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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

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 Message 489 of 1511
22 January 2013 at 1:24pm | IP Logged 
An Honest Look Back at 3 Months Of Breton Studies!

In this post, I am going to try and analyse some things that went right and wrong for
my studies of Breton thus far. I feel that 3 months is a good cut-off point for an
initial analysis and self-reflection concerning my language skills. It is important to
learn from your mistakes, so I believe setting out what I think I can do better (or
what I can do differently, or how I can modify my goals) is a good way to progress.
Keep in mind that for Breton I am working with a very different set of constraints than
I am when Russian for example is concerned!

Goals, Goals, Goals

This is probably a mistake everyone makes, but I suffer from it too! My goals for
Breton at the moment are comparatively vague. This means that I am not putting as much
effort as I should into really speaking or writing Breton. Why? Because I don't know
what I am going to do with it yet. My goal, in principle, is to show that a foreigner
can learn an endangered language from home, and that we can therefore continue to
support the learning of endangered languages. If I, someone with no relation to Breton
whatsoever can, then the locals should definitely be able to! But that is proving quite
difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, Breton is a Celtic language, which means
that there is a language construction barrier to cross. Celtic languages do not operate
on my usual way of constructing phrases and that takes some time to get used to!

Because we're dealing with another system, I have covered most of the grammatical
topics that are different. We are not just talking pronunciation or things like that
(which isn't a big deal in Breton anyway; it only contains sounds I am already familiar
with). But I have not mastered them, neither in writing nor in speech. The reason is
that I have *no regular interaction with the language apart from using Assimil*. And
regular interaction needs to be a priority to learn a language.

So what I suggest for people learning an endangered language is the following; go where
you can find speakers, or find them over the Internet anyway you can. What the Assimil
experiment is teaching me is not that Assimil is a bad textbook (it is not), nor that
it doesn't cover grammar badly (it covers it just fine), but that with a coursebook
alone you only get as far as "I understand how you build a sentence". It's like reading
the manual of a machine without actually going out and operating it. Regular PRACTICE

This is why I do occasionally write in Breton here. Why? To check that I can use
certain structures; to exercise my thinking in Breton and my way of formulating things;

My level after 3 months of Breton is not a patch on my Swedish level, nor even on my
Russian level at the time. I know more grammar and vocabulary than I did in Russian,
but I still spoke Russian more often, so I was better at Russian than at Breton. And
yes, Swedish has some linguistic advantages that I jumped on, but I also used it more

What am I going to do with Breton

Finish the Assimil course. If you start something, you have to finish it, and even
though it won't help me speak having a solid background in reading and phrasing
sentences is never a bad idea! It's just not all you need to do. So I will finish Le
Breton sans peine. I will not pass judgement on what level I am in speaking or writing
because it's not applicable. Speaking is a skill you train by speaking, and besides I
learn to speak in any language quite fast. Because speaking Breton often is problematic
unless you happen to find yourself in rural Brittany, my goal is to retain passive
knowledge of Breton until such time as I have the travel opportunity to go to Bretagne
and actively seek out an opportunity to practice it and become a fluent speaker. I can
use the background I have. The fact that I "don't have the words" doesn't bother me. I
know how to activate a rusty language (I did it with French!)

So, Tarvos... why the hell do you learn languages if you never are going to speak

But I will, my dear readers of this log, I will. I have plans, and though the best-laid
plans are the ones that never happen (or turn out exactly the way you want them to),
the truth is that there are plans for developing my level in languages nonetheless.
Whereas Breton, next to me liking the place it is spoken in, is also a linguistic
curiosity of mine and an experiment to see how well I deal with foreign structures, the
actual reason I am learning it is also because I *plan to travel to Brittany again in
the future and develop my skills in the language*.

In other words, there has to be a practical use for a language. And for that reason, I
am announcing here, publicly, what I am going to term my...

Summer Russian Mission!

But that has nothing to do with Breton, you say...

No, no, it does not, not in principle. But what goes for Breton goes for Russian and
all the other languages I am dreaming of learning. They have a purpose; and that is
that I want to travel in an area with that particular language is spoken; discover a
new culture; broaden my horizons; and for that, learning the local language is a tool
you just cannot deny. And the first language I am going to put to the test is Russian,
because I have discussed this topic so often with my Russian friends, I believe there
is an expectation that I come to visit Siberia this summer. I have to travel and go
there; I cannot escape it. I cannot disappoint them and say no. I have to go to Russia
this summer!!!

And here is the thing. The Russians I speak to, I only speak to in Russian! All my
communication with them is in Russian, all my discussions about love, food, travel,
life, the word, today I am going to write my thesis... in Russian. And in Russia you
cannot count on the fact that people speak English, so you have to know Russian! So, I
have taken three weeks and a bit off work to travel through Russia in the summer. And I
am planning to do it all *without speaking English*. My whole trip should be a
monolingual trip in Russian. 3,5 weeks. Through Siberia. Mostly on my own. On trains in
a foreign country. Meeting people in Tomsk and Irkutsk and Moscow and maybe Vladivostok
that I have never met before! 3,5 weeks, of me, travelling, in Russian.

And remember! Their English I cannot count on! I have to speak Russian and communicate
in it! So, this summer, my Russian should suffice for this trip! People have told me
that I have nothing to worry about; my Russian is good enough; but I am not entirely
satisfied yet. So this, this is the first mission you will see Tarvos go on. He's sat
at home, he's been writing his thesis... but he's got a diploma by that time and he's
got to find a job. But first, he will travel Siberia and become a big boy on his own.


Furthermore, I have more plans for after the summer. Why? Because it is time for Tarvos
to leave the nest and spend some time away from his native Netherlands. He's done it
before, temporarily, but he has to grow up and do it all alone now, and find a job
abroad. And he has two countries that he is targeting; but one in particular. However,
since I have no details on this yet, I am not revealing what my plans are just yet.
Once I have a better idea of my possibilities, I will reveal the move; and you will see
part of why I have made my choices like I have. And yes, that mission will involve
perfecting another language that is on either my hit-list, my studies, or my speaks
list. I won't tell you which it is. You can guess. If you want a cookie.

Edited by tarvos on 22 January 2013 at 1:26pm

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 Message 490 of 1511
22 January 2013 at 7:08pm | IP Logged 
Spending the summer in Siberia sounds like a marvelous adventure, language-wise and otherwise. It's a terrific idea
and now you obviously have to make it real ... I hope I will be able to at least make a short visit to S:t Petersburg or
Moscow some time this year - it would be an incentive to actually start speaking Russian, which I hardly ever
do. Brittany sounds tempting as well, I was on my way there a few years ago but it didn't happen. Thought it would
give me the opportunity to practice some French but I never thought of Breton!

Good luck with your job plans!


P.S. I understood quite a lot of your post in Dutch. I should try it out in a 6wc i guess.

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 Message 491 of 1511
22 January 2013 at 7:09pm | IP Logged 
No need for a cookie for I'm not guessing right now -- I'll watch you here with renewed interest though :)

Edited by mrwarper on 22 January 2013 at 7:10pm

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 Message 492 of 1511
23 January 2013 at 9:04am | IP Logged 
Maybe you already know this blog, it has a lot of videos in Breton with a transcription of the text below.
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 Message 493 of 1511
23 January 2013 at 12:30pm | IP Logged 
Great blog, but they're using the wrong orthography, hahaha...

I listened to some Radio Breizh this morning, actually. I can get separate words of
Breton, but understand no sentences. I listened to the French afterwards, that was easy.

Edited by tarvos on 23 January 2013 at 12:31pm

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Super Polyglot
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 Message 494 of 1511
24 January 2013 at 12:56am | IP Logged 
Today was an interesting day in terms of languages; I spent a bit of time on my uni
work, but had most of the day to spare to spend on my languages.

FR: D'abord j'ai écrit un petit document concernant mes devoirs en français, en
regardant quelconque spot publicitaire. Rien d'intéressant, et de plus ma prof nous a
envoyé les devoirs encore trop tard, mais j'ai fait l'effort. Il me fatigue pas
d'écrire une petite réponse contenant environ 200 mots. C'est comme écrire un message
ici dans mon journal, cela a l'air facile et ça me fait pas stresser du tout.

De plus, comme j'ai déjà remarqué, j'ai écouté un peu de radio francophone et
brittophone. Je comprends pas le breton mais le français, ça marche sans doute. Je
m'estime heureux que ma compréhension du français s'est améliorée si fort.

Furthermore I have spent some time on Breton (as per usual), I have finally found time
to do a lesson of Hebrew (which was again, long as all hell and tiring, but good for my
vocabulary in Hebrew) and it was good to return to that language anyways. I really
should do more with my Hebrew, I am going to use it more often than Breton; but a
promise is a promise, and I will soon be through the passive wave anyway. Tomorrow will
be lesson 84, a review lesson, and after that, it's two more weeks before I am on to
the passive wave. Something which I am looking forward to because it will free up a lot
of time to work on Hebrew... which is a language I plan to use this year. In fact, once
I am done with Le Breton, I will probably drop any intensive activity of Breton and
just try to read it every once in a while, and keep up my passive level.

The reason is also because I am thundering through the last steps of my university
studies. I have one more exam to sit, and a thesis to write (and a colloquium to do but
that is a joke and I can do it any time I want, which is not now). This means that soon
my priority will go to finding a job, and that job is going to be the thing that will
make me break my head soon.

The last thing I have done is spend some time with Danish, watching some partial
episodes of the series Forbrydelsen. I do not study Danish and I do not intend to pick
it up soon, but I am glad to notice I can get *some* Danish through my Swedish,
although sometimes the pronunciation is very obfuscatory and the different vocabulary
doesn't help. It's like listening to an obscure dialect that you have to "tune into".
In writing Danish and Norwegian are much easier for me to read, although I have more
trouble with Danish than with Norwegian in general.

Edited by tarvos on 24 January 2013 at 4:22pm

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Super Polyglot
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 Message 495 of 1511
27 January 2013 at 12:02am | IP Logged 
Sorry that I have not written so much here lately, but sometimes time is better spent
studying (or doing other things) than updating this log. However, I have been getting
in some study, particularly Russian and Hebrew have featured lately. I have continued
with Breton but I think once I finish Assimil that it will have to simmer. I am
particularly focusing on Hebrew and Russian (and of course, French) because I believe
those are the languages I will need to have a good level in sooner or later. But first,
a detailed account of some plans I have for travel. In Russian, of course. Terrible

РУ: Ну, что касается русского языка, я его много изучал. Занимался особенно
русским языком потому, что у меня есть возможность путешествовать в России летом. Я
собираюсь поехать в Сивирь, и посетить города, встретить с знакомыми. А вы не знаете,
какой у меня маршрут? Конечно, нет, я еще не написал, куда поеду. Но в принципе, планы
есть такие:

-Сначало, мне надо въехать в России вообще. Летать, конечно, можно, но мне не нравится
эта идея. Понимаете, я собираюсь путешествовать через Россию по транссибирской
магистрале. Т.е. на поезде. Было бы странно, путешествовать на поезде только в России,
но перед тем, в Москву летать. Поэтому я придумываю также ехать из Гааги до Мосвкы на
поезде. У нас в стране недавно был такой поезд, который выехал из Амстердама, но, он
перестался в декабре в последном году. Сейчас надо изменять поезда или в Германии, или
в Варшаве. Предпочитаю изменять поезда в Германии, я умею говорить по-немецки. Это
первый этап.

Конечно, москва надо посетить. Это понятно. Но мне такие большие города не нравится,
так что только и буду посмотреть на достопримечательности и потом уеду. Еще решения у
меня нет, где потом уеду. Могу ехать в Томск или в Новосибирск. Мне больше нравится
идея, ехать в Томск - там людей знаю. У меня там друзья. Потом продолжу в Новосибирск,
изменяю поезда, и поеду в Иркутск. В Иркутск я посещу озеро Байкал. Потом собираюсь
закончить путешествие в Владивостоке. Владивосток - конец железной дороги. Вернусь
домой на самолете оттуда.

Ну, вам понятно, что мне надо подготовиться к поездке. И скорее всего, надо владеть
русский язык. У меня друзья плохо горовят по-английски, и вообще уровень английского
языка в России не очень высокий. Поэтому мне русский язык важно. Это будет какое

Кроме того, у меня был урок русского языка, и урок был ужасным. Все смешали в голове,
мне казался, что ничего не понимал. Это просто так был, что я ничего не мог сказать,
ничего полезного не ушел из рта. Ну вот, я решил заказать больше уроков в Италки, чтобы
улучшить. У меня уровень не хватил. Это должно хватить. Просто должно.

Furthermore, I studied Breton as usual, and I finished lesson 10 of Routledge
(concerning Hebrew). Hebrew is a different animal from what I've seen, to all the other
languages I've studied, although many principles are familiar in themselves. It is just
pronunciation of verb forms that feel complicated. Some structures are aligning
themselves well in my brain, as I lodge more knowledge into my language inventory. The
reason Hebrew is important to me is that I have a goal; which is to spend some time
living in Israel, temporarily. I do not know whether I could live there permanently
(and I hope to return home someday) but one of my plans after moving out is to travel
abroad, and at this point in time, Israel is my first destination. I hope that that
works out, although I cannot say I have done systematic job searches. If Israel fails,
Sweden is the second option to start with (and my Hebrew isn't a patch on my Swedish).
But that is a thing I want to do and it is one of the reasons I am choosing to study

One of my mottos in life is that if you move somewhere you must study the language to
understand who you are living with. This was a subconscious thing while I was in Canada
- I was a toddler, thus I learned English regardless - but in Belgium, after two years
of mucking about with French, upon my move there I decided to learn French properly.
Which I have done since.

I plan to travel more of the world in the future. There are many places I would like to
visit, and some I would like to live in, some I can imagine myself making a home in.
Although the Netherlands will always be my country.

Edited by tarvos on 27 January 2013 at 12:29pm

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 Message 496 of 1511
27 January 2013 at 11:03am | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
Ну, вам понятно, что мне надо приготовить к поездке.

Нет. А что вам нужно приготовить?

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