Saim's log 2017-2019

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Yasna » 2019-01-30, 4:50

Saim wrote:I think it's time to bury the fantasy that I'm ever going to read novels in foreign languages,

What's stopping you?
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-30, 9:28

eskandar wrote:How much experience do you have with reading Hindi and Punjabi?


A fair bit, actually. When I first got into Indo-Aryan languages I spent quite a lot of time breaking my head over Hindi and Gurmukhi Punjabi texts (basically Wikipedia and short news articles), and then later Shahmukhi Punjabi texts (wichaar.com and sanjhapunjab.net[1]). I just took a look at the Hindi Wikipedia and it seems like the material would still be pretty manageable with a bit of work, and when I listened to a Hindi news stream lately I feel like I understood as much as when I listen to comparable material in Hebrew (which is kind of sad in a way...).

[1] It seems this website doesn't exist anymore, which is a shame since they had lots of the same texts in both Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi, and some even with audio. :(

And what types of Urdu materials do you want to be able to read more comfortably?


Most of what I read falls under these categories:

- the news
- opinion pieces and political polemics
- general social science stuff

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.


The thing is my difficulty in reading Urdu is not just the vocabulary, it's the entire language system -- script, syntax, general writing style, everything.

You know what, I should just bite the bullet and print out some stuff to read, even if it's in naskh (it's kind of scandalous that I still don't have a reliable, easy way to print out nastaleeq texts, but I think my ability in reading nastaleeq is at the point where extensive reading in naskh would be transferrable back to nastaleeq; my flashcards, which have Nastaleeq screenpastes, helped a lot in this regard). No more waiting.

Yasna wrote:
Saim wrote:I think it's time to bury the fantasy that I'm ever going to read novels in foreign languages,

What's stopping you?


Stopping me from reading novels or stopping me from burying the idea?

Novels take a lot of concentration, are pretty long and I find that my tolerance for noise is lower since the point is to get immersed in a story rather than understand a concrete message (unlike reading the news or whatever).

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-01-31, 4:25

Saim wrote:[1] It seems this website doesn't exist anymore, which is a shame since they had lots of the same texts in both Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi, and some even with audio. :(

Do you know the site http://apnaorg.com/ ? It seems to be along those lines.

The thing is my difficulty in reading Urdu is not just the vocabulary, it's the entire language system -- script, syntax, general writing style, everything.

Gotcha.

it's kind of scandalous that I still don't have a reliable, easy way to print out nastaleeq texts

Wow, that's weird. Does something go wrong when printing nasta'liq stuff from the web? (It usually works fine for me..) Have you tried dumping stuff into Word and switching the font to Jameel Noori Nastaleeq or something? Also, you could try looking through the Annual of Urdu Studies archives for interesting things to read in the Urdu section. It's all in nicely-formatted PDFs written in nasta'liq for easy printing. This article (by a Turkish professor of Urdu, no less - I think we've talked about him before) might interest you, for one example.
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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-01-31, 8:33

eskandar wrote:Wow, that's weird. Does something go wrong when printing nasta'liq stuff from the web? (It usually works fine for me..) Have you tried dumping stuff into Word and switching the font to Jameel Noori Nastaleeq or something? Also, you could try looking through the Annual of Urdu Studies archives for interesting things to read in the Urdu section. It's all in nicely-formatted PDFs written in nasta'liq for easy printing. This article (by a Turkish professor of Urdu, no less - I think we've talked about him before) might interest you, for one example.


The thing is I don't have a printer, I print every thing at a local xero (print shop); it's cheap enough that students here will even photocopy entire textbooks. So it has to work on their computer, not on mine.

Google Docs unfortunately doesn't support nastaleeq, but I'll try and see if I can make an Open Office doc into a pdf, maybe that'll read properly at the xero.

EDIT: So far Open Office has been crashing every time I convert more than one page at once to Nafees Nastaleeq. :silly: Even if it ends up working I'm not sure if a pdf will show the correct font on someone else's computer, so I dunno if I'm going to keep bothering.

EDIT2: I managed to make a pdf by printing a bunch of articles I put into Unilang's post editor and then clicked 'preview' (I have an add-on that converts texts to nastaleeq). It's a really round about way to do it it but it works so far. Let's see if the xero's computer will read the pdf properly. If not I'll bite the bullet and read in naskh, I guess that's better than nothing.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Yasna » 2019-01-31, 19:41

Saim wrote:Novels take a lot of concentration, are pretty long and I find that my tolerance for noise is lower since the point is to get immersed in a story rather than understand a concrete message (unlike reading the news or whatever).

Have you tried detective novels? Titles like Män som hatar kvinnor or 容疑者Xの献身 (The Devotion of Suspect X) are usually gripping enough to keep you in the zone, even if they're not great literature.
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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-02-03, 15:31

Yasna wrote:
Saim wrote:Novels take a lot of concentration, are pretty long and I find that my tolerance for noise is lower since the point is to get immersed in a story rather than understand a concrete message (unlike reading the news or whatever).

Have you tried detective novels? Titles like Män som hatar kvinnor or 容疑者Xの献身 (The Devotion of Suspect X) are usually gripping enough to keep you in the zone, even if they're not great literature.


I recently started following a rule whereby I'm not allowed to use my phone (or laptop, or any electronic device) in bed at night, and instead I use that time to read. It's been working well for me and my wife, we're reading a lot more that we used to, and noise isn't so much an issue because it's the end of the day so the road outside is quiet, neighbours are asleep and we don't have our phones/TV on. I don't know what your living circumstances are at the moment so maybe it's a bit noisier where you are...?

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-02-03, 18:21

Yasna wrote:
Saim wrote:Novels take a lot of concentration, are pretty long and I find that my tolerance for noise is lower since the point is to get immersed in a story rather than understand a concrete message (unlike reading the news or whatever).

Have you tried detective novels? Titles like Män som hatar kvinnor or 容疑者Xの献身 (The Devotion of Suspect X) are usually gripping enough to keep you in the zone, even if they're not great literature.


Thanks for the recommendation, I'll give it a try. :)

Saim wrote:
eskandar wrote:[...]

EDIT2: I managed to make a pdf by printing a bunch of articles I put into Unilang's post editor and then clicked 'preview' (I have an add-on that converts texts to nastaleeq). It's a really round about way to do it it but it works so far. Let's see if the xero's computer will read the pdf properly. If not I'll bite the bullet and read in naskh, I guess that's better than nothing.


It worked! I read through the whole Toker article in one sitting, which is the most I've ever read in Urdu at once. :D

Ciarán12 wrote:I recently started following a rule whereby I'm not allowed to use my phone (or laptop, or any electronic device) in bed at night, and instead I use that time to read. It's been working well for me and my wife, we're reading a lot more that we used to, and noise isn't so much an issue because it's the end of the day so the road outside is quiet, neighbours are asleep and we don't have our phones/TV on. I don't know what your living circumstances are at the moment so maybe it's a bit noisier where you are...?


Oh, I didn't literally mean noise, I mean metaphorically as in a signal-to-noise ratio, like parts of the text (words or expression) I don't fully understand. When I'm reading non-fiction I don't get as annoyed when I miss some nuances or can't fully understand something than when reading fiction.
Last edited by Saim on 2019-02-05, 17:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-02-03, 19:30

Saim wrote:
Ciarán12 wrote:I recently started following a rule whereby I'm not allowed to use my phone (or laptop, or any electronic device) in bed at night, and instead I use that time to read. It's been working well for me and my wife, we're reading a lot more that we used to, and noise isn't so much an issue because it's the end of the day so the road outside is quiet, neighbours are asleep and we don't have our phones/TV on. I don't know what your living circumstances are at the moment so maybe it's a bit noisier where you are...?


Oh, I didn't literally mean noise, I mean metaphorically as in a signal-to-noise ratio, like parts of the text (words or expression) I don't fully understand. When I'm reading non-fiction I don't get as annoyed when I miss some nuances or can't fully understand something than when reading fiction.


Haha, ah, okay, got it. I see your point. I think it's probably a matter of choosing novels that are at your current reading level, which is of course difficult because how can you know if you can read it before you try... I'd say the difficulty also depends on the language - some languages (IME at least) diverge from English in their idioms than others. What languages have you been trying to read fiction in?

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-02-04, 3:01

I have so much trouble reading novels in any language...or reading news in any language, or watching movies in any language, or doing practically anything in any language that requires a relatively long attention span. It just takes so much time, and I only have two days off a week!

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-02-04, 3:29

Saim wrote:It worked! I read through the whole Toker article in one setting, which is the most I've ever read in Urdu at once. :D

!شاباش
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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-02-05, 17:12

Ciarán12 wrote:Haha, ah, okay, got it. I see your point. I think it's probably a matter of choosing novels that are at your current reading level, which is of course difficult because how can you know if you can read it before you try... I'd say the difficulty also depends on the language - some languages (IME at least) diverge from English in their idioms than others. What languages have you been trying to read fiction in?


I think the last novels I read some of were a Serbian one (Ana Marija me nije volela and a French one (Camus's l'Étranger, which I had already read and enjoyed in high school in translation). I could follow both of them well enough but didn't finish either of them. I also read some of a Hungarian book for older children.

Maybe I should try finishing those two, they were actually quite fun. :hmm:

eskandar wrote:
Saim wrote:It worked! I read through the whole Toker article in one setting, which is the most I've ever read in Urdu at once. :D

!شاباش


Thanks! I meant sitting by the way, not setting.

Yesterday I read my first Urdu opinion piece from start to finish (some conservative rant about how minority's in Pakistan shouldn't complain about their treatment). It seems at this point it's more of an issue of concentration than proficiency, so I'm going to avoid reading on the computer.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-02-20, 11:50

Flashcards (Mandarin)

Although I haven't been able to add many flashcards lately, I've found the revision pretty manageable and enjoyable and I've noticed that I've made quite a lot of progress in the sense that I don't find it hard to read the characters without the audio prompt, I can kind of hear the sentences in my head (along with tones) and when I close my eyes I can see the characters (often just general outlines of course, some of them are pretty complex). This probably isn't the most "efficient" way of going about this but an "efficient" method is worthless if I'm not going to actually do it, so it's nice that I'm still at this and have felt very little burnout. As I said when I first talked about this flashcard-based method I felt constant burnout when starting out with less-transparent languages, especially Arabic, so it's great that I'm still working on it without feeling frustrated. My progress has of course been rather limited, but that's kind of by design.

One thing that I've noticed is that it can be frustrating to try and 'finish' Assimil lessons in one sitting, so I've decided to delete audio I've already exported in the file and then save the lesson as an Audacity project. That way instead of spending so much time procrastinating or taking really long breaks I can jump straight back into it the next day when I feel fresh and have already done my first round of revision of the first set of cards from that lesson.

Today I watched this video that explains the benefits of the Heisig method Ciarán recommended earlier. I did try going through it for a couple of days (back when Ciarán first recommended it) but I just couldn't manage it. I think I should go back to this method to learn to handwrite the characters and understand their components, but at the moment it's more of a priority to actually learn the language (including reading, which I can do without learning to handwrite or understand the character components). It seems like something that would benefit more from a concentrated effort rather than bits and pieces all over the place, so maybe I'll try and go through a big chunk of the Heisig book this summer (if I present my MA thesis in June and not September :silly: ).

I've seen some people, including the video I linked to, recommend starting with the Heisig method but I found it almost intensely boring in the beginning so I think it'll be more fun once I already recognise lots of characters and tie them to an actual language rather than abstract ideographic readings.

TL:DR; I'm learning Mandarin extremely slowly but I've also managed to make it extremely fun so who cares?

Looking up these works on Wiktionary I found the following example sentences, which I also added to Anki with GT-produced audio:

笔在桌上。The pen is on the desk.
请上车。Please get into the car.
请等待。Please wait.
我們必須等待。We must wait.


I've realised that Ankiweb can only play mp3 files so I've switched over to this site instead of GT. That said, the vast majority of my cards are from Assimil and are not text-to-speech.

Also I've realised that that last sentence is Traditional, not Simplified. In Simplified it's "我必须等待". :lol:

Extensive reading

I now have two different ways to note down new vocabulary for printed texts:

-If a word I don't know (and don't even have a vague understanding of the meaning) is crucial to understanding the text, or I see it repeated a couple of times, I draw a box around it.
-Otherwise (if I kind of vaguely understand it, or it only comes up once), I just underline it.

I will look up most of the boxed words and ignore most of the underlined words, although this also depends on the language. For languages I'm better at I might avoid even some of the boxed words, for languages like Hungarian and especially Urdu I might try and look up most of the words for at least some of the articles (depending on how interesting I find the article, because then I can reread it having looked up all the words, but that of course only works if I really like the article, otherwise it's too boring and better to move onto something else).

I just need to remind myself to do this sort of reading in Polish, Serbian, Urdu and Hungarian consistently, any other languages are secondary.

Intensive reading + flashcards (Basque)

I've printed out this one short, interesting text about how it's important to use the Basque language and not just promote it as a symbol. I went through the whole thing once and underlined the words I didn't understand.

Now I'm working on it paragraph-by-paragraph (in a Google Doc), adding example sentences from the elhuyar dictionary (there are so many, it's great! I'm even beginning to intuitively understand the complex auxiliary conjugations!) to Anki.

Once I've gone through the whole text this way (I might be at it for a while but at the moment it's kind of fun and not too frustrating since I do it in small chunks so who cares) I will try and find another article on the same topic and go through it a similar way, hopefully looking up fewer words and adding fewer flashcards.

I decided to work on this topic because ultimately I want to be able to read about the Basque language in Basque. Since that's one of the main activities I look forward to being able to do in Basque I thought it makes more sense to just jump into it rather than learning more "everyday" vocabulary.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-02-20, 23:48

Flashcards

I've decided to start adding images to my flashcards again. I originally stopped because I wanted to be able to make more cards in one go, but now I don't try to make as many cards in a single sitting and I'm prioritising making the reviews enjoyable (having images seems to make it less boring).

I've noticed that there are even Chinese images and memes available with characters already on them, like there'll be a drawing of a little girl with a thermometre in her mouth or something and the word "sick" underneath it. When I can't find them I'll add the keyword to the image, I might even do this for languages other than Mandarin.

Besides this, I've thought of making a bunch of Romanian cards and then deleting them once I get to a couple hundred as I did with German. I think there's a certain amount of vocabulary I need to learn so that I can start enjoying native materials more thoroughly.

Image

The image on the left is staight off Google, the one on the right is off Google but the character was added by me.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-03-01, 17:38

This may sound crazy, but I think I'm going to use Anki for some of the languages I can already understand fairly well.

Basically I've been adding several monolingual flashcards to Anki a day, with the word on one side and a monolingual dictionary definition on the other. The point is not necessarily to memorise all of these words (which is of course extremely counterproductive), but rather to motivate myself to spend time every day reading and listening and doing dictionary lookups. I've realised that I waste a lot of time on the internet using English so if inputting a couple of dictionary definitions into Anki motivates me to spend more time in Polish, Serbian and Hungarian (I've also done some of the major Romance languages I'm not fluent in) that can only be a good thing. The past couple of days I've felt excited about studying Polish and Hungarian for the first time in months (if not years in the case of Polish)!

I don't find it boring to reread dictionary entries in the morning so it doesn't seem like a bad way of increasing input a bit. I also write down translations of some of the new words in the definition and example sentences to make sure I'll still understand them when I revise them. For Hungarian of course this is quite a few words, which I think might be a good way to revise more vocabulary with fewer cards.

On that note, I'm going to stop adding translation cards with audio for Urdu and Hungarian, at this point it seems like a bit overkill. I'm going to try and do these monolingual entries for Urdu although I'm not going to be able to do it at the same pace, simply because of the sheer mass of words I don't know.

Here's one of my Urdu cards, for example:

front:

نُمائِش


back:

۱۔ ظہور ، اظہار ، نمود ؛ تماشا ۲۔ (i) دکھانے کا عمل ، دکھانا نیز نظر آنا (iv) (مجازاً) دھوم دھام ، شان و شوکت نیز سجاوٹ ، زیبائش


ظُہُور - manifestation, act of appearance
نُمود - appearance, visibleness
نِیز - also, even, again
دھوم دھام - pomp and show
شَوکت - pomp, grandeur, dignity
سجاوٹ - adornment, decoration
زیبائش (zebɑɪʃ)- adornment, decoration


All the noted words are ones I wasn't sure of the meaning of. Again, this isn't to memorise anything, but to make mental connections between words within the language and get more used to the vocabulary (for example I remember دھوم دھام from a recent text even though I didn't look it up, it'll probably stick next time I see it now).

This is kind of an extreme example and I don't know if it'll work for Urdu, but it's been working for the other languages so far.

I've been making sure to do this for only a limited set of words when reading articles or books, although for songs I tend to look up every word because they're short, and if there are lots of new words in the song I'll look up five words at most and leave the rest for the next day.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-03-04, 17:00

I've realised that for the languages I'm working on using textbooks, I can pin the pdf to Google Chrome. That way I'll procrastinate less and I'll open the file quicker. I can do the same with my Audacity projects that contain the textbook audio, I won't have to think about which file I need to open (I delete audio I don't want or have already exported for use in flashcards so I can now where to start off from).

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-03-06, 18:27

I've been really enjoying Turkish lately, and feel like I'm getting close to a breakthrough, inching towards a more solidly intermediate level of comprehension. Maybe it's because I've been doing so much Hungarian lately, I do kind of associate together them in my mind. I think I'm going to put my Arabic, Basque and Hebrew on hold for the time being to work on Turkish. My strategy for the time being will be to make a lot of flashcards rather than making a few, but more consistently. Mixing up the tempo up a bit makes this a bit more fun.

So far I've essentially been going through the Glossika course and cutting out any sentences with new words or interesting grammar, ignoring the others. I've also been adding images to these sentences, as well as finding other example sentences and dictionary definitions with the same vocabulary. Sometimes I'll keep the captions for some Google images and add little notes on the back of the card along, just saying what any of the additional vocabulary means.

After I get through the whole second Glossika book I'll go back to the İstanbul course.

In other news, I've exported and deleted my old Hungarian deck (with translated example sentences and audio); there were 221 cards in there. All of my Hungarian cards are now monolingual (drawn straight out of Hungarian-Hungarian dictionaries, mostly WikiSzotár).

A quick update on Chinese: Anki (or rather, the addon Luís recommended) reckons that I "know" 225 characters. I don't know what that means, but it sure sounds nice; it's certainly much more than zero!

Saim wrote:Mandarin

I've decided to do screencaps of lessons from Le chinois sans peine and cut out the characters so I'm not relying on the pinyin and translation to understand the text. I think I will do this as a character recognition exercise on days when I don't have any flashcard reviews for Mandarin. First I will try and read it aloud without listening to the audio, then I will read it along with the audio.

Image

My main goal is to associate the characters with phonetic information so I slowly develop an internal reading voice for Mandarin that will make it easier to use reading to study at a later date, and this is the best way I can think of doing that.

I don't have the time or energy to do much handwriting: I'll keep using the Heisig book but I can't see myself doing it every or almost every day. I'll treat it more the way I'd treat a learner's grammar; i.e., as something to skim through and make notes out of rather than as a primary study resource.


In retrospect this was overkill and something I didn't really enjoy doing. Once I've gone through the entire book through Anki (probably towards the beginning of the summer at this pace), I'll do this with all the lessons at once, then print them out and read the characters as if they were just a collection of dialogues without any grammar notes, pinyin or translations. I think that'll make it more fun.

Yes, I could probably just do this without cutting out the characters in paint. But I find the rest of the information too distracting to just focus on the actual text.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby voron » 2019-03-06, 23:05

Saim wrote:I've been really enjoying Turkish lately, and feel like I'm getting close to a breakthrough, inching towards a more solidly intermediate level of comprehension.

That's so cool!

If you listen to any Turkish songs, post the links here.

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-03-07, 19:27

voron wrote:
Saim wrote:I've been really enjoying Turkish lately, and feel like I'm getting close to a breakthrough, inching towards a more solidly intermediate level of comprehension.

That's so cool!

If you listen to any Turkish songs, post the links here.


Here are some songs I've been listening to lately:

Sila and Kenan Dogulu - ...dan sonra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXh8DHAej78&list=PLzGvZOz7TRFwOE6Dxj9WUhfEAwTrCuv4j&index=11&t=0s

Ege Çubukçu Ft. Ayşe Hatun - Hey DJ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1liZYxdTieo&index=15&list=PLzGvZOz7TRFwOE6Dxj9WUhfEAwTrCuv4j

Maestro feat. Charlee & İstifa & Santi & Linspecteur - Bizi Gör
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYHFaQCNfEg&list=PLzGvZOz7TRFwOE6Dxj9WUhfEAwTrCuv4j&index=5&t=0s

Ege Çubukçu - Carpe Diem
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIu4R-GFhb8&index=7&list=PLzGvZOz7TRFwOE6Dxj9WUhfEAwTrCuv4j

Erdem Kınay Ft. İkizler - Öptüm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMfPtUGe0lQ&list=PLzGvZOz7TRFwOE6Dxj9WUhfEAwTrCuv4j&index=9

For now I'm not going to actively study songs but I can pick out a lot more vocabulary than even a couple of months ago, so that's nice. :D

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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby eskandar » 2019-03-08, 3:08

I like how you're always trying different things. I can't tell if I keep doing generally the same things because they work for me, or just because I'm lazy. :hmm:
Currently away from Unilang.

vijayjohn
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Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-08, 3:12

Same, but hey, if it works... :)


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