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BAnna’s TAC 2014 Spaß-Lobo-IndRussian

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3262 days ago

409 posts - 616 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 Message 217 of 236
16 September 2014 at 5:02pm | IP Logged 
Stumbled upon this cool Blog in Spanish about design, historical clothing, costuming, etc.

Vestuario Escénico

when looking up "americana" which in the context I read about means a sack coat used in the 19th century:

"La americana se caracterizaba por su corte suelto, poco ajustado y sin ‘cortar’ en la cintura. Poseía solapas
estrechas, un bolsillo de ojal en el pecho y dos bolsillos en las caderas. Según algunos autores, es un ‘producto’
de los sastres de EEUU (usado posteriormente por las tropas de la Guerra Civil de EEUU), de ahí su denominación.
Otros aseguran que surgió en Inglaterra, utilizado por obreros y soldados, pero donde se propagó fue en
Norteamérica. Cuando pasa a formar parte del armario del hombre burgués, se limita como prenda para deportes
o paseos al campo o a la playa. En 1860 comienza a aceptarse su uso para salidas de mañana en la ciudad."
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3262 days ago

409 posts - 616 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 Message 218 of 236
21 September 2014 at 9:51pm | IP Logged 
Brief updates:
Spanish: been doing some grammar work in Gramática de uso del Españ the usual watching and

German: back taking the C2 class at the Goethe Institut and will likely have a business trip to Switzerland coming
up.. plus the usual watching and reading.

Russian: current efforts are focused on working through the UCLA Beginning Russian website, the Russian World
2 youtube videos and the Russian for Everybody textbook.

Turkish: just started Pimsleur Conversational Turkish, the German version of Teach yourself Turkish. I also plan
to check out the website for the FSI course and "Turkish Tea Time". Very cool language. It's agglutinative
(meaning you add suffixes on to the base word to indicate different things), there's something called vowel
harmony (you match the vowel sounds in word groups), he-she-it are all the same word, there's mostly a S-O-V
pattern and only "to be" is irregular, but they have definite and indefinite verb forms. Of course there are also
multiple cases. My favorite. ;0
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Senior Member
Joined 3173 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 219 of 236
22 September 2014 at 1:05am | IP Logged 
I didn't realize Goethe had a C2 class. Sounds like fun.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3262 days ago

409 posts - 616 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 Message 220 of 236
23 September 2014 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
Cool site to spend some time (procrastinate?) with Spanish tongue twisters (English translation included):


The same parent site has collections of tongue twisters in various languages:
Tongue Twister Collection (multilingual)
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3262 days ago

409 posts - 616 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 Message 221 of 236
30 September 2014 at 1:45am | IP Logged 
I'll be taking a break from the forum for a while due to some other commitments and probably will also NOT post
Superchallenge updates to Twitter during that time either, but will definitely continue to read, watch and study.
Should be back sometime in November to update progress and read my fellow learners' logs then. I probably
won't be responding here to any comments until I return.

SPANISH-September 2014 Content Summary

I pretty much loved (or at least liked) the Spanish content this month:

What I read:
-Crematorio by Rafael Chirbes (see comments on miniseries below)
-La voz del violín (Montalbano mystery) and El beso de la sirena (fable about a man who marries a mermaid),
both by Andrea Camilleri, original versions in Italian.
-Anna Mercury graphic novel
-Rosaura a las diez by Argentinean Marco Denevi (recommended as one of Montalbano's favorite writers in above
mystery) uses the Roshomon effect (contradictory interpretations of the same event by different people.)
-Cuando fui mortal, short stories by Javier Marías (not quite done, still have 50 pages to go).

What I watched:
-Crematorio on youtube (8 part miniseries) loosely based on the book. The series is more like the Sopranos
(highlighting the Russian mafia so there was some spoken Russian with Spanish subtitles and while the book
contains some of those elements, the book has a lot more philosophizing and comments about literature, art and
politics. I liked both of them, but they were quite different.)
-Suleimán, El Gran Sultán (few more episodes) historical telenovela originally in Turkish.
-El Topo film by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Surrealistic 70s Western.
-La Reina del Sur (numerous episodes). I was inspired by and exchange with James29 to re-watch some of this

Took the vocabulary test referenced in patrickwillen's Massive input in Berlin log and scored 30, 28, 29, 28, 27 in
passive Spanish and 17, 14, 12, 11, 9 in active.

SPANISH Superchallenge Freeform translation/paraphrase: (from short story El médico nocturno from the
collection "Cuando fui mortal" by Javier Marías)
Why selected? Has to do with speaking other languages and is what I'm currently reading.

     "Ahora que sé que mi amiga Claudia ha enviudado de muerte natural del marido, no he podido evitar
acordarme de una noche en París hace seis meses: había salido después de la cena de siete personas para
acompañar hasta su casa a una de las invitadas, que no tenía coche pero vivía cerca, quince minutos andando a
la ida y quince a la vuelta. Me había parecido una joven algo alocada y bastante simpática, una Italiana amiga de
mi anfitriona Claudia, también Italiana, en cuyo piso de París me alojaba durante unos días, como en otras
ocasiones. Era mi última noche de aquel viaje. La joven, cuyo nombre ya no recuerdo, había sido invitado para
complacerme y para diversificar un poco la mesa, o mejor dicho, para que las dos lenguas habladas estuvieran
más repartidas.
     Todavía durante el paseo tuve que chapurrear Italiano, como había hecho durante media cena. Durante la
otra media era francés lo que había chapurreado aún peor, y a decir verdad estaba ya harto de no poder
expresarme correctamente con nadie. Tenía ganas de resarcirme, pero esa noche ya no habría posibilidad,
pensaba, pues para cuando regresara a la casa mi amiga Claudia, que habla un español convincente, ya se habría
acostado con su maduro y gigantesco marido y hasta la mañana siguiente no habría ocasión de cruzar unas
palabras bien armadas y pronunciadas."

My version:
     "Now that I know that my friend Claudia has been made a widow due to her husband's death by natural
causes, I haven't been able to avoid recalling an evening spent in Paris six months ago: I had gone out after a
dinner party that had seven guests, to accompany home one of the invitees, who didn't have a car but who lived
nearby, fifteen minutes on foot each way. She had seemed to me a somewhat flaky and very sociable young
woman, an Italian friend of my host Claudia, who was also Italian, and in whose apartment in Paris I was staying
for a few days, as I had done on other occasions. It was the last night of that trip. The young woman, whose
name I no longer remember, had been invited to please me and to vary the table a bit, or perhaps it would be
better to say, in order that the two languages being spoken were more evenly distributed.
     During the walk I had to still fumble along in Italian, just as I had done for half the dinner. The other half
the time it was French that I had to even more badly mangle, and to tell the truth I was fed up with my incapacity
to express myself clearly to another human being. I wanted to make up for it, but there wouldn't be a possibility
that night, I thought, since by the time I were to have returned home my friend Claudia, whose Spanish was
decent, would have already gone to bed with her older and gargantuan husband and I wouldn't have the chance
until the next morning to exchange a few well equipped and pronounced words."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

GERMAN September 2014 Content Summary-

I was getting into a rut with German content of reading/watching sort of serious, borderline depressing stuff for
a while. I don't know if it's that Germans seem to produce a lot of it or if maybe I just seem to be really good at
finding it, so I decided to change things up a bit this past month, not completely successfully.

What I read:
-Fangschuss (mystery by Sunil Mann) set in Switzerland featuring a private eye of Indian background. Supposed
to be funny.
- Vampiralarm-der dritte Bodensee -forgettable Krimi for kids
-Excerpts from Die Zeitwaage, short stories by Lutz Seiler (fell into the heavy, self-reflective category I was trying
to avoid, so I just read a few of the stories)
-Seelenfänger by Jonathan Howard (originally in English) about a necromancer who makes a bet with the devil.
Started off great, then dragged a bit, though overall fun.

What I watched/listened to:
Lullaby (WDR Hörspiel) based on Chuck Palahniuk's book about a "culling song" that is fatal to those that hear it.
Pretty good. I think Emme recommended these radio plays, which seem quite good.
Films: Die Frau und der Fremde (very good, from last years of DDR, plot similar to Martin Guerre) and the terrible
made-for-TV comedy(?) Seitensprung. I still don't get German humor.
TV stuff: a couple of Tatorts (Rendezvous mit dem Tod and der Wüstensohn), a couple of documentaries (Dumm
geboren and nichts dazu gelernt? and Heiling für alle) and a really bad Krimi-Soko Kitzbühel-Entsorgt (on the
bright side of this last one, the Austrian Tirol region is beautiful and it was interesting listening to the Austrian
accents, but would not my model for how I'd like to speak. I don't mean to offend Austrians, my accent is
undoubtedly much worse).

Took the vocabulary test referenced in patrickwillen's Massive input in Berlin log and scored 30, 30, 29, 27, 25 in
passive German and 13, 14, 15, 7, 2 in active.

GERMAN Superchallenge: Freeform translation/paraphrase: (from novel Buddhas kleiner Finger by Viktor Pelewin
(originally in Russian)
Why selected? This is just what I happen to be reading at the moment.

"Der Twerskoi-Boulevard war beinahe genau so wie ich ihn vor zwei Jahren zum letztenmal gesehen hatte.
Wieder Februar, Schneewehen und eine seltsam ins Tageslicht sickernde Finsternis. Auf den Bänken hockten
dieselben reglosen Weiblein wie damals. Oben über dem schwarzen Geflecht der Zweige derselbe graue Himmel
- eine alte, verschlissene Matratze, die unter dem Gewicht des schlafenden Gottes bis auf die Erde durchhing.

Einen Unterschied gab es allerdings. In diesem Winter fegte ein Schneesturm durch die Alleen, wie man ihn
eigentlich nur aus den Steppen kannte, und wäre ich ein paar Wölfen begegnet, hätte mich das nicht gewundert.
Der bronzene Puschkin erschien einem noch eine Spur trauriger als sonst - was wohl daher kam, dass ihm ein
rotes Tuch mit der Aufschrift 'Es lebe der 1.Jahrestag der Revolution' vor der Brust hing. Zu ironischen
Betrachtungen darüber, dass hier ein Jahrestag zu leben aufgefordert und das Wort 'Revolution' noch auf
vorrevolutionäre Weise geschrieben war, verspürte ich keine Lust - hatte ich doch in letzter Zeit genug
Gelegenheit gehabt, dem Dämonen, der sich hinter all diesem kurzgefassten Stuss auf rotem Grund verbarg, ins
Gesicht zu schauen."

My version:

"Tverskoi Boulevard was almost exactly as it was as I had last seen it two years before. It was February again,
with the same snowdrifts and odd darkness seeping in, strange in the light of day. On the benches were
hunched the same still women as then. Over the black network of branches, the same gray sky, an old, worn-out
mattress, that hung down under the weight of a sleeping God.

There was one difference however. This winter the type of snowstorm one would only to expect to have come off
the Steppes was blowing through the streets, and so I would not have been surprised had I happened upon a pair
of wolves. The bronze statue of Pushkin seemed even slightly sadder than usual, what was probably due to the
fact that a red cloth with the inscription 'Long live the first anniversary of the Revolution' hung from his chest. I
felt no desire to make ironic observations about the fact that an anniversary was ordered to live or that the word
'Revolution' was written in the prerevolutionary style. I'd had opportunity enough recently to look into the faces
of the demons who were hiding behind all this summary nonsense written on a red background."

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3529 days ago

1386 posts - 3054 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 Message 222 of 236
01 October 2014 at 12:55am | IP Logged 
You're not leaving yet! At least, not until you tell us how Suleimán, El Gran
is. I've been hunting for it in Turkish w/English subtitles, and am
wondering if it's worth the search. It sounds cool - I love historical dramas like this.
And it would be nice to have some Turkish materials around, even though I'm taking a
break from studying it actively.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4035 days ago

1232 posts - 1740 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 Message 223 of 236
01 October 2014 at 2:21am | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:
You're not leaving yet! At least, not until you tell us how Suleimán, El Gran Sultán is. I've been hunting for it in Turkish w/English subtitles, and am wondering if it's worth the search. It sounds cool - I love historical dramas like this. And it would be nice to have some Turkish materials around, even though I'm taking a break from studying it actively.

I found it online in Spanish, if that counts. :)

I think I saw the first episode (in Turkish) with English subs on YouTube, but I didn't look to see if they had the whole series.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 3262 days ago

409 posts - 616 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 Message 224 of 236
13 December 2014 at 11:56pm | IP Logged 
2014 Year-End Update- (Warning: absurdly long post ahead)

I ended up being away from HTLAL much longer than planned. Life was quite chaotic and challenging for a while:
work demands/travel, houseguests and living situation changes, multiple health issues for myself and other
family members. I'm currently recuperating from surgery so at last have had time to catch up on what's been
going on in HTLAL-land while I've been away. It's nice to see that most folks have been continuing to progress in
their language studies, even if goals may have shifted or clarified for some.

In the middle of the above-mentioned chaos, I (idiotically) succumbed to the peer pressure of the C2 German
prep class and actually signed up for and took the C2 exam. Umm, what was I thinking? I had never taken any of
the previous level tests so didn't really know what to expect and really this was way, way over my head. Clearly I
signed up in a moment of insanity! Actually, part of the reason I took the test was that my son just returned from
a year studying at a German university and I wanted to encourage him to take it, so I had to lead by example. We
didn't really spend much time studying together since our schedules are so different, but we did spend a couple
of hours the weekend before the test, which was helpful. I'm pretty sure he passed or at least came close, unlike
Mom: I won't have my results until January, but I have no doubt whatsoever that I did not pass. I certainly don't
regret taking it since it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and by studying for the exam I improved my
German, even if it still falls way short of C2. During the time leading up to the exam I basically dropped all other
language study and spent what available time I had completely focused on German, doing grammar exercises
and watching/listening/reading with a different focus than usual (see gory details below if you care a whit!). I
don't necessarily think this was the optimal approach but it seemed to be a good idea while I was doing it.
Further down below I will summarize my experience with the test and how I prepared for it. By the way, even if
you don't study German, you might find it funny that the verb "durchfallen" means to fail, and the noun
"Durchfall" means diarrhea. I felt like both after this bear of a test!

Anyone interested in Spanish, Russian or Turkish, sorry, I have basically nothing to report. I naturally watched
Spanish TV (insane amounts of soccer, mostly) and spoke lots with my husband and family, but did no focused
work on building vocabulary in Spanish and recorded nothing for the SC, since it was "pedal to the metal" German
for the 6 or so weeks prior to the November 24th exam. Since then, I've been dealing with health issues so
haven't worked on languages at all, though I hope to start up again after the new year probably relearning what
I've forgotten. I will focus on my health and will abstain from TAC in 2015. I hope to continue with the Super
Challenge and finish the 100/100 for German and Spanish and see how far I get piddling about with Russian and
Turkish (not a priority, but still fun). In 2014 so far, I've spent roughly 300 hours on Spanish (not counting family
interactions), 300 hours on Russian, 400 hours on German and a mere 12 hours on Turkish. These were a
combination of study and consumption of native materials (a larger percentage time in studying instructional
materials for Russian and Turkish and a larger percentage of using native materials for German and Spanish).

German C2 Exam-**way, way more than you probably want to know**

How the test is structured: four parts (Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking). It is quite long (close to 4 hours
on-task time not including breaks and time waiting for the individual oral part: I was there from about 10-4:30)
and no reference materials are allowed. You must get at least 60 percent on each part to pass, but you are
allowed at a future date to retake each part until you pass them all. I was achy all over and quite tired when
done. It was really an ordeal, but I survived! It's been decades since I've taken university final exams, so stamina
was a bit of an issue for me, though my son also was wiped out by the end of the day, so it wasn't just my being
an old fogey. I also somehow muddled through without caffeine (due to health issues), but I don't think its
addition would have made much difference in the outcome.

1. Writing (80 minutes total) includes a section where you rephrase a sentence in other words using a keyword.
That part was for me the hardest part of the entire test. The other writing assignment requires the writing an
essay/formal letter (you choose from various topics). You have 60 minutes to write a 350-word essay. This part
should have been doable, but was a total disaster for me because I majorly goofed up. I completely lost track of
time and wrote about an 800-word essay on the scratch paper but did not have time to rewrite it all onto the
answer sheet (the only bit that counts). Next time--providing there is one--I will just write directly on the
answer sheet...It's clearly been too long since I've been in school. This was a really foolish mistake to have made
and it shook my confidence badly since it was the first part of the exam. It was like one of those dreams you
have where you're in the exam room naked or forgot your calculator or have nothing to write with. On the bright
side, I learned that I am able to write a fairly long essay in German in 50 minutes. Too bad I then had only 10
minutes to try to transfer that monstrosity onto the answer sheet. ;) I pity the poor soul trying to read my frantic
scrawl! Of course, only what is written on the answer sheet is evaluated, so I will definitely need to repeat this
section if I take the test again. How I prepped: I wrote some short essays and formal letters and my kind native
speaker friends corrected them for me. I also studied preposition and verb-noun combinations using Anki (yes,
though I'm normally allergic to Anki, it does have its uses) and by doing grammar exercises. My son wrote stories
daily and used memrise. An example of verb-noun combo is "einen Beitrag leisten". Estimated score: 25/100.
Total Fail. Had I written the essay on the #$%^ answer sheet, I think I might have passed, albeit probably with a
low score: 65/100?

2. Reading. This section is also 80 minutes long. There are four subsections: a medium length text with
questions in a multiple choice answer format, a text where you have to select and add connecting sentences
between paragraphs, a text where you have to select and add entire paragraphs between other paragraphs and a
relatively easy section where you look at a variety of job listings and have to indicate which position meets certain
criteria. The texts use quite specialized vocabulary as might be expected for the C2 test, which basically
qualifies one to study at a university in German. The writing is formal, non-fiction, geared to academic or
professional audiences. For example, one section was on models used for problem solving in the workplace. I
probably also failed this part. It's possible I might have squeaked by if I made a few lucky educated guesses, but I
was so shook up after the writing fiasco, I had a very hard time concentrating. How I prepped: I read online news
daily (Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, etc.), lots of wikipedia articles and one book (detective novel as a break).
Though I read a lot during this time, only the novel counted toward the Super Challenge. Estimated score:
50/100. Fail, but close.

3. Listening. This section is about 35 minutes long and in three parts. Surprisingly to me after all the podcasts I
listened to, parts of this were VERY challenging, because of vocabulary used and native speed.   The first part is a
series of 5 short radio broadcasts on various topics such as commercial fishing (no kidding!). You only get to
listen to each one a single time and then have to answer Yes or No to 3 questions per broadcast. Part two is a
discussion between two people and you have to pick whether the opinions expressed are held by the first or
second speaker or by both people. Again, you get only one listen. I understood the conversation, but it was
difficult for me to really determine if both people really held the opinion, especially when one of them said, "you
said x", then person 2 said, "no, you misunderstood, I actually meant y when I said x". Yikes! The topic was
orchestral music. The last section was an interview with a professor discussing urban planning (2 listens this
time) followed by multiple-choice answers to questions. The last part seemed the easiest of the bunch even if
the vocabulary was challenging. Maybe since we got to hear it twice, it didn't seem so bad. How I prepped:
listened to a lot of podcasts and TV and radio news broadcasts. Tagesschau, I'm looking at you...again, most
didn't count toward the Super Challenge, but some documentaries did and I had to take a break here and there to
maintain my sanity and watch BTW, the Frankfurt Tatort that was Shakespeare/Tarantino-esque was
awesome!   It's possible but unlikely I passed this part. Again, a few lucky guesses would be needed. Estimated
score: 50/100. Another fail.

4. Speaking. You have 15 minutes to select 2 separate topics (one is a presentation and the other is a
discussion) and prepare an outline. Then you have to speak solo on a topic for a minimum of 5 and maximum of
10 minutes and answer questions on it (topics such as globalization, stereotypes, environmental issues, etc.).
Part 2 is interacting with a native speaker (one of the examiners) for 5 minutes in a pro-contra format trying to
convince the other of the rightness of your opinion. How I prepped: talked to my skype buddies, and in my class
we did a practice presentation. I made a lot of silly mistakes, but I'm guessing I passed this one, maybe with a
65/100? Pass, if just by a nose.   Yay!- at least I hope...

Conclusions: I think I'm at the C1 level (not too terribly bad for 3 years of very erratic part-time study followed
by 2 years of pretty consistent study and not ever living in a German-speaking country.) If I had to actually go
work or study in a German-speaking environment, I think I could somehow manage it with some focused, intense
preparation, though I'd probably make frequent idiotic mistakes that would amuse my colleagues quite a bit. But
hey, I do that in English, too :)...
I have also gained a deeper respect for my many coworkers for whom English is not their native language. Of
course I knew before that working on technical and professional topics in a non-native language is not easy, but
having taken this exam I have a better appreciation of how much of a challenge it is to try to analyze, problem-
solve and communicate in one's adopted tongue.

What's next? I'll update here with my actual score when I get the results, no matter what the blow to my ego
might be (maybe where I think I'm in the 50s I'm really only in the 30s? quite possible) Depending on the
outcome and the amount of effort I'm willing to put in, I will either re-sit the parts of the C2 exam that I failed
(next offering is in April) or I will take the C1 exam, which I now think I could pass with some studying but no
major heroics. I've entertained the idea of maybe doing a C1 exam in Spanish, but it is not at all convenient for
me and I don't really need it nor am I in any sort of class with fellow language fanatics/nutjobs such as myself, so
I probably won't do it anytime soon if ever. I'm looking forward to some free time now to work on my other
languages and other interesting things in general that I have neglected for a while. I'm also currently taking a
break from the C2 German class but hope to start a C level conversation class in February. No, I probably won't
learn as much, but my goal is not to be a university-level user of any of the languages I am learning. I'm happy
being a casual user who can comfortably interact with people and easily enjoy movies/books that are not overly
challenging (something along the lines of detective novels rather than great literature). I would be beyond
thrilled if I could someday get to even a B-level with my Russian and Turkish. And yes, part of me does feel like a
slacker for not pushing my Spanish and German to the highest level, but it's just not realistic or necessary for me.
I need to accept that, be comfortable with where I am and stop berating myself for not attaining perfection. I
don't even reach that standard in English, after all, and I no longer spend much if any time reading Shakespeare,
philosophical or technical treatises either, so my resolution for the coming year is to ENJOY the languages I am
lucky enough to be able to be familiar with. That should be an easy one to keep.

Cheers, Best Wishes, and Good Health to all!

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