Saim's log 2019-2020

This forum is for the Total Annihilation Challenge. See the sticky thread for more information.

Moderators: ''', Forum Administrators

Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24650
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Taipei
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)

Re: Saim's log 2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-01-07, 6:34

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

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.

User avatar
Posts: 5516
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Novi Sad
Country: RS Serbia (Србија)

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.


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...).

User avatar
Posts: 5516
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Novi Sad
Country: RS Serbia (Србија)

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.

User avatar
Posts: 5516
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Novi Sad
Country: RS Serbia (Србија)

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.

Return to “Total Annihilation Challenge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest