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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Senior Member
Joined 4720 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 Message 1313 of 1511
01 January 2015 at 9:33pm | IP Logged 
You can find a solution for the editing bug in this thread.

All the best for your language endeavours in 2015! I hope you will also do some Russian besides your Mandarin challenge.
3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5223 days ago

980 posts - 1594 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, English, German
Studies: Russian, Swedish, French

 Message 1314 of 1511
01 January 2015 at 10:02pm | IP Logged 
Hi tarvos!

We’re teammates again this year. Good luck with the TAC and have a productive and enjoyable 2015!

1 person has voted this message useful

Solfrid Cristin
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Joined 5210 days ago

4143 posts - 8864 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 Message 1315 of 1511
02 January 2015 at 8:22am | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
Recent activity

Most of my time has been spent on Chinese lately (the visa is coming in, so 2015 will
see a very strong focus on Mandarin). I will go to Greece for a month in september, so
Greek will also be a focus next year, but I've been writing some small texts as can be
seen on my blog. I've also been perusing a lot of podcasts/transcripts on Echo Moskvy
to train my Russian listening, mostly on politics and so on.

I've also finished reading a French novel and a Russian one in the past month. But
because it's nearly that time of the year, and I will have to assess it sometime, and
think about my goals for 2015, this post will give you a rundown of my language skills
(in no order at all):


They're always there.


I was supposed to focus on it this year, but it ended up not playing any significant
role in my life at all. Other languages did. I can still read the alphabet and simple
sentences, but I will have to revive it to speak it properly one day. I hope that I
will get a chance to visit South Korea after I have been to China (it may happen in
July) and maybe then I will be able to get back some of my (already shabby) knowledge.
The theory is there though, I have spoken sufficient Korean to understand certain
concepts. It is mostly vocabulary that I have lost.

Current level: high A1
Goal for next year: bring Korean up to a solid A2 for tourist use in Korea.


Has stayed dead, but if I attempt to read Wikipedia in it then it isn't too bad.
Active skills are practically nonexistent though. No plans for revival, but I may
indulge in reading Wikipedia here and there.

Current level: ????


This language is one I've taken big steps in this year, mostly because I've been using
it actively in Romania. My clarity and grammar leave something to be desired, and I'm
getting a bit rusty in actual production when it comes to Romanian, but my
understanding is super-high. Give me a few days of full-on Romanian, and I will be
really good really fast. Now I'm just pretty decent. But I've learned a lot about the
culture as well and it's a language I am quite comfortable in. One I would say I
master quite well.

Current level: high B2
Goal: maintain at a high B2 level


I practiced it more in the first half of this year, after that I have not kept up so
much. That's being felt, but it's all right. I have such good thorough knowledge of
this language that it doesn't really matter at all. I'm fine with my French as it is.
However I would like to be more all-round and capable in my production levels, and I
will have to do maintenance somewhere in 2015 on it. The question is: when?

Current level: ~C1
Goal: turn it into a solid C1 on all accounts.


I've taken gigantic steps forward in Russian this year. I can now read novels
enjoyably. It's the language I use the most outside my native languages and the
culture I probably have the most contact with. All the time spent working on
pronunciation has paid off as well, because I've managed to reduce my accent somewhat.
I am really proud of my achievements in Russian this year.

Current level: B2-C1
Goal: Become an all-around C1 speaker.


Whatever. I can read it and use it, I'm just not very accurate and there is some
interference with Dutch at play. But it's also not a language I've much trouble with,
and it's never really posed any issues because it's not one of my most used languages.

Current level: B2
Goal: maintain B2


The new kid on the block and the most important kid on the block right now, Mandarin
is the big question mark for 2015 because it's the one I will need. A six month
sojourn in China awaits me and my current A2-ish level is not going to cut the mustard
- however, the first month is going to be spent on an intensive Chinese course in
Beijing and I still have almost two months to prepare. My current project is Hanzi and
more complex grammatical structures - I've got the basics down. My goal after the
trip? To see Mandarin in that speaks column on the right. And yes, that's not a pipe
dream. I have half a year and a pretty thorough idea of what I'm doing already. The
real question is whether my reading will keep up.

Current level: A2 (less in writing)
Goal: B2 (less in writing)


A 3 month intensive project or so has given me good confidence in my Greek. I've got
the basics down here as well and because it's not as big a priority in 2015, but
because travelling will be done in Crete, I will need to maintain my Greek at a decent
level. I've been returning to it for this reason because I really need a decent level
when I arrive in Crete.

Current level: A2
Goal: B1


I've lost pretty much all of it actively, but I can figure out some written Breton.
That's ok. Breton is a care that I will worry about later. I had an idea to do a
summer course, but it will not be in 2015. It'll be at some other point when I can
give it my undivided attention. This is one of the casualties.

Current level: A1
Goal: whatever


Another casualty for 2015, I fear. I really use this language too little. If I have
to, I can, but I can't read enough Hebrew for it to be really fun to use. And I just
can't see where I'm going to be able to fit it in, but if I can, then I will of
course. And of course that will end up in me studying Hebrew for 6 months at some

Current level: A2-B1
Goal: don't drop below A2


Another easy one to maintain and use, I'm confident in my Swedish.

Current level: B2-C1
goal: maintenance


Sorry, another year will have to do.


There's a possibility I will go to Spain (or Italy) after Greece if that is where I
find a job as an English teacher. If this is the case, then Spanish is the one I'll
tackle (if not, it's Italian or whatever other alternative I find). However Spanish is
the language I am best at if the program options I have in Greece are to be followed.
But it could easily be another focus for the end of 2015 and that's something I will
figure out later. Spanish is the prime candidate though.

Current level: A2
Goal: depends


Another nice A2 and here there are no concrete plans except for maintenance.

Current level: A2
Goal: A2


I don't even know how to classify my level of Norwegian. I can read everything in
Bokmal and most of Nynorsk, but understanding spoken Norwegian is another ballgame
(there it drops down a fair amount). I produce something svorsk which is a bit closer
to Norwegian than you expect (because I know enough to Norwegianise it). As long as
people speak clearly and don't mumble I'm okay, basically.

Current level: A2 oral, comparable to Swedish in writing
Goal: improve oral skills and learn to deal with Nynorsk dialects


I tried. I failed. But there will be another try at some point.


I can read everything in Afrikaans and most of Danish, although I understand little
Danish and a fair chunk of Afrikaans.

I hope I haven't missed any languages, but I don't think I have.

Is there a word beyond WOW!?

Great work. You must be so proud of yourself!
1 person has voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Joined 4583 days ago

5310 posts - 9399 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 Message 1316 of 1511
02 January 2015 at 8:58am | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:

Is there a word beyond WOW!?

Great work. You must be so proud of yourself!

All that Janteloven stuff has got into my brain over the years. I have some pride, but I
don't think it particularly worth mentioning, haha...

Also, there is nothing beyond WOW. Except maybe black holes. Thanks for the
encouragement, Cristina. And thanks to the rest of you who lurk on my log.

Edited by tarvos on 02 January 2015 at 10:13am

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4511 days ago

217 posts - 335 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Italian
Studies: German, Norwegian

 Message 1317 of 1511
02 January 2015 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
And thanks to the rest of you who lurk on my log.

Indeed, I don't check on HTLAL without checking on your log first :D! Godt nytt år !
1 person has voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Joined 4583 days ago

5310 posts - 9399 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 Message 1318 of 1511
02 January 2015 at 10:30pm | IP Logged 
Le problème de la couronne solaire

This is a nice little thing I wrote (about a topic I'm slightly versed in). It's about
a couple things concomitantly, and a bit long and rambly, but there exists such a
thing as the unresolved mystery of the corona of the sun. This corona is,
inexplicably, millions of degrees hotter than the actual surface of the sun (that's
also a fluid concept, but at least you can sort of see it. Considering we're talking
about a giant ball of gas any explanation is going to be a bit nebulous).

The nice thing is that we don't really know how the corona gets to be so hot when it's
outside the boundaries of the sun. Yes, it's a very thin gas and it's ionized to all
hell, but there should be some kind of outward transport mechanism that nobody has

And that's the cool bit about science - it solves these things. I read the
explanations on Wikipedia and the NASA website and even that was fairly technical, so
I tried to simplify it to the best of my understanding in French.

1 person has voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Joined 4583 days ago

5310 posts - 9399 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 Message 1319 of 1511
03 January 2015 at 5:14pm | IP Logged 
The Engineering Approach to Language Learning: Example 1

Today I'd like to draw your attention to how I concretely apply the Engineering
Approach to language learning. I'm going to draw on the language that is currently
presenting me with a bunch of troubles: Mandarin. I'm going to show you an example of
decisions I take when learning Chinese in order to improve my speaking.

Currently, I've noticed that I'm running into trouble with learning more vocabulary.
I'm starting to get the hang of a fair amount of grammatical constructions, and I know
where to put adverbial clauses and such, but I don't yet feel free or uninhibited
while speaking Chinese. My tutor uses a quite strict textbook approach (this has
taught me good formal rules, which came in handy - I already had the basics to say
something in Chinese and she is quite funny and I've done some digressions where I
made up stories), but in general I need another approach because I need to amass more
vocabulary. (I'm staying for some classes because I like the way she teaches Hanzi).

So as you can tell, I want to widen my range of conversational topics.

My solution: I've moved to taking shorter classes, audio only, with another teacher
that I've already completed an hour of classes with. I spoke Chinese for an hour
without too many problems then (she refused to use English because she realised that
with me it would make no sense). She has also taught others in a similar vein
(including Benny) so I'm positive she can give me the extra motivation to expand my
vocabulary. I need to actively come up with a plan of action for stories and things to
write (I tend to write blog articles in foreign languages in order to improve my
writing skills, and discuss them during class). I should do more writing in Chinese (I
probably have the oral vocabulary) but I don't know enough Hanzi. (Hanzi is a separate
issue I'm tackling now).

This addresses the following problems:

- freedom of expression in a larger vein (how do I explain the plot of a film I've
been watching?)
- How do I connect the things I've learned (grammatical theory) and put them into
practice? I'm beyond the stage where I can just go "xiexie" and "zaijian" and "ni
hao", I need more, given the circumstances.
- How do I learn to make good social conversations in Chinese?

Now, how does this all tie in? I have to prepare mini-topics beforehand (I will
mention this to my teacher) so that I can effectively use my class time. This covers
freedom of expression. I have a free classroom vibe - this means I'm talking to
genuine Chinese people. Three - I do not know this woman too well, so it's a chance to
develop a friendly working relationship. Four, she speaks in another accent than my
current teacher (who is from Henan province). All these are things that cover my
biggest issue - inconfidence dealing with more complex topics.

Remember: I've got a pressing deadline at the end of January which will throw me into
an adventure I don't even know how I'm going to cope with - the first time on my own
abroad without family support in a country for a long time. In a foreign country
RADICALLY different from my own. I don't have the luxury to sit and read - I need
Chinese, stat.

3 persons have voted this message useful

Joined 3773 days ago

44 posts - 52 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: Spanish, Danish, Turkish, Japanese, Croatian, Hindi, Hungarian, Albanian

 Message 1320 of 1511
05 January 2015 at 11:49am | IP Logged 
Looking forward to follow your log. I have been reading some of it last year and it was a
most inspiring read.

Best of luck this year!

1 person has voted this message useful

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