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Slow Learning: FR, HI, ancGR TAC 2015

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 73 of 164
18 July 2014 at 7:10pm | IP Logged 
Germuse: back when I was studying German, I was on the verge of reading A2 readers (I bought a few but didn't start them). I'd say I was a solid A2, but not positive. In any case, I'm not there now, but it shouldn't be too hard to bring it back. My plan is to get to the A2/B1 borderland regions before the next Super Challenge.
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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 74 of 164
18 July 2014 at 7:25pm | IP Logged 
Serpent was kind enough to link to an old post of mine in the original Super Challenge thread:
message 478

The post nicely sums up my feelings about the value of watching films, and why I didn't count audio last SC.
Quote:
I've been thinking for a while about giving my thoughts about counting listening as a film. I'm not telling anyone how to do the challenge, just offering my thoughts on what I think is beneficial. Please bear in mind that I don't want to discourage anyone, or make them feel bad about what they're doing.

I personally don't intend to count as films things I've only watched [EDIT: should have been "only listened to"], for two reasons. First of all, if I'm watching I know I'm giving it my full attention.

The second reason is that one of the benefits of films is that you see the language used in context, and you can learn to read physical clues as well. You learn a lot about how language is used culturally. For example, you wouldn't know from audio that people in India shake their head from side to side to indicate "yes". Learning to understand gestures is essential, and other than being with native speakers, the only way to really learn about them is by watching. Another important clue is to observe facial expressions when people speak. Having trouble with a particular sound? It might be because you're not moving your lips in the right way. (Many of these thoughts were developed after I read the introduction to French in Action, by the way).

Similarly, dubbed films don't give you the same benefits as a film made in your target language. Animation also loses some of the benefit you can get from a film (e.g. proper facial expression).

For myself, I am not intending to count audio as a film. I listen a lot, but it develops different skills. For similar reasons, I am going to avoid dubbed films. I understand perfectly that people are busy, and that for many languages it is difficult (or even impossible) to find native video material. I'm lucky, in that I already own about 50 Hindi DVD's, and I have TV5 for watching French, as well as French in Action.

At the end of the day, you count whatever you like to count, within the broad and generous rules of the challenge. I, for example, am reading children's books, readers, etc, and others will only be reading adult native material. The point of the challenge is to keep you learning! If you don't have time to sit and watch things, then you do what you have to do to keep learning.


I am counting audio this time around, in French because I hope that will get me to 200 films, and in Ancient Greek because as far as I am aware, nobody has made a film in Ancient Greek. This morning I ordered an audio version of the Greek New Testament, so I'm looking forward to that.

However, I think the benefits of native video are just not recognized enough. Besides the cultural education, the ability to see gestures and facial expressions is an invaluable addition to other study.

Edited by Jeffers on 18 July 2014 at 7:26pm

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 75 of 164
18 July 2014 at 7:42pm | IP Logged 
There was another post on the page Serpent linked to which I was really pleased to see:
Quote:
The super challenge is starting to push me in my French vocabulary learning. I've been learning French for about a year, and made about 300 paper cards. I've also passively learned a lot of vocab from Pimsleur (not many words?), Assimil (passively about half way through, so around 1k words?), Earworms (supposedly about 600 "words and phrases"), and Lyric Language (about 500 words there). I'm guessing my total vocabulary is somewhere between 600-1000 words (mostly passive knowledge). So far, I have been happy to expand my vocabulary passively.

Now that I've started to read simple books in French, I've realized that I need a lot more vocabulary to make my reading time more effective. One book I've read says it contains "moins de 500 mots", but a lot of those 500 are not in my 600-1000 words.

I have a 2600 fact Anki French deck, based on a GCSE wordlist. But a lot of the words aren't even in the top 5k by frequency, and I don't like the way some definitions are put. So I've begun to enter vocabulary from my French frequency dictionary into an Anki deck. The dictionary has 5,000 main entries, and I doubt I'll end up entering them all, but I would like to have at least 2k words in my deck.


So two years ago I estimate my vocabulary to be 600-1000 words. Since then I've been entering words from the Routedge Frequency Dictionary into Anki, and I'm up to 2100. It is a bit disappointing that I seem to have learned 1000-1500 words in two years, as I think a rate of about 1000 per year is a good, steady pace.

Fortunately, my Anki deck doesn't tell the full story. First of all, I understand (at least passively) all of the words in Assimil NFWE, so that's about 2500 words. Reading and watching have introduced me to a lot of other words as well, but I'm not in the regular habit of putting new words I come across into Anki. I figure I'll either get to know them, or I'll eventually enter them from the Frequency Dictionary.

So what is my vocabulary? I'd put it around 3000 words: 2000 that I know quite well, and maybe another 1000 that I know well enough that I don't have to think twice when I read them. I'm pretty happy with that!
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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 76 of 164
19 July 2014 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
I just found an index to some fantastic Hindi reading material availible for free (and legally!) Most of the material are collections made for intermediate students in the 80s, and so the typography is pretty awful for some of them. Others (like the Sholay script) are more recent.

The Great Glossary Fair
This is a set of links to a lot of good Hindi and Urdu materials (including all the ones listed separately below). I was already aware of several of these items, but a few of them I thought were unobtainable. It was really good to find them all together in one list.

Three Hindi Film Scripts Published by UC Berkeley in 1980, this is the script three films, plus glossaries for each of them. The films are Sara Akash (The Whole Sky- 1969), Tisri Qasam (or Teesri Kasam) (The Third Vow- 1967) and Garam Hawa (Scorching Wind- not on IMDB). I read about this book years ago, and have searched for it many times. The typography is awful, but I have ordered a used copy of Sara Akash cheap, and I'll see how it goes.

Richard Delacey has put together a lot of materials in Hindi and Urdu. Most important for my purposes are the text and glossary of Umrao Jaan (1981) and Sholay (1976). Both are computer typeset, and so quite readable. Unfortunately, the Sholay script hasn't been finished.

Virtual Hindi is a collection of online Hindi stories with audio, arranged into beginning, intermediate and advanced pages. The audio can be downloaded, but the text is only set up to be read online (booo!) There is also a page of videos with ordinary people, and a page about some festivals.

Hindi Readers by John Roberts The typography is a bit blurry on these three readers, but the contents look really good. Each page is about half a page of Hindi text, with a running glossary below. Words which appear again are not glossed again. The first one is a Panchatantra reader, the second is a history reader, and the third is a collection of readings on "Peoples and Institutions of India", which were simply extracted from a book by sociologist Prakashchandra Diksit. They use a more "Sanskritised" Hindi, and cover topics about aspects of Hindu culture. The six chapters are: Cultural Patterns of Marriage, The Rituals of the Hindu Life Path, Hindu Marriage, The Hindu Ashram System, Dharma, and The Hindu Caste System. For someone interested in Hind, Indian culture and Hinduism, this is an awesome find.

Hindi-Urdu Since 1800: a Common Reader This was not linked directly from the Glossary page mentioned above. The book is a well-known reader co-written by Rupert Snell (of Teach Yourself Hindi fame). There are about 80 pages of introduction (in English) about the evolution of the languages, etc. Then there are 24 readings, about half of which are in Devanagari script and about half in Urdu. Each reading has an introduction and notes (all in English). You can download the whole book as a single pdf, or if you click on each chapter on the website, you can download individual chapters.

EDIT: I missed this one:
Glossaries of Hindi Texts Collection of Hindi prose and poetry readings for advanced students. Unfortunatly, the glossaries are on the webpage, and not included in the PDF files.


Having a look through these readers has helped me to put together something of a Reading Plan for my Hindi studies. For the Super Challenge, I have just been reading children's books so far. But I think some of these readers will be more interesting, and actually a bit easier since they have glossaries. So here's a rough outline of what I hope to do with Hindi by the end of the year:

Priority 1: Read the Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader. It only has about 44 pages of Hindi, but you can download audio for them for free from the publisher's website, as well as word docs with translations. It would be great if I could finish this book by the end of August.

Priority 2: Begin working on the readers by John Roberts. Because they have running glossaries, these should be good for building vocabulary without having to use a dictionary too much. I am really happy to have found these readers!

Priority 3: Try to read all of the Virtual Hindi stories. I read all of the beginner stories, and a few of the intermediate stories, several years ago. This time I will start again with the beginner stories, and try to read all the intermediate and advanced stories by the end of 2014.

Priority 4: Read one or more of the film scripts, probably starting with Sholay because I love it, and then Umrao Jaan because it's a famous film I haven't seen yet. They scripts mentioned above all have glossaries, so again they will be good for building vocabulary. I plan (probably) to watch a film first (possibly with subs on), then read the script, then try watching the film again without subtitles. I did this for Amélie in French, and it worked really well.

It would be great if I could get most of Priorities 1-4 finished before the end of the year. After that, here are the next priorities, which I hope to complete by the end of 2015:

Priority 5: Try to finish the rest of my children and adolescent Hindi books.

Priority 6: Read Harry Potter 1.

Priority 7: Try to watch and read the rest of the scripts (assuming I can find the films).

Priority 8: Start work on Hindi-Urdu Since 1800. These are definitely not for beginners, and I don't know if I'll definitely finish them by the end of the Super Challenge.

I think this is a challenging, but attainable plan.

Edited by Jeffers on 19 July 2014 at 10:36pm

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 77 of 164
23 July 2014 at 2:27pm | IP Logged 
Tomorrow I'm going to visit my parents for a couple of weeks. Language study while on holiday is always a tricky thing. Some days you have bags of time, other days you can't do a thing. When staying at my parents' house I usually have some reading time in the morning, and I often take an hour walk during which I can work on FSI or something like that. Of course, the time on the flight and waiting at the airports can be useful as well (children permitting). I will work on Anki, reading, and of course I plan to watch any Hindi or French films they have available on the flights.

My parents live in the next town over from where Better World Books has their headquarters (Goshen, Indiana), and their only physical shop. If you've never heard of them, they are a charity which uses money from used books to support literacy projects. I remember reading in the local paper about them when they first started, and had no idea they would become one of the biggest used bookstores on Amazon.com and then on Amazon.co.uk. If they are one of the selling options for a book I want, I always choose them because it supports their charities, and because they have excellent customer service. Here's their website: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/ I always make a few trips there to browse what they have in foreign languages. In the shop they mostly have Spanish books (because there are loads of Mexicans working in the RV industry in the area), but I have gotten several BD's in French.

I love travelling in the age of electronics. I have my mobile phone with anki (I added 100 new French words last weekend, up to 2200 freq). I have loads of books in French on my kindle with its quick popup dictionary. I also now have a parallel Greek New Testament on kindle. And I have my mp3 player loaded with French and Hindi music, FSI French, several audiobooks, etc. The one thing my devices can't handle well are PDFs, but I will bring some on a memory stick and I can use my dad's laptop if I need to read any of them. Mostly it will be if I want to check the text of an FSI exercise, but I will take some of the Hindi PDFs mentioned in the previous post. The only physical book I plan to take is the Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader.

Also, when I arrive in the USA, there should be an Amazon package waiting for me containing The Greek Audio New Testament, so I can start adding films to the Ancient Greek part of my Super Challenge!

Edited by Jeffers on 23 July 2014 at 2:37pm

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 78 of 164
25 July 2014 at 4:24pm | IP Logged 
Well, travelling was as good as could be hoped. I read the 2nd half of Le Petit Nicolas et ses voisins in French, I read 1 John in Greek, and I listened to some Hindi. I also spent a fair bit of time on Anki. Unfortunately, the inflight entertainment didn't include any French or Hindi films. I watched 300.... can I count that for Ancient Greek?

Speaking of Ancient Greek, I found this website which has the number of words in each book of the New Testament in Greek. I wont adjust any of the 3 posts I've made so far, but I will use this as a guide to future SC posts:
New Testament Statistics
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PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3581 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 79 of 164
29 July 2014 at 4:06am | IP Logged 
Sounds like you travelled wisely Jeffers, filling in gaps with language learning :) I often find travels can throw
me off my routine even a little while after returning from a short break. My last weekend had that effect- I've
only done one hour if Dutch in the last week. Of course I know it's me and not the travels that are at fault. I
guess my point is if you can stay in touch with your language(s) while travelling it's likely to encourage/assist
in picking up your routine once you return home. So good job Jeffers on staying focused/in touch.

PM
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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3014 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 80 of 164
10 August 2014 at 4:03pm | IP Logged 
I've been on holiday in the USA for a little over 2 weeks, and I return to the UK tomorrow. We got together with all of my brothers and sisters and all of their kids at my parents' lake house. I think there are 26 of us in total. One day we went out on three boats to spread some of my brother's ashes. He wanted some of his ashes spread on the lake, some in a corn field in Nebraska (where my mom grew up), some in a sugar bush in New York (where my dad grew up), and some in India (where we all went to school).

Holiday does often mess up my routines, but I do generally find time to "fill in gaps with language learning" as PM wrote. We had a day with 12 hours of driving and I expected to do nothing that day. However, when my kids were watching a DVD and my wife fell asleep, I plugged in my earphones and listened for about 2 hours of the trip. Another time I volunteered to drive my sister to the airport at 4:30 in the morning, knowing that I would have an hour in the car on my own to listen to Hindi stories on the way back.

French
I have studied less French in comparison to my other languages than usual (although it still wins for total page count!) In these two weeks I finished Le Petit Nicolas et ses voisins for the 2nd time, and read Le Petit Nicolas s'amuse for the third time. I've also spent more time than usual on Anki, because I can squeeze it in to a lot of little moments during the day. I spent some time practicing conversation with my brother-in-law who speaks French pretty fluently.

Hindi
I've given more focus to Hindi lately, and have signed up for the current 6 week challenge in Hindi. I'm now just over half way through the Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader; I'm not doing any of the exercises, but I find it useful to read the grammar notes. The routine I've developed is that I read the passage carefully, underlining unknown words and marking them on the glossary page, then I read it again while listening to the audio, all of which takes about 30 minutes per chapter (and only gains me 4-6 pages for the SC). I think to really benefit from the book I should study each story more intensively (e.g. actually spend some time studying marked vocab and reread the story several times as if I were doing an Assimil lesson), but I think I will save that for a second pass.

I wanted to purchase one more intermediate reader with audio, and it was a toss-up between the Hindi Newspaper Reader and Usha Jain's Intermediate Hindi Reader. In the end Usha Jain's book won out simply because Dunwoody Press's website wouldn't accept payment details and they wanted to take my credit card over the phone, and because they charged a lot for shipping. But I'm happy because the Intermediate Hindi Reader is really excellent! It has 21 texts, each with a glossary and no other notes. A few notes on finer points of grammar or idioms would have been welcome, but I'm glad they didn't cut the texts to make room for exercises. It is a beautiful hardcover book with 348 pages, and comes with an mp3 CD containing about 4.5 hours of audio! I'm sort of a completionist, so I will finish the Routledge reader first, but then I expect to spend a lot of time working with this book.

EDIT: I forgot to mention I've spent about 4.5 hours in the past week listening to Glossaries Alive podcasts, covering Hindi vocabulary from Teach Yourself Hindi.

Ancient Greek
I was really pleased to receive my audio Greek New Testament when I arrived in the USA, which has 25.7 hours of audio (it's an mp3 DVD). I would have to listen to it 3 times through in order to meet my goal of completing a half Super Challenge in Greek. Unfortunately, I don't like the reader's style. He reads everything like it's a telephone book, with the same wooden intonation throughout and no sensitivity to the meaning of the text. If that's not bad enough, many of his vowels are too "American" for my taste. It is the only Greek audio I have, so I will be using it. My plan is to read a substantial section using my kindle (possibly twice), then read the section while listening to the audio. Then I'll try listening to the audio on its own and see how it goes. Obviously listening comprehension isn't an important issue with Ancient Greek, but using the audio will give me more contact with the language.

I've read 1 John, 2 John and 3 John and then read the first 5 chapters of Matthew's Gospel. For now, I'm just concerned with maintaining my Super Challenge streak, and so I'm trying to read a few chapters each week.

Edited by Jeffers on 10 August 2014 at 5:59pm



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