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Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

Ah…the end of an era; the beginning of another! It’s that time of year again to look back on my leaning tower of language logs for this year, and sum up my progress (or lack of it) in a few succinct nostalgic lines.

This has been my second year of language blogging, yet I’m still surprised how quickly each year flies by. It’s been a very tough year for me personally, during which I’ve had to push on through many setbacks. However, through persistent brainstorming and plenty of trial and error, I’ve discovered a lot more about my own particular study habits, and have put together what I hope will turn out to be some really interesting methods and software for next year. I’ve also read a few books and watched a bevy of films in Russian, along with an inordinate number of episodes from my favourite children’s tv series “Лунтик”. 🙂

In summer, I started my Trans-Siberian Express mini-challenge, with the aim to log every minute I spend listening to and simultaneously reading Russian as a kilometre on my virtual journey, and have slowly but surely crossed a fifth of my map across Russia since (1924/9289km over 32 hours). I’ve still got a long way to go but it’s a start.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even get close to B2+ in Russian, as initially hoped, and with so many other things going on in my life, I just had little or no time to fit in any of my extended languages either. However, every little step brings me that much closer to the next leg of my journey, and after 255 hours’ language study, I did at least finally manage to break the 90% barrier in my reading comprehension tests and bring my Russian reading level up to B2 for the first time ever (from 58% on 1st January 2011 to 91% on 9th September). Now it’s so much easier to tackle favourite texts like Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” in the original.

I also seem to have leveled up in my listening skills, and am currently around the B1 mark in conversation or so I’m told (up from A1+ last year). Many Russian words now just light up as concepts in my head rather than silent translations into English. Only today, for example, someone inadvertently knocked their trolley into mine during the Christmas Eve shopping madness, and I instinctively called out “Осторожно!” by mistake (lol).

Next year I hope to make even bigger strides forward in Russian and also plan to take on Irish at a later date. I also feel bad about neglecting my German over the last year (which must have become embarrassingly rusty by now), so I’d like to try and brush up on my German too if I can.

Here’s a little summary of some of the resources I used and completed in 2011:

BOOKS:

– Евгений Замятин, “Мы” (We)
– J K Rowling, “Гарри Поттер и тайная комната” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
– J K Rowling, “Гарри Поттер и философский камень” (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
– A. de Saint-Exupéry, “Маленький принц” (The Little Prince)

FILMS:

– Джентльмены удачи
– О чем говорят мужчины
– Ширли-мырли
– Я остаюсь
– Москва слезам не верит
– Особенности национальной охоты
– Особенности национальной рыбалки
– Неадекватные люди
– Место встречи изменить нельзя
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Знакомство
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Кровавая надпись
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Охота на тигра
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Король Шантажа
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Смертельная схватка
– Гарри Поттер и философский камень (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

TV SERIES

– Дело было на Кубани (episodes 1-8)
– Гостья из будущего (episodes 1-2)
– Холостяк (episode 1)

ANIMATIONS:

– Лунтик (seasons 1 and 2, 160 episodes)
– Добрыня Никитич и Змей Горыныч
– Аленький цветочек
– Домовенок Кузька
– Мотылек
– Приключения поросенка Фунтика
– Сказка о царе Салтане
– Теремок
– Тигренок Клад
– Зима в простоквашино
– Бизнис по русски (episodes 1-2)

AUDIO ONLY:

– T Pratchett, “The Colour of Magic” (audiobook)
– Эхо Москвы (radio broadcasts + transcripts)
– The Big Podcast (several episodes)
– Princeton Russian Course (general review)

And here are some of the more or less unusual Russian words and phrases I picked up along the way:

“хихикнуть” (to giggle, tee-hee, titter), “хохотать” (to laugh out loud: “ho-ho”), “кукуруза” (corn, maize), “душа в пятки ушла” (his heart sank, lit. “his soul went (or perhaps more poetically, departed) into his soles”), “Мальчик с пальчик” (Tom Thumb), “Cпоки ноки!” (Nighty night!, short for “Cпокойной ночи!” – Good night!), “хобот” (elephant’s trunk), “боб” (bean), “жужжать” (to hum, buzz: “zhhh”), “вампир” (vampire, and ironically “вам пир” means “a feast for you” too), “задрот” (nerd), “разбойники” (robbers – sounds great, doesn’t it?!), “грабли” (garden rake to “grab leaves”), “баранка” (а ring-shaped bread or dry biscuit), “магарыч” (bribe – often alcoholic).

Wishing everybody a wonderful Christmas and every success with their language projects in the New Year!

Teango

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Russian Russian (254.5 hours)

Estimated reading level: 91% (B2) purple belt

Conversation rank: B1 (Майор)

Study update (10.8 hours)

TV / FILM (9.8 hours)
Джентльмены удачи – film
О чем говорят мужчины – film
Ширли-мырли – film
Я остаюсь – film
Аленький цветочек – animation
Домовенок Кузька – animation
Мотылек – animation
Приключения поросенка Фунтика – animation
Сказка о царе Салтане – animation
Теремок – animation
Тигренок Клад – animation

CONVERSATION (1 hour in total)

Wanderlust confessional

Just an episode of “Ros na Rún” (an Irish language soap opera), along with some French gangster flicks to report. Otherwise, my wanderings are pretty much curtailed for the time being.

Words of the week

Whilst reading a post over on HTLAL a little while back, I learnt that to offer someone a “магарыч” is to offer them a bribe, although I believe it originally refers to a treat (usually an alcoholic one) to mark a profitable business deal.

Another thing that made me smile was the German phrase “Klatsch und Tratsch”, which roughly translates as “gossip and scandal”; although for some bizarre reason I can only picture fuzzy little muppet detectives and Austrian jewellery stores right now (oh what a strange mind I must have)!

Notes

As I need to work and prepare for exams, I probably won’t be able to hop back on the Trans-Siberian Express until the icicles start melting again in February and probably all that’s left of the village snowman (if he makes his appearance this year at all) is a wonky carrot and a couple of grubby garden stones expropriated from the neighbour’s frosty flower bed. However, I’m still full steam ahead with the idea of journeying through intermediate linguistic tundra in the hope of reaching new pinewood heights by the middle of next year, and have an uncanny feeling deep down in my bones that 2012 will be the year I finally break through to advanced Russian. Well…a guy’s got to dream! 😉 In the meantime, over the coming months, I’m thinking of watching a Russian film every evening to keep the engine ticking over. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on my overall listening skills when I compare them later on, and I’m looking forward to picking up some bonus colloquial vocabulary along the way.

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Russian Russian (243.7 hours)

Estimated reading level: 91% (B2) purple belt

Conversation rank: B1 (Майор)

Study update (16 hours)

LISTENING AND READING (10.7 hours)
– J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – completed!
– М Булгаков, Собачье сердце

TV / FILM (2.7 hours)
– Дело было на Кубани, eps. 6-8 – series completed!

OTHER (2.6 hours)

Wanderlust confessional

I’ve recently added the online Georgian TV channel Rustavi2 to my brimming basket of wanderlust goodies (thanks to TixhiiDon from HTLAL), and yes…I may have even sneaked a naughty peak at an episode at the same time too. 😉

Words of the week

Today I bring you a couple of modern German verbs I encountered whilst watching a documentary on ZDFmediathek: “twittern” and “facebooken” (which as you can probably guess, means to contact someone via Twitter and Facebook). The simplicity of constructing new words is an aspect I particularly love about German!

Notes

Following the recent 6 week challenge, which helped me level up my reading skills in Russian a little, my brain seems to have absconded from studies almost altogether and taken an extended sedentary break. Perhaps it’s the realisation that reaching the next plateau is a little overwhelming, who knows?! My body, on the other hand, has taken this time to ease itself ever so gradually into a new fitness and healthy eating programme and make some reasonable gains. So over the next fortnight I’m hoping that both will finally agree to work together and rocket my Russian farther into the deep linguistic unknown…

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Russian Russian (227.7 hours)

Estimated reading level: 91% (B2) purple belt – Level up! Level up!

Conversation rank: B1 (Майор)

Study update (21.3 hours)

TV / FILM (5.9 hours)
– Дело было на Кубани, ep. 1
– Дело было на Кубани, ep. 2
– Дело было на Кубани, ep. 3
– Дело было на Кубани, ep. 4
– Дело было на Кубани, ep. 5
– Лунтик 151-156 (some overlap with last week)
– Место встречи изменить нельзя (ep. 1) – completed
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Смертельная схватка

LISTENING (4.4 hours)
– The Big Podcast, no. 570
– T Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

LR JOURNAL (2.5 hours)
– J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

MUSICAL LR / SC (2.2 hours)

TRANSLATE AND TICK (1.8 hours)
– Princeton Russian course A

LISTENING AND READING (1.4 hours)
– J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

CONVERSATION (1.3 hours)

READING (0.6 hours)
– Трудно быть богом (easy reader)
– Пётр и Пётр (easy reader)

STUDY AND CLICK (0.5 hours)
– Princeton Russian course A

VOCABULARY (0.4 hours, picture dictionary)
CORRESPONDENCE (0.3 hours, email)
KARAOKE CHORUS (0.2 hours)

Wanderlust confessional

Other than a brief interest in Marshallese (the Malayo-Polynesian language of the Marshall Islands), nothing much to confess.

Word of the week

“баранка” (а ring-shaped bread or dry biscuit) – simply because I’m hungry right at this very moment!

Notes

I’m much happier with my performance this week, although there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Everything seems to be coming together, and I think I’ve finally devised a good study programme to fast-track my Russian over the coming weeks. Amongst the changes, I’ll be including more music and creative writing in future, which are aspects I really enjoy! It also seems that both my reading and listening have stepped up another notch recently, as I’m able to understand a lot more now when I watch Russian tv or listen to fast podcasts.

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Russian Russian (206.4 hours)

Estimated reading level: 90% (B1+) blue belt

Conversation rank: B1 (Майор)

Study update (15.8 hours)

TV/FILM (9.4 hours)
– Лунтик 134-156
– Зима в простоквашино
– Неадекватные люди (2nd wave)
– Особенности национальной рыбалки
– Место встречи изменить нельзя (ep. 1)
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Охота на тигра
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Король Шантажа
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Смертельная схватка
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Знакомство (2nd wave)
– Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Кровавая надпись (2nd wave)

LISTENING AND REPEATING (2.6 hours)
– T Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

LISTENING AND READING (1.4 hours)
– J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

TRANSLATION (1.6 hours)
– Princeton Russian course A

CONVERSATION (0.8 hours)

CORRESPONDENCE (0.1 hours)

Wanderlust confessional

– 45 minutes of Latin (Lingua Latina)
– 60 minutes of Hawaiian (podcasts)

Word of the week

With all the gardening I’ve had to do recently, I happened to learn the word “грабли” (garden rake) – a very useful tool to grab leaves, especially with autumn fast approaching!

Notes

With so many other issues spiralling around me, it’s been an abysmal performance with Russian over the last few weeks. To put it bluntly, I simply haven’t had enough energy at the end of the day. So I’m taking next week off, and along with trying to get back on the road to fitness, hope to pull up my socks for the last week of the 6 Week Challenge.

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Russian Russian study

Active study: 28.6 hours (190.5 total)

– study-and-click: 7.6 hours
– – J K Rowling, “Гарри Поттер и тайная комната”
(Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) – in progress…

– tv: 10.6 hours
– – “Особенности национальной охоты” (film)
– – “Добрыня Никитич и Змей Горыныч” (film – animation)
– – “Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Знакомство” (tv movie)
– – “Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон: Кровавая надпись” (tv movie)
– – “Лунтик”, eps. 83-133 – season 2 completed!
– – “Гостья из будущего”, eps. 1-2
– – “Бизнис по русски”, eps. 1-2
– – “Холостяк”, ep. 1
– – “День радио” (film) – in progress…
– – “Неадекватные люди” (film) – in progress…

– conversation: 7.7 hours
– active listening: 2.6 hours
– grammar: 0.2 hours
– correspondence: 0.1 hours

Estimated reading level: 90% (B1+) blue belt – Level up! Level up!

Conversation rank: B1 (Майор)

Wanderlust confessional

I’ve watched some films in other languages since my last update, but no major elopements to report.

Teango’s words of the week

I came across an unusual bit of modern slang whilst watching the film “Неадекватные люди” the other day: задрот (perhaps it means nerd – I’m open to suggestions on this one). As far as I can gather, it’s basically someone who is meticulously engaged in a hobby to its ultimate conclusion, such as a computer game, almost oblivious to the rest of the world around them.

I’m also adding “разбойники” (robbers) to the list, simply because I love the playful pronunciation (and it sounds great as an echo whilst walking under a big bridge, although probably best not to chance fate a second time so near to London…).

Notes

I’m geared up and back on the bushwhacker trail this month, ready to cut swathes through fields of Harry Potter vocabulary with newly stropped listening sickles and reading scythes! 🙂

However the truth is I’ve been out of action for quite a while and have simply lost track of my exact hours and need to build up momentum again. So I’m grateful to the organisers of the Tadoku and 6 Week Challenge for creating Twitter bots that have recorded most of my hours lately.

I was further delighted to discover that my reading level had levelled up today to 90% (+6%), with only a couple of weeks’ study after an absence of any real study for months. And I’m also starting to gradually creep up the leader board in the 6 Week Challenge despite an initial hectic fortnight. I don’t fancy my chances of catching up the top flyers, of course, but I was particularly all smiles yesterday when I noticed 3 members of last year’s Team K from HTLAL all lined up within an hour of each other and nudging each other forward in Russian. Классно! 😀

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I’ve been ill over the last month, so you could say I’ve been forced to stay in my virtual Kirov a while longer than anticipated, waiting for the wagon to be repaired.

I should actually be up in Aberdeen right now, celebrating my cousin’s wedding in Fyvie castle (flights and hotel all booked), but sadly won’t be able to make the festivities and indulge in a bit of Scots as planned…

Phew! That's the lawn finished. Now for the windows...

Keep playing Dùghlas, the guests are bound to arrive soon...

*big sigh*

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