TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-03-10, 6:42

Time for another update of my list! Normally, I'd go from Hindi/Urdu to Swahili, but this time, inspired by the fact that the weather suddenly turned cold again today, I started doing Quechua instead after Hindi/Urdu even though that makes no geographical sense. :lol: I also reviewed my Mapudungun vocabulary (along with my Quechua vocabulary). I think I managed to retain most of what I learned in Quechua, though I probably forgot a few of the grammatical suffixes, and I forgot most of what I learned in Mapudungun due to total neglect! Oh well. :)
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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-03-15, 2:11

Went through Quechua and Mapudungun, now moving on to Lnuismk and then Michif. After that, I think I'll do Swahili, then Dinka, then I guess Krio? And English and ASL (perhaps in the opposite order), followed by Thai...? Then Tagalog, Indonesian/Malay, Oirata, Teiwa, Australian Kriol, and Light Warlpiri, in that order.

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby Antea » 2016-03-16, 18:58

vijayjohn wrote:Went through Quechua and Mapudungun, now moving on to Lnuismk and then Michif. After that, I think I'll do Swahili, then Dinka, then I guess Krio? And English and ASL (perhaps in the opposite order), followed by Thai...? Then Tagalog, Indonesian/Malay, Oirata, Teiwa, Australian Kriol, and Light Warlpiri, in that order.


If you're going to do Swahili, the thread will finally be kind of revived :yep:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-03-16, 19:05

I revive some of the threads in that forum every now and then. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-01, 15:46

Update again! BTW, I've been thinking of changing my plans for my TAC drastically after I'm done going through this round of languages. I've slowly beginning to change my overall approach for learning/practicing languages from just posting stuff on UniLang. In fact, I'm starting to think of not posting in some of the bigger/more popular languages here, at least, but still keeping in touch with people who do post in those languages so they don't get bored waiting around forever for someone to post in them. :lol:

So, it looks like my plan was originally to go from Swahili to Dinka to Krio, and then maybe to ASL and then English (or the other way around). Instead, what I actually ended up doing after Swahili was to do Dinka and then ASL. Next up will be either Krio or English, with Thai following close on their heels. I'm not sure on the exact ordering, except that I'll definitely be doing Krio before Thai.
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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-02, 23:19

I've started to think about how I can categorize my languages so that I can come up with better approaches for tackling each category rather than just posting stuff on UniLang to help myself learn/practice all of them:

Languages I'm relatively fluent in (excluding English, of course)
Malayalam
French
Spanish
German
Mandarin Chinese
Recommended approach: Mostly just read stuff and actually use the language. Additionally (less importantly in principle, though still importantly for me), I have great textbooks for all of these languages except Malayalam, but the fact that I live with my parents who speak it all day every day compensates for that. ;)

Languages that could use more work
Portuguese*
Hindi/Urdu*
Latin
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Russian
Turkish
Recommended approach: Practice and looking/working through textbooks are both important for these languages.

*I can kind of fake both of these on UniLang: Portuguese because of Spanish, and Hindi because there are no native speakers of it on UniLang. :P

Languages where I definitely need more work
Swahili
ASL
Thai
Indonesian/Malay
Tagalog
Quechua
Mapudungun
Lnuismk
Michif
Krio
Australian Kriol
Recommended approach: Make it a point to actually work through some textbooks/resources, or else I'll never get anywhere with them in terms of proficiency!

Languages I really just need to collect more data for, if it's even available, just because I am actually crazy enough to even try seriously studying these languages :P
Dinka
Oirata
Teiwa
Light Warlpiri
Recommended approach: ...Just keep reviewing stuff and doing what I'm doing? I mean what else can I do, really?

Languages I don't have on my list, or whose forums I never post in, but sort of speak
Italian
Swedish
Bengali
Romani
Persian
Tamil
Catalan
...Dutch...?
Japanese
Norweeegiannnnnnn??? :?
Danish??
Oh, also, I can pretend I know Punjabi and post in TPAM in it as long as I'm not the last poster. :lol: I've started doing this for Nepali, too.
Maybe Afrikaans as well.
Recommended approach: Don't bring these up in conversation unless they're actually relevant. You're doing a great job doing that! Well done! *pats self on the back* :silly:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby Antea » 2016-04-03, 7:49

That's impressive! It should be hard to maintain the level in all those languages, though. For getting some practice, what I do is trying to watch to TV programms and reading articles and stuff in the languages I'm interested in :yep:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-04, 19:23

Antea wrote:That's impressive!

Thanks! :)
It should be hard to maintain the level in all those languages, though.

I think I'd say "it must be hard..." unless I misunderstood what you meant. :) But...idk, personally, I guess I don't seem to be finding it that hard.
For getting some practice, what I do is trying to watch to TV programms and reading articles and stuff in the languages I'm interested in :yep:

Yeah, I would ideally do that and more for all my languages (provided those are available, of course), but my problem is that I barely even do either of those things in English...:lol:

uzferry

Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby uzferry » 2016-04-04, 19:42

Haha, I actually have no idea what threads like this are about (is it basically recording the progress as you learn?) but I now feel inclined to actually start one :D (how bad would it be if I actually did that?)
Anyways, that really sounds interesting. What kind of proficiency level are you aiming for the languages in which you consider yourself to be fluent? Do you do special exercises to improve pronunciation or something? Do you get to use them often enough?
And how in the world do you maintain fluency in so many languages? Isn't it hard? Do you confuse them often? How much time a day do you spend learning/brushing up languages ?
Sorry if these questions are silly, honestly I'm too lazy to go over all these posts, especially seeing as most of them are in languages I don't understand :nope:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-04, 20:08

uzferry wrote:Haha, I actually have no idea what threads like this are about (is it basically recording the progress as you learn?)

Oh, TAC threads? (Or as some of us like to joke, they're more like "PLBs" these days: Personal Language Blogs! :D). Yeah, that's pretty much it. We just talk about the languages we're learning and what we're doing with them.
but I now feel inclined to actually start one :D (how bad would it be if I actually did that?)

Not bad at all! I've even seen people do literally nothing else on UniLang before. You can totally start one! :)
Anyways, that really sounds interesting. What kind of proficiency level are you aiming for the languages in which you consider yourself to be fluent?

C2, I guess?
Do you do special exercises to improve pronunciation or something? Do you get to use them often enough?

Nope and nope (well, except for English and Malayalam, at least. I do use those often enough in daily life :)).
And how in the world do you maintain fluency in so many languages? Isn't it hard? Do you confuse them often?

Not really, no. I mean, English is basically the closest thing I have to a native language, and Malayalam is a language I've started to speak every day since I live with my parents (and was the first language I ever spoke at all anyway before I lost it at a young age and was forced to learn English instead) and they've spoken it around me every day of my life (except for a few times when I took a trip without them to see my brother). French, Spanish, and German are languages I've been studying seriously ever since I was a little kid. Mandarin Chinese is a language I started studying seriously only much later, but I've spent plenty of years on that as well. So no, it isn't that big of a deal for me.
How much time a day do you spend learning/brushing up languages ?

Oh, I often don't do anything. :lol: It varies a lot. Sometimes this is practically all I do in a day (aside from things like eating and sleeping, although I often ignore things like this in favor of studying languages, too :P); sometimes I don't get to do it at all.
Sorry if these questions are silly,

No, seriously, they're not silly at all! My only fear with questions like these is that I may not be able to give a satisfactory answer. :D
honestly I'm too lazy to go over all these posts, especially seeing as most of them are in languages I don't understand :nope:

I totally understand that, but well, to be fair, it does go back to English starting at page 3, and even a lot of the posts before that are really still in English but just spelled weirdly so it looks like German. :lol: Leich diss, ja? Sie? Iz tschasst Inglisch! :P

uzferry

Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby uzferry » 2016-04-04, 21:18

Yeah, I think I'm going to create one too :D just to be able to see my own progress :D
Hmm, so if I understood correctly - Malayalam is kind of your mother tongue that you lost. So in that case I suppose you have a pretty good understanding of Malayalam, meanwhile your "output" ability isn't that advanced? :D (like a passive knowledge or something?)
Also, do you have any difficulties with English (pronunciation, expressions or something else) seeing at it isn't really your native language? Well, it obviously depends on when did you start speaking it, of course, but I'm just curious :roll:
Anyways, enough of me sidetracking the thread, thanks for the answers and I wish you good luck :D you have a new subscriber, so to say :D

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-04, 22:56

uzferry wrote:Hmm, so if I understood correctly - Malayalam is kind of your mother tongue that you lost. So in that case I suppose you have a pretty good understanding of Malayalam, meanwhile your "output" ability isn't that advanced? :D (like a passive knowledge or something?)

No, I had nothing left in Malayalam after I lost it. Couldn't speak it, couldn't understand it, couldn't do anything in it. My parents talked to each other, to my brother, to their relatives, and to their friends all in Malayalam (well, OK, they code-switched with English because that's what Malayalees do), but they would always talk to me only in English, first so that I'd learn it (the teachers and principal at the pre-school I went to assumed I was mentally retarded mainly because I didn't speak English and made my parents do this), later because they assumed I wouldn't understand them if they talked to me in Malayalam instead. There are two times I specifically remember actually crying because everyone around me was speaking only Malayalam and I had no idea what was going on. That's how awful it was. That should never, ever happen to anyone, but I'm afraid it probably happens to way too many people.

EDIT: Now, though, I do speak it and understand it and read it (and even try to write it sometimes), and I've even gotten my parents (or at least my dad) to try to speak it with me as often as possible. He's really enthusiastic about his language, and I'm so lucky that he is.
Also, do you have any difficulties with English (pronunciation, expressions or something else) seeing at it isn't really your native language?

None whatsoever. I've been speaking it ever since I was like four years old. EDIT: Well, OK, I used to have an Indian accent in it, but that slowly changed over time, so now it's just a generic American accent. I don't think I knew more than a few words of any other language until I was...like, eight or something?
Anyways, enough of me sidetracking the thread, thanks for the answers and I wish you good luck :D you have a new subscriber, so to say :D

Aww, thank you! :mrgreen: And sorry for the rant that makes up most of this post. I guess I'm still just kind of upset because it took me my whole damn life to relearn my own language that I've been hearing spoken around me every day.

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-10, 17:18

It's been almost a whole week, so I guess I might as well post an update. I'm still stuck on English here (because I haven't gotten back to people's questions about their pronunciation yet!). :lol: But meanwhile, I've been learning new Malayalam words, trying to practice my Mandarin Chinese reading skills (I'm slower at reading it now than I used to be. I used to be able to read it at what by Chinese standards would probably be "normal" speed and what by non-Chinese standards is pretty fast, almost like people talking on the street in Beijing), and looking up Latin words from the Oxford Latin Course, which I used to teach myself Latin when growing up, to find their descendants in French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I also briefly tried to review a bit of BCS, Russian, and Turkish.

I'm probably more concerned right now about my Chinese reading skills than I should be. I mean, I've been almost completely neglecting poor German. :shock: (The only way I haven't neglected German is that I checked Google News in all of my "most fluent" languages a few times; yesterday, I did this for all of those languages except Malayalam).

I've been starting to think maybe I should just try reading literature in all of these languages. I'm doing it in Malayalam already; currently, I'm reading my grandfather's diary. (Well, this is bending the truth a bit. I haven't read any in a few days, at least). At the same time, though, I'm well aware that reading anything else at this point (at least, anything that isn't very short) will bog me down and prolong the process of reading that. So I'm wondering how I'll manage that. I guess either I can pick shorter stories to read in the other languages or I could just start reading a bunch of things without having any serious expectations of actually making progress in reading any of them anytime soon.

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-16, 22:30

So it looks like what I've kind of ended up doing is...writing out part of my grandfather's diary every other day, reading stuff in other languages I'm relatively fluent in on the same day, then on the remaining days, attempting to review languages I'm not so fluent in (the "languages that could use more work" in this post). It's not going that well for those languages. :? For all of them, I've been trying to review vocabulary, and for Latin, I've also been trying to look words up to find out what their descendants are in French, Portuguese, and Spanish. It's getting kinda boring. Maybe I'll try writing a story or play or something somewhere.

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-17, 16:34

I stayed up all night writing out a conversation in Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Turkish, and Hindi with narration in Latin, and I am so happy with the result. It's just gorgeous! (Okay, it's pretty silly, but still!). Of course, it hasn't been torn apart by people who know any of these languages yet. :D

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-04-28, 5:05

I've decided to scale back and basically leave aside the languages I'm not fluent in for now. Meanwhile, I'm still stuck on Thai. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-05-22, 6:06

Now I guess I'm technically still stuck on Thai, but I have at least posted what I intended to post, so...I guess that means Tagalog's next whenever I'm ready to move on to that.

Meanwhile, I've been dedicating basically as much time as possible to my grandfather's diary. (Currently, I'm at my brother's house, so that means none until I get back home :P). The thing that seems to be bothering me the most about that, though, is that he mentions a lot of placenames, and I'm not really sure how to indicate where those places are. I've tried playing around with Google Maps a bit, but I'm having trouble finding a way of doing that without making it look unclear or cluttered.

Reading that diary with all its high-end vocabulary seems to have been helping my Malayalam improve as well. I am now at a point where I feel I face a few strange dilemmas regarding Malayalam:

One of them is that I think I can speak it fairly well, but I wish I could ramble in it as easily as I can in English. :lol: And the thing is, I think I could if I just tried thinking in Malayalam some more! Yet, strangely, my brain seems to be telling me that may not be a good idea, as if part of it is afraid that doing that would somehow affect my English badly or something. :? I wonder whether other people face similar dilemmas.

The other is about using it with my niece. I don't think her parents have anything against her learning languages, but I'm not sure they're comfortable with her not learning English yet, and in any case, I've come to see that it's inevitable that she's learning it more than any other language because a) it's the only language her parents have in common (though granted, I don't think they've been making that much of an effort to learn each other's heritage languages anyway, although at least they have each made some effort, which to their credit is already unusual IME), b) it's the language second-generation Indians tend to use with each other in our experience anyway (even when they do share the same heritage language), and c) she's in the US, so she gets lots of toys that talk and sing lullabies in English and books written in English. I'm trying to see if I can use Malayalam and Hindi (and Mountain Lion :P) with her and maybe get her to learn stuff that way, but my access to her is limited even when I'm living with her, plus I'm not a native speaker of either of them (and not that fluent in Hindi either) and I do have to be careful to avoid English as much as possible when speaking to her (and what makes this even trickier is the fear on my part, however irrelevant or poorly justified it may be, that if I say something in one language, the parent who speaks the other won't get what I'm saying).

uzferry

Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby uzferry » 2016-05-22, 7:49

vijayjohn wrote:One of them is that I think I can speak it fairly well, but I wish I could ramble in it as easily as I can in English. :lol: And the thing is, I think I could if I just tried thinking in Malayalam some more! Yet, strangely, my brain seems to be telling me that may not be a good idea, as if part of it is afraid that doing that would somehow affect my English badly or something. :? I wonder whether other people face similar dilemmas.


I would like to think in English, but my brain tells me "how can you think in a language you don't even speak properly?". I almost feel like I don't really have the right to do so :P Other than that, it's generally difficult for me to think in English for longer periods of time, because blank words I should know but I don't are constantly popping out :?
By the way, maybe your brain is right after all, because even though I don't speak English that well, it certainly has affected my native language, and when I'm around my friends I constantly codeswitch between English and Lithuanian, because I keep forgetting some words in Lithuanian that I know very well in English :P And for me, it's a bit more demanding to speak strictly Lithuanian on the spot, because there is always the urge to add some English words here and there :|

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Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-05-22, 15:56

I thought it about it some more after reading your post, and I think we may be dealing with very different things. I used to have no problem at all with trying to think in languages I was learning, but now that I haven't done that in a long time and I've become probably more proficient in some of those languages than I was at the time, I seem to be really hesitant to do it for Malayalam. I think maybe it was relatively harmless precisely because I didn't speak them that well yet anyway.

In my case, I think what it really boils down to is the fact that although English is undoubtedly the language I speak best, it is definitely not my parents' native language, and when I speak English, it's been influenced by my parents' English (so basically, it has substrate influence from both Malayalam and Indian English) in ways that are sometimes identifiable. When I really make an effort to avoid English in favor of Malayalam, I start to worry that maybe I'll lose some of my English in the process (this has happened even earlier in my life, particularly on trips to India), but having thought about it some more, I've come to realize that I'm somewhat insecure about my own English even when I don't do that. Sometimes, I say things in ways that other native speakers don't seem to, and that makes me start to question whether I really have any native language at all. That thought kind of scares me because I don't know what the implications of that would be for me.

In reality, though, there are probably other children of immigrants who face similar dilemmas. For all I know, there could be other people who speak English as well as I do and even share (some of) the same awkward features in their English that I have in mine, and it's just that I don't know it.

uzferry

Re: TAC 2016 - vijayjohn

Postby uzferry » 2016-05-22, 17:57

vijayjohn wrote:That thought kind of scares me because I don't know what the implications of that would be for me.


But why are you so scared of this thought? So what you once in a while say things other natives wouldn't, as long as you have no difficulties in expressing yourself, what's the problem? I doubt your English can deteriorate to the point where it begins to sound non-native. :)
I have a friend who was born in Lithuania, but grew up in a Russian family. Russian is her native language, but she also speaks Lithuanian equally well. The thing is, her Russian is not really a standard Russian - she has noticeable accent when speaking in both her native languages, she also sometimes mixes up Lithuanian and Russian elements of speech or phrases without realizing. But she said she never really had a problem with all this, and if she tries hard enough, she can be 100% unidentifiable as a Russian speaking Lithuanian and vice versa.
The point is - I dunno, restricting yourself from (is it correct to use "to restrict from" ?) thinking in a certain language and leaving it all to your native one doesn't seem a very good idea to me. I think you're free to explore, don't worry about that too much - your English isn't going away I think ;)


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