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Super Challenge discussion thread 2014

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
432 messages over 54 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 19 ... 53 54 Next >>
BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4351 days ago

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

 
 Message 145 of 432
14 February 2014 at 2:43am | IP Logged 
At the risk of adding more fuel to this already out of control conflagration, I second (perhaps not quite so vehemently) patrickwillen's sentiments. Like him, I also choose to bow out in future and to decline recognition for the last one.
Thank you to the organizers.
1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 6326 days ago

9753 posts - 15779 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 146 of 432
14 February 2014 at 2:47am | IP Logged 
Actually as I said, imo if it's mandatory, only those at C1-C2 should be required to list it, because the default assumption is that you're somewhere between A2 and B2.

By the way, for the 6WC you can optionally state whether you're working/studying part-time, full-time or are currently free, to compare yourself to others with a similar load. The cool thing is that this column can be made sortable. It's also useful for those who aren't sure which challenge to take.

Speaking of that, Expugnator, I think you're underestimating the effort required, much like all of us did during the first challenge. The daily averages seem easy enough, but note that they are averages. If the average is 10, then for every missed day there should be one when you read 20. The circumstances won't always be ideal. I struggled a lot with eye infections, for example (note that you can't listen to an audiobook and count it as reading). And before that I read a lot off the computer screen, to the point of getting the inflammation in the first place. And in general apart from some "fuсk that!" days, I read as much as I could and only got some 168 "books" (and Kerrie has some objections for what I shouldn't have counted - indeed, these weren't only actual books).

My recommendation to those learning multiple languages (and not wanting to choose one to "focus" on) is to sign up with the goal of getting at least 1 star everywhere, and then see how it goes. This way you won't neglect any of your languages, and then later you'll see in what language you have better chances of completing the "proper" challenge, taking into account how easily you can read by the middle of the challenge, what you want to read at that point (don't plan too much, you'll always hear of new books you want to read!), and whether the materials you have are sufficient/appealing or not. At least that's how I'm going/hoping to do it, though the thought of reading 150 "books" in Portuguese (75 by the old standards, and I already read 26) is quite appealing.

Edited by Serpent on 14 February 2014 at 2:53am

3 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 6326 days ago

9753 posts - 15779 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 147 of 432
14 February 2014 at 2:54am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
Perhaps the space can be used for someone else who needs it more.
No, I'm pretty sure that's not how it works, lol.

Edited by Serpent on 14 February 2014 at 3:10am

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Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5063 days ago

4143 posts - 8864 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 148 of 432
14 February 2014 at 8:47am | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
Thanks for the advice, Serpent and kanewai If the reading is now officially cut by half,
I think I can do normal challenges for French, Georgian and Norwegian, plus a video
challenge in Mandarin. I do agree that video is hard to do than reading because it
requires a TV or a device with internet.


This is exactly what I was afraid of, that the few multitaskers would make people think taking multiple
challenges is a normal thing. Please note that only a handful were able to take ONE Super Challenge. Even if
the reading has been reduced, it is still a lot of reading and watching.
1 person has voted this message useful



Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5063 days ago

4143 posts - 8864 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 149 of 432
14 February 2014 at 9:34am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
What's the idea of listing our current language levels? To prove how much more
fantastic we are if we complete a challenge than everyone else? Perhaps we should also have a mandatory
listing of people's ages, employment status, number of young children, dependent older parent's, mental
health status etc to make sure we know for sure how really big a particular challenge is. This seems
especially important so we can prove how really fantastic our own language achievements are compared to
everyone elses.

I enjoyed the last challenge, but since it's become apparent I was only doing the pathetic German challenge, I
don't think I can be bothered taking part again this year.

BTW: Is is possible not to have the 'blue' completion tag next to my name? I did the challenge for personal
reasons and really don't need this label next each of my posts. Perhaps the space can be used for someone
else who needs it more.



I am not sure I understand where this anger is coming from, but if you would like to send me a PM I am here.

When I first started the challenge I set the limit to B1, because I wanted to provide a tool for people who were
still in the beginning of their learning process. For someone who is at B2 or C1, reading this much is not a
problem, and it is not much of a challenge. As a 14 year old I had experienced myself just how much of a
boost reading can give you, even if you understand very little. I started reading a French book, and even if I
understood very little of what I read in the first part of the book, I had improved a lot by the end of the book. In
2012,based on the fact that I had somehow managed to read my first book in Russian, I thought how much
more effect you would get if instead of reading one book, you read a hundred books. That should be a huge
help in getting over the beginner problems.

But then there were some who wanted to include their stronger languages, and to create a level playing field,
I asked them to double the amount. Since that was seen to be too much, I decided to set the same amount
for all levels in the 2013-14 Super Challenge. And I know of course that for most of us our levels will only be
an estimate, but that is ok. It must still be possible for the one who starts with an A2 in Japanese to see that
the guy who reads six times as much as him can do that because he s reading a language in which he
already has a high level, and which is similar to his own. That does not diminish the achievement of the other
guy, it just explains possible differences in speed.

The thing some of you seem to miss, is that what motivates and demotivates people is very different from
person to person, and I am trying to create something which works for as many possible. That means that
most of you will disagree with one or more of my decisions, but that is just something I have to live with. I let
the discussion go on for a long period of time to see if a consensus was reached. I wanted to let the users
have a say. But when there are conflicting views, it is not humanly possible to give everyone the exact
challenge which fits their exact wishes.

If asking people to state their level is enough to make you so mad as to want to not participate, that is your
choice. I am inviting people to join, I am not forcing anyone to participate. But particularly since you were one
of the success stories, and because you are an active participant I would be sorry if you did not join us in the
next round.

And when it comes to the blue ribbon, that is something you must claim if you want it, it is not something
which is forced upon you.

That extra honor was not something I thought of when I created the Challenge. My thoughts were just on
personal language improvements. I am however very pleased that the winners will get it. So far only the TAC
winners have got it, and it is not uniquely tied to each individual's input. The SC however is something
everyone can do given hard work and focus. There is no random voting involved.

And as for listing life conditions you and I both know that this is not going to happen, but as someone who
has juggled a full time job with lots of traveling, two kids, a bed ridden mother with cancer, my own company
and a public show garden I can assure you that finding time to study in between that, is a lot harder than for
the high school student whose main duties are to set the table and take out the trash.

Is that relevant for the different challenges we take part in? Not the very least. But as long as none of the
above mentioned criteria are listed, just the estimated level, that should be acceptable for most.
8 persons have voted this message useful



Kerrie
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/Kerrie2
Joined 5124 days ago

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

 
 Message 150 of 432
14 February 2014 at 10:12am | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
I am not sure I understand where this anger is coming from, but if you would like to send me a PM I am here.


I could very easily be wrong, but my guess is that the bickering over the small details is getting on some people's nerves. I know it is mine.

I think the original challenge was wonderful. It was a great motivating factor (for me, at least). Yes, it was one helluva challenge. But that was the point.

It seems like one or two people have made this a competition. It's not, and was never meant to be. It was meant to improve your target language. It doesn't matter what your native language is. Or what level you are at. Or if you're working full time or part time. Or any of that.

As one of the few who finished the complete Super Challenge, I have to say it was A LOT of work. But it was also incredibly effective. And regardless of what is argued about, I will be back for a second round. For me it never was (and will not ever be) about what everyone else wants. It's about challenging myself.

And I'm always up for that. :)


12 persons have voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 4895 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 151 of 432
14 February 2014 at 1:44pm | IP Logged 
I think I can discuss my situation if that helps others. I am doing several of the
tasks that are typical of the challenge regardless if I will actually join it for a
specific language or not, so I would like to know how much it will impact in my
routine.

I'd like some help with calculations, because if I notice the full challenge is too far
from my reality, I'd go for narrower goals.

I assume the reading count is of 5000 pages. The challenge will take 610 days (from May
1st 2014 to December 31st 2015), is that right?.

I am comitted to studying only during workdays, monday-friday. If I consider 22
workdays per month, that will mean that in 20 months I will have 440 days of study.
Depending on where I am, I stick to the routine even if I'm on holidays, especially the
reading part which can be done comfortably. In the past two years, I don't think I have
missed more than 30 days of accomplishing my schedule (yeah, I know, that means my
levels in my language should be much higher by now, but what can one do when the words
just don't stick easily?). So, I can assume I'll have at least 400 reading days during
the challenge time.

Since I read 20 pages a day in French, that will make 8000 pages in total.

Since I read 10 pages a day in Norwegian, that would make 4000 pages a day. It will be
a challenge to find 1 more thousand pages =D I'd expected my speed would increase
during the challenge, since I'm still at a B1 level but improving.

As for Georgian, I could read 5 pages a day and aim for some stars. It would be
interesting to have this goal because I think I can accomplish the Georgian audio/video
goal.

I'm sorry to put this in cold numbers, but when the challenge actually starts I will
warmly motivated and I won't think that much about numbers, just at enjoying the way. I
just had to evaluate this first.

One final note: I do believe my French level is B2 (yeah, i'm a believer), but the
challenge is still quite important for my French, to the extent that in practice I've
been doing it myself. If I take any book out of contemporary, ordinary novels, I'd
spend a long time looking words up - for example, the medieval trilogy I'm reading. So,
I don't even think my French reading would be 'easier' than my Norwegian one. I don't
know how it is with you guys, but I prioritize some words over others. Let me
illustrate this through intensive reading:

French - I usually don't know 10 words per page at my current medieval level. These
words are very specific and hard for me to translate, as sometimes I don't know the
English one either and have to do a double translation.

Norwegian - I miss more words than in French but I focus on the ones that are essential
for the sentence, and these tend to be more usual than the French ones (well, there is
the dialect/alternative spelling issue that most often is tricky, but this is another
matter).

Georgian - given my level, I really would focus just on clarifying the main components
of the sentence - the nouns and the verbs. So, I'd get puzzled by even more usual
words.

If I were reading them intensively, this is the type of words I'd look up for each
language. If I were reading extensively, I'd start to track down these words in the
following pages to figure out their meanings from context.

So, this is what I have in mind. I'm only aiming for complete challenges in two
languages, so that's nothing out of this world. I'd really like to know how far I can
get in other languages, though, because that will help me understand how much I can
take on them in the future.
1 person has voted this message useful



BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4351 days ago

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

 
 Message 152 of 432
14 February 2014 at 3:15pm | IP Logged 
I can't speak for patrickwillen, however since I did post in support of his feelings, I can share with you my perspective. He can speak for himself, but I do owe an explanation for my "me too" comment.

First, Solfrid Cristin, Thank you for this idea and the work you've put into it. I really enjoyed participating, and I imagine all this bickering is very dismaying to you. I'm very sorry about that. Someone said something like "her challenge, her rules". That's how it should be, end of story. One can choose to participate or not.

As Kerrie mentioned, all the bickering is hard to tolerate. The focus seems to be shifting to using the challenge as some sort of tool to validate people's worthiness, which is what I'm extremely uncomfortable with.
The problem with all the discussion of conditions is that it gives the impression that only certain goals are worth pursuing, that if your partner speaks L2 or if you are only studying one language or if you're studying an "easy" language with lots of speakers, etc. etc. somehow it's not as much of a challenge as the person who is reading poetry in Navajo, Sanskrit and Quechua while living in Timbuktu (or whatever). The lengthy discussion has just made me realize that a public challenge like this can lead to a lot of comparison if people are inclined to go that way, and that I personally find comparison not only useless but a hindrance to my progress (and sanity). If, as a result of this challenge, a person watched some soap operas and read a couple of comic books, that he/she wouldn't have otherwise done, that's great, that's a "win" in that person's learning, even if that's as far as it went. It doesn't make them a "Loser", the person just didn't attain the goal. Along those lines, I'm adverse to have "Winner" by my name, since in my case I felt what I was "competing" against was time and not other people. Competition against others definitely drives some people and that's perfectly fine, but I have realized that for me, in the area of language learning, it just isn't useful, so I have decided the public challenge isn't for me. That doesn't make me better or worse in any way than anyone else, it's just my choice and my preference... I'm not stamping my foot in a pique and refusing to participate, it's just that the discussion here led me to realize some aspects of a challenge like this that I was too oblivious to see when I was actually doing it (I also didn't follow any of the discussion about it on the forum, maybe it was there?)

I apologize if I seem ungrateful in any way. I really did enjoy pushing myself to do more using this challenge as a tool to do that.


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