My first log

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Just_a_visitor
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My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Tue May 19, 2020 7:39 am

I registered here a while ago, on week 7 or 8 of my self-isolation - honestly, I've lost track of time a bit. 
Confined inside their homes, some people have developed habits that, though not against their true nature, had never been a usual part of their daily routine before. For me, it happens to be watching opera. Online, naturally.
I'd never dived into it so intensely. IRL, I would go to the opera twice a month on average, sometimes oftener. Now, on my watching spree, I can hardly spend a day without a performance. Or two.

That's why I've suddenly found myself exposed to a much larger amount of German and Italian than ever; first of all, written - because I never had the ambition to grasp what all those singers sing, even in my mother tongue. By written language, I mean not only subs and synopses but also general navigation through theatres' sites, because their English versions are often not so full.
It all has given me the idea to take advantage of having more free time on hand, and try and study a bit of German. While many regions are starting to ease their COVID-related restrictions, it seems that the city I live in still has to face a lot more weeks of social distancing and self-isolation ahead.

Why German, then? It seems to be far more challenging than Italian.
Perhaps, because I already learnt it 17 years ago. Then, I took two month-long courses (not one two-month course but two with a break in between, which was crucial for the methodology implied) and so I can consider myself a "false beginner" with a vague memory of how the language works. 
Besides, I've got quite a few books and two sets of coursebooks (Themen neu 1 and 2) left after my daughter's studies. Now, when all the libraries and bookshops are closed and I am too overwhelmed with computers/Zooms/Skypes it might be really helpful. Although I could hopefully survive studying up to 60% of the time on-screen, to study, say, 90% of time glued to my laptop or smartphone seems unbearable.

I don't really feel I belong here; still, I'm toying with the idea of taking part in the Super Challenge I've just read about. It seems to be good timing to join in, as it has just started...
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todoslinguas
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Languages: English (N), French (B1), Italian (A2), German (Beginner)
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Re: My first log

Postby todoslinguas » Tue May 19, 2020 11:12 pm

Hi Just_a_visitor,

Sounds like you definitely belong here just fine. I just joined the community but the ability to log languages has been really motivating for me. I think German is a really beautful language. It's my dream to learn it in the future. But at the moment, I'm learning French and Italian. I agree that Italian might be easier than German, at least for me as an English speaking native.

I'm sure if you learnt German in the past, it's just sitting inside you for a chance to be used. :) And learning with history and culture really helps. I wsh you luck on your new goals.
3 x

Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Sat May 23, 2020 2:50 pm

So, a few days passed and, after reflection, I settled on joining the Super Challenge with both of my languages.
With my beginner-level German it may seem not a very sensible thing to do - just because the books/films I most likely will be able to "digest" are too short and I don't have enough of them.
However, Serpent's humorous suggestion that in that case, participants can read the books they have up to twenty times to reach the required numbers, can, to some extent, be put into practice. What is more, I believe that at this level, reading/watching the same stuff more than once may be really useful. However, I hope I won't have to go far further than twice.
As for my English, I feel I should move to some "bigger forms" from what that chaotic reading and watching on the Internet I've been prone to lately. I haven't read a "proper book" since February or early March, I guess, and I have quite a lot of them waiting to be opened.
3 x

jeffers
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Learning: The above, plus French (A2-B1), German (A1), Ancient Greek (?), Sanskrit (beginner)
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Re: My first log

Postby jeffers » Sat May 23, 2020 3:56 pm

Just_a_visitor wrote:So, a few days passed and, after reflection, I settled on joining the Super Challenge with both of my languages.
With my beginner-level German it may seem not a very sensible thing to do - just because the books/films I most likely will be able to "digest" are too short and I don't have enough of them.
However, Serpent's humorous suggestion that in that case, participants can read the books they have up to twenty times to reach the required numbers, can, to some extent, be put into practice. What is more, I believe that at this level, reading/watching the same stuff more than once may be really useful. However, I hope I won't have to go far further than twice.
As for my English, I feel I should move to some "bigger forms" from what that chaotic reading and watching on the Internet I've been prone to lately. I haven't read a "proper book" since February or early March, I guess, and I have quite a lot of them waiting to be opened.


As a (false) beginner in German I'm using easy readers by Brian Smith for the Super Challenge. I'd already read his 3 easy readers twice (I think) and now I'll probably read each of them another 2-3 times. I also listen to the audio while going on walks and use that for the film portion of the challenge. Repeated reading is generally very effective, but probably less so when it's an easy reader. So, yes it's a bit boring but still effective. Once I finish these 3 easy readers I'm going to give some of the Dino lernt Deutsch series by André Klein a go. The problem with the Dino books is that you have to buy the audio separately. All of the audio for Brian Smith's books is free to download from his website.
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Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien (roughly, the perfect is the enemy of the good)

French SC Books: 2925 / 5000 (2925/5000 pp)
French SC Films: 9000 / 9000 (9000/9000 mins)

Grammaire progressive intermédiaire: 59 / 257 (59/257 pp)

Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Sun May 24, 2020 12:37 pm

todoslinguas wrote:Hi Just_a_visitor,

I'm sure if you learnt German in the past, it's just sitting inside you for a chance to be used. :) And learning with history and culture really helps. I wsh you luck on your new goals.

Thank you for your kind words, todoslinguas,
and yes - you got me right: for me, taking culture in is the way to bring the language I'm studying closer, and vice versa. And, I guess, it must be true for quite a lot of language learners.

It may seem lame but still an excuse, then, that my current post has not much to do with my studies - in terms of pages read or minutes listened for.
I'd like to share the stuff that could be of some interest for those learning Russian.
It's a series of articles about "*** words helping us appreciate *** culture". As a Russian speaker and as a person deeply enrooted in my own culture, I, certainly, can't rate the extent it is seen just from a Russian or a somewhat wider perspective. Actually, the articles do not at all aim as high as to "provide insight into the stereotypes" some of us, Russians, may have about the given culture". Not very long, written in good Russian, for a
Russian e-magazine and aimed at Russian readers, they might be entertaining reading for Russian learners, especially for those belonging or closely familiar to the given culture.

Zum Beispiel, 11 German words chosen are:
die Angst/die Brutwurst/der Feierbend/die Gretchenfrage/die Ordnung/die Schadenfreude/der Termin/verboten/verschlimmbessern/die Wahlverwandtschaft/der Weltschmerz
https://arzamas.academy/mag/659-german_words

However, as you can see, I've done a bit of "vocab work" with them, adding articles and looking closer into the way they are formed.
The dictionary I used was the Cambridge German-English Dictionary https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... n-english/ and I haven't got used to it yet.

A bit more from the Arzamas series:
12 Italian words as seen by Russians -
https://arzamas.academy/mag/766-mammamia
11 Norwegian words
https://arzamas.academy/mag/811-norwegian
These are just three articles of many, devoted to far more rare and/or exotic languages, such as Persian, Estonian, Ethiopian... and many, many more.
And I highly appreciate the illustrations they provide!
Last edited by Just_a_visitor on Sun May 24, 2020 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Sun May 24, 2020 12:51 pm

jeffers wrote:
As a (false) beginner in German I'm using easy readers by Brian Smith for the Super Challenge. I'd already read his 3 easy readers twice (I think) and now I'll probably read each of them another 2-3 times. I also listen to the audio while going on walks and use that for the film portion of the challenge... All of the audio for Brian Smith's books is free to download from his website.

Thank you for your advice, Jeffers,
I've listened a bit from the website. However, there's no chance for me to get the paper copy of the books.
What I've got, is a few of the series of A1 readers from Hueber Publishing, each accompanied with an audio recording and titled sth like, Name, City. At the moment, I'm in the middle of Vera, Heidelberg.
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Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Thu May 28, 2020 4:34 pm

Just_a_visitor wrote: At the moment, I'm in the middle of Vera, Heidelberg. {A1 graded reader}

Still there.
And, honestly, not eager at all to go on with it - at least, for now.

Meanwhile, I've browsed through the forum - just a glace, unless I'd have had to stay here for ages.
Of the tiny bit I managed to see, one idea particularly caught my attention - that, of using free and legal resources only.
I see, there used to be a challenge or two, with few to nobody reaching the finishing line and not re-launched in 2020.
The reason might be that requirements were too tough - participants had to withdraw from their learning anything they bought or borrowed or paid for, and it all had to last for incredible nine months.
The exception, in one of the modes, was made for borrowing from libraries.
I'm not a person who would stick to one and only decision that would deprive me of other options, and I truly believe that not to use everything at hand can't be the right thing to do.

However, though I do think that nine-month-long "fast" is way too long, I understand and appreciate the idea behind the FLC.
That's why I'd like to explore the possibility to fulfil the criteria of that abandoned and archived challenge; being an uncompetitive type, I'm doing it just for myself; and not for the required nine months, but just for two or three. Anyway, it seems that not many (if any) survived longer ;)
The person who started the FLC was inspired by a free offer of usually paid-for stuff, following the earthquake in 2010. These days, due to the COVID outbreak, the number of free of charge offers has rocketed (perhaps I'm a few weeks/months late, but still).
But even with the resources that always don't cost you a penny, quite a lot can be done. At least it's what I tend to think after a few days of looking for the stuff for my A1/A2 German learning.

Normally, I'm more of a bookish type; these days, with libraries and bookshops still closed in my city and delivery unavailable, I should break the mould. That's why I'd go to extremes, that is, Pure FLC.
Besides,
(here, I'm trying to back the decision I made):
the only coursebook I have, though quite good, is too old to find its audio easily and so I'd rather put it aside and use it two or three months later for revision and recycling;
the readers of the appropriate level, that I have, are not very catchy, to put it mildly, and I'd better scan them through later as a revision, as fast as I can, and take the next level;
the unabridged books I have can wait even longer, too;
at first glance, most of the learning materials found on Goethe-Institut and Deutsche Welle sites seem good, full, versatile and up-to-date. and I like them;
I've just started an old FSI course I learnt about here, which is also "free and legal".
6 x

DaveAgain
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Re: My first log

Postby DaveAgain » Thu May 28, 2020 5:25 pm

Just_a_visitor wrote:Normally, I'm more of a bookish type; these days, with libraries and bookshops still closed in my city and delivery unavailable, I should break the mould. That's why I'd go to extremes, that is, Pure FLC.
Besides,
(here, I'm trying to back the decision I made):
the only coursebook I have, though quite good, is too old to find its audio easily and so I'd rather put it aside and use it two or three months later for revision and recycling;
the readers of the appropriate level, that I have, are not very catchy, to put it mildly, and I'd better scan them through later as a revision, as fast as I can, and take the next level;
the unabridged books I have can wait even longer, too;
at first glance, most of the learning materials found on Goethe-Institut and Deutsche Welle sites seem good, full, versatile and up-to-date. and I like them;
I've just started an old FSI course I learnt about here, which is also "free and legal".
Duolingo stories is one you might like. They're short stories with audio and dictionary lookup built in.

If you have access to The Goethe eLibrary they have a number of graded readers as eBooks.

(Access to the Goehte eLibrary seems to vary by country. From the UK you can use it for free, sometimes it requires paid membership of the Goethe Insitut)
3 x

Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Sun May 31, 2020 7:11 pm

Thank you, DaveAgain :)


End of May and it's time for an update.

First, German: half-SC
Since I fancied to obey the restrictions set by Free & Legal Challenge (which is inactive now), a few pages of a graded reader I covered in May should not count. I put them aside for a while.
The same goes for 30 minutes of Muzzy I found on YouTube, that definitely can't fall under the description of "legal" stuff, which is a pain, because I like the cartoon dearly.
So, what's left?
As I said, I'm using FSI, but as a "core course" opted I for Deutsche Welle's three-part Nicos Weg, which promises to lead you from A1 through A2 up to B1. It's a story-based course, each of the three videos something 90-ish minutes long. Its central character, Nico, has just arrived in Germany (we meet him at the airport). He's a young Spaniard with little to no knowledge of German, but with surprisingly nice pronunciation. Though, maybe, not in accordance with the modern trends, the latter is what I really appreciate.
At the moment, I'm at the level A1, watching the full story and then, step by step, looking closer at some language issues (the full film is cut into very short episodes, which are also available on DW official YouTube channel).
The link is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrcZ2ud ... vPUagK87ix
But I'll not count the video for the film section of SC yet.
What I'd like to put onto my SC record for German, is a minor bit of the many hours I've been spending on opera.
During the last weeks, I watched the full Der Ring des Nibelungen from Oper Frankfurt, and Die Walküre and Sigfried from Weiner Oper. It's an endeavour itself and it had long been on my bucket list, but the reason I include these operas into my scoring is that after watching I would go back, look into German subs and take some notes. I really did! Obviously, these were just relatively short extracts from these mega-operas.
The total duration of the six is 23+ hours. I guess it would be fair if I count one-tenth of the time, that is 2,3 hours~140 min.

No reading (
But I'll do my best to catch up on this part AFTER I finish my personal 2-month FLC and can turn to my books.

English: full SC
No reading also.
But I watched a few British performances:
Frankenstein: Benedict Cumberbatch - 2h
Frankenstein: Jonny Lee Miller - 2h
http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/pr ... ankenstein
Antony and Cleopatra - 3,5h
https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/show ... -cleopatra
(all three from the National Theatre)
A Streetcar Named Desire (from the Young Vic)
https://www.youngvic.org/streetcarathome
I won't count operas from the Met: with English, I don't need to cut corners.

So, for May:
SC German (half) pages/"books"/ %: 0/0/0
SC German (half) min/"films"/ %: 140/1,5/3
SC English (full) pages/"books"/ %: 20/0/0
SC English (full) min/"films"/ %: 450/5/5
3 x

Just_a_visitor
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Re: My first log

Postby Just_a_visitor » Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:40 am

Two more weeks passed.
I haven't exhausted myself with either German or English.
Actually, I often couldn't remember what I was busy with during this fortnight, and it's not about languages only.
It appeared (not to my great surprise, though) that I couldn't put to good use the time I so suddenly got in hand. And when the lockdown was at once, on the shortest notice, released this Tuesday, I looked back and saw that I failed to take the full advantage of these weird N weeks.
At least, language-wise.
Surely, I could not avoid any encounters with English - that just wouldn't be possible. But that's a far cry from what I was going to do when, just a month ago, I joined both the community and the SC.

However, there's no much use crying over spilt milk.
Instead, I'll try to snap out of it as soon as possible.

So, if I exclude all these random bits of reading here and listening/watching there, what is left will look like this:
in English, I've listened to 'The Voyage of the St Louis' (87 min). It's Tom Stoppard's radio adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann play, which, in its turn, was based on the book 'The Voyage of the Damned' by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000j1pf
At the moment I'm listening to a BBC Radio 4 spy drama 'Len Deighton - EXD' (EXD stands for "expedient demise" - a term allegedly used by intelligent services). https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hwf7 When (and if) finished, this will gain me 250-300 more minutes of "films" and I'll be on track with my English films part.
I've also watched a brilliant Donmar Warehouse's production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston in a title role. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJPL89U2NH0 But I won't count it, or other Shakespeare's plays any more, as they usually don't add much to my language development.
Also, I've gone back to two edX MOOCs I enrolled in years ago but dropped, as it happened to many other courses. At the moment, these two are available in an archived form only, but it doesn't matter much for me; and, surely, it has nothing to do with the SC.

With German, it all is much sadder.
I'm still where I was, none the wiser. Don't get me wrong: my complaint is not that I'm still doing Deutsche Welle A1 and FSI courses. That's normal and will stay normal for quite a while.
The pain is, I can't get used to doing either of them regularly - and that's the way to nowhere.
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