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Iversen’s Multiconfused Log (see p.1!)

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Iversen
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 Message 2361 of 3959
04 April 2011 at 11:37pm | IP Logged 
AF: Hierdie aand het ek sit in my leunstoel en lees prints van 'n Afrikaanse tuisblad met die naam Mydfundi, wat eintlik is die Afrikaanse weergawe van een engels webwerf. Dit sluit 'n oorsig van die klimaat in Suid-Afrika oor die afgelope vier miljard jaar (Karoo is die belangrikste vindgebiede vir soogdier-fossiele uit die Trias en Perm), en daar is ook 'n artikel oor drie ou kulture in Suid-Afrika. Ek het gelees oor die Zimbabwe-ruïnes, maar van Mapungubwe en Thulamela het ek nog nooit een woord gehoor nie.

I have spent some time this evening reading printouts from the Afrikaans version (www.myfundi.mobi ... what the heck is that 'mobi' thing??) of a South African homepage www.myfundi.za on a variety of subjects, ranging from old kingdoms in Southern Africa to 4 billion years of climate changes in Southern Afrika. The immense area called Karoo is probably the most important source of mammalian reptile fossils from the Permian and Triassic periods (the socalled Therapsidae). I have visited a number of museums of Natural history in South Africa and seen those fossils, but never the Karoo itself - though I once actually was on a tour going through that area, but they played rock in the truck so I quit in Bloomfontein. Nice town, by the way - and it has got a railway station, so that was my first real chance of getting away from the hellish noise. Relief! I hate Drifters, and I'll never go on such a truck tour again.


Edited by Iversen on 04 April 2011 at 11:48pm

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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Denmark
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Joined 4891 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
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 Message 2362 of 3959
06 April 2011 at 12:09am | IP Logged 
For me this evening has stood in the sign of the feathered dinosaur.

ESP: Unue, mi volis legi iuj Esperanto tial mi metis la vorton "dinosaŭro" en Google kaj trovis longan kaj bonan Vikipedio-artikolon pri plumhavajn dinosaŭroj. Mi supozas estas scia nuntempe, ke la dinosaŭroj ne tute formortis 65 milionojn jarojn antaŭe - la birdoj estas veraj vivaj dinosaŭroj. Ĉiuj ankaŭ scias ke estas listo maldekstre en Vikipedio kun tiuj lingvoj kiuj havas artikolojn proksimume la saman temon. Mi elektis Polan ... kaj eltrov ke la Pola kaj la Esperanto artikoloj estas ĝemeloj.

RU: Я позволяю Google переводить польскую версию в русский язык и сделанный двуязычным Польским русским текстом, который я распечатал. Не было необходимо добавить датский язык, потому что я имел версию в Эсперанто. Только для развлечения я также находил отдельную версию на нидерландском языке, и она имеет некоторые вещи общего с польским текстом, а не тот же самый текст.

I first found a text in Esperanto about feathered dinosaurs. As everybody probably knows by now the dinosaurs didn't completely die out 65 million years ago - those with feathers on survived, and just to confuse people they decided to call themselves 'birds' from then on. And all of this is described in detail in the long Wikipedia article (which I actually first found on a lousy parasitic homepage which simply had nicked it). But as all Wikipedia articles this one also told me where to find articles in other languages about the same theme ... and then I found the Polish one, which is virtually the same as the one in Esperanto, except that it is written in Polish. I also had a look at the one in Dutch ("Gevederde dinosauriërs"), but in spite of some parallels it's not quite the same article. So I celebrated the find of the Polish version by making a bilingual text in Polish and Russian (using Google translate).

After that I read about the Senckenberg Museum in Esperanto and German - it is the largest museum for Natural History in Germany and worth a visit next time you pass through Frankfurt am Main. But then I somehow fumbled my way over into some Irish homepages, and there I found a homepage called "Beo" in Irish. Actually my studies of Irish are lying almost dormant right now, but I made a Google translation of some of the texts there, and even though I wouldn't have been able to understand them without a translation I could at least follow the Irish text, I knew a fair number of words and I could recognize some of the morphological and syntactical features which I had read about in the first half of 2010. So the time I have spent on Irish hasn't been wasted. And I still find it is a fascinating language (whether or not the Irish population choose to learn it or not). The best of the Irish articles was an interview with Brigid Chonghóile, a businesswoman in Galway who advocates that the town should emphasize its Irish Gaelic profile.


Edited by Iversen on 06 April 2011 at 1:36pm

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lingoleng
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 Message 2363 of 3959
06 April 2011 at 1:27am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
... (whether or not the Irish polulation choose to learn it or not).

At first I thought this is a very sophisticated way of insulting "The Irishpolyglot", but reality lags behind (my dirty) imagination, of course ... (sorry, couldn't resist.)
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Iversen
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 Message 2364 of 3959
06 April 2011 at 1:43pm | IP Logged 
I have corrected the spelling error, but there was absolutely no intention of any kind behind it. And I didn't even think of the Irishpolyglot, who actually is one of the few Irishmen who can speak the Irish language.

The simple fact is that the Irish population to some extent is taught Irish in schools, but only an infinitesimal part of the population actually speak it - it may be used for bilingual signs etc., and I have the impression that the average Irish citizen is proud of the Celtic heritage, but not to the extent of speaking the language.
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Iversen
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 Message 2365 of 3959
07 April 2011 at 11:29am | IP Logged 
In the thread about repeating yourself Bao made the following remark.

Bao wrote:
The acquisition of Spanish as my 4th and French as my 5th foreign languages show a qualitative change in my learning that I can't really explain yet. It's a new and exciting development for me. I wonder if for you, being able to speak several languages didn't change as much in your way of handling them as it does for me, or if that process is finished for you already.


This question deserves a thread of its own, and I think we are enough 'collectors' here to discuss it. But my attempt to write something sensible about this became too long so I'll put it here.

---

For my own part I'll give the (maybe) somewhat surprising answer that quantity in itself only make things slightly easier each time, but it doesn't change ones methods in a fundamental way. However when you find something that works while studying your language X then you will of course use that technique on subsequent languages.

Let me first take some of the gradual changes: when you know a few languages already, you will be less prone to assume that your native language can be used as a paragon for any other language. And you don't need to study very exotic languages to discover that.

With more languages in your bag you will be able to draw on parallels from a broader base. For instance English is just about the worst language to use when you speak about vowels in other languages because of all its weird diphtongs. But when you also have learnt German or French or whatever, you know what a clear plain vowel is. The same of course applies to vocabulary. But broadening your base is not the same as changing your learning strategy in a fundamental way.

I would say that getting the idea that you can learn a language on your own for me was a significant paradigm shift, and it happened very early - with Italian and Spanish, whereas I was taught English and German in school. Learning Italian and Spanish from the same series of text books gave me the idea that the parallels between different languages could be used constructively - this never happened with English and German in school.

Later I added French and Latin, and those courses taught me 1) that the natural method doesn't work, even with an excellent teacher, 2) that Latin is something about solving riddles, using a grammar and a dictionary

At the university I didn't really learn new methods, except using a "language laboratory" - but it was boring, and I didn't have the right equipment at home. And then I also lost my last shred of belief in 'conversation classes'. Well sometimes the themes were interesting, but I simply can't focus on pronunciation when I'm 1)deeply interested in the content, 2) hates the content. However I learnt that grammars are something you can make yourself, and you really learn grammar when you write your own. An I added a few new languages, though in some cases only in a passive way.

During my 25 year long linguistical drought after 1982 I learnt that languages can disappear when you don't use them. And passive languages (Latin!) are the first to disappear, followed by languages which you never met in real life (Romanian!). Even my Italian became rusty.

When I started to relearn languages in the summer of 2006 I found that Romanian to some extent could be ressuscitated just by studying my old books and some written sources on the internet - because I had learnt to speak it during 3 years of courses with 2 hours per week (with me as the only student for the last two years). With Portuguese a few months later I quickly discovered that this wasn't enough because I never had learnt it in an active way. So I found some good sources on the internet and started listening. Because of this and with a useful basis in Spanish and French I could get it up to at least the upper end of intermediate within a month, and already in 2007 I could manage a monolingual stay in Moçambique.

Using spoken sources on the internet was a genuine change in my methods, and it functioned because I knew several related languages so in a sense quantity had an impact here.

Another genuine change happened in 2007 when I began experimenting with wordlists. Actually I had just noticed that even counting my Romanian vocabulary using a dictionary had made it grow, so I sat down and thought about methods to use learn vocabulary bulkwise. This could have resulted in something like the goldlist method, but to me the logical thing was to do a proper job from the beginning, so I invented the three-column format with groups consisting of 5-7 words and translation both ways. Since then I have added the repetition column, but the main layout was forged in January 2007.

Later in 2007 I started learning Modern Greek. I already knew the alphabet and had studied the language briefly around 1981 without getting anywhere. However I couldn't find useful oral sources, so I had to do something else. I took a guide to Rhodes and translated it word for word to Danish, using a grammar and a dictionary. I have since refined this method: now I prefer using bilingual texts where the translation is as literal as possible (even a machine translation is better than a free 'literary' translation). The logic is of course that immediate feedback on attempts to understand something is much better than delayed feedback after a lot of hard work. Using simple copying of texts coupled with vocabulary collection and (if necessary) doing hyperliteral translation doesn't seem revolutionary to me, but it certainly went squarely against everything that was preached by the pedagogical gurus and even against the methods used during my school years.

One curious incident happened when I decided to relearn Latin: I found my very first textbook ""Mikkelsens Latinske Læsebog") at the local library and reread it from A to Z, - and I suddenly discovered that I had no trouble remembering the grammar and only few problems with my vocabulary. So I concluded that the old grammar-translation method had its advantages, but ONLY combined with a genuine attempt to make the language in question active. And with Latin that meant that I had to adopt Neo-Latin - squarely in the face of all those that see this a blasphemy against Vergilio et Co.

Edited by Iversen on 11 April 2011 at 1:05pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2367 of 3959
10 April 2011 at 10:35pm | IP Logged 
Paranday wrote:
" However I learnt that grammars are something you can make yourself, and you really learn grammar when you write your own."
A golden nugget, I believe.



I'm back from a family weekend once again, - i.e. some time for study in the train, with a little luck some studying in between communicative acts, quite a lot of TV watching.

FR Le fournisseur de TV câble de ma mère continue à fournir la chaîne française TV5 avec des soutitres en Russe. J'ai essayé prononcer ces soutitres à fur et mésure qu'ils apparaissent sur l'écran, mais ils arrivent avec environ deux fois la vitesse avec laquelle je les peux prononcer - et quand j'essaie de les lire je n'ai pas le temps pour penser ... ceci met cette exercice carrément dans la catégorie des exercices extensives, mais pas pour autant faciles ou relaxantes.

Samedi j'ai vu le programme télévisé ADN, qui consiste de clips sur la science, sur la géographie ou sur la société, mais prétentions trops politiques. Par exemple il y avait cette fois un clip sur des inventeurs-bricoleurs chinois, un autre sur une réinterprétation de l'art préhistorique des trogodytes - il parait que les caves avec des peintures sont presque tous orientées vers des points importants astronomiques (avec seulement 4 exceptions en France), et les animaux représentés pourraient même correspondre à des constellations sur le ciel d'il y a 17.000 années.

PLA: Ik heff hüüt sehn Frühschoppen op Platt - egentlich 11-11.50 (dicht bi een Stünn)- aver ek blots tien Minuten sehn, üm dat mien Süster keem 11.10, un se müch nich Platt lehren.

My Mother's cable provider has for some reason chosen to show the French TV5 with Russian subtitles, and apparently nobody has complained - maybe nobody watches TV5 down there - and I'm not going to complain. The subtitles are shown a approximatively twice the speed I could read possibly them aloud, and when I read them silently I can't spend as much as a second on thinking about any word so although extensive it is a fairly hard exercise. Among the programs I watched on TV5 I would recommend ADN, a program shown on Saturdays that consists of short documentary clips about science, geography and society. For instance there was something about the Northern ice shelf, Chinese backyard inventors and an astronomical reinterpretation of the cave paintings made 17.000 years or more ago.

Today (Sunday) I watched the beginning of 'Frühshoppen', a 50 minutes long program in Low German at NDR .. but after 10 minutes my sister arrived, and she is not studying Low German. So now there is one month to the next edition.

In the train back home I read the article in Dutch about feathered dinosaurs which I mentioned a couple of days ago.   


Edited by Iversen on 14 September 2011 at 12:46am

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Iversen
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 Message 2368 of 3959
12 April 2011 at 9:01am | IP Logged 
Yesterday evening I didn't even switch on my computer, but I did a lot of good oldfashioned studying in my armchair.

This includes:

Doing wordlists and copying sections from my guides to Singapore in Bahasa Indonesia. I have stopped writing hyperliteral translations as part of my copies because I now understand at least half of a new text and can see how it is constructed.

Copying of sections from an old, but completely unused textbook in Polish (from 1979, so I have presumably bought it around 1980 while I was still studying)

Wordlists in Russian

Reading texts about paleontology in Afrikaans

Watching TV, including Norwegian NRK1 and Spanish TVE


Edited by Iversen on 14 April 2011 at 12:48pm



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