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One Sharp Knife

  Tags: Polish
 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Mooby
Senior Member
Scotland
Joined 4502 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 1 of 95
05 January 2014 at 8:36pm | IP Logged 

"Better to have one sharp knife in your kitchen, than many blunt knives"

I've slightly adapted this motto from AJATT's excellent article on 'How Many Languages' in which he writes:

Too many of us language learners are dabblers, dilettantes, hobbyists. Of course, it depends on one's goals. But if we really want the maximum benefits of knowing a language, I think those max benefits only come with (native-level) fluency. If you want to be able to actually cut stuff, you need a sharp knife. You want to be able to use your languages to do (cut) ANYTHING. And fast. Understand everything from standard to regional dialects, read fast, speak fast and correctly, write fast and correctly. Otherwise you just have a collection of blunt metal; it looks good on paper, but it doesn't do anything or it doesn't do enough.




When I was around 9 year old, my Dad gave me a huge Reader's Digest Atlas of the World. It had a luxurious green leather cover with a gold outline of the Earth. Despite it's size, I'd take it to bed and examine the detailed maps of central Russia, trace rivers and mountain ranges in Brazil, visualise myself in some remote village in Laos. I loved the names, the colours, the profiles. Every inch of that atlas was scrutinised, even the tiny islands in the Pacific. From a fascination with physical geography, grew an interest in peoples and cultures. And despite my poor academic language achievements (failed French miserably), I picked up phrases in various languages from the people I met at University, work or travel.

Until a few years ago, that was about all my involvement in languages.
But then degenerative ill health and disability forced me to stop work aged 45. I began voluntary teaching of English to a few Polish families in my area. Out of mutual interest and 'solidarność' I dabbled in the Polish language, before committing myself on 14th August 2010 (yes, I remember the date) to learn it. There was nothing pre-planned about this, just an opportunistic decision to satisfy some childhood hankering.

The hankering to learn more languages is a constant. But I'm deliberately aiming for depth this time. I'm too prone to wandering at the best of times, so I'm focussing on getting my Polish to at least a high intermediate level. After that I may reward myself with another language!
Hence, 'one sharp knife'.


My Previous Logs
2012
2013
I want this log to ultimately chart my progress to basic fluency, let's say C1 (a pretty sharp knife, if not a scalpel)
At the moment I'd say my skills are:
Reading: B1+
Listening: B1-
Speaking: B1-
Writing: A2+

In 2014 my aim is to reach B2(passive) and a strong B1(active).







Edited by Mooby on 31 January 2014 at 6:37pm

9 persons have voted this message useful



Mooby
Senior Member
Scotland
Joined 4502 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 2 of 95
05 January 2014 at 8:42pm | IP Logged 
Reserved
1 person has voted this message useful



Bakunin
Diglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
outerkhmer.blogspot.
Joined 3527 days ago

531 posts - 1126 votes 
Speaks: German*, Thai
Studies: Khmer

 
 Message 3 of 95
06 January 2014 at 4:51am | IP Logged 
Hi Mooby, good to see you back! I'll be following your log with interest and wish you all the best for your Polish! I'm sure you'll make great progress given how dedicated you are.

I sympathize with your motto. I'd love to be able to focus on just one language, just Thai (or Polish, or French, or English...) and become really good at it. And I would if I lived where that language is spoken. But as long as I live here and use those languages just for certain limited purposes, like reading books or chatting with friends, I can't help but giving in to some cycling around between them. I just hope that a select few blunt knifes can get sharp over time as well through constant use.

How did you get to B1 in speaking? Have you been getting regular speaking practice?
1 person has voted this message useful



Mooby
Senior Member
Scotland
Joined 4502 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 4 of 95
06 January 2014 at 10:12am | IP Logged 
Hi Bakunin, I reserve the right to ignore my motto if an irresistable language comes along!
But until then, I am aiming for basic fluency in just one. I don't want to be stuck at the frustrating intermediate stage forever.
I have had periods of speaking practice over the past couple of years, with my Polish friends - usually once a week. Some sessions are less useful than others, so I'm thinking of using Skype (which I don't have yet) and private tutors. Until then, I want to focus on writing. If I can practise formulating the language in writing, hopefully it'll help my verbal production a bit.

Pozdrawiam serdecznie :)



Edited by Mooby on 06 January 2014 at 10:14am

1 person has voted this message useful



Duan
Newbie
Canada
Joined 3193 days ago

36 posts - 48 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish, French

 
 Message 5 of 95
07 January 2014 at 2:46am | IP Logged 
Hey Mooby, I'll be watching your progress with interest. You've been studying Polish a year longer than I
have, and from what little I've seen in your last log, I'd be quite pleased with your level in a year!

Wszystkiego najlepszego i pozdrawiam :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Zireael
Triglot
Senior Member
Poland
Joined 3048 days ago

518 posts - 636 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishB2, Spanish
Studies: German, Sign Language, Tok Pisin, Arabic (Yemeni), Old English

 
 Message 6 of 95
07 January 2014 at 12:19pm | IP Logged 
Keeping an eye on this, too. Good to see you again, Mooby!
1 person has voted this message useful



Mooby
Senior Member
Scotland
Joined 4502 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 7 of 95
30 January 2014 at 3:38pm | IP Logged 
Anki = 4593
Hours Studied = 84 (Total this year: 84)

Nearly a month into 2014 already, and I'm starting to get into my stride. I have finished Colloquial Polish (1995 ed.) and am debating what coursebook to start next. Encouraged by Bakunin's example, I'm doing a lot more extensive reading and am up to page 112 of Spadkobierca by Jan Łysakowski. I'm listening to radio podcast as usual, but have temporarily stopped watching TV (my usual serial, Samo Życie, bored me). I'm trying to do short translation exercises (Eng > Pol) everyday, but my free writing has yet to begin. I think I'll start by translating longer texts and stories I've written, and aim to write down my thoughts as they come during the day. The latter aim is to encourage my brain to create in Polish more sponataneously.

I'm going to Wrocław
At long, long last I've finally booked a flight to Wrocław at the end of March. I'm travelling with my friend Grażyna who will be staying at her mother's. I aim to stay with a local family (cheaper, and hopefully more speaking opportunities). We're going for a week, so it'll be short and intense. I hope my confidence will grow, not just in using the language, but in the practicalities of travelling in a foreign country. I've not been abroad for 20 years, so I'm feeling a bit nervous. I'm not taking my wheelchair as it's a bit of a hassle, but there's a place in Wrocław which rents out wheelchairs if I need one. So although I'll not be walking around exploring things as much as I would love to, I hope to sit around drinking coffee (and eating cakes no doubt) and connect with people. I just hope that the city isn't under 6 feet of snow with howling gales from the East.


Words of the Week (well, of the year so far actually)
Ciut adv. [or 'ciut ciut'] - 'a wee bit' / 'a tad'. I want a wee bit more.. ('chcę ciut więcej..'). Just a tad further ('tylko ciut dalej')
Zestaw - 'a set', 'a suite', 'a combination'. A set of clothes ('zestaw ubrań'). A suite of furniture ('zestaw mebli')
Uczestniczyć - 'to participate', 'to take part'. I didn't take part in the riots ('nie uczestniczyłem w zamieszkach')
Gdzie indziej - 'elsewhere', 'somewhere else'. Look somehere else! ('szukajcie gdzie indziej!')


For folk music aficionados: Antonina Krzysztoń - Pomimo wszystko tak.

Do zobaczenia.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Bakunin
Diglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
outerkhmer.blogspot.
Joined 3527 days ago

531 posts - 1126 votes 
Speaks: German*, Thai
Studies: Khmer

 
 Message 8 of 95
31 January 2014 at 11:48am | IP Logged 
Ha ha, but please don't hold me accountable for any lack of progress! :)

Great that you've decided to fly to Wrocław. Will it be the first time you visit Poland? I wish you a great time. If my recent experience in Warsaw is anything to go by, coffeehouse culture in Poland is great and something to look forward to.


1 person has voted this message useful



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