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17 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4181 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 1 of 17
20 June 2015 at 9:17pm | IP Logged 
I was in Spain for 9 months and am back in the UK for the summer (nearly 4 months). I want to use this as a
window of opportunity to go back to my passion (German) between now and October.

Goals in order of importance:

1) Reach a B1 standard in German (self-assessed).
2) Have several Skype conversations in German in September.
3) Maintain my Spanish.
4) Maybe try basic Chinese or Greek again if I have time.

I will be staying away from Yiddish this summer to avoid interference with the German.

Tools:

1) German. Main tools = 2 generations of Assimil, Linguaphone, Glossika and hopefully FSI a bit later.
Supplementary programs I will be using on an experimental basis and will mention in the blog.
2) Spanish maintenance. Inspired by James29 I want to try and do a lesson a day of the B1/B2 grammar
book. I also want to listen to the headlines in Spanish on the Democracy Now! Podcast.
3) Mandarin/Greek. I'll list materials if and when I decide to do them. For the moment it's just an idea if I need
a 2-week break from German at some point.

Methods to be detailed in the log.

I will be 3 weeks into the project on Monday and so my first post will cover that 3 weeks.

Hopefully this will prove motivating for me and interesting for others.
2 persons have voted this message useful



James29
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3773 days ago

1265 posts - 2113 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 
 Message 2 of 17
21 June 2015 at 1:27pm | IP Logged 
Where were you in Spain? The thought of living in Spain for a few months makes me quite jealous.

You have certainly given me a lot of motivation and guidance over the years. Hope you have a great summer back in the UK.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4181 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 3 of 17
30 June 2015 at 3:49pm | IP Logged 
James29 wrote:
Where were you in Spain? The thought of living in Spain for a few
months makes me quite jealous.

You have certainly given me a lot of motivation and guidance over the years. Hope you
have a great summer back in the UK.


Hi, James. I got a job teaching English in Madrid for 8 months. Was a very frustrating
time. You'd think my Spanish would be great after that, but it isn't, it is incredibly
hard to break the English-speaking bubble! To judge by the criteria on Wikipedia, I was
a low B2 when I went out and am still a low B2 now, though there was some (slow!)
improvement. :-( :-(

I tried to make sure I got at least half an hour a day, 5 days a week of Spanish
conversation. This is hardly asking a lot, but it was very hard. My job was in English,
my flatmates (once I was able to afford a room, which was only the last 4 months) were
Albanian and all the other teachers I met (not that I got to meet many) were English
speakers. In the end I took to hanging around reception at the company I had been sent
to for as long as I dared, trying to talk to the security guards and receptionists.

I couldn't even study the first 4 months as I was in a hostel due to lack of funds and
was therefore never alone. The second 4 months, once I got a room, I started redoing
the FSI course, I got as far as lesson 30 by the end of May (when the job ended).

Anyway, I hope to go back next October as in the UK I wash dishes for a living (I'm
back washing dishes now) and teaching English is far preferable, though I felt like a
bit of a fraud TBH, not really sure how much the classes helped the students.

So anyway, I'm back in the UK for the summer. If all goes well, I'll return to Spain in
October, so that meant I had a 4-month window to return to my real passion (German),
hence this log.

Edited by Random review on 30 June 2015 at 3:59pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4181 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 4 of 17
30 June 2015 at 3:58pm | IP Logged 
First post of what should hopefully be a weekly log:

I'm one month in now.

German.

Assimil: I have reached lesson 56 of 2 Assimil courses (the new one and the slightly
older "German with ease" one). Each lesson is shadowed twice, 6 days in a row. Not that
intensive, but it's more for revision really. Target is to reach lesson 64 by this time
next week.

Glossika: currently have reached sentence set 14 (out of 20) of the level 1 course
(first of 3 levels). This equates to 700 sentences.

Pimsleur: I wanted to do Level IV but decided to revise Level III first. This, I now
realise, was a massive mistake but FWIW I have reached Lesson 19. Can't wait to start
Level IV, though.

Audiobooks/TV series: watched 2 episodes of The Simpsons and listened to The Magician's
Nephew. I need to do a bit more to reach my targets by the end of September.

Spanish maintenance.

Grammar book: no progress.
Democracy Now podcasts: no progress.

I really need to start doing some Spanish maintenance as a priority...just don't really
want to.

Edited by Random review on 30 June 2015 at 4:03pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4181 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 5 of 17
30 June 2015 at 5:12pm | IP Logged 
I should add that this week I realised something about the German word for
successful. Erfolgreich is obviously formed from Erfolg and reich. Erfolg just
means "success" so the Germans are just using 'reich' as a suffix where we
would use "ful". In standard English we don't really use " rich" as a suffix
but the German makes perfect sense to the English-speaking mind: rich in
success.

The foreign-looking part of the word is 'Erfolg', but then I suddenly realised
that the German word makes perfect sense if you look at the other meaning of
"to succeed" in English: if something succeeds something else, it comes after
it, it follows it! The German word for "to follow" is (of course)
folgen (as so often German has a "g" where we have a "w"). A quick check shows
that the German word for " succeed" is 'folgen' when it means "follow" and
"Erfolg haben" when it means "have success".

So it looks like we took a Latin word and made it English while German just
added the prefix er" to the native word.

The curious thing is how the secondary meaning of achieving a favourable
result can have possibly evolved from the original meaning of coming
next/following on. I tried looking it up in the Online Etymology Dictionary
but (unusually!) it doesn't really explain the connection very well, at least
I didn't understand.

This kind of connection occurs all the time when you study German. It's one of
the main reasons I love German.

Edited by Random review on 30 June 2015 at 5:15pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



iguanamon
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3660 days ago

2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Creole (French)

 
 Message 6 of 17
30 June 2015 at 5:28pm | IP Logged 
Hi Random. How about combining Spanish maintenance with German learning by using some of the free Deutsche Welle Cursos de Alemán with a Spanish base. When you go back to Spain this October, look into volunteering on the weekends for a local charity or NGO. It will get you out in the local community and force you to use your Spanish. It's also a good way to meet Spanish people and break the expat bubble. Community theater groups are always in need of help, for one example.

Nice to see you back posting. Good luck with German this summer!

Edited by iguanamon on 01 July 2015 at 12:40am

2 persons have voted this message useful



James29
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3773 days ago

1265 posts - 2113 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 17
03 July 2015 at 1:27pm | IP Logged 
I always find it interesting to hear about people's trips. I'm never able to travel for more than a week or two. I guess in my dreaming mind the thought of going to Spain for several months sounds like a fairy tale... but, in reality, I understand, Spain is a regular country like everywhere else. I had a bit of the same feeling for a day or two in Ecuador.

I'm sure you know better than I do that at the B2-ish level there is quite a distance to C1. I have been at the B2-ish level for years.

Anyway, keep up the good work and keep us motivated!



2 persons have voted this message useful



Crush
Diglot
Senior Member
ChinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4263 days ago

1622 posts - 2297 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Mandarin, Esperanto, Basque

 
 Message 8 of 17
03 July 2015 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
There's also the wonderful "El alemán sin esfuerzo" which i found in a couple used bookshops in Madrid. The old Spanish Assimil courses all have a yellow hardback cover (at least all the ones i saw: el francés, el alemán, y el inglés sin esfuerzo).

I know what you mean about the English bubble, i spent most of my first year in China speaking only English, it wasn't until i went to the student dorms when studying Mandarin at a university here that i had to use Mandarin daily. I will hopefully be heading back to Madrid at some point, my Spanish has deteriorated quite a bit the past few years from non-use and there are people i would really love to see again there. Maybe our visits will coincide ;) Also, the squats/okupas in Madrid commonly have free workshops, concerts, etc. which can be a neat way to learn something new and meet new people. Dunno if that's your thing.

German was also my passion, i was afraid to start studying German seriously because i thought i'd push all my other languages aside (at the time i had some huge list of 200 languages or something that i planned to master). Needless to say, i've found ever since that i haven't been able to squeeze it in.

I've heard great things about Linguaphone and the old Assimil Without Toil course is absolutely wonderful (by far my favorite Assimil course i've gone through, though the Catalan course, while not as interesting/funny, was also a really great course), but the FSI course was really painful for me. Helpful, but painful. It's the only FSI course i wasn't able to finish (i've done the Spanish, French, and Mandarin courses). After finishing Unit 12 i believe it was i just read all the exercises, dialogs, and grammar notes directly from the book without using the audio. Maybe you'll have better luck with it.

Also, if you decide to pick up Mandarin i'd be happy to help out, it's been my focus for the past 3 and a half years now. I just got an e-mail today saying that Language Transfer will be heading to Greece to work on the new Complete Greek course (which i'm super excited about). If that comes out maybe it'll influence your decision of which language to pick up next (it'll certainly influence mine) ;)

Anyway, glad to see you around these parts again!


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