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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3102 days ago

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

 
 Message 713 of 766
19 April 2015 at 2:36am | IP Logged 
@BAnna: we're not already speaking of SC II in the past tense are we?

Like BAnna, I had studied a bit of French before SC I, and I was just about able to read children's books. By the end of it I was able to read Le Petit Nicolas with a bit of struggle, although I only completed about 50 books (which would have counted for a full challenge in the new one). Near the beginning of SC II I picked up several of the Petit Nicolas books, and found that reading them was fairly easy and fun. The only difficult book I've tackled so far in SC II is Thierry Jonquet's "Les orpailleurs" (with the help of the kindle dictionary). It was quite a struggle at times, but near the end I was reading it more and more compulsively, and in the last few days of reading it I was staying up till 2am reading it. It was still a struggle, but the story drew me along. I never thought I would get so sucked into a French novel, and I was impressed with myself even though it was a mere 400 pages. ;)

By comparison, I've been reading more Hindi in the past couple of months. I've not read much, and every page is difficult. Before this SC I'd studied Hindi on and off since 1977 (I was 9 and at school in India, if you're curious), but I'd never read more than easy children's books (I think I managed about 10 pages during SC I). I'm finding Hindi reading a lot more difficult for three reasons: I was a bit rusty with the script so reading fluently was hard, there aren't all of the cognates like French, and there's no Hindi popup dictionary on the Kindle (as far as I know). I still hope that by the end of this SC I'll be reading an easy novel in Hindi, and by next SC easy novels in Hindi will be fun for me.

So judging by my experience, it will take 3 Super Challenges to get to a good level of reading fluency in a beginner language. Over the first SC you struggle through comics, children's books, getting to easy novels. By the time you've reached the end of the first SC, easy novels are more fun than chore. The second SC is when you begin to be able to tackle harder stuff and actually enjoy them a fair bit while still finding them hard. I'm hoping that if you persist to a third SC, you'll be reading pretty much whatever you want quite fluently.

Edited by Jeffers on 19 April 2015 at 2:37am

2 persons have voted this message useful



BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2815 days ago

409 posts - 615 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 
 Message 714 of 766
19 April 2015 at 4:40am | IP Logged 
@Jeffers, No, not past tense yet, but since I met my personal goal for the challenge, the pressure's off and I can just muddle about, so no more urgency. :)
1 person has voted this message useful



kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/kanewai
Joined 3082 days ago

1386 posts - 3054 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 715 of 766
20 April 2015 at 10:34pm | IP Logged 
Luso wrote:
So, I'd like to know who your "French Manzonis" are. :)


I have a couple French Manzonis!

For Marguerite Yourcenar it's a question of both vocabulary and style. She writes
historic novels with a lot of words that were new to me. In L'oeuvre au noir
her main character is a medieval alchemist and philosopher, and in Mémoires
d'Hadrien
it was a dying Roman emperor. Here's a sample from the English
translation of Hadrien:

A world wearied of us would seek other masters; what had seemed to us wise would
be pointless for them, what we had found beautiful they would abominate. Like the
initiate to Mithraism the human race has need, perhaps, of a periodical bloodbath and
descent into the grave. I could see the return of barbaric codes, of implacable gods,
of unquestioned despotism of savage chieftains, a world broken up into enemy states
and eternally prey to insecurity. Other sentinels menaced by arrows would patrol the
walls of future cities; the stupid, cruel, and obscene game would go on, and the human
species in growing older would doubtless add new refinements of horror. Our epoch, the
faults and limitations of which I knew better than anyone else would perhaps be
considered one day, by contrast, as one of the golden ages of man.


Even in English I have to read this slowly to understand it. In French it takes me a
couple passes. The whole book isn't like this ... I wouldn't have finished it if it
were.

Another is George Perec. La Vie mode d'emploi is an experimental novel, built
like a combination jigsaw puzzle and chess game. He spends a lot of time giving
detailed descriptions of the furniture and interior design of every room in a French
apartment building. Now, I have no interest in learning ten French terms for hardwood
floors, or any of the dozen types of couches. Eventually I learned to identify those
sections and just glide through them without worrying about all the technical design
terms.

More recently, Jean Genet has been a challenge. He writes in a stream-of-conscious
style (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg were both inspired by him), so it can be hard
to pick up terms just through context ... as the context was always shifting. On top
of that he uses a lot of street argot from the 1940's demi-monde. I'd be curious to
know whether a modern French reader would have trouble with understanding him. I
certainly don't ever use 1940's American street slang after all, but I do recognize it
from the movies.

None of these authors were impossible, and I really loved Yourcenar and Genet's work
in the end. Perec, not so much. And I didn't struggle through every chapter - just
enough to remind me that I am still very much in the 'learning' phase.

Edited by kanewai on 20 April 2015 at 10:36pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4790 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 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 716 of 766
21 April 2015 at 2:47am | IP Logged 
In Russian I definitely couldn't read Dostoevsky or Tolstoy after 16 months or 3 years ;)

In German I'm still not quite used to reading. Consolidation needed. I've only read Remarque for uni and hated it (ended up buying an e-book in Italian). No other experience with classics.

I think 3 SC's are definitely overkill, assuming you go for both 20 months and 5-10k pages. If you don't actually complete a SC, then I agree that by reading and other learning for 6 years you'll get to a good level, but if you're consistent, 4 years should be enough even for a difficult language. And if you actually complete it, then one SC is likely to be enough - the trouble is that most people simply haven't been able to do that much reading in something that's not English/Spanish/French/German or closely related to another native/fluent language (like Polish in my case). Fortunately Radioclare is a great exception in this second challenge :) Also, if you simply avoid burnout and continue reading as much as you can for 3 years or so, I think you'll reach a pretty good level regardless of whether you do 5-10k pages or less (unless your time is extremely limited). But extending the challenge past the official 20 months (like Cavesa did) is also a great idea.

(I think in Finnish I've done 5k total but not 10k. In English I haven't even read 5k actual book pages in 15+ years)

Edited by Serpent on 21 April 2015 at 2:54am

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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3359 days ago

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

 
 Message 717 of 766
29 April 2015 at 11:57pm | IP Logged 
After nearly 1 year of SC I can say for my weaker, non-transparent languages started from A1 or at most A2ish one single super challenge won't be enough to reach basic reading fluency, but I've seen good progress in the past couple of months, which measn the repetition of vocabulary is summing up to make some texts become a little meaningful. I believe with another Super Challenge I will be able to reach my goal or stay quite close to it, though I still stand that it worked better when I also did some output and when I started reviewing from my textbooks or at least keeping on using them.

In fact, I'm not reading enough in Georgian, Russian or even Chinese to account for completion of even a half challenge, which is what I had in mind initialy. Reading that much in languages where you start with understanding only 20% of the words leads easily to burnout. I start feeling tired after 3 pages of any of these languages, so I usually read 4-5 in each and I have to count what I read from materials aimed at learners, like bilingual readers, newspaper readers or even some textbooks with longer texts. I think only at my second challenge I will be at the apropriate level to read these languages in a more relaxed way.
1 person has voted this message useful



Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3527 days ago

4143 posts - 8862 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 718 of 766
30 April 2015 at 11:27am | IP Logged 
Ok, everyone: We are one year into the challenge, so it's time to see what you have achieved, and how you
intend to reach your end goal. So that is the challenge for May :-)

Some of you have already achieved your goals - and I am deeply impressed!!!

Some of you, like me, have more of a 'hare' approach. (Fool around until it get's time to finish, and then run
like hell at the end).

RUSSIAN
Films: I am actually not as behind as it might seem, I guess I have seen between 25 -45% of what I am
supposed to see in Russian - I just still have not gotten around to registering it yet. My strategy to see the rest
is to start seeing more episodes of 'Kuchnia' and try to do a few each week.

Books: I have started and dropped at least 40 books, but the only ones I have finished are the ones I have
registered. Which is next to nothing. I am counting on getting to a level in Russian by September which
allows me to read A LOT for the last 4 months. 98 books in 4 months will be about... Ok. Not going to do the
math. :-)

I can do the impossible. I know I can. I have done so before. I did high school in one year instead of three. I
passed my French exam at the university of Oslo in one year instead of two, as the youngest in history. I
wrote my dissertation in 6 weeks and a day (as opposed to 6 months, since I had procrastinated for the first 4
and a half months. )

My French SC I will probably have to let slide, but I am not going to make that decision until after the summer
when I see where I am with my Russian SC. It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings. And I have not even started
warming up my voice yet :-)

So that's my plan. What is yours? :-)
1 person has voted this message useful



maydayayday
Pentaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3412 days ago

564 posts - 839 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, SpanishB2, FrenchB2
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Russian, Swedish, Turkish, Polish, Persian, Vietnamese
Studies: Urdu

 
 Message 719 of 766
30 April 2015 at 12:23pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Ok, everyone: We are one year into the challenge, so it's time to see what you have achieved, and how you
intend to reach your end goal. So that is the challenge for May :-)

Some of you have already achieved your goals - and I am deeply impressed!!!

Some of you, like me, have more of a 'hare' approach. (Fool around until it get's time to finish, and then run
like hell at the end).

RUSSIAN
Films: I am actually not as behind as it might seem, I guess I have seen between 25 -45% of what I am
supposed to see in Russian - I just still have not gotten around to registering it yet. My strategy to see the rest
is to start seeing more episodes of 'Kuchnia' and try to do a few each week.

Books: I have started and dropped at least 40 books, but the only ones I have finished are the ones I have
registered. Which is next to nothing. I am counting on getting to a level in Russian by September which
allows me to read A LOT for the last 4 months. 98 books in 4 months will be about... Ok. Not going to do the
math. :-)

I can do the impossible. I know I can. I have done so before. I did high school in one year instead of three. I
passed my French exam at the university of Oslo in one year instead of two, as the youngest in history. I
wrote my dissertation in 6 weeks and a day (as opposed to 6 months, since I had procrastinated for the first 4
and a half months. )

My French SC I will probably have to let slide, but I am not going to make that decision until after the summer
when I see where I am with my Russian SC. It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings. And I have not even started
warming up my voice yet :-)

So that's my plan. What is yours? :-)


At that rate I could start Super Challenge 2 now and still complete..... anyone for a quick chorus of 'It's not where you start, it's where you finish!" ???


1 person has voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3669 days ago

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

 
 Message 720 of 766
30 April 2015 at 1:23pm | IP Logged 
I'm not doing that fantastically with the SC myself. It was never a goal of mine to do an SC and aside from the
initial enthusiasm I've not been that 'into it'. Before anyone frets with concern that yet another lawsuit will be
filed against the SC... I had a prenup- I could at least walk away with a suitcase full of courses that I'm
permitted to work through at a snail's pace. In other words it's not the SC's fault, it's mine- courses have been
my main mission and lately I am even letting them down as motivation wanes and deliberate self
sabotage/procrastination rear their ugly heads again. So, what's the point of this post? I'm not really sure. I
actually would like to be surprising myself here at the end of the SC with a consistent speedy run to the finish
line however. Fingers crossed, let's rid that inner turmoil PM! You can do it (Arnie's voice).

PS I am actually reading a sprinkling of native materials... thats better than I had originally planned before
signing up, so not all is lost


1 person has voted this message useful



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