Serafín's blog 2017

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Serafín
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Serafín's blog 2017

Postby Serafín » 2017-03-19, 9:45

Hi guys. Yes, yet another blog where I sporadically get to bitch about how languages are hard to learn. My blog for this year was already well due.

Lately I've been thinking about what I actually want to do with languages in the long term, and I've come to the conclusion that the only languages I want to "master" in some sense are Spanish and English... and I'm kind of already there. French? I'm not moving to Quebec or France or West Africa, nor am I planning to become a French teacher anymore, so I lost my motivation to learn to speak it and understand it when spoken. Mandarin? Not moving to either of the two Chinas either... And so on.

This, however, means that I should focus my studies better. No more fooling around chatting in Latin over IRC, or going out of my way to have conversations in French and Mandarin IRL. The rest of this year I am going to focus on reading and more reading, which is what I find both useful and enjoyable anyway.



So, the plan of attack: anything in my 11 languages is fair game, as long as it's at an appropriate level. I do know I'm aiming for far more goals than I can do, but sometimes you gotta shoot for the stars to get to shoot a couple clouds at least.

In order of importance:

Mandarin and Classical Chinese: my main focus this year. I mostly just intend to work through a number of textbooks. By the way, I recently added links to about every free online Classical Chinese course there is at the bottom of the Wikipedia article on Classical Chinese, so if any of you is interested in this ancient language, check that Wikipedia section out! I was able to find six courses.

English: I get enough of a daily dose of this language as it is, but my father and I have decided to work our way through one of his favourite business administration books together, mostly for him to practise English. He's read it in Spanish before, but we'll read it in the original English and discuss it in English. He says I might find it useful and interesting for the content. We'll see.

Spanish: I found this fantastic website with commentaries on the more famous works of 17th century culteranista poet Luis de Góngora y Argote: https://www.uv.es/ivorra/Gongora/Gongora.htm and will read parts of it at least. Also, the second book of El Quixote, which I shamefully have never gotten around reading.

Latin: I'll just keep on reading random things as I always do, often with an accompanying translation and commentary. I don't have any particular author in mind.

French: I've already read good chunks of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu ("In Search of Lost Time") at times, but I'm going to attempt to read the whole thing from beginning to end. Proust just has this interesting style when it comes to syntax, and it's a classic. I'll see if I have the will and energy to read other novels (from other authors) as well.

Standard Arabic, German, Russian, Ancient Greek, Japanese: just work through some of my textbooks. I only ever intend to be able to read these five languages, and it's unfortunate there aren't many textbooks for this purpose. I just want to read fiction literature and (for German/Russian/Japanese) linguistics papers--I don't need to know how to order things at a restaurant! So it is.




Now I'll just leave you with this very well done cover of Disney's Frozen's Let it Go in Latin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25hvBya6MjE

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Re: Serafín's blog 2017

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-19, 12:04

Serafín wrote:Also, the second book of El Quixote, which I shamefully have never gotten around reading.

Pfft, the second book isn't worth reading if you ask me!

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Re: Serafín's blog 2017

Postby eskandar » 2017-03-19, 20:19

Serafín wrote:French: I've already read good chunks of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu ("In Search of Lost Time") at times, but I'm going to attempt to read the whole thing from beginning to end. Proust just has this interesting style when it comes to syntax, and it's a classic. I'll see if I have the will and energy to read other novels (from other authors) as well.

Wow, massive and impressive goal. Either your French is a hell of a lot better than mine, or you have more patience in slowly reading through a text like that (or maybe both) -- either way I salute you. I'd love to attempt something like this myself someday if I can find the time. Bon courage!
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: Serafín's blog 2017

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-20, 0:10

Surprisingly, I know almost nothing about Marcel Proust. (I keep forgetting even the fact that he's French and thinking he might be Belgian just because I keep getting that name confused with the name of (also French!) race car driver Alain Prost, who is mentioned in a chapter about Belgium (where he competes) in my brother's second-year French textbook). I took an Advanced Placement (and therefore college-level) French literature class, but our teacher never made us read anything by Proust even though she did make us read a bunch of other things: Candide by Voltaire, L'école des femmes by Molière, L'enfant noir by Camara Laye, Pierre et Jean by Guy de Maupassant, some sonnets and I think other poetry by people I've completely forgotten about, and La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu by Jean Giraudoux, in roughly that order IIRC. (I can't remember anything else we had to cover right now).


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