ysobel: (learning german)
(Still, always, want to type that as Duolinguo. Gah.)

So I am at the point with Spanish where I have gone through all of the Duo lessons and am mainly doing "practice weak skills" over and over again. Which is not unwarranted -- there is a lot I'm shaky on still, even of what duo gives me, and I am nowhere near ready for real world applications.

But I sort of want to use Duo to brush up on my German. And I can't decide how to do it.

Option one is to do both German and Spanish, one right after the other. Which is easy enough to get in the habit of (the biggest hurdle is remembering to do it; two lessons instead of one is not a problem) but seems like it would be the most confusing to my brain.

Option two is to alternate days. Spanish one day, German the next, etc. Less immediate switching between languages, but still involves some.

Option three is to alternate weekends/weekdays (so do one Monday-Friday and the other Sat-Sun). Has the advantage of making it easy to remember which I'm supposed to be doing on a given day.

Option four is to alternate weeks.

Option five is to just use duo for German and find a more immersive source for keeping Spanish practice.

...I can't decide. Halp?

Poll #16370 Decide for me
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10

Which option should I do?

View Answers

Both every day
0 (0.0%)

Alternate days
1 (11.1%)

Weekday/weekend split
2 (22.2%)

Alternate weeks
0 (0.0%)

German only, find something else for Spanish
6 (66.7%)

Spanish only until you're fluent, you slacker
0 (0.0%)


View Answers

5 (55.6%)

2 (22.2%)

Tea and ticky
5 (55.6%)

Ticky needs to go to sleep
5 (55.6%)

ysobel: (learning german)
Duo prompted me that I hadn't yet done a lesson for today; as I am tired and cannot brain at all, I eschewed either "lesson of new stuff" or "review of weakest words comprehensive of all I've done", both of which require brain and lead to frustration upon repeated failure, for "review of one of the early lessons", which doesn't so much.

At one point I got the sentence "I write a letter" to translate into Spanish via refrigerator magnet style selection from word pool. And they had "lee" and "leemos" and "lees" but I spent literally several minutes staring at the selection of words wondering why I couldn't find the first person form "leo".

...after which I realized that, oh yeah, leo isn't there because leo means I *read*, not I *write*.

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 :/


Jun. 25th, 2014 10:17 pm
ysobel: (learning german)
So duolinguo has several different modes -- some is "listen to spoken phrase in $newlang and write what you hear" (or if you have microphone enabled, "speak the given phrase in $newlang") and the rest is variants of "translate between $newlang and $oldlang", but those have different mechanisms. Some is straight writing; some is choosing words refrigerator-magnet-style from a given selection; some is just "translate this word". The free-writing allows mouseover hints on individual words; the refrigerator magnet doesn't; and the individual word translation doesn't.

Right now I'm getting body parts. And I get individual word translation of "mouth". And I go completely and utterly blank.

But it won't let you skip, so I had to put something, no matter that I didn't have a clue. And I had a random phrase float into my head, boca del infierno, so I put in boca, and selected la rather than el because boca ends in a, and I waited for the wrong-answer noise.

And it gave the right-answer noise.

And I went wtf for a moment, and then started laughing, because I totally never thought random Buffy knowledge would help with Spanish.
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.


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.


Oct. 16th, 2013 09:42 pm
ysobel: (Default)
Doing a duolinguo Spanish lesson on adverbs.

Totalmente gets translated as totally.

Realmente gets translated as really.

So I get the sentence "Él es actualmente un actor". And even though this is the first time I've seen actualmente, I make the obvious assumption: "He is actually an actor."


"He is currently an actor."



57 day streak and counting, woo!

I am fighting the perfectionist urge that says I shouldn't move on to new content when I can't reliably recall what I've learned so far. (Because I will make so very much progress if I just drill the same things over and over again, right?)

Logic tells me that a) there are times when I can't reliably *english*, despite it being native, so expecting reliable spanishing after all of two months is ridiculous, and b) earlier words that I wasn't able to remember for a while -- cerdo, desayuno, maleta, pared -- are now fairly solid, without my having waited.

But there is still a part of my brain that is convinced I should just keep drilling existing content until I'm better at it...
ysobel: (Default)
So I keep wanting to duolinguify German as well as Spanish -- I mean, I know better, and yet I keep thinking "but surely I can handle it...!"

Then I get given "Eres una mujer y yo soy un hombre" as audio to transcribe, and so I start out: "Er ist una mujer--". I stop. This is Spanish, I tell myself, not German, and third person singular conjugation of to-be is es. So I go again: "Er es una mujer--". I play the turtle audio, which separates out individual words, and I can't figure out why "er es" runs together.

...at which point it occurs to me that a) "er" is also German, and b) "eres" in Spanish is the second person singular of to-be.


The distinction between pero and sino is one I do not have a handle on yet. They both translate in a general sense to "but", but have different uses.

Also, I cannot for the life of me remember pagar (pay), tocar (touch), or nadar (swim). The last is fine for translation to English, but I can't ever recall it; the other two are more or less hopeless. As are corbata (tie), calcetin (sock), abrigo (coat), and cinturón (belt).

For now. Then again, at varying points in the last week I was unable to remember cerdo (pig), desayuno (breakfast), cena (dinner), or falda (skirt). And now I can. So.


Sentence of the day: Por favor escribe tu libro. (please write your book)

...though it is rather unfair of them to throw an imperative at us as part of strengthening existing skills, when we have only had present tense normal. Bah.
ysobel: (Default)
[15:26] <isabeau> sentence of the day, for today: we don't touch the chicken
[15:27] <Rainne_> ....
[15:27] <isabeau> Nosotros no tocamos el pollo!
[15:28] <Rainne_> looooooooooooooooooooool
[15:34] * Woggy toco el pollo
[15:35] <isabeau> no toco!
[15:35] <Woggy> ...yes, i know that's not technically right.
[15:36] * exor674 touches isabeau's chicken!
[15:36] <Rainne_> exor674 not without permission, I hope.
[15:39] <isabeau> yo no tengo un pollo
[15:40] <exor674> aw :)
[15:40] <isabeau> ...thereforos tu no puedes tener mi pollo

(ed. note: I haven't learned the translation of therefore, hence the spanglish butchering; and while I have learned poder, can/may, I haven't officially learned the construction for any sentences beyond "$SUBJECT can/can't", so was guessing that it took the infinitive. also I grabbed the wrong verb there)

[15:40] <exor674> I should go get a chicken for dinner
[15:41] <isabeau> (okay so I don't know therefore, and while I know "can" I don't know what verb form to use, but)
[15:41] <exor674> yeah, gtranslate doesn't know "thereforos"
[15:41] <Rainne_> speaking of chicken, that's what i made for dinner, and I need to go put some rice on.
[15:41] <Rainne_> bbs
[15:41] <exor674> but that comes out mostly intelegible barring autotranslate
[15:41] <exor674> "I have a chicken I thereforos you can not have my chicken"
[15:42] <isabeau> por la tanto!
[15:42] <exor674> er hrm, no, if I add a *comma* or something somewhere it's useful
[15:42] <exor674> "I have not a chicken, thereforos you can not have my chicken"
[15:42] <exor674> which I think is what you meant?
[15:42] <isabeau> yup.
[15:43] <isabeau> though I should have said por tanto tu no puedes tocar mi pollo (tocar, not tener, because I wanted touch and not have)

(ed. note: also tu should be tú throughout, but I was lazy)

[15:44] <isabeau> and why in frith's name is google translate defaulting to "translate into malay" >.<
[15:46] <exor674> because malay is fun?
[15:46] <exor674> ( also, touching chicken puts me dangerously close to being able to abscond with the chicken
[15:46] <exor674> so being unable to have it is also valid? :P
[15:47] <isabeau> tu no ... abscondes mit meine pollo *mixes languages with abandon*
[15:47] * Woggy giggles
[15:48] <Woggy> beware of poultry thief!


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).

...or not!

Sep. 3rd, 2013 01:38 pm
ysobel: (Default)
Yesterday I chugged through two lessons of the animal unit -- relatively easy, since I sort of knew most of them already somehow. (cat, dog, elephant, turtle, horse ... the only one I hadn't known was duck, el pato, which I filed away as "sort of like pâté but with -o".

Today, I was all set to chug through more, and ... well ... one I knew (bear, el oso), and two were fairly straightforward (animals, los animales, and penguin, el pingüino). The others not so much. I can do Spanish-to-English translation somewhat readily for some (araña, spider, is sort of similar to arachnid, and cangrejo, crab, starts out similar to cancer), but I am hopeless for pájaro, bird, and can't really do E-to-S for those. (ara*mumble* and can*mumble* doesn't really cut it.)


ETA: cerdo, pig. ratón, mouse. mono, monkey. toro, bull, is ok. conejo, rabbit, sort of.

Also: palabras, words. las llaves, keys. How to remember, argh.


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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