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German: massive input in Berlin

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ijsn
Diglot
Newbie
Brazil
Joined 2043 days ago

12 posts - 19 votes
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 233 of 295
01 January 2015 at 8:32pm | IP Logged 
Guys, after reading your discussion about e-readers, I was thinking... What
about using Readlang on a tablet? I will try it. I think it will be the same
as using a Kindle, for example. And I disagree when you say that a touchscreen
is bad to get quick translations.
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 234 of 295
02 January 2015 at 1:30pm | IP Logged 
ijsn wrote:
What about using Readlang on a tablet? I will try it. I think it will be the same as using a Kindle, for example. And I disagree when you say that a touchscreen
is bad to get quick translations.


My problem with touchscreen ebooks for language learning are that: the screens are fairly tiny so it's hard to select the word you want to look up; the response time is fairly slow so you are brought out of the book and must wait for the definition to appear; and the word definition obscures the text of the book so you have to dismiss it to keep reading, which again slows down reading. None this is a problem with ebook readers with cursors, which is why I prefer them.

I really like Readlang (thanks for the suggestion!). I think if you had a decent-sized tablet it would work much better than a touch-screen kindle, as it wouldn't have any of the problems I've mentioned either.

I think the reading experience is nicer with e-ink, but perhaps that's just a personal preference.

Edited by patrickwilken on 02 January 2015 at 1:31pm

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 235 of 295
02 January 2015 at 1:33pm | IP Logged 
New Year Resolutions

My goals for 2014 were:

Quote:

    * Read 10000 pages more of German
    * Watch 300 films and TV shows (90 mins TV = 1 movie)
    * Avoid English language media as far as possible: stop reading The Guardian and other English language newspapers, switch to Die Zeit (that will be hard);
    * no more English shows or movies (glad Breaking Bad is finished!).
    * Switch to German with my wife all the time.
    * Not sure what this means to my reading of HTLAL etc, but I'll need to find a way to quarantine my English consumption of the Internet somehow.


I quite pleased that I was able to achieve all the German learning goals I set myself last year: I read 10685 pages (25 books); watched 413 movies (or equivalent); I have cut-out virtually all English language media from my life now, to the point that reading/watching anything other than HTLAL in English feels quite odd; in the later half of 2015 I started reading articles in the die Zeit on a regular basis; and in the last quarter of this year I have finally switched over to German >90% of the time with my wife.

In addition to the above, I have started using Anki for about an hour a day, using Readlang and Firelang to generate cards to build up my passive vocabulary.

At this point I think my German has two main weaknesses: the most obvious is that my output is still weak - I am talking more and more, but my grammar is not great, and have real difficulty writing; more subtly although I can pick-up books and just read them my lack of vocabulary limits me enjoyably reading them without a dictionary (this is especially true for die Zeit).

One (joyful) complication for next year's German learning is that next April I should become a father for the first time, and with it all the complications and distractions and lack of sleep that will bring. At this point I don't think my German is going to be advanced enough in the next 12 months for me to get a professional German-speaking/writing job, so rather than working on my German writing, I am going to make a push to get my receptive skills up to a point where I can easily access German media without a dictionary. The idea being that once I can really comfortably live in German, my skills will quickly advance, and I can focus more carefully on my German weakness (esp. output). The immediate goal (which may stretch into 2016) is to get my comprehension of standard novels to >99%, which would imply a vocabulary of about 13500 words.

My goals for 2015 are a bit more modest than last year:

  • Read 5000 pages in German language novels (this might be too low);
  • Watch 200 films and TV shows (90 mins TV = 1 movie - again perhaps too low, but who knows with the baby);
  • Regularly read die Zeit articles;
  • Regularly start to attend meetings of Der Gruenen or other environmental groups - so read at least 5-10 environmental books in German;
  • Generate 10000 Anki cards using Readlang and Firelang;
  • Switch to German with my wife >95% the time - though may have to speak English with the baby;



Edited by patrickwilken on 02 January 2015 at 1:37pm

6 persons have voted this message useful



Gemuse
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2381 days ago

818 posts - 1189 votes 
Speaks: English
Studies: German

 
 Message 236 of 295
02 January 2015 at 6:11pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:

One (joyful) complication for next year's German learning is that next April I should become a father for the first time,


Congratulations!!!!!



Are you looking to switch from your current job to a German speaking one?
2 persons have voted this message useful



BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2921 days ago

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

 
 Message 237 of 295
02 January 2015 at 6:39pm | IP Logged 
Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
2 persons have voted this message useful



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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 238 of 295
06 January 2015 at 1:28pm | IP Logged 
Readlang update

About a month ago I read the German translation of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Reading the book via Readlang I was easily able to make Anki cards for almost every word I did not know (about 1.25% of the book).

The cards themselves are very simple: the question side is simply the context sentence, with the unknown word bolded; and the answer side is a rough translation of the word.

I initially generated >2400 Anki cards.

Working on the philosophy that I should focus on learning the easiest words, I have been deleting cards that I am not happy about (either too hard, or the translation/sentence isn't clear) and after about five weeks (20 hours) I have finished my first pass through the deck with 2076 cards remaining. I will delete more, but I would be surprised if the deck falls below 1800 cards.

Rather than using the default Anki timings, the initial default relearning time is 7 days, and the minimum interval to re-show forgotten cards is 3 days. I have the suspend function essentially set to infinity, but that's not important, as I am deleting any cards that seem too difficult to learn - I often delete >5% of the cards on their first day as it's obvious they fall towards the harder end of the spectrum.

Because the cards are so simple I am able to comfortably learn about 50 cards/day, which takes about 30 minutes, but half of this time is devoted to double-checking the translations of new cards using one or other online dictionary (Leo, PONS, dict.cc).

I am very pleased with the initial results. I was able to start systematically learning a large percentage of the unknown words from a reasonably large book (>600 pages). Now that I have done the initial pass maintaining the deck will not require a great deal of time (perhaps 10 hours for the next month and progressively less time after that).

I would not make any sense to use this technique on every book I read - I would simply generate too many cards - but doing this for a book every month or two will substantially improve my vocabulary in a painless and simple fashion.

Edited by patrickwilken on 07 January 2015 at 1:02pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 239 of 295
01 February 2015 at 2:24pm | IP Logged 
January 2015

In January I read 1161 pages and watched 66 movies.





While reading the scifi book Roter Mars I realized I was understanding large passages without a dictionary. After about 100 pages I switched over from my PONS German-English dictionary to the Duden German-German pop-up dictionary that comes for free with the Kindle. It feels great not to be switching back into English for unknown words and finally be able to use a proper German dictionary. At this point I am not quite able to comfortably pick up any paperback from a store and read it, but I am definitely getting closer to this goal, which I hopefully will reach sometime this year. I have been also reading a fair bit of the newspaper die Zeit, and adding unknown words to a special die Zeit Anki deck (currently about 1800 cards). I can strongly recommend Die Zeit online for intermediate learners as a fantastic free learning resource, with lots of interesting stories, using a rich vocabulary.

I seem to be watching more and more films. I got sick of crashes on my computer while streaming videos from Maxdome, and switched over to Netflix, which together with Mubi satisfies all possible German viewing needs.

While my reading/listening are improving greatly I still have trouble expressing myself fluently in speech, but I am hoping over the next year my speaking will improve significantly as I become increasingly immersed in German. I find when talking to my wife I often switch to English, and then have to force myself to switch back. I am not sure why this is as otherwise I spend a lot of time in German.

I guess I am now at the point where the spoken/written side of the language is becoming increasingly transparent (B2+/C1-), but my output skills are still lagging someway behind (B1+).


Books

49. Niemalsland. Neil Gaiman. 365 Seiten. Read whole book in German, very occasionally using dictionary. 4/10.

48. Roter Mars. Kim Stanley Robinson. 796 Seiten. I switched over to Duden after a hundred pages, and read the rest of the book with only German. 9/10.


Movies

783. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Netflix. Dubbing/sound quality not so good. 8/10.

782. V for Vendetta (2005). Netflix. 8/10.

781. Seven Psychopaths (2012). Netflix. 3/10.

774-780. Firefly - Season 1 - 14 Episodes. Netflix. 5/10.

773. Kill Bill: Vol 2 (2004). 10/10.

772. Heat (1995). Netflix. 8/10.

771. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003). Netflix. 10/10.

770. Species (1995). Netflix. 5/10.

769. Super (2010). Mubi. 5/10.

764-768. Die Brücke - Season 2 - 10 Episodes. 5/10.

759-763. Hemlock Grove - Season 2 - 10 Episodes. Netflix. 6/10.

754-758. Hemlock Grove - Season 1 - 10 Episodes. Netflix. 6/10.

753. John Carter (2012). Netflix. 5/10.

752. Fight Club (1999). Netflix. 9/10.

751. Only Lovers Left Alive (2014). Netflix. 8/10.

750. Sin City (2005). Netflix. 8/10.

745-749. Marco Polo (2014) - Season 1 - 10 Episodes. Netflix. 6/10.

744. Hitman (2007). Netflix. 5/10.

742-743. The Kingom - Season 2 - 4 Episodes. Mubi. 8/10.

741. Road to Perdition (2002). Netflix. 8/10.

735-740. Deadwood - Season 1 - 12 Episodes (2004). Netflix. 9/10.

734. Training Day (2001). Netflix. 8/10.

733. Unknown (2011). Maxdome. 3/10.

732. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). Netflix. 4/10.

728-731. Penny Dreadful - Season 1 - 8 Episodes (2014). Netflix. 8/10.

727. Push (2009). Netflix. 4/10.

726. American Gangster (2007). Netflix. 8/10.

725. Skyfall (2012). I remember not fully understanding the rat discussion in the middle of the film last time; this time - 600 films, 2 years later - I watched with 99% understanding. Netflix. 7/10.

724. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). Netflix. 10/10.

723. The Avengers (2012). Netflix. 7/10.

722. Colombiana (2011). Netflix. 7/10.

721. Constantine (2005). Netflix. 7/10.

720. Killer Elite (2011). Netflix. 7/10.

719. The Raid 2 (2014). Maxdome crashed often during film - switched to Netflix. 3€. Maxdome. 7/10.

718. The Raid (2012). Maxdome. 8/10.


Edited by patrickwilken on 01 February 2015 at 2:26pm

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 240 of 295
05 February 2015 at 3:31pm | IP Logged 
Today I finished reading my 50th novel in German; Der Spion, der aus der Kälte kam by John le Carré, which I was able to read quite easily without a dictionary. Super!!

I wonder how long the next fifty will take to read.

Edited by patrickwilken on 05 February 2015 at 3:33pm



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