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TAC 2015-Advanced Study Group Team Thread

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
33 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 35  Next >>
Elenia
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
lilyonlife.blog
Joined 2219 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 
 Message 25 of 33
14 January 2015 at 12:42pm | IP Logged 
I think it would work as long as we follow a routine, as the only language that isn't
understood by two or more people is Kannada (sorry, IBEP!) I think it would also depend
on whether we write concurrently or successively (as would the routine we follow,
probably).
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Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3372 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 26 of 33
15 January 2015 at 6:27am | IP Logged 
I am in, sorry for the late answer!

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=39912&PN=1 is my log

Who am I: a student of medicine who uses language as a way to prove herself she is not as
dumb as the university makes her believe :-)

My main Advanced goal: DALF C2 in February. I am crazy and not unlikely to fail, I know.
Yet, I want to try.

Another advanced language of mine is English but I don't wanna do anything more with it.
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sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3754 days ago

739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 27 of 33
15 January 2015 at 6:58am | IP Logged 
Elenia wrote:
Google Docs is what immediately springs to mind. In case that is problematic (for those
who don't have/don't want to create a google account), I've done a little bit of research
and found Typewrite and
Etherpad. I haven't looked very deeply into them, and I'm
not very technologically minded so I'm not sure which would be best to suit our purpose.

The Oulipo idea sounds suitably challenging, and quite fun. Would we all be writing a
text for each prompt/constraint, or would we take it in turns?


I've been looking around a bit too. That Typewrite site looks nice and simple, though I looked at the blog and apparently it's brand new. We'd have to see if it looks stable enough. The other one involves downloading software which starts to make things more complicated. There are also blogging sites/tumblr and the like. There is indeed the good old Google Doc option, though if anyone has any objections to using Google accounts, please feel free to speak up! If we've all already sold our souls and identities over to them and don't mind, it's pretty convenient.

This article has some other suggestions as well, though some look pretty complicated.

A lot (or all) of Oulipo is everyone writing their own composition to a constraint or prompt and then sharing it. Though some can be a bit more collaborative: Raymond Queneau's Exercises de Style (worth looking at - I believe it's been translated in quite a few languages) is a short, simple narrative rewritten in dozens of different styles. In that case each individual's contribution can make up a whole patchwork and it's a fun way to play with different aspects of language.

The main challenge is, of course, the multilingual aspect. Many of us will manage to not be too lost, especially if we translate our own writing into more than one language. It would be cool to find a way to play into this aspect - like an Oulipo that would involve loan words or something. Or a story set in an international association/war/Auberge Espangol-style house/spy ring/what have you.

I saw that collaborative writing got to be pretty big in role-playing game communities, which I've never explored. Does anyone else have experience with that?

Otherwise a simple turn-based writing activity would work too (though may be fun to impose some kind of constraint such as vocabulary to include and whatnot).

For more academic writing practice, for the French C1/C2 level at least, it helps to practice coming up with sample plans/outlines in response to a thème or prompt. This would work well in collaboration since we'd be able to see the many different ways one can tackle a subject.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3529 days ago

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

 
 Message 28 of 33
16 January 2015 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
I'm ok with trying Typewire, but I don't have any objections to GoogleDocs either.

Maybe one story per language would do?
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mrwarper
Diglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Spain
forum_posts.asp?TID=Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3589 days ago

1493 posts - 2500 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 29 of 33
03 February 2015 at 4:04am | IP Logged 
Thank you for letting me in :)

I am enjoying a few days' sick leave so I have finally updated my log beyond the basic progress reports -- I replaced the first placeholders with stuff about me, my goals, languages, etc. just in case you want to drop by and have a look. I'll be soon catching up with your logs too.

I'm not sure about the collaborative multilingual texts thing, but while more ideas are proposed I'd like to start a discussion regarding general advanced techniques. Long story short for those who will read my log later:

My English is officially at C2, and my primary goal is to keep my listening from rotting away, for which I'll predictably try to watch shows and films wholesale, while experimenting with subtitles on the side. So far, so good.

In addition, it would be nice to bump my English level closer to my native Spanish, where everything I can do in English costs me half the effort, and I make considerably less mistakes. While I can make my English somewhat flowery or pithy at will, it is in Spanish only when my language and thoughts match at 99.9%, and English feels like swimming through molasses in comparison. How can I further progress?

The most direct path I can think of to achieve this is expanding my vocabulary, and I am already writing down any new words and expressions I come across to play with them later (I'll probably be doing some kind of SRS to make sure they stick). I have also joined the English Advanced team, as the common members of both teams already know ;)

While I expect that team to come up with ideas that will help me with specific aspects of English, I'd be very interested in seeing what more general 'advanced' stuff we can think of here to move beyond C2 at a good pace. I don't know about you, but even being 'way' beyond C2 I'd still like to improve my Spanish. Actually, I don't think I'll ever feel I'm "done" with any of my languages. Too lazy to keep working on it, maybe, but done? no way! Since the highest levels of proficiency are those that provide the lowest perceived investment return, I think maximizing efficiency would be quite important...

OK, so you don't say I propose nothing myself, I plan to build a library of quality parallel texts, which involves careful proofreading and comparing, and loads of translation checking. While I guess this is not especially innovative and it certainly doesn't look appealing to the lazy bum inside me, I'm sure it will help me further expand both my native and foreign vocabularies, and I figure it is as good a starting point for this discussion as any other.

Ideas, anyone?
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Elenia
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
lilyonlife.blog
Joined 2219 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 
 Message 30 of 33
04 February 2015 at 12:49am | IP Logged 
I mentioned somewhere in my log the idea of doing commentaries as a learning exercise.
For those of you who perhaps don't know, a commentary is a close analysis of a short text
or extract (it can be literary or journalistic). The aim is to see how the author of a
texts uses words, syntax, and grammatical structures in order to convey a message. It's a
useful exercise for language learners as close attention must be paid to every aspect of
the text in order come up with a good commentary.

I find it quite an interesting activity, although I know I'm in the minority on that. But
I think it would be a good way for advanced learners to improve.
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mrwarper
Diglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Spain
forum_posts.asp?TID=Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3589 days ago

1493 posts - 2500 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 31 of 33
04 February 2015 at 4:27am | IP Logged 
I used to hate commentary in high school, although later I started to analyze authors' whole opuses, so I guess it is interesting in some ways. However, I'm not sure how it would benefit us exactly, as language learners.

I'll have a quick go at my January challenge text as an example. Obviously, I'll probably be mostly oblivious to my own mistakes until some time passes or I get more advanced, so please bear with me. Still, I think we all can see I tend to write very long sentences with many clauses, which sometimes can make the text too convoluted or hard to read. Where does that come from?

First, that's common among Spanish speakers, because sentences in Spanish tend to be longer than their English counterparts. But it is something that's been bugging me for a long time, because I do the very same thing in Spanish. I therefore imagine I'd do the same thing in any language, because that's intimately related to how I think. I could go on and analyze how I put ideas together (or make wild guesses about anyone else's mind), but that shouldn't be very interesting from the point of view of language learning. The bottom line is, except for maybe a hint at L1 interference, does all of that really depend on anything specific to one language, and thus give something to learn about it? I fail to see how, but if you can elaborate, I'm all ears.

Or maybe I looked at it from the wrong side, and we should pay close attention at exact wordings instead of macrostructures. For example, the other day I came up with the Spanish "dar cascotazos a un tambor" (throw boulders at a drum) to humorously depict the less elaborate extremes of music. If I tried to do that in English, you'd probably still regard the idea as humorous but the wording as a bit off, effectively undermining the attempt at humor. But even if I nailed it by saying (however you would say it), are we learning about something other than my English level being adequate to convey the message the way I intended?

Or, I was watching a film the other day (consider that as a text) and I cracked up when the same phrases were repeated verbatim or with very slight variations in different contexts as the story unfolded. However, I don't need to write about that to realize it.

I guess the main problem I see with commentaries is that we cannot really say why a given text is worded or structured a certain way instead of another, because normally alternate versions of texts only exist in our minds. Sure, we see concrete instances of usage of this and that, but what new dimension does commentary bring to it? Is it all about pointing out stuff that maybe others didn't notice, or is there something more to it that I am missing?

As I said, I'll be glad to be enlightened about this :)

Edited by mrwarper on 04 February 2015 at 4:38am

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Elenia
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
lilyonlife.blog
Joined 2219 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 
 Message 32 of 33
04 February 2015 at 10:27am | IP Logged 
Well, first of all I would say I hadn't noticed the length of your sentences until you pointed it out (probably because I am guilty of
sentences about the same length of yours but usually with less fluidity of expression. So I'd say you have no worries there). If I were to
analyse the lengths of your sentences as though in a commentary, however, I would look at how this length appears to the reader. Is is fluid,
meandering, rambly? What would this say about the author. Are there shorter sentences mixed in, and if yes, what effect does this create?

In my post I don't think I explained myself very well, so my apologies on that front. I did not mean that we were to write commentaries of our
own writing - I don't think I'd like to write a commentary of anything I wrote, I'd be too scared of what that might reveal! Writing
commentaries of journalistic texts would perhaps be more helpful for general improvement, as what is being evaluated is the opinion of the
author, and how this is put across. It is one thing to say that a text is humorous or satirical, and to give a few examples of why. The
commentary looks to dig deeper, as you said, by paying close attention to little details. Is there a lexical field being developed, and if yes,
what effect does this have on the reader? What pronouns does the author use - does this include or exclude a particular group? Things like
that. Commentaries usually require reading a text through at least two or three times with a pen, underlining and annotating things of interest
and grouping these elements together. The close reading necessitated by a commentary would hopefully make us more aware of the way we use our
TLs when speaking and writing, gives us a deeper understanding of the shades of meaning and therefore allow us to produce with more precision.

Of course, a commentary is first and foremost a very literary and academic activity, so it might have to be adapted or changed slightly to fit
language learning purposes. I might not be particularly useful to have to write the commentary itself for those who don't have to use their TL
in any academic setting, although for those who do have to write academically, I imagine the process of writing a commentary would be as
good a way to practice as anything else.

I hope I've explained my thought processes better here, although I'm worried that I haven't.


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