Mr Callidryas tries to Learn Farsi (among other things)

Discussion in 'Language Learning Logs & Super Challenges' started by Mr A Callidryas, May 6, 2014.

  1. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    Hi Pensulo - I didn't realize I had been gone so long. In answer to your question, I used to meet a fair number of Iranis when I visited Turkey, and as they were generally friendly and fun, I've often thought about learning Farsi. Now, finally, I am getting around to it, but unfortunately there isn't a Persian community where I live.

    Assimil - I am going through the book a second time and am on lesson 22. So far the second run through is very easy, but this particular Assimil goes very slowly until about lesson 40.

    IRIB - This is the Radio Iran site. I copy all the dialogues from the site into a couple of notebooks and then translate them into English so that I can practice away from the computer. There are 164 dialogues, so it has taken a fairly long time, but I think copying them out has sped up the learning process. I now hope to finish this course by the end of April instead of the end of August.

    GLOSS PERSIAN - In fact, I felt so good about how well both Assimil and IRIB are going that I decided to give GLOSS a try. A bit of a reality check! Even at level 1 most of the lessons are quite a bit harder than what I have been doing. The speaking is much faster and there is much more elision between words. And the sound quality isn't always very good.

    GLOSS ARABIC - So........ I decided to try the standard Arabic lessons. In contrast to the Persian, the speaking in level 1 is very slow. I don't really have time for this, but have decided to dust off my rudimentary Arabic and study level 1. It's not too difficult and is full of good vocabulary. If I can find time, it would be nice to work through all the levels, but there are 480+ lessons, so it will take a long time iif II keep with it - and that is just standard Arabic - there are several hundred more lessons in various dialects.
  2. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    Well, I have taken about a three week break from Farsi since my last posting, but I started up again yesterday. The break was sorely needed as I was getting stale. This means, of course, that there isn't much to say about Farsi. However, I did see Bjorn's posting about Glossika, so I checked out their website and pre-ordered the Farsi course. I like sentence mining in general, and as it is not that easy to find Farsi audio with a transcript, this looks good (or rather I should say it looks a bit boring but effective). Anyway, thanks to Bjorn for the heads up.

    As there isn't much to say about Farsi, I will digress. For some time I have been thinking about upgrading my receptive skills in Turkish, so that is what has been happening the last three weeks. Here is a quick review of the sources I'm using.

    http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu/culturetalk/turkey/
    This is a site with lots of unscripted MP4 monologues/dialogues in a number of languages. The Turkish videos range from B1 to high B2. A few of the speakers are ridiculously fast, a few use very colloquial Turkish, and a few of the speakers do not have voices that are easy/pleasant to listen to. This has been a challenge, but it is definitely helping. It is a bit like eaves dropping on real conversations.

    http://www.dw.de/multimedya/tüm-medya-içeriği/s-100881
    This is the Deutsche Welle site's Turkish section. I have known about the site for several months and have been downloading stuff from it, but just started using the downloaded material two weeks ago. These are either a review of the day's headlines or a short clip on a topic in the news. Most are 3-4 minutes long, fairly interesting and with very good sound quality, When I first started downloading, many of the audio clips had a transcript on the same page. That is no longer true. If you are interested, this is what you have to do now. Open the link above in two windows. Click a video that looks interesting, and make sure you can download it (look on the right hand side of the page for 'indir'). If you can download it, copy the name of the title and use the second window to paste the title in the search box (arama MULTIMEDYA). If there is a transcript, you can copy and paste iy into Windows and you are ready to go.

    The DW site has clips in 30 languages, but for some reason, only Turkish seems to have transcripts that match the audio clips.

    I'll post an update on my progress in a few months.
  3. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    One of my biggest problems is learning new vocabulary. I have never used Anki, but I have used word lists and handmade flashcards. Unfortunately, unless the number of words remains low, I tend to fall into a bit of a trance, barely paying attention to what I am doing. When the number of review cards really starts building up, I avoid vocabulary work altogether.

    On the other hand, for some reason I find it much easier to concentrate on flashcards that have sentences rather than words or expressions. However, there is still the problem of how to cope with all the cards in the review stacks. I have no desire to go through hundreds of cards every day. So, for some time now I have been trying a new method of organizing the cards. It is nothing particularly creative or revolutionary. but it works for me.

    At the moment I am working through the Farsi version of book2 (A1/A2).
    http://www.goethe-verlag.com/book2/EN/ENFA/ENFA002.HTM
    1 Each lesson has 18 sentences, so I learn 9 sentences a day, making flashcards for 5 to 9 of them.
    2 I have one stack of recent sentences that I review every day. This stack has about 100 cards.
    3 Once the original stack reached 100 cards, I started removing a card for each new card I added.
    4 These removed cards went into 6 new stacks labeled Monday through Saturday, the labels indicating which days they were to be reviewed. Each of these 6 new stacks has about 20 - 25 cards
    5 Cards do not move from one review stack to another. Once the Monday stack was full, I started a Tuesday stack, then a Wednesday stack, and so on.
    6 Once the 6 review stacks (Monday to Saturday) were full with about 25 cards each, I started a Sunday stack of all the sentences that I removed from the review stacks. I let the Sunday stack build up to any number of cards, but to be honest. most cards don't stay in this stack for long.
    7 Once cards are removed from the Sunday stack, they go to stack that I intend to review once every two months, keeping only cards that I can't recall immediately.

    So initially sentences are reviewed every day, for anywhere from 7 to 10 days. They then move to review stacks where they are reviewed once a week for 2 or 3 weeks, and then move to a final stack where they are reviewed after about two months. Most of the cards in this final stack get thrown out almost immediately, but 2 or 3 percent go back to the initial stack because they haven't become automatic yet. So far this seems to be working well, and I am not overwhelmed by a huge number of cards.
  4. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    337
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    Cebuano, Greek_ancient, Spanish
    Basic Languages:
    Filipino, French, Hebrew_clasical, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian
    About vocab:
    I think that no matter what you do, you will never "fluently" understand vocab without lots of reading and/or listening. So keep doing vocab studies but don't worry about quick results. And by all means, when you go into that trance, it's either time for some coffee, or time to do something else :p
    Big_Dog likes this.
  5. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    FARSI
    Not too much to say, except that it's moving along slowly and steadily. I'm just building a foundation.

    Assimil - I'm doing this a second time and am a bit more than halfway through. It is much easier the second time. I'll probably do the last 25 lessons a third time in an attempt to make everything in the book as automatic as possible. Then it's back to the John Mace 'Teach Yourself' book, which I ditched because of a lack of time (and because it doesn't have audio - my focus is really on listening and vocabulary right now).

    IRIB - Up to lesson 95 now (only 70 more to go). Sometimes this seems never ending, but it's great to have a source with so much listening material at a low level. I do a fair amount of review and the first 40 or so lessons are very clear now.
    http://french.irib.ir/programmes/art-et-litterature/persan-sans-peine

    Book2 - This is a good source too, but it is going very slowly as there isn't always times for it.
    http://www.goethe-verlag.com/book2/EN/ENFA/ENFA002.HTM

    Have done a good job of being patient and going slowly, but I can hardly wait to start something more ambitious.

    MODERN STANDARD ARABIC
    I should have a fair amount of time up through next August, so I'm making a push with Arabic. The focus is on receptive skills - reading, vocab, and especially listening. So far it has been great as I've found two sites that are a perfect level - which for me means making fairly good progress without working too hard.

    GLOSS - I hope to finish levels 1 and 1+ by the end of August. There are 120 lessons, but I've finished about 35, so August should be a realistic goal. The focus here is entirely on listening and vocabulary. Some of the older recordings are pretty horrible - extremely slow and halting, but the newer ones are very good as they are a decent speed with good sound quality. The slow ones are actually harder to understand than the faster ones, probably because they are harder to concentrate on.
    https://gloss.dliflc.edu/

    Read Arabic - This site has 51 short dialogues/monologues, again all at levels 1 and 1+. A few of the monologues are spoken in a monotone, but in general the recordings are good and there is a nice variety of topics. Again my focus is entirely on listening and vocabulary. I hope to finish this by April or May.
    http://readarabic.nflc.org/?lang_id=1&lev_id=2&page=0

    Readlang - I like this site a lot. I have been pasting the texts from the other sites here as this site makes flashcards really efficiently.
    http://readlang.com/ar/library

    As with Farsi, my pace is very slow here. The goal is to reach C1 in two years - maybe unrealistic, but my goal nonetheless.
  6. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    I've never made a New Year's resolution, but I think it's time to establish some concrete goals. 2015 will be the year of actually trying to get somewhere with French. So, here goes:

    Reading and vocabulary: Memorizing vocabulary has always been a problem, but in the last month something (I don't know what) has happened, and suddenly it is much easier (in all the languages). Reading on the other hand isn't a big problem, but lack of vocabulary has held me back. The goal for this year is to learn 4000 news words/expressions and to move reading into a solid C2 level. For now, I am reading articles from Courrier International http://www.courrierinternational.com/ and then pasting them into Readlang http://readlang.com/learn to practice new vocab. I had wanted to read some novels this year, but the articles in Courrier International run 400-700 words, and I think some concentrated reading will be more efficient.

    Listening and vocabulary: The plan is to listen to the news on BFMTV http://www.bfmtv.com/mediaplayer/live-video/ or France24 http://www.france24.com/fr/ most evenings, in addition to a couple of documentaries each week. Again, this is already relatively easy except for certain bits of vocabulary. What I really need is some serious practice with native conversation - when it comes to watching French language films I am completely useless. Thanks to Marine here at polydog.org I can start by watching some episodes of Kaamelott. Any other suggestions? If I can make a breakthrough in listening to conversational French, maybe I can reach a solid C1 level this year.

    Grammar: With any luck 'Advanced French Grammar' and 'French Verb Tenses' from the Practice Makes Perfect series will fill in most the gaps in grammar. To be honest, the real problem here has been laziness.

    Writing: The goal is to be able to write at a solid B2 level. Perhaps doing some dictations and summarizing articles will speed things up.

    Speaking: Hard to say what level I am as I have never actually spoken to anyone - I originally started learning French so I could use some decent materials for Turkish, but then I got hooked. Maybe I will finally start using italki and speak with someone other than myself. I wonder if something like italki is what is really needed to make a breakthrough in listening. The goal here is to actually speak to someone.

    Life has a way of getting in the way of goals and plans, but here's hoping that I can look back in a year and see that all the goals have been reached.
    Marine and Big_Dog like this.
  7. Marine

    Marine Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Messages:
    88
    Native Language:
    French
    Intermediate Languages:
    English
    Basic Languages:
    Russian
    I'm glad if Kaamelott can help you a little :)
    I don't know want kind of serie I can suggest you (I don't know what you like) but here you can watch a lot in VF : http://www.dpstream.net/ (a good debrideur : http://www.debrideurstreaming.com/).
    Of course I often think that the original/english version is better because the french voice is very far from the original. But there are not a lot of good French series ^^
    Mr A Callidryas likes this.
  8. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    Not much to say really, but when has that ever stopped anyone from saying something anyway?

    French is going well, with a bit of something different each evening. I am especially enjoying using Readlang http://readlang.com/fr/library for reading and flashcards. The definitions are provided by Google Translate, so a bit of fine tuning is involved, but it is still much quicker than using a dictionary and making all the flashcards on your own. Importing all the articles from Courrier International http://www.courrierinternational.com/ was starting to get boring, so I have started importing from Slate http://www.slate.fr/ and Science et Vie http://www.science-et-vie.com/ as well. I am also really enjoying the Kaamelott episodes provided by Marine here at polydog, but I have to say they are pretty challenging -luckily they are also short, but it's a waste of time doing them if I am feeling tired or distracted. (You can find links in her thread in Language Resources).

    This thread was originally a log about learning Farsi. I am still plodding along, but Farsi has taken a bit of a back seat at the moment. However, if you are new to Farsi, there is a very good site called Persian on Line. http://persianlanguageonline.com/ I had used their Absolute Beginner section some months ago, but when that came to an end, there was nothing else - the other sections were still under construction. The beginner section is now up and running and is very good - much better than anything on the internet except for IRIB. http://french.irib.ir/programmes/art-et-litterature/persan-sans-peine . I am looking forward to the intermediate and advanced sections.
    Big_Dog likes this.
  9. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    Time for an update.

    FRENCH
    Listening - this is my main focus at the moment. The Kaamelott episodes seem to be helping quite a bit. I don't yet know how well this will carry over to other films/series in the short term, but I should be an expert at Kaamelott before long. Have also found another site that is helping quite a bit - Easy French https://www.youtube.com/user/magauchsein

    Here is something that I find frustrating about the internet with regard to language learning. There are thousands of interesting and engaging films/series/documentaries in just about every major language, but most have either no subtitles or subtitles that are really not very accurate at all. There are also lots of blogs, podcasts and language teaching sites that have accurate subtitles/transcripts, but unfortunately have content that is only marginally interesting.

    It seems to me that if you are at a B1/B2 level, and you want to improve your listening quickly and efficiently, what you really need is something that: a) has accurate subtitles/transcript to let you check anything that is new or unclear to you, and b) has been written with the primary purpose of drawing you in emotionally. The longer I work at trying to learn languages, the more I am convinced that by the time you reach B1 the emotional impact of learning materials is essential for (relatively) quick results. When you are emotionally involved, your brain is fully engaged on several levels, and you learn faster and more deeply. If the material is not intrinsically interesting and engaging......well I for one tend to tune out after one or two listens, when what I really need to be doing is stay so engaged that I can happily listen/watch ad nauseum until I have understood everything.

    There are so many language learning listening sites that try to be clever when all they really need to do is provide a few films with accurate subtitles. So, kudos to Marine and Big Dog for what they are doing on this site with French and Russian.

    READING
    Here are some sites that are easy to copy and paste if you want to run your reading through an online translator or just print the articles:
    http://www.science-et-vie.com/
    http://www.scienceshumaines.com/_anthropologie
    http://www.courrierinternational.com/
    http://selection.readersdigest.ca/

    Here are two that I like but that you have to read online/can't copy and paste:
    http://www.histoire-pour-tous.fr/
    http://www.nexus.fr/actualite/

    And here is one that I like but that is a pain to use:
    http://www.slate.fr/

    Any other suggestions would be welcome.
    Big_Dog likes this.
  10. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    ARABIC
    Have finally moved into the B1 material on the GLOSS site. https://gloss.dliflc.edu/ Overall, the quality of the recordings is more consistent at this level than at the A2 level - no more audio that is so slow that it is hard to concentrate on. Some of the lessons were written for the course, and although they sometimes have a high vocab load, they are fairly easy. Other lessons are based on native materials , and the listening is much denser and more challenging. Listening in general seems to be getting easier - it is not as tiring as it used to be. I seem to have learned how to just go with the flow but to stay alert at the same time. Part of the trick seems to be not to stumble when something is unclear, but just to keep moving forward, staying half a beat ahead of the speaker (if that makes any sense). I guess that means to immediately let go of anything that was unclear, and to keep anticipating what is coming next. Of course, I also do a lot of intensive listening. replaying and replaying anything that was unclear. At first, this was tedious (well actually it still is). but it really pays off.

    Have also been spending 5-15 minutes a day listening to these two sites:
    Euronews http://arabic.euronews.com/news/bulletin/
    TRT Arabic http://www.trt.net.tr/Anasayfa/canli.aspx?y=tv&k=trtarapca
    This is strictly extensive listening - no studying or vocabulary work involved.

    For the moment, the routine is to mostly read only those texts that have already been listened to. I tend to subvocalize when reading Arabic, and as most texts are not vowelled, reading texts full of new words can lead to some bad pronunciation habits. For extensive reading, I am just scanning articles, picking out language that is familiar.

    Hope to finish the GLOSS B1 lessons by the end of May and then move into the B2 materials. There are about 270 B2 lessons, so they should take a long time to work through, at least a year at the current pace. The goal is to be a high B2 by the end of this year. Mind you, I am only talking about vocabulary. listening and reading. Then, later, I hope to work more actively with grammar, writing and speaking and slowly try to break into a C1 level.

    It's probably a bit silly to be working on four languages at once, but during 2015 I'm only working on productive skills in French, while trying to build up a strong receptive base in Arabic and Turkish, and a foundation in Farsi. With a bit of luck, by the end of this year French will be in good enough shape (low C1, said Dr Pangloss blithely) that I won't need to study it much and can start focusing on active skills in Turkish. Arabic will have to wait until 2017
  11. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,039
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    French, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, Thai
    Basic Languages:
    Korean
    Are you Daniel Dowlas? Anyway, I used to entertain thoughts of doing a hard pull in French, but I've noticed that it's very slowly improving on this weak maintenance schedule I have it on, so no need. My Mandarin has by far the biggest need in my multi-language nightmare.
    Mr A Callidryas likes this.
  12. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    FRENCH
    I set out some goals in January, and now a quarter of the way through the year it already looks like I won't meet all of them, especially my vocabulary goals.

    Listening, on the other hand, is going well. Lots of documentaries and news, the Kaamelott episodes (thanks for the latest one Marine). I've started watching Caillou episodes on youtube every now and then - they are very motivating because if I listen carefully, I can understand every word. I am also watching the 7jours clips from this site: http://enseigner.tv5monde.com/
    And I am still using the videos from EasyLanguage on youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA5UIoabheFMYWWnGFFxl8_nvVZWZSykc Eventually, if it keeps growing, this site could rival GLOSS in terms of usefulness.

    TURKISH
    Have been writing some very short entries on Lang-8 - very motivating because there are so many Turkish speakers on the site, some of them with a very good level of English, which means that it is interesting to correct their entries.

    Have found a good youtube channel for listening. It is called Turkish Subtitles and has a number of short clips of Turkish TV series with accurate subtitles in Turkish (as well as Arabic). In fact I think it is because Turkish TV and cinema has become so popular in the Middle East that youtube channels like this one are starting to pop up: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy1VjiIKQ6td_Y8xny1BFtw/playlists
    Another one to try is this one - a somewhat sappy cartoon called Firildak Ailesi (think The Simpsons) with English subtitles:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/grafi2000/playlist
    Marine likes this.
  13. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    FRENCH
    Writing and grammar are progressing slowly but surely. Listening is beginning to get a bit frustrating. Every now and then I watch an episode of something like 'Faites entrer l'accuse' and while the narrators are almost always easy to understand, I still have trouble understanding about half the people being interviewed. Just keep working at it I guess.

    FARSI
    Just doing review for now, using the DLI course. Overall a good course although a few of the sentences are a bit hard to read.

    ARABIC
    Mostly doing listening at the moment, trying to find interesting things on youtube. For anyone interested, these sources are fun:


    This page has some read-along stories with good audio quality

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxWuIKbqjv7sQMEA1JoKM7Q
    Twenty-episode cartoon series of the Kurdish warrior Salahaddin, with accurate subtitles in Arabic.

    TURKISH
    Still working with the video clips on the youtube site called "Turkish Subtitles".
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy1VjiIKQ6td_Y8xny1BFtw/playlists
  14. Mr A Callidryas

    Mr A Callidryas Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    44
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    French
    Basic Languages:
    Persian
    Arabic

    Lots of complications in my life the last few months, so there hasn't been much time for languages, but here is an excellent site for learning Arabic vocabulary. It's actually a medical information site for the public along the lines of WebMD or the Mayo Clinic site. The audio is relatively slow, very clear, and accompanied by transcripts. You would need to use a dictionary or something like Google translate with the site, but depending on your level, you could probably earn at least 2000 words with the site (2000 in addition to strictly medical terms). Very strong or persistent late beginners might find he site useful, but because of the vocab load it is really best for intermediate. There is enough here to keep a low intermediate learner busy for months:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/MufasserAlTobb/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=1

    Have found a few more good Youtube sites, so I might start a thread for them in a month or so.

Share This Page