TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian)

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby voron » 2018-06-24, 15:06

eskandar wrote:Does anyone have any favorite materials for Palestinian?

There is this resource which looks very nice (and is available online):
https://www.amazon.com/Colloquial-Pales ... 0982159536

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-06-25, 8:41

vijayjohn wrote:LangMedia. I tend to use materials from a whole bunch of Levantine varieties, though, and personally don't care that much about whether they're Palestinian vs. Jordanian vs. Lebanese vs. Syrian (or Damascene vs. North Levantine Arabic or whatever).

Thanks, I'll check it out. At this stage, that's probably a good strategy for me as well, given that I always mix dialects when I speak anyway. At some point I have to really decide who I want to sound like. I'll probably shoot for an urban Palestinian variety, but I don't know yet if there is much difference between different cities.

Saim wrote:Why not? Once you're good at speaking it shouldn't be too hard to learn to read. The Hebrew script is pretty close to the Arabic script as well.

I can read the Hebrew script - actually it was the first script I learned to read after Latin, as a child, though I did have to re-learn it when I started doing Hebrew last winter. The problem is more the vocabulary. My real interest is in speaking, and there are too many words I'd have to learn in order to be able to read - especially literary words that aren't used much in speech. I've encountered this when reading a play by Hanoch Levin, which was itself already one of the most colloquial pieces of writing you can find in Hebrew.

Saim wrote:I don't think you need to worry that much about stress. The stress is always either on the ultimate or penultimate syllable, except in loanwords. IME when you make a mistake it's pretty easy to learn from because it's like "oh ok, it's the other one".

I'm too anal for that, so I check the stress for just about every word I learn from a source like Assimil which doesn't mark it before making flashcards and trying to commit the word to memory. I'd rather learn it right the first time. Luckily I have access to native speakers and Wiktionary is pretty good in this regard.

vijayjohn wrote:Because the only scripts he knows are Roman, Cyrillic, and Arabic and he's scared to have to learn another one. I've sort of tried having this conversation with him before. :lol:

Eskandar bhai, have you ever considered learning Malay or Indonesian? :idea: EDIT: Or an African language? Maybe Swahili?

You can safely add Hebrew to that list at this point. :wink: That being said, I'm sticking to learning Hebrew through transcription, at least for now, and I still don't want to learn any additional scripts (though I REALLY should learn Devanagari someday).

Vijay bhai, Malay/Indonesian hovers semi-permanently at the top of my wanderlust list of languages I'd like to learn. Don't know when/if I ever will, though. There are a bunch of African languages I'd love to learn as well - Swahili would be cool, but I'm also really interested in some of the other Islamicate languages of the continent, especially Hausa, Kanuri/Kanembu, and to a lesser degree Bamako. For the time being just reading about them is enough for me.

voron wrote:There is this resource which looks very nice (and is available online):
https://www.amazon.com/Colloquial-Pales ... 0982159536

Awesome, I'll look for it online. Thank you!
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby Saim » 2018-06-25, 9:17

eskandar wrote:I'm too anal for that, so I check the stress for just about every word I learn from a source like Assimil which doesn't mark it before making flashcards and trying to commit the word to memory. I'd rather learn it right the first time. Luckily I have access to native speakers and Wiktionary is pretty good in this regard.


That's fair. Let me know if you want the audio for L'hébreu sans peine and I'll upload it to my Drive. :)

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-06-25, 10:24

Thanks! I'm doing fine without it at the moment, but I'll take you up on your offer if I need it later. :)
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby księżycowy » 2018-06-25, 11:59

I just wanted to stop by and say I like both of these for Palestinian Arabic:
Eastern Arabic by Rice and Sa'id
Speaking Arabic by Elihay
Elihay's text in particular is quite comprehensive.

The only down side to both of these is they are in romanization only.

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-06-25, 21:53

I happen to have the 1979 edition of Eastern Arabic, but I don't have audio for it, and so far, I don't care for it much since it's apparently really supposed to be used with a teacher who speaks the variety natively (and they're not too clear on which variety it is, either...).
eskandar wrote:Thanks, I'll check it out.

:) عفوا و خواهش می کنم
I can read the Hebrew script - actually it was the first script I learned to read after Latin, as a child, though I did have to re-learn it when I started doing Hebrew last winter.

The first alphabet song I ever heard after the English one (and after some song for the Malayalam alphabet I'm not sure anyone remembers) was a slightly modified version of this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzIxfKndY5A
without the distinction between dotted and un-dotted letters (e.g. "aleph be-et" instead of "aleph bet vet") and repeated only twice. My brother and niece know this song, too.

It took me forever to learn the actual letters, though. :lol:
The problem is more the vocabulary. My real interest is in speaking, and there are too many words I'd have to learn in order to be able to read - especially literary words that aren't used much in speech. I've encountered this when reading a play by Hanoch Levin, which was itself already one of the most colloquial pieces of writing you can find in Hebrew.

Interesting, that sounds a lot more like Arabic and a lot of the major Indian languages (including Malayalam) than I would have ever guessed.

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-11-28, 5:49

vijayjohn wrote:Interesting, that sounds a lot more like Arabic and a lot of the major Indian languages (including Malayalam) than I would have ever guessed.

I would guess it would be the case for many languages with a particularly significant literary tradition: you build up a large repertoire of words that fall out of use in ordinary speech but are fossilized in writing, leading to this problem. Even French is often written quite differently from how it's spoken.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-11-28, 6:34

Time for an update.

Arabic: My greatest accomplishment of the last year was reading a ~90 page handwritten treatise in flowery classical Arabic. Two caveats: the handwriting was VERY clear, and I had a tutor from italki guiding me through it (often rewording it in very simple Arabic for me--though we did manage to avoid using English). Now I'm working my way through Munther Younes's Tales from Kalila wa Dimna guided reader, which is much more appropriate for my level of Arabic. I'm a huge fan of readers, and I definitely recommend this one - it's put together based on very thoughtful pedagogical principles. The book seems to be out of print, but you can find it on LibGen and the audio is on archive.org. I've just started recently and am on the fourth story. Spoken Arabic is on the back burner for now...

Hebrew: I've been studying just a tiny bit at a time, but fairly consistently. Up to Pimsleur III lesson 20 (only 10 to go) and lesson 32 in Assimil (though I haven't looked at Assimil since last summer). I have 1565 cards in my Anki deck, 90% of which are mature, and my goal is to learn another 500 by the summer.

Persian: This one never feels very interesting to update even though (or maybe because) I use it pretty much every day and teach it. Starting to read a very challenging handwritten manuscript and maybe I'll try to post my progress here, to keep myself motivated.

Urdu: I've been reading some Urdu materials as well for research, so I'll try to post my progress in reading Urdu stuff here too.

Turkish: Turkish comes in fits and starts. Every now and then I'll try to read something, look up a bunch of words and make Anki cards for them, and then abandon it again for a while. Somehow these days, of all my languages, Turkish feels like the most daunting one. Even though Arabic is an impossible-to-master ocean of words, I have some confidence knowing that I've learned enough to make at least some sense of most texts I try to read. I've never formally studied Turkish, and it just seems to have so much damn grammar I need to learn, and so many words for everything. These days Turkish (a language I've dabbled in off-and-on for over a decade) feels harder than Hebrew, a language I really just started learning a year ago. I think it's partially because I learn really well with Anki, and for Hebrew there were some very well-made Anki decks I downloaded that helped me quickly cram hundreds of words to build my vocabulary. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find anything of similar quality for Turkish. At some point I'd really like to put some serious work into Turkish to get it up to the level of my other languages...for now I'll just keep dabbling. Meanwhile, I'm battling a ferociously raging wanderlust for Chaghatay after finding some fabulous resources for it!

French and Spanish are on hiatus for now. I still want to do Italian and German someday, but no time soon as far as I can see.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-11-30, 5:31

Hebrew: Did Pimsleur III:20, listened to a song, did a lesson from Assimil, had a conversation in Hebrew, and edited the subtitles to a video we translated in the Hebrew forum. I don't know if I'm going to stick with Assimil. I know everyone swears by it, but it seems like there's about one thing per lesson (and the lessons are very short!) that I learn, try out on Israelis, and am then told that the word or expression is outdated, stilted, bookish, or otherwise not used in spoken Hebrew. Now that I think about it, I've had the same problem with Pimsleur (apparently VERY 60s) and Colloquial Hebrew (apparently not so colloquial at all). Aren't there any good, up-to-date materials for learning this language?

New vocab
m'khabel - terrorist
la'avod al mishehu - to fool someone
fráyer - sucker, sap
lenahel sikha - to have a conversation
khaser - lacking
b'meshutaf - in common
ra'ayon - interview
lefi - according to (lefiv - according to him; lefia - according to her)
hamon - a ton of; rabble, masses
hamoni - vulgar, boorish
lehit'onen - to complain
tsnóbar (pl. tsnobarim) - pine nuts
óren - pine tree
shutaf - partner (nonromantic), housemate
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-12-02, 22:54

Hebrew: Pimsleur III:21, Assimil 33 and 34, and a podcast.

New vocab
m'hirut - speed
hizdamnut - opportunity
hafta'a - surprise

Arabic: Watched Recycle and this video. They were both pretty good for listening practice; the language in Recycle ranges from fuS7a to white dialect to fairly clear Jordanian dialect. In the Arguelles video there are two Arabs speaking Levantine-inflected white dialect (including the Algerian woman) and Arguelles assiduously stumbling through fuS7a.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby voron » 2018-12-03, 0:06

I liked Arguelles's Arabic!

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-12-16, 6:37

I've been working my way through the Kalila wa Dimna reader with voron which has been fun. Using readers is definitely one of my favorite techniques for learning, especially since my ultimate goal for most of the languages I study is to read literature. I've also been watching a video or two a day from Spoken Arabic Simplified (thanks Saim!) which is one of the best Youtube channels I've seen for language learning. I love that the videos are quick and to the point - there are too many others out there that waste 10 minutes introducing a single word or phrase.

I'm also plugging away at Hebrew. Everything other than Arabic and Hebrew is more or less on hold, though this year I might finally start doing Italian, a language I've been telling myself I should study (without doing anything about it) since 2010, if not longer.

voron wrote:I liked Arguelles's Arabic!

His latest video seemed especially vain. He conducts an "interview" in Arabic with an Arabic literature professor, in which Arguelles summarizes the plots of Arabic novels he read in English translation, and adds some very basic superficial elements of literary analysis. The Arabic professor gamely participates, but Arguelles clearly understands very little of what is being said. It's really awkward and reminds me of the other "polyglots" on Youtube who upload videos of themselves memorizing a prepared script that they try to pass off as impromptu speech. Nothing against Arguelles, and he's far from the most egregious example of this phenomenon, but I'm kind of baffled as to why he would make these Arabic videos.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby dEhiN » 2018-12-18, 5:16

eskandar wrote:though this year I might finally start doing Italian, a language I've been telling myself I should study (without doing anything about it) since 2010, if not longer

Why "should"?
My TAC for 2019.

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby Yasna » 2018-12-18, 5:42

eskandar wrote:His latest video seemed especially vain.

Funny you perceived it that way. I thought it was a nice little introduction to some significant Arabic literature that most viewers (myself included) were probably largely unaware of. And it was fun and inspirational to hear the conversation be held in Arabic. For the record, I am allergic to most Youtube "polyglots" as well.

The Arabic professor gamely participates, but Arguelles clearly understands very little of what is being said.

Just wondering, but how did you ascertain that? Based on the subtitles, I got the sense that Arguelles was limited in his ability to respond intelligently to points the Arabic professor was making, but I didn't notice that he was having significant trouble understanding what was being said.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-12-18, 6:32

dEhiN wrote:
eskandar wrote:though this year I might finally start doing Italian, a language I've been telling myself I should study (without doing anything about it) since 2010, if not longer

Why "should"?

In my field, there are some important works written in Italian that I need to read for my research, and given that I can easily read French and Spanish, learning to read Italian shouldn't be difficult. I "should" also (re-)learn to read German someday, but I have no plans to do so in the near future.

Yasna wrote:Funny you perceived it that way. I thought it was a nice little introduction to some significant Arabic literature that most viewers (myself included) were probably largely unaware of. And it was fun and inspirational to hear the conversation be held in Arabic.

If the goal was to introduce Arabic literature, he should have just had the professor speak, or at least did a proper interview where the host asks short, open-ended questions and the guest gives long answers. I think one of the things that annoyed me was that he's got a professor of Arabic literature in the room, and rather than really interviewing him about Arabic literature--something his guest has devoted his life to studying--he uses the guy to make himself look good, when he's an utter dilettante on the subject. Many of his questions sounded like "here is what I think; do you agree that I am smart?" (And the professor was very polite: "yes, yes, you are so smart, that's exactly right.") But to be fair, if you found it informative and inspiring, then it's clearly achieved some purpose.

Just wondering, but how did you ascertain that? Based on the subtitles, I got the sense that Arguelles was limited in his ability to respond intelligently to points the Arabic professor was making, but I didn't notice that he was having significant trouble understanding what was being said.

His English subtitles for the Arabic professor get some parts wrong, and leave some things out entirely, which I imagine were words and phrases he didn't understand well enough to translate. I didn't watch the whole video, but even in the part I watched, I think there was an occasion or two when the professor asked Arguelles a question and Arguelles didn't understand at first, struggled to respond, or his response showed that he didn't really understand the question. Mostly the professor says something and then Arguelles says something unrelated, or says جيد ("good" - and that's not even the right word in the context, where حسناً would be better) and then moves on to a different topic. All of that left me with the impression that he got the gist or broad strokes of what was being said but didn't understand much more than that. But again, maybe I'm being uncharitable here.

One last point, and one that I'm sure you know. Watching someone speak a second language that you don't speak is always very impressive. I was always in awe watching non-natives having conversations in difficult-to-learn languages with seeming ease, and assumed they must know them very well. Then I had an experience that made me see things differently. A friend came to visit me when I was living in Paris and we went out to a restaurant. I ordered food for us, and afterwards my friend told me how impressed she was with my fluent French. I was shocked because I knew how truly terrible my French was. But my accent is fairly decent, and I was able to speak quickly and confidently, so my non-francophone friend had no idea that I had made grammatical mistakes, or that the waiter had asked if I wanted ??? [some word I totally didn't understand] so I'd just said "no thanks" instead of asking him to repeat himself. Bref, to the non-francophone, I seemed like I was totally fluent, whereas to the French-speaking waiter, I probably seemed like an idiot.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby voron » 2018-12-18, 12:39

eskandar wrote:Bref, to the non-francophone, I seemed like I was totally fluent, whereas to the French-speaking waiter, I probably seemed like an idiot.

:D That's so totally true. I also get compliments even on my worst languages from people who don't speak them. (While I'm very self-critical and not happy even with my best languages myself).

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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby Yasna » 2018-12-19, 3:32

eskandar wrote:If the goal was to introduce Arabic literature, he should have just had the professor speak, or at least did a proper interview where the host asks short, open-ended questions and the guest gives long answers. I think one of the things that annoyed me was that he's got a professor of Arabic literature in the room, and rather than really interviewing him about Arabic literature--something his guest has devoted his life to studying--he uses the guy to make himself look good, when he's an utter dilettante on the subject. Many of his questions sounded like "here is what I think; do you agree that I am smart?" (And the professor was very polite: "yes, yes, you are so smart, that's exactly right.") But to be fair, if you found it informative and inspiring, then it's clearly achieved some purpose.

I see your point. I guess I put the rough edges down to Arguelles being an awkward guy in general.

His English subtitles for the Arabic professor get some parts wrong, and leave some things out entirely, which I imagine were words and phrases he didn't understand well enough to translate. I didn't watch the whole video, but even in the part I watched, I think there was an occasion or two when the professor asked Arguelles a question and Arguelles didn't understand at first, struggled to respond, or his response showed that he didn't really understand the question. Mostly the professor says something and then Arguelles says something unrelated, or says جيد ("good" - and that's not even the right word in the context, where حسناً would be better) and then moves on to a different topic. All of that left me with the impression that he got the gist or broad strokes of what was being said but didn't understand much more than that. But again, maybe I'm being uncharitable here.

Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-12-20, 0:07

I bought two readers with Italian short stories. Eventually if I buy enough Italian books, the guilt of amassing these things will eventually force me to start studying...right? :hmm:
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby eskandar » 2018-12-30, 7:39

Finished Pimsleur Hebrew III. I'm just under halfway finished with the Kalila wa Dimna reader in Arabic.

Goals for the coming year

Asian languages

Arabic: though I've recently dabbled a bit in Levantine Arabic, I'll continue my focus on standard Arabic and spend minimal time on colloquial. I just want to continue reading a bit in Arabic, every day or as close to daily as possible.

Hebrew: I have 1625 cards (87% mature) in my Anki deck. My goal is to hit 2000 cards, with a similar level of maturity, by the summer. I'll try to finish Assimil and Colloquial Hebrew, and supplement with Streetwise Hebrew and Duolingo.

Persian: too much a part of my daily life for me to need to make specific plans.

Turkish: mostly on pause. Might do some Duolingo.

Urdu: also mostly on pause, though maybe I'll finish the Urdu reader I have.

European languages

French: dormant.

German: I learned the basics of reading German years ago, but this was a quick 10-week course and since I didn't do anything to retain it afterwards, I've lost it completely. Wie gewonnen, so zerronnen. I'm going to try an experiment with low-commitment, slow learning. I want to work through German for Reading again, very slowly this time, and with the relatively modest goal of only being able to read philology in German. After I finish German for Reading I'm just going to jump into reading the stuff I'm interested in, but also very slowly (maybe even only a sentence or so at a time). I'm not in any rush, and I might even put off German this year entirely, in favor of Italian.

Italian: 2019 will be the year I learn to read Italian. I'll probably start with some Michel Thomas while walking, and maybe take a look at an Italian grammar or two. By May I'd like to be ready to tackle the Italian readers I bought. In July I'll go to Italy and, while I'm not too concerned about speaking, it'd be nice to be able to read stuff. Afterwards I'll aim to begin tackling research materials (late 19th and early 20th century academic stuff in Italian) with a dictionary. Unlike German, I think I can rush through Italian; given that I already know Spanish well and can read French, I don't think it should be too challenging.

Spanish: dormant, though maybe if I plan a Mexico trip for next year I'll do something beforehand to practice.
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Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, others)

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-12-30, 8:17

eskandar wrote:I'm just under halfway finished with the Kalila wa Dimna reader in Arabic.

Good God! I'm still in the middle of the seventh story! :shock: I can't even remember where I left off exactly. :lol: That's what I get for digging myself into every possible study group and translation game (and language, since I also started a new TAC :P) only to find out that my computer has apparently decided to be dysfunctional and I don't really have a proper weekend for two weeks... :para:
I've recently dabbled a bit in Levantine Arabic

Yay!
Persian: too much a part of my daily life for me to need to make specific plans.

Could I ask you for some help with a certain Tajik song, though? :doggy:


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