mercredi 20 janvier 2010

A couple more speaking attempts

My list of notes for things to blog about has been growing, so I may as well flesh them out and get a blog post up.

I've spoken Dutch a couple more times, once buying "De Hobbit" (including asking a clerk where it was), and putting more money on the OV Chipcards. I know I had said after watching Laoshu505000's videos that I wanted to start production early, but I think I'm changing my mind about that. I'll probably continue to parrot out set phrases for some daily tasks, but I'm not going to engage in any real conversation until I'm much more comfortable at the listening stages.

Speaking of listening, I'm up to lesson 35 of Assimil's first wave. I'm starting to be able to get fewer of the individual words (Lesson 26 was a pain), but I can still gloss the meaning. I think I just need to study them more rather than only reading the text 2 or 3 times. Hopefully they will be easier when I need them during the second phase.

Going through Assimil this time seems harder, and it's probably because of all the latent French I had squirreled away. I'm also having trouble differentiating between the many separable verbs: opFOOing, verFOOnen, and such. It's a sign I need to listen to the dialogs more, but also that I need to go back and read what the word is in the first place so I really know what I'm listening for. To bring this back for French, I think I was familiar enough with the language that just hearing the word once or twice was sufficient for me to be able to pick it out correctly from the dialog: less of the sentence structure was totally brand new, so the pieces I needed to listen for were easier to hear.

There are a couple of French developers at work, and I've spoken with him a couple of times. One of the co-founders of my company speaks 14 languages or something, and I had a nice language geek chat. (He was the one who sent me the email in Dutch on my first day.)

I spent my entire commute today listening to "De Hobbit". I'm still missing much to much of the Dutch for it to make any real sense. I had tried doing some LR a bit earlier, but the same problem: even though I know the story quite well, there's just too much new stuff there for me and it's just a tidal wave of gibberish. I'll try again AA (After Assimil :)

Now that I've tried to use Living Language for basics, I noticed a problem with the dialogs. I had noticed it before with French but never though anything of it because of my level at the time. Living Language has the problem that there dialogs very frequently fall into the category of "thin plot around a list of vocabulary." In "French Beyond the Basics", for example, one of the dialogs is a tour guide describing a tour in The Louvre: "First to the antiquities: Oriental, Greek, Egyptian, Etruscan, and Roman. ... Then to the collection of European, African, Asian, Oceanic, and American. ... As you'll see, there are classic and modern paintings: guache, watercolor, oils, as well as etching and engravings." That dialog is particularly bad and I've only given a sample of the some of the more egregious errors, but that book is actually filled with them. In a CD Shop ("What kind of music do you like?"), renting a car ("All our vehicles are equipped with.."), a camera repair shop ("I need "). At least with the intermediate/advanced French lessons I could just skip over them because there wasn't any important vocabulary. The Dutch "Spoken World" course has similarly obnoxious dialogs but tied into important grammar points and I'm supposed to be listening to them because I don't know enough to ignore them yet.

I'm not doing anymore Linguaphone lessons at the moment but I _do_ mean to get back to it. I did enjoy the all-Dutch-all-the-time feel of the dialogs, even the performance was a bit melodramatic.

I watched Laoshu's videos on his FLR system. It's a bit like how MT primes you to make longer complex sentences by getting some of the important conjunctions early on. And I like the idea of prepping yourself with answers to questions native speakers ask learners. I'm still not sure about production so soon without a massive level of exposure, or coming up with your own exercises when you have no native speaker to "check your work" as it were. Although I know understand what he meant by "making your own exerciess" for the TY courses: just make up 10-20 sentences describing made up facts about the participants in the dialogs using grammar and vocab points from the lesson.

Finally, I found some Dutch radio plays with transcripts. The page seems to be a bit slower than some of the audiobooks I have, and they're shorter (30m each). I'll probably start trying to work on one of those in my Copious Free Time to augment the Assimil/TY/LL dialogs I'm listening to back and forth.

In a couple of days we'll probably be in our new apartment which means I'll no longer have the 1 hour commute there and back. I suppose that's good, but I'll need to find another way to get my shadowing in. We're moving right next to a park, so I suppose I can "walk swifly" in a nice outdoor space.

I have another posts of unfinished ideas talking about translation. Not sure when that'll be done yet though.

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