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The Cheating & Consolidating Method

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kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/kanewai
Joined 2998 days ago

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

 
 Message 97 of 136
08 August 2014 at 2:35am | IP Logged 
OK, I want to play! I made an attempt on the next 250 words in the story. I
translated quickly, literally, and without a dictionary. I did try and use the most
natural sounding English tense rather than trying to recreate the French tenses.

88% Automatic: 220 words
9% Decipherable (6 phrases; actual word count = 22)
3% Unclear (8 words)

I might have a lower comprehension level with other books; I've read two of Jean
Giono's novels, and so am already familiar with his style.

What's interesting is that there were some phrases, such as sa bergerie, dans une
ondulation du plateau
, where I have a perfectly good vision of what Giono is
describing, but where I stumbled over an English translation.

I included in my "decipherable" count the phrases where I had a general but not
specific idea of what the phrase meant; or where I had to read twice to catch the
meaning.

_______________________________________

C'était un beau jour de juin avec grand soleil, mais sur ces terres sans abri et
hautes dans le ciel, le vent soufflait avec une brutalité
insupportable. Ses grondements dans les carcasses des maisons
étaient ceux d'un fauve dérangé dans son repas.


It was a beautiful sunny June day, but on these lands without trees and hautes
(clouds?) in the sky, the wind blew with an unbearable brutality. Its groans in the
carcasses of the houses were those of a mad beast (?) disturbed during its meal.

Il me fallut lever le camp. A cinq heures de marche de là, je n'avais toujours pas
trouvé d'eau et rien ne pouvait me donner l'espoir d'en trouver. C'était partout la
même sécheresse, les mêmes herbes ligneuses. Il me sembla
apercevoir dans le lointain une petite silhouette noire, debout.
Je la pris pour le tronc d'un arbre solitaire. A tout hasard, je
me dirigeai vers elle. C'était un berger. Une trentaine de moutons couchés sur la terre
brûlante se reposaient près de lui.


It was necessary that I break camp. Five hours walk from there, I had still not found
water and nothing was giving me the hope of finding any. Everywhere was the same
dryness, the same herbs ligneuses. I seemed to perceive in the distance a small
black silhouette, debout. I took it for the trunk of a solitary tree. Randomly,
I changed my course towards it. It was a shepherd. About thirty sheep, lying on the
brutal earth, rested close to him.

Il me fit boire à sa gourde et, un peu plus tard, il me conduisit à sa bergerie,
dans une ondulation du plateau. Il tirait son eau - excellente - d'un
trou naturel, très profond, au-dessus duquel il avait installé
un treuil rudimentaire.


He had me drink from his gourd and, a little later, he led me to his bergerie
(shepherd’s house?), in an ondulation on the plateau. He drew some water – excellent –
from a natural trou, very deep, above which he had installed a rudimentary
treuil.

Cet homme parlait peu. C'est le fait des solitaires, mais
on le sentait sûr de lui et confiant dans cette
assurance
. C'était insolite dans ce pays dépouillé de
tout. Il n'habitait pas une cabane mais une vraie maison en pierre où l'on voyait très
bien comment son travail personnel avait rapiécé la ruine qu'il
avait trouvé là à son arrivée. Son toit était solide et étanche. Le vent qui le
frappait faisait sur les tuiles le bruit de la mer sur les
plages.


The man spoke little. It is the nature of solitary men, but one feels sure of him, and
comfortable in that assurance. It is insolite (not respectable? rude?) in that
land denatured of everything. He was not living in a cabin but in an actual stone house
where one saw very well how his own work had rapiécé (repaired?) the ruin that
he had found on his arrival. The roof was solid and étanche. The wind which blew
against it made against the tuiles (tiles?) the sound of the ocean on the sand.

_______________________________________

I'm open to corrections if I missed anything egregious!   


Edited by kanewai on 08 August 2014 at 2:39am

3 persons have voted this message useful



Eagle32
Groupie
New Zealand
Joined 4610 days ago

56 posts - 83 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 98 of 136
08 August 2014 at 4:29am | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:
I'm amused that you missed lavandes but had no problem with comme un vieux nid
de guêpes
!


It's interesting the words different people might consider easier or more obvious than others.

I wouldn't have gotten lavandes without the gardening and botany context.

While, comme un vieux nid de guêpes, was an easy one for me. Although not due to anything to do with gardening, but rather from reading some of my favourite sci-fi translated into French where "Guêpes de combat" is how Combat Wasps (a type of missile) are translated. And nid comes up periodically in fantasy books and some of the online gaming related comics I have read.

Edited by Eagle32 on 08 August 2014 at 12:46pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Arnaud25
Diglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 1951 days ago

129 posts - 234 votes 
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 99 of 136
08 August 2014 at 7:59am | IP Logged 
Here is a page with a translation in several languages of "l'homme qui plantait des arbres".
@kanewai:
- terre brûlante is litterary "burning earth/land" and not "brutal earth". Here "burning" means "very hot"/"dried by the sun".
- ces terres sans abri et hautes dans le ciel: lands without shelter and high in the sky (the guy walks in the mountain: he sees the skyline drawn by the moutain around him)
- "insolite" is "out of the ordinary", "unusual"
- "rapiécé" is usually used for garments: when you have a hole in your trousers, you sew a piece of tissue on them to repair them: here, the house is compared to an old garment full of holes that has been patched up.
- "A tout hasard" is not "randomly": the idea is rather "one never knows" (he sees a black silhouette of a tree looking like a man: one never knows, it's perhaps really a man)
- "trou" and "debout", are very common, I'm sure you already met them.


Edited by Arnaud25 on 08 August 2014 at 9:27am

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3641 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 100 of 136
08 August 2014 at 1:00pm | IP Logged 
[Attention conservation notice: Long-term HTLAL readers probably know all of this already. Certainly kanewai does. This post is intended more for first-time intermediate language learners, in hopes of providing real-world examples, so that my advice doesn't accidentally mutate into something evil and start waylaying random forum visitors.]

kanewai wrote:
OK, I want to play! I made an attempt on the next 250 words in the story. I
translated quickly, literally, and without a dictionary.

Thank you! Your French comprehension is quite good; more than sufficient to read pleasurably and with reasonable understanding.

And thank you for posting this. This was a great exercise, because it's another visible example of consolidation in action. As you read, you understood a lot (and reinforced everything you read). Other things you guessed, largely thanks to context, cognates and roots. And of course, some things remained mostly opaque.

So "opaque", "decipherable" and "automatic" text were all mixed together, and there was a large enough harvest of "decipherable"/"i+1" input for you to learn something new. Again, this learning tends to happen on both the unconscious and conscious levels, because sometimes the context is so overwhelming that you don't even realize something was unknown.

Going through the things you marked, here are my personal reactions:

Quote:
ces terres sans abri et hautes dans le ciel "these lands without shelter and high in the sky"
ses grondements "growls, rumbles"
un fauve dérangé dans son repas "a wild beast bothered during its dinner"
herbes ligneuses "woody herbs", though I couldn't translate ligneux in isolation, because it's a slightly more technical botanical term, and I don't know the English equivalent.
debout "upright", a freebie for parents in a French-speaking household
A tout hasard "just in case". I'm marking this "opaque" because I couldn't give a sensible translation in this particular context, even though I see this often and generally understand it in other contexts.
trou "hole"
treuil "pully, winch". This is on one of my Anki sentence cards, but I had to use context and think for a while to remember it.
le fait des solitaires literally "the fact of solitary people", here "generally the way/nature of the solitary"
on le sentait sûr de lui "one felt him to be sure of himself"
confiant dans cette assurance "confident in this assurance"
insolite "unique". There are other translations; this one often works well.
rapiécé. Totally unfamiliar, except that I can gather from the context that it's something you do when fixing ruins.
étanche "watertight, sealed"
tuiles "(roof) tiles"


Again, there's no guarantee that my reactions are correct, either, merely that my brain is convinced that they are. But you can see that as we get past the first page, my comprehension is going up. This is partly because I've figured out the author's stylistic tics, and partly because page 20 is often quite a bit easier than page 1, because the author is doing less "scene setting." (And to be fair, my highest comprehension numbers come from page 100+ in SF novels, because there I know quite a bit of specialized vocabulary, and I can often go for several pages without an opaque word.)

When I was around the 2,500 page mark, I would have read this page with a bit more difficulty than kanewai: I would have understood most things, but with a bit more decipherment and guessing.

Anyway, I'm really grateful that kanewai is demonstrating how consolidation works in the real world: plenty of context, some guessing, probably some mistakes—but also some things that get left until later. Of course, there are plenty of "advanced" cheating techniques that can speed up the process: popup dictionaries and marking sentences for later review in Anki are both quite effective at this level, whereas an L1 translation would probably be a distraction here.

Part of the trick is knowing when to let one opaque word or phrase go, because in the time that's saved by moving on, it's possible to consolidate multiple decipherable phrases just a bit more.

3 persons have voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3345 days ago

881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 101 of 136
08 August 2014 at 1:52pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Part of the trick is knowing when to let one opaque word or phrase go, because in the time that's saved by moving on, it's possible to consolidate multiple decipherable phrases just a bit more.


Just thinking aloud, when you are reading along and you find an opaque or decipherable word, I'll assume you do the same things I do. If so in what order do you do them? When I run across a new word while reading I have a little decision tree I use. I underline all "unknown" words, just in case I want to revisit them.

* Does this word seem important?
--> Yes - Try to figure out what the word means from context or grammatical clues. Lookup
--> No - * Have I seen this word before?
           --> Yes - Look up this word because it has occurred frequently.
           --> No - * Can I get the gist of the rest of the sentence/paragraph?
                     --> Yes - Underline and ignore.
                     --> No - Look up this word because the meaning seems to be dependant on it.


Obviously I don't do a "formal" analysis of each word, I just look at it and intuitively pick the action to take from the above. Outside of individual words, I revisit the underlined words after a few pages and I look them up in a batch. If they seem likely to appear again, or important to know then I'll record them somewhere.

BTW, I'm loving the colours. :)







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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3641 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 102 of 136
08 August 2014 at 3:07pm | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
* Does this word seem important?
--> Yes - Try to figure out what the word means from context or grammatical clues. Lookup
--> No - * Have I seen this word before?
             --> Yes - Look up this word because it has occurred frequently.
             --> No - * Can I get the gist of the rest of the sentence/paragraph?
                       --> Yes - Underline and ignore.
                       --> No - Look up this word because the meaning seems to be dependant on it.

That's a nice model of how I tell myself I should do it in theory. :-) In practice, it also tends to involve questions like:

- How lazy am I feeling right now?
- How quickly do I want to find out what's happening?
- Have I been reading for long enough at one sitting that my brain just says, "Yeah, of course you understand all that. Don't worry your little head about it."?
- How big is my backlog of unlearnt Anki cards?
- How obsessive am I feeling right now?

In other words, I make sure I read a lot, and anything more intensive is done on a whim. If I'm reading on paper, the answer is almost always, "Good grief, I couldn't possibly be bothered. I'll use digital works when I want to learn some more words; it's so much nicer."

Also this would be a good time to post some old screenshots from my log, showing how technology can support extensive reading:







Once I have enough time to get this out of private beta, I'll be providing a free version for folks at HTLAL. (There are also some features that cost me money every time somebody uses them, such as Google Translate integration and image support. Those will cost money.)

If you want something similar now, you might also want to check out readlang, which has an ebook reader and built-in SRS tool. Or try LingQ, JC_Identity's iPad app, LWT, subs2srs, etc. Or just a Kindle with a pop-up dictionary. There are lots of ways to cheat efficiently without breaking the flow of reading. And I strongly encourage people to invent more, both low-tech and high-tech!
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4706 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 103 of 136
08 August 2014 at 3:28pm | IP Logged 
I've also recently found this add-on.
4 persons have voted this message useful



YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2363 days ago

472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 104 of 136
08 August 2014 at 4:14pm | IP Logged 
I've been thinking a lot about useful ways to create more powerful anki decks.

My experience is more with video editing software, so recently I've come up with my own method of taking audio courses and converting them into films, subtitling them in Subtitle Workshop and then using Subs2SRS to convert them into anki. Of course in some instances it's more efficient to use audacity's audio splitter tools, but it depends on how the content is formatted.

I've been slightly inspired by Gabriel Wyner's listening training decks, that test you on distinguishing between minimal pairs. Sometimes Forvo isn't a good place to get audio for stuff like that, because the speaker and sound quality will differ so greatly that you may end up distinguishing them through the quality of the sound recording rather than the difference in pronunciation.

I've recently FSI courses with their pronunciation and grammar drills can be really useful sources for creating these types of exercises, the PDFs are OCR'd, and of course you can modify the content to test yourself in any way you want, what's useful is they have so many words and sentences that are similar except for 1 slight pronunciation or grammar variation. Finding your weak points and making specific exercises for them in Anki seems like it's a lot more efficient than working through a whole hour+ lesson of things you already partially know, and more effective in cementing knowledge into long term memory.


I'd be really curious to know some other ways other people create their own exercises, and if anyone has any efficiency tips for reducing key strokes and making quality anki decks more efficiently. I enjoy listening to podcasts when I'm doing lots of mindless anki formatting that doesn't require any thought, so that not all the time is sunk away in preparing materials.


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