Cebuano and the quest for B2

Discussion in 'Language Learning Logs & Super Challenges' started by Bob, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well I'm bummed that htlal is down. But I haven't really been using it lately. I'm always on the lookout for another method I can try, but really right now I think I'm good at getting to the point where I just have to use a language.

    I've felt a little overwhelmed lately, so I've dropped prety much all my other languages endevors aside from Ceubano. (and a few stragling Goldlists). I started conversing a bit last Thursday, amazingly not getting stuck on my end, and with the help of a correcting freind, the rough corners are being knocked off as I go. That was a long day, and the next day I was exhausted and couldn't seem to get anything going (but this was also true in English, so I don't feel too bad about that).

    I still feel some Spanish interference from time to time. I'm still mixing up wala and dili. In general wala means none, and dili means no/not, but situations keep coming up that the natives cannot explain. I think one of my problems is that I want to use "wala" to mean "not at all" and that seems to be wrong all around. I need to review the proper word order for a question, as I messed that up this morning, and I remeber some special rule about the word ka/you having to be put very early on in the question.

    The exact prefixes to use still get me tripped up. do I use nag-, ni-, ma-, or maka-? I've heard siliamar complaints from learners of Tagalog (There's allot of prefix overlap). I understand the basic differences between these, but some words just don't want to use some of these prefexes. For example the verb kita/see. It seems to always use naka- or maka-. So it also seems with other verbs of perception.

    I haven't kept up on my daily news, but I think at this point, all that does is help me understand the news. Understanding people on a conversational level feels like a different (although releated) task. It's so odd because even on a bad day I hear most the words but can't put them together into complete thoughts.

    Still on target for Goldlisting of hungarian FSI I, and Jonah. When will I get to the actual materials? uncertain. My read through the whole greek Bible goal this year has been forgoten until just now :/
  2. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Bob - welcome to the forum! I just added Hungarian and Cebuano to all the lists, if you ever should need them. Just curious - what made you decide to study Cebuano instead of Tagalog?
  3. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, because I live in Cebu now and I'll be here for a while. You can certainly "get by" with English. But sometimes it just won't work, and sometimes you get completely left out of a conversation if you don't know it. Tagalog is on the back burner because it is still useful, just not nearly as much on a person to person level. There's a similar dialect called Waray that I did some work on just *because* is it so similar, but really, I don't see any practical way to use it and I lost interest. (I did find a newscast in Waray also)

    Sometimes I think I could just ride the local jeeps all day so I can listen to what people say at a close distance.

    edit: I like your classifications for languages. I feel I can put Spanish and Cebuano on their own level without saying "hey I can handle these in any and all situations". It's a little awkward to enter though.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  4. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Hmm I'm still fixing my pronunciation in Cebuano. Most recently it's final "t" at the end of a syllable. A friend of mine kept having me say words that have that in it, and eventually I realized that it's really a soft "th". Playing boggle here is a chore because when someone says "bat" I'm wondering if they said "bath", but little things like this are helping me understand the local English accent as well.
  5. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks, and I agree about the awkwardness. I'll probably eventually get a plug-in that makes it easier. Rebuilding the lists are a nightmare. Oops - I see our languages disappeared. I'll make a quick announcement.
  6. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    hmm today I got to have fun figuring out how to get a driver's licence over here. The first thing that is not obvious is that except for one guard standing outside, no one outside works for that office. They're trying to sell you something, and are counterproductive.

    I was able to ask where can I get a form for a new licence without a headache. and also asked someone how much they paid for a medical test to make sure I didn't get overcharged for that. I've noticed though that I have to use a higher register when speaking to make myself clear. It's kind of hard with a sore throat :/

    I try to keep talking to them in Cebuano, they keep talking to me in English. I find this very annoying. I want to hang a sign around my neck that says "Please just use Cebuano". Today was still kind of a boost though because I know I can talk to someone to figure stuff out. My "conversational" is still lagging, but mainly when I'm trying to understand it.

    On the news front, I've decided once again not to watch the video. My brain get lazy, or worse, trys to figure out how the video and what the guy is saying is related, and gets sidetracked. Because sometimes it's not very related, like they will talk about rising gas prices, and show some buses going down the road.
  7. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well last night our group had some fun, but I spent most of my time trying to understand
    everyone. It's really hard when everyone keeps talking over everyone else.
  8. Bjorn

    Bjorn Active Member VIP member

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    Interesting language you are studying. I have to admit that I had to look up Cebuano on Wikipedia, never heard of it before.
  9. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Yes, It's common inside of the Philippines but not outside. There's something to be said for learning Tagalog first and the Cebuano, because of a severe lack of written & recorded material in Cebuano, and and abundance of material in Tagalog. They are close and some phrases are exactly the same.
  10. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, my reading is well up. I might be able to claim C1 reading. I get about 97% of the words from a newspaper, and really only get bogged down in poetry. No way can I claim B2 listening though. I think I have my moments now and then, but it's not really dependable. In addition to just listening, I think I've gotten some synergy by reading newspapers and finding the words I can't figure out. I can get many of them by context now. There are now some words that I would now if I read them, and when I hear them I recognize them, but I can't remember what they mean orally. Speaking is rough but workable.

    Listening feels like I'm almost at fluent, but then I get better at it, and think, ok I'm really almost fluent now, and the cycle continues. How many layers are there to the onion?
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  11. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Yesterday was quite disappointing because I was starting to understand people I didn't before, and then one guy came in and I understood not one thing. It just sounded like mush. grrr. Today I decided to concentrate on non-vocal shadowing. I did this with the news and only went for about 11 minutes at a time before I needed a break. One thing I noticed was that the newscaster was not the usual guy, and in the past I've had a hard time understanding the fill-in, but not today :) It's kind of amazing how much I understand when only trying to do this.

    But, I think that something I noticed with this shadowing thing it that it doesn't really work well with static filled phone calls or mumblers, because you can't just listen, you have to fill in the holes, and decide if the sound you just heard was, for example, a "p" or a "b", and perhaps this only happens if you can quickly go through the contextual possibilities on the fly. Not 100% on that though. Not sure what strategy to take to conquer the mumbler.

    I remember being in a store the other day, and I was standing right next to customer and representative. I was closer to the customer than the other guy was. There was also allot of noise in the room. I felt like I could barely hear both these people, but they both carried on with what appeared to be no problem whatsoever.
  12. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    What's that?
  13. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Oh, I'm not sure if there's a better word for that (sub-vocalizing?), but shadowing is where you repeat something as you hear it, even while you're hearing more. I do it in my head. It seems like vodoo sometimes. I think this works because you have to stay focused on the sounds to do it. http://languagegeek.net/2009/04/22/shadowing-step-by-step-by-professor-arguelles/

    The last several weeks I just do that when something's hard to understand, but that guy yesterday, all I got was mu mu ma ma man :p
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  14. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Ah, ok. Never heard of anybody doing it silently before. Good luck!
  15. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well I think I've figured out one of my listening problems. It has to do with the letter k. I listened again to that guy from a few days ago, and I didn't understand when he used the word "pagkaon" / food. When he said it again it occurred to me that his k was more of a g, or that throaty jewish h sound. Newscasters don't do this. I noticed the same sound with some other speakers. I recall that tagalog speakers say ok as ohhhhey.

    I've really turned up the news listening the last few days, listening 3 times through the day to the same episode instead of once. I heard about vlad's mass listening methods, and this kind of prodded me to look up words when I recognized them, but couldn't think of what they meant. It seems like I could do this as a substitute to looking up unknown words in a newspaper, which, although slower seems like it would actually be faster when my goal is listening.

    Last night was a boon because I didn't feel completely left out of the Cebuano conversations in the room. I wasn't completely in it though either, because it felt like my understanding kept fading in and out.
  16. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, my allergies have been getting in the way the last week. It affects my speaking and my listening. I've found the best remedies so far to be raw ginger, calamansi, and local honey. I've been told that drinking local honey will get you used to local pollen. I haven't been able to verify this. Another problem for my studies that I recently bought the complete works of HP Lovecraft :p

    I'm starting to think of the bow wave effect and if knowledge that this is happening can help in any way. As I said I listened much more last week than before, and I got a boost to my overall comprehension. The last few days I've felt a big drop. I've felt complete ambiguity when someone talks to me, often getting words confused that start with the same letter. Today I started again, and could listen to the news about 20 minutes before having to break, compared to 11 last week.

    As a side note, I sat down and read 5 chapters of Mathew (a familiar text) in Portuguese with minimal difficulty. and then I tried to read the same chapters in Tagalog, and I had to pull out my English translation. Lexicaly, Tagalog feels farther away from Cebuano than French does from Spanish.
  17. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I think I've come upon a new phenomenon. I mentioned before about the non-vocal shadowing. I picked this up from Iverson's "bloodhound" listening tips, I think this is basically what he describes. In the past I alternated between awesome and abysmal comprehension. Listening to news is pretty good, but right now, in normal conversation I don't get a meaning out of what I hear, but I do usually hear it correctly. This is so weird. Someone just now had to repeat a word like 10 times that I know well. I even repeated it myself, and they repeated it some more before I got it.

    In a different direction, there was some arrested guy that was interviewed on the news, and I could not understand him. I listened several times. I was told by someone else that he speaks like he is from the mountains.
  18. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Do they have hillbillies in Cebu?
  19. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I just asked a native to be sure. On the island of Cebu, yes, it's kind of compareable to that. They also speak a more pure Cebuano and don't code switch all the time. Early on I was taught that one of the past prefixes could be either "mi-" or "ni-" and that they were interchangeable. I used mi- one time and one of the natives kind of laughed and said "don't use that, that sounds mountain"

    Another difference is that in the city, l's between vowels tend to drop out. They do this in the news too. That aspect actualy get easier the further you get away.

    Hmm I was so tired this morning, and my Cebuano was just gone. Someone here was talking to me and I just couldn't get it. It's like I never saw this language before. Then I got some coffee and woke up some more, and my B1(?) Cebuano came back.

    At the end of the day, we watched a Tagalog TV show and for a whole scene I understood it. It was like what?? I think I got lucky with a high number of cognates.
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  20. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, someone finally gave me a good enough idea of what that mountain guy was saying that I can *kind of* make it out. I'm curious to know... I've been actively listening to Cebuano since say, February. I feel that I'm slowly getting better, but I still get confused allot by the accent. I don't feel I have a language barrier, but an accent barrier. When will this pass over? The answers I've gotten so far are "it depends" and "one month"

    Started reading the Greek New Testament again. I don't think I'll hit my goal for that this year. I got bogged down in Luke 13 or so a couple of months ago. I guess it makes sense because it's traditionally written by a scholar. I think it has allot of low frequency words.
  21. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    priceless

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