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What Expug is doing in 2015 (TAC n more)

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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 321 of 364
28 October 2015 at 9:27pm | IP Logged 
Reading Georgian is becoming more comfortable. The long, descriptive paragraphs aren't that annoying anymore and I understand a little more from them besides reading the translation. I've found another strategy also for my Georgian production (the language I've written the most in lately, even considering the occasional sentences exchanged with Russians and Chinese): I have at least three books on verbs and I'm going to look up verbal forms at those books, through ordinary Ctrl+F. That's much more efficient than praying for Google Translate to have this form listed correctly, and that will finally allow me to fill in the gaps in knowledge of verbal forms even for the most common verbs (Georgian is nightmarish at this respect, little can be predicted). Sp, a confidence boost.

Leaving the Duolingo page open can be more productive than only opening it at the end of the day (yesterday I almost forgot about it and so I only did 7 lessons instead of the 7 planned). When I keep it open, I can do one lesson after I've spent a time on a more tiresome activity, for example a 30-min L-R. Duolingo then works as a palate cleanser.

I haven't written about Kazakh the past days. I admit some days I just listened to the Youtube lessons and didn't pay much attention, but I think overall I'm having a good sense of the Turkic languages and their expressiveness and conciseness.

Garpegenitiv

I had been long wondering about what in Norwergian in called a garpegenitiv. The first time I ran into it was in Papiamento, where it's standard:

Mi por haña señor su sombré? = My I have your (formal) hat?

I first thought it existed because the speaker wanted to be sure they were adressing the, for example, customer by señor, and it would also be less ambiguous.

Then I ran into it in Norwegian. Here is a fun article:

Dette visste du ikke om garpegenitiven

"Karin sin bil", "Henrik sitt skap" are the examples give. And today I ran into it at a Duolingo German lesson. I asked a native and she told me to avoid it at any cost. And a Dutch said only children speak that way in Dutch. So, it's a Germanic feature that spread into Papiamento, and this means it's quite old indeed and not an innovation of the previous decades.

Georgian writing

My Georgian post from yesterday (didn't copy it here) received much less corrections. I hope my new strategy of looking up verb forms in the books will be fruitful. I got some details of cases wrong, things that can be fixed, and I got many complex clauses right. This is going to be a turning point, I hope!
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 322 of 364
29 October 2015 at 8:45pm | IP Logged 
I'm becoming more comfortable with reading in Georgian and, as a result, I'm starting to look up words I couldn't understand enough from the translation. This means I already understand a larger bulk and I am starting to approach some details.

Today's Mandarin exchanges were productive. I chatted for quite some minutes. I got compliments for my Chinese by one girl and another one said she had to reflect a lot in order to understand my syntax. Well, at least she was understanding. Westerners are known for saying what they believe to be "Chinese" and is totally incomprehensible to natives.

I finished the Goethe-Verlag tests for advanced Chinese. Now it's only Advanced Estonian left, which I expect to help me quite a bit. Then I'm off until I start another language that is covered by those tests (there are a lot many which are in my list, such as some other Slavic languages, Turkish, Indonesian).

I just reached a half Super Challenge in Russian! 2500 pages as of now. I must say the first 1250 weren't much productive because I spent a long time only doing extensive reading, and thus not having comprehensible input. After I resumed intensive reading, I started to see more progress in reading and in speaking. Lately I've added L-R to the game and it only gets better.

The Kazakh lessons on Youtube are over. They are a nice warm-up but they have the issue of any classes held in L2. After 6-8 minutes you learn a dozen of words you could just read from a list. Now I'm going to take a look at the Kazakh Language COurse by Peace Corps. It does not have the same format as the Competencies one, which also exists and which I've used for Estonian and Uzbek, but it has a nice format for beginners or dabblers, with short dialogues.
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jeff_lindqvist
Diglot
Moderator
SwedenRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5544 days ago

4250 posts - 5710 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 323 of 364
29 October 2015 at 9:29pm | IP Logged 
2500 pages! Wow. I could probably manage that with incomprenehsible input (the stuff at the local library would keep me busy for years), but spending time with n+1 content is more problematic.

Again - wow.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 324 of 364
30 October 2015 at 8:41pm | IP Logged 
@jeff: it's just a start, really. I'm far away from being able to read Russian comfortably.

Still having a good time with the sentences from the extended Estonian/Russian phrasebook. It's like Glossika or SRS without repetition and a software telling me when to do what. I do recommend reading a phrasebook at one point in your learning path, for example, middle-to-high A2.

And today I reached a half challenge for Mandarin! It was indeed challenging. At one point I thought I wouldn't be able to keep reading, but I tried to alternate materials, read from different sources as to avoid burnout. There is much more information on a Chinese page than on a page in the latin script.I didn't read entirely extensive that much, but I have a text I'm reading slowly extensively and which I use as reference for my progress. I went from understanding nothing to recognizing most characters from it even if I'm still lost about meaning due to missing the most important characters. As for my other texts, I'm still reading largely with pinyin and translation, and I don't regret it, because my skills in Chinese are progressing surprisingly evenly compared to other languages. What I really want to try are short news articles like the ones from Slow Chinese. Their comprehension will be the basis for me to evaluate whether I can speak Mandarin or not. I can do small talk and tourist talk and I can understand context-driven conversations when said slowly, and sometimes I'm caught up writing really complex clauses when chatting at Hello Talk.

Now the remaining goals for my SC are a half-challenge for Georgian (2500 pages: currently 2439), a full video challenge for Mandarin (150 hours: currently 143:38), and a double (or a classic) book challenge for French (10000 pages: currently 9943). It's striking how similar my video stats are for Norwegian, German and Russian: 104 hours. There were times when I'd write twice as much Russian as the others, but the same also happened with German later on, and with Norwegian I usually watch series during the weekend, but the fact they all ended up gravitating around the same number is such a coincidence. Unfortunately I can't say the same about my level of comprehension - only Norwegian allows me to say I have some sort of basic fluency. This means passive listening isn't likely to bring you much further.

A good day for Norwegian. I understood a lot from the series, even some long, rapid sentences. It helps that I'm at home.

I started working on the tests for Estonian. Despite being 'advanced' (they're rather intermediate), they seem much easier now than the basic ones when I worked on them, some six months ago. Which means my Estonian is going consistently into an intermediate stage. They're easier than the Chinese ones, anyway.

I finished watching the German film "In der Mitte eines Lebens". This one already helped me a lot, the audio was good and I could associate audio and text even though I only had English subtitles. I think Duolingo is helping a lot activate my German, I also found the book "Herr aller Dinge" easier today. So, sentences matter. That's why I decided to try Glossika's Business German. I only have the audio but I checked it and I seldom miss a German phoneme (phoneme, not even syllable or word), so it will do its job. Now that I finished the missing lessons from Duolingo German from where they updated the tree, it's safe to keep working on what is working for me, sentences as comprehensible input. But no SRS, no repetition, no software telling me what to do. Btw, now I'm going to watch "Ich seh, ich seh", a well-reputed film according to IMDB's Most popular German-language feature films .

Had to cut down on Russian today because I spent too much time out of home dealing with some issues. No big deal, I even chatted quite a bit in Russian today. I'm almost finishing "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (the one I was L-Ring with unmatching audio, almost like a retelling) and it already did wonders, so I expect my next book will be even more effective and I'm going to see a boost in comprehension really soon. I decided to stay on classic sci-fi and picked Aldous Huxley's Crome Yellow. I checked and text and audio do match this time. Can't wait to start!
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 325 of 364
03 November 2015 at 8:30pm | IP Logged 
This weekend I travelled to São Paulo. Didn't have the chance to visit a bookstore but I'm not sure I would find anything worth it. The imported books are usually the ones from commercial series. I usually hunt for some gems like grammar references for less common languages edited by USP (which has an Armenian department, for example) and stuff on Hebrew and Arabic, but I'm sure there will be other opportunities. I watche done episode of "One and a half summer" and yesterday when I was already back home I read 10 pages in Georgian. Yesterday was a holiday so we travelled all day long back from São Paulo.

Learning about marketing today. It's the last chapter of Schaum's Outline of Chinese Vocabulary, but there are some supplements.

Today I understood quite a bit from the Georgian series, even full dialogues. I still understand it better when I'm just listening instead of watching, but I'm starting to anticipate to where some conversations are leading to.

I couldn't play "Clear Midsummers Night from Viki today (audioblock). Maybe they stopped loading it from Youtube. On the other hand, I can play it from the mobile app which is another sign. I found the series on Youtube apparently with English subs but...not. Only Mandarin subs isn't enough because I will miss out on a lot of unknown words that I could be learning in real-time given the context and the English subs to compare with the Chinese subs. Anyway, if all goes wrong, I will get the transcript and translate it with Google just to keep following it from Youtube with nearly the same accuracy.
1 person has voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 326 of 364
04 November 2015 at 9:04pm | IP Logged 
WHo can understand this? Clear Midsummers Night resumed working at the desktop. I'm attached (wouldn't say addicted, oh no) to this series and to 'One and a Half Summer'. I think at my current stage they are effective learning tools. Yesterday it got me thinking: what's the point at watching them for learning Chinese if both have English subtitles? But then my focus is on a long-term goal: I want to be able to understand other series which got no subtitles, many of which I won't hear of until I start searching in Chinese, reading opinions of native speakers and not just of language learners. Focus on the prize, even though I'm enjoying the race!

Accomplished Language Textbook: Schaum's Outline of Chinese Vocabulary


This book was one of my greatest surprises in terms of materials. The first time I looked at it, I thought "I'm never going to reach a level where using this book will be practical. The book is too dense and I will spend too much time looking words up". I was glad to realize I had been wrong. This book is another proof that in order to a resource to work you have to use it at the appropriate level. I could have used it as a beginner, cramming all the travel, health, business, education vocabulary at once, doing SRS and such, but that wouldn't be effective or fun. Choosing to use it at an intermediate level allowed me to meet the most common words and recognize them in context while learning the other not-so-common half. I can say I've retained quite a bit from this book and it also helped enormously make my Chinese more conversational, as you have texts and fill-in-the-blanks exercises that are retellings of the initial sentence/dialogue lists. It's not only about repetition but also recursion. I really had fun with this book and I recommend it to the extent that I'd like to use the Russian one.

Now i'm running out of selected textbooks, the ones still worth using (others are either too easy or too hard, and I should ignore the too easy ones and use native materials instead). I'm going to train my listening by using books from the series 'Chinese Breeze'. I want to be able to understand as much as possible just through listening, though I'm still going to read anyway as this will be part of my reading training. I have two level-2 readers (500 words) and two level-3 readers (750-words) and I hope either level goes pretty smoothly, as there is no pinyin and in order to translate a missing word that isn't in the glossary I'll have to either clearly understand the sound of it and retype it on Google Translate or use my smartphone to OCR-translate the character. I'm going to count 2 pages as 1 for the level 2 books.

I understand much more than I thought I did from the Georgian soap opera. Sometimes I am not paying much attention and I realize I've understood an entire scene effortless. Then there are minutes of mumblings, but the big picture is becoming sharper.

I'm about to finish "The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy". I figured out there is an audiobook for the 2nd book in the series, The Restaurant at the end of the Universe. As much as I think the experience with listening to a whole different text as the written book wasn't the most productive, I think I'm starting to like the series and the quick way things happen. Books seem to be short. So, note to self: will try to see if audio and text match this time and then decide if I'm going to continue with Douglas Adams' books or go for another sci-fi author.

It turns out the "Kazakh Language Course" isn't much self-learner-friendly, but since I'm just dabbling now and Kazakh seems interesting (more so than Turkmen and Uzbek, despite Russian being strong in Kazakhstan) I want to save the best for the last.

Still reading "L'alchimista". 1-2 words looked up per page. I might soon reach the same level of Spanish in terms of passive knowledge. As for speaking, I need more practice as well as exposure to the spoken language through films and series.

Started Glossika Business German. I'm glad I can understand the German and I don't need the transcripts. One point: it's soooo much repetition! I just played the first episode and it consists of some 5 sentences repeated over 4 minutes. Now the second and third file have the same sentences repeated over again during 8 and 11 minutes, respectively. I'm so annoyed by the repetition that I can't focus on the German anymore, so it's working contrary to its goal and my brain is trying to forget it! Any idea how it works? How many files should I skip in order to get only new sentences?

At this pace it's better to get the Brazilian series Como dizer tudo em... (I bet there is "Como dizer tudo em alemão nos negócios" and study it through a single wave, the way I'm doing with the Estonian-Russian textbook and which is proving effective to my Estonian.

Speaking of which, I decided to start using learning materials in Estonian. It was one of my goals for this year and I could have started it sooner but I wouldn't have enough time. Now I'm not going to the gym, I'm having at least two extra hours I've been using only for browsing around, which brings me a headache. The book chosen is 220 день за звозполете, by Мартынов. I know, I know, it's original Russian and I should read it in the original which I'm learning anyway, but I happen to have this book in Estonian for which there are much less resources and I also have 220 días en una nave sideral. Even better! I 'm going to read 1 A4 page per day which is a lot for a language I'm beginning to read at. Today went quite smoothly, even though I should have benefited from about 10% of the words I couldn't relate to the translation. This means I'm starting Estonian native materials at a much higherlevel than I did with Russian or Georgian or Mandarin, and so I'm skipping all the stress I had with reading a sentence in the TL and not knowing which words in the TL translate in the L1! So, at least I learned something. And I reached this stage with Estonian after 1 and a half years, which was also faster than the previous opaquelanguages (none of them being related). This basically means I'm learning more efficiently and also in a more fun way, and this also means I can add up more languages despite my insane pool of opaque languages. The worst times are over for German-Russian-Mandarin-Georgian and now I can think about adding a new language.

Speaking of Wanderlust: it's intense for Greek, Czech, Esperanto, a second Slavic language, Turkish or any language I think I can learn in a fun way thanks to either Assimil or Duolingo or both. I'm probably going to take part in the Turkic Challenge only until December, because after that comes a series of languages that possess little but Russian textbooks. Struggling to read textbooks in Russian for dabbling languages isn't my goal now, especially since I'm seeing progress in Russian from other sources that cover a more conversational language. So, I will be comfortable with adding another opaque language, starting slowly, the way I did with Estonian, aiming for success with no stress. According to my personal chriteria I'd have to wait till I let go of textbooks for either Russian or Mandarin, but I even resumed textbooks for Georgian and yet I'm using native materials in an effective way with comprehensible input for all of them. So I think I have the mental energy for starting a brand new language. Besides, time isn't an issue as I plan to start with 5 to 15 minutes a day, probably 5 minutes as this upcoming language will take a 'post-schedule' 'slot', that is, I will be working on it after having worked on all of my other languages, contrary to what happened to Estonian, that currently is the first material I study on a day.

Today I exchanged a few sentences in Georgian. I couldn't keep the conversation much longer but I was glad I was forced to use some verbal forms I used to get wrong or have no clue about.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 327 of 364
05 November 2015 at 9:02pm | IP Logged 
Yesterday I reached another milestone: 10,000 pagesin French! - or 100 books, or a double challenge, or an original challenge, whatever one prefers. I wasn't even aiming for that goal, I just noticed I would end up reaching it. I've been reading 20 pages in French everyday, plus the many other pages I read from textbooks for learning other languages or novels I read bilingually in French and another language. When you are proficient in a language you have no trouble dealing with the written part of the challenge. I wish I could reach the same level for German, Norwegian and later on Russian and Estonian.

Duolingo started a Swahili course. I can't like it enough! Whatever language that has Assimil +Duolingo ranks higher on my wishlist (among the ones already on the list, I mean).

Started a Chinese Breeze level two novel: After the accident. So far I only had to OCR 1 word: I understood how it sounded but somehow it didn't work to type it out on Google Translate. I had guessed the meaning right, anyway. The other missing words were in the glossary, around 10 out of 22 words (the other words in the glossary were familiar). I think I can keep the pace of 1 chapter a day. Some chapters are longer, but it's only 10 anyway. It turns out I also have another title from the same series from the beginner's level, "Wrong, wrong, wrong", and it might be good to try it out.

I was contacted by a French woman who is living in the US and wants to learn Portuguese. I haven't chatted in French that much for ages. She said my French is good and asked if I had spent time on French, so that's encouraging. She corrected some longer sentences but I went ever further and asked a friend from France who I meet at the IRC site to correct the entire conversation. I copied the conversation and pasted it at piratepad which allows anyone to edit the text. My friend suggested it himself. So, he collected some tenths of lines of conversation really fast, and the errors were indeed minor. I'm happy about that because I was talking freely about myself, my job, trying to speak naturally instead of simplifying my speech to stay within the comfort zone. I have to repeat this experience further.

Finished reading Douglas Adam's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

The Kazakh Lessons Course from Peace Corps definitely isn't self-learner-friendly.

A friend started to learn Chinese, he is taking classes. He asks me to help with his homework and I can actually help him turn his sentences into more idiomatic ones. Happy about that.

I'm having a good exposure to comprehensible input in Georgian now through watching dubbed videos with the original English subtitles. Sometimes I still get lost, especially when the subtitles don't match the video (I'm looking at them at a separate txt file anyway), but it gets better each day.

Reading in Estonian is proving more effective than I thought. Once again, I could figure out almost all of the sentences. Sometimes I would have to read the entire sentence in Spanish first to get who-is-doing-what, but overall I'm really happy with the possibility of being involved in a task that seems to help which involves native material for a language at which I'm still a beginner. It helps that the other translation is in Spanish. I don't feel annoyed by reading in Spanish the way I did when I read Sherlock Holmes' book in Norwegian/Spanish. Don't know what changed, as I didn't study Spanish in the meantime. Maybe it's the fact Spanish is like mother tongue when compared to Estonian, and since it uses mothertongue syntax, it helps associate grammar and meaning faster than even English. Perhaps L1's syntax matters a lot when reading an opaque L2 with a different syntax.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3801 days ago

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

 
 Message 328 of 364
09 November 2015 at 9:06pm | IP Logged 
This was a long weekend. Long in the sense that there wasn't much to do even considering there was enough rest. I woke up early on Sunday and watched some TV series in the morning, in Norwegian and Mandarin again. I also chatted a bit in Italian and, later that day, in Mandarin. At one point, I thought: it isn't worth risking a headache on a binge TV watching. Besides, after some 40 minutes it won't even bring that many benefits for learning. I also read 10 pages in Georgian (and 8 in French as I'm reading Amélie Nothomb's book.

Speaking of Georgian: today is the most awaited moment of the whole Super Challenge! I reached the 2500 pages that corresponded to a half challenge. This goal seemed unattainable most of the 20 months of the Super Challenge. It was painful to read in Georgian even with a translation and I though I'd need at least a couple of years to read 10 pages or more a day without having a burnout. Fortunately I overcame this difficulty through working also on intensive learning and on reviewing some textbooks. Now I'm confident I can read more from next year on, though becoming an independent reader is still in the middle run.

Btw, chatting in Mandarin is becoming pretty much easy. I seldom have to look words up either for understanding what the Chinese write or for saying things myself. Sometimes I do look it up and it's a word I already knew. It seems I'm having my islands built in.

Today at the chat I tried to express a concept that is tricky for me even in English. I found the meaning "open-ended" but it's not quite that. The Portuguese expression is:

não tem hora para acabar

It's almost a fixed expression, and it can be used both positively...

A festa não tem hora para acabar

or negatively

Meu trabalho tem hora para começar mas não tem hora para acabar

I tried to say it first in German, but no clue. Thenk I asked a French guy and he said in French there is no such expression either, and a long explanation is necessary, like "je ne sais pas quand le travail sera terminé" or "je ne sais pas quand cette conférence va se terminer".

Today I chatted quite a bit in German and even more so in Mandarin. I want to improve my German because it is perhaps the foreign language I have most opportunities to practice. There is Stammtisch every week and people are very keen to sticking to the language. Besides, there are native speakers almost at a 1:2 ratio to Brazilians. Also, I'm eager about becoming an independent reader in German so I can read a lot of non-fiction I have scheduled.

At helloTalk, the Chinese I have the longest conversations with talk only in Chinese. I just feel sorry because I should be helping them practice English as well. They don't get the chance to write English sentences as complex as the ones I write in Chinese.

Learning a lot just from watching dubbed films in Georgian. It seems for the first time in almost 4 years I have an inexhaustible source for comprehensible input in Georgian, which I can use consistently and hope to make Georgian even with my other languages. I'm thrilled t where this is going to take me. The fact I reached my goals for the SC also takes away a lot of pressure because it demonstrates I made some progress in the language.


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