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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 2870 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 1481 of 1511
14 June 2015 at 5:32pm | IP Logged 
The problems with Learning Czech: an experiment after an hour of actual class time!


So in my current dabbling spree I have been dealing with Czech, and it's quite a lot
of fun to do. Some of it is familiar (especially the grammar, although the
pronunciations drastically change from Russian so even if I know the proper case I
always get the ending wrong because I pronounce the ending wrong, and sometimes they
use u for the locative instead of e). But I'll tell you what my biggest problems are
in Czech!

- False friends with Russian. If only the Russian words meant what they were supposed
to mean... but they just never seem to do. And sometimes the Czechs will use a word
for something that makes total sense, but is just something I wouldn't say as a
Russian (like výslovnost for pronunciation - maybe it exists, but I've never heard
it). Half my word guesses end up with my teacher going "to je ruský" (that's Russian).
- Speaking of Russian, apparently my accent is basically horribly Russian (and not
really Dutch at all). I don't know how I managed that, but I am guessing most Czechs
will take me for a Russian. I hope they believe I'm Dutch. There must be a trace of
that accent in there, but I seem to simply sound Russian instead. Oh well.
- Speed and fluency. I'm still speaking in baby sentences, but the grammar is already
improving. The advantage of Czech is that it is Slavic, and thus the grammar is so
close to what I know that I can do what I do in Russian grammar-wise and it'll be more
or less right (with a few exceptions, but I just learn them by ear).

Basically I think that at this rate, I could learn to speak fairly decent Czech within
a few months. That would purely be based on my Russian, though.
2 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2870 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 1482 of 1511
16 June 2015 at 5:35pm | IP Logged 
Ok, something that not many of you may know is that I used to write a lot of poetry in
my youth. Of course a lot of it was angst-filled bullshit, but some of it I like even
looking back on the darker days. This is because even then I always tried to inject
some sense of actual poetry into it, instead of just writing my angst away. Аnyway,
today I was inspired. One of the hallmarks of my style, however, is that there is
always an element of absurdism and irony in my poetry. I love poetry that has a small
story inside - not enough for it to be a short story or a novel, because that is too
complex to write for me. That would require fleshing out characters, something I hate
doing.

In English, a lot of my poetry is full of that absurdism and fairytale-esque stuff
where the protagonists are hoisted by their own petard. The following poem is my
attempt at doing so in Russian. Be aware that it's a little bit... weird and
grotesque. It fits my style (which is full of weird grotesque absurdist images).

There may be a few strange errors or things that sound stylistically off. It's part of
writing in a foreign language.

Танец Муравьев

Кто-то продает свежие огурцы и думает,
Что он от этих овощей станет богаче.
Отец наш небесное, так или иначе
ему дает золото, да и в нем плавает!

Пускают боги там пыль в глаза его
Муравьи поднимаются по спине наверх
Свежие огурцы, купите их, слава богу
Только с насекомыми, вам приятного!

Чувак, скажите, почему у вас такой грех?
От запаха ваших продуктов я побледнел
Да и вижу пятна, нужен мне ли скальпель?
Да от вашей грязи немедленно тошнит всех!

Ни одной копейки вам за дерьмо не отдаю!
Может быть, покрестились ваши огурцы
Но воспаление во мне дойдет до пальца
Которым я вас насвегда прокляну!

Огурцы растут и растут до того размера
Когда глотают продавца одним глотком
Да и муравьи бегут по трупу кругом
Перекусывают зубами голову жертвы!

Дети, не забывайте этот рассказ проклятый
Когда неприлично стараетесь к нам относиться
Мы способны ваши дурные жизни разрушить
Запомните только одно — будьте честным.


Edited by tarvos on 16 June 2015 at 6:09pm

1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2870 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 1483 of 1511
18 June 2015 at 9:06am | IP Logged 
Currently working on more Greek (which has definitely reached the intermediate stage
now). I understand everything in simple Greek and can carry on conversations, although
I forget the genders of words and will screw up cases if I have to speak fast (or muck
up word order). Verbs are slightly less problematic in this regard, except for the
reflexive ones. (medio-passive). I can pronounce Greek fairly well and rapidly.

The problem is now that my classes can be very demanding in terms of material, and
some of the discussions I've been having (doping use in sports and the difference
between natural and chemical substances (which I argued don't exist) and it means that
I am still consistently struggling for vocabulary. The other problem is that I don't
seem to be able to paraphrase everything neatly yet, which is usually where you cross
into B2 (at that level the paraphrasing is at a much more advanced level when you
don't know how to express something exactly). My teacher also told me to refer back to
class material if I write an article about it on iTalki (which I always forget to do
since I am horrible at reviewing things).

My Chinese isn't really improving much anymore, but there's also not much of a need
anymore to do so. I can function relatively independently and am leaving my domicile
here in a little over two weeks (a week earlier than anticipated). This means that I
have more time to travel in China, but I'll still spend a few days more in Beijing, I
think. And probably go and see some stuff close to Beijing like Tianjin and Pingyao.

In Russian, I've started trying to write small poems called пирожки/порошки which are
very short and force you to use specific rhyming schemes, iambic meter and so on.
They're wonderful to improve your stress usage as well (because the meter is so
heavily regulated).

And furthermore, I've been interviewed for a podcast by Jimmy Mello. I don't know when
that will be up, but you should look out for it when it does come online somewhere in
the coming weeks. The most noteworthy thing is that the interview was done entirely in
Italian. Now that's an achievement because Italian is one of my top 10 languages but
by far not my best one. So there's that.

Then I'm continuing to dabble in Czech and of course when I leave Chengde I'll have to
focus on my old nemesis Korean (and when I fly home, Esperanto).

Next to all this I'm still crawling along at a snail's pace in Oblomov while
feverishly working on getting my Russian prepared for the C2 exam, whenever I have the
time to sit that! I also bookmarked Anna Karenina for further reading in Russian, but
I won't follow up Oblomov with that.

Edited by tarvos on 18 June 2015 at 10:06am

2 persons have voted this message useful



basica
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 1699 days ago

157 posts - 269 votes 
Studies: Serbian

 
 Message 1484 of 1511
18 June 2015 at 10:27am | IP Logged 
Shame I don't understand Italian would have been interesting to hear it - have you ever done interviews with
the other polyglot podcasts? (i.e. Chris Broholm and there are a couple others but his name is the only one
coming to mind at the moment..)
3 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2870 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 1485 of 1511
18 June 2015 at 10:42am | IP Logged 
Nope. If they want me on there I'll gladly do it though. I have been interviewed on
Breton radio before, if that counts...

Edited by tarvos on 18 June 2015 at 10:42am

1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2870 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 1486 of 1511
20 June 2015 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
The problem with Greek (and mostly, its nouns)

Now people may read this log and think "oh that tarvos dude has it all worked out" but
those people should probably read this log twice, then. I do have problems when I
study languages, I do suffer from inconfidence, I do make mistakes constantly, and I
have my own issues. (They may not be like everyone else's but I do have them, and they
do hamper my progress). Currently I have a heavy focus on Greek, which is a language I
need to improve because it's one of my next destinations where I will stay for a
longer time.

Now, I've gotten to a point in Greek where my actual vocabulary, syntax and so on is
acceptable. My pronunciation probably isn't fantastic, but it also more than gets the
job done. However at this intermediate level (which we're at now, even though it
doesn't feel like that when you hear a sentence fly by and are like "what was that?"
half the time), you start to hit other bottlenecks. I'm at a point where the
Tarzanisms that abound in my Greek are not allowed anymore. I have to speak "proper
Greek" (whatever the hell that is). So then we come to our old nemesis: grammar. And
Greek... is one of those languages with a ton of morphology to learn.

Now, Greek doesn't actually have that many cases. And knowing when to use them isn't
the problem either - that is something I also do fairly well. The problem is that
there are simply a shittonne of actual noun classes and that there are many irregular
forms, and the biggest one is that the accents can switch within the paradigm. Now, if
you read this, this isn't an issue because Greek (thankfully) marks those accents, but
if you're producing Greek... yeah. You get my drift. This is one of those cases where
you could use input to produce the cases properly, but it would take a long time and
be wildly inefficient. I could read and do more listening, but it wouldn't help me
when I am making systematic errors with noun classes that can simply be removed by
some old-fashioned grammar study.

And here we come to a point where I want to refer to Iversen's log bcause he's gone
and explained this all a lot better than I can, but what it comes down to is that I
have hit a bottleneck. In order to get better fast, I need to study grammar right now.
I could avoid doing this (stop doing classes, abandon all forms of grammar study and
so on), but that's just being really obstinate when the truth is staring at you down
the barrel of the gun. Some people would advise you here to be kind to yourself, but
I'm not that way. I prefer ruthless efficiency to sugarcoating. So I'm continuing down
this path, even when I suffer now.

Learn the bloody declension tables for a bit, why don't you, make a few reference
shits, and solve that noun shit once and for all. You'll thank yourself later, tarvos.

Now the other problem here is that I have a teacher who is VERY INSISTENT that I learn
all this properly. Not because she's the old-fashioned table-trashing teacher type
(she's not, and I've had other Greek teachers who were more that way) but because
she's critical of the way I work and doesn't take my word for things (even though
Greek is the f**king, what, 15th language I've learned) and simply forces me to do
this exercise because it will make me get better.

Read that last bit again. She doesn't really respect the fact I'm an experienced
language learner and forces me way out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. This is
the hallmark of a good teacher, and why I'm sticking with her. Teachers that don't
push me when I'm at the intermediate level serve ZERO purpose in my language learning.
I'll schedule some other classes to keep my confidence levels up (making mistakes is a
nerve-wracking process and it feels like your brain is melting), but life begins where
your comfort zone ends (C) Khatzumoto. Most people are probably not ready to take that
beating, but I've found it's the quickest way forward.

All the teachers I've had that were worth their weight in gold were those that pushed
me beyond what I could already do and forced me to up my game in whatever it is that I
was doing at the time. This is why you don't just use a tutor - very few tutors are
capable of that. My French tutor also has that golden ability to push me and it's
really been worth the effort (she was expeeeensive).

But the problem remains that it makes you feel like an obstinate child who won't eat
his bloody vegetables. And remember - if a teacher puts effort into doing this for
you, it means they see talent in you. This may not be modest of me, but over time I
have realised that I do have the potential to learn quickly. And it is clearly true
that I sometimes need to be forced to not rest on my laurels (something that's very
tempting when you get good fast). Why run when you can walk there at your own leisure?
Because learning how to run is an extra tool in the toolbox.

This is what tutoring is. Training sessions for real life. When I go to Greece in
August and September, whatever level I have reached, I will have to use it with real
people. Here is where you make the mistakes. So that when I go to Greece, I can avoid
making a whole lot of them.



I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the
rest of your life as a champion." – Muhammad Ali

7 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2870 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 1487 of 1511
21 June 2015 at 5:08am | IP Logged 
Considering this is becoming a very long log and many pages have longer ramblings on
my language learning process, I am considering bundling my language advice in some
more central place where people can follow these longer ramblings in a more organized
fashion. However there are many blogs doing such a thing already (and they do a much
better job of explaining things than I ever could).

However if someone were to read my log I am aware they would have, to, erm, trundle
through a lot of posts to get to the information they want to find. So, this is a
question to the readership of this log; would any of you actually read such a
blog (or thread) where I could bundle the longer essays on my language learning so
they are more readily available to the public. I have no idea whether there is a
demand for that sort of thing.

NB: This would be separate from my foreign languages blog (the aims are not the same).
8 persons have voted this message useful



yuhakko
Tetraglot
Senior Member
FranceRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2795 days ago

414 posts - 582 votes 
Speaks: French*, EnglishB2, EnglishC2, Spanish, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Norwegian, Mandarin

 
 Message 1488 of 1511
21 June 2015 at 2:03pm | IP Logged 
I'd follow a blog about your "ramblings" :) Your way of writing and analyzing languages is rather different to many others and very detailled on different topics. So
you'd get an audience rather easily I think.


3 persons have voted this message useful



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