Archive for the ‘Weekly Logs’ Category

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).

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.


Read Full Post »


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!)

Read Full Post »



Welcome in NZSL.
source: http://nzsl.vuw.ac.nz/

haw: Aloha mai kākou a e komo mai i kaʻu puke moʻomanaʻo paʻeʻe e pili ana i kaʻu aʻo mai i nā ʻōlelo i kēia makahiki!

ru: Всем привет и добро пожаловать в мой блог изучения языков в этом году!

en: Hi everyone and welcome to my language learning blog this year!

Iʻm late to the starting line this year but very excited about the course ahead. As I’m writing this in a stolen moment between changing diapers and beatboxing to amuse my little daughter, I’ll be brief. This year I’m cutting back on the number of languages I’ll be studying, and would ideally like to reach B1 in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), B2 in Hawaiian, and C1 in Russian (on the CEFR scale).

Minor Language NZSL

I’ll be learning New Zealand Sign Language from scratch this year. As countless videos demonstrate how infants can learn to communicate with basic signs much earlier than using speech, my wife and I are looking forward to trying this out with our daughter over the coming months. Learning to sign to a low intermediate level would also open the door to a bright new paradigm in language learning for me, and this is an exciting prospect.

Minor Language Hawaiian

I’ve let my Hawaiian slide a considerable amount and need to reverse this sinking trend. I think it would be fun to read storybooks in Hawaiian with my daughter at some point (they publish some great books in Hawaiian here!), but am still weighing the pros and cons of adding a third language too early on. In the meantime, I owe it to my previous Hawaiian teachers at the University of Hawaiʻi and my adopted spiritual kūpuna to carry on the torch and seek out new waves in this beautiful language. An upper intermediate level would be perfect for my current needs.

Major Language Russian

I trust 2017 will mark the year when I finally reach an advanced level in Russian!! Who knows, if I say that confidently enough several times and follow it up with some real consistent study, it might even happen. 😉 I must confess that English remains the overwhelmingly dominant language at home, and in order to raise little Teangushka in a more balanced bilingual environment, daddy here will need to get serious with his Russian studies in order to break through into the advanced level. This is the language I will focus on most this year.

As always, I extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to drop by and share some aloha, and I wish you all every success and joy in your language studies in 2017…удачи всем!

goals Goals for 2017

  • nzs: A0 to B1 (achieved in March, self-assessment) 😀
  • haw: B1 to B2 (in progress)
  • ru: B2 to C1 (not started)

resources Resources

Read Full Post »

Tired new daddy octopus.

source: superdad.gr

A LOT has happened over the last 8-9 months since my last update. As I’m currently beyond exhausted, I’ll try to keep this post brief, and will fill you in more when I hopefully score a few hours of sleep and a hot shower sometime in the new year.

First of all, my little baby girl was born last week. She’s gorgeous and now snuggling in nicely at home with new mommy and daddy. We’ll be spending our first Christmas together as a family in just a few days!

Earlier in the year, my wife and I left the islands of Hawaiʻi for the first time in 4 years, taking the time off to visit family and friends back in England and Russia during May. My wife also attended her PhD graduation ceremony, which made me very proud. It’s tough for both of us living approximately 7,000 miles away from loved ones, so it was great to see everyone over those few weeks (as well as practice my Russian with the in-laws of course 😉 ).

Minor Language Russian (182h)

Prior to visiting Russia, I spent an additional fortnight chatting with around a dozen professional Russian tutors on italki. As my in-laws don’t speak any English, I quickly picked up speed in Russian during my 2 week stay in St Petersburg, and the initial preparation with italki helped me hit the ground running. I also won the 6 Week Challenge on the Language Learners forum during this period with Russian as my target language, which was a nice encouraging bonus.

Minor Language Latin (86h)

Every new semester, I enroll in a language course at university to keep in touch with how other professors teach, and more importantly, what it feels like to be a student in the classroom. I find this helps me with my own teaching in terms of developing a genuine empathy and partial understanding of what many of my students are going through. In Fall, I chose Latin, with a view to building a grounding in Latin grammar and reading, and I hope to follow this later with the Lingua Latina series at home.

Minor Language Hawaiian (55h)

In the previous spring semester, I rounded off my Hawaiian with an advanced conversational class for fourth year students. As many of my classmates were fluent speakers or worked with Hawaiian on a daily basis, it was really quite a challenge, but I managed to hold my own and did a fair bit of immersion in the language. I also had my first real vivid dream in Hawaiian, which is the source of one of the middle names we gave my daughter, but more on that another time.

Minor Language German (40h)

My German is at a point now where I can enjoy computer games, tv series, movies, and literature much more than before. On that note, I completed a few games and a couple of tv series during the year, and look forward to more of the same in the new year (ideally some more extensive reading).

Major Language French (35h)

When I started my little odyssey in French, I envisaged all kinds of progress by the end of the year. However providence had different plans for me, and so my aventure française is still very much in its (*ahem*..pun ahead) infancy. I did however collect some great resources earlier in the year which will keep me busy for a good while, and having recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite on a Black Friday week deal, I’m now looking forward to adding more digital content to my collection.

(Total time spent on learning languages during 2016 altogether: 410 hours)

With Christmas just round the corner and a new year on the horizon, I wish everyone the very best in achieving their hopes and goals in 2017, and Mele Kalikimaka from all 3 of us here!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »