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TAC 2014 - vijayjohn - UniLang

TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

This forum is for the Total Annihilation Challenge. See the sticky thread for more information.

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TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-13, 8:49

All righty! I'm finally starting one of these threads! And not a moment too soon, either. We're more than halfway through the year, and I've already been here more than a year and a half...so I'm a late bloomer here. Hopefully it's not a problem that I'm starting this here.

I'd write more right now, but it's almost 4 in the morning, so I better go to sleep! :blush: :lol:

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-13, 20:39

I've been trying to make the variety of languages I study as diverse as possible, even though resources for most languages (especially those spoken outside Eurasia) tend to be limited at best and most of the languages I've been studying throughout my life are (not surprisingly) Eurasian. So here are the languages I've been studying.

The Eurasian ones include various Indo-European languages:
3 Romance (French, Portuguese, Spanish) + Latin
1 Germanic (German; not counting English here :P)
2 Slavic (Russian, BCS)
1 Indo-Aryan (Hindi/Urdu)

The other four Eurasian languages are Malayalam (which belongs to the Dravidian language family), Turkish (Turkic), Mandarin Chinese (Sino-Tibetan), and Thai (Tai-Kadai).

I've also been doing seven non-Eurasian languages:
1 Bantu (Swahili)
1 (possibly) Trans-New Guinea (Oirata)
1 Alor-Pantar (Teiwa)
1 Quechuan (Cuzco Quechua)
1 Araucanian (Mapudungun)
1 Algonquian (Lnuismk a.k.a. "Micmac")
1 mixed language (Michif)

I guess technically, I've also (occasionally) been doing a few creoles that aren't Eurasian, i.e. mainly Krio (from Sierra Leone) and Australian Kriol, but with 1-2 posts each regarding Sranan Tongo and Jamaican Creole, too. However, all four of these get most of their vocabulary from English, AFAICT, and their syntax tends to be nothing too complicated, so I'm not counting them. (I haven't been doing them regularly anyway).

I just started Dinka as well and am about to start American Sign Language (ASL). In addition, I think I will start Tagalog, Indonesian/Malay, and an Australian language (probably Warlpiri), but I want to start learning Light Warlpiri before I get into Warlpiri, too (and Australian Kriol before that). I'm also toying with the idea of learning a Semitic language or two, with the prime candidates being Syrian Arabic and Amharic since I'd already started learning both of these years ago. (Hebrew is also a good candidate, though not quite as strong as the other two because I don't think I've ever seen anybody speak it before).

So. Here's what I'm thinking of doing. I'll start out by going through the languages that are left on my list this time around, in order as usual:

ASL
Mandarin Chinese
Thai
Tagalog
Indonesian/Malay
Oirata
Teiwa
(perhaps Australian Kriol, followed by Light Warlpiri)
Quechua
Mapudungun
Lnuismk
Michif

And then, after that, I'll just make a checklist of all the languages I want to go through, but go through them in any order I please. I might even include Krio and Australian Kriol in that list. Come to think of it, maybe I'll even start posting in the English forum, because I'm really curious about dialect variation in English; it can be very interesting sometimes, and it's very relevant to the history of English-based creoles. (Speaking of creoles, I wish I knew how to find out more about the history of creoles that aren't based on English!).

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-14, 4:21

Welcome to TAC! And I think it's awesome that you're doing so many langs!

vijayjohn wrote:So. Here's what I'm thinking of doing. I'll start out by going through the languages that are left on my list this time around, in order as usual:

ASL
Mandarin Chinese
Thai
Tagalog
Indonesian/Malay
Oirata
Teiwa
(perhaps Australian Kriol, followed by Light Warlpiri)
Quechua
Mapudungun
Lnuismk
Michif

And then, after that, I'll just make a checklist of all the languages I want to go through, but go through them in any order I please. I might even include Krio and Australian Kriol in that list.

How long will you spend on each lang? What do you consider going through? For example, will you focus on ASL for like a week, then Mandarin, etc. Or do one per day? Or even do one until you're at A2 or something and then start the next?


And what about the languages you've been currently studying:
The Eurasian ones include various Indo-European languages:
3 Romance (French, Portuguese, Spanish) + Latin
1 Germanic (German; not counting English here :P)
2 Slavic (Russian, BCS)
1 Indo-Aryan (Hindi/Urdu)

The other four Eurasian languages are Malayalam (which belongs to the Dravidian language family), Turkish (Turkic), Mandarin Chinese (Sino-Tibetan), and Thai (Tai-Kadai).

Are you just going to maintain them by posting on a rotating schedule on UL. Or are you planning to work on advancing in some or all of them? If so, how?
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-14, 17:05

dEhiN wrote:Welcome to TAC! And I think it's awesome that you're doing so many langs!

Thanks! :D

How long will you spend on each lang? What do you consider going through? For example, will you focus on ASL for like a week, then Mandarin, etc. Or do one per day? Or even do one until you're at A2 or something and then start the next?

So generally, the way I go about doing this is to go to the forum corresponding to each language, then post once (I seem to be awfully adverse to double posting...) in as many threads as I think I can post in. Invariably, that includes TPAM and the translation game (as well as word association games, although I've never participated in any of these three games for any non-Eurasian languages other than Swahili), but often, there are other threads where I feel I can participate as well. This time around, I also tried to post at least one song in the songs thread for each language. :lol:

As a result, I guess I generally do about one language a day on average.

And what about the languages you've been currently studying:
The Eurasian ones include various Indo-European languages:
3 Romance (French, Portuguese, Spanish) + Latin
1 Germanic (German; not counting English here :P)
2 Slavic (Russian, BCS)
1 Indo-Aryan (Hindi/Urdu)

The other four Eurasian languages are Malayalam (which belongs to the Dravidian language family), Turkish (Turkic), Mandarin Chinese (Sino-Tibetan), and Thai (Tai-Kadai).

Are you just going to maintain them by posting on a rotating schedule on UL. Or are you planning to work on advancing in some or all of them? If so, how?

Well, I am planning to post on a rotating schedule on UL as I've been doing, but in the process, I try to work on advancing in them. Probably the one language where I'm most serious about doing this is French, TBH; I'm basically going through this second-year French textbook, trying to find vocabulary that I don't recognize, and finding ways to use that when posting in French. I try to do something similar in the other languages, too, but not as much. (It can be pretty hard for me to do that in Spanish. English is less foreign to me than any other language, obviously, but Spanish probably feels less foreign to me than any of the others, even Malayalam! Down here, I feel you really don't even have to try to find opportunities to practice your Spanish every now and then. You'll get them whether you like it or not :twisted:).

Another thing I try to do (in all of these languages) is to take note of the mistakes I've made in the past (on UL itself) and then make sentences that use the constructions I messed up on. That way, I can try to practice getting those right, and I hope that'll help reinforce the right construction in my head. :)

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-14, 17:22

Hey Vijay, do you use duolingo? :mrgreen:
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-14, 19:49

Nope, I'm afraid not, actually.

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-14, 20:21

vijayjohn wrote:Nope, I'm afraid not, actually.


Oh I was just wondering because I would have added you :P
अहिंसा
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Loves: (bn) (ta) (id) (tr) (ur)

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-15, 14:44

You should try Duo; although your level might be pretty high in the langs they currently offer for English speakers - French, Spanish (Latin American, at least in pronunciation), Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, and German. But Duo has a placement test so you don't have to start from the beginning. However, one prob I find with the placement test is that if a question includes vocab from a particular unit, and you get the question right, they assume you then know the complete unit. Which, of course, isn't always true.

I find with Duo you tend to get a lot of weird sentences because the algorithm picks from vocab you've learned, and also picks, out of that vocab, the words that need to be practiced. All of this while still using the vocab/grammar currently being taught.

Duo recently changed things to allow for the community to create courses. They call it the incubator. There's a period of time before a course is released into the wild from the incubator. There are also 3 stages to the course release - stage 1, where the course is being created, stage 2, where it is released as beta, and stage 3, where it is considered fully acceptable.

When Duo first introduced the incubator, the only courses the community worked on were from other langs into English. But a few months ago, before I stopped using Duo, people started working on from English into other langs.

Lastly, I want to add that another problem I found with Duo is that because much of what the computer accepts as correct is community-driven (I think the technical term is crowdsourced-learning), sometimes a particular, generally widely-accepted in real life, translation isn't accepted on Duo. In these cases, until enough people complain and those in charge of the course take a look and correct it, or the computer starts accepting it just because so many have complained, you will get it wrong and lose points. So, from the pov of the game and competition with friends, which are two aspects Duo very much tries to push as highlights to using the site, this crowdsourced-learning idea kinda sucks IMO.

But overall I found Duo was still good for learning new vocab and grammar.

This concludes my review of Duolingo :P :D. Apologies for hijacking your TAC to conduct the review :mrgreen: .
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-15, 17:12

Heheh, no problem, hijack away! :mrgreen: Maybe I'll try Duolingo sometime then. Not just yet, though. I have to learn to warm up to it. :lol: I think this is one of those other things where it's become pretty popular lately, and that's partly what makes me a little hesitant to use it. But I'll probably try it out sometime.
Meera wrote:Oh I was just wondering because I would have added you :P

Aww, thanks a lot, Meera! :D

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-07-15, 18:11

I found Duolingo really boring and repetitive and don't understand why everyone likes it so much. But to each their own.

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-15, 18:53

Oh, really? Huh, OK. But I guess I won't know what I think until I've actually tried it out! :lol:

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-15, 19:13

mōdgethanc wrote:I found Duolingo really boring and repetitive and don't understand why everyone likes it so much. But to each their own.

I wonder if it's so popular due to the competitive/gaming aspect they've built into it, or more likely, due to the shift to immersion-based pedagogy wrt adult language learning. Personally, while I understand a bit of the background behind immersion, including its supposed benefits, I still think that the adult brain is geared to think more analytically and thus, work better with traditional grammar-based approaches. Or, maybe that's just me!
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-15, 22:10

mōdgethanc wrote:I found Duolingo really boring and repetitive and don't understand why everyone likes it so much. But to each their own.


The only reason I like it is because it's a free way to practice that I don't have to use a book for. It has audio and drills. Even the French courses I do have the drills and exercises don't have sound with it and I like the community of duolingo. If I have a question it usually is answered very quickly. It isn't the greatest but it's something that's free and I can use it while doing other things like chatting, posting here, etc. Also I like the translating articles feature.
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-15, 22:33

Meera wrote:Also I like the translating articles feature.

Well, Duo's whole concept is translating the web. They used to, in their first incarnation, break each unit up into several free lessons and then translating sections of articles. But they abandoned that since that structure was being used from lesson one, and too many people complained that you can't ask a complete beginner to assist in translation work. But somewhat recently they got some big site names, like ZDNet, as "sponsors". That is, ZDNet (and another site I think) decided to use Duo's crowdsourced-translation to officially translate some of their pages. The idea, of course being that given time and enough learners translating a text, or sections of a page, the end result is as good as or better than a professional translator, and it's completely free. Well, not really free; I'm sure ZDNet pays Duolingo for the service, and Duo in turn uses the money to make their learning resources better. At least, that's how the model should theoretically work! :P
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-16, 8:11

Meera wrote:The only reason I like it is because it's a free way to practice that I don't have to use a book for.

That's partly what I use UniLang for. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-16, 16:04

vijayjohn wrote:
Meera wrote:The only reason I like it is because it's a free way to practice that I don't have to use a book for.

That's partly what I use UniLang for. :lol:


Yeah UL too, but I mean for drills. Doing duolingo for French is like drill practice with sound that's why I like it so much. I think it makes really good practice :)
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-16, 20:43

Heh, OK yeah, I can understand that you see additional advantages to using Duolingo. :) I just thought it was kind of funny that I was admitting on this forum that part of the reason why I use it is because I can practice without paying for it. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-17, 17:58

vijayjohn wrote:Heh, OK yeah, I can understand that you see additional advantages to using Duolingo. :) I just thought it was kind of funny that I was admitting on this forum that part of the reason why I use it is because I can practice without paying for it. :lol:


Haha yeah that's why I use UL too. But also because UL has an awesome community and is a great place to meet friends. :mrgreen:
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-17, 18:05

Meera wrote:...is a great place to meet friends. :mrgreen:

Friends who are fellow language geeks, thereby normalizing this part of us. As opposed to having someone consider committing you when you tell them you're learning 3 or 4 or 10 language simultaneously! :D
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Re: TAC 2014 - vijayjohn

Postby Meera » 2014-07-17, 18:07

dEhiN wrote:
Meera wrote:...is a great place to meet friends. :mrgreen:

Friends who are fellow language geeks, thereby normalizing this part of us. As opposed to having someone consider committing you when you tell them you're learning 3 or 4 or 10 language simultaneously! :D


Yeah you're right. Almost no one outside of unilang understands my language learning and think I'm absolute psych case. Especially if I tell them I like Indian languages or Arabic and I get why not Spanish/Italian/French/German?
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