Saim's log 2019-2020

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Re: Saim's log 2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-01-07, 6:34

Saim wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Ah-HAH! :twisted:
:silly:


But it’s so I can make even more flashcards. 8-)

The irony is that I kind of do something similar anyway. :lol:
I don’t think there’s much wrong with reading two novels at once. The only possible downside is the psychological aspect of wanting to “finish” a book.

Yeah. It just takes so goddamn long.
And then my dad went to India, brought back a novel he'd told me about reading when he was growing up, and told me to drop everything and read that. So I did, and it took me less than two weeks IIRC.


Was it fun to read as well or just easier?

I honestly really had to think about this question. :P I think it was just easier.

I get the impression that modern South Asian literature tends to be fairly tragic. I definitely get that impression for Malayalam literature; I'm pleasantly surprised if I'm not told beforehand that a book has a happy ending and it turns out that it does. (I'm positively shocked when I see a Malayalam movie from before the 80s that has a happy ending. These really were rare; probably until the 90s, it was much more common for someone to die at the end). I think it's difficult to find anything in Malayalam that's fun to read per se, but it is often interesting.

This one had a pretty intriguing plot (although my dad kind of gave it away to me several times before we realized I could just read it instead :lol:): It's about a young chemistry professor who has an accident in the lab that leaves his face so disfigured that he's convinced no woman will ever be attracted to him. When he meets a woman who says she is, he decides that she must be a demoness.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-01-21, 14:34

General time management

I've realised that a lot of my stress and frustration in life recently has been from trying to do too much and trying to do it all perfectly and every day, so I'm going to set some "minimum" requirements and then allow myself to improvise and do whatever I feel like after that.

I've set a goal to read one book in my main language focus (at this point it's still Serbian) for 4 hours straight one day of the week. The rest of the week I'll just read whatever I want without the goal of finishing or making serious headway in anything. I could conceivably spend all of my free time reading Serbian but I know I won't so I need to be able to let myself off the hook and study/read whatever I feel like while still making sure I'm getting through a lot of material each month. The thing is also that it's kind of hard to get into reading full books without at least sometimes sitting down and getting through a big chunk of it all at once; IME it's OK to take it slow overall but you it's frustrating to maintain that flow throughout the whole book.

Similarly, I've decided to go the gym fewer times a week and just spend longer and do more/more intense exercises. I used to have two lower body days but I've noticed I get kind of lazy with everything from form (and having bad form makes everything pointless), to weight, to the intensity of exercises (gravitating towards the leg extension machine rather than doing squats and deadlifts). So I'm going to do two upper body days and one lower body day each lasting more than an hour (rather than two lower body days and two-to-three upper body days that would go much quicker) and then the rest of the week I can focus on reading or socialising in my free time.

Also, I've decided to stop myself from reading social media and forums in the morning and only look at them in the afternoons. I've noticed that when I'm on them in the morning they kind of throw out my routine and I get distracted more easily, whereas when I go on them later for a bit I don't get as hooked and they don't become as much of a timesink / don't affect my attention span.

Flashcards

I'm going to try doing production cards in Anki for working on grammar specifically. I'll make sure not to make too many of them in any given session. I'm going to be going back through Routledge's Essential Urdu Grammar, Hammer's German Grammar and Usage and some book for Basque grammar that I haven't decided on yet.

Thankfully the Routledge Urdu Grammar has a lot of example sentences, and for German I think I can find example sentences quite easily even when Hammer doesn't have any. I haven't found a good Basque grammar that has lots of example sentences. I've decided to buckle down and just memorise a lot of the verb conjugations because it's affecting my ability to parse Basque texts far more than the sheer weight of lexical distance, but I'm not sure what materials to use for that (the elhuyar course is good but has a bit too much other fluff not related specifically to grammar, bakarka has the same problem, and the grammars I've looked at don't really have example sentences...).

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-01-22, 5:49

Punjabi, Hindi-Urdu

I think I'm ready to reintroduce Punjabi to my studies. Today I read a BBC Punjabi article and I was shocked how much I could understand; the main difficulty was not the vocabulary, but simply not being used to the Gurmukhi script. In my experience making sentence cards in Anki is one of the best ways to quickly improve your reading fluency in a language/script, so given vocabulary is not such a problem anymore I think I'll be able to read Punjabi articles fairly easily in a couple of weeks (or at least not much worse than their Urdu equivalents).

I used to think it would be easier to get better at Standard Hindi first as a way to get a handle on some of the Sanskritic terms and then circle back to Punjabi, but it seems Standard Punjabi is much less Sanskritised than Standard Hindi, and since my sense of vernacular Maajhi as spoken in Pakistan is already fairly good I think reading Standard Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script now will only help in giving me more Punjabi input overall - I mean, I could just sit and listen to parody YouTube dubs or bilingual late night shows from Pakistan and such but I don't think that's particularly good input at my level; I could also read some of the Punjabi websites written in the Arabic script like wichaar, but then there's no monolingual dictionary to use, whereas for Gurmukhi there's Punjabipedia (which I have no trouble using).

I might also visit Islamabad during Easter so it would be good to have my Punjabi at least somewhat usable and not totally rusty. I'll still keep Urdu as my main focus but I think I'm at the point where it doesn't matter so much anymore, my Urdu reading is fluent enough that studying some Punjabi won't knock me off the horse too much.

I think I might still study a bit of Hindi as well, mainly to get used to the Devanagari script and using the Hindi monolingual dictionary (Oxford). I've grown to quite like Sanskritised Hindi[1] and don't have the same resistance to it as I used to: I used to be like, god, why do I have to learn two layers of formal vocabulary just to read a single language, but I've grown to appreciate the fact that Hindi-Urdu can be a sort of door to two different civilisational spheres, as many other languages of India and Southeast Asia have substantial amounts of Sanskrit loans (I was surprised by the number of fairly transparent Sanskrit loans that I found when I dabbled in Malay, for example). The main benefit of getting better at Devanagari at this point, though, is to take advantage of the Hindi subtitles on Netflix, which given the register of the material doubles up as Urdu input.

[1] Which tracks with my attitude towards the literary varieties of South Asian languages in general. I used to be sold on the idea that it's not so important to learn massive amounts of Perso-Arabic and Sanskrit vocabulary that aren't used in vernacular speech (it doesn't help that a lot of English-educated South Asians in language forums push this approach), but I think it's hugely beneficial to be able to use monolingual dictionaries, and novels do expose you to a lot of extremely useful daily language that you might not come across otherwise (I can't imagine how long it would've taken me to acquire words like رینگنا to crawl or سلانا to sew only through listening and speaking) along with all of the stuffy hyperliterary stuff.

EDIT: I'm also going to do some of the GLOSS Punjabi lessons marked as being in the "Shahmukhi dialect" (not a real thing but I know what they mean :lol: ), the texts are generally short and come with audio files so it should be good for repeated intensive listening.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-01-25, 10:13

Saim wrote:I've set a goal to read one book in my main language focus (at this point it's still Serbian) for 4 hours straight one day of the week.


I just tried this, I managed 3 hours and couldn’t do anymore. This was a fairly dense non-fiction book though, I think I won’t have any trouble reading light novels for 4 hours straight in Serbian. This was a good idea.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-02-20, 18:25

I've switched back to doing lots of bilingual sentences in Anki. They're a lot easier to make when you can just copy them off Glosbe, at least when you're reading physical books and newspapers. I can do more of them and they're also take less time to review. I've made more than a hundred of them for Hungarian this week and maybe I'll be buried by reivews soon but so far it seems to be going alright...

For Arabic there isn't any good set of bilingual sentences (everything on Glosbe and reverso is too hard for me), but funnily enough Google Translate generally does the job. So every once in a while I'll go over a BBC Arabic article and add a few easy-ish sentences with one or two new words to Anki with a GT-provided translation (which I sometimes edit, I do check almaany as well for individual translations of the new words).

For Mandarin I'm going to keep adding example sentences from Line for words I'm finding all over the place, and make sure to add TTS to all the cards. I think the TTS actually helps me to remember which tone goes with which word, and it's also a stronger cue for the character's pronunciation than the pinyin. It's much easier than copying audio from authentic material at any rate, even when you have both audio and a transcript or subtitles.

For Urdu there is no good bank of bilingual sentences I can rely on, and GT doesn't seem to work as well as it does for Arabic, so I'm going to keep using the dictionary. Sometimes I'll try and translate examples sentences from the dictionary from new words I find in definitions, but it's not strictly necessary.

EDIT: Oh yeah, for Hungarian and other European languages I look for translations in Serbian in Glosbe, rather than English translations. I find it helps me push a lot of my passive Serbian vocab into active vocabulary.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-03-02, 19:16

Saim wrote:For Arabic there isn't any good set of bilingual sentences (everything on Glosbe and reverso is too hard for me), but funnily enough Google Translate generally does the job. So every once in a while I'll go over a BBC Arabic article and add a few easy-ish sentences with one or two new words to Anki with a GT-provided translation (which I sometimes edit, I do check almaany as well for individual translations of the new words).


I might start doing this for Urdu as well. GT seems to work well enough at least for journalistic texts, and I'm sick of using Urdu-Urdu dictionaries: it helped me break out of my plateau but now it's just slowing me down I think. I want to spend more time reading articles while still making lots of flashcards, so it makes sense to make bilingual ones for the time being. I'll go back to the Urdu-Urdu dictionary when I'm focusing on novels again.

I also did some Hebrew this week using the same method.

Saim wrote:I've switched back to doing lots of bilingual sentences in Anki. They're a lot easier to make when you can just copy them off Glosbe, at least when you're reading physical books and newspapers. I can do more of them and they're also take less time to review. I've made more than a hundred of them for Hungarian this week and maybe I'll be buried by reviews soon but so far it seems to be going alright...


Nah, it's ok. I don't get buried with reviews because I'm very liberal with the "easy" button. I end up failing more cards but it's a good trade for being able to do fewer reviews overall while still making more cards.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-03-22, 19:11

Chinese

I'm going to try reading Chinese news (BBC Chinese) 5-20 minutes a day for two weeks. I'll only add words to Anki if they show up more than once in an article. I can't really be bothered to watching TV now.

Hindi, Urdu

I've also been reading a fair bit of Hindi (BBC Hindi) and Urdu (jeddojehad). My Hindi reading speed is getting better and better and I'm finding it fairly easy to acquire the tatsamas (Sanskrit words), it seems they solidify in my mind as synonyms of words I already know in Urdu.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-03-25, 9:57

Chinese

I'm going to try and use a variety of sources for example sentences and pick the "easiest" ones for flashcards. LINE is quite good but sometimes other sources have shorter sentences.

https://dict.naver.com/linedict/zhendict/dict.html
https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/se ... .php?word=
https://eng.ichacha.net/zaoju
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/
https://glosbe.com/zh/en/
https://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/searc ... und&query=

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-03-26, 9:12

Saim wrote:Chinese

I'm going to try reading Chinese news (BBC Chinese) 5-20 minutes a day for two weeks. I'll only add words to Anki if they show up more than once in an article. I can't really be bothered to watching TV now.


Actually, this sucks. :lol: Like, it kind of works and if I had to I would keep doing this but I think I should move back to easier material so I can get the feeling of faster progress.

I'm going to go back to watching TV shows. Instead of trawling the internet for shows with Chinese and English subtitles, I'll just watch whatever is available on Netflix. The "Language Learning with Netflix" app also lets you print out subtitles along with a translation, for the first episode of 奈何BOSS要娶我 (Well-Intended Love) I have a 20-page document, so that's quite a lot of easily-accessible material. I'll just make sure to keep using my Chinese pop up ad on (thankfully it works in Google Docs) and try to focus on "easy" sentences still.

I'm still going to add TTS to all my cards, copying out the audio from the show takes way too much time (if I really want authentic audio I can just rewatch episodes after having mined them). I also need to be able to copy and paste sentences (which is why "Language Learning with Netflix" is great), it was fun trying to figure out the pinyin for dialogue in the 择天记 anime but now I need to get through more material faster.

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Re: Saim's log 2019-2020

Postby Saim » 2020-03-28, 8:26

Saim wrote:I'm going to go back to watching TV shows. Instead of trawling the internet for shows with Chinese and English subtitles, I'll just watch whatever is available on Netflix. The "Language Learning with Netflix" app also lets you print out subtitles along with a translation, for the first episode of 奈何BOSS要娶我 (Well-Intended Love) I have a 20-page document, so that's quite a lot of easily-accessible material. I'll just make sure to keep using my Chinese pop up ad on (thankfully it works in Google Docs) and try to focus on "easy" sentences still.

I'm still going to add TTS to all my cards, copying out the audio from the show takes way too much time (if I really want authentic audio I can just rewatch episodes after having mined them). I also need to be able to copy and paste sentences (which is why "Language Learning with Netflix" is great), it was fun trying to figure out the pinyin for dialogue in the 择天记 anime but now I need to get through more material faster.


Yeah, this seems to be giving the fastest gains in comprehension of anything. I'll do this for a while until it's too boring and then move onto something else.

I might also start doing this for Hindi. I just watched the series She, it was pretty moronic so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone (although I'm ashamed to admit I got kind of hooked), but I'm going go through the subtitles and make flashcards out of any unknown words. Hopefully next time I watch something in Hindi on Netflix I'll be able to use the Hindi subtitles, here I started with Hindi subtitles and then switched to English like I did with Sacred Games; I'm just not fast enough at reading Devanagari to be able to enjoy it. Yesterday I got through 4/16 pages of the first episode so even if I go at a slower pace if I do it every day I should be able to cover a lot of ground.

Another cool thing about Netflix subtitles is that it translates things said in English into shuddh Hindi. This would be annoying if I was a beginner or intermediate but at my level it's nice to come across these Sanskritisms, especially since here the amount of them isn't as high as in most other Hindi texts, it's just a little bit sprinkled on top of the mostly normal Hindustani. For example when a character says "fuck" the subtitles render it as धत्त [dhatt] (well, this isn't uniquely Hindi, but you get the idea) and "kyo~ faaltuu me~ hame~ confuse kar rahe ho?" is rendered as ‎क्यों फालतू में ‎हमें भ्रमित कर रहे हो [kyo~ faaltuu me~ hame~ bhramit kar rahe ho]. This seems like a good way to slowly start getting used to tatsama words while focusing more on my reading speed in Devanagari, and then later I'll be able to attack monolingual Hindi-Hindi dictionaries (which are chockablock with Sanskritic terms, and they use Sanskritisms to define Persianate words but almost never the other way around).

Netflix also seems to have a fairly good selection of Punjabi films, and I watched a couple of scenes of the Punjabi film Tiger the other day (I've realised I shouldn't necessarily try and watch things from start to finish, "skimming" through series and movies is enough). Unfortunately the only subtitles are in English, so I won't necessarily be able to use it as "dictionary + flaschard" material, just listening material - I might still record some short scenes (2-5 minutes) and listen to them again and again just to get more exposure to the tones, though.

I'm also starting to fall in love with the diversity of the lexical stock of Indo-Aryan languages. Having to learn both Perso-Arabic and Sanskritic words used to annoy me but now that my general comprehension is pretty high and it's not so hard to pick up new words it's fun to have access to so many different layers of vocabulary.


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