Saim's blog 2017

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Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-15, 18:19

[flag=]ar-apc[/flag]Levantine Arabic[flag=]ar-apc[/flag]

This is going to be the year when I get to a conversational level of Arabic, I can feel it. I've really been enjoying studying Levantine Arabic over the past couple of weeks. It's gotten a lot easier because I already had quite a lot of grammar and vocabulary internalised after years of uncomitted study, I just couldn't really use any of it. I'm also quite used to the Arabic script now due to spending so many dozens of hours reading Urdu news and working on Urdu flaschards, and knowing Urdu and Punjabi well has given me a stronger cognate discount. Hebrew also makes the grammar a lot easier.

I was initially planning to go through the entire Colloquial Syrian Arabic textbook before going onto media and tutoring, but I don't think that makes much sense. I've realised that combining sources makes stuff more likely to stick.

Resources:
Talk in Arabic (videos with transcription + translation, I'm not sure if I'll bother much with the explicit "lessons" that are in English)
Learn Arabic Naturally (videos with transcription + translation)
Gloss (lessons based on audio with transcription)
Lingualism Levantine Arabic diaries (audio with transcription and translation)
(Thankfully there seems to be a lot more available for Levantine than for when I tried to get into Moroccan!)

I think I'll also get a tutor for once or twice a week. I might do some fusha here and there as well, but it's not going to be my main focus. I'd like to finish the Qur'an this year as well (so far I've only finished Surat al-Baqarah), so while I'm doing that I'll keep an eye on the original text as well even though I won't actively study it.

My Arabic notes are here.

[flag=]tr[/flag] Turkish [flag=]tr[/flag]

I've really gotten into Turkish. I was a bit worried it would be the next language to push away Arabic, but so far I've been able to juggle both. I'll try and get my tree gold on Duolingo while learning songs (including lyricstraining.com) and practicing sentences from Glossika.

[flag=]he[/flag]Hebrew [flag=]he[/flag]

I'm going to try and do as much input as possible to consolidate my upper-intermediate level. Thankfully it's not hard to find Hebrew media with accurate subtitles in Hebrew. I've already watched the first season of the Legend of Korra in Hebrew, so the next thing to do with that is. I can know sing along to Hebrew lyrics (before it was pretty hard without Romanisation) fairly easily so that's a good avenue that's opened up.

[flag=]hu[/flag]Hungarian[flag=]hu[/flag]

My goal for Hungarian is similar to Hebrew, just that my Hebrew is probably a bit better. I will watch dubbed series with subtitles, the subtitles don't correspond perfectly to the dubbed audio but it's good enough and at this level is even helpful in teaching synonyms. I remember I also found the transcript of some old film so I'll watch that as well... can't remember where in my computer I put that though. :lol:

Russian, French, German

I've realised that I'll probably never manage to motivate myself enough to sit down and study these languages consistently, because I always think "shouldn't I be studying something weirder?". So whenever I feel like learning a bit of them I'll indulge myself. It's not like they're difficult for me at this stage.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-16, 13:51

You have cool languages and cool plans, good luck with all of them!

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-18, 16:18

شكراً فورون!

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-18, 16:32

I should probably talk about how far I got with my late-2016 plans:

Saim wrote:[flag=]pa[/flag][flag=]ur[/flag] C1~ by Jan


My Urdu is probably close to C1 level in speaking and listening, but not really in reading and writing. I can understand the news pretty well, but I don't have much practice reading anything else. I can also touchtype fairly well in Urdu.

My Punjabi hasn't improved as much as I would've liked, but it's definitely within the B2 range. Now I can switch between Urdu and Punjabi, which was what one of my main difficulties was and one of the main things I wanted to resolve while living here (it was hard to know which one to focus on, I'd try learning Punjabi but then opportunities to practice Urdu would pop up that I couldn't take full advantage of, and vice versa).

In any case, the level I've gotten to in both Urdu and Punjabi is enough for me to feel confident in talking to people in the diaspora about varied topics beyond my previous intermediate plateau, which was my main goal in the first place. I was frustrated by meeting so many Pakistanis and North Indians overseas and not feeling comfortable speaking to them in Punjabi or Urdu, instead limiting it to some basic topics.

[flag=]he[/flag][flag=]hu[/flag] Keep exposure to native media going


Yeah, did a fair bit of that. More Hebrew than Hungarian, I think.

[flag=]ar[/flag][flag=]ar-apc[/flag] Read Arabic news and memorise Levantine music lyrics


Haven't done any MSA, but I've gotten into Levantine Arabic in a big way. Learning more Urdu, Punjabi and Hebrew also spills over into Arabic, making it easier to study.

[flag=]ms[/flag] Go through a course textbook


Nope. Only got through three chapters of Routledge Colloquial Malay. Now that my trip to Brunei is coming up I've stepped it up and started using native resources here, noting stuff down here. In doing this I've realised I can't really learn from textbooks alone, I need to combine different resources and work on comprehensible input even at the beginning stages.

[flag=]ps[/flag] Get a basic understanding (A1~A2)


I have done practically no Pashto. I hardly traveled, spending most of my time in Islamabad. Learning Urdu and Punjabi was already such a large amount of effort that I really couldn't get the motivation to do Pashto, instead doing some languages with more available resources. I think I will learn some next time I come visit Pakistan; by then hopefully I'll have consolidated the Urdu and Punjabi I've learned during this visit.

I also ended up doing bits and pieces of French and German, but nothing serious.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-18, 16:49

Where do you find motivation for Pashto? Do you meet many Pashto-speaking people in Islamabad?

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-18, 17:17

voron wrote:Where do you find motivation for Pashto? Do you meet many Pashto-speaking people in Islamabad?


Yes. I hear Pashto all the time in Islamabad, almost as much as Punjabi. :P I've even heard people claim that in Islamabad more people speak Pashto than Punjabi, but I think they're just exaggerating because the Pashto sticks out to them more (i.e. native Urdu speakers who don't even notice Punjabi because they can understand it perfectly).

My dadi's physiotherapist is Pashtun, so are two of my dads friends in Pakistan, we had a Pashtun maid* for two weeks or so, some of the security guards on our street are Pashtun, as were some of the people in this office where I was doing an internship for a month and a half... I've even got to the point where I think I can recognise their accent in Urdu.

*I'm pretty sure she stole my mobile as well; my dadi chalks it up to her ethnicity. :lol: It's weird how people here can be such huge Pakistani nationalists while still being prejudiced against other communities.
Last edited by Saim on 2017-01-18, 20:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-18, 17:52

Saim wrote:I hear Pashto all the time in Islamabad, almost as much as Punjabi.

That's so cool! I would so much like to visit Islamabad. I wish I could live in a multilingual city like Istanbul again. My native city Minsk where I live now is so boringly monolingual.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-18, 19:31

voron wrote:That's so cool! I would so much like to visit Islamabad.


Islamabad's pretty new though, it has some nice parks and high end cafés and restaurants, as well as views and hiking areas just above us, but for a look at urban Pakistani life Lahore and Karachi are probably better and have more historical monuments and stuff. Karachi is very multiethnic but also has more issues with gangs and muggings than Lahore, I've heard.

Anyway I've barely traveled around Pakistan so I'm not sure what my recommendations are based on. :lol:

My native city Minsk where I live now is so boringly monolingual.


You don't even hear Belarusian over there?

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Michael » 2017-01-19, 0:53

[flag=]tr[/flag] Macarcanı geliştirmekte uğurlar! Son haftalarda benim ilgimin altında bile düştü! Bir seneden önce Amazon’da Hungarian Verbs & Essentials of Grammar adlı kitabı satın aldım, fiyatı yalnız üç dolar olduğu için. Şu araya kadar sayfalarına göz atmamıştım, ancaq madem ki Azerîce ve Türkçe bilgilendirdim, merakımı pek daha uyandırıyor! O kitaptan azıcık okuduklarıma göre, bana Macar dilbilgisinin bir sürü özelliği Türkçedeki özellikleri benzer. Azerî ders kitabımın tüm derslerinin çalışmasını biterken sonunda, herhalde Macarcanın bir parçası oturup çalışıp Türkçede sorulu kağıtlarla, Macarcada karşılıklı kağıtlarla Anki programı kelime destesi yaparım inşallah.

Türkçe nasıl gider, zâten? Yazdığım metinlerin hiçbir parçası anlayabilmiş misin? Soru sorarım zahmet olmazsa, hangi uğraşları kullanıyorsun, ve ne kabiliyet seviyesine kadar çalışacağı tasarlıyorsun?

[flag=]en[/flag] Good luck improving your Hungarian! It's even fallen under my radar (=interest) these last few weeks! I bought Hungarian Verbs & Essentials of Grammar a year ago on Amazon, since it was a mere $3. I hadn't scanned over its pages until now, but now that I've become acquainted with Azeri and Turkish, it interests me much more! Judging from the little bit that I've read from the book, several features of Hungarian grammar remind me of features in Turkish. I'll probably sit down and study a little Hungarian once I've finally finished working on the lessons from my Azeri workbook, and create an Anki deck with the question cards in Turkish and the answer cards in Hungarian, hopefully.

By the way, how goes the Turkish? Were you able to understand any at all of what I wrote? If you don't mind me asking, which resources are you using, and up to what level of ability do you intend to study?
American English (en-us) Pizzonese (nap) N Italian (it) Mexican Spanish (es-mx) Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br) Albanian (sq) B1 Greek (el) Persian (fa) A2 Turkish (tr) Azerbaijani (az) Old English (en_old) A1
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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby eskandar » 2017-01-19, 6:55

Saim wrote:My Urdu is probably close to C1 level in speaking and listening, but not really in reading and writing.
Are vah! That's so awesome. How long did you stay in Pakistan (or how long have you stayed, if you're still there)?
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-19, 7:20

Michael wrote:Judging from the little bit that I've read from the book, several features of Hungarian grammar remind me of features in Turkish.


Definitely. I remember getting into Turkish after Hungarian I didn't have to pay much attention to the grammar (I started with Duolingo, which doesn't do much grammar, but the grammar didn't start confusing me until the very end when they introduced some advanced verb tenses).

I'll probably sit down and study a little Hungarian once I've finally finished working on the lessons from my Azeri workbook, and create an Anki deck with the question cards in Turkish and the answer cards in Hungarian, hopefully.


Sok szerencsét!

By the way, how goes the Turkish? If you don't mind me asking, which resources are you using, and up to what level of ability do you intend to study?


Turkish is going well. So far I've been using Duolingo (trying to get the tree gold, I burned through it quickly the first time around), Glossika Turkish (one or two sets of 50 sentences every once and a while) and translations of pop songs I've found.

How far do I want to go? I'd like to take it to B1 or so this year.

Were you able to understand any at all of what I wrote?


Without the dictionary? A large portion of the words, but I wouldn't have been able to read it comfortably, no.

eskandar wrote:
Saim wrote:My Urdu is probably close to C1 level in speaking and listening, but not really in reading and writing.
Are vah! That's so awesome. How long did you stay in Pakistan (or how long have you stayed, if you're still there)?


I arrived in the last week of September, and am leaving tomorrow. :D

I'm actually not sure what my level is. Yesterday I watched this one video on a political talk show where they argued about the progressive activists who were kidnapped a week or so ago, and I had to pay a lot of attention and look up a couple of words to get it. On the other hand the youtuber CarryMinati does comedy, which is normally much harder to understand in foreign languages, and I find him hilarious. Maybe it has something to do with diglossia, the Urdu of one of the participants in the talk show was pretty saaf...

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby eskandar » 2017-01-19, 8:47

Saim wrote:I arrived in the last week of September, and am leaving tomorrow. :D

I'm actually not sure what my level is. Yesterday I watched this one video on a political talk show where they argued about the progressive activists who were kidnapped a week or so ago, and I had to pay a lot of attention and look up a couple of words to get it. On the other hand the youtuber CarryMinati does comedy, which is normally much harder to understand in foreign languages, and I find him hilarious. Maybe it has something to do with diglossia, the Urdu of one of the participants in the talk show was pretty saaf...

That's so great. I think our strengths and weaknesses probably mirror each others'; I'm around C1 with reading, and used to be able to write pretty well (I even published a short story in Urdu) though I'm sure my writing has deteriorated a bit, but can't follow spoken Urdu nearly as well (somewhere around B1~B2) and my speaking has definitely gone to shit. Also, when it comes to comprehension for me, the saaf-er the better! Household Urdu, which is probably one of your strongest points, is among the hardest for me.

I haven't been to India since 2014, and haven't been for an extended period since 2013, so I just don't have as many opportunities to practice speaking anymore. Really wish I had the time to go back, both to improve my language skills and to go crazy buying books... I need to make myself at least watch movies and TV in Urdu more often. Can you recommend one of the CarryMinati videos to start with? That might be a good way for me to self-assess my understanding.
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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-19, 9:35

eskandar wrote:That's so great. I think our strengths and weaknesses probably mirror each others'; I'm around C1 with reading, and used to be able to write pretty well (I even published a short story in Urdu) though I'm sure my writing has deteriorated a bit, but can't follow spoken Urdu nearly as well (somewhere around B1~B2) and my speaking has definitely gone to shit. Also, when it comes to comprehension for me, the saaf-er the better! Household Urdu, which is probably one of your strongest points, is among the hardest for me.


Yeah, I guess that depends on how you approach Urdu. If you already have a base in Persian and Arabic, it's easy to get deaper in written Urdu than spoken Urdu. Whereas in my case the main focus of my studies was always conversing and understanding popular culture.

For a while I was worried I wasn't conversing enough, because I don't really have many friends here, but I guess I ended up talking to a lot of different people after all (between family, random people who would come and visit, my dad's friends who I saw a couple of times, the cook and the driver, the neighbours' security guards and one of their cooks, PTs at the gym and some of the people in the office where I was doing a sort of internship).

Can you recommend one of the CarryMinati videos to start with? That might be a good way for me to self-assess my understanding.


I think these two are some of the funniest ones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16cIpE1kMkg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY92jDkFadI

eskandar wrote:I need to make myself at least watch movies and TV in Urdu more often.


Have you tried Urdu dramas? I'm no expert, but they seem to use something that's not as saaf as what you see on the news, but it definitely doesn't arrive to the extent of the flagrant Hinglish you hear in most popular films as well as on many political talkshows. Mera Sultan, although originally a Turkish series, is quite good because it uses courtly Urdu, but in a very conversational context.

I would watch more of them, but what has happend with the last two I tried is that I was bored for the first two episodes, got really into it for the next ten or so, then got bored again and stopped watching; I guess I've just never been one for dramas. Although I guess if I do that with enough series I'll end up learning a lot despite not finishing a single season of any of them. :lol:

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-19, 11:03

Saim wrote:Mera Sultan, although originally a Turkish series, is quite good because it uses courtly Urdu, but in a very conversational context.

It's Muhteşem Yüzyıl right? The most boring Turkish series I've ever watched. :P The Turkish that they use in the series, they throw in some Ottoman terms here and there, but overall it's quite modern. Oh and all the Russian that women in harem supposedly speak, it makes my ears bleed. The sentences are unnatural and the actresses' pronunciation sound like they don't even bother trying.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-19, 11:11

Saim wrote:
voron wrote:
My native city Minsk where I live now is so boringly monolingual.

You don't even hear Belarusian over there?

Besides public announcements (on buses and such), and the TV/radio, I get to hear it in real conversations on the streets once per 2-3 months. Yes that rare.

There is also трасянка which is a mix of Russian and Belarusian spoken by older generation, and this you can hear quite often.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-19, 11:33

voron wrote:
Saim wrote:Mera Sultan, although originally a Turkish series, is quite good because it uses courtly Urdu, but in a very conversational context.

It's Muhteşem Yüzyıl right? The most boring Turkish series I've ever watched. :P The Turkish that they use in the series, they throw in some Ottoman terms here and there, but overall it's quite modern. Oh and all the Russian that women in harem supposedly speak, it makes my ears bleed. The sentences are unnatural and the actresses' pronunciation sound like they don't even bother trying.


Yeah. Apparently she was from a town near Lviv, so she actually would have spoken Ukrainian (then "Ruthenian") anyway. So it's doubly wrong. :lol:

There was also a scene where Pargali Ibrahim (the emperor's right-hand man) was supposed to be speaking Italian to a Venetian diplomat (and not Venetian, although I understand that it's harder to find a translator for that than for even Ukrainian), and although Ibrahim's Italian was stilted it was at least understandable, I didn't even recognise what the other dude was speaking as Italian. Maybe it actually was Venetian? :P

The Urdu dub is also quite modern, just without any English loans and with some vocabulary that's no longer relevant, like کنیز (slavegirl).

voron wrote:Besides public announcements (on buses and such), and the TV/radio, I get to hear it in real conversations on the streets once per 2-3 months. Yes that rare.

There is also трасянка which is a mix of Russian and Belarusian spoken by older generation, and this you can hear quite often.


That sucks. Do you speak it with anyone in your family or friendship group?

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby dEhiN » 2017-01-19, 12:21

What does saaf mean? Is it similar to fusha for Arabic?
My TAC for 2017.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Saim » 2017-01-19, 13:55

dEhiN wrote:What does saaf mean? Is it similar to fusha for Arabic?


Kind of. Saaf (صاف) literally means clean or clear/pure so saaf Urdu (صاف اردو) is Urdu free of English loanwords.

It's not fully comparable to the Arabic fusha-3aamiya/darija division because the difference isn't anywhere near as big, and saaf Urdu also competes with Anglicised forms of formal Urdu (although I guess there are also Arab populations that practice code-switching with French or English, and there is also the phenomenon of fusha-ised versions of the vernaculars). Fusha also shows huge grammatical and phonological differences to the vernaculars, which isn't as true of the difference between saaf Urdu and other varieties of Hindustani.

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby Antea » 2017-01-19, 14:19

voron wrote:
Saim wrote:Mera Sultan, although originally a Turkish series, is quite good because it uses courtly Urdu, but in a very conversational context.

It's Muhteşem Yüzyıl right? The most boring Turkish series I've ever watched. :P The Turkish that they use in the series, they throw in some Ottoman terms here and there, but overall it's quite modern. Oh and all the Russian that women in harem supposedly speak, it makes my ears bleed. The sentences are unnatural and the actresses' pronunciation sound like they don't even bother trying.


I saw some episodes too :yep: , but in Arabic (with subtitles). I think it was in the Dubai TV and the name in Arabic was حريم السلطان

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Re: Saim's blog 2017

Postby voron » 2017-01-19, 14:44

Saim wrote:There was also a scene where Pargali Ibrahim (the emperor's right-hand man) was supposed to be speaking Italian to a Venetian diplomat (and not Venetian, although I understand that it's harder to find a translator for that than for even Ukrainian), and although Ibrahim's Italian was stilted it was at least understandable, I didn't even recognise what the other dude was speaking as Italian.


I remember this scene, it's in the first episode:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdeCtflj514&t=5310s

Sounds quite Italian to me. This is what I hear:

Interpreter: Il sultano ringrazia i vostri piu sentiti auguri.
Ambassador: Durante questo periodo di pace...
Imbrahim bursts into speech.
Ambassador: Ho capito. Ma come mai Lei parla cosi bene la nostra lingua?

That sucks. Do you speak it with anyone in your family or friendship group?

No. To be honest with you even when I am spoken to in Belarusian (it happens sometimes; for example we have a network of petrol stations whose workers speak Belarusian), I reply back in Russian. Sad but true; I'm indifferent to this semi-native language of mine.


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