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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

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

 
 Message 657 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 8:15pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
Deutsch

... und außerdem habe ich auch ein deutsches Buch gekauft, nämlich "Spieltrieb" von Juli Zeh. Die nächsten Wochen möchte ich gerne ein wenig mein Deutsch üben und ich hoffe, dass etwas Gutes zum Lesen mir dabei hilft.

Good luck with Sholokhov! I tried to read the first chapter of Тихий Дон a few weeks ago and it was really difficult. I think Juli Zeh will be easier, but I have never read her.

Other than that, I'm very impressed with your progress. How on earth do you manage to study so many languages at the same time? I'm already juggling with only three languages, but you... That's really incredible!

Keep up the good work!

Edited by Josquin on 26 April 2013 at 8:23pm

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Teango
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2210 posts - 3734 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 658 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
Nice feedback for Romanian already, and it looks like you're making light work of Breton Assimil too. Wishing you all the best with your preparations for a Siberian summer and the Russian grand tour! :)
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Expugnator
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Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 659 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 9:10pm | IP Logged 
I'm always impressed with tarvos' fast progress. I always ask myself how he learns so quickly, and he uses mostly textbooks like I do. He got to basic fluency in Russian pretty quick. I've been on Russian since November after having studied the very basics of it and I don't see myself reading Russian in the next 8 months.

tarvos, why do you say Russian and French are your top priorities? I'd say French is mine, but I don't have a second one, not to the same extent. Sorry if I missed it when you explained it.
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tarvos
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 660 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 9:43pm | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
I'm always impressed with tarvos' fast progress. I always ask
myself how he learns so quickly, and he uses mostly textbooks like I do. He got to
basic fluency in Russian pretty quick. I've been on Russian since November after having
studied the very basics of it and I don't see myself reading Russian in the next 8
months.


A lot of it is not study, but consistent practice. I chat in Russian every single day,
I take iTalki classes. And I started 1,5 years ago, and my level in Russian doesn't
approach that of my French. Maybe it's a bit similar to my German, except in
understanding my German is MUCH better. My phone switches languages all the time, but
it's in Russian right now. I play video games with Russian menus (right now German).

Quote:
tarvos, why do you say Russian and French are your top priorities? I'd say
French is mine, but I don't have a second one, not to the same extent. Sorry if I
missed it when you explained it.


I plan to get higher levels of fluency in these two languages. I have studied French
for so long that that is a language I plan to hit a very high, native-like level in.
Russian is something I've fallen in love with and speak every day, so why not? It's
realistic for a language you use consistently, not for languages you only use every
once in a while (German is a language I speak once a year).

Quote:
Other than that, I'm very impressed with your progress. How on earth do you
manage to study so many languages at the same time? I'm already juggling with only
three languages, but you... That's really incredible!


There are a couple explanations for this. Firstly:

German and French are my school languages. I have been able to read German for as long
as I can remember, I have never found it hard, although my grammar leaves something to
be desired. French took a while (hence that is my hardest language), but I have studied
them already. It's not a matter here of "I must study the cases or adjective
declension", although in German doing a revision round of the grammar would probably be
a very good idea. I can read them almost freely. And I read fast; I have developed
speed-reading, which allows me to finish books (even in foreign languages) in record
time without losing track of the plot. I may forego some contextual details, but I
understand what I am reading. I posted somewhere a while back that I could read 100
pages an hour; this is a standard speed for my level in English. In French, I can
manage something close depending on the text (it's more like 70-80), and in Swedish I
approach a similar speed. I read half of the first book of the Millenium trilogy in one
evening, for example. 4 hours or so, for, what was it, 300 pages? I don't remember, I
read fast, and that was the first time I even picked up a book. I've become good at
ignoring irrelevant contextual detail and focus on the meaning. Eventually, with a lot
of this type of exposure, your skills even out. And I don't even read that much.

For weaker languages, I don't spend double time if I don't entirely understand a
grammar point, I move on, and come back to it later. If it's a certain tough grammar
point, like Breton relative clauses, I just return to it later. It's more important
that I have a general idea of how I put phrases together. I will tidy up details when
that is necessary. Basically, I imply most grammar and do very little explicit study,
except that of complicated verbal paradigms or adjective declensions (which I somehow
forewent for German, but that had to do with my ethics and the study methodology. In
contrast, I could conjugate French verbs in all tenses except the subjunctive and passé
simple).

In short: I don't study German. I just read a book for enjoyment. If I am at a point
where I can do this, then I ignore any and all textbooks and just use it. It works,
because I've tried. Yeah, I will not produce perfect sentences and I won't sound 100%
native, but for my purposes, my German level is sufficient, and I could take part in
social interaction in German. That made me very happy and it's all I need. I'm not a
translator.

English is an exception because it's required to speak it at a high level. And I am
making an exception for French and maybe for Russian. But I don't pretend that my
levels are exorbitantly high, I just do things and if they don't work out we'll see.



Edited by tarvos on 26 April 2013 at 9:57pm

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tastyonions
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Speaks: English*, French, Spanish
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 661 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
Since I resolved to try and speak in French every day my level has really taken off. One of my conversation partners is a Moroccan woman who has never been to an anglophone country and never studied English much formally, either, but practices every day online and as a result speaks it *really* well. Nothing like a solid routine...
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tarvos
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 662 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 9:59pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, in social conversations I can hold my own surprisingly well. My Russian teacher was
surprised by how easily I answered despite not understanding half of her sentences, it's
all due to practice speaking and writing to other Russians. I had the same when I spent
two months in Belgium speaking French. My grammar was still terrible, but damn, I did
speak French.
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Josquin
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Senior Member
Germany
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Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 663 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 10:34pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for your detailed response!

You said that you didn't study German formally, but to my mind reading in a foreign language is studying. My Icelandic studies mainly consist of reading. By the way, I can't read as fast as you in German, let alone any foreign language (and I don't even want to, because I enjoy slow reading), so that's already quite impressive in my opinion.

But what's more important: Besides German, Russian, Swedish, and French you also do Hebrew, Romanian, and Breton and you even dabble in other languages. So my question rather was: a) Where do you take all the time for studying and/or using so many languages besides working and whatever you do else? And b) How do you avoid burn-out (because I'm already exhausted after 2 hours of Japanese, Gaelic, and Russian)?

The thing is that I could never imagine studying so many languages at the same time. I would fry my brain if I tried to do so, even if I 'only' read in them. For example, today I wrote two texts in Russian and Japanese on lang-8 and after that I was done with studying for today. I just couldn't do any more. So, I hope you understand why I was wondering how you manage to maintain so many languages.

Edited by Josquin on 26 April 2013 at 10:37pm

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tarvos
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Joined 2869 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 664 of 1511
26 April 2013 at 10:48pm | IP Logged 
Josquin wrote:
Thanks for your detailed response!

You said that you didn't study German formally, but to my mind reading in a
foreign language is studying. My Icelandic studies mainly consist of reading. By the
way, I can't read as fast as you in German, let alone any foreign language (and I don't
even want to, because I enjoy slow reading), so that's already quite impressive in my
opinion.


Nah, it's something I did as a six year old. It confused the primary school teachers
even then when I did the tests (I was a precocious kid and they made me do tests to
determine my level of arithmetic and reading). I already did it back then, and since I
was, at the time, able to express myself in Dutch and read at the same level as a ten-
year-old, it confused a whole lot of people. (My maths skills were even more confusing,
I won't bore you with the details). I do not enjoy slow reading, I want to know where
the story goes. I don't have the patience to sit down and read a page in full absorbing
every detail, I cannot do that. Or I can, but then I read the book more than once
(that's occurred a few times). It's my modus operandi since I was a baby, and I've
always done it in both Dutch and English until the age of about thirteen/fourteen where
I developed some ability to read and understand my other school languages.

Quote:
But what's more important: Besides German, Russian, Swedish, and French you also
do Hebrew, Romanian, and Breton and you even dabble in other languages. So my question
rather was: a) Where do you take all the time for studying and/or using so many
languages besides working and whatever you do else? And b) How do you avoid burn-out
(because I'm already exhausted after 2 hours of Japanese, Gaelic, and Russian)?


Oh, this is a good question, but I make time. Furthermore, keep in mind that for an
average Assimil passive wave lesson, spending 30 minutes for me is long. I don't take
much more time than that, especially not for a very phonetic language such as Romanian.
Furthermore, I do not read much, but most of my free time (right now) goes into this
and if I have a book I like I can just spend four hours on my bed reading without
looking up. No need to eat, drink or sleep. This is normal, in fact, this is my modus
operandi when I like something (and by god has it frustrated other people). I don't
actually spend much time on the "speaks languages" though, I read a novel every couple
months and I haven't done anything with German for aaaaaaaaaaaaages.

Quote:
The thing is that I could never imagine studying so many languages at the same
time. I would fry my brain if I tried to do so, even if I 'only' read in them. For
example, today I wrote two texts in Russian and Japanese on lang-8 and after that I was
done with studying for today. I just couldn't do any more. So, I hope you understand
why I was wondering how you manage to maintain so many languages.


I don't write texts for the sake of writing texts. I just like reading books and I
don't see it as study, I see it as an activity I like. I see "do lesson 48" as study,
but not "read Spieltrieb" even though it's technically studying German. It's just what
I do. And I can read a lot - I went on holiday to France last summer and I read 6 books
in 6 days. They weren't big books, but still, >1000 pages. That's a ton of exposure
you're getting in a week and if you've followed the Krashen topic, I believe he is
about 80% right - exposure is critical and necessary, and the rest you complement with
some grammatical table-trashing to cover important paradigms and details.

Every activity I do has a goal and that's the fact "I like doing this". If I didn't
like it I would go and do something else. I cannot spend two hours staring at a
textbook, it's killing. In four months or so, maybe more, when I'm done with the
Romanian Assimil, I will never look at a Romanian textbook again. No, I'll just find
some practical use for my Romanian and do activities I would otherwise use English for
in Romanian. Voilà, practice gotten in.

Edited by tarvos on 26 April 2013 at 10:50pm



3 persons have voted this message useful



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