ysobel: (Default)
1) Is it possible to learn ASL without being physically able to speak it? Or is that a ridiculous goal?

2) If it's not a stolid idea for me to try, are there good resources? I mean I know there are YouTube videos, and I know how to use google, and stuff, so I'm not needing basic handholding there... but are there any especially good sources out there? Or especially bad ones o should stay away from?

3) Am I just going to regret this or get frustrated st my limitations?

;;nods fist in ASL yes::
ysobel: (learning german)
Tried poking at French on duolingo ... and then realized it would mess up any Spanish attempts (or the Spanish attempts would much up French) because they look similar and sound so different, and I had a moment of "je suis, tu eres, il/elle/es est" (bad jumble of french and Spanish with a soupçon of German). So ... for now I go back to German for Duolingo purposes, and refresh Spanish grammar/vocab through other sites. (I am currently tempted by https://www.rocketlanguages.com/ which is paid, but I will probably get over that temptation and just stick to free resources.)

I did realize why I suddenly had urges to go do other languages, Greek or French or whatnot, rather than continuing with German. It's because the words aren't sticking right now. It's not difficult vocabulary -- z.b. Ort, Kneipe, Bezirk, Grundstück, Umgebung, Unterkünfte -- but I can't remember the words or their meanings at all. Each time it's like I'm seeing the word for the first time, and by the time it comes up again I've dropped it again.

Which is, um. Frustrating. And makes me want to avoid it. And to some extent repetition is the key to learning things like this, but it's hard to repeat things you can't hold on to.

I kind of wish I could just download language knowledge into my brain.
ysobel: A cat flopped out on the floor; text: meh (meh)
Well, the whole "learn Greek" thing seemed like a great idea until I got out of the alphabet section and into the words.

I need to check the website info (it drives me crazy that the website has information -- like blurbs about indefinite articles or conjugations or whatever -- that doesn't appear in the app) but there's no way I am going to remember anything. There are about five words for a/the (and without information I don't know whether it's based on noun gender or whether the next word Astarte with a consonant or whatever), plus I can't remember the words for "man" and "woman" even from one screen to the next.

So my options seem to be a) stay with Greek and get completely overwhelmed; b) switch over to Russian to see if that sticks any better; c) go back to re-refreshing German; or d) refresh Spanish and start getting serious about things like consuming Spanish media and whatever so that I can get passably ... well, fluent seems unlikely, but I guess conversant or whatever.

Or e) give the fuck up because my brain is broken so why am I even trying. But I think that's the depression brainweasels talking.
ysobel: (learning german)
So I went to the Duo Facebook page to see if there was information about the app changes (health meter and "gema")

There wasn't

...but a) there was an announcement about Japanese coming to Duo, and b) i sort of ended up starting the Greek course. No real reason (especially since it's modern Greek rather than ancient) but it's not like welsh had a purpose, lol. I do judge courses based on the early lessons (eg i want to learn danish but the first lesson makes me despair -- "drengen" sounds like drying but smushed into one syllable, "kvinden" sounds like kving, and it doesn't make *sense*) but Greek is starting with the alphabet. Sensible.

So far I can say such useful things as το γράμμα δέλτα (to gramma delta / the letter d), woo. Knowing Cyrillic helps, because I'm already used to ρ being r and π being p; otoh I suspect knowing German will make me inclined to read β as ss rather than b.

...I'm not sure why I'm switching. I'm not at the end of the German course. I'm not even up to where I was before -- I did the course up to like 10 units from the end, and then wandered off to welsh, and then had forgotten some of the German so I went back to re-do each unit that had unfamiliar words, and I'm only up to the middle of the fifth section, 57 units behind the farthest unlocked one. And it would make sense to stay with German because it's familiar -- I used to be fluent back in high school, so right now it's a weird mix of translation and knowing; there are some words that i have to think about and some words that are just sort of there, I have to look up tatsächlich but selbstverständlich is just, well, self-evident, no pun intended.

Semi unrelatedly, I'm still frustrated at the differences between the website and the app -- how much information isn't available through the app. Things like https://www.duolingo.com/words or like the blurb for a lesson about how articles work or conjugations or whatever. I find the app easier to use, but then I miss stuff. Grarh.
ysobel: (Default)
I have not heard back from duolingo re the streak thing. I don't know whether I will.

I have several dilemmas.

Do I keep going, which allows me to unofficially add the 625 to my streak since I know I continued it even if they don't? Pro: it still gives me a daily target, and learning in small increments is better than not at all. Con: Typing is hard on the computer, and the web interface sucks on iPad; it might be nice to take a break; it doesn't have to be duolingo that I do every day.

If I keep going (or take a short break and come back), what language? Welsh is fun but impractical, and of course getting harder; German would be nice to re-fluent-ize in, but there's very little practical benefit to that either; Russian has a practical benefit (one of my aides is Russian); and I could always start a new language, like Dutch or Hebrew, just for fun. I don't think it would be a great idea to try to do more than one at a time. I suppose I could do a different one every month, and just spend the first few days refreshing on that language, but that might not be the greatest.

Or I could just give up, because it's not like there's any point anyway sorry, brainweasels got out for a bit there.
ysobel: (welsh)
The thing that seems to be throwing me off the most about welsh pronunciation is the letter u.

I'm fine with dd being a voiced th, fine with f being v, fine with ff being f, fine with w being a vowel. But u being ee trips me up every damn time.

The Iau of Dydd Iau is not yow but rhymes with sigh. Llun (Monday) is hleen. Sul (Sunday) is seel. Etc.

At least Dydd Sadwrn (Saturday) not only is pronounced in a way I can remember, but is a connection I can remember. Yay Saturn!


Mar. 19th, 2016 09:08 pm
ysobel: (nyah)
* Because I am a big dork, I decided to start learning Welsh on Duolingo. I am very amused that one of the sentences in the second lesson grouping is "I am a dragon" (draig dw i). I also got a Les Mis earworm with "pwy dw i" (who am I), which even scans. A welsh version of Les Mis would be awesome.

* my Inner Critic had a moment of "wtf why are you learning Welsh" -- the other languages I've done have made sense, because Spanish is useful in California, German and Russian are both languages I've learned previously (albeit to vastly different fluency levels), Russian has the additional benefit of being the native language of one of my aides, but Welsh??? -- but I was able to stifle that quickly. Can I use Welsh in my life? No, not really. But I like learning things, not just to be useful but purely for the sake of learning.

* I realized recently that a Mystery Knitting Object I've had for fifteen-odd years, which I got as part of an eBay purchase of yarn and knitting tools and so I thought was some weird large U-shaped stitch holder, is actually a look for hairpin crochet. Which I am utterly captivated by. (Summary version: the loom has parallel inflexible sides, and you hold the yarn behind and to one side. Flipping the loom over loops the yarn around one side; you crochet in the middle to stabilize it; flip the same direction to loop around the other side; crochet in the middle to stabilize; and you end up with a strip of crochet up the middle with loops on either side kind of like fringe.) I have, however, come to the conclusion that it requires three hands (one for yarn, one for hook, one for loom).

* Speaking of crochet, I made a video showing how I crochet (and babbling rather a lot). I will embed it here once I look up how to do that (I'm on my iPad, and I can't find embed code on the YouTube app) but for now here's a link: http://youtu.be/v4P2pK0joHk It's 16 minutes long, and fully captioned. I hope to make more videos showing other things. It's pretty basic and amateur-looking, but eh.

* Also speaking of crochet, I (re)discovered tonight that switching immediately from a project using thicker yarn and a 5.5mm hook to one with thinner yarn and a 4mm hook? Really throws off muscle memory for a bit.

* random icon ftw \o/
ysobel: (Default)
The good: I have officially been doing the Spanish thing for a year now. Bit over, actually. And yes, I do have the streak going (367, whee), though there were three days in there I technically missed. Well, two definite misses, and one day where I remembered at 11:50 but couldn't get the daily thing done in time. But you can "buy" (using virtual site currency that you get for doing lessons) a streak freeze, that will preserve your streak for one day of inactivity. Won't increment it of course, which is why I was on a 362-day streak on my one year anniversary, but ... yeah.

A year of doing something pretty much daily? Not trivial.

And I can sort of understand bits and pieces of actual real live Spanish, though not everything, and I'm lousy at verb tenses, and I am of course tons better at recall than at generating. Still, yay.

The bad: did I mention I'm lousy at verb tenses? The "unit" I just finished was on modal verbs, and it took me multiple tries to get through and I was doing a lot of guessing and a lot of flailing and a lot of looking at the hover hints for far too many words, and pretty much zero retention.

The remaining units, in sequence, are labeled thusly: V. Cond. 0/1, V. P. Imp. 0/5, V. Sub. P. 0/1, Abs. Ob. 3 0/10, Cond. Per. 0/2. Notice how four out of five are verb tenses.

It makes me want to run and hide, even though that would crash the nice pretty streak.

(That, or switch to relearning German, except a) it seems like a bad idea to lose momentum on practicing Spanish, and b) omg the cases. Even with Spanish, which has two genders and no inflections thereof, I trip up sometimes. German not only has three genders, but also nominative / accusative / dative / etc. wah.)

ETA: okay, so conditional is relatively straightforward -- infinitive + ía. But the rest still scares me :/
ysobel: (learning german)
and I just figured out why I have a problem with the Spanish word for 9.

See, okay, one of the things that trips me up is the set of words for this/that/those. One aspect is just remembering which is this and which is that (current convoluted mnemonic is the inverse t factor: "that" ends in t, "eso" doesn't have a t; "this" doesn't end in t, "esto" has one). And then there's the third one (that-over-there), which is aquel but I had to look it up because I couldn't remember. I wanted to say allí but that is a different word.

But the other aspect is gender. Most of Spanish has two grammatical genders, but demonstratives have three: eso/ese/esa and esto/este/esta. Neuter, masculine, feminine. The masculine and feminine forms are used when there is a (gendered) noun associated with it: "this book is mine". Neuter is used (according to the site I just looked up again) for abstract ideas and unknown objects.

Which is fine escept for which is which. Masculine adjectives in Spanish end in -o for the most part, but eso/esto are the *neuter* forms, and ese/este are the masculine ones.

Which is where nine comes in.

The Spanish word for nine is nueve.

The Spanish word for new is nuevo.

I found tonight, not for the first time, that I keep wanting to read nueve as new. So, like, "otros nueve goles" -- another nine goals, a phrase I got in today's Duo lesson -- had me staring at it going "......uhhh, other new goals? What?". But I only just figured out *why*: overgeneralization of the esto/este thing.

Or something.
ysobel: (Default)
Depending on how you look at it, I am on either day 55 or day 217 of my current streak.

(If you use the website, the 'store' that allows you to buy things with lingots, aka the site currency, includes a "streak freeze" that "allows your streak to remain in place for one full day of inactivity." I had that equipped back when I missed a day, so theoretically I'm still on my original streak, thus 217 days; but the iOS app doesn't seem to be aware of the streak freeze, so it reset to 0 when I missed a day, thus 55 days.)

Yay me, I guess?


Jan. 31st, 2014 09:41 am
ysobel: A sad-looking kitten (sad)
Aaand I apparently crashed my Duolinguo streak.


(didn't quite make it to half a year, either, which would have been cool)

It's hardly surprising, because reasons, but seeing the "streak: 1 day" this morning made me sad

(and because my brain is my brain, it's more focused on "hi you fucked up this impressive thing you had going" than on "162 or whatever is a fucking impressive thing you accomplished, yay you")


ETA: *squints squintishly* So although the iPad app claimed it was Day 1 of New Streak, the website says I am still streaking. So... huh.

(Oh! Looks like I missed yesterday, but the website has a Streak Freeze option that covers a day of inactivity that you can "buy" with Duo currency in their store, which I'd gotten, but the app doesn't list that, so ... yeah. Technically I broke the streak, but whatever. I can live with the mismatch. And I blame Duo entirely for yesterday, because a) they didn't send me the "hey don't forget to do your stuff" reminder email that they are supposed to send daily if I haven't done a thing yet, and b) it is much more pleasant to blame a website than my own brain.)
ysobel: (Default)
Spanish stats: 103 day streak (!!), 666 words (lolz)

I still can't really hold a conversation, mind you, nor do I know tenses other than simple present. But, yanno. It's still something.


Sep. 6th, 2013 02:15 pm
ysobel: (Default)
So I got to the question unit

for the record )

and AUGH SPANISH WHY are some of these q and some c? I mean, cómo I get, but why cuánto/cuándo and not quánto/quándo WHYYYYY

(Okay, so it's not the same sound, because cu is [kw] and qu is [k] and so it makes sense, *but* English qu is [kw] and so I keep writing quándo when they say cuándo, sob.)

ETA Another sob: Cuál es (which is it) and Cuáles (which-plural) sound the same wah.


In I-amuse-myself news, Duolinguo gave me "¿Cuándo bebes vino?" -- when do you drink wine -- as a question to translate, so of course I had to say aloud, in a super dramatic voice, "Yo no bebo ... *vino*..."


ETA Sentence of the day: Nosotros no tocamos el pollo! (We don't touch the chicken)

Previous sentences of the day (on other days) include Yo soy un oso (I am a bear) and Yo soy un pingüino (I am a penguin).


Aug. 31st, 2013 03:47 pm
ysobel: (learning german)
(I probably should make a Spanishy sort of icon...)

So I'm currently on a food-related lesson. So far, at the point I am at, we have words for bread, apple, soup, sauce, juice, fruit, strawberry, cheese, rice, meat, chicken, fish. ...Also meal (comida) and lunch (almuerza) but I can't for the life of me remember those without looking them up.

So I start the new segment, and get dinner (which I've already forgotten) and sandwich (emparedado), and as usual I tried to come up with ways of remembering the latter. It's sort of like emperor but the vowels are different, so that won't work. And then I remember empanada, and go looking that up to see what that meant (meat pie, more or less), and then looked up emparedado just out of curiosity.

Turns out that it's also the word for confinement.


ETA rofl. was prompted to translate the word for onion. Remembered that it started with a c ... and had a b that sounded sort of v-ish ... and had a ll ... caballo! Totally the same, sí? ... yeah, cebolla != caballo, just as onion != horse. facepalm.
ysobel: (learning german)
So I have officially started with Spanish learning

(Duolingo; I'm on as ysobelflp)

and am chugging my way through.

The first lesson does get a bit tedious, since you have only singular pronouns (I you he she you-formal) and three whole verbs (to-be, eat, drink) with the relevant simple present conjugations, and two articles (the a) and eight nouns (man woman boy girl apple bread water milk), and there are only so many variations you can have. "You are a boy. I am a woman. The girl drinks milk, the woman drinks water. The man eats an apple. You drink water." ...yeahhhh.

But still, starting small is good for, well, starting.


Though I do get some amusement out of the user comments, especially when it comes to gender. I have no problems with grammatical gender, but then again, I've taken German, and Latin, and Russian. (And, a very long time ago, French, and a longer time ago Spanish, and while I don't remember anything from those it still probably affected things.

And it seems somewhat reasonable to English speakers that hombre, man, is grammatically male, and mujer, woman, is grammatically female. But apparently it is vastly confusing that manzana, apple, is grammatically feminine, and you get people commenting to the sentence El hombre come una manzana, the man eats an apple, with things like

"But why isn't it *un* manzana when it's a man doing the eating?"

and, one that sent me into gigglefits,

"So how do you say apple in a masculine way?"


I tried taking the German placement test that they have, just to see where I rank -- used to be semifluent at the end of high school and have decayed horribly -- and discovered three things. One, my comprehension is way higher than recall; I can translate German-English far more easily than English-German. Two, my pronunciation and aural comprehension haven't decayed nearly as much as my vocab and grammatical knowledge. And three, it is a bad idea to mix learning two different languages, because it confuses both.

This is not to say that learning multiple languages is impossible, even simultaneously.

So on my walk back today, I was going over the limited verb conjugation that I've been exposed to so far. Not for ser, because that's irregular (still important though; soy eres es somos * son; in full conjugation there is sois where the * is, but apparently that's a difference between Spain Spanish, which uses vosotros for you-plural, and Latin America Spanish, which uses Ustedes and therefore takes the third-plural conjugation, and Duolingo is going with the Latin America version), but for the other two. Comer, eat, and beber, drink, though technically we haven't been introduced to infinitive.

So I start: yo como, tú comes, er/sie/es come...


...maaaaaybe not...

(er/sie/es is of course *German* for he/she/it. The Spanish equivalent for third person singular is él/ella/Usted, he/she/you-formal.)

(como, comes, come, comemos, comen. bebo, bebes, bebe, bebemos, beben. Might shove coméis and bebéis in for verbal repetition since six feels more balanced than five. I'm not sure yet whether it helps or hinders that the 3pl form reminds me of German infinitives.)


ftr: http://www.spanishdict.com/ is my new best friend \o/


ysobel: (Default)
masquerading as a man with a reason

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