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Iversen

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4888 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 89 of 107
14 June 2009 at 11:22pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the working link to the rule of seven, I have amended the list now.

The list was compiled as a reaction to a discussion in another thread, but I also wanted a place to refer to when asked about my opinions on this or that. I don't see it as a sticky item, but to make it easier to find I'm going to make a link to it in record no. 1 of my multiconfused log, where I also keep the links to the monthly summaries of the log itself. This log has the benefit of being updated fairly often so that it mostly stays close to the top of the list of logs.

Edited by Iversen on 09 May 2010 at 10:47pm

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Sennin
Senior Member
Bulgaria
Joined 4219 days ago

1457 posts - 1759 votes 
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 Message 90 of 107
16 June 2009 at 8:43pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Slavic languages:

So far only Russian. As I have written earlier I have spent more time learning Germanic languages and Latin in 2008 than Russian. It did however start out well, culminating in my visit to Minsk, Moscow and Vladimir/Suzdalj where I could perform some menial tasks in Russian (asking for things in shops, reading printed explanations and things like that). But after that I felt somewhat disappointed with my performance and with my skills, and I invested my time in other projects where my progress was more evident. But right now I'm so to say restudying the language, using my old print-outs from GLOSS. And this time I can almost read them from sight. The same seems to be the case for my (few) Russian books, including a small travelguide to Denmark which I bought for my last roubles in Sheremetjevo Dva last spring - though here I haven't got the translation as a control. I still have to laboriously construct my Russian sentences instead of just thinking them and then correcting the errors afterwards, but I'll try to do some prolonged listening sessions to kickstart the Russian section of my brain, - that should solve the problem.

After Russian I'm going to learn at least three, maybe four Slavic languages. I have already bought a dictionary and a grammar for Bulgarian, and I like the language, but it may be a problem to find something suitable to read and (even more) to listen to. I have also bought a big fat two-way Polish-German dictionary and a little thin grammar during my recent buying spree in Flensburg, and Polish literature is fairly easy to find here in Denmark. Long time ago I bought some small Serbo-Croatian (!) textbooks, but I would prefer to find something newer, - including decent dictionaries and grammars for both Croatian AND Serbian. And finally I ought to learn Czech (and Slovakian), but I'm lucky if I can get started in 2010 or 2011. I distinctly remember from my last visit to the Czech Republic that it was difficult to recognize for instance place names when I heard them, so the pronunciation of those two languages is going to be a major problem. I have not had the same problems with place names in other Slavic languages. But who am I to quibble about pronunciation problems? I'm Danish!


Iversen,

I've been reading your profile thread and reached this. What sort of resources do you need? Here are a few suggestions:

Vesti.bg (used to be "Netinfo"), a very popular news website:
http://www.vesti.bg/

Idg.bg, technological news:
http://www.idg.bg/

The national radio "Horizont" is available on-line:
http://www.bnr.bg/

Other radio stations:
http://www.predavatel.com/

SA Dictionary:
http://www.thediction.com/
Probably the best English<->Bulgarian dictionary software (and it's free).
It is a good aid for learning English but I'm not sure how well it works
the other way around.

I am not sure what kind of reading material you prefer. Елин Пелин is a good 'classical' author and he writes in a less complex style than others. He also wrote children's books, the most famous being "Ян-Бибиян". It's reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, slightly more darkish.

Edited by Sennin on 16 June 2009 at 9:11pm

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4888 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 91 of 107
16 June 2009 at 11:02pm | IP Logged 
Thank you for those links. As you already know I haven't started to learn Bulgarian, but just dabbled in this language during my visit last year. But it is fairly easy to see roughly what each homepage can deliver, - and Idg.bg was the one that came closest to my interests, which mainly lie in science (both natural history and humanistic sciences). In fact I have spent some time reading through idg's front page news about IT, which is particularly easy because of the large number of loan words. But even in areas with fewer English loanwords I'm happily surprised about how easy it is to understand Bulgarian.

Since I wrote the quote above I have bought a series of decent dictionaries and grammars for most of the Slavic languages, but I haven't decided on a strategy for learning these languages.

Edited by Iversen on 16 June 2009 at 11:07pm

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Sennin
Senior Member
Bulgaria
Joined 4219 days ago

1457 posts - 1759 votes 
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 Message 92 of 107
17 June 2009 at 12:05am | IP Logged 
You may also like http://democrit.com/, it is a popular science portal.

Both your learning log and this thread are very interesting. Some of the techniques that your describe are similar to things I am discovering for myself, which is a hopeful sign that I am on the right track.

I particularly like your idea about 'parsing' the audio and not focusing too much on the meaning. This is strikingly similar to the night listening exercises I do. In my version of it the audio plays quietly during the whole night but I suspect it is most efficient in the period before I fall asleep, idly absorbing the sound and analysing each word.

Edited by Sennin on 17 June 2009 at 12:14am

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William Camden
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4457 days ago

1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 93 of 107
29 June 2009 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
Fascinating insights into language learning on this thread. I am particularly intrigued by the photos of vocabulary and grammar tables.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4888 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 94 of 107
03 July 2009 at 9:22pm | IP Logged 
I have written a lot about memorization of single words and word combinations through word lists. I have written very little about stylistics because I find that it only can be learned through reading, listening, thinking, writing and speaking. There are books with advice about style, but they can only tell you how to deal with genuine language, apart from a few tips and tricks that have more to do with psychology than with language. But in between there is the dark uncharted land of the idiomatic expressions.

I have read some of the pages in a French Dictionary of Idiomatic Expressions (in the series Livre de Poche), and it struck me that it was very amusing, but I didn't learn much. So I started to speculated about what the problem was. And I found at least one thing that irritated me, namely that both examples and explanations were in the same language. The problem is that the two expressions compete, - I let the original expression slip away because the explanation takes its place.

OK, one logical reaction to this would be to point out an equivalent expression in another language. This is a very relevant technique, but from the other side: I may use a certain expression frequently in Danish or English ... so what would a Frenchman say in the same situation (probably with totally different words)? I should long ago have started a collection of such expressions, preferably on my computer so that I could make full text searches, but nobody is perfect. The material is in principle not too difficult to find in ordinary good dictionaries, which are full of idiomatic (or at least fixed) expressions. But I would probably need to do it on a PDA or something like that, because my time at the PC generally is spent on other projects, and I would prefer collectiong those expression while reading.

But today I got an idea which might be worth exploring, namely using hyperliteral translations. The point is that if I just could remembere those pesky expressions I would probably also remember their unexpected meaning (it is the unexpectedness that makes an expression idiomatic, otherwise it would just be a fixed expression). By having a hyperliteral translation I so to say point out its weirdness, and that seems to function as an effective memory crutch and the worse the translation is, the more effective it is probably going to be.

For example "compter sans son hôte" is explained as "se tromper". But I'm much more likely to remember the expression with the help of the English translation "count without one's host", precisely because it is nonsense. I even doubt that I need to note down 'se tromper', because the problem is remembering the expression, - whenever I just see it from now on I immediately will remember that it means 'se tromper'. Actually the crutch language doesn't have to be your native tongue or even a wellknown language. For instance "heure d'horloge" in French means 'exactly one hour', but the hyperliteral expression in Icelandic is in fact the normal expression for a hour, "klukkustund" - so now these two expressions can support each other. But mostly you are more likely to find a good, funny hyperliteral translation in your native language than in any other language.

There are cases where the classical word list method is relevant, namely where the expression contains at least one unusual word. For example "sous la houlette" means 'sous la conduite de' ('under the control of'). The 'houlette' is the shepherd's crook (or a little garden spade), - if I can learn that word then it will be difficult NOT to remember its use in the expression "sous la houlette". The problem is rather those many expressions that don't have such a 'gimmick word', and that's where I think that a funny hyperliteral translation might help. Or a drawing for the visual thinkers. But definitely NOT an explanation in the original language.


Edited by Iversen on 03 July 2009 at 9:31pm

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4888 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 95 of 107
15 October 2009 at 5:29pm | IP Logged 
I was answering a question in another thread when it struck me that my answer didn't belong there. So now I put it here, - so far only in English. The question was: could I mention some books that had influenced me?

OK, if you can't stand autobiographies then please skip the rest of this post. Don't say that I didn't warn you! Read for takeoff...

The first time I discovered science can however be dated rather precisely to 2. class in school, - I must have been around 8 years old. I had the flu or something like that, and my mother brought me some books to keep me occupied. One of these was "Børnenes nye leksikon" ('Children's new Lexicon'). There was among other things a section about extinct animals. When I had recovered enough to find some supplementary literature I discovered that the authors had thrown a lot of animals together in one big heap without any regard for the chronology. Then I knew that I could compete. Around the same time I also discovered that my violin teacher didn't know the difference between Händel and Haydn, and after that I have not really been able to trust any authority - not even those that might deserve it.

I lost patience with the library for children in my home town when I was around 10 years old, but the library for adults wouldn't make cards for people under 13, - so I had to borrow my mothers card for several years. During this period I was very occupied with zoological nomenclature, and I decided to make a list of all vertebrates except fish (there are simply too many fish species). So first I borrowed all the books in the library, then I started to order more books, and I think the final test of the endurance of the librarians was when I got the idea of ordering all the catalogues of British Museum's offshot: the Museum of Natural History,- in something like a dozen thick books. I couldn't take them home so I sat in the library and collected animal species from one tome after the other. Many didn't have Danish names so I translated the English names ... and I even had to learn a lot of Latin words because many species didn't even have an English name, but they all had a scientific name, mostly in Latin (but sometimes in Greek, and then I had to guess -somehow it didn't occur to me to learn Greek).

Later I proceeded through all the natural sciences until I had more or less covered the ground as far as the library could provide materials. Among the things I devored during my school years were not least books about mathematics, and I was quite good at it in the Gymnasium (high school, lycée) - but I had finished the stock at the library one year before I could enter the university, and even though I initially studied Mathematics I couldn't refuel my interest. So I changed to literature because it was the most opposite subject I could find to anything I had studied before (hehe) - bad idea, the institute of 'Modern and Comparative Literature' was so full of communists that I just took a minor degree and then hurried away as fast as possible. After that I decided to study French, expecting to find a somewhat more congenial atmosphere, and it suited me much better - more science and less politics!

The one book about grammar that influenced me most during these years is probably impossible to find now (even in Denmark, - it had dispappeared from the Danish "Statsbibliotek" the second time I wanted to read it). It was a treatise "Eléments d'un syntaxe structurale" by a man named Tesnière (there is something about it here). I was also influenced by the methods of analysis of one of my teachers, Poul Skårup, but not by any particular book. Apart from that it is difficult to point any outstanding influences.

Then I left the university and dropped languages in general almost completely when I discovered how bad the employment situation really was. While I was unemployed I bought a Commodore 64 and started to reprogram it, and I took most of an economical degree (HD), but was placed into a job offer before I had had time to write my final dissertation,. ... and then in 1986 I quite accidentally got the job in computering which I basically still have. Of course I read tons of books during this long time, and some of the time I painted, composed music and travelled. But it lasted until 2006 before I got back to my language studies. I had planned a travel to Hungary, Romania and Moldova and did some Google searches as a preparation. Then I somehow found this forum and decided to revive my Romanian and ...


Edited by Iversen on 19 April 2010 at 5:08pm

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1qaz2wsx
Diglot
Groupie
Greece
Joined 3558 days ago

98 posts - 124 votes 
Speaks: Greek*, EnglishC1
Studies: Russian, Albanian

 
 Message 96 of 107
10 March 2010 at 2:36pm | IP Logged 
Iversen,I hear you.I am too disgusted of reading literature.It just does not interest me and I haven't got the time to spend hours daily reading stuff that I find very boring just because I have to.So I decided to read short articles about topics that really interest me.I watch foreign movies in the target language without subtitles,too.And I speak to native speakers when and IF I get the chance.
This way I keep in touch with the target language without spending hours tormenting my self.


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