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Language Learning Log

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Ok, I've gotten totally out of whack in my studying this past 45-60 days or so. I need to get back on the ball.

A lot of people on the How to Learn Any Language forum have language learning logs, and they're pretty inspiring, so I think I'll go ahead and do one. These journal/diary things always seem to take forever, so I'll just be brief. This is mostly to inspire me to continue studying consistently since it's easy to just slack off for a few weeks. It's painful when there's a hole in your journal.

PLEASE BOTHER ME IN PMS OR SOMETHING IF I'M NOT KEEPING UP.

I decided I'm going to focus on Spanish, Swahili, and Japanese. In roughly this order of priority:

- Spanish

- Swahili

- Japanese

Ideally I need to spend around 20 hours a week doing some kind of language study. I always listen to animenfo.com which is basically anime/j-pop music and occasionally I'll wind down the night by watching an anime episode or 2, I don't usually count that as Japanese study though XD. But hey it all helps.

I don't know crap about Spanish or Swahili, so that's gonna be a lot of grammar learning for several months. With Japanese, recently I've been just studying some subtle grammar, transcribing text, and occasionally following along in an audiobook. Audiobooks are so underrated and underused. They're the secret to increasing your reading speed, especially if you're trying to read non-Roman script.

I wanna learn Spanish ASAP for job opportunities. Texas is quickly becoming Texico (Mexas?). There are opportunities to use Spanish everywhere. I won't have to worry about unemployment if I can converse in Spanish. It will take at least 9-12 months to speak broken Spanish, so better get started now...

I've been studying Spanish for just a week or so now... and my God it's so simple. I'm glad I got this far in Japanese since everything else will seem like a piece of cake now.

Day 1: 1/14/2010

Japanese: Studied "How to tell the difference between japanese particles" and transcribed sentences for 30 minutes. I still don't understand the damn difference between wa and ga...

Spanish: Spent about an hour on studyspanish.com just working through the grammar lessons. I got a 1 month subscription just to try it out.

Swahili: Spent about 30 minutes working on pronunciation/reading @ http://www.glcom.com/swahili/lessons/useful_swahili_words.html

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Posted

Great stuff, Michio. If ever you need any help with the Spanish, just give me a shout. You see, I'm Spanish. On a side note, you'll find that just like American-English and English-English (whatever they are), there are some differences between South American Spanish and Castellano. Happy learning. Quick advice, try to listen to Spanish as much as possible. Work the ear.

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Posted

Great stuff, Michio. If ever you need any help with the Spanish, just give me a shout. You see, I'm Spanish. On a side note, you'll find that just like American-English and English-English (whatever they are), there are some differences between South American Spanish and Castellano. Happy learning. Quick advice, try to listen to Spanish as much as possible. Work the ear.

Thanks. Paulus is Chilean. :D

Eventually I'll write my log in Spanish then we can chat or something.

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Posted (edited)

二日目: el 15 de enero de 2010

(Does anyone know how to put accent marks on letters?)

Espanol: Studied for about 2 hours. I'm really amazed at how easy the grammar is lol. For example using multiple verbs in one sentence is so simple. In Japanese, 2+ verbs in one sentence is a headache. It's mostly because it can be confusing to identify the topic, the subject, the direct/indirect objects, and which particles to use.

I found the difference between esta and es interesting. I went through Spanish long ago in middle school, but of course we never went deep into some subtleties. I can remember that the explanation of esta/es was too simplified.

By the way, I'm confused on the pronunciation of "g". I thought it was silent, but the "g" in inteligente is pronounced with a j-ish sound is it not?

日本語: Emailed my Japanese penpal. Looked over some random stuff from "japanese sentence patterns for effective communication". Did some transcription.

Kiswahili: Just pronunciation again. Swahili speakers talk really fast (I thought Japanese was fast) and it's easy to get tongue-tied. I know a lot of people recommend that you don't spend too much time on pronunciation in the beginning, but personally I want to be able to say the language outloud since it's easier to remember things. I'll probably just continue with pronunciation for a few more days.

Edited by Michio

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Posted

Of course any language grammar, perhaps with the exception of greek or a slavic language (maybe german too), will be easier than asiatic languages!:-)

If you need any advise tell me! I am stil doing german and french (although I have been procrastinating a lot:nono:... watching some nice anime like The girl who leapt through time, re-watching bebop and reading too philo. texts, etc.)).

Cuidate y esfuerzate harto, ya que la perseverancia dara frutos!

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三日目: el 16 de enero de 2010

Had a long day, so I'm too tired to do much. Going to sleep early. Will wake up and do extra in the morning.

Espanol: Spent maybe 50 minutes on grammar. Learned about pronouns as direct objects, and pronouns as indirect objects.

日本語: Emailed 2 of my penpals. Then for maybe 50 minutes, I did transcription/reviewed grammar in japanese sentence patterns for effective communication.

Kiswahili: Did nothing, too tired.

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Posted

(Does anyone know how to put accent marks on letters?)

There's a basic rule of thumb kids learn at school. Firstly, if a word ends in a vowel, n or s, the stress is on the penultimate syllable. If a word ends in anything else the stress is on the last syllable. If the word doesn't follow these two rules, then an accent can be placed on it. Who decides this is the Spanish Academy of Language. Travel about and you'll find folk stressing words different. There are ideas about llanas and agudas etc, but these ideas are after the event. To this extent, I don't think anyone could tell you why a priori a word like espa

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四日目: el 17 de enero de 2010

日本語: 45 mins in the morning. Transcription exercise. Review grammar.

Espanol: 15 mins in the morning. Looked at "gustar" and verbs that act similar to it. Spent another 1 1/2 hr in the evening. I'm quickly skimming over all the grammar lessons. Mostly just trying to get a big picture of what this language feels like. I'm approaching this by viewing the language "from afar". Especially concerning verbs which is the most important thing to learn. Adverbs are easy, you stick -mente to an adjective in the feminine/singular then place it after a verb. Done.

I was introduced to the subjunctive mood today, and I found that fascinating. What's interesting between the subjunctive in Spanish, and Japanese itself... it's almost like the entire Japanese language is in varying degrees of subjunctivity. There isn't really a subjunctive grammar rule in Japanese. It permeates the entire language. This is something I want to look into more. Mind = Blown.

Kiswahili: Began looking at grammar. Swahili is an extremely agglutinative language. It places emphasis on basically attaching a number of prefixes, infixes, and suffixes to a verb, and inflecting the radical. First you start with the verb radical... then this is theoretically the most complex verb form:

pre-prefix + subject prefix + tense marker + object infix + VERB RADICAL + derivation + suffix + post-suffix

wtf

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Posted

(Does anyone know how to put accent marks on letters?)

There's a basic rule of thumb kids learn at school. Firstly, if a word ends in a vowel, n or s, the stress is on the penultimate syllable. If a word ends in anything else the stress is on the last syllable. If the word doesn't follow these two rules, then an accent can be placed on it. Who decides this is the Spanish Academy of Language. Travel about and you'll find folk stressing words different. There are ideas about llanas and agudas etc, but these ideas are after the event. To this extent, I don't think anyone could tell you why a priori a word like espa

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Posted

We should have learning logs for every subject. Maybe sometime that is what our blogs can become :D

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(Does anyone know how to put accent marks on letters?)

There's a basic rule of thumb kids learn at school. Firstly, if a word ends in a vowel, n or s, the stress is on the penultimate syllable. If a word ends in anything else the stress is on the last syllable. If the word doesn't follow these two rules, then an accent can be placed on it. Who decides this is the Spanish Academy of Language. Travel about and you'll find folk stressing words different. There are ideas about llanas and agudas etc, but these ideas are after the event. To this extent, I don't think anyone could tell you why a priori a word like espa

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Posted

I forgot to put an entry before I went to sleep.

五日目: el 18 de enero de 2010

Spanish: Reading about the subjunctive, pretty subtle. The subjunctive and ser/est

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六日目: el 22 de enero de 2010

Missed a few days, I didn't really do anything cuz I'm stressed out at work lol.

Espanol: Made 300 flashcards based on studyspanish.com words. I just went through the beginning lessons and added all the words I didn't know, I'm gonna start going slowly over the grammar, while studying words from those lessons.

日本語: Emailed my penpal. Transcription. I pretty much do transcription every single day, just because Japanese is fun to write and it's gonna take forever to write 2000 characters from memory.

Kiswahili: Attempted to understand nominal classes. I really don't get what they mean by nominal classes, probably because I don't understand what that affects in the end. Essentially Swahili has like 11 "genders", but to talk about them meaningfully, we group nouns into nearly a dozen nominal classes, which are similar to genders.

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七日目: el 28 de enero de 2010

I've been studying a little bit here n there. Shoulda made some entries though.

Espanol: I made 300 flashcards from the studyspanish website. It would be nice if I could just read the example sentences without having to appeal to the translation constantly, so that's why I'm gonna go ahead and study some vocabulary.

日本語: I finally got a proper brush pen, so now I can write characters properly. ^w^ I think the most exciting part of learning Chinese or Japanese is the writing system. People who don't bother to learn to write the orthography are missing out on so much.

Swahili: Casually reading about grammar, trying to get a feel for this language, but I don't feel it coming on yet. It's so foreign, and it's so incredibly agglutinative which is uncomfortable compared to some like English which is highly analytic. So I'm just trying to get a grip on this language and that will probably take a while...

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Posted

Many people understand the importance of learning a second language in the World today but many people also feel they cannot afford the often hefty price tags accompanying premium language courses. Even i have started studying some other languages.

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My advice in keeping costs down is to work on the language at home with a grammar book and exercises - internet has a lot of free stuff - and about once a week pay for an hour and as you get better 90 minute one to one conversation classes. These really aren't too expensive - in the UK and Europe about €15-€20 an hour - and will push you, direct you, and keep you on your toes. If you're learning a modern European language, as your level gets better start buying those graded novels, read them, and re-read them. Listening is important, music, level CDs etc.

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Many people understand the importance of learning a second language in the World today but many people also feel they cannot afford the often hefty price tags accompanying premium language courses. Even i have started studying some other languages.

If you are something of a cynic, anarchist or just plain lazy, you will not mind going to the underworld and download there the premium courses, like I do. :p

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Theoretically, you don't have to spend a dime to learn a language if you're using the internet. Classes are terrible, I dare you to go to the How to Learn Any Language forums and find ONE person that has something good to say about language classes.

Language learning software is usually bad, I would just avoid them. I don't use anything like that (other than Anki, a free flashcard program with many, many features, and it uses the spaced repitition system).

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Posted

This sucks, I'm going to be too busy (and I have been) for the next week or so. I guess I'll start again then.

Still studying a little bit each day though.

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Yesterday I must have studied Japanese for 7 hours since I had nothing else to do.

I'm gonna work on transcribing these short stories: http://moon-reading.seesaa.net/category/3157175-1.html

Then listen along while reading my own hand writing.

Eventually, I have to learn to write 2000 kanji from memory. lol wut. I don't know how many I know right now, a ballpark figure might be 250.

Better get started now, even though I have a friend learning Japanese who refuses to learn to write the orthography...

I really should spend more time on Spanish though. It is hard to pull myself away from nihongo.

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My handwriting is getting better I think.

I have these small notebooks for Japanese children. You write the characters in the boxes (start at the top right, read down) Almost filled up my first notebook:

bjnoT.jpg

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Posted

Wow, that's beautiful, Michio!

Don't beat yourself up too hard over "slacking off" or being busy, eh? Keep at your diary and your studying, don't give up! Even if there is a month between entires, it can still be helpful! And as long as I'm available, I can cheerlead for you! Haha!

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From Shogun by James Clavell. Mariko is introducing Japanese to Blackthorne:

yukimasu

"Japanese is very simple to speak compared with other languages. There are no articles, no 'the', 'a', or 'an'. No verb conjugations or infinitives... Yukimasu means I go, but equally you, he, she, it, we, they go, or will go, or even could have gone. Even plural and singular nouns are the same. Tsuma means wife or wives. Very simple."

"Well, how do you tell the difference between I go, yukimasu, and they went, yukimasu?"

"By inflection, Anjin-san, and tone. Listen: yukimasu--yukimasu."

"But these both sounded exactly the same."

"Ah, Anjin-san, that's because you're thinking in your own language. To understand Japanese you have to think Japanese. Don't forget our language is the language of the infinite. It's all so simple, Anjin-san."

"It's all shit."

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