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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3601 days ago

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

 Message 753 of 766
18 December 2015 at 9:30pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
How is everyone doing?

So, so close. I'm so painfully close.

I have 220 pages left to read in Italian, and 240 in French. I was massively behind
at the end of February, and it's taken a lot of focus to get this close.    It really
is going to take me right up until December 30 to know if I make it (the 31st is a
lost cause).    

I only have two movies in French and five in Italian. That's more do-able.


I wish I knew how to run a twitterbot! I love using it, but programming languages are
the most foreign of them all for me.

Edited by kanewai on 18 December 2015 at 9:33pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5309 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 754 of 766
18 December 2015 at 10:56pm | IP Logged 
Oh don't worry, it looks like rdearman and emk can arrange hosting it on the new site :)
Good luck e buona fortuna!!!
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 2719 days ago

291 posts - 444 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 755 of 766
22 December 2015 at 12:28am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
How is everyone doing?

I completed my Double French Challenge on Dec 12. I pushed hard the first two weeks of December as I was
afraid if I didn't, with visiting family for the holidays, I wouldn't complete it.

I wish success to all those that are close!! Don't give up!!!

Edited by Mohave on 22 December 2015 at 12:32am

4 persons have voted this message useful

Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 2856 days ago

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

 Message 756 of 766
24 December 2015 at 10:43pm | IP Logged 

(copied and pasted from my log at That Other Site:)

I have officially completed the Super Challenge in Spanish! *cue wild applause*

The results:


Reading has gotten really pleasant and easy for me.

When I first started the Super Challenge, I was able to read and enjoy novels. However, I couldn't read right before
bed, since I had a hard time focusing when I was tired, and I often used a 20-minute timer so that I didn't put the
book down after 10 or 15 minutes.

I can simply read for pleasure now, without having to put a timer on. I don't have the same stamina in Spanish that
I have in English, but I can get lost in a book for 30 or 45 minutes before looking up to see how much time has
passed. I can read Spanish novels in bed or in a hot bath, both of which would have put me to sleep at the
beginning of the challenge. That's a huge win in my book! (See what I did there?)

I feel that my vocabulary has improved through extensive reading, as has my instinct for grammar and sentence


Listening has gotten *much* easier for me. I can follow most of what I hear, assuming that it's Castilian Spanish.
Sometimes I get a bit lost during arguments or when everyone's speaking at the same time, but I'm usually able to
pick up the thread again without much trouble. I can generally understand Latin American Spanish very well, but it
takes me a bit longer to get into the groove.

My husband watched two full series with me (3 seasons each of Isabel and Gran Hotel), so I had access to subtitles
far too often. While I tried to ignore the subtitles, I can be quite compulsive about reading every word (even if I'm
watching closed-captioning in English), so it was hard not to look at them. I do think that my listening
comprehension would have shown even more dramatic growth were it not for the subtitles. But then my husband
wouldn't have added “no lo sé” to his daily vocabulary, and that would be a sad thing indeed.


As I've already mentioned, I feel that the Super Challenge has led to dramatic improvements in my receptive
abilities. It's had less of an effect on my productive language.

Over the past year and a half, I've put a much higher emphasis on input than on output. I probably spent about 3
hours per month speaking Spanish, and a tiny fraction of that writing. As a result, I don't feel that my speaking or
writing have improved. If anything, they may have gotten worse.

But I do feel that I have a very strong Spanish foundation now and that I'm at the perfect place to start improving
my output – all thanks to extensive reading and listening.

Want to read a few loooong posts reviewing the books that I read and the TV shows that I watched? Here you go:

Spanish SC books and films

Thanks to all SC-ers for the support and inspiration! See you in 2016!

Edited by Stelle on 24 December 2015 at 10:43pm

5 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3878 days ago

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

 Message 757 of 766
26 December 2015 at 11:14pm | IP Logged 
Evaluating the Super Challenge is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks of the difficult year of 2015. I have mixed feelings about the way the SC went along for me, and 2015 was mostly about finding the right way (the quest continues in 2016, even though I'm not continuing the SC).

First, the languages I've signed up:

French full challenge
Norwegian half challenge
Mandarin half challenge
Georgian half challenge
German half challenge
Russian half challenge

Now my stats:

Quantitatively, I've reached all my goals for the SC, and beyond:

- I reached over 10000 pages in French, which would apply for an original challenge, or over 200 books in the 2014-2015 rules
- I reached a full films challenge for Mandarin

My total stats were (not likely to change much from December 26th to 31st):

27185 pages, roughly 543 books
796:06:37 hours, roughly 530 films

So far, so good in the quantitative aspect. Qualitatively, though. 2015 was the year I realized that I was wrong about making the SC my main learning moment. SC is about extensive reading/listening. I not only was listening and reading extensively, I was doing so unfocusedly. As a result, I noticed I progressed very little in my target languages. This is the main reason, the other one being the fact I was a shaky A2 in nearly all of them. Even in the stronger one, like French, I don't think I went that far. I was probably at a C1 level when I started and remained so.

That said, the SC was useful for me to find out what NOT to do. Before the SC, I had been reading mostly intensively and this is what led me to reach fluency in French. I was also combining different listening strategies: subtitles in L2, in L1, no subtitles, dubbed, native video. With the SC the focus was so much in quality, and in the bad, careless way, that I interrupted what I had been doing of good in my studies and replaced it with that careless reading/listening. I thought that, alone, with no conscious effort to pay attention and understand and make it into comprehensible input would lead me into my goals, and I was desperately wrong. I went from what was close to a traditional grammar-translation approach to a native-material one but without graded comprehensible input. A disaster.

As a result, I spent most of 2015 trying to correct what I was doing wrong, but as the pressure for numbers kept on I didn't always have the time or the mood to do the required intensive tools to get back on track with my languages, especially the opaque ones. I dealt with this partially through reviewing textbooks (Georgian) and working on new ones (Mandarin and Russian), but even when doing textbooks I sometimes would 'study' a textbook extensively, moving on without paying much attention to the content of the lesson, especially the vocabulary. Moving on to the next resource when you have hundreds of textbooks is no big deal for Russian or Mandarin, but a main ingredient of failure for Georgian. What's more, not paying enough attention, not studying at least a bit is troubling in either situation.

What I learned from the SC: no kidding about comprehensible input. Keep having it. Don't expect you'll learn massively from massive non-comprehensible input. Volume is important when you have to understand a tricky grammar topic and you remember having read this construction quite often; also when you read a declension rule and the 'right' way already feels natural as you have encountered it so often in the thousands of pages you've rea. But this is too much of a luxury given that there is so much you still have to learn intensively. Especially in my case: I don't use SRS, so if I expect to learn a word just through meeting it often enough, it helps to make sure I understand and reflect upon the context it is being used, especially the most important ones. And this is my mistake: I went for the SC before doing my homework. I don't know about others, but if I could start over I'd do most of my learning intensively (both with textbooks and native materials) and I'd slowly add extensive input, or rather i'd wait until I could take it, which hasn't happened for any of my languages but French and Norwegian, and this situation had much likely happened before the SC, when I still made most of my learning intensively. Actually, this is what I'm doing with Estonian: I added native materials almost intensively while still making good use of textbooks; I'm going to review grammar after having had access to this input; and I'm focusing on quality over quantity: 1 page of native material is probably 4 times a typical textbook lesson and so is enough for me to make my way into extensive readings later.

I should also learn to get rid of my crutches, or at least perform part of my learning without them. Much of my bilingual/L-R reading in German happened without enough attention to language, to vocabulary, grammar, word order, phonology, to associating meaning and sound, as I was reading important stuff in terms of content. So, in order not to lose content, I'd just have a glance at the German and then another one at the English and then reflect upon the content for a while. The material had a much diminished impact on language learning that way. What I should have done: tried to understand the sentence in German first, consciously, and only then resorting to the translation. The same goes for most of my Georgian and Russian reading.

Congratulations to the participants and good luck for all those who are going to try the next one. The Super Challenge taught me a lot about myself as a learner and allowed me to have access to some of the most fun books and videos I've ever enjoyed. I'm sure I have learned a lot from it. Now I need to fine tune my learning process and even though it doesn't match with the SC, I'm still sure it is a valuable source of motivation and team spirit.
5 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3580 days ago

1181 posts - 1912 votes 
Speaks: German*, EnglishC2, Korean
Studies: Persian

 Message 758 of 766
28 December 2015 at 10:56am | IP Logged 
I'm also really close to completing the Super Challenge this year with Korean. I'm on my last book which would take the count up to 100 - but I have about 250 pages left to read. I don't know if I can manage to complete those. I'll try to get as much done from today to Wednesday, but as I have to work my time is limited. I might need to read a lot on the 31st.

Also, I still need to do some listening - my film count is at 97.5 . That in itself shouldn't be a problem, but there's just so little time left overall.

Still, I'm determined to make it. The Super Challenge was an immense project and helped a lot to get my Korean up to a passive C-something-level. I did do most of my reading intensively, so it was immensely effective, although time consuming.
3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4063 days ago

169 posts - 211 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, German
Studies: Cantonese

 Message 759 of 766
30 December 2015 at 11:29pm | IP Logged 
How long after the challenge has ended can we post our updates? Can we post on the day after
the challenge, or is the bot closed then?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5309 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 760 of 766
31 December 2015 at 2:09pm | IP Logged 
I think last time surrealix gave us a few days to catch up.

1 person has voted this message useful

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