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Polish: another attempt

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shapd
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 6018 days ago

126 posts - 208 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Modern Hebrew, French, Russian

 
 Message 9 of 154
07 February 2008 at 7:17am | IP Logged 
My mouth is also watering at the thought of so much riches. My Polish is getting very rusty since I have not been there for 15 years. I can no longer speak well, though I can read. I always kick myself that I did not buy any tapes when I was there, and cannot find good sources on the net.
Anything you can offer would be welcome. My local university library has copies of most classic Polish literature and much contemporary as well, though that is more patchy. I could use them to parallel read. If you are willing to pass anything on, let me know please. Are the audios on MP3s? Otherwise it would clearly be chutzpah to ask you to give away anything.
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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 10 of 154
09 February 2008 at 3:51pm | IP Logged 
Progress so far:

This is a bit of a mixed story. Last night, I spent a fair amount of time with friends, which was good (both from a social and language point of view - we spoke a mixture of English, Italian, and German, as usual, watched movies in English/Spanish/Swedish/German, and a few words of Japanese ended up getting tossed around as well). http://joox.net/cat/402 is quite a nice source of German movies, and the "Planet Erde" series is stunning.

The language highlight of the evening, for me, was that a fair percentage of the time I could follow the Italian conversation and the German movie at the same time. This still happened a minority of the time, but given that half a year ago I could barely follow the conversations with these friends (being spoken quickly, very colloquially though not in dialect, sometimes mumbled, and with a -lot- of background noise), being able to do so now while understanding German, a language I am not that strong in, was very nice. (Side note on German: while I've been neglecting my studies of it far too much, I've successfully read several newspapers in it recently, without missing many major points, though still missing a fair number of words, I was able to make sense of a book I read a few pages of in it earlier today, and I sometimes think in it. Another side note: I've recently managed simple written conversations in Dutch, German, and Spanish, though I don't write any of them easily, and make far too many mistakes. (To atamagaii: Yes, I know it's production too early; but that's a mistake I've been making for years, especially with German, so hopefully this won't have hurt too much more - and it's a mistake I intend to not make with Polish.)).

Back on Polish: As of yesterday, I've temporarily wrapped up phonetics in favor of listening to actual speech. I'm mainly listening to http://www.rdc.pl/rdc.m3u; I've listened to it for several hours today. It occasionally plays songs in languages other than Polish, but not that often. I'm picking out words and occasionally phrases, more or less understanding URLs, and sometimes have an idea of what's being talked about. I'm far from 'Natural Listening', but I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it's going.

I'm also reformatting parallel texts, as I use different software than atamagaii, so the formatting is a bit off, and I found previously that having to reformat as I Listen-Read distracts me an amazing amount - it totally breaks the flow state. This is a slow process, as the software I'm using insists on repaginating every time I make a minor change, and sometimes pauses for what seems like half a minute -- hence listening so much to the radio, rather than Listening-Reading. Nonetheless, I've reformatted about half of "The Master and Margarita". Happily, I find myself understanding quite a bit of the Polish, and being able to correspond words (as opposed to only phrases) a lot better than I could the previous time I tried to learn Polish.

My decision to listen to Polish in the background was based on the forum discussion when I asked what the likely effects on L-R would be.

I had a question about the pronunciation of rz, but a few kind Polish speakers cleared that up.

In other words: I've done phonetics, about 20-25 minutes of reading Polish while listening to it (with "The Master and Margarita", while ignoring the English 95+% of the time, and fairly low comprehension), and listened to Polish radio, but not done any real Listening-Reading yet this time around. Polish is not 'live' in my head yet, but small chunks are floating around.

Where I plan to go from here: finish reformatting Bulgakov, and start Listening-Reading intensely tomorrow (Sunday). Also, I plan to look into Polish music (and try atamagaii's suggestions), so that I can listen to Polish on my commute come Monday. My mp3 player has contained a mixture of Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Esperanto, and Persian for the last while; I plan to replace this entirely with Polish until I hit natural listening, at which point I'll return to a mixture, so suggestions of Polish songs and musical groups are very welcome.


Edited by Volte on 09 February 2008 at 3:56pm

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BelgoHead
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 6172 days ago

120 posts - 119 votes 
Studies: French, English*
Studies: Esperanto

 
 Message 11 of 154
09 February 2008 at 10:55pm | IP Logged 
Volte i can't understand why you go through all the trouble of studying Polish,which has an repuation for difficulty and complexity.

By your posts you seem to be an aspiring pologyot, so would it not be more logical for you to either perfect your italian(In your profile it says basic fluency) or to learn languages in the romance category like Spanish/French. I realise your doing a bit of Spanish with simple sentences but if you were to put a concorted effort into it like you do with Polish, you could and (im not kidding here) probably making 10 times the progress then you have done with Polish.

I have read in your other posts that you are at a beginer to intermidiate level at several languages like German,Dutch and French. (correct me if im wrong).

Why not tread on the familar path of Romance languages or perfect those you arleady know? Instead of treading down the road less traveled (in this case Polish)?
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Gilgamesh
Tetraglot
Senior Member
England
Joined 6111 days ago

452 posts - 468 votes 
14 sounds
Speaks: Dutch, English, German, French
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 12 of 154
10 February 2008 at 4:11am | IP Logged 
[QUOTE=BelgoHead] Volte i can't understand why you go through all the trouble of studying Polish,which has an repuation for difficulty and complexity. [QUOTE]

I thought this was a polyglot forum.

What I don't get is that people whine about the perceived 'complexity' (whatever that might be) of languages, instead of just sitting down and learning them. If you constantly focus on items like 'difficulty' or 'complexity' of a language, you may as well not learn it.

I think we had a thread about this as well. There people talked about how they had great fun learning languages like Russian or Polish or Chinese or whatever, and had absolutely no problem. Until they were told how supposedly 'complex', 'difficult' and so on they are... Then, they suddenly started becoming difficult.
I just think - this is just my personal opinion - we could very well do without these terms.

It's just that I don't really understand the point. I don't think Polish the least bit less interesting than Spanish or Portuguese (which doesn't mean I'm not very fond of those, as well).

Edited by Gilgamesh on 10 February 2008 at 4:17am

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Alkeides
Senior Member
Bhutan
Joined 6017 days ago

636 posts - 644 votes 

 
 Message 13 of 154
10 February 2008 at 5:12am | IP Logged 
Gilgamesh wrote:
[QUOTE=BelgoHead] Volte i can't understand why you go through all the trouble of studying Polish,which has an repuation for difficulty and complexity. [QUOTE]

I thought this was a polyglot forum.

What I don't get is that people whine about the perceived 'complexity' (whatever that might be) of languages, instead of just sitting down and learning them. If you constantly focus on items like 'difficulty' or 'complexity' of a language, you may as well not learn it.

I think we had a thread about this as well. There people talked about how they had great fun learning languages like Russian or Polish or Chinese or whatever, and had absolutely no problem. Until they were told how supposedly 'complex', 'difficult' and so on they are... Then, they suddenly started becoming difficult.
I just think - this is just my personal opinion - we could very well do without these terms.

It's just that I don't really understand the point. I don't think Polish the least bit less interesting than Spanish or Portuguese (which doesn't mean I'm not very fond of those, as well).


I agree. And isn't the point of being a polyglot learning as many varied languages as possible? In that case exploring new languages with different grammars is more interesting and beneficial than doing the same thing again. Of course, it also depends on your goals, if you'd rather focus on quantity and get the pleasure of completing an easy, done-before goal, then it's better to do a simpler language.
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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 14 of 154
10 February 2008 at 5:26am | IP Logged 
BelgoHead wrote:
Volte i can't understand why you go through all the trouble of studying Polish,which has an repuation for difficulty and complexity.

By your posts you seem to be an aspiring pologyot, so would it not be more logical for you to either perfect your italian(In your profile it says basic fluency) or to learn languages in the romance category like Spanish/French. I realise your doing a bit of Spanish with simple sentences but if you were to put a concorted effort into it like you do with Polish, you could and (im not kidding here) probably making 10 times the progress then you have done with Polish.

I have read in your other posts that you are at a beginer to intermidiate level at several languages like German,Dutch and French. (correct me if im wrong).

Why not tread on the familar path of Romance languages or perfect those you arleady know? Instead of treading down the road less traveled (in this case Polish)?


I have several reasons for studying Polish. The most important ones are:
0) To evaluate Listening-Reading; if I can actually get a language to basic fluency with it in a reasonable time scale, it will be, by far, my preferred way to study. It closely matches a lot of my preferences in language learning, and in learning in general.
1) To read 'The gist', by atamagaii - an ebook on Listening-Reading - which is only available in Polish.
2) To give myself a foothold in the Slavic languages. Right now, if you throw a reasonable-length (ie, at least a few paragraphs) Romance or Germanic language at me, and it's not in heavy dialect, I'm significantly more likely than not to get the gist of it (admittedly, my Icelandic and Romanian comprehension is lower than I would like - but I don't intend to address this in the near future). I've read half a novel (> 100 pages thus far) in Dutch, and can read newspapers in German, etc. If I come across a Slavic language, though, I'm still next to blind. My personal interest in polyglottery is heavily slanted to passive reading abiliites, followed by the ability to understand the spoken language.
3) I know a number of Poles that I'd rather be able to speak to in Polish.
4) It was really, really annoying me to be utterly incompetent in Polish.
5) I've found that it's a language I love. At the moment, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish are in this category; Esperanto is close, and Japanese and Persian may or may not end up there when I know them better. Other than Spanish, my interest in the Romance languages is more strongly pragmatic (".. I need this language, so I'll acquire some level of ability in it"); I prefer the Germanic group, and my explorations beyond both have been rather too tentative.
6) I don't believe in 'perfecting' languages. I could spend every waking hour of the rest of my life on English without 'perfecting' it - what does it even mean to do so? This applies at least equally strongly to every other language. I believe in getting languages up to a level useful for my needs and interests in the language (cultural, communicative, etc), and then letting them evolve from there, via natural exposure and further study. Historically, this has been basic survival use and the ability to read for the gist.
7) I find that, the more I absorb of more distant grammars, the easier more similar ones look. French and Italian were the bane of my life from 3rd to 12th grade. Nonetheless, after dabbling in Japanese and, to a lesser extent, German, they both seemed much more natural. Ideally, I want to have a decent overview of major grammatical features in world languages -- and I think that the best way to do so is to dabble in a wide variety of languages (this may lead me to explore Finnish, Basque, and a few indigenous languages; all have limited communicative and historical literary use, but fascinating grammars). This is a matter of personal interest, not just pragmatism.

It's not that I'm doing a bit of Spanish with simple sentences. It's that I did about 10 hours of Listening-Reading with it during my Christmas vacation, and found that the language became 'live' enough in my head to be able to write simple things in it. I could already understand it beforehand, but only purely passively. I have little doubt that any more Listening-Reading in Spanish would further improve it, likely rapidly. Being able to 'activate' languages via fairly short amounts of time via Listening-Reading is very appealing.

Also, the difficulty of Polish is one reason I'm studying it. I figure that if I can get the hang of Polish grammar, almost everything else will look easy in comparison. I love how natural Swedish feels (due to similarities to English), or Spanish (due to similarities to Italian); being able to start feeling that about various Slavic languages, and doing etymological/grammatical comparisons between them, is appealing.

I think it probably takes a somewhat unusual personality to be an aspiring polyglot, and everyone seems to bring their own kink to it. Some people want to master the Romance and Germanic languages. Some want to be able to elegantly express themselves with nuances (which may or may not be coupled with historical etymological and deep literary interest - cf Administrator and ProfArguelles). I consider these very worthy goals, but they are not my focus. This may change -- this is a pursuit I am rather new to -- but for the moment, my focus is more on gaining a wide and shallow base, and deepening it in specific places as I decide to do so, rather than gaining deep but isolated clumps of knowledge. For the moment, I am putting time into language learning, experimenting, and exploring. My current experiment is to see where I can go with Polish via the methods I'm documenting myself as using.

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Alkeides
Senior Member
Bhutan
Joined 6017 days ago

636 posts - 644 votes 

 
 Message 15 of 154
10 February 2008 at 5:54am | IP Logged 
Out of curiosity, why did you decide to learn the phonology of Polish separately first?
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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 16 of 154
10 February 2008 at 6:04am | IP Logged 
amphises wrote:
Out of curiosity, why did you decide to learn the phonology of Polish separately first?


A couple of reasons.
The minor one is that it drove me a bit nuts the first time. I did no phonological study, and could hear slight differences in consonants, but I wasn't mentally prepared for it, so I wasn't sure how many contrasting forms there were, etc. In the end, this was somewhat jarring, as I don't believe I recognized all the contrasts, and this made my comprehension suffer as I mixed similar-sounding but distinct words. I find Polish much more pleasant to listen to now that I can distinguish the phonemes. (Side note: I suspect, though haven't checked, that this will apply to a lesser extent to some Indic languages and Chinese, now that I'm more familiar with retroflex consonants; I also wonder about how it will change my perception of other Slavic languages).

Another minor reason is that I'm trying to do a bit more phonetic study, and when I realized that Polish had both retroflex and palatal consonants, I jumped on it. The relative paucity of vowels was also attractive, as were the consonant clusters (Side note: I can't imagine trying to learn English or Polish as a speaker of a language like Japanese with no consonant clusters!).

Finally, atamagaii wrote a post recommending starting with pronunciation. Given that s/he is the most experienced person with the method I'm trying to follow/remix, and that it's a clearly reasonable step which doesn't take a huge amount of time, I had no good reason -not- to do phonetics.




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