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VivianJ5’s Language Log

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18 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
VivianJ5
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2659 days ago

81 posts - 133 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 1 of 18
05 January 2014 at 2:41pm | IP Logged 
My first language learning log post, so proud ;-) !

Still have to think about my goals a bit, since I'm still traveling and don't have a lot of language learning stuff with
me, nor much time to work on it. But as I stated when joining TAC 2014, and Team Oranje, I want to crack the code
of Dutch this year, and make it a primary focus. I don't know exactly when we will be leaving The Netherlands (have
been here 4.5 years so far), but would hate to leave without having made a real effort to becoming functional.

I'm already listened to Michel Thomas Foundation Dutch a couple of times, but will probably have another go before
moving on to Michel Thomas Advanced - really like this method! Then have a go at Assimil or Pimsleur as a basic
learning text, while beginning to do some Listening/Reading (L/R). I'm reading all the time anyway, so would make
sense to do the same in Dutch: real novels, articles, stories, radio programs, etc. I think it would help to keep things
interesting.

Looking forward to progressing enough to post in Dutch, as some point...



Edited by VivianJ5 on 07 May 2014 at 7:01pm

1 person has voted this message useful



NMW
Newbie
Netherlands
Joined 2884 days ago

36 posts - 46 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 2 of 18
05 January 2014 at 4:29pm | IP Logged 
I tried Pimsleur, but it was too slow and too formal for my tastes. I enjoyed the Michel Thomas audio courses though and then moved on to Assimil, which is where I think I made a bit of a beginner breakthrough. I did a lesson a day and added words that I struggled with to Anki. I've also done some L/R with Twilight and Harry Potter, and that worked quite well because it gave me a sense of achievement, that I could get through a book in another language. Now I'm mainly using vocabulary courses on Memrise (which works better for me than Anki did), listening to Radio 1, reading Dutch books and so on.

Good luck and welcome to Team Oranje!
1 person has voted this message useful



VivianJ5
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2659 days ago

81 posts - 133 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 3 of 18
05 January 2014 at 4:54pm | IP Logged 
NMW wrote:
I tried Pimsleur, but it was too slow and too formal for my tastes. I enjoyed the Michel Thomas
audio courses though and then moved on to Assimil, which is where I think I made a bit of a beginner breakthrough.
I did a lesson a day and added words that I struggled with to Anki. I've also done some L/R with Twilight and Harry
Potter, and that worked quite well because it gave me a sense of achievement, that I could get through a book in
another language. Now I'm mainly using vocabulary courses on Memrise (which works better for me than Anki did),
listening to Radio 1, reading Dutch books and so on.

Good luck and welcome to Team Oranje!


Thanks, NNW, that sounds about what I'd like to do. Already have the Twilight and Happy Potter, plus HP in
audiobook form, so looking forward to starting those. Actually found the "Little House on the Prairie" books in
Dutch, so working on making some parallel texts to start reading those. I figure the children's vocabulary is a better
fit for my very basic vocabulary right now.

And definitely planning on doing some intensive listening to the radio. Plus thinking I might try to watch "Goede tijd,
Slechte tijde," which seems like a very long-running Dutch soap opera. I make terrific progress years ago in French
when I watched a very cheesy soap for kids: the vocabulary was very repetitive, and lots of facial expressions and
sight gags to help with comprehension.

Thanks for your suggestions!
1 person has voted this message useful



NMW
Newbie
Netherlands
Joined 2884 days ago

36 posts - 46 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 4 of 18
05 January 2014 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
That's very true. Soap operas are normally exaggerated which can really help you keep up with what is going on. I spent a lot of time watching Flikken Maastricht and Penoza, although Penoza was a lot harder for me to follow what was being said, it was a really good series and I managed to work my way through the first two seasons. It's just important to find something that you enjoy; the first series I really got into was Flikken Maastricht and I didn't mind watching the same episode or repeating the season because I enjoyed the show.

It's quite funny actually, I made my way through the first Twilight book (so around 300 pages or so) using L/R and then shortly after I tried to read a short children's book... I can't remember which one, I think one of the Paddington Bear books (I don't that it was more than 20 pages), but I actually found it much harder to read because the vocabulary was aimed at a younger audience and I didn't have exposure to a lot of the words there.
2 persons have voted this message useful



tommus
Senior Member
CanadaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4263 days ago

979 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch, French, Esperanto, German, Spanish

 
 Message 5 of 18
05 January 2014 at 11:08pm | IP Logged 
VivianJ5 wrote:
The Netherlands (have been here 4.5 years so far)

My wife and I spent 6 years in the area of Den Haag (Wassenaar). It is not as easy as one
might think to learn Dutch in the Netherlands, especially in Den Haag. Everyone speaks
good English and wants to practice their English. Better opportunities to speak Dutch
when you get to the north and the east.

Looks like a great group in Team Oranje.

2 persons have voted this message useful



VivianJ5
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2659 days ago

81 posts - 133 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 6 of 18
06 January 2014 at 6:20pm | IP Logged 
tommus wrote:
VivianJ5 wrote:
The Netherlands (have been here 4.5 years so far)

My wife and I spent 6 years in the area of Den Haag (Wassenaar). It is not as easy as one
might think to learn Dutch in the Netherlands, especially in Den Haag. Everyone speaks
good English and wants to practice their English. Better opportunities to speak Dutch
when you get to the north and the east.

Looks like a great group in Team Oranje.


That's exactly the issue in The Hague - much, much to easy to get by with just English, no real pressing reason to
learn Dutch, except for my own sense of obligation. I firmly believe that an expat has the duty to at least TRY to
learn enough of the host country's language to be able to have basic conversation. And I've failed miserably at my
own belief...

But enough regret. I can complain until the cows come home, only some dedicated work will get me there. Don't
much care about being fluent, just want to be able to respond when a Dutch person comments on the weather,
when a repairman comes to the house (and speaks no English), and be able to read the newspaper. Not huge goals,
but challenging for me all the same.
1 person has voted this message useful



geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3085 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 7 of 18
06 January 2014 at 6:44pm | IP Logged 
VivianJ5 wrote:

But enough regret. I can complain until the cows come home, only some dedicated work will
get me there. Don't
much care about being fluent, just want to be able to respond when a Dutch person
comments on the weather,
when a repairman comes to the house (and speaks no English), and be able to read the
newspaper. Not huge goals,
but challenging for me all the same.


A worthy goal, and I wish you success! From my time in Bavaria, I can tell you that
sometimes the repairman can be the most challenging of these by far, if the repairman
also only speaks a local "dialect" rather than the academic standard language.
1 person has voted this message useful



VivianJ5
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2659 days ago

81 posts - 133 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 8 of 18
13 January 2014 at 1:02pm | IP Logged 
Back from my holiday travels (five weeks is a long time to live out of a suitcase!), and trying to get back in the swing
of my life, including Dutch study.

While I haven't actually studied much during my travels, when I did have some free moments, I was working on
creating parallel texts for reading practice. I've created a parallel text using Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House in the
Big Woods," the first book in the Little House series. After finding some information on the net on how to format for
a parallel text, I've found the simplest way is the best way, at least for me:

Creating parallel texts

1. Upload both English and second language versions of ebook to Calibre (I adore this software; highly
recommended!).
2. In Calibre, convert both versions of ebook to ".txt" - I've found it easier to convert from EPUB format to text.

3. Open text files of each converted TXT ebook.

4. In Open Office (I'm sure Word is probably better for this), create a new document.

5. In this document, create a table with 2 columns and the number of rows = chapters in ebook. (Three columns
might be better, to have a small space between the two texts, but I used only two.)

6. Copy all of chapter one of the second language TXT ebook. Paste into first row, first column of the new
document.

7. Copy all of chapter one of the original language TXT ebook, then paste into the first row, second column of the
new document.

8. Continue copying and pasting each subsequent chapter into a new row.

9. Don't forget to save as you copy and paste.

10. Once all the chapters are copied/pasted, begin fine-tuning the format. This is where you can adjust the
paragraphs in each column to become "parallel," where paragraph 1 of language 1 is right next to paragraph 1 of
language 2, and so on.

Having each chapter in a separate row helps avoid messing up the formatting of previous chapters if a mistake is
made at some point; it also helps the software to not freeze (although this still happens regularly).

Once the document is formatted and the rows are "paralleled," I'd recommend saving (or in Open Office, "exporting"
) as a PDF file, so that your formatting stays fixed. I've found that closing, and then reopening the document can
mess up all the formatting hard work, so a PDF keeps it fixed.

Depending on the length of the book, this can take a bit of time, but it's pretty mindless, and you're actually already
beginning the parallel reading by lining up the rows.

Once I finished the parallel text of "Little House," started work on "Twilight," which was harder since the text is
about four times as long, and the program kept hanging. Not sure how to stop that from happening...might have to
look into other word processing software (MS Word, or Mac Pages).

I'd love to know if anyone else has tried to create their own parallel texts, and, if so, what their process is.

And of course, this is all busywork; time to get back into the real work of listening and reading!


3 persons have voted this message useful



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