Saim's log 2017-2019

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2018

Postby Car » 2019-01-17, 14:54

Saim wrote:Spanish

I passed the DELE C2 exam! I got the highest mark possible for the spoken section, which is nice (I was certain I would accidentally say something in Catalan or something and get docked a gazillion marks).


Wow, that's amazing! Congrats!
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2018

Postby Saim » 2019-01-17, 18:38

voron wrote:That's very cool Saim, congratulations!

Car wrote:Wow, that's amazing! Congrats!


Thanks!

voron wrote:Do you have a certificate for Serbian?


I don't, no. If memory serves the University of Belgrade has an exam session for Serbian certificates in August so I might try for C1 or C2 this year.

voron wrote:Also, what were the writing section and the speaking section of the Spanish exam about?


For the writing section I had to prepare three texts, based on a couple of texts the exam provided. One had to be around 400 words IIRC, and it was about the pros and cons of mass tourism and how to make it more sustainable. The last one was just 150 words and was supposed to be the announcement of a short story and poetry contest issued by a mayor's office (the exam paper provided details about the competition and I had to rewrite it as an announcement). The second one was 200 or so words and I can't remember what it was supposed to be about... I think I had to listen to some recording for it?

For the speaking section they had a bunch of topics they would randomly pick out for each person. I was given the choice between something about summer hobbies and La emancipación de los jóvenes (about the age young people leave home in different countries and such). I was given an article that talked about this issue (three short texts and a bunch of graphs with specific figures comparing different EU countries; this is the topic I chose), and I was given ten or fifteen minutes or so to prepare. I basically had to describe what the articles were about, and then the examiner asked me more questions about what it's like in Australia and Serbia, what my opinion on the issue is, why people would choose different living arrangements, what my experience of moving out from home was, etc. It was actually kind of a fun experience to be honest.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-01-17, 23:47

How cool - congratulations! It does sound like fun - I wish there were CEFR tests for Persian, Arabic, Urdu, etc.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-18, 7:56

Surely there is some sort of widely-accepted certification exam for at least Arabic, even if it doesn't map to the CEFR levels?

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Antea » 2019-01-18, 8:02

Acabo de leerlo. ¡Felicidades Saim! Es genial que hayas pasado el examen, y además con la nota más alta :yep:

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2018

Postby Car » 2019-01-18, 11:58

Saim wrote:
voron wrote:Do you have a certificate for Serbian?


I don't, no. If memory serves the University of Belgrade has an exam session for Serbian certificates in August so I might try for C1 or C2 this year.


Would they even accept you? I think some of those certification institutions don't accept native speakers. Unless you don't count as one for them, that is.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2018

Postby Saim » 2019-01-18, 12:04

Car wrote:
Saim wrote:
voron wrote:Do you have a certificate for Serbian?


I don't, no. If memory serves the University of Belgrade has an exam session for Serbian certificates in August so I might try for C1 or C2 this year.


Would they even accept you? I think some of those certification institutions don't accept native speakers. Unless you don't count as one for them, that is.


Serbian was one of my two L1s but I don't have native proficiency or intuition so I wouldn't count myself as a native speaker except in the broadest sense. I did primary and secondary schooling in Australia in English so I don't know why they'd class me as a native speaker either... could be something to take a look at. There are Serbian citizens who aren't fully proficient in Serbian (mostly Hungarian natives, I met some of them on Serbian courses at the University of Novi Sad), so I have a feeling I'd still be in.

Antea wrote:Acabo de leerlo. ¡Felicidades Saim! Es genial que hayas pasado el examen, y además con la nota más alta :yep:


Gracias! :)

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-19, 12:23

Urdu

I've been taking Urdu Skype classes the past couple of weeks (three so far) and I've been really enjoying them. I think I need to do a lot more speaking and reading practice so it's nice to have someone to help me with that. Today we did reading practice for the first time and although I've come a long way in being able to read Urdu I still can't really skim read, so it's good to do go through texts with a tutor because it's much less exhausting (and even boring texts aren't boring when you're reading them with someone IME). Once I can read for pleasure in Urdu I think I'll be able to advance more quickly in both Urdu and other languages written in the Arabic script (extensive reading teaches you quite a lot).

I'd been thinking about finding a tutor for a while but I couldn't decide which language to work on; should I try to learn to speak Turkish or Arabic, should I push my Russian and German into a more solid intermediate level, should I try and bring some other Slavic language closer to where my Russian is, should I try and get better at speaking Romance languages other than Spanish and Catalan, should I try and bring my Hebrew closer to where Urdu and Hungarian are?

Knowing my energy levels, level of motivation, uni workload and the amount of time I want to dedicate to other activities (reading, listening, translation exercises, etc.) I can only really be doing one Skype lesson a week, so I've decided it'd be good to focus on Urdu for the time being. My strongest non-fluent languages are by far Urdu and Hungarian, and I have three Hungarian classes a week at university, so I should make sure I'm not neglecting my Urdu, and given my long-term language goals it's good to put a lot of effort into a language that has lots of Perso-Arabic vocabulary and uses the Arabic script.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-01-19, 21:55

Yay Urdu! I'm trying to read a short story by Mirza Athar Baig at the moment. (Just typed that out and reflected on how each of the three elements of his name comes from a different language.) What kind of stuff do you read with your tutor?
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-21, 16:11

eskandar wrote:Yay Urdu! I'm trying to read a short story by Mirza Athar Baig at the moment. (Just typed that out and reflected on how each of the three elements of his name comes from a different language.) What kind of stuff do you read with your tutor?


We were reading a short story as well. I said that I prefer non-fiction but she couldn't find anything that would interest me. I should be more proactive and find something myself.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-21, 23:29

(Very late) congratulations on your Spanish exam! I'm slightly jealous. I wish I could claim to have a C2 level in something other than I guess English. :P

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-22, 20:50

Turkish, Basque

I've noticed that for some of the languages I'm less proficient in I quite quickly forget the vocabulary in my sentence cards and really struggle understanding them, it takes too long for me to decipher some sentences for it to be fun. The other day I added more than twenty cards to my Turkish deck, but wrote down all the new words in those cards on a piece of paper (without translations). I then consulted that list of words (just briefly skimming over them) first thing in the morning before my Anki session, and I noticed that I was able to manage a higher number of sentences than usual (like, having more than twenty sentences in Turkish wasn't tiring or boring anymore). Hopefully this will lead to better retention in the long run.

Today I am going to try the same thing with Basque and see if it works generally with lower-level non-transparent languages.

Hungarian

Last week we had a really difficult text that used a lot of concrete vocabulary I had never heard before in Hungarian class. I was finding it exhausting to read so instead of reading for comprehension it I just tried to burn through the text as quickly as possible and highlight every single word I didn't know (being strict with myself, if I thought I vaguely knew it I'd still highlight it). The next day I looked up all the words and listed the English and Polish equivalents, Hungarian definitions and example sentences in a word document. I then went back to the original text and it was actually really enjoyable to read, and I had zero trouble with comprehension!

I think I should keep doing this activity on my own, since generally I haven't done much for Hungarian besides homework. I've printed out six articles in Hungarian, and I'll apply the same method (highlighting new words > wordlist > translation/definitions/example sentences > reading for fun). I don't really enjoy my Hungarian cards in Anki anymore so this might be a good vocabulary exercise to replace it. It's a lot of work but I paradoxically find it more difficult to motivate myself to do less intensive activities.

Image

vijayjohn wrote:(Very late) congratulations on your Spanish exam! I'm slightly jealous. I wish I could claim to have a C2 level in something other than I guess English. :P


Thanks! Which is the best of your more advanced languages, Malayalam?

I wouldn't worry so much about C2 level, there are diminishing returns the higher up you get so getting past C1 doesn't really benefit you that much...
Last edited by Saim on 2019-01-26, 10:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-23, 5:02

Saim wrote:Which is the best of your more advanced languages, Malayalam?

I'm tempted to say "yes," but in reality, it's kind of hard to tell. I've studied French, Spanish, and German seriously a lot earlier than I really started studying Malayalam seriously. It's possible that I'm being misled by the fact that I don't get to use Malayalam at work at all, though.
I wouldn't worry so much about C2 level, there are diminishing returns the higher up you get so getting past C1 doesn't really benefit you that much...

Oh, I know. It would be pretty awesome to be able to speak native-like Malayalam, though. :lol:

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-26, 10:30

Basque, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Mandarin

For the languages I'm studying mainly by creating flashcards I think I'll take a leaf out of Vijay's book and cycle through them rather than trying to get through all of them in a week or leaving it up to just randomly feeling like doing a given language. The problem with trying to get through them all in a week is that it's too much effort to plan and it's not particularly realistic, and you also lose momentum by say doing Hebrew on Monday and then trying to do Turkish on Tuesday, so I end up doing much less than I should. The problem with leaving it to feeling like doing a given language is that I end up neglecting some of these languages (like this week I did some Basque after leaving it for quite a while). There's also lots of days where I'm unsure what language I feel like studying and so I end up wasting two or more hours doing nothing before I even open Anki or whatever source I'm studying from (which is just not sustainable given all the other stuff I have to do).

The good thing about cycling through them this way is that I'm not going to put an upper limit to how many days I want to study a given language. For example, the day before yesterday I noted down twenty or so Hebrew words from an interview on YouTube I was watching, and just didn't have the time to make so many sentence cards based on them (I also like making cards for other words that show up in example sentences or in the definitions in the Hebrew-Hebrew dictionary milog, as well as different verb forms and such, so it's a lot of work!), only making 9. Instead of stealing time from other things I had to do (including turning off the computer so I can sleep earlier!) so I could 'finish' the list of words, I left it for the next day, when I made 15 cards. I might do some more today as well.

This way I take advantage of the momentum (note how I made more cards the second day than the first) from studying the same language for several consecutive days, but I also avoid the boredom and frustration of limiting myself to a single language.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-27, 3:21

Good luck and I'm glad to see that sharing my own method has some potential uses for someone else, too! :)

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby OldBoring » 2019-01-27, 9:01

vijayjohn wrote:It's possible that I'm being misled by the fact that I don't get to use Malayalam at work at all, though.

Use your annual leave to travel to Kerala. :D
Although there are so many places in the world to visit, it's always nice to go (re-)discover your roots (the Chinese people call it 寻根之旅 "root-seeking trip").
I got back from China in April 2017, and I don't know when will be the next time I go again... I don't have a reason to go to China anymore. I was living in Beijing, but before leaving China I made sure to go for a last trip to Wenzhou and Qingtian.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-27, 16:27

I have kind of been thinking about it (remember the whole "document indigenous languages" idea?). I'm not sure whether or when that'll be possible, though, since my contract's been extended until May, the best time to go is in winter, and we generally plan out a trip to India about a year in advance if possible. I don't seem to have very many relatives left there (there are a few elsewhere in India, though).

Before I do anything like that (and before my extension ends!), I have to try to find another job. :para:

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-28, 8:30

Saim wrote:Hungarian

Last week we had a really difficult text that used a lot of concrete vocabulary I had never heard before in Hungarian class. I was finding it exhausting to read so instead of reading for comprehension it I just tried to burn through the text as quickly as possible and highlight every single word I didn't know (being strict with myself, if I thought I vaguely knew it I'd still highlight it). The next day I looked up all the words and listed the English and Polish equivalents, Hungarian definitions and example sentences in a word document. I then went back to the original text and it was actually really enjoyable to read, and I had zero trouble with comprehension!


I need to keep doing this for Hungarian, Romance languages and Slavic languages (including Polish and Serbian), maybe even a bit of German and Dutch if I find the time. I've noticed that when I print articles out I read them all in one sitting and don't get distracted, and I pay more attention to new vocabulary than on the computer (and I can resist looking words up and focus on getting through the material even if there are bits that I don't fully understand). Even if I don't end up looking up every word I feel like I'm learning a lot. I think it's time to bury the fantasy that I'm ever going to read novels in foreign languages, and stop trying desperately to find interesting YouTube channels (of course there is lots of great material in many languages other than English but the YouTube algorithm keeps recommending interesting things in English to me) or Facebook groups/pages (again, there's a lot of interesting stuff there but I always get drawn back to English-language pages and channels) in every language I'm studying, and just make sure I'm reading loads of articles every day. Songs are still fun but I really can't do a massive amount of them since a lot of the time there is slang, metaphors, etc. that take ages to look up (although it's paradoxically quite a good activity for non-transparent languages like Turkish because if the song is catchy the vocabulary really sticks!).

I find it harder to read a massive amount of Hungarian in one setting than with the other languages but I've noticed that once I've already printed them out I end up reading at least one or two a day; since I've already picked the material it's the path of least resistance (honestly half of my procrastination in language learning comes from not being sure what to work on). Presumably after a couple of weeks of doing this I'll get into the flow of speed reading Hungarian texts, which will also be useful for my MA thesis because I'm writing about the Hungarian minority in Ukraine so I'll have to read some texts in Hungarian (as well as in Russian and Ukrainian, so I should put some more effort into that...).

Hopefully in a couple of months I'll be able to add Urdu to this group of languages; the vocabulary load is a bit higher for me to be able to read Urdu comfortably than for most European languages so I don't think I'm there yet. Once I'm reading comfortably in Urdu it shouldn't be too difficult to branch out into Hindi and Punjabi. :hmm:

Regarding vocabulary specifically, I've noticed I'm much more strict with myself with what I 'know' when I'm not looking up words constantly and just underlining them. This is I think good practice when reading Romance languages, yesterday I read like eight articles in Portuguese and there were words I only even noticed because I was purposefully being strict about words I 'know' (I was like, 'turvar' reminds me of 'perturb' but am I actually sure what this means?). The same was true of Serbian where there were words I could more-or-less understand in context but wouldn't be able to define or translate; this may seem unimportant but there's so many of them that I think that this might be what's keeping me at my current plateau.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby voron » 2019-01-29, 8:45

vijayjohn wrote:Good luck and I'm glad to see that sharing my own method has some potential uses for someone else, too! :)

Guys you know what, I am going to try this method, too. :)

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-01-29, 23:31

Saim wrote:Hopefully in a couple of months I'll be able to add Urdu to this group of languages; the vocabulary load is a bit higher for me to be able to read Urdu comfortably than for most European languages so I don't think I'm there yet. Once I'm reading comfortably in Urdu it shouldn't be too difficult to branch out into Hindi and Punjabi. :hmm:

How much experience do you have with reading Hindi and Punjabi? And what types of Urdu materials do you want to be able to read more comfortably? IIRC it's the more formal register of the language, with more Perso-Arabic vocabulary, that you wanted to work on - seems like the register that would be the least help with Hindi. Even though you're more interested in nonfiction, as you mentioned a few posts back, I guess fiction would suit this purpose best, especially stories by Urdu writers who tried to approximate spoken Hindustani in their writing. I have the opposite problem - it's all the very specific Indic verbs in Urdu that usually send me to the dictionary - and I encounter those most often in fiction, whereas scholarly writing and (for the most part) newspapers tend to be much easier for me to read.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.


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