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German: massive input in Berlin

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 153 of 295
01 August 2014 at 10:33am | IP Logged 
Overall in July I read 1499 pages. I managed to finish two biggish scifi books, the second and third parts of a four book series by Peter Hamilton, and am moving quickly through the final book. It's crazy how after 2000 pages, what was difficult text, with lots of unknown words, is now pretty easy. I think this fits pretty well with my style of learning. Rather than read books that I understand +99% words, I have consistently looked for books were I am closer to 95% and used an ebook reader to bootstrap my understanding up to the level of comfortable readibility. I don't really know if this is more effective that reading simpler books - in part I think it's a question of what motivates you more - but I definitely find that contantly putting myself in a slightly difficult position helpful.

Over the last month I watched 23 films. This is less than I had hoped at the start of the year, and while I am should easily be able to finish the 10000 page challenge I set for myself in January I will be struggling to meet the 400 film challenge for 2014 (though I should easily make 300). The only way I could manage this sort of challenge is to watch more than a film a day, which in good times is doable, but not consistently which is what is needed.

This reinforces an idea I have had for a while regarding study goals that they should be easy enough that you can aim to do about 50%-100% more than the desired amount of study per day, to buffer you from days when you don't have time to study. A sort of long term savings plan. To reach 10000 pages/year I need to read about 27 pages/day, which for me is pretty easy, and generally I now read about 50 pages at least. My 400-film goal for 2014 - a bit more than a film/day - was too ambitious as it's just not realistic for me to see 2 (or even 1.5) films per on a regular basis.

I had a pretty trashy film month, and as before though I only occassionally used Mubi (as opposed to Maxdome) for online streaming, the films I did see with Mubi were consistently more interesting. My dinner with Andre (1981), for instance, is one of my favorites, and was really pleased that I could watch it and really get most of the dialogue as they talked about acting, values of living, the fascism at the heart of the Little Prince etc. I did see one German film: Fenster zum Summer (2011). The plot revolves around the idea of a woman (Nina Hoss) suddenly thrown back six months in time from a high summer romance in Finland to mid-winter in Berlin and the sorts of choices she makes to get back to where she was. The plot didn't grab me so much, but I enjoyed the performances by both Nina Hoss and Mark Waschke, and the cinematography was excellent.



Just as an aside: it's now high summer in Berlin and it's just wonderful to be in this city.





BOOKS

36. Der entfesselte Judas (Die Commonwealth-Saga 3). Peter F. Hamilton. 797 Seiten. Ebook. Slow start, but picked up towards the end. 6/10.

35. Die Boten des Unheils (Commonwealth Saga #2). Peter F. Hamilton. 702 Seiten. Ebook. OK, but I was expecting this to end the series, but now I've discovered that there is yet another book to read in this space opera, which I would like to end and move on to other things. Hamilton could definitely have used a tighter editing of the later books, which were apparently split in the German release. 5/10.

MOVIES

494. Fenster zum Sommer (2011). Mubi. Nina Hoss is great in this. The cinematography was beautiful, but the overall storyline didn't grab me as much I had hoped. 6/10.

493. Boarding Gate (2007). Mubi. 7/10.

492. Gangs of New York (2002). Maxdome. 7/10.

491. 300 (2006). Maxdome. Watched this 14 months ago. A year ago I found the language quite difficult, but now I could follow most of the conversation without difficulty. 8/10.

490. Silent Hill (2006). Maxdome. 4/10.

489. Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001). Maxdome. 8/10.

488. The Recruit (2003). Maxdome. 4/10.

487. London Boulevard (2010). Maxdome. 7/10.

486. My dinner with Andre (1981). Mubi. 8/10.

485. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). Maxdome. 7/10.

484. Young Guns. Maxdome. 6/10.

483. Green Lantern (2011). Maxdome. 5/10.

482. The Way Back (2010). Maxdome. 6/10.

481. Man on Fire (2004). Maxdome. 4/10.

480. Terminator Salvation (2009). Maxdome. 5/10.

479. The Dark Knight (2008). Maxdome. 9/10.

478. Batman Begins (2005). Maxdome. 8/10.

477. Outlander (2008). Maxdome. Scifi meets Vikings. 6/10.

476. Blade Runner (1982). Maxdome. 9/10.

475. The Dreamers (2003). Maxdome. 8/10.

471-474. Falling Skies - Season 3 - 10 Episodes. Maxdome. 6/10.


Edited by patrickwilken on 01 August 2014 at 10:38am

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BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2921 days ago

409 posts - 615 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 
 Message 154 of 295
01 August 2014 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
Isn't it great to see such progress...really fantastic!
Regarding your comments about goals and materials: in one of Anthony Lauder's (fluentczech) videos he talks about the importance of "keep coming back", basically making sure that there's something in the language that you look forward to enough to keep doing daily/frequently, so even if as a stand-alone it might not be regarded by whatever learning experts there are out there as the most efficient/scientific/formal/etc. way to learn the language, just the fact that you keep doing it ensures you get better because you get exposure day-in, day-out. And of course what that "magic something" that keeps you interested can change over time as your language skills improve. That seems to be working quite well for you.

I'm totally envious of you being in Berlin for Summer, and it's always fun to read your updates. Cheers.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 155 of 295
06 August 2014 at 10:53am | IP Logged 
Cool! I watched my 500th film yesterday.

Only another 500 to my next goal, which I'll hopefully reach by the end of 2015. ;)

Edited by patrickwilken on 06 August 2014 at 10:55am

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 156 of 295
14 August 2014 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
If you are at a loss to find something contemporary to read in German, you could do a lot worse that checking out the books on 2014 Long List for the German Book Prize:

http://lovegermanbooks.blogspot.de/2014/08/german-book-prize -longlist-2014.html

Katy Derbyshire, has thoughtfully made direct links from her blog to the publisher's page for each of these books, so you can buy them direct.

Edited by patrickwilken on 14 August 2014 at 4:25pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 157 of 295
01 September 2014 at 11:43am | IP Logged 
This month I managed to read 988 pages read and see 41 films.



I finished the fourth, and final, book in the Commonwealth scifi space-opera series by Peter Hamilton. In the end not a great read, but certainly challenging for my German. I also read, and was very disappointed by, Wladimir Kaminer's Russendisko. Kaminer is something of a local (?) celebrity here in Berlin. He emigrated as a young Russian immediately after the Wall fell to Berlin from Moscow and is famous for running Russian disco events here the city as well as a series of humorous books about the German and the immigrant experience. Russendisko is a series of short (2-3 pages) stories he wrote as a newspaper columnist in the 1990s. Unfortunately the stories neither illuminate the immigrant experience nor the Berlin immediately post-Wall - and ultimately felt pointless and indulgent. I am currently 2/3 through 2312 my Kim Stanley Robinson - a beautiful scifi novel - but one I am having a bit of difficulty with, and I think after this I'll settle for a more straightforward krimi perhaps.

Watched lots of OK movies and series this month. At this point I can watch pretty much any show and enjoy it, but my level of comprehension continues to vary. Mostly I understand most of what is spoken, but every so often I'll watch a movie/show where I have real trouble understanding the speakers. For instance the pirate show, Black Sails, set twenty years before Treasure Island, was really difficult - a lot of this is probably down to nautical/pirate vocabulary, but that can't be the whole story. I think I should try the TV series Mad Men this month as I used to find the language there very difficult and it will prove a useful test for my overall progress.






BOOKS

38. Russendisko. Wladimir Kaminer. 192 Seiten. Ebook. 2/10. Boring and somewhat pointless book of anecdotes of a Russian émigré to Berlin in the 1990s.

37. Die dunkle Festung (Commonwealth Saga #4). Peter F. Hamilton. 796 Seiten. Ebook. 6/10.

MOVIES

536. Groundhog Day (1993). Maxdome. 8/10.

535. Universal Soldier (1992). Maxdome. 6/10.

530-534. Nymphs - Season 1 (2014). Maxdome. 5/10.

529. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Kino. 6/10.

528. The International (2009). Maxdome. 8/10.

527. Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Maxdome. 8/10.

526. No Good Deed (2002). Maxdome. 5/10.

525. Last Action Hero (1993). Maxdome. 3/10.

524. The Fountain (2006). Maxdome. 10/10.

523. Air America (1990). Maxdome. 6/10.

522. Æon Flux (2005). Maxdome. 3€. 9/10.

521. Jumper (2008). Maxdome. 6/10.

520. Julie & Julia (2009). Maxdome. 7/10.

519. Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand (2014). 4€. Maxdome. 7/10.

518. The 6th Day (2000). Maxdome. 7/10.

517. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). 4€. Maxdome. 6/10.

516. Judge Dredd (1995). Maxdome. 5/10.

515. The Sentinel (2006). Maxdome. 4/10.

514. Confidence (2003). Maxdome. 5/10.

510-513. Black Sails - Season 1 - 8 Episodes. Maxdome. 6/10.

505-509. Bitten - Season 1 - 13 Episodes. Maxdome. 6/10.

504. Escape from New York (1981). Maxdome. 8/10

503. Inju: The Beast in the Shadow (2008). Maxdome. 5/10.

502. In Bruges (2008). Maxdome. 8/10.

501. The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). 3€. Maxdome. 9/10.

500. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014). 2€. Maxdome. 4/10.

499. Sahara (2005). Maxdome. 6/10.

498. The Italian Job (2003). Maxdome. 5/10.

497. Pan's Labyrinth (2006). Maxdome. 7/10.

496. As Tears Go By (1988). Mubi. 4/10.

495. Daredevil (2003). Maxdome. 4/10.


Edited by patrickwilken on 01 September 2014 at 11:46am

1 person has voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 158 of 295
23 September 2014 at 3:55pm | IP Logged 
Well this is completely depressing. I found a set of vocabulary tests at the University of Leipzig for different languages (German, English, Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian), which test your knowledge (passive/active) of the 5000 most common words in each language.

As expected in my receptive knowledge of English I score essentially 100% in all levels (2/30 errors at the 2000 word level for some reason, perhaps I misread the question or rushed things).

For German however, I do really quite badly. For the 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 word levels I get: 28/30; 17/30; 20/30; 18/30; 13/30 (didn't finish all the questions for the last so perhaps that would have been a bit higher).

Using the raw scores that suggests a passive vocabulary of 3200 for the first 5000 most frequent words in German.

The tests can be found here: http://www.itt-leipzig.de/static/startseiteeng.html

I'll have to try this test again in six months or so and see how much I have improved.
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daegga
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Austria
lang-8.com/553301
Joined 2820 days ago

1076 posts - 1789 votes 
Speaks: German*, EnglishC2, Swedish, Norwegian
Studies: Danish, French, Finnish, Icelandic

 
 Message 159 of 295
23 September 2014 at 6:31pm | IP Logged 
If you take the scale from the XLex test, this doesn't look bad at all. If it were English,
that would put you at a high B1/low B2. In French it would put you in the C1 area. I think
German should be somewhere in between in terms of vocabulary needed, so it looks like a
solid B2 to me.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 160 of 295
23 September 2014 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
daegga wrote:
If you take the scale from the XLex test, this doesn't look bad at all. If it were English,
that would put you at a high B1/low B2. In French it would put you in the C1 area. I think
German should be somewhere in between in terms of vocabulary needed, so it looks like a
solid B2 to me.


Thanks. According to the test homepage, this puts me below A2, which doesn't make any sense to me.

Can you explain why different languages show different levels? I would have assumed that French, English and German would have all been approximately the same.



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