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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1297 of 1511
15 December 2014 at 10:45pm | IP Logged 
О кризисе

просто читайте, вам хуже не будет.

Edited by tarvos on 15 December 2014 at 10:46pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3169 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 1298 of 1511
15 December 2014 at 10:59pm | IP Logged 
Congratulations, Tarvos, there are very nice achievements on your list. :-)
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1299 of 1511
16 December 2014 at 6:46pm | IP Logged 
Děkuji Cavesa.

I've been working a bit more lately which is nice, but right now I'm focusing on
getting my Chinese up to scratch. My next project is to engulf myself in the Hanzi,
because it's starting to become a hindrance now that I have the basic ideas of spoken
Chinese down, and I can only recognise about 30-40 characters. This needs to change.
So my big project over the next 1,5 months is to learn the necessary Hanzi before I go
travelling (and I have a fixed date to do that by), all the while going further in my
vocabulary studies. Vocabulary is the biggest problem I have at the moment (also some
grammar, especially using correct prepositions and such, and word order). I am
particularly going to focus on getting in some Hanzi I can use effectively while in
China as well as getting down a lot of basic vocabulary.

One thing that I really believe in is having this sort of goal, because I have a very
real deadline (namely January 29th, when my plane leaves). I will, of course, spend
another month studying Chinese in China of course, intensively even - but I want to
make sure that goes to the full benefit of my active Chinese. I have about 6 months in
China, and I will spend 5 of them outside of Beijing so I am also really going to be
forced to speak Chinese in-person with real people.

When in China, I will of course not neglect my better languages (the ones that I need
to maintain, such as Russian and French and Romanian), so I'm going to amass some good
novels to read during this time. It's going to take a long while before I get to that
level in Chinese, so I can safely set aside novel reading time for my other languages.

Once I'm confident that my Chinese is fairly stable and at a good level, I'll return
to my weaker languages as their deadlines draw nearer. I have a specific deadline for
good Greek (August 31st), and there is a good chance that I will have to use tourist
Korean at some point (though I have planned nothing yet).

My funny dabbling project is Norwegian at the moment, and it's fun to do because here
I don't have a lot of big obstacles. I'm secure in the knowledge that my Swedish gives
me a huge leg up over beginners because I can deal with the structure of the language
(I'm just reading things that are differently worded/spelled variants of Swedish). The
real problem is listening, but that's something you can adapt to.

As for some of my other languages, such as Hebrew and Portuguese, I have no idea what
to do with them. My Hebrew is good enough that I will not lose all of it, but I have
to find a way to maintain it at an intermediate level at some point. One of my goals
is to spend a year in Israel and improve my Hebrew. But when that will happen?

(Most other countries I'm fine with spending a few weeks or months in, but Israël I
really am interested enough in that I want a longer time period).

But first, the PRC. Over the summer I have one month between China and Greece, and I
am thinking about consecrating that time to German and French. Germany I will almost
certainly visit, and I'm considering doing a tour of the Alpine countries (including
Liechtenstein), because I've visited all of these only on day trips and Liechtenstein
not at all. My friend lives in Munich so that's either the starting point or the
finish line.
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1300 of 1511
17 December 2014 at 12:19am | IP Logged 
"Нидерландский, по-моему, значит: путешествовать по миру, говорить на иностранных языках,
торговать, и быть толерантным. А еще под дождем кататься на велосипеде против ветра."

A free translation of the original Dutch tweet I found today...
2 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1301 of 1511
18 December 2014 at 10:55pm | IP Logged 
Hanzi: y u no stick?
3 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1302 of 1511
19 December 2014 at 11:11am | IP Logged 
Η ατμοσφαιρική ρύπανση

Another short text, this time about atmospheric pollution. I'm still practicing
sentence construction and such this way, and getting my articles corrected on iTalki
is helping a lot - this one contained fairly few mistakes (some of them were even
simply semantical or stylistical errors, not grammatical ones).

The real problem is that I have to sit down with a dictionary to find a lot of words
(and hope they work out). If I was to repeat this trick in Russian, for example, I
wouldn't need to use a dictionary all the time because I can generally find a suitable
phrasing that more or less conveys the idea - I have to make sure that it works on a
more detailed level and to make sure I'm not screwing up my cases/prepositions.

I'll write a post on foreign language writing practice later - it's going to be mostly
about the stuff you have to do from A2/B1 onwards, where writing becomes a salient
point. The only language this will not work for is Chinese because of its writing
system (and that's mostly because if you don't know enough hanzi you can't verify that
what you said is actually what's written down).
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2867 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1303 of 1511
21 December 2014 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
On foreign language writing practice - why do you have to do this and what purpose
does it serve?


All right, this post is going to be about active skills use - in the written form.
Most people find this somewhat easier because speaking can be stressful and you're put
on the spot much more - writing reduces the pressure. However writing is usually the
last skill to come, whereas speaking can become useful earlier (not necessarily Day 1,
although I find it a helpful method to start speaking early because you're going to
have to get used to natives and not to monotone bookish intonations), but it can be
one of the most important ones, and it's one that's easy to practice on the internet.

So, when should I start writing?

Well, you can write from day 1, but it's not usually a method I use and I'll tell you
why. Writing tends to be something that has less context because you're putting things
down on paper in a fixed way. When speaking in a social context, these clues that the
context gives you allow you to understand a lot more. In writing you don't have this
context and emotions come through in a much less powerful manner. However people do do
a lot of writing on their phones and so on, so it does become useful before you get to
"the sophisticated stuff". Furthermore you have time on your side, so you can get away
with a little bit more as an A2 writer than as an A2 speaker - you have time to fix
that conjugation! But A2 is really the lower boundary that I would use and then I'm
talking about texchat.

This here is going to be about composing texts more, and I think you should start at
A2/B1 with that kind of thing. The reason is that writing is veeeeery slow if you have
no grammar, and you'll want to have a bit of it under your belt so that you understand
how you can build a paragraph even though you're going to have to look for building
blocks - words and phrases. You can't really do any sort of coherent writing without
having the basic ideas of sentence construction in your TL down pat. That means that
you should understand how you formulate a declarative sentence and a negative one, how
you formulate a question, and how you add a clause to a sentence.

NB: You don't have to know all the ways, just the most common ones at the start.
Languages have very different ways of organising this, so it matters whether it's
English or Russian in this respect - make sure you understand that another language
can choose a very different way of expressing your favourite English formulation! In
Russian often simply changing the full stop to a question mark is enough!


Ok, Mr Smarty Pants. I've done my basic homework and I want to write a text. But I
have no idea what about! Do I really have to write an essay on snake reproduction?


No. Start with simpler material. I can't write that coherently about the reproductive
habits of snakes, because, guess what, I wouldn't understand the details in English or
Dutch either and those are my native(-like) languages! Write about your day, an
experience you had, your holiday. Formulate it as if you were doing something you
would be doing anyway, but change the language you would normally do it in (your
native) to your TL. Write about your hobbies, about things that you could potentially
formulate thoughts about. It does not have to be higher philosophy, it just has to
have one singular defining characteristic: you understand enough that it can become a
coherent piece of text.

Now if you're C2 and also a herpetologist working in Argentina, then maybe it's time
to open up that Spanish dictionary and work through the reproductive system of
Argentinian snakes. But there's a whole range of things before you're going to get
there.

And, one more thing: not everything is interesting! Just because certain topics like
environment are common in exam situations, doesn't mean you have to practice them!
(Unless you really want to sit the exam). Make sure the texts are relevant to your
interests. I like reading about air pollution because it's a subject that I'm
interested in, so that's why I chose to write about air pollution in Greek. But that's
me, and if you're interested in ballet, now's the time to do it!

But I don't know any grammar? It'll look like a mess!

Ok. First of all, unless you really have to sit that exam, you've got time. This is
the training room. Making a mistake will not cost you your life. It may do so when
you're going to produce that business contract in Japanese, but don't get ahead of
yourself - when you're that far you can learn how to deal with the intricacies of
Japanese sentence structure in business contracts when you get to it. If you're making
a lot of grammatical mistakes (purely grammatical ones like using incorrect
declensions or conjugational forms, simple word order mistakes and so on), this is the
time to fix all of that. At A1/A2, Tarzaning it up is okay because no one expects you
to produce something coherent at all. Once you have got to the Tarzan level where it's
all making a bit of sense, now's the time to fix all of the leftover stuff you didn't
get right at once. If that's not a lot, then good job, you're a grammar lover and the
Grammar Police is proud to have a new member, but for loads of us, that's simply not
the case. I make a lot of mistakes with Greek articles because 1) I hadn't used it in
a very long time, so I'd forgotten a few forms and b) because it's not always clear
which expressions take which case in Greek, and then you have to guess.

If you're B1 or B2, do this in conjunction with a lot of extensive reading. The reason
you need to read extensively to help with your writing is not because you have to
understand the grammar in detail. The reason is because you're now at a level where
you can expose yourself to more complex material where you can get a feel for the way
things are naturally said. Some things are grammatically correct, but people simply
don't utter them that way and a lot of reading will give you a feel for what people
can say, what they do not say, and understand the context of why they say something a
certain way in some places and why they don't in others.

With regards to grammar: if you did your work correctly, you will know the basic
grammatical ideas like the back of your hand. The writing's done so you can automatize
production and have it flow forth directly. One of the biggest things that is
neglected in modern learning approaches is automization. This doesn't mean "learn the
Greek article declension by heart", because that leaves you with no understanding of
how it's actually used. It means "write a lot of Greek, because you'll soon get
acquainted with how the cases work and intuitively understand which thing goes where
and why". Grammar is to a certain extent logical like mathematics - use that to your
advantage. The only things you need to memorize are basic morphological ideas when
they're not explained by a phonological rule.

But how do I write coherently?

That's the next step. I'll cover that in another post.


9 persons have voted this message useful



Emme
Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 3507 days ago

980 posts - 1593 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, English, German
Studies: Russian, Swedish, French

 
 Message 1304 of 1511
23 December 2014 at 10:01pm | IP Logged 
Hej tarvos!

I see that you’ve signed-up with the Scandinavian team for TAC’15.

I just wanted to let you know, that since there’s no team captain nor obviously team thread yet, I’ve opened up Team Asgard’s thread to veterans and newcomers to start discussing Team Scandinavian TAC’15 logistics until the team has a new home.

See you there!



1 person has voted this message useful



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