Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Iversen

 Language Learning Forum : Members profiles Post Reply
107 messages over 14 pages: 13 4 5 6 7 ... 2 ... 13 14 Next >>
Tike
Triglot
Newbie
Germany
Joined 4678 days ago

18 posts - 24 votes
Speaks: German*, Russian, English
Studies: French, Czech

 
 Message 9 of 107
14 February 2007 at 12:26pm | IP Logged 
Hi Iversen,

just wanted to say some encouraging words about Russian and its moving accents. This is indeed a tricky thing, but one can master it, if listening as often as possible to native speakers. I'd say most of the words with really tricky moving accents are very common words that you hear very often (such as "head", "voice", "window" etc.) and will then pronounce correctly in the end. With other words, especially verbs, there are some rules concerning the accents that will come to you quite automatically after some time of studying. I've been doing Russian for 3,5 years now and make only very few accent mistakes.

Additionally, you've got the immense advantage that, unlike many English speakers, Russians will definitely correct you (friendly) if you make a mistake. They just cannot bear having their beautiful language hurt ;-)

Hope this make you less worried :-),

regards, Tike
1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4887 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 10 of 107
14 February 2007 at 2:51pm | IP Logged 
I'm fairly sure that I will try to tackle the Russian language later this year, - I just have to stabilize my Greek, learn Dutch and maybe give Icelandic one more try first, then I'm ready for Russian and its moving accents. Thanks for the encouragement.

1 person has voted this message useful



Roger
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4776 days ago

159 posts - 161 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Indonesian

 
 Message 11 of 107
16 February 2007 at 6:49am | IP Logged 
Hello Iversen, if you would'nt mind could you tell me how you learn languages and more specifically how you learned Italian. I don't seem to do well with courses like assimil, im more better off with grammar books and stuff. Is it possible to learn a language this way?

Cheers

Edited by Roger on 16 February 2007 at 6:51am

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4887 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 12 of 107
18 February 2007 at 2:08pm | IP Logged 
I don't really like courses either. But as you see I like writing long meandering posts in this forum...

I started out learning Italian when I was somewhere around 12 years old. My principal method was working through a standard text book with short texts, translations both ways and word lists, - you know the type. I had no audio at all in the beginning (it was in the mid 60es, and I didn't even possess a tape recorder). When I had finished this book I continued using active reading, i.e. reading intently and looking up all new words and constructions, - again a fairly standard method, but a good method if you can find texts at a suitable level.

With the aid of a marvelous teacher in French in 'Gymnasiet' (high school, lyceum), who without warning put me questions in Italian in the middle of the French lessons in school, plus occasional programs in Italian on TV, I found somehow out how to pronounce the language, so that I could in fact do short conversations in Italian already during my first Interrail tour in 1972. At that stage I had never had any courses and almost no tutoring in Italian, so yes, it is possible to learn a language by self study.

When I studied French at the university, I had the opportunity of following regular courses in Italian, where I both learned the grammar in depth and got my pronunciation fixed (not a minut too early!). But then in 1981 I left the university and abruptly stopped doing anything active to keep my languages alive. When I visited Italy around New Year 2003 my Italian was so rusty that I avoided longer conversations, and I didn't think in Italian either.

So in the summer 2006 when I decided to become interested in languages again I had to find ways to reawaken several languages which I had known fairly well, but more or less forgotten. My miracle cure for this was to make lists of half-known words: I took a dictionary and wrote out long lists of words whose meaning I already knew (supplemented with a number of new words that I would like to know). I also calcuted the number of words I knew. My first calculations for Italian were around 8000-10000 words in a monolingual Garzanti, and now just half a year later the numbers have risen to more than 20.000, - which proves that the effect of the word lists is not just that you relearn some words. The real boost comes from reactivating the lost layers of memory on a more general level. Besides I read Italian texts and to get the syntax in the blood I'm making a collection af syntactical constructions in Italian. All in all I spend maybe 2-4 hours every week on Italian, but I already feel as comfortable again with the language as I felt 25 years ago.

However the task of reviving a forgotten language is very different from the task of learning a new one. I have two cases. The first is represented by Portuguese, which I learnt during one month in the Autumn of 2006, and Dutch which I'm working on right now. In both cases it felt absurd to count known words, because I could guess the meaning of most words, even though I have never formally studied any of them (not even by self study), apart from a short course in Portuguese for students of French. In both cases I started out by reading grammars and making my own notes about the things I had read. Then I used the method for word lists with NEW words that I describe half a kilometer further down this immensely long post. The words I write down in Portuguese and Dutch are not really new, because I mostly know or can guess their meanings, but doing the lists helps me to delimit what is correct Portuguese (or Dutch) and what is not, so that I can avoid the false friends and traps.

Modern Greek (and Icelandic, which I have had to put on stand-by for the moment) has been a totally different experience. In principle I have a decent passive vocabulary of somewhere between 8.000-10.000 words (measured with a midsize Greek-German Langenscheidt dictionary), but when I try to think in Greek I get stuck way too often because I cannot remember some idiotic word or phrase. I am making good progress in reading, but not in listening. For the moment I spend most of my time with Greek on two things. The first is active reading, - partly in a form where I copy whole passages of text on a sheet of paper, with a margen for new words and grammatical comments. The other thing I still do is to add even more words, - as long as I continually run into new unknown words my vocabulary can't be sufficient, that's logic.

To do this I have invented a more efficient way of using wordlists. Earlier when I had to learn a list of words I did the usual mistake of looking at each word pair (target - translation) in isolation, repeating it in my head X times until I thought I knew it - but that's wrong. Now I look at 5-7 word pairs at a time. I first write the target words in a column and run mentally through them to learn the translations. Only when I'm sure I know the translations for all the words I add a second column for the translations. Then I study this short list until I'm sure that I could write the original words from the translations, - and then I test this by covering the first column. Only when I actually do remember all the original words I proceed to writing the third column with the original words once again. With this method I can get through (and learn) around 100 new words in an hour. Then a couple of days later I read (and sometimes even write) the list through once more to fixate the words in my long-term memory.

I spend 2-3 hours every day on word lists of the two kinds I have described, so I get through (and learn) at least 200-300 words daily (in 2-3 languages). But the real number is far higher, partly because of derivations, but more importantly because of positive effect the memory training has on my intake of new words from reading and listening. I may sound like a preacher man when speaking about word lists, but I know that I wasted years on inefficient rote learning methods earlier in my life because nobody taught me to use word lists efficiently.

As for grammar, I like making my own tables and resum├ęs. There are often ways to present morphology in a manner that is easier to understand than the one you find in your text book or grammar book. For instance I prefer having the cases written in the same order across all my languages, instead of having to learn a new order every time. So I write out my own morphological tabels instead of relying on those in my books. I also have my own idiosyncratic ideas about syntax that I want to apply on all my languages instead on following blindly all the vagaries of syntactical nomenclature in different grammatical traditions from different countries.

And last but not least: reading and listening takes several hours of my time every day (including the time that I have for instance Rai uno running on my TV while doing word lists in another language). However there is not much to say about my methods for reading and listening, because I probably do it like most other persons, - apart from the fact that I grew tired of literature when I studied it during the 70es, and the bulk of foreign language stuff at my local library is fiction. To solve this problem I have had to rely heavily on non fiction texts from the internet.

I hope that was enough... (smiley)


Edited by Iversen on 19 February 2007 at 8:20am

8 persons have voted this message useful



Linguamor
Decaglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4802 days ago

469 posts - 599 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch

 
 Message 13 of 107
18 February 2007 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
Memorizing 200-300 words a day is impressive, but how do you go from memorizing word lists - that word X in the target language equals word Y in your native language - to learning how to use the words when you speak or write the target language? Learning a new language means learning how target language words are used by native speakers of that language. Learning a new language means learning to express one's thoughts using words the way a native speaker would use them to express those thoughts, and that is often quite different from the way the learner's native language dictionary/wordlist "equivalents" would be used.





Edited by Linguamor on 18 February 2007 at 4:34pm

2 persons have voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4887 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 14 of 107
18 February 2007 at 5:12pm | IP Logged 
The main problem for me when reading or listening to a foreign language has always been the words that I don't yet know. When I have learnt a word on a list I have probably not learnt all its different uses, but even a partial knowledge of the meaning will help me understand it in its actual uses in a text, - I'm better off knowing a certain word in advance, but recognizing that it is used in another sense than the one I know, than I would be stumbling over a totally unknown word.

For me the translations are not sacrosant, - they should only be seen as crutches that transport a word and some sense of its meaning into your brain, but they don't tell you everything, and as soon as you have developed a gut feeling for the meaning of a word you won't need to remember it by its translation(s) any more. Hopefully the process of meeting a word again and again in actual utterances will eventually give the context and the nuances of the word, but as a language learner I cannot wait for the words to pop up by accident, - I have to collect them from for instance dictionaries, otherwise I will learn too few words.

And one thing more: when I speak of translations I do not necessarily speak of translations into my native Danish. I have as many English-XX and German-XX dictionaries as Danish-XX dictionaries, and I do use them for making word lists.


Edited by Iversen on 18 February 2007 at 5:20pm

5 persons have voted this message useful



Vlad
Trilingual Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Czechoslovakia
foreverastudent.com
Joined 4768 days ago

443 posts - 576 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: Czech*, Slovak*, Hungarian*, Mandarin, EnglishC2, GermanC2, ItalianC1, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Serbian, French
Studies: Persian, Taiwanese, Romanian, Portuguese

 
 Message 15 of 107
19 February 2007 at 1:14am | IP Logged 
Iversen,

those are very very inspiring posts.

I agree with what you say and like your ideas very much. I am also a big fan of word lists, you are on the way to sculpture the work with them into perfection :-)

the sentence 'I can't expect for the word to pop up' describes their purpose best. It's not really about learning 5000+ words that you haven't heared in a real life conversation by heart and then trying to combine them somehow in a sentence, it's more about having them 'prepared' for the situation when they 'pop up' and gradually start moving them into the subconscious mind.

word lists are irreplaceble when it comes to learning how to read really good in a target language in a short time.

It's just a shame, that you're not studying mandarin. I'm sure you'd come up with many interesting 'shortcuts' for the language, that I could use aswell.


1 person has voted this message useful



Roger
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4776 days ago

159 posts - 161 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Indonesian

 
 Message 16 of 107
19 February 2007 at 7:28am | IP Logged 
Thank you Iversen, very imformitive indeed. As said above your posts are a joy to read.

I will use the word lists as you described and see how it goes.

Thanks


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 107 messages over 14 pages: << Prev 13 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3438 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2019 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.