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Polish: another attempt

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 105 of 154
12 March 2008 at 6:01pm | IP Logged 
Day 32: about 40 minutes of L-R.

I did the first chapter of Camus's "L’Étranger", using a French-Polish parallel text. It was quite interesting, in a number of ways.

My French isn't great; I'm missing several words per page. This is also a blessing in disguise. It makes me focus more on common words in Polish, which have been a weakness of mine. I also managed to fill in a few gaps in my French via Polish, which was very enjoyable, although most gap-filling went in the other direction.

The feeling of having a mental image built up from simultaneous input in two half-known languages is indescribable. It's extremely pleasant at first, and I find it a far more 'visual' experience than reading in English. On the bad side, I did end up with a slight headache.

Also: one thing I found when I started reading novels on a regular basis in Italian was that I could read much faster than I was naturally inclined to at first - hitting 40-60 pages/hour, rather than perhaps 10-20. I went through a similar experience with French today: my natural urge was to read at about half the speed of the audio, but once I shrugged that off, I found myself reading a mixture of the French and the Polish, and often both.

I'm not too worried about damaging my French. Given 14 years of studying it (and ignoring it, and using it - only 3 years of study, really, in elementary school), I figure that either it's damaged beyond repair already, or it isn't, and either way, this is unlikely to make it significantly worse.

Overall, I'm very happy with this, for two reasons. One is that I'm doing surprisingly well at reading in French (supplemented by Polish); as my French is weaker than my Italian and Esperanto, and in reading (my strongest skill in it) perhaps on-par with my German, Dutch, and Spanish, that makes me quite glad. Secondly, it's just amazingly fun; I'm enjoying this more than any other part of the experiment so far. It's even more fun than reading "The Little Prince" in French-Spanish parallel text was (and this time, I didn't even prime myself for it by reading the book in English first). I'm not sure -why- I like doing L-R with French texts so much (doing it with Polish blows the "because I'm comparing Romance languages" theory out of the water), but I do.

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 106 of 154
13 March 2008 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
Day 33: 1 hour of L-R, several hours listening to music, mainly in the background

Today's L-R was in two parts. First, I spent 35 minutes listening to the first chapter of "The Master and Margarita", while reading the Polish text (and only the Polish text; I copy-pasted it into a new file, with no English). I understood slightly over 90%, I'd say. I wonder if the particular 'groove' mentioned by brian00321 in the "Thoughts on L-R" thread was what I experienced my second time through the novel; I suspect it was, but I'm not sure: both he and I consider it hard to describe, making it rather difficult to confirm. This worked much as brian00321 had said (though I shouldn't have used the text, to try out what he said more closely): it cemented several things (such as several words which have been half-known and driving me nuts), and helped everything fit together, which is an area I've been having trouble with.

I'm a bit puzzled, frankly. I still rarely think in Polish, and even more rarely, spontaneously, as opposed to intentionally forcing the issue.   What I think tends to be fairly fragmentary. I was thinking much more solidly, much sooner, in all of the 3 other languages I've L-R'd, especially Dutch and German - in under 3 hours with each.

The rest of the time (a bit over a half hour), I continued L’Étranger", doing chapters 2 and 3, and starting 4. I only stopped when I did because I was interrupted (although it was an interruption I welcomed), and that interruption lasted into the new day. My comprehension was a bit lower than it was during chapter 1, especially at first, but I think I'm essentially following the story, although there are occasional paragraphs where I miss the gist, due to more unknown words. I restarted chapter 1 after 10 minutes yesterday for a similar reason - it takes me a while to get into this particular combination of French, Polish, and a narrator rather different than the others I've heard, but chose not to restart today. I'm already finding myself comparing French and Polish structure far too frequently, though, occasionally at the expense of the content - old habits die hard.

It's a bit ironic that the first complete book I read in French is for the purpose of learning Polish.

Minor note: I've occasionally forgotten to mention when I've listened to music. I do almost every weekday.

Another note: apparently, atamagaii's censored post in this thread said that the reason I find Andersen difficult is the difference in idiolect. This strikes me as eminently plausible.

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 107 of 154
14 March 2008 at 1:31pm | IP Logged 
I emailed atamagaii, as my progress in Polish has been significantly different from in the other languages I've done some L-R in. S/he gave me permission to post his/her reply. This post is my email and atamagaii's reply, without further commentary by me.

Volte wrote:

Cześć;

I'm finding myself in a bit of a funny situation with L-R. I just tried reading the first chapter of "The Master and Margarita", with a Polish text (no English; I copy-pasted into a new file, and could -only- see Polish), while listening to the Polish, and I understood a little over 90%, I'd say. But I still can't understand much in songs (mainly words and -short- fragments), or think particularly well in the language;

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Songs are difficult, I'm not sure I understand them - poetic, slang, unpredictable, different intonation, etc. Certainly not in English.
Thinking - too early.

I do not know what you really did. You seem to believe in self-discipline - I believe in love - that's the fuel, the engine and the drive. I'm not sure if you know what good literature is and what it is for - it is certainly not just a plot, a story to read once and forget it, good literature is multilevel - you discover new senses each time you read the same good novel you love, your soul is shattered and in awe - positively.
Intellectual curisity is not enough.

And you did not do it in one go - you forget most of it.


and, unlike all my other L-R experiments, I'm still not spontaneously thinking much in Polish, even at the single word level - something I was doing with the other languages from pretty much the start. I -can- do some thinking in Polish, but I basically have to force myself, 95% of the time.


atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Do not force yourslef - if you don't feel joy, it means something is wrong, either with yourslef (too tired, bored, impatient etc) or with the way you're doing it (no word-for-word translation for the first few hours, too difficult a text for a beginner, no parallel texts, too big chunks in paralllel texts, no pop-up dictionary etc).


Is this weird? Do you have any advice on how I should proceed? It seems strange to me to be thinking so little in Polish.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

I do not know what you mean by your other languages - German, Dutch, Italian? - they are very much like English, similar, easy - Polish is different and much more difficult - phoneticlally, word order, morphology, it's natural it will take more time.


Also, I'm still a bit unclear on when I should start more active work ('stage 4 and 5' of your description); what do you think is best to achieve in terms of natural listening first? What about in terms of thinking?

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Natural listening first, achieved by L-R, the rest (speaking and writing) is easy then. I do not know how good your pronunciation is, either - a lot depends on it.
1. Natural listening
2. pronunciation
3. echoing (= repeating after the speakers WITHOUT looking at the written text)
4. echoing and looking at the written text
5. recitation (+pictures)
6. writing: listen while looking at the text +repeat + copy and say aloud at normal speed, and only then copy without listening, and only then write without looking at the text, and only then do the retranslation(= translate from English into Polish). First small chunks, even words, then add new fragmants.
Do not proceed to a higher level activity if you haven't done properly what should have been done before.

Powodzenia!
Do widzenia, do zobaczenia,
tam, gdzie ludzie nie mają cienia.



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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 108 of 154
14 March 2008 at 1:56pm | IP Logged 
atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Songs are difficult, I'm not sure I understand them - poetic, slang, unpredictable, different intonation, etc. Certainly not in English.


It looks like I've set my bar for passive fluency too high then - and/or it's a term which is more distracting than useful.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Thinking - too early.
...
I do not know what you mean by your other languages - German, Dutch, Italian? - they are very much like English, similar, easy - Polish is different and much more difficult - phoneticlally, word order, morphology, it's natural it will take more time.


This is a bit of a relief. By my other languages, I meant Dutch, German, and Spanish: the ones I've L-R'd at least a little. I started thinking in all of them far sooner, but none were -entirely- new.

Polish feels fairly natural phonetically and in word order at this point; the morphology is still only half-familiar.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

I do not know what you really did. You seem to believe in self-discipline - I believe in love - that's the fuel, the engine and the drive.


In general, I tend to run more on love than self-discipline, and it's been a major force in my life, especially with computer science. However, I do have an interest in self-discipline, and it's something I've been experimenting with more: and it -is- a major factor in how I've been doing this trial.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

I'm not sure if you know what good literature is and what it is for - it is certainly not just a plot, a story to read once and forget it, good literature is multilevel - you discover new senses each time you read the same good novel you love, your soul is shattered and in awe - positively.


I think it's entirely fair to say that when I first heard of L-R, I had no idea what good literature was. I knew platitudes and definitions, but didn't have a sense of it.

I think I started to get one as I re-read "The Master and Margarita". "Your soul is shattered and in awe" is more poetic than how I would have managed to describe my response, but also much more accurate.

I'm sad to have spent so many years and read so many books without grasping something so fundamental, but I'm glad to have the slightest glimmering of it now.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Intellectual curisity is not enough.


What isn't it enough for?

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

And you did not do it in one go - you forget most of it.


I forget a significant amount, but not "most of it", I think. My memory is somewhat non-standard; I remember some things much worse than most people, and other things much better.

volte wrote:

and, unlike all my other L-R experiments, I'm still not spontaneously thinking much in Polish, even at the single word level - something I was doing with the other languages from pretty much the start. I -can- do some thinking in Polish, but I basically have to force myself, 95% of the time.


atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Do not force yourslef - if you don't feel joy, it means something is wrong, either with yourslef (too tired, bored, impatient etc) or with the way you're doing it (no word-for-word translation for the first few hours, too difficult a text for a beginner, no parallel texts, too big chunks in paralllel texts, no pop-up dictionary etc).



Unfortunately, I've had almost all of those adverse factors. I've frequently done L-R when tired, with the idea that it was better to at least do a little than to do none. I've been bored/impatient on occasion, generally when re-reading parts I dislike of stories. I'm not sure if "The Master and Margarita" was too difficult at first, but I enjoyed the challenge, even though it meant that there was more I couldn't make sense out of. I don't have a pop-up dictionary.

Volte wrote:

Also, I'm still a bit unclear on when I should start more active work ('stage 4 and 5' of your description); what do you think is best to achieve in terms of natural listening first? What about in terms of thinking?

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

Natural listening first, achieved by L-R, the rest (speaking and writing) is easy then. I do not know how good your pronunciation is, either - a lot depends on it.
1. Natural listening
...
Do not proceed to a higher level activity if you haven't done properly what should have been done before.



I have no idea how my pronunciation will be after I've done some work on it. At the moment, I've barely said a handful of words. I'm making an effort to wait until I hit natural listening consistently, although I'm still at a bit of a loss as to what unknown material I should be able to understand, and to what degree, to consider myself as ready to move on. How do I know when it's been done properly?

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

5. recitation (+pictures)


What does this step consist of?

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Dvergr
Newbie
United States
Joined 6045 days ago

32 posts - 33 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 110 of 154
14 March 2008 at 8:30pm | IP Logged 
Volte,

I know from some of your previous posts that you are at least partially motivated to learn Polish in order to read atamagaii-in-exile's book on L-R. Have you thought about asking him/her about translating it into English? I
would love to read it, but at this point in my life, Polish is not on my hit list...


Thanks...

Dvergr
1 person has voted this message useful



vanityx3
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 6330 days ago

331 posts - 326 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 111 of 154
14 March 2008 at 10:44pm | IP Logged 
atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

I do not know what you really did. You seem to believe in self-discipline - I believe in love - that's the fuel, the engine and the drive.


I really believe this is true on many levels. This passion and love that she had, sometimes bordering on craziness, is the motivation that I've used for my French studies. Even though I'm not currently doing LR, I still find learning new things about French to be so much easier when I'm absolutely in love with and passionate about the language and everything it has to offer.

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

you discover new senses each time you read the same good novel you love, your soul is shattered and in awe


What a beautiful way to describe a great piece of literature. I have experienced some moments of this before, but I wish it would occur more often.
1 person has voted this message useful



Alkeides
Senior Member
Bhutan
Joined 6017 days ago

636 posts - 644 votes 

 
 Message 112 of 154
15 March 2008 at 7:42am | IP Logged 
vanityx3 wrote:

atamagaii-in-exile wrote:

you discover new senses each time you read the same good novel you love, your soul is shattered and in awe


What a beautiful way to describe a great piece of literature. I have experienced some moments of this before, but I wish it would occur more often.

Me too.

BTW, would anyone happen to know of free offline software for dictionaries? There is this program called EBwin that I'm using and finding quite good; it's a dictionary reader and you have to download dictionaies separately, but it's mostly for Japanese.


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