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Reineke’s movie extravaganza

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 Message 33 of 40
19 February 2016 at 3:15am | IP Logged 
Good to see you after all these years reineke!
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 Message 34 of 40
19 February 2016 at 7:54am | IP Logged 
Hey Luke, good to hear from you! How's everything? How come you did not migrate? You like
orange too?
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 Message 35 of 40
07 March 2016 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
2/21/16 I'm almost finished with the first Torpedo album. In my memory "Torpedo 1936"
has always been a super-cool cult comic. Upon second reading, I have discovered themes
that may not be appreciated by all the readers. I looked up some vocabulary. I was
especially curious :) I have since encountered many of these words while watching

2/28/16 Breaking into a European language without paying attention to what I was doing
was never an issue for me. For at least two of my languages I have always only sought
pretty pictures and pretty sounds, pretty words and then pretty thoughts - language
learning was an afterthought. With others, the first thought I had after coming out of
the textbook stage was: "I can't understand what the heck they're saying". I don't
remember my second thought about the language or language learning after that.

03/07/16 One of the first expressions I heard watching Nación Z an eternity or so ago
was "rueda pinchada". I didn't have to look it up. After some 220 hours of listening I
heard it again. RAE'S CREA lists "pinchar" at 31,329th place and "pinchada" is much
lower than that. I have traveled over 1.2 million words in between.

I am mostly watching cartoons. Last night I was watching Chicho Terremoto, better
known in Italy as Gigi la Trottola. I am currently watching/reading Hugo Pratt's Corto
Maltese (Corto Maltés in Spanish). Comics are good for children and language learners.
I will soon dust off Hermann's Jeremiah and Jodorowsky's Metabarones.

I have moved from "literatura infantil" to "literatura juvenil". In practice this
means there are no more pretty pictures, or they are few and far between. The novels
are under 150 pages long.

Soon I will read Historia de la Literatura Española by Ángel del Rio. It's an easy
read. I picked up a beautiful hardcover version from Amazon for $4. The book has
probably not been touched since 1967. I am not surprised :) Books like these are a
great source of easy, descriptive, essayistic language. I also bought a Spanish-
Spanish dictionary, el Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado and Duden's pictorial dictionary. I
may play with them from time to time.

I am awaiting Basil Hall Chamberlain's Handbook of Colloquial Japanese. I am very
curious how good a job the Harvard bookstore can do with these out-of-print books that
contain funny foreign characters. The rare book editions available on Amazon are often
OCR'd garbage. All these books will contribute to the eventual collapse of my

Language forums have gotten slow and stale. My new, soon-to-be-old log can be found

¡Hasta la vista, chavales!

Edited by reineke on 07 March 2016 at 6:44pm

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 Message 36 of 40
16 February 2017 at 1:19am | IP Logged 
Spanish (continuation)

Those baby books were the last books I read in
Spanish in 2016. However, I continued with TV
6/02/2016 I just learned "loco como una cabra" from
Gatchaman. Yeah, those guys in funny bird suits.

I also wanted to save this:

"In an attempt to summarise all the information
available, John De Jong (personal communication)
recently presented ranges of time required to reach
different levels. The 400 hours for B1 is
optimistic according to his calculations, which
suggests a range from 380 hours (fast learners) to
1386 (slow learners). For C1 the range is from
1,520 hours (fast learners) to 4,490 hours (slow
learners) which neatly straddles Takka’s estimate"
of an average of 3,000 hours. "Taking all of these
factors into account, only the person asking the
question can answer it by logging the progress of
the learners in their context. There is no simple
answer.” The CEFR in practice, p.98-100

C2 = 4600 - 12,000 hours? My freestyle diving into
native material suddenly looks very reasonable.

6/19 I have been watching mostly cartoons and live
TV including things such as the Spanish version of
"Cops," investigative journalism (sometimes
subtitled in Spanish), religious TV, commercials
(not on purpose), a bit of Galician programming,
talk shows, agriculture programming (very short - I
did catch some "bovine" references), soccer.... My
TV watching was pronunciation practice, listening,
reading and listening-while-reading all rolled into

A few observations:

- Don't confuse telenovela-watching or any single
source of entertainment with live TV.
- Don't get intimidated with different regional
- Don't believe the hype: regular people and their
idiosyncrasies are perfectly intelligible after
some live TV watching. If you have trouble
following a simple life story your troubles are
likely due to general listening comprehension
issues OR the person is mixing in elements of a
- Channel surfing is very useful.
- Read in your strongest languages and watch TV in
your weakest language. Always begin with
pronunciation and listening comprehension.
- drop L2 subtitles ASAP, don't use L1 subtitles
In short, I love TV as a language-learning tool.
That's how I learned Italian and German from
scratch and that's how I improved on my other

I am sticking with (in)comprehensible input.

7/5 Slam Dunk (TV series), Stephen King
(audiobook), The Tale of Despereaux (60 pages).
7/6 TV - cartoons
7/7 4 short stories; TV - cartoons
7/8 Live TV - 1990's corruption cases, Mafia,
Intelligence (TV segment)

Update (September 2016) I have started watching
Portuguese TV programs.

Edited by reineke on 16 February 2017 at 2:22am

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 Message 37 of 40
16 February 2017 at 1:23am | IP Logged 
Portuguese through incomprehensible input
Sept. 18, 2016

Portuguesification. What an ugly word.
Nevertheless, I am happy to report that I have
watched 10 hours of Portuguese-language programming
this weekend. That's the most time I've ever spent
on Portuguese. Prior to this, I may have spent a
few hours listening to a Portuguese-language
audiobook in short 5-10 minute bursts. That was
maybe 2 years ago. I have noticed a difference in
my comprehension level between yesterday and today.
I needed the full ten hours and one night of sleep
to be able to make such a claim. I am far from
being able to claim I actually understand Brazilian
Portuguese, but I can now catch entire sentences.
Portuguese is still largely incomprehensible.
Jensen (1989) showed that the Portuguese (speakers)
understand speakers of Spanish to a significantly
higher degree than the other way around. I am still
far from being considered a speaker of Spanish but
I am hopeful that my background in Italian will be
of help too.

Sept. 23, 2016 Portuguese: 20+ hours of TV.

Spanish TV: 500 hours since January. I can now
follow some crazy "fast" stuff in Castilian.

I have also sampled some audiobooks. Feels like a
walk high in the Alps. One moment you're groping
around and the next you can see for miles.
Listening to a passage from Brothers Karamazov was
easier than watching Caillou. A show glorifying
Roman debauchery was easy. Abelha Maja, in European
Portuguese, was incomprehensible several days ago.
Today I was able to follow the story. Maja is still
hard, however.

Sept. 26, 2016 30+ hours of TV.

"Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the
best thing of all is to take the enemy's country
whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not
so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army
entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a
detachment or a company entire than to destroy

2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles
is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence
consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without

The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can
possibly be avoided. The preparation of mantlets,
movable shelters, and various implements of war,
will take up three whole months; and the piling up
of mounds over against the walls will take three
months more."

Sun Tzu (also) said:

"There are three ways in which a ruler can bring
misfortune upon his army:

1. By commanding the army to advance or to retreat,
being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey.

This is called hobbling the army."

In other words, at the very least, learn to
differentiate your front from your rear. Learn the
pronunciation, master some vocabulary and develop
basic listening skills before you start engaging in
other activities.

Portuguese castle:

I estimate that the friendlies outnumber the
enemies 3:1. There are numerous ogres in the
tunnels below (low frequency items), but they come
out rarely and when they do, more often than not,
they're on my side. Half of the remaining enemy
force are potential deserters. The rest can easily
be surrounded and captured once the friendlies
become a cohesive, maneuverable force. The
friendlies' uniforms take a little getting used to,
but I can now easily recognize entire regiments
charging full speed in the heat of battle.

Portuguese subtitles are not available for any of
the programs that interest me at the moment. Maybe
it's a good thing. I didn't look up any words. I
don't own a Portuguese dictionary. I could live
without it, but in order to have the freedom NOT to
use a dictionary, you need to own at least one.

Sept. 30, 2016 TV (Br. Portuguese) 40+ hours

I listened carefully to three different episodes
from the same TV series. In each case I counted 30
consecutive sentences and in each case I fully
understood approximately 28 sentences. When I hit a
hard spot the main reason for a breakdown of
comprehension seems to be the inability to make out
individual syllables. I didn't try to assess
whether I would have been able to understand a
troublesome word/words. I can spot new words and I
have picked up new vocabulary and expressions. I am
able to sink into the content at which time my
ability to make observations is limited.
Recognizing and decoding cognates in real time
leaves no time for thinking (or conscious
recognizing). If the sentence is isolated and I
hear something like "O meu chapéu!" I may snap out
of it and notice the similarity to French. If I
heard "melhor" in a similar situation I am not sure
I'd be comparing it to other languages. I don't
think I can remember when or how I first noticed
most of the words I am now able to comprehend.
Sleeping on previously covered material helps. I am
more likely to analyze and notice if I'm not
particularly interested in the content. The more
vocabulary the better, of course, but decoding and
processing takes precedence.

Oct. 1, 2016 Br. Portuguese is going well.
Regarding Portuguese being an enemy castle... it
turns out I missed the "hotel e churrascaria" sign
in the back. Everything's 50% off. Live and learn.

I can follow detective shows. My comprehension
dropped after I switched to a different show but it
quickly recovered. Today I spent 50 mins watching a
program in European Portuguese. Listening to
European Portuguese feels like I've just started
listening to the language. I got a bit of a
discount compared to where I was when I started
listening to Br. Portuguese, but in order to cash
in that IOU I'll need to spend at least 20-40 hours
listening to European Portuguese.

The idea to start listening to Portuguese was born
while I was watching a football game in Romanian.
I'm tired of being a conformist so I officially
give up calling the game "soccer".

Oct. 19, 2016 According to Kodi, I have spent
around 150 hours on Portuguese-language TV
programming. The first 20-30 hours were almost pure
incomprehensible input and now I have no trouble
understanding detective type TV shows. The best way
I can describe the process is that it's a bit like
turning on the world's slowest defogger. I cannot
routinely string together 30 fully understood
sentences with some material but I am getting
close. I am learning new vocabulary daily. I am
also hearing the newly learned words and
expressions on a daily basis: droga, cara, legal,
Nossa, mandachuva, a gente, ainda, barulho, turma,
tá ligado, tá this, tô that, achar (several
meanings), lembrar... My Oxford Portuguese is still
shrink-wrapped. Cognates remain my no.1 priority.
Not bad for a month's worth of TV watching.

Conscious vs subconscious noticing. Eh, I don't
have time to contemplate what's happening between
my ears.

Nov. 06, 2016

The idea to start listening to Portuguese was born
while I was watching a football game in Romanian.
The game was at first impossible to follow. Before
the game was over, however, I was able to pick up
words, expressions and shorter sentences. Watching
the commercials was very motivating.

"Mastering the vocabulary of most European
languages means simply learning to recognize a
number of old friends under slight disguises, and
making a certain effort to learn a residue of
irrecognizable words, which, however, offer less
difficulty than they otherwise would through being
imbedded in a context of familiar words. The higher
vocabulary of science, art, and abstract thought
hardly requires to be learnt at all; for it so
consists either of Latin and Greek terms common to
most European languages or of translations of

Henry Sweet, The Practical Study of Languages
(1899) .

Portuguese: around 250 hours of TV watching. No
subtitles. I can comfortably understand dubbed


You are still watching a staggering amount of TV
every day Unless you are a millennial. Then you’re
only watching an enormous amount of TV every day.

Nov. 16, 2015 Portuguese-language TV: 300+ hours.
My Portuguese dictionary is still shrink-wrapped.
My listening comprehension keeps improving. The
idea that I would not improve, that I would keep
parsing Portuguese through my knowledge of other
Romance languages and that my knowledge wouldn't
grow because the brain is "happy" with simply
understanding a message and everything superfluous
gets ignored... is a load of theorizing nonsense.
On the other hand I do believe that particles and
word endings do take a fair bit of time to filter
out from the stream of (in)comprehensible audio
input. There's always a chance that the brain isn't
catching everything. Tá Falado, "Brazilian
Portuguese Pronunciation" course is supposedly good
and I should probably check it out. Wireless
headphones are the best language learning tool I've
been able to discover in my quest for improvement.

I will soon start watching "real" Brazilian movies:

I've ordered over a dozen books in Br. Port.
including non-fiction (mostly history) and a couple
of Portuguese classics (Saramago). I'm aware of the
spelling reform since newer books advertise their
compliance with the new rules but I'll be damned if
I pay $50-$90 for popular fiction. Since I'm
shopping the bargain bin my collection is rather
varied and contains books by Umberto Eco, Dan
Brown, Brazilian pulp etc.

Speaking... Brazil is already full of parrots and
while the same can be said for Mexico I have plenty
of practical reasons to practice Spanish.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is alive and well.
Most of the time, however, I am not encountering
obscure words and the a-ha moment is a culmination
of many encounters
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Studies: French

 Message 38 of 40
03 March 2017 at 2:30pm | IP Logged 
What is the Spanish version of "Cops" and where do you watch it? That sounds good.

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Studies: German

 Message 39 of 40
10 March 2017 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
I am not a faithful follower of any show. With
foreign TV programs there's the added difficulty
that it's impossible to subscribe to some channels.

I believe that the show is called Policías en

It's an adult show. You will find some free
episodes on Youtube but be warned that because of
the generic title you may run into all sorts of
inappropriate videos that have nothing to do with
the show.

Categoría:Docu-realities de España
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 6320 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 40 of 40
30 August 2017 at 10:19pm | IP Logged 
Apparently Costco's "web resource guide" that they
are putting into their notebooks includes a link to
Htlal. It does not seem that Costco customers are
using these notebooks for language learning or the
forum concept is played out.

Spanish update: I am stll listening to native
Spanish sources. Lest you think I'm "inputting" for
the sake of getting sufficient exposure to this
language, let me state that I am listening
attentively and with interest.

Edited by reineke on 31 August 2017 at 12:51am

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