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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 193 of 336
29 December 2013 at 10:50pm | IP Logged 
I've been continuing with the Memrise courses - it's quite easy to rack up a bunch of Memrise points on the mobile version, which doesn't make you type multi-word responses. I brought it up on the desktop version and found that I'll need to review more closely to be able to do that.

And thanks to emk's SRS Collector I'm finally reviewing my highlights from stuff I read on Kindle almost a year ago. Since my clippings file is pretty big, I'm importing it in sections. I already decided that I'm going to skip around because I can only deal with so much Lord of the Rings in French at once. Now I'm on Camus and I'll probably choose from another section after this because, damn, he gets complicated.

I've been following the Super Challenge discussion thread a bit since I may throw my hat in for the next round and there was a discussion about what should be the appropriate reading level to make progress in reading. Apparently, reading easy books or books just at your level is best for making rapid progress rather than something more challenging. So I'll use that advice to make sure I fill my reading queue with works that aren't quite as intellectual (or at least not force myself through all the standards of French literature). I genuinely enjoy the classics over genre fiction or modern "pop" fiction but it's definitely a bigger challenge to get through.
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emk
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 Message 194 of 336
29 December 2013 at 11:31pm | IP Logged 
sctroyenne wrote:
Apparently, reading easy books or books just at your level is best for making rapid progress rather than something more challenging. So I'll use that advice to make sure I fill my reading queue with works that aren't quite as intellectual (or at least not force myself through all the standards of French literature). I genuinely enjoy the classics over genre fiction or modern "pop" fiction but it's definitely a bigger challenge to get through.

Personally, I like a mix, including all sorts of stuff:

- BDs.
- Children's chapter books like Nassim et Nassima
- Classics like De la démocratie en Amérique and Candide.
- 1,200 page epic fantasy doorstops like Le puits des mémoires.
- Relatively difficult science fiction like Le Déchronologue. Frankly, this was way harder than Candide.

But the most efficient use of my time was probably:

- French translations of books that I re-read every year or two in English.

If you're a habitual re-reader with a shelf of well-worn books, consider scheduling your next round of re-reads in translation. It's fun, it provides killer context, it allows you to skim when necessary without getting lost, and you can have the warm satisfaction of catching the translators' mistakes (which is even more fun than catching errors in Le Monde). And you already know that you love the book.

Personally, as much as I like a good kid's book from time to time, I think I'd gag if they were a steady diet. This coming year, I plan to make another run at La Horde du Contrevent, which is practically Joycean in its ability to baffle certain native speakers.
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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
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 Message 195 of 336
29 December 2013 at 11:47pm | IP Logged 
I do have a collection of ebooks that are translations of stuff I've been wanting to read in English. And I've wanted to re-read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice in French (though those aren't quite easy, quick reads). As far as French literature goes, Victor Hugo is fairly easy, he just likes to write pavés. And, of course, I can read some nonfiction (which I should actually be focusing on).
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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 196 of 336
30 December 2013 at 4:27am | IP Logged 
I've been trying to learn my Irish whistle for real now. I'm doing so the traditional way - by ear - which is a real challenge. It's so tempting to look at the music as I can be up and playing a song in about a quarter of the time but trad musicians insist on learning by ear because it makes a real difference in how you play. I can see the difference being similar to reading something aloud versus talking naturally (or reciting after someone, rather). I've been using the Celtic Tutor app for iPhone which lets you repeat any portion of any length of a song at any speed ad nauseum until you get it.

I'm hoping that developing my ear will develop my ear for languages as well. I'm sure it must be a great exercise for both short term and long term memory. And, who knows, maybe it will help with being able to imitate accents.

I've been working on the song Kesh Jig (finally got the full thing down at about half speed with no ornamentation). I think my experience makes a good case for what Language Hunters says about "stretching" and "folding". They made the point that working out the brain is just like working out muscles - you need a day of work and a day of rest to really absorb it. I worked on this song a bunch Thursday night, struggling with each bar, then went to my mother's house over the weekend and didn't bring my whistle with me. I just came back and took up my whistle again and the first half which I had been working on was right there. Other than a few minor mistakes I was playing with much more ease than I had been before.

I think I'll experiment with that where I can with language learning - don't work on exactly the same thing every day and see if the rest periods work.
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liammcg
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Ireland
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Speaks: English*, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, French
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 Message 197 of 336
30 December 2013 at 1:10pm | IP Logged 
Ah, another trad head for our team! I play the accordion and fiddle (small bit on the
whistle) and I think Jeff plays accordion and banjo?

About the learning by ear, if you have a musical ear then go for it, but it's not
essential in the early stages to learn completely by ear. Notes can be a helpful crutch
for getting the bones of the tune, while ornaments and variations can be picked up be
ear. That's what I did when first starting formal lessons, but switched solely to ear
after maybe a year. Ádh mór leis!
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 198 of 336
30 December 2013 at 4:05pm | IP Logged 
Main focus: fiddle. I can manage some button accordion, and am able to play mandolin/banjo/guitar/bouzouki (and a couple of other instruments).
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Kerrie
Senior Member
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justpaste.it/Kerrie2
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 Message 199 of 336
31 December 2013 at 1:14am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
But the most efficient use of my time was probably:

- French translations of books that I re-read every year or two in English.

If you're a habitual re-reader with a shelf of well-worn books, consider scheduling your next round of re-reads in translation. It's fun, it provides killer context, it allows you to skim when necessary without getting lost, and you can have the warm satisfaction of catching the translators' mistakes (which is even more fun than catching errors in Le Monde). And you already know that you love the book.


I totally agree. Almost all of the books I read for Spanish for the Super Challenge were books that I've read multiple times before. I know I like the story, I know it will keep me entertained (even though I've read it a half dozen times before), and I know I will learn a lot from it. Very effective. :)
1 person has voted this message useful



sctroyenne
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739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 200 of 336
02 January 2014 at 2:50am | IP Logged 
So in response to the topic about iPhone apps useful for language learning, I mentioned all the productivity apps I downloaded but haven't really used. One in particular, ATracker, lets you track the time you spend on different tasks, and being the first day of the new year and the official start of the new TAC, it seemed a good time to try to use it. We'll see if it's good for analyzing how I spend my language learning time the way I want to. In addition to each language, separated by skill/task, I've also included "meta-learning" which includes time on HTLAL and other "learning to learn" activities (need to make sure they don't take up too large a portion of my language learning time).



I discovered that writing takes me way longer to do than I would like to. I would love to commit to writing a composition every day in French in order to improve my level but it would be far too time-consuming. Granted, if I get in the habit I'm sure I'll get better, but I also have perfectionist tendencies when I write that are hard to reign in for the sake of finishing something. For blue book exams in college I would typically fill the whole time and the whole book with my writing. It's time-consuming and mentally draining as I just get overwhelmed by it, which is a major reason why I had so many procrastination problems when I was a student, and a major reason why I've held off on committing to taking the DALF so long since it relies so much on academic writing (and presentation) skills. I could very well commit to a smaller number of compositions a week but I would like to look for ways to make the process less painful so I'm not torturing myself all year.


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