Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Iversen

 Language Learning Forum : Members profiles Post Reply
107 messages over 14 pages: 1 24 5 6 7 ... 3 ... 13 14 Next >>


Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4889 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 17 of 107
25 February 2007 at 2:43pm | IP Logged 
This post was written for a thread about choosing 5 languages and whether it was possible learn more than 3 languages to perfection. But as usual it became too long, so I moved it to this thread.

------------

I don't really see any limitations on the number of languages that a person can learn to read to perfection, provided that there are written texts enough around. Personally I can read just about anything I see in at least 12 out of 15 languages I have mentioned in my profile, and I know that I also can read at least half a dozen other languages, ancient language forms or aberrant dialects (as for instance Sardinian, Old French and Low German, some of which I have tested recently because of threads on this forum). Latin, Icelandic and Greek are borderline cases where I can read most texts, but I still have to look up several words per page. In short, the limit of how many languages you can learn to read must be quite high, and reading ability is a poor measure of when you have attained the advanced stage.

Listening is a bit more difficult, but I have just been listening to TV Sciência and TV Beija and I was able to understand almost 100% for long stretches even though Portuguese is one of my weakest Romance languages (I just spent 1 month learning it in November last year). So with Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish I can understand clearly spoken text in at least 12 languages almost completely. In other words listening ability is also a bad indicator, - it is too easy, if you just do your daily word lists and learn enough words.

The ultimate test therefore must be active fluency. The biggest problem for me is getting possibilities to speak all the different languages on my list, and I'm also not too motivated to write things down when nobody will be reading them. I have a simple criterion for moving a language from intermediate to basic, namely that I must have had the chance to speak to at least one native speaker about some strange subject for an extended period of time. In the case of Romanian my longest conversation was with a lady in a museum in Chisinau last summer, - among other things we discussed the literary treatment of Hamlet and Dracula for at least half an hour (and my Romanian was weaker then than it is now). But this was in an immersion situation, and I'm hesitant to promise that I could do the same if a Romanian knocked on my door this moment. This lack of readiness plus a too high number of 'unforced errors' are the main reasons that I don't move all my basic languages up into the advanced category. But I'm quite sure that I could do it for all my languages if only I was forced to write an essay and I had access to a native speaker for say two hours each week.

Basically what I'm saying is that it must be feasible to learn and maintain all Germanic and Romance languages to perfection under the right circumstances. I'm not there yet, but maybe I'll get there within a couple of years.

With more distant languages it takes more time. I have spent 5 months on Greek and I still only can call myself intermediate. Of course I could do a couple of languages in parallel, but still there are clear limits to the number of unrelated languages I would be able to learn within a reasonable periode. My plan is to learn Russian later this year, and then a number of other Slavic languages will probably be within reach within this decade. But then I will probably have to stop, because I won't be able to find time enough to keep more languages alive, and I will have run out of 'easy' languages. So my personal realistic limit will probably be around 20 languages spread evenly between basic and advanced fluency.



Edited by Iversen on 25 February 2007 at 5:37pm

1 person has voted this message useful



frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5129 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 18 of 107
25 February 2007 at 3:10pm | IP Logged 
Iversen,

You may find the following quote from the Foreword to Kato Lomb's book entertaining in this regard:

"... I am always asked three questions, and always the same ones. And I, naturally, always give the same answers. ...
Question one: can one know sixteen languages?
Answer: no, one can't. At least one can't know them all at the same level. I have only one native language - Hungarian. But 5 languages live inside me all at once: Russian, English, French, German, and Hungarian. Working with these languages, I translate [I believe she means simultaneous interpreting here, in fact] from one to another in any combination and "switch into" translating immediately. Before starting work involving the use of Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, or Polish, in order to refresh my knowledge, I usually spend half a day looking through my notes. With the remaining six languages I work only as translator of literary and specialized works, i.e., with these I only get passive practice."


Edited by frenkeld on 25 February 2007 at 3:13pm

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4889 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 19 of 107
25 February 2007 at 3:27pm | IP Logged 
I'm somewhat puzzled that the venerable Kato Lomb doesn't distinguish between active and passive use of her weaker languages. Personally I would not hesitate to open a book in any of my basic or advanced languages and translate from it without warning. But I would need at least an hour or two to get my weaker languages back to life if I had to write or speak them, - especially if I had to use daily talk, because I'm more used to the more neutral essayistic style from my preferred reading.

1 person has voted this message useful



Kubelek
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
chomikuj.pl/Kuba_wal
Joined 5038 days ago

415 posts - 528 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishC2, French, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 20 of 107
25 February 2007 at 4:20pm | IP Logged 
About one of your earlier posts:

I'm amazed by the efficiency of your method. I have a few questions about the technical details:

Iversen wrote:
I first write the target words in a column and run mentally through them to learn the translations.

At that point do you still remember the translations from when you have looked them up?



Iversen wrote:
Only when I'm sure I know the translations for all the words I add a second column for the translations.

What is the reason for that?


-You manage to learn an awful lot of words in an hour. Do you type them?

-Is the translation just a synonym or two, or do you include a usage note also? Since you try to tell the original word from the translation later, I gather you don't write any example sentences, do you?

- Do you pick words randomly or do you theme your lists?

-Do you write derivatives together with a target word?

- If a word has a couple of unrelated meanings, do you split them into different lists, or rather write them together?

- Do you write verbs with prepositions they take, or do you assimilate those later?

and my last annoying question:
- Do you use this method to learn idioms, fixed phrases and locutions? If not, how do you proceed to learning them?




Edited by Kubelek on 26 February 2007 at 3:48am

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4889 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 21 of 107
25 February 2007 at 5:07pm | IP Logged 
A lot of questions, but I'll try try answer them.

Quote:
At that point do you still remember the translations from when you have looked them up?

Quote:

Only when I'm sure I know the translations for all the words I add a second column for the translations.

What is the reason for that?


When I make my word lists I normally use a dictionary, and I normally do the words in alphabetical order so it is easy to recheck a word if I have forgotten it. Recently I have started to make word list based on the words I have collected from active reading sessions, and there I have my notes to check if necessary. But I sometimes do make thematic lists by plucking them from different places in the dictionary, and there I have to trust my memory. It is essential NOT to write anything down before you can write all 5-7 translations at once, because it is precisely this situation with 5-7 translations hanging in the air that forces you to remember them and not just to keep repeating them one of them at a time until you write that particular translation down. You can repeat a word in your mind for 5 minutes and still see it dissipate in the air the moment you have written it down. But if you can move to another word and then another and then back and still remember word no. 1, then you almost certainly have learnt it.

The same of course applies when you go back from translations to the original words in the third column. Never write anything before you are sure that you can write it all in one go.

Quote:

-You manage to learn an awful lot of words in an hour. Do you type them?


No, I handwrite them. For the moment where I'm writing a lot of Greek this is almost a necessity, but I also handwrite my lists in other languages. I think my memory functions better in tandem with my right hand than with my PC. And the number of words you can process in an hour can to some degree be regulated by choosing words that are more or less easy (by virtue of their length and their relations to already known words).

Quote:

-Is the translation just a synonym or two, or do you include a usage note also? Since you try to tell the original word from the translation later, I gather you don't write any example sentences, do you?

-Do you write derivatives together with a target word?

- If a word has a couple of unrelated meanings, do you split them into different lists, or rather write them together?


The translations in themselves are not very important, - they are just 'hooks' that help me to put the foreign words somewhere in my memory. So I don't refine the lists to much, the details will come later when I meet the words again in my reading and listening sessions. Therefore I normally concentrate on one or max. two meanings or constructions for each word, - and I normally ignore derivations, because I can always construct those later. The immediate task is to get the word to stick in my memory.

Quote:

- Do you pick words randomly or do you theme your lists?


I have spent several hours today making thematic lists in Greek about just about everything (like a language guide from Berlitz or Lonely P). But normally I just open a dictionary randomly and take my words from there.


Quote:

- Do you write verbs with prepositions they take, or do you assimilate those later?

and my last annoying question:
- Do you use this method also to learn idioms, fixed phrases and locutions? If not, how do you proceed to learning them?


I am not consistent (but I ought to be!). Sometimes I do make a note of the preposition used with a particular verb, but not always. With Greek words I normally don't notate the gender because there normally isn't any doubt which gender a Greek word has. On the other hand I do include a marker for 'onzijdig' (neutral) words in my Dutch lists, because that is not always something that can be guessed. I do include a few idioms in my lists, but only those with max. 2-3 words, - otherwise they would spoil the format of my lists.



Edited by Iversen on 25 February 2007 at 5:29pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Kubelek
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
chomikuj.pl/Kuba_wal
Joined 5038 days ago

415 posts - 528 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishC2, French, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 22 of 107
25 February 2007 at 5:42pm | IP Logged 
Sorry about the number of questions. I really appreciate that you took the time to answer them.



1 person has voted this message useful



frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5129 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 23 of 107
25 February 2007 at 6:03pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
I'm somewhat puzzled that the venerable Kato Lomb doesn't distinguish between active and passive use of her weaker languages.


I assumed that when she was talking about reviewing notes for some of the languages prior to working with them, she meant interpreting, not working with written materials.

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4889 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 24 of 107
26 February 2007 at 2:31am | IP Logged 
That would make sense, - interpreting is probably the most difficult task you can imagine doing with a foreign language, especially if you want to interprete into the language in question from another non-native language.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 107 messages over 14 pages: << Prev 1 24 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 1.4063 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.