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Polish: another attempt

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Volte
Tetraglot
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Switzerland
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 Message 41 of 154
21 February 2008 at 4:07pm | IP Logged 
fredomirek wrote:
Congratulations on finishing the first book! Please, keep the journal updated, it's extremely interesting (and motivating as well!).


I'm glad to hear that!

fredomirek wrote:

Volte wrote:
Beyond that, I probably really ought to isolate 'w' and 'z' for repeated listening. I can only sometimes hear them; it almost sounds as if they're barely said at times.


You might know it already, but it might be helpful if you don't. Quite often, the w [w] and z [z] become respectively w [f] and z [s] before a voiceless consonant. It probably makes them even harder to hear. Like in these examples: "z tobą" (with you) "z" is pronounced like an "s", and similarly "w powietrzu" (in the air) "w" is pronounced like an "f". Hope it helps.


Yes; that sounds extremely familiar, now that you point it out explicitly, but I hadn't thought about it that way. Thanks!


fredomirek wrote:

Volte wrote:
contrast 'za' with 'zza' (native Polish speakers: how different do 'za' and 'zza' sound to you?).


It's a hard question, I must say :-). They do actually sound different unless used in a very fast speech. They take different cases though, zza (genitive), za (instrumental).


I agree that they sound a little different, but it seems to be fairly subtle, and the idea of a double z at the start of a word still blows my mind a little, hence my thoughts of isolating it and listening to an explicit contrast for a while. Do you -ever- get mixed up as to which you're hearing (until context resolves it, at least) outside of very fast speech?

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CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
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katiekelly.wordpress
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 Message 42 of 154
21 February 2008 at 10:59pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
It definitely wasn't clear to me with the first experiment that 'on', 'jego', 'go', 'niego', 'jemu', 'mu', 'niemu', and 'nim' were all forms of 'he' (and all of them can also mean 'it', except for 'on', which becomes 'ono'...and 'jego', 'go', 'niego' mean either in the genitive, but in the accusative, mean 'he', while 'je' and 'nie' are used for 'it') in various cases. The resemblances from one case to another are less than obvious. To add more fun, 'nie' is also an extremely common word for negation. These kinds of varieties and overlaps can easily make guesses as to meaning go wrong, and/or be wrongly falsified as hypotheses, at least for me.


Are you saying you learned this grammar from L-R alone? Are you using a grammar reference, as well?

Even with a grammar reference, that you've learned this through literature amazes and inspires me.
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Kubelek
Tetraglot
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 Message 44 of 154
22 February 2008 at 7:35am | IP Logged 
I think 'za' and 'zza' are pretty hard to confuse, because of their completely different meanings and pronunciation. I don't know of anybody who slurrs 'zza' beyond recognition. Double letters are always pronounced longer.
zza - either a long 'z' or two z's pronounced separatly. (almost like zy-za)
manna - normal 'n' pronounced longer
hattrick - correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that a regular glottal stop? after the first stop you make a pause where the next "t" should be, while at the same time your throat is 'closed'. Similar thing happens with 'kk' (Rocco), although some people may say two k's.
kappa (name of a greek letter) - similar, pronounce the first 'p' and then make a pause before saying 'a'. Otherwise you'll say 'kapa' which means 'cape'.

dżdżownica (earthworm) - pronounce 'dż' twice, clearly, one after another.

I'll try to think of more examples. I'm afraid I can't formulate a general rule as atama-ga-ii would do, all I can do is think of different examples.

Hope it helps. Amazed by your quick progress I gave a try to L-R myself and I'm very happy with it. It takes a long time to prepare the texts, though, and often translations very off.

Surprisingly, some translators try to improve the style a little! They would use more varied vocabulary so as to avoid repetitions. Noble, but when they start adding whole sentences and skipt others, I'm wondering if I'm reading Verne or some overzealous Pole's book.

Edited by Kubelek on 22 February 2008 at 7:36am

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Volte
Tetraglot
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 Message 45 of 154
22 February 2008 at 9:18am | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
Volte wrote:
It definitely wasn't clear to me with the first experiment that 'on', 'jego', 'go', 'niego', 'jemu', 'mu', 'niemu', and 'nim' were all forms of 'he' (and all of them can also mean 'it', except for 'on', which becomes 'ono'...and 'jego', 'go', 'niego' mean either in the genitive, but in the accusative, mean 'he', while 'je' and 'nie' are used for 'it') in various cases. The resemblances from one case to another are less than obvious. To add more fun, 'nie' is also an extremely common word for negation. These kinds of varieties and overlaps can easily make guesses as to meaning go wrong, and/or be wrongly falsified as hypotheses, at least for me.


Are you saying you learned this grammar from L-R alone? Are you using a grammar reference, as well?

Even with a grammar reference, that you've learned this through literature amazes and inspires me.


I've linked to various grammatical references I've used. This time, it's only been two (relatively limited, but still useful) websites; last time, I skimmed two reference grammars.

I'm -still- getting the hang of the case system; I -don't- have the above memorized. I recognize most/all of the forms (although 'jemu' perhaps only from references). I probably -wouldn't- recognize if the wrong one was being used at this point; I might think it was weird, but I wouldn't be able to assert with certainty that it was wrong.

I was using this as an example of the kind of thing that I find I -really- benefit from referring to references grammars (-not- studying them; just looking and getting an idea of what to expect from the languages, and clearing up confusion about words like 'nie', which had previously been confusing me a lot when not used for negation). I specifically pointed out that this wasn't something I'd absorbed purely from L-R (and, for that matter, haven't entirely absorbed yet). Similarly, I hadn't realized that these forms could also often be used for 'it'; I'm still getting the hang of the Polish gender system as well.

My preferred approach is to do L-R for some hours, and intersperse it with gramar whenever I feel like it - which seems to be every few days. The first time through, I skimmed two grammar reference (in one sitting each; it only took an hour or two per grammar, as I skip pronunciation advice and anything that's clearly too difficult as of yet). They were useful for giving me an idea of the prepositions, especially 'w' and 'z', and making the cases a little clearer.

I focus on things which are -partially- familiar. The entirely unfamiliar are worth skimming, but barely - I know I'll remember them once better once L-R has slotted a "I wish I knew what that meant, it seems familiar" into my memory; I only look at this category for the 'big ideas' (ie, 'there is a case system, the cases have these roles, and there are inflections based on X, Y, and Z'). The same is true, albeit with a slightly more intense skim, for the mainly unfamiliar.

For semi-familiar things, I tend to spend a bit more time; I still don't try to memorize. This reinforces what I know, sometimes re-draws the lines around what I think something means or is (ie, showing that a preposition actually has another use that seems familiar once I see it but which I hadn't connected to it with a moderate amount of certainty yet), and allows me to pick up a reasonable percentage of what I previously didn't know.

I'm not convinced that this is the most effective way to do things (or that it isn't). Part of me would be curious to try memorizing the major grammatical points ahead of time - I know from Italian that I can memorize the conjugations of Italian verbs in -are, -ere, and -ire, plus a few irregular ones, in under a day - but another part of me prefers the 'absorb the most common, get familiar with the less common, and it all falls into play, with enough vocabulary to use them meaningfully' approach. I was 'burnt' with Italian; I have painful memories of being able to conjugate pretty much everything, but still unable to understand or communicate beyond a fairly low level.

In short - I'm still experimenting. I've spent under 4 hours with grammar references/websites, I think. Familiarity with details has been primarily, but not entirely, gained through literature. Explicit instruction through -reading- (not studying, not memorizing) grammar references has been a huge help. The bit you quoted was a minor rant, rather than a "I now know this solidly!"


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Volte
Tetraglot
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 Message 46 of 154
22 February 2008 at 9:31am | IP Logged 
The previous post had me take a look at wikipedia's description of the Polish language, which I hadn't previously read (I think).

The form I wanted to find wasn't there; I'll find an example and a more complete explanation this evening. That said, that page taught me a few things:
- My notion of aspect was actually wrong. Fortunately, the correct one -is- a familiar distinction as well; I think that the right way to distinguish will stick at this point.

- The gender system is more complicated than I'd remembered. I still don't understand the difference between personal, animate, and inanimate masculine - the description gives an idea, but it's not something I've absorbed yet.

- Conjugations are becoming natural, to a limited degree; I think I'd be able to use 'jestem' (I am), 'jest' (he/she/it is), and partially use the past of 'to be', 'był' (but this last without the inflections for gender and number). However, this is probably my 3rd weakest area, after aspect and gender (including animacy).

- A surprising amount of the vocabulary is known to me. I can often recognize loan words, even if they're somewhat changed, after one exposure through L-R (pomarańcza is familiar, for instance; the Italian is 'aranchia' (orange, the fruit)). Numbers up to 100 are familiar, though I'd hesitate to use some of them still. A fair number of distinctly Polish words, like 'słonecznie' (sunny) and 'bardzo' (very), I'd recognize instantly. I'd be able to actively use some, but not many, such as 'miasto' (town).

Edit: I think a major reason for the grammatical weaknesses mentioned above is that I'm still picking up vocabulary at a high rate (corollary: there's still a lot to learn, and I don't know everything common yet!) I've been starting to see how sentences fit together more, but it's progressive. At first, I could correspond English and Polish phrases, a fairly high percentage of the time. More recently, I've been able to largely correlate words. This is critical: it allows me to recognize idioms, differences in phrasing, and start to infer how the words relate; whole phrases without comprehension of the internals is, at best, much less efficient for this purpose.


Edited by Volte on 22 February 2008 at 9:42am

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CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
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 Message 47 of 154
22 February 2008 at 2:30pm | IP Logged 
What's fascinating to me about this approach is you have created your own personal textbook. You are only learning what you're ready to learn at that time, little by little. And a different person learning this way might absorb different parts in an entirely different order.

Again, I don't know Polish, but I'm well acquainted with Czech and Russian, so niego, jego, go, et cetera make sense to me, but what is fascinating to me is how you connect the logic together, piece-by-piece, absorbing only what you're ready to absorb. I do believe over time, you will learn Polish, with a deep understanding of it. Well, that's my hope.

The hardest challenge for me would be absorbing vocabulary. I've become addicted to flashcard software. This brings up another question, and if you've already talked about this, my apologies for asking. Are you making an active effort to learn vocabulary?

I ask because for years, I purposely "didn't" try to learn words. What stayed stayed, and what didn't, I assumed I wasn't ready for yet. Then I became addicted to flashcard software, and that is when I felt my vocabulary sky rocket. So think with the L-R method, I fear I would have to fight the urge to record words and phrases in SuperMemo. It would only add time, and maybe block my subconscious. That's my fear. Again, pardon me if this is a repeat. If not, I'd be curious to know your thoughts.
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Volte
Tetraglot
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Switzerland
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 Message 48 of 154
22 February 2008 at 5:16pm | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
What's fascinating to me about this approach is you have created your own personal textbook. You are only learning what you're ready to learn at that time, little by little. And a different person learning this way might absorb different parts in an entirely different order.

Again, I don't know Polish, but I'm well acquainted with Czech and Russian, so niego, jego, go, et cetera make sense to me, but what is fascinating to me is how you connect the logic together, piece-by-piece, absorbing only what you're ready to absorb. I do believe over time, you will learn Polish, with a deep understanding of it. Well, that's my hope.


That's mine as well.

CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:

The hardest challenge for me would be absorbing vocabulary. I've become addicted to flashcard software. This brings up another question, and if you've already talked about this, my apologies for asking. Are you making an active effort to learn vocabulary?

I ask because for years, I purposely "didn't" try to learn words. What stayed stayed, and what didn't, I assumed I wasn't ready for yet. Then I became addicted to flashcard software, and that is when I felt my vocabulary sky rocket. So think with the L-R method, I fear I would have to fight the urge to record words and phrases in SuperMemo. It would only add time, and maybe block my subconscious. That's my fear. Again, pardon me if this is a repeat. If not, I'd be curious to know your thoughts.


I'm actually absorbing vocabulary extremely well through this approach. I am making an active effort to learn vocabulary. This is the major reason I look at the Polish as I listen; I learn a -much- higher percentage of words that way. For occasional words, I focus extremely strongly, and use tricks (ie, I hold the word in my head with as much focus as I can for up to about a second, and if it's something concretely physical, especially a body part, like 'shoulder', I'll tap myself on the corresponding part).



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