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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 329 of 364
10 November 2015 at 7:14pm | IP Logged 
When you study several languages at once, even when you set a minimal effort for each of them every day, some languages progress faster at some moments. It usually happens with the languages I do something "extra" for besides my usual daily quota of parallel reading and video watching. These days I've seen progress with Mandarin because I'm chatting in the language almost daily. One thing leads to another, I'm finding the series easier to understand and thus I'm learning more from them, even managing to learn the odd word. In thecase of Georgian, I'm reviewing grammar in a way I can finally understand some more complicated sentences. When I learn to understand the grammar of a sentence, I can then focus on the vocabulary instead of spending time and effort solving the puzzle. As a result, I learn even more vocabulary. A vicious circle is established. With Estonian I am studying sentences from a phrasebook and I recently started my first native material, a novel translated from Russian and from which I read the Estonian and Spanish translations (a real find this one!). The fact it seems much easier than I had expected is a great motivational boost. Plus, I also started working on the final set of tests from Goethe-Verlag for Estonian. I'm trying to practice more German so I at least can speak it until I reach a good reading level.

In the case of French and Norwegian, though, I haven't seen much progress. I haven't had time for writing French for being corrected, apart from one chat session. Speaking is even more rare. I'll schedule an italki class when possible. In the case of Norwegian I feel the aural comprehension has stagnated. During the week, I'm only watching native video without subtitles, and even on weekends when I watch a few videos I focus mostly on entertaining than on associating sound and text, so I just read the subtitles. The same with the reading, which is basically extensive, 10 pages a day. No improvement in the number of pages to pair it up with French, for example, at 20. No looking up for unknown words either. Even so, I think i'm reading faster now and managing to grasp the meaning of a sentence and follow the story, knowing who is doing what. Oh, I'm not writing in Norwegian either. In the case of German, French and Norwegian all I have to do is go to the chatroom and follow the conversations, as those are all active, but even so I sometimes am busy with other languages.

I finished reviewing "Georgian Language and Culture: a continuing course". I think my main difficulties with Georgian, that keep hinder my progress, are the formation and usage of the tenses from the perfect screeve. I'm going to keep reviewing: this time the grammar by Kita Tschenéli, which I studied a couple of years ago when my German wasn't good enough to follow the explanations, but even so it was still the best grammar textbook I've used. There are others I could use, like Lehrbuch der Georgischen Sprache, but not needing to keep reviewing means I can liberate the slot 'Georgian textbook' for studying textbooks of another language - a new language. I'm more and more convinced that 15 minutes a day is more than enough if you are patient. With 15 minutes a day for Estonian and being chriterious about material choice, not allowing for too above-my-level material, I managed to progress more in 18 months than with 40 minutes Georgian over 36 months.

Something I noticed that happens in both Estonian and Georgian, and that makes both languages more confusing and more difficult: some endings can denote both verbal forms and case forms, or word formation, for example, into adverb. They don't have the same meanings in each, just phonetical coincidences (maybe in some pre-historical they did, but I have no idea). This way, sometimes you can't even recognize the noun class each word corresponds to. When you are doing an exercise to fill in the blanks and the expression consists of two words, one of these is in blank, and both are unknown in the target language, that can be tricky. For example, in Estonian -lt is an adverbial ending (täpselt = exactly) AND a case ending (from a surface). The ending -eba in Georgian can mean a verbal noun OR a 2nd-conjugation verb in the present/future. You get used after a few years but the less time you have to process information (when listening or engaging on a conversation, for example), the longer the difficulty remains.

Edited by Expugnator on 10 November 2015 at 8:38pm

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 330 of 364
11 November 2015 at 7:53pm | IP Logged 
Accomplished language textbook: Eesti-Vene Vestmik



I am consistent with my approach of studying a phrasebook from cover to cover once I reach A2 in a language. This time it was also the right thing to do. This phrasebook is above average, with several sentences covering similar subjective in a way that allows you to understand how the language works instead of just memorizing sentences. It's almost like I'm doing SRS for sentences in a graded way, but with no repetition, no software telling me how many times I have to repeat this or that sentence. I'm really happy with the result.

Now for Estonian i'm going to study from Räägime eesti keelt, another Russian-based textbook but which uses several pictures with sentences. Most of the sentences are translated into Russian and the ones that aren't got rather self-explanatory pictures. Unfortunately there's no OCR so I'll have to type in the words I want to translate, which might take longer but no big deal at least in the beginning. When it gets to texts I will probably have to OCR with my phone.

I decided to review Einführung in die georgische Sprache, as planned. I'm going to read 20 pages a day, because I don't want to spend much time reviewing. If I notice the explanations are still insufficient even after all that input I've had through the Super Challenge, I'm then searching for the tricky topic in another source and re-read it as well. I really think I need practice for verb formation and so I plan on doing the translation exercises as well. As a result, this activity is going to take me longer each day, but I don't mind and I hope I can still catch up with other activities, because consolidating my grammar knowledge is decisive for me to progress in Georgian. Today I managed to read the first 20 pages, which covered two chapters. It was mostly reviewing. It was the first time I read 20 pages straight away in German, so I'm quite confident now. I'm not saying I understood all the words in the explanations, but since the topic is familiar and the book is actually a review, I could read extensively. Maybe when it gets to the trickiest topics I'm going to need to look all the words up. Anyway, it looks much easier now than two years ago, and it's going to be an improvement for both my Georgian and my German. Today I even did the exercises for both chapters, though mostly mentally. I really need to type out at the desktop (Google Translator has a phonetic keyboard) if I want to learn, because writing is slow since Georgian doesn't exactly have a cursive. Only doing the exercises mentally won't help at this level, unless I at least force myself to come up with the L2 sentence for a while before looking up the answer.
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 331 of 364
12 November 2015 at 8:53pm | IP Logged 
Today I had a good day with Norwegian video. I resisted just listening in the background even though I was in a rush because I didn't have internet at home early in the evening and so everything got postponed.

A Brazilian friend was speaking German in the chat and I noticed him use "leben" when he actually meant "wohnen". It was: Lebt er noch in Argentinien?

I told him "You have the same distinction in Portuguese: viver/morar, why do you let yourself be influenced by English which lacks it in the context?". It sounds harsh but it's not, we are close enough to allow this pulling one's leg without sounding like grammar totalitarism.

Then he said he could have said the same thing in Portuguese:

"Eu vivo no hospital.
Eu moro no hospital."

Then I told him: When you say "Eu vivo no hospital" you actually mean you keep going to the hospital, because you are constanly ill, for example. So, it seems that "vivo" with complements turned out to acquire a modal meaning to describe an iterative action.

"Ele vive chamando-a para sair, mas ela nunca aceita"
= He keeps asking her out but she never agrees.

"O marido dela vive no bar"
= Her husband is all the time in the bar = He's an alcoholic.

"Ela vivia reclamando do trabalho, mas nunca fazia nada para mudar."
= She kept complaining about her job, but never did anything to change.

Meanings can be subtle especially when we are dealing with peripheral meanings, these ones seldom coincide between languages (even though they surprisely do, in some cases I see some metaphors which use exactly the same words in Portuguese and French).

Interny makes me wonder: are doctors really poorly paid in Russia, that it would make sense to have a physician resort to some tricks to make a few extra bucks, like Lobanov does? Here doctors consider to be automatically part of the elite, but they are all well-paid, even though not as in the XIX century and even though they are still greedy for money.

Trivia of the day: the Pace Corps Course says Almaty (Kazakhstan) has no subway, but one is under construction. Well, at least one has been built. A first line with 9 stations. This renews hope in humankind, that one day my city may have a second line.

Sometimes it's hard to believe that I'm having so much comprehensible input in Georgian (20 minutes of dubbed films daily) and that it's actually working. It had been my main struggle for almost 4 years. I should just keep in mind not to download Portuguese translations from opensubtitles, especially for not so common films from the 2000's. When there is usually just one subtitles file for Portuguese, it's probably machine translation, which is pretty much useless when there is the original English transcript (though sometimes it's nice to have a not so acurate subtitles text because it forces me to pay attention in the Georgian audio). Anyway, I'm really excited about this.

Same goes for Estonian: 1 page a day seems too little now. Though I admit I could be reading more extensively, looking words up when the Spanish translation isn't so similar (which happens seldom than in Georgian books, at least), I'm still amazed just by the fact I'm doing it now.
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 332 of 364
13 November 2015 at 8:34pm | IP Logged 
So far it's going well with the new Estonian textbook. Two lessons studied. I'm using it mostly for checking on vocabulary. I'm not doing the fill-in-the-blanks drill because there is no answer key. A problem with Russian-based textbooks.

I'm getting the hang of the Chinese Breeze novels (currently listening/reading a level 2 novel). I'm reinforcing a lot of daily vocabulary, and this is making me more confident to speak. Sometimes it's good to just listen-read through an "easy" book and confirm what you already now (confirm not only in the sense of attesting but probably of making that final move for bringing the words into long-term memory).

Listening-Reading Russian sin't that much fun as I would have though. Even though the audio and text are matching for Russian, it turns out they are both abridged when compared to the English original, which I use for parallel reading. So most of the time the audio takes big jumps when compared to the English, and I have to keep scrolling down and sometimes read in-between in a rush.
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 333 of 364
16 November 2015 at 8:13pm | IP Logged 
Saturday was productive. I watched one episode of my 'weekend series': Pastewka, One and a half summer and Mysteriet på Sommerbåten. I watched the second episode of the great documentary 2057. Then I tried to continue watching episode 62 from Kuxnya. I must accept the fact I understand the Russian original one better than the Georgian one with voice over. So Kuxnya will be just a peripheral series to watch during weekends when my mind is relaxed enough to accept the stress of following a series which still isn't comprehensible input for me. This time I even forgot to watch from the source with Bulgarian subtitles; that site was too slow, anyway, always freezing. I also read 30 pages in Norwegian, which was the most I've read on a single day. This is because I can't wait to finish the 700-page book I'm reading so I can pick a new one with audio and thus improve my listening skills.

On Sunday I wasn't exactly tired but I couldn't stand any more TV or audio. I tried to do some parallel writing first in Norwegian then in German with one of the Prompt Daily Challenges. It was a nightmare to write it in German. I got it corrected at italki (not yet the Norwegian one) but I still haven't opened it because I bet there will be so much to correct that I'm going to have to study it almost like a textbook lesson. I initially intended to keep writing in other TLs such as French, Italian and Estonian, but I was exhausted.

My biggest issue so far is listening. My stats for the SC are misleading. Even though I watched over 100 hours for all my SC languages, I'm far from being able to understand them. Even French which I was proud to have mastered is no derailing and I miss a lot on what I watch at native speed. I'm doing all types of listening for my languages, and I believe the problem is lack of attention throughout the process. I'm not listening in the NOW, i'm either doing something else or thinking about something else. This was the connection with the language, with the natives, the process that will allow my brain to understand that that sequence of phonemes is effectiving for conveying that specific message doesn't take place, and it's like I'm starting over everytime I try. It's something I really need to work on, but then today I still didn't pay attention to Norwegian, French or Georgian as I was reading the forum while listening to the series. Next year I have to address the issue with several measures at once, for example working with actual intensive listening as post-schedule activities, preferably podcasts about 3 min/1-page long. Even at L-R my focus is still at reading, so perhaps keeping some unexhaustible resources for a post-schedule activity when i'm not worried about time because I'll have done everything that was planned for that day is the way to go. I may open a thread specific for discussing the issue later.

Not everything is so bad. Re-reading Kita Tschenkéli's grammar is being good both for my German and my Georgian, at least when it comes to reading. Today I found Georgian even easier than usual, and while in German I still wouldn't be able to read without a translation, I tried hard to pay attention to the audio.

Still from the IMDB list, I started watching "Who am I - kein System ist sicher". Subtitles in German, which I plan to keep watching intensively, pausing for every new word. The film looks promising.
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 334 of 364
17 November 2015 at 11:06pm | IP Logged 
Today for the first time in months I payed attention to the Norwegian series again. Well, still not 100% but some 90% of the time, let's say. It turns out I understand a good deal of what is said. I miss out some mumbling - and Norwegians are really into mumbling, more so than the French, but I also understood a lot from it! I figured out some sentences that were said all of a sudden. Maybe next time I try Listening/Reading I should increase the speed so that it trains me for processing meaning at higher speeds. Even if it is still going to be enunciated, read language and so I won't be trained on phoneme supression/word supression and background noise, at least I will have some practice into quickly understanding a sentence and following the next one.

A good day for Georgian listening. I found a film with good dubbing, sentences said clearly and people speaking politely one after another. It's almost like doing Glossika (which I'm doing, but for German).

Nuud tahan natuke kirjutada eesti keeles. Pean kirjutama umbes mida ma tahan saavutada järgmise 12 kuu jooksul. Ma just ei tea. Räägime keeles: ma tahan paremini lugeda eesti keeles. Nuud püüan lugeda minu esimene raamat. See on vene raamat, mis on tõlgitud eestis. Mul ongi hispaania tõlkimine. See raamat on väga huvitav, nimetatakse "220 päeva tähelaevas". Mulle ei ole väga raska aru saada. Tõlkiminega, muidugi! Ma usun, et 12 kuu jooksul olen selle raamatu lõpetanud ja hakanud lugemist uus raamat.
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 335 of 364
18 November 2015 at 9:49pm | IP Logged 
The Estonian lessons from the textbook "Räägime Eesti Keelt" are starting to have texts. They have 3-4 paragraphs, not that short if you consider they start at lesson 4.. The texts are based on pictures, as in the Linguaphone series, so it's helpful to associate pictures and how the sentences describe them. I'm a false beginner, so I understand a lot, I consolidate the most common words and I look up just a few. At the end of the lesson there is a song or something more poetic so I make use of my smartphone to OCR and translate the whole text. Pity that there is no audio for this book or it would work almost like Linguaphone, a graded reader based on pictures. The fact I'm using it now and it doesn't seem so hard means I'm on the right track, because I tend to use Linguaphone for my languages when I'm halfway in the B1 stage, as was the case with Norwegian and Russian.

My Georgian reviewing is getting to some tricky parts. I had no idea when to use cubjunctive present and future anymore, I thought I'd just have to use the aorist (past subjunctive). Their use is mostly modal instead of temporal, for unreal clauses, and the distinction between present and future subjunctive boils down to aspect more than to tense. On top of it, I was reminded that the conditional exists (I'd have been using just the imperfect as French sometimes does in subordinate clauses and Portuguese in the spoken language). I think it's wise to actually memorize the contexts when the tenses pair up (usually conditional in the main clause and subjunctive after unreal condition, at least that makes sense) and then use the optative or the pluperfect elsewhere unless proven wrong. I'm going to need a lot of lang-8 writing after that.

This is one thing I learned with studying so many languages after years: Resources aren't linearly distributed among languages. You may take for granted that "FIGS" plus CJK and Russian have all types of resources (it's not always the case btw). When it comes to 'intermediately-covered' resources, they are uneven. For Norwegian I have a lot of Series without subtitles, less so with them and lots of audiobooks, but I have quite limited access to ebooks. For Georgian I can buy very cheap (1 dollar) books even for contemporary best-sellers but no audiobooks and nothing with Georgian subtitles, so I have to get by with dubbed movies with the English subtitles (which is working great, fortunately). For Estonian I have a good set of ebooks, most translations, but buying ebooks is even more expensive than for Norwegian, let alone audiobooks. For German it's really hard to get contemporary series with German audio + subtitles, I bought from Amazon.de and it's taking a month to arrive. For Georgian I can get corrections usually at the same day, but I have fewer people to chat with. For German or Estonian I have to ask friends to correct my texts, and for Norwegian it's hit or miss. Russians and Chinese are usually easy-going so I have short conversations everyday but it all dies out after a few days. So even if you have to be prepared for everything, you end up making use of the opportunities that happen most often. Or at least that's what I should be doing with Georgian, that is, writing daily in the lamguage the way Radioclare did with Croatian, but the complicated verbal system still brings me a lot of headache when I have to write a simple paragraph and have to flip through several textbooks to find the verbal form I wanted. But well, it all comes down to gaining some experience so I expect itt to get better with time. I still can't form most sentences myself but I have several familiar expressions that echo in my mind from both reading and films. It's more or less the same with Russian, but now cases are to blame.

The real difficulty to doing Georgian exercises is writing the letters, as there are no official ligatures and it's actually drawing each letter. I am trying to write some exercises because they are important and they involve subordinate clauses, but it takes ages to write a sentence and I start to become impatient as I have other activities to do. Subordinate clauses are a big issue regardless of the language. And I want to learn BCMS or Greek that have their tricks, too! I spent 1 hour writing down the Georgian sentences, even skipped a few, and in the end I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. It would be better if I compared Georgian with a language that has a broader repertory of modal tense forms, like my native language (because in German they tend to merge). I figured out that the Georgian present subjunctive corresponds roughly to the Portuguese past subjunctive and the future to perfect subjunctive, but not always. Yet it's more helpful to think in those terms than in English or German.

Sometimes I feel I need to start an easier language. Not a transparent language like Spanish or Catalan or Esperanto but a semi-transparent language that can become so within a month so that I can reach basic reading fluency within a year or a year and a half (the time I've spent on Estonian so far. I bet for Romanian, Greek or BCMS, but then I'm not sure I can take it. I see the discussion about what to do about the TAC and I realize that for most of my languages I'm an isolated learner and even for those that have other learners I don't really have the time to discuss learning strategies either at people's logs or at the other fora as much as it would be necessary to bring up a feeling of pertaining.

I finished listening-reading Herr aller Dinge. It was a 700-page book, read at the pace of 10 pages a day. My German improved in between, but with fiction specifically I really can't miss a detail or I miss what's going on, so I had to look at the translation a lot. Now I'm back into non-fiction, and I'm going to try another one from Eckhart Tolle. I've already read "The Power of Now", so now it's time for "Stille spricht". That will do good for my German and for my mood - even more so that German has been stressful now as I can't follow the conversations at the chat.

My last landmark/goal reached for the Super Challenge! Today I completed 150 hours = 100 films in Mandarin! I used to watch a lot in the early months but reduced to about 10 minutes a day, to make time for other languages. I have to write a report on my Super Challenge, but don't expect anything remarkable as Radioclare's. Progress is much slower at this side of the Atlantic. Anyway, now that I don't have any goals in mind, I'll see how my learning will come along especially during weekends when I don't have a fixed schedule. The way I handle the weekend will help me decide if the Super Challenge or the focus on extensive activities are really the way to go for my learning.

Today was one of the busiest days in life. I could only make it up to the German video. No Russian series, no Russian novel or any post-schedule activity. Tomorrow I'm also going to be a bit busy but probably not that much, I hope.
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 336 of 364
19 November 2015 at 10:08pm | IP Logged 
The day is coming up quite well. Not half as busy as yesterday. I managed to do things almost in time. Started my new llistening-reading book in German, Stille spricht by Eckhart Tolle (Stillness speaks). What peace it brings! Looking forward to experiencing this inner peace in the middle of a busy afternoon for the next weeks.

I'm surrounded by German. At the IRC people speak German all the time. Today I understood almost everything from the subtitles in "Who am I", and the few words I looked up were quite useful.

Finally I managed to do Russian again (Interny and the Douglas Adam's book). The meeting took longer than expected so I'm lagging behind on schedule, but at least what I do now is a bonus because yesterday I couldn't even make it to the Russian part).


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