Monday, April 1, 2013

Languages – progress: March 2013

March was so far the best month when it comes to learning foreign languages. It’s not only about the amount of hours spent because this was a bit less than in February but in terms of practicing. I finally found a way to practice what I study. I am sure I don’t have to say how important it is for every language learner who wants to speak and not only to master the grammar. I found a great community on Google+ - it’s called Language Practice Hangouts. It joins people from all around the world who want to practice speaking and volunteers who want to help them. So far I participated in hangouts for Portuguese, Italian, French and Spanish. I hope for more in the coming days…

Time spent


  • Total: 127h05
  • Português: 43h45
  • Français: 32h00
  • Türkçe: 20h40
  • Italiano: 19h40
  • عربي (Egyptian Arabic) 8h40
  • عربي (Egyptian MSA) 2h20

Remarks


 عربي (Arabic - MSA & Egyptian
In March I switched again to MSA, although I dedicated some time to the Egyptian dialect too. I hesitated between the FSI and the DLI courses. In the end I chose the latter because of its more extensive audio material and more everyday vocabulary. Although both focus on diplomatic and military work, the DLI seems to be less “military”.
I studied the first lesson, I did the reading, exercises and audio. Moreover I listened to the audio material of the lessons 2 and 3. They don’t contain any new material for me but the case endings. Some time ago when I started to learn MSA I used “Teach Yourself” book and it doesn’t teach you to use cases saying that nobody uses them nowadays. It mentions so-called “nunation” but doesn’t use it. I guess I’ll need some practice to get used to this.

I wish I had more time for Arabic but for now I guess I must do with several hours a month. Maybe in the second part of the year I’ll slow down with other languages and sit down to study Arabic full-time.
I even enrolled for the Arabic course at Dalarna University in Sweden - lectures are held online. I’m still waiting for the approval.

 Français 
I studied over and over units 16 and 17 of the FSI course which I did last month. It may seem I stuck but it’s not so. Suffice it to say that the unit 17 alone has over 50 pages. I wanted to drill the material especially as it contains conditional, subjunctive and some other grammatical issues like a collocation of the pronouns in the sentence. I also did unit 18 which is a review unit.
I watched France 24 news channel to practice listening comprehension. But what’s most important I finally had an opportunity to practice speaking. The first ever French Practice Hangout was organized on Google+. I’ve already written about my experiences with this kind of practice with Portuguese and Italian. I had also a few occasions to speak French on the hangouts organized ad hoc with some friends I have at Google+. It’s such a fun to be able to chat with people from all around the world, e.g. from Colombia or South Africa. We discuss not only about our daily routines but also about politics, society issues, economy, literature and many other things...

Some useful vocabulary I noted down:
  • Je l’apprendrai par coeur. – I learnt this by heart.
  • Il reprend l’initiative. – He takes an initiative.
  • Je doi m’en aller. – I have to go.
  • Je ne m’intéresse pqs à ce genre de choses. – I’m not interested in this kind of things.


 Italiano 
I finished “La caduta dei giganti” which I read or rather listened to in the form of audiobook. It was not so interesting as other novels by Ken Follett which I had read earlier but it was quite fun and very satisfying to be able to “read” it in Italian.
I watched Rai 24 news broadcast and I participated in several Italian Practice Hangouts. Not much real study in March but I think I’ve learned enough of grammar and I just have to practice to become more fluent.

Some useful vocabulary:
  • sbalordire – to amaze,  to astonish, to be surprisedExample: A quella notizia sbalordì
  • sbalorditivo – amazing, astounding, absurdExample: Prezzo sbalorditivo – staggering price
  • prendere in giro – to tease
  • Il prezzo ha salito alle stelle
  • altrove – elsewhere, somewhere elseExample: Sono diretto altrove
  • É solo questo che conta


 Portuguê
As I already said it’s one of my priorities this year and I really want to become fluent in Portuguese. That’s why I keep up with spending so much time on it. In March I reviewed lessons 59-89 of the Assimil course, noting down some useful vocabulary and grammatical issues I needed to refresh.
I watched some TV programs – several hours in total, especially on RTP International, RTP Informação and Euronews. I also read several articles from the “Notícias Magazine”. What’s most important, as with French and Italian, I had an opportunity to talk – thanks to Portuguese Practice Hangout.

I made my first attempt in writing. I translated from Polish into Portuguese a short text from the website of the town for which I work. It was fun and on the other hand useful. I put it on the Italki site for a correction by a native. I was surprised that I made only three minor errors in the text, two of which were of “stupid” kind such as wrong gender in the adjective. I have to be more careful while practicing writing.

Some useful vocabulary:
  • porém – yet, but, nevertheless
  • prazo – term, period; expiry date; time limit / a curto prazo / a longo prazo – short / long termExample: Eleições presidenciais vão ser convocadas num prazo de 30 dias.
  • parceria – partnership / parceiro, parceira
  • Diz que sente olgulho na postura do clube.
  • arguir – to accuse / arguir de – to accuse of (sth) / kłócić się / arguido – accused
  • Ideias não me faltam
  • Fazia um calor de derreter os untos a um cristão  (difficult to translate, said to stress that it’s extremely hot weather)
  • Morra Marta, morra farta (not to be translated literally, meaning: when one dies, they will die content)
  • Quem me dera ter partido contigo – expresses a wish of doing something which is improbable
  • calcular – to imagineExample: Calcula que cuando cheguei... – Imagine that when I arrived…
  • De essa maneira posso juntar o útil ao agradavél
  • marrão – plodder
  • O que é que isso tem a ver com... – What does it have to do with...
  • faço tenção de fazer... / tenciono fazer... / tenho a intenção de
  • Przykład: Faço tenção de descansar uns dias.
  • *Assim é que é!  (expresses one’s approbation, bravo)
  • *fôlego – breath, (fig.) courage / perder o fôlego
  • *Sei lá! – How could I know!
  • *Que é feito… (de ti, do meu livro) – What happened…
  • *Tenho trabalhado que nem um cão. – I’ve worked my fingers to the bone.
  • *Assim mataria dois coelhos de uma só cajadada. – That way I would kill two birds with one stone.
  • *Não faço ideia de quem estás a falar /  Não faço ideia de quem estejas a falar (subjuntive is used to strengthen what’s being said)


 Türkçe 
I spent more time on Turkish in March than in the previous months of which I’m very glad. It’s still studying and enriching my vocabulary and not practicing but I hope it’s going to change soon and I will pass to more active learning.
I did units 41-45 of the “Colloquial Turkish”. Similarly as with Portuguese, I did my first attempt in writing. I wrote a short text about myself – which can be read here.

This text is also available in Polish
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