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TAC 2012 - Team Ne Nur - Throwing pebbles

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29 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3 4  Next >>
ReneeMona
Diglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
Joined 3475 days ago

864 posts - 1274 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, EnglishC2
Studies: French

 
 Message 1 of 29
03 January 2012 at 2:37pm | IP Logged 
Introduction

Happy new year, everyone, and welcome to my brand new log! The official name of this log is Throwing pebbles at giants but that didn't fit so now it's just Throwing pebbles, which sounds a bit silly but then so did the name of my last log.

After a first TAC experience that was in some ways a success and in some ways an epic failure, I'm very excited about having another go at it this year. I'm a member of Team Ne Nur, which I chose to join because it's made up of very dedicated and ambitious people and because I hope it will give me enough incentive to finally make good on my promise to myself to learn Esperanto to fluency. Contrary to 2011, which I dedicated almost entirely to French, I plan to spread myself a little thinner this year.

Français
The main focus will still be on French, but it will be sharing the spotlight. I'm quite satisfied with the progress I've made since I started self-studying it in September 2010 but I still feel like I'm not focusing on my active skills enough. I'm very good at reading books and watching films in my own apartment but when it comes to going out and using what I've learned, I'm inexcusably lazy. I'm still working on how to fix this and since I know myself, I won't even try putting any pressure on myself because I know it won't help one bit (I'm very stubborn).

Since I love to make lists, I've made one consisting of activities/requirements that I should finish each week but this is mainly there to make sure I put in a minimum amount of work and I will expect myself to do some extracurricular activities each week. For now, the requirements are; 1 episode of C dans l'air (or another show featuring French people talking for an hour, this just happens to be my favorite), 1 hour of active book-reading (this is the reading itself, so translating and putting words into Anki doesn't count), 1 native French film (No more Disney! We're beyond that stage now) and 2 podcasts. I may add more as the year progresses and I discover new methods and materials that I like and that work for me.   

English
It would be a colossal waste of time to try to keep track of the thousands of hours I spend 'studying' English but because I don't read enough (and by reading I mean actual books, not the internet), I will aim to read, while actively looking up unknown words, for at least an hour each week. This is a low goal so I may raise the number somewhat over the course of the year but the main point is to count reading time as studying so I might be motivated to do it more often.

Deutsch
German presents something of a conundrum for me that is best explained in these terms; hearing/speaking German is like eating chocolate with crunchy bits of caramel. Studying German is like having my head split open with a blunt chisel. This goes back to all sorts of unpleasant high school-related memories and it's proven harder to get past than I thought but it's only made me more determined to crack this nut. To start off, I'm aiming for some simple grammar study and vocab-building each week but I plan to put my main focus on German for at least one month, perhaps during the summer.

Esperanto
I've been seriously interested in Esperanto for almost a year now and it's been one of the many languages I put off in favor of French. It wasn't going to be a target language until I joined team Ne Nur and decided it would be an ideal excuse to finally stop dabbling and take it seriously. I also think that considering its relative easiness, it will be a good language to counterbalance Old English with. It was going to be my target language for the February challenge but I kind of want to start right away so we'll see how that goes.

Ænglisc
I feel a little guilty about this one. I have been promising myself to pick up Old English again for almost a year and I've had all my materials ready for months but every time I get ready to start, circumstances change and I change my mind (or it is changed for me). But no more. I am a little daunted by its complicated grammar and finding interesting materials has been something of a struggle but the language as a whole is so beautiful and fascinating that I can easily look past that. I have Teach Yourself Old English as well as some native materials and leftovers from when I studied it at uni. As with German, studying will consist of vocab-building and grammar study for now.


Apart from these five, I expect that I will probably stray and dabble a little bit, if only because I plan to partake in all 6 week challenges and I'm already too advanced in most of the above to enter with them. Supporting languages that are likely to make an appearance over the course of the year are Arabic, Spanish, Indonesian, Greek, Norwegian, Swahili, which is a team requirement, and who knows what else.

To conclude this introduction, I have to eat some of my own words because what I wrote in the conclusion of my former log is no longer entirely true. I wrote that I would not be counting my study hours this year but after downloading and adapting Ellasevia's spreadsheet for 2012, I am so excited about it that I've changed my mind again. I got too caught up in my numbers last year because I spend so much time counting and calculating everything myself but this spreadsheet does everything itself (ah, the marvels of technology) so that should make it a lot easier to maintain a healthy balance.

I will endeavour to update this log at least once every two weeks and be less repetitive than last year because after a while I felt like I was writing the same post every week (notice the use of the word 'endeavour'). Thank you for reading and good luck to any and all participating in the TAC this year (but especially my team mates, of course)!


Edited by ReneeMona on 30 January 2012 at 12:47am

1 person has voted this message useful



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 3521 days ago

3971 posts - 7745 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 2 of 29
03 January 2012 at 3:50pm | IP Logged 
Sounds exciting!
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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4579 days ago

4474 posts - 6724 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 3 of 29
03 January 2012 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
Bonan ŝancon! Mi esperas ke vi sukcese faros kaj ĝuos ĉion. Se vi havus demandojn pri Esperanto, mi volante provos helpi vin.

I'll have to try not to get sucked into wanderlust with Dutch or Old English!
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Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3474 days ago

4143 posts - 8862 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 4 of 29
03 January 2012 at 9:01pm | IP Logged 
I wish you all the very best for your TAC 2012! I'll follow you log with great interest, since I am sure that it will be as interesting and funny as last year's log.

And if you decide to do a 6Wc in Norwegian, you know where to find me:-)
1 person has voted this message useful



ReneeMona
Diglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
Joined 3475 days ago

864 posts - 1274 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, EnglishC2
Studies: French

 
 Message 5 of 29
08 January 2012 at 4:04am | IP Logged 
Week 1: January 1 – January 7

Total this week: 13.68 hours
Total 2012: 13.68 hours

The first week of 2012 is over and it's been a little bit messy. The holidays are officially over and school-related work that should have been done weeks ago has been keeping me stressed and busy. Then there's the fact that my trusty external hard disk decided to take the expression "starting with a clean slate" to a new level and retired in spectacular fashion, taking my entire collection of language materials with it. I was able to salvage my already much beloved spreadsheet and some former logs that were still on my old laptop but everything else is gone. Ah, the marvels of technology.

Apart from that, it's been a good week to kick off the year with. I haven't had a chance to work on German yet but that's because I was already doing Esperanto and Old English and I didn't feel like working on three beginner-level languages at the same time.

Français
This week: 8.62 hours
2012: 8.62 hours

New year, new book. I left several books unfinished last year but it's been so long that I might as well start over so I chose Le fantôme de l'opéra by Gaston Leroux because I love the musical and I wanted to read the original story. It turned out to be a very good choice because the level is just right for me. There are plenty of unknown words on every page but it doesn't slow me down too much and I am still able to enjoy the reading, even if I sometimes have to re-read run-on sentences with many sub-clauses because I've lost sight of what's going on. After reading the preface and the first chapter, I've already added 83 new words to my Anki deck but I will try to read more next week because at this rate, it will take me the better half of the year to finish it.

Because I wanted to start the year with a film I'd already seen, I tried to watch Amélie but got so bored after an hour that I turned it off and counted it as a full film anyway. It did inspire some French rambling to the walls, which I haven't done in a long time so it was nice to notice that my speaking skills don't seem to have been much affected by the last several months of neglect. I also listed to two podcasts about Alexander the Great which were fine but even with my limited knowledge about Alexander, they still didn't really tell me anything new. I didn't have time to watch any TV or think of something extra to do but I expect to make up for it tomorrow by finally doing something I've been planning to do for months.

English
This week: 3.38 hours
2012: 3.38 hours

It took me all of two days to realize that one hour of reading was a severe underestimation of myself but I think I may have done it deliberately to make myself feel good. Early in the week, I finished Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, which I had read once before but that was several years ago so I wanted to refresh my memory. For those who haven't read it, it's about two quite unsympathetic people (the man is especially pathetic) leading a very non-enviable existence but it's one of my favorite books because the characters are all so well developed and realistic.

After finishing RR, I started on Passing by Nella Larsen which I had to read for school last semester but never had time for. I wrote a thirty-thousand word essay about it and I was very pleased, upon reading it now, that I got pretty much everything right and my analysis even made sense, which explains the good grade I got on it.

Anyway, I have another couple of chapters left but I've already decided that I love this book because the subject is fascinating and the characters are again very good. My only gripe is that the main character is very annoying, though I suppose that's not really a reflection on the quality of the writing. I've been faithfully underlining unknown words (or words I do know but never bothered to look up before) and there aren't that many so I plan to look them all up before I move on to the next book.

Esperanto
This week: 0.58 hours
2012: 0.58 hours

Just a little bit of Esperanto this week. I created a new Anki deck, since the old one was messy, and decided it was best to just start over altogether, since the only skill that seems to have survived months of neglect is reading which was already strong to begin with. I found a course online that looks promising and downloaded La Eta Princo. I also dug up a neat overview of the grammar that I got at the Esperanto language festival last year so for now I should be all set. Now the only thing I need to do is actually study because so far all I've done is gleefully add simple words to my Anki deck.

Ænglisc
This week: 1.1 hours
2012: 1.1 hours

Teach Yourself is proving to be a bit of an unsuitable book for my level. I like to have a full understanding of at least the basics of a language's grammar before I start translating and doing exercises but TY is spending a lot of time giving background information on the Anglo-Saxons and explaining how one should read OE (which, annoyingly, is completely contrary to how I was taught to read dead languages in high school) and no time at all on explaining anything useful about the grammar. Working through the first chapter therefore became a very confusing and de-motivating business so I've decided to change tactics. The book my university used to teach OE contained a very dry but thorough introduction to the grammar so I will review that, learn all the vocab used in chapter 1 of TY in Anki and then return to it and see what I can make of it.

---------------------------------------------------------
@ Arekkusu: Thank you! I always get very excited making grand plans for my languages and yet they rarely every come to fruition so I tried to restrain myself this year.
@ Volte: Dankon. I don't think you'll need to worry about me causing any Dutch wanderlust because I rarely write about or in Dutch at all. However, Old English might present a problem because I love it and I plan to rave about it all year. :)
@ Solfrid: Thanks! Interesting and funny is a lot to live up to but I shall do my best. Norwegian was almost my target language for the last 6WC before I changed it to Old English (and subsequently never studied it) so I've all but decided that it will be a target language this year, probably in either May or August.

ETA: I just noticed that this is my 800th post! Yay!

Edited by ReneeMona on 30 January 2012 at 12:51am

1 person has voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4610 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 6 of 29
13 January 2012 at 10:08pm | IP Logged 
I have recently resolved to work on my speaking ability in Dutch, since I've only spoken
Dutch for a total of about 10 hours in my life ;-) If you want, contact me on Skype,
user name RealJunesun, and we'll do an exchange. Can help you with Esperanto or German,
whatever you're in the mood for.
2 persons have voted this message useful



ReneeMona
Diglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
Joined 3475 days ago

864 posts - 1274 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, EnglishC2
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 29
16 January 2012 at 7:19pm | IP Logged 
Week 2: January 8 – January 14

Total this week: 17.6 hours
Total 2012: 31.3 hours

Another very stressful week but despite the fact that I finally got down to all my neglected school-work, I still managed to study more than I did last week. Maybe it's because I was so stressed and anxious that I used languages as a distraction. I was too lazy to work on Old English but French was as present as always and even German and Esperanto got their fair share of attention. Next week will probably be a lot worse than this one because I have three big tests coming up but so far I've been able to maintain a nice 2 hour per day average so I'm not complaining.    

Français
This week: 11.15 hours
2012: 19.77 hours

I don't know what came over me because I usually find listening to podcasts quite a chore, but I went through seven of them this week. Since I used to have a lot of trouble understanding even the basics of what the hell was being said, I like to think that my listening skills have improved to the point where I am actually able to enjoy them, hence the sudden enthusiasm. I'm inclined to think my theory is correct because while I used to consider myself lucky if I understood the general progression of the conversation, I now rarely miss more than a sentence or two, even though most of the speakers seem to be determined to cram as much information into their 27 minutes as possible.

I didn't have time to read two chapters of fantôme like I intended but I did watch an old episode of C dans l'air about the election of Obama. I also saw the first two episodes of a TV adaptation of Les Misérables. I quite like it so far except for John Malkovichs monotonous voice, which is just as annoying in French as it is in English and it is driving me insane. On Friday, I finally went to the Maison Descartes to check out its famed multi-media library after being told about it months ago, only to find out it is closed on Fridays. Fabulous. I will be far too busy with my tests to go again any time soon but I should have time once the new semester has begun.

English
This week: 1 hour
2012: 4.38 hours

Not a very good week for English. I finished Passing and chose Orlando; a biography by Virginia Woolf as my next book but after taking almost an hour to plough through the introduction, I didn't really feel like starting on the actual story. On top of that, I just bought The Help by Kathryn Stockett which sounds like a very fun book so I'm tempted to forgo Orlando for now and read The Help first. Meanwhile, I'm still occasionally reading essays from Language Myths, though most of them are not as interesting as I had expected them to be.

Deutsch
This week:2.77 hours
2012: 2.77

I was suddenly motivated to work on German this week so I watched a few films and *finally* managed to memorize those pesky definite articles. Yep, that's right. A good seven years after I started learning German in school and I still didn't know the complete declension of the definite article. I assure you that I am heartily ashamed of it. I made up a mnemonic made up of a series of silly rhymes and puns based on the sound of the words and my synaesthetic responses to them and it worked like a charm. That's all I really did for German because I'm still dilly-dallying on what materials to use. I have a feeling I've written about this before, but my passive command of German is far better than my active command, which makes most materials for beginners too boring while others are too advanced for my active skills. I've been looking for a good podcast because they're so easy to work with but I haven't really found anything that seemed right.    

Esperanto
This week: 2.57 hours
2012: 3.1 hours

I studied Esperanto for far longer than I intended this week and I'm really liking it so far. Everything about it just makes total sense, which sometimes backfires a little when I have trouble committing things to memory because the romancy-ness makes everything feel deceptively familiar. Pronunciation is another stumbling block because the difference between similar sounds distinguished by diacritics is at times hard to remember. Apart from that, I keep finding myself describing the language to others with the words "logical" and "fun" (and I've been doing that a lot because I study during my break at work and I have extremely curious co-workers). I especially love the simple verb conjugations and all the affixes. It's like Lego! The grammar overview I got last year included a long list of affixes with examples so I put those in a separate deck in Anki and spent a lot of time playing around with them. I like to create new words and then look them up to see if they mean what I think they mean, which they usually do so I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.

---------------------------------------------------------
@ Sprachprofi: Thank you for the offer. I will be very busy for the next week or so but after that I'd like to take you up on it. It's probably pointless to try to have a conversation in Esperanto at this point but my German could use a good kick in the behind, seeing as I'm far too prone to wallowing in passivity. Just be sure to take the above confession about articles as an indication of how deplorable my speaking is.

1 person has voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4610 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 8 of 29
16 January 2012 at 7:50pm | IP Logged 
Go you! 2 hours per day is a very good result!

Don't feel too bad about the articles; my boyfriend has been living in Germany for 6
years and still doesn't know the declension table and he despairs of memorizing it. His
instinctive command of them is improving, but he still makes many mistakes. They're not
really necessary to be understood and only distinguish meanings in contrived / poetic
cases, e. g. "Der Hund jagt die Katze" vs. "Den Hund jagt die Katze". Instead, I would
focus on achieving a level where you can talk about anything. The best way to do it is
probably to go topic by topic, covering all the topics you generally like to talk about
or might have to talk about. If your knowledge of German is too weak to even start
talking about a particular interesting topic, Arekkusu's self-talk exercise is really
helpful, because it involves reading a text about a topic and then talking about it, so
you will see all the useful vocabulary before you have to use it.

I'm glad you're finding Esperanto fun. For me it was the same - I couldn't wait to do
my lessons. Here's a page I created about the affixes:
http://learnlangs.com/esperanto/for_linguists.htm
Most of the exercises are probably too easy for you, but the "and beyond" section for
every affix lists some interesting usage cases for this affix, which might interest
you.

To distinguish the sound of the accented letters from the same letters without ^, just
remember that all ^ letters involve a stream of air, they are either affricates or
fricatives. Say them all one after the other in order to see what I mean...
Also, the sound is usually spelled with an h in English/German if it exists:
ĉ = ch in "chocolate"
ĝ = dsch in "Dschungel" (g in English "giant")
ĥ = German ch in "Bach" (transliterated kh in foreign names in English)
ĵ = French j in "je"
ŝ = sh in "she"
This is why some people used the H-method while computers couldn't do Unicode,
replacing the ^ by putting an H after the letter, which looked intuitive enough for
many words. However, that introduces ambiguity (Words like fisho are pronounced fis-ho
or fi-ŝo?), so the X-method was more widely used. Nowadays it's easy to type the real
letters, so both methods are becoming more and more uncommon.

Don't worry about your level, just drop me a line when you have time to practise!

Edited by Sprachprofi on 16 January 2012 at 7:51pm



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