I didn’t get as much in today as I had hoped, but:
This morning, I spent around half an hour going through one page of the German translation of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. King has quite a rich vocabulary, and it shows in trying to read a translation of his work: every sentence had something in it that I didn’t know. I found it somewhat humorous that I recently finished Tommy Jaud’s Voll Idiot (a book written originally in German by a native), and it didn’t give me as much trouble as King may. Among other things, I learned that die Kutsche means coach, carriage.
I listened to a French podcast while walking; it was an episode of 2000 ans d’Histoire, Le Climat. I will woefully admit that I understood very little of it; I simply don’t have the vocabulary for such a topic yet. I was able to pick out the occasional word or phrase that I knew, but it was mostly half an hour of “I know this is French, but I’ve no real idea what they’re talking about.”
I also listened to the first 8 lessons of Assimil Using French; I’ve read through the lessons in the past, but it’s been awhile. I’ll need to review them all in the book before moving forward.
I spent around 45 minutes practicing writing the Arabic letters I’ve learned so far: baa, taa, thaa, and nuun. I just learned nuun today. I practiced copying the words provided by Awde’s book for the letters I’ve learned so far. It’s quite rough looking, my writing, but I suppose that’s to be expected on one’s first go at it. Writing from right to left is in itself a weird sensation for me; it’s even more strange doing so in a wholly new script, in a language that is built on foundations that I’m unfamiliar with. (The consonantal root system seems pretty cool so far, at least what I know of it from the book.)
And, finally, I made a few flashcards covering the basic present tense conjugations of regular French verbs (-er, -ir, -re). I know the endings, but I can’t produce them as fast as I would like, and I figure the cards will help with that. They’re old fashioned paper cards, not Anki cards, which goes against my usual habits.
On the agenda for tomorrow: Russian (grammar, perhaps, but certainly some vocabulary); another page or two of intensive German reading with King; another letter or two in Arabic. If I’ve enough time, I would like to get in some other things as well, but I suppose that’s enough to get started on…
The whole morning was spent at the hospital with mom, as she was having a procedure done. I took along Assimil Spanish and Dutch, but mostly worked on the Dutch. I listened to 1-6 again, then read through all of the lessons carefully. All in all, probably spent an hour or so on it. I also grabbed the first video of an Arabic video course via iTunes U, and watched the bulk of it.
In the afternoon, I went to the library and checked out Awde’s The Arabic Alphabet: How to Read and Write It. I read for about an hour, and learned to recognize baa, taa, and thaa; I’ve not practiced writing them yet.
From left to right: thaa, taa, baa. Thaa is like th in three; taa is like English t; and baa is like English b.
Later, I listened to 3 Schlaflos in München podcasts, coming to around 45 minutes total. I’m not sure if it counted as an “epiphany” moment or if it was just due to the subject matter, but I understood a surprising amount, almost all of it. I usually struggle to keep up with Annik.
In the evening, I did the repititions for around 30 words (German). I still have a few lists floating around that need repetition attention, particularly the Russian list I did a few days ago.
At the HTLAL forums, someone linked to an interesting PDF dealing with myths about vocabulary acquisition. The myths:
- Knowing a relatively small number of words takes you far.
- Word lists are of limited value.
- Words learned in semantic sets are retained better.
- Words should always be learned in context.
- Words whose meanings are inferred from context are retained better.
- Words learned productively are retained better.
- Vocabulary knowledge should not be tested separately.
As someone who often tires of hearing “only learn words in context, never use lists” etc., this article made my heart sing a little bit.
You can read the full PDF here.