an already scheduled doctor's appointment next Thursday. My plan B for grad school, if I don't get into and/or don't get funding for grad school in Germany/the Netherlands, appears very robust. This year was very good for me in terms of networking and it's clear that, if I wanted to do doctoral study in the US, my options are pretty broad. It would likely end with me primarily applying directly to a doctoral programs instead of a masters which I'm of two minds about.

At the conference I only really as able to focus, language learning wise, on staying on track with French and keeping up with Anki (Hebrew). I did have a very good poster presentation though (on other-initiated other-repair). I also learned that I have a surprisingly good listening abilities in Spanish, given that the last time I took Spanish was 11 years ago and I have done almost no self study. I went to dinner/hung out with a number of people who were speaking Spanish frequently and was able to understand very large chunks of what they were saying.

I, somehow, managed to keep up with my French homework including a finishing a powerpoint presentation about Emmanuel Pahud which I ended up presenting today (by choice - I could have done it Friday). In terms of German, I watched most of Boris Becker: Der Spieler on my iPad on the way back. It's on Netflix in the US (and likely elsewhere) though it appears you can find it for free as well.

Goals for the rest of week (in order of importance - edits forthcoming):
Study for my French final which is on Tuesday morning - in progress...
Keep up with Hebrew - so far so good
Read, watch, and/or listen the news in German - done.
Review Dutch vocab on Quizlet

Bonus (in no particular order):
Watch other things in German (I'm doing this right now...) - done (times a lot)
Work on German grammar - done
Rework through at least 1 chapter in the A0-A2 Dutch book
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:31 am

Japanese is like a flipping Siren song...I was telling a friend the other day, Japanese is the one language that I want to learn that has a sheer lack of usefulness for me with regards to ever spending large amounts of time in the area where it's spoken (Biblical Hebrew obviously falls out of this category completely but it's useful for me). The problem, of course, is that I have no real time but it's just so much fun, at least in the beginning. We'll see what happens with that urge this week.

German is also going well. I made a valiant effort with grammar books and then got very bored. Very bored. I think I'll be switching to one of my C1 textbooks and continuing to do my occasional extensive reading and occasional-very frequent listening/watching German TV. Last week I watched a bunch of TV and listened the news occasionally. I also did a bit of reading. Ideally I'd like to work my way through my C2 book at some point but I think I'm going to go through the first half of Mittelpunkt C1 first. I think what I'll likely do is skim both books and see which one I like more/I feel is more appropriate.
Outside of textbook related things, I seem to be in a "watch all of the German info docs" phase. This isn't especially awful given that I'm heading into spring break.

French is going well as well. I had my final today and I breezed through it. It was almost fun. There was only one section that I had trouble with, but that's I want to say a total of no more than 5 points out of 124...I should get an A on the test and likely an A in the course as well. My goal for the next two weeks is to learn the vocab for, at the very least, the next chapter, if not the next two chapters in our textbook. The vocabulary from next chapter is family words and professions and the following chapter is food words. This plan should be very doable.

I'm chugging along with Hebrew. Things have gotten a little stagnant, but I'm keeping up with vocab and will likely start the 7th chapter today, if not tomorrow. Nothing exciting to report which is probably a good thing.

Dutch is stagnant again which is probably a sign that I should put it down, or at least release any sort of expectations.
And now back to this Japanese business. I, tentatively, am looking at the Japanese for Everyone textbook that is in my bookshelf as I type this. I might start, slowly, gong through it.
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:01 pm

I think I'm beginning to consolidate my resources - "think" being the key word there.
German: Wissenschaftsdeutsch, all of the TV and radio shows that I like and can find (so much for consolidation, but it works), news websites when I have the desire and time.
Hebrew: Prayerbook Hebrew the Easy Way (no change)
French: En avant (the textbook for school) and maybe one of French for reading textbooks I have (this consolidation thing is starting to fall apart... :oops:)
Japanese: Japanese for Everyone - textbook, workbook, and kanji book

Vocabulary - apparently the awful that is Memrise being predictably unstable has driven me to Anki. So far I've managed to stay the course with my Hebrew deck for almost a month despite busyness, physical illness, depression, and so on. I'm still using Learn with Oliver for French, and I might do the same for German again (it's what I used for my 4 week intensive course in 2017 and it was amazing), but otherwise it appears I'll be using Anki.

For Japanese I think my current plan is to work on the vocabulary and the kanji separately. This is the advantage of having the kanji book (I apparently paid $18 on Amazon nearly 7 years ago) I suppose. My logic for using it over the Basic Kanji Book or Kanji Look and Learn is that it lines up with JFE. The major con is that there aren't as many exercises, though I suspect this will not be a huge issue given that the textbook will also use them. If it does end up being an issue, I can always reassess. Right now I am using the Anki Japanese Support add-on to my advantage. I have the usual forward and reverse cards for the textbook vocabulary with kanji and furigana when appropriate. My goal here is to be able to have a very good understanding of the definition and the pronunciation, though I'm not wed to knowing the kanji for this deck (hence the furigana). For the kanji deck, the front side of the card is kanji and the back side is the definition and the kanji with furigana. For this deck I'm primarily concerned with the definition, though knowing the pronunciation is also ideal.

Essentially I'm doing a more fleshed out version of RTK but without the mnemonics. In the past, different readings of Kanji have really tripped me up, so this time around I'm just going with knowing actual words that contain the kanji. This means, in practice, the deck is really vocabulary with a very heavy kanji focus. Again I am not wed to knowing how each word is pronounced when going through the kanji book. I figure that eventually I'll figure it out either via seeing the furigana enough or by it being introduced in the textbook.

German wise, the plan is to do all of the readings and some of the exercises from Wissenschaftsdeutsch. It's more interesting than the other books I have, it's an appropriate level for me, and most of the readings are taken from "authentic" sources. If I get through it, I'll probably go through it again and do the rest of the exercises, but we'll see - especially given my propensity for not finishing course books.
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:19 pm

I didn't get the DAAD scholarship. I'm going to put German textbook stuff on hold for my own sanity. I'm still applying to the Dutch schools (which I might get into and I have no idea how I'd fund), but yeah.
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:30 am

The dust has cleared more or less post finding out that I didn't get the DAAD scholarship and Spring term having started. Where am I at now?

Dutch is back on the table. I'm applying for a Fulbright (among other things) and having Dutch will set my application apart, especially given that Dutch is expressly not required for the award I'm applying for (it's only for people applying to MA programs in English at a specific university). I'm going to register for the A2>A2/B1 course which covers the first half of a B1 textbook. Yes, I could learn this myself without the aid of a class, but having proof that I took the effort is what matters here. Also, external structure is helpful for me.
To prepare, I'm reviewing the vocab of the A1-A2 textbook on Quizlet chapter by chapter. It's a bit more sane (and logical) than the "all of the vocab at once!" method I tried earlier this year. I'll also probably watch some Dutch shows as well and of course actually do some exercises from the previous textbook

I'm slowly getting back in the swing of things with French. The vocab for the current chapter for my French class is a mix of stuff I already know and cognates. It's also my least favorite topic - family. I'm an only child from a single parent family so I end up having next to nothing to say when I'm in classes that talk about family and are taught by professors that don't realize that maybe there are ways to talk about family members that isn't just "talk about your family". The grammar we're going over is also not especially challenging for me which is nice in terms of how much or little stress I'm under/juggling my life.

Biblical Hebrew is kind of static at the moment which I'm feeling a bit meh about. I have a lot of motivation but I am not actually doing anything with it. It's like I'm nearly stuck at the "thinking about learning as opposed to actually learning" stage. Arguably, the only language that I'm really focusing on right now where I'm not in that stage to varying extents is French.

Japanese is still a thing but resources have changed. I've moved from JFE to Basic Kanji Book plus iKnow. There are a really good set of "courses" on iKnow that are all of the Kanji and supplemental vocab from the Basic Kanji book and I actually enjoy and iKnow and find it effective. I hate that it costs what it does, but it works for me and I actually enjoy it. As of now, I'm towards the end of chapter 2 of BKB. I'm doing 10 or so words a day, though that'll probably be more like 5-10.
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:43 pm

Clearly you all should be gossiping about the British Royals in your French class. “Little Prince Louis’ step-grandmother’s second husband will someday relinquish his current title to his eldest son. Meanwhile, his daughter-in-law’s older half-sister is a royal pain.” Family vocabulary solved!
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aokoye
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:44 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Clearly you all should be gossiping about the British Royals in your French class. “Little Prince Louis’ step-grandmother’s second husband will someday relinquish his current title to his eldest son. Meanwhile, his daughter-in-law’s older half-sister is a royal pain.” Family vocabulary solved!

I would love that! I suspect my professor would as well :lol:
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Sun May 12, 2019 10:33 pm

Per usual, learning is a bit of a moving target at the moment and languages are being whittled down to "how useful is this to me right now?" What that means, in practice, is that I'm spending most of my time on French (and I'm a bit sad about the lack of a working challenge bot) and a little bit of time on Biblical Hebrew and Dutch.

French is going really well right now. I'm splitting my studying between studying for my class and studying for myself. My class is moving pretty slowly, which isn't something that my professor has the power to change due to institutional constraints. That said, I am doing a pretty good job working on my own, both on stuff that I need to better understand things that are hard for me in class (hello partitive articles) and to move faster than the class allows.

Right now, the books that I'm primarily using are Exercices de grammaire en context - débutant, Easy French Reader by de Roussy de Sales, and my French class' textbook En Avant. I've worked my way through the grammar book in patchwork like fashion, mainly using it to study for tests and shore up my grammatical understanding of grammatical concepts that were introduced in the textbook I'm using for class. I went through to see what I have and haven't done this afternoon and I think my current immediate goal is to finish the partially worked through chapters before working through the chapters that I haven't started. Ideally I would be able to do those 8 partially finished chapters within the next two weeks, and then finish the 2 chapters I haven't started over the course of another two weeks.
I'm a little over half way through the French reader as well. I'm essentially using it as extensive reading practice and it's working pretty well for that. It's nice too because it's something I can stick in my backpack and read when I'm on the streetcar. I have no goals in terms of time on that, which is good.

Hebrew is going a bit haltingly, lots of starts and stops. I've changed to using Aleph isn't Enough because I essentially need something that moves very very slowly because of how busy I am and my general inability to work on two languages intensely. I think my plan is to try to work through a chapter or two a day and then move to Hineni 2 after that. I already had Aleph isn't Enough and I found the second book at Powells a few weeks ago for something like $7 used. I will say, if there's one thing I've been good about it's been sticking with the vocab. I think what it comes down to is that I need the grammar to be introduced really slowly because I have so much on my plate and Hebrew grammar isn't especially straightforward for me (meanwhile French grammar isn't posing major problems at all).
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Re: Languages vs Time

Postby aokoye » Fri May 17, 2019 7:17 pm

Right now I'm set to finish the A1 grammar book this weekend depending on how I manage my time (I also have a small annotated bibliography that needs to get done for first language acquisition). I have three out of the 15 chapters left and at least one of them is only four or five pages long. This will be the first time in years that I've finished a grammar book. It also more or less covers all of the grammar that the 100 level sequence of French at my university goes over so I'll be set in that sense for the end of this course and into the 103 class which I'm taking this summer (it's 3 weeks long, which works for me).

For vocabulary I'm spending most of my time learning words from the textbook and using Lingvist which I have used in the past. I ended up buying a year's subscription after signing up for a new account and getting a discount (of the, "I see you haven't upgraded - we'll give you a better price to lure you in" type, which I was of course waiting for) that made it worth the price. So far that's been pretty helpful and the sentences are actually useful. The translation of one of them was something like, "I only understand Spanish" which is something I say on a semi regular basis. I would really like to get the book Vocabulaire essentiel du français niv. A2. Last week I was thinking that I wanted a book similar to my favorite German vocab book and it looks like that and the B1 book of the same series are the closest that I'm going to get.

That said, I'm pleased with my progress so far. I've been able to read some articles in French on Wikipedia, successfully complete some activities at the B1 level on RFI, and generally feel comfortable reading things. I also wrote my first "paper" for my French class this week and feel pretty good about it. It's was a useful exercise (we had to write a 200 word restaurant recommendation) and while the 200 words was a stretch for the grammar I have, it was good. I think my current main issues are speaking and listening, primarily speaking. In the long run I don't think it's going to be a huge issue and will come with increased vocabulary and grammar. Not knowing how to say anything in the past tense (which I will learn soon!) makes it hard for me to be able to talk about things. Or write about things for that matter.

I'll talk about Hebrew in an upcoming post...
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