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Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3698 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 Message 697 of 766
12 March 2015 at 1:51pm | IP Logged 
Congratulations to Serpent and everyone actively going on! You've been a lot of
inspiration, guys and gals. I am stalking a few participants and their graphs, truth
be told ;-)

About my performance so far. I did a bit of the challenge last year and then had to
focus on French for my exam. So, considering the fact I've been devoted to the Spanish
SC only for about a month (and had just 19 or so movies before), I consider it a
success that I am now in 1/3 of the movie part and 1/10 of the book part (even though
a few more books are already waiting to be finished and couted in). I hope to finish
Spanish SC soon enough to dive into German, for which I need more theoretical
preparation (as Kanewai suggests). I see quite a lot of progress in my skills, even
though some of it is too tied to being used to the particular series or author. I
think I'll see a large jump in overall skills at the end of the challenge.

I quite agree with Kanewai, even though I think both SCs have got some merit of their

SC2 is significantly easier than the madness of taking two Advanced (=double) SC1s.
Really, I am still continuing my SC1 commitment. I have finished the original 100/100
in both languages last year but I want to get to 200x 90 mins and 20 000 pages in each
because I am stubborn and find it beneficial to my learning. My progress is documented
in my logs.

The new SC is more motivating, as it is easier and I really love the bot and the
"competition" against people a few places above me on the ladder. It feeds my inner
child and helps me keep going.

I think the 5000 pages I've signed up for (in two languages) are a very nice beginning
but I will probably strive for the 20000 as a looooong term commitment after the

Another thing I love about the bot is very simple. Thanks to the "name_of_movie/book"
piece, there is a nice little archive of SC ideas and very simple to use. Thanks for

As Kanewai considers the question of when should one dive into the native materials. I
agree that your previous knowledge of the language is extremely important but I find
it very useful and motivational to dive in earlier. The two: more formal study and
lots of input, reinforce each other perfectly for me. However, I suppose the situation
is very different for learners of very difficult languages.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 2951 days ago

81 posts - 133 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 Message 698 of 766
12 March 2015 at 3:55pm | IP Logged 
I'm so impressed with all those who have continued to rack up books and films during this challenge! I started
out full blast, with the reading if not the films - okay, I admit it, I'd rather read a book than watch a film or a TV
show any day - but since my move back to the U.S., things have slowed down drastically.

Part of the slowdown is due to the lack of urgency: I pretty much reached my own personal goal of getting back
up to speed in French. So while I still don't understand every single word in French books, or catch every
dialogue in French films, my comprehension is back to where it was when I was using my French every day, and
maybe even beyond that.

Another part is the return to a completely Anglophone culture: Northern Florida is NOT a hotspot for other
languages/cultures. I miss the multiple languages I would hear every time I took a walk in The Netherlands; it
really encouraged me to improve the one foreign language I did manage to master back in the day...

I'm still determined to reach the 100 films goal, but it might take me longer than I had initially planned. I have a
backlog of French films/TV series to work through, so I'll get there....eventually :-)...

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4036 days ago

980 posts - 1594 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, English, German
Studies: Russian, Swedish, French

 Message 699 of 766
12 March 2015 at 7:04pm | IP Logged 
Since finishing the Double Super Challenge in English back in November, I’ve slowed down quite a bit. Partly it’s because the pace was simply unsustainable long term and partly because I’ve felt that at my level progress is practically null in the absence of more active studying.

I must admit, though, that I’m still struggling to find the right balance between passive input and focused studying, so I’m in a sort of limbo right now, where it seems that I’m not actually committed to either form of language work.

On the German side of the Challenge, I’m inching towards the end of the “movie” part, whereas I’m still behind in the “book” part. As we’ve just reached the mid-point in the challenge, I’m still optimistic that I’ll be able to finish in time, I just need to put a few weekends to good use and immerse myself in a novel for a few hours at a time.

kanewai wrote:
Some HTLAL regulars used to urge people to jump into native materials as soon as
possible, and to move away from the text books early on. After 1 1/2 Super Challenges I feel the opposite. Immersion in native materials was really useful for me
after I had a solid base in the language. It was just frustrating before that.

I totally agree. Immersion in native materials when you’re still starting out in a language may lead only to frustration and burnout. Yet, at an advanced level it doesn’t seem all that useful either. You end up reading or watching movies for the fun of it (which is not a bad reason per se, but not necessarily what the Super Challenge is about) rather than for what these activities can do for your language skills.

At the end of the Super Challenge it will be interesting to try and establish for whom all this time spent on native materials has worked out best. What level were the people who saw the biggest improvement?

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3855 days ago

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

 Message 700 of 766
12 March 2015 at 9:29pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
As Kanewai considers the question of when should one dive into the native materials. I agree that your previous knowledge of the language is extremely important but I find it very useful and motivational to dive in earlier. The two: more formal study and lots of input, reinforce each other perfectly for me. However, I suppose the situation is very different for learners of very difficult languages.

You have no idea to which extent...I had trouble in 2014 because I started native materials, at least in the amount required for the SC, too early for Russian, Georgian and Chinese. Only this year, after having restarted working with textbooks for Georgian and after having studied more from Russian and Chinese, I started to make some sense and actually understand something from what I heard and, especially, from what I read. When you only know about 10-15% of the words in a foreign text, there's not much you can learn even from looking at a parallel translation. Right, you may associate a whole sentence here with a whole sentence there, but sentences are not translated literally. Besides, it helps much little with the point of making your vocabulary grow. When I picked a 10-word sentence in Georgian from which I only knew two, I didn't have the mental energy to process its meaning and then go through trial and error for figuring out the rest; and even if I eventually managed, it would still mean too many words to learn at once. Not effective, not productive. With Estonian now, I'm going to start native materials by working intensively at one short page and/or one short video until I think I can actually benefit from consuming media extensively.

By the way, just a reminder: I'm not on Twitter and haven't signed up for the bot but I'm part of the challenge. I had signed up for the French Challenge and for half challenges for Mandarin, Norwegian, Russian, Georgian and German. So far, I've completed the reading part of French and went through the video halves I planned for Mandarin and Russian. I'm close to finishing the reading half of Norwegian. Since I was lagging behind in French, I started to speed up and I plan to finish it in three months. Then I will work on the missing audio files, which aren't that bad, only German is at 30 hours only (the half challenge being of 75 hours). I don't think I will be able to finish the reading part of Georgian or Russian though, as I usually can't take more than 4 pages from a book other than a textbook without getting over my head. So, this proves my point above. I can take 10 pages a day in German but it was a language I was already B1 at when I started, thanks to my false start a decade ago and the couple of years of Norwegian. I was at the right level for Norwegian and German reading and I saw the expected benefits; they were only marginal for French where I was already at a C level; and I couldn't learn more from my A2ish-early B1 languages until I changed my methodology and brought textbooks back into the game. As for Italian, for example, I could start the challenge today already at a C-ish level of comprehension, so it's as if it were a different challenge when you compare a transparent and a non-transparent language. In the future, if I add another Slavic language, I do expect Russian to give me a headstart like the one Norwegian gave for German (not so much as the one Italian got from Portuguese, Spanish and French, for sure).
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5286 days ago

9753 posts - 15778 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 701 of 766
19 March 2015 at 7:04am | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
2. Answer Serpent's question by giving a short status report: How much have you done, what are you satisfied with/dissatisfied with when it comes to your own performance, have you seen any progress yet?

Answering my own question :-) The biggest progress I've had is of course upgrading Spanish and German to basic fluency (though German was basically there when the challenge started). In general the biggest improvement is probably in Spanish/Portuguese/Italian, which I'm regarding as a trio. TBH right now I'm not even that sure that I need to get one reading star in each, though I probably will, if nothing else then for the great content they offer.

I'm extremely motivated by the badges. I generally post every 50 pages/every 90 min anyway, so that's a way to ensure I do something every week.

In general it's time to accept that I'm a very average reader, and that I love books and literature but not necessarily reading. I admire everyone who already reads a lot and needs the nudge to read more in a particular language. If it wasn't for the challenge, I'd probably be reading very little outside of Tadoku now. It tends to go in waves for me.

Right now my biggest excitement are books in Swedish, although I'm intimidated at the same time. I also feel the need to read in my other non-Romance languages and Romanian, but I guess it's demotivating to know that they'll only truly "count" if I manage to make them my best SC language, the title that's been alternating betweeen the big three. Of course simply having even one star in each language will be a great achievement, and especially a reading star too. IDK, maybe I just know that I'll fail to reach "25 books" in at least a couple of languages (and I'd rather have 10 "books" in each of Danish, Belarusian, Romanian than a star in one and 5 books or less in the other two).

Hm maybe I just should rank the languages that will benefit from reading... starting from the bottom that would be:
(modern) English, Finnish, Portuguese
Italian/German/Polish - each situation is unique, but generally these feel very familiar and comfortable but I'm not satisfied with my comprehension and active vocabulary
Croatian/Belarusian - also familiar and comfortable, but there's still lots of potential with listening
Swedish/Danish - a lot of potential with listening, but currently struggling to use it for comprehensible input

But then there's also the fact that I was going to read the Canterbury tales, which should be fascinating with my Germanic languages. And similarly, I have a good comprehension of Ukrainian but prior to the challenge I didn't read it since 2007, so it would be nice to look at it differently now that I'm learning several other Slavic languages seriously. And I miss reading more Finnish too. Also for Romanian and Croatian, maybe what I really need is some informal stuff online, *but* with proper diacritics.

Oh and currently I'm in for a Germanic Tadoku, with German/Swedish/English. (I considered Dutch but decided against it)

And I have 22 books listed as currently reading on goodreads, since for a relatively large total page count I need to switch between books a lot. (many are non-fiction or collections of related stories... and I actually started one right while writing this post :D)

As for some solutions, I suppose I should also tweet smaller units in languages where 50 pages might take pretty long... I've also decided to start updating my page numbers on goodreads more often. And maybe I should do more L2-L3 LR again even if I can't count it for both languages anymore.
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4165 days ago

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

 Message 702 of 766
22 March 2015 at 10:54am | IP Logged 
il me faut "Un village français saison 5, épisode 9"

Maintenant je suis en train de télécharger plus d'épisodes d'"Un village français" des saisons 5 et six (j'ai déjà
regardé toutes les épisodes jusqu'à l'épisode 7 de la 5éme saison). En essayant de télécharger en encore
plus j'ai remarqué qu'il y a un problème avec l'épisode 9 de la 5ème saison. Je télécharge les fichiers du
format .avi du site web '' et donc je ne veut pas vraiment trouver cette épisode sans des sous-
titres anglais parce que je veux continuer comme d'habitude et je les regarde avec ma femme aussi. S'il vous
plaît, est-ce qu'il y a quelqu'un ici qui puisse m'envoyer le fichier (peut-être par le bias de Dropbox par

Now I'm busy downloading more episodes of "Un village français" from season 5 and 6 (I've already watched
all the episodes up to episode 7 of the 5th season). While trying to download more of them I noticed that
there's a problem with episode 9 from the 5th season. I download the files in .avi format from the website
'' and therefore I don't really want to find this episode without English subtitles because I want to
continual as usual and I watch them with my wife also. Please, is there anyone here that could send the file to
me (perhaps via Dropbox for example)?
1 person has voted this message useful

Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 2833 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 Message 703 of 766
22 March 2015 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:

Right now my biggest excitement are books in
, although I'm intimidated at the same time.

I'm currently reading The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, which was originally
written in Swedish. Of course, I'm reading the English translation. That counts as reading a Swedish book, though,
right? Ha!
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 3311 days ago

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

 Message 704 of 766
29 March 2015 at 3:47am | IP Logged 
Upon completing 100+ books and films in both Spanish and German, I have allowed myself to take a break and have plunged into reading and watching English language stuff, which I've consumed very little of the last couple of years while doing the first SC and now the second one. I was fairly advanced in both these languages, so this challenge felt more like entertainment than studying, which was great for me, since real life has been presenting enough of a challenge recently. In 2015, outside of the SC, I've done absolutely no studying.

I've pretty much given up on the Russian part of my Super Challenge. I may add some films before December, but it's quite unlikely I'll get any more reading in. I am a beginner and haven't seriously studied my Russian learning materials in months unfortunately, although occasionally I'll dip into them for a few minutes. I hope things will settle down for me at some point and I can get back to Russian. Doing a SC as a beginner is much harder than doing it as an intermediate or advanced learner, and I don't honestly know how much I got out of the Russian I read. I hope when I do get back to it, I will have some memory of it due to the time I spent as part of the SC.

As always a giant thank you to the organizers for the ideas, work and structure!

Edited by BAnna on 29 March 2015 at 3:48am

2 persons have voted this message useful

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