Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Ka upane! 2017.8

Mahalo everyone who sent me their good wishes, it means a lot to me; this year has been very tough all round so far. Unfortunately, the new biologic struck out, but I’m at least feeling a little better now and hopefully one step on the road to recuperation. One way or another, I’ll have to wait and see, but will try to stay obstinately positive, whatever life throws at me …

I look forward to getting back on track with my PhD and own language studies soon, fingers crossed that no more insurmountable obstacles fall across my path or jump from under bridges to demand golden trinkets in the coming months. From this point on, I’ve decided to change things slightly around and focus 50% of my study time on my current primary language (ru), and the other half on learning and maintaining half a dozen other secondary languages (ha, ga, nzs, ja, fr, de).

Advertisements

Ka upane! 2017.7

I’m very ill at the moment, so I’ve asked my wife to type up a quick message for my monthly update. I’d like to let you guys know that I’ll be back as soon as I can, once I regain some basic mobility. Long story short, I suffer from a very rare autoimmune disease, and my last biologic stopped working just a couple of months ago. God willing, the new daily biologic I’ve started today will help relieve the immense pains and let me get back to the joy of learning and discussing languages soon. In the meantime, I wish all my readers and friends here a big aloha (and hey, no slacking while I’m away).

Ka upane! 2017.6


source: negativespace.co

June has been a total washout for me with regards to learning or maintaining any languages. My hands, and any other parts of the body that offer purchase or utility, have simply been fully occupied or otherwise engaged in the process of looking after my nīele a ʻeleu loa (haw: very active and curious) little daughter around the clock. And to make matters all the more challenging, I experienced a full relapse in health too…nice timing, body!

I was cheered up, however, to discover that they aired a sixth season of Der Tatortreiniger (something I was keeping my fingers crossed for last year). The first episode was delightfully crazy, and I’m looking forward to watching the remaining two episodes in some stolen quiet moments while my little пиратка dreams of sticking her feet in daddy’s mouth in the middle of conversations and chewing on forbidden household treasures beyond the toy box. Ho brah…no can monku though…too cute da keiki!

Ka upane! 2017.5


source: negativespace.co

I set out this month by investing 30 hours into language learning in the first fortnight (mostly Hawaiian), but those pesky health issues I mentioned last month quickly caught up with me, so I’ve effectively done little or nothing since in terms of study. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more positive news in June.

Minor Language NZSL

I’m halfway through a brand new online course called “Learn NZSL“. It’s probably a little too basic for my current needs, but any review is still review, and I’m always keen to try out a shiny new toy in the toy box.

Minor Language Hawaiian

My main approach right now is to read online blogs in Hawaiian semi-intensively. Blogs relating experiences of living abroad and highlighting aspects of different cultures are particularly intriguing to me (especially those that involve food with glossy hi-res mouth-watering photos when I’m hungry!). I often find that hours can fly by in the thrall of captivating posts and the company of fascinating photos.

Major Language Russian

I watched a documentary last night about a 70-year-old lady who has lived in the wilderness of the taiga as a veritable hermit most of her life, but apart from that, Russian is still waiting in the wings for its number to be called out.

Ka upane! 2017.4


source: negativespace.co

I continue to struggle with serious health issues, so progress has been much slower than hoped this month. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to keep up with some of my core languages in a hit-and-miss fashion, and have even learned a bunch of new signs which were only recently added to the NZSL dictionary (e.g., Facebook, tablet, Twitter). With regards to dabbling in other languages, I completed a computer game in Spanish, watched some funny German movies and more serious documentaries, and decided to freshen up my knowledge of the constructed language Toki Pona.

Minor Language NZSL

I’m still plugging away at my online resources and have now completed 80% of the Thumbs Up! online NZSL course. Once I finish all the units in this course, I’ll move on to my upper intermediate online resources.

Incidentally, I tried to sign with a deaf shop assistant last month in Safeway, but as she used ASL (which only overlaps with approximately 30% of the core signs in NZSL), I ended up asking her for a “wooden board” in the bakery section rather than “a loaf of bread”. Needless-to-say, I received strange looks… @.@

Minor Language Hawaiian

My big catch this month has been this excellent Hawaiian language resource from the Bishop Museum. Not only does it offer high quality audio in Hawaiian taken from a tour guide menu relating to some of the interesting cultural artifacts on display, but it also includes the accompanying transcripts. Bingo!

As part of another language learners’ forum challenge, I also racked up 500 new words in Hawaiian over the last month. And although much of it seemed to revolve around fishing, seafood, and boat rigging, at least I now know the difference between an ʻaʻama (a feisty big black crab that scuttles over shore rocks) and an ʻalaʻeke (a sandy-coloured little pincher crab that hangs out in shallow water). Wahoo – call me Ishmael!

Major Language Russian

Russian has yet to take off this year, as I’m initially focusing on taking my Hawaiian and New Zealand Sign Language to the next level before hitting the hard slopes with Russian. Last week, however, I was reminded once again how young children’s songs may be cute but not always an easy route to comprehensible input: “Далеко, далеко, на лугу пасутся ко…?” (far away, far away, in the meadow co.. are grazing). :/

Ka upane! 2017.3


source: negativespace.co

This last week has been incredibly tough in terms of both what looks like insurmountable bureaucratic issues and serious health concerns, but my wife and I are just about hanging in there. With regards to languages, I think I made good progress earlier in NZSL as part of a 6 Week Challenge (6WC), and am well and truly smitten with signing. Russian will probably be next in the spotlight if I’m granted at least a little break in the clouds, but it’s hard to keep my grip and focus on non-essential matters right now.

Minor Language NZSL

I invested well over 100 hours into studying NZSL for a recent 6WC, and came in third place for overall target language hours. By the end of the challenge, I estimated my level had risen from a complete beginner in the weeks just prior to the challenge up to a more confident low intermediate level (approx. B1 on the CEFR scale). I now have a good grasp of NZSL grammar, am able to sign what I want to slowly, and can grasp the gist of most signing videos. I’ve also added the key resources I’ve used to the end of my first post for 2017 for anyone who might be interested in learning NZSL. This completes my first big language goal for 2017, and more importantly, I learned the word “jandals” (i.e., the New Zealand word for flip-flops) in the process!

Minor Language Hawaiian

Apart from a few low-hanging phrases here and there, not much to report in my little taro patch.

Major Language Russian

I’ve scored around a dozen hours for Russian to date this year, which is mostly a combination of speaking and some vocabulary study. It’s not much so far, I know, but with the 6WC out of the way (where my primary goal was to learn NZSL), my main focus will now be on getting my Russian and Hawaiian up to scratch.

 

Ka upane! 2017.2

IMGTXT

source: student.mediarts.net.nz

I’ve been mainly focused on New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) since my last update, but have included some minor Russian maintenance and a wee soupçon of German and Toki Pona on the side for good measure. My baby daughter, in the meantime, has learned to say “hello” (in her own garbled-but-cute-sounding way) and is starting to experiment with the magic of bilabial consonants (she even said “mama” yesterday but has yet to repeat it).

Minor Language NZSL

I’m really enjoying learning New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and am impressed with how much I can sign already. Most signs are easy to second-guess and have a habit of sticking in my memory after a single practice. In a sense, they serve as their own natural visual mnemonics. After my first week of study, I could sign at a basic conversational level and carry on continuous 20-30 minute monologues (albeit slowly at this stage). I’m also nearly two thirds of the way through my NZSL grammar primer (p. 204), which helps me appreciate more of the subtleties of sign language in general and get to grips with the unique syntax (e.g., non-manual markers, verbal aspect, scene setting). I even developed my own system of sign writing to accommodate missing images in the NZSL dictionary and to make a basic note of new signs on the fly (I probably spent way too much time on this, but I now have a much deeper appreciation of the morphology of signing).

Out of curiosity, I watched a 7 minute babycare video with no supporting audio or subtitles, first with my wife after a day of studying NZSL, and then a couple of weeks later by myself. On my first viewing, lip-reading quickly took a more central role, pushing manual signs to my peripheral vision where they could be glanced over to quickly for reference or confirmation. I understood probably 80% of the video and recognized many of the words I’d learned from a baby NZSL website earlier that day (e.g., change, cry, help, prefer, make, fun, baby, bath, red, powder, milk). This was in addition to several signs that were pretty clear from visual context and facial expression. On my second viewing, I relied less on lip-reading and focused more on the signer’s hands, whilst also stealing glances over to the main presentation (this takes practice and speedy eyeballs!) I understood more this time (probably about 90%) with several running phrases as opposed to single words. I also picked up many new words that I’d learned during my NZSL dictionary work in the preceding fortnight (e.g., daughter, work, nothing, succeed, what’s wrong, bad, morning, help, advice, need, wish, similar, practice, night, bottle, see, if, in the past, 3 weeks, 3am, exhausted, difficult). I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m pleased with my progress so far, and can’t wait to learn more and expand my repertoire in this fun new language.

Minor Language Hawaiian

My Hawaiian is still grounded and waiting patiently in the airport lounge eating complementary peanuts. It’s not a priority for me right at this moment, as I’m more focused on improving my Russian and NZSL which I use on a daily basis with my family.

Major Language Russian

In the shadow of my sign language studies, I’ve been maintaining Russian to a lesser extent. This is largely due to me signing up with NZSL rather than Russian for the current 6 Week Challenge. Most of this has been speaking practice, although I also tested my reading level last week and discovered (much to my surprise) that “War and Peace” is easier to read than “Night Watch” (I really didn’t see that one coming!)