Friday, December 31, 2010

Svenska - Vecka 5

This is the last week of the month of Swedish.  I feel that this month has been my most productive one to date.  I have learned many things, not only about Swedish but about the study of language in general.  As a final test of my Swedish accomplishments for the month, I decided to read a newspaper article and figure out the percentage of words that I understood.  The tally ended up being this:

Total words:  416
Known words:  283
% of words known:  68.03%

I plan to do this from now on at the end of every month to gauge my growth every month, which I will share here.  I have one more day's worth of work in Swedish left, and then I will be starting Arabic on Saturday.

I began practicing in my apartment this week.  It is a little uncomfortable, only because I do not want to bother the other people in my building.  I try, however to only practice in the middle of the afternoon when few people are around.  I warmed up to an easy B-flat consistently this week and today was able to sing, rather comfortably, some A's in context which was encouraging!

Detta är den sista veckan i månaden i svenska.  Jag tycker att denna månad har varit min mest produktiva en hittills.  Jag har lärt mig många saker, inter bara om svenska, utan om att studera språk i allmänhet.  Som ett sista test av mina svenska prestationer för månaden, beslöt jag att läsa en tidningsartikel och ränka ut den procentuella andelen av ord som jag förstod.  Det stämmer till slut blev detta:

Totalt ord:  416
Kända ord:  283
% av de kända orden:  68,03%

Jag planerar att göra detta från och med nu i slutet av varje månad för att mäta min tillväxt varje månad, som jag kommer att dela här.  Jag har ytterligare en dag till ett värde av arbete i svenska vänstern, och då jag kommer att börja arabiska på lördag.

Jag började träna i min lägenhet denna vecka.  Det är lite obehagligt, bara för att jag inte vill besvära andra människor i mitt hus.  Jag försöker dock att endast praxis i mitten av eftermiddage när få människor runt.  Jag värmde upp till en lätt Bb konsekvent här veckan och i dag kunde sjunga, ganska bekvämt, några As i sammanhang som var uppmuntrande!

2011 Learning Plan

Since it is the end of the year, I feel I should update my learning plan.  Although Arabic is technically the end of my one-month cycle, I have decided that since January is the beginning of the year, that I would fix my cycle so that it corresponds more with the calendar year.  Therefore, Arabic will being my three-month cycle.  After this will follow Italian, French and German.  My goals for these four languages this year will be to get to an intermediate level in Arabic, a professional level in Italian and French, and an advanced intermediate level in German.  In addition to the three months allotted to each of these languages, I will continue to work on my Anki decks in Swedish, plus the languages of the present year as they come up.  Also, I plan to do my reading exercise/test in Swedish, plus the other four languages as they come up.  I will continue to maintain these things even once their allotted time is up.  I have determined that I should maintain as I go the languages which I have previously worked on at least once a month.  I think that this will add to my abilities and enable me to continue to grow, at least at a passive level.

A little further explanation of my reading exercise/test

For my reading test, I pick an article out of a native newspaper, read and click on the counter on my phone when I come across a word I do not know.  After I tally up those scores presented above, I then go back and catalog the unknown words into Anki with their relevant translation.  In this way I can add pertinent language to my vocabulary.  I choose the articles at random so that way my vocabulary can be varied.  My goal with these tests is to eventually get my % of known words above 95%.

Methodology Minute

This is going to be a new feature on the blog which I am hoping to make a vital point for those who read here.  I get very few readers here (I average about 32 per month), which is fine, but I realize that I should try to use this as a medium to assist those who may be interested in either learning a language or singing or anything really  rather than just simply talk about myself all the time.  I am hoping that this will bring in  more readers eventually if it proves to be helpful enough.  As I have been going through this adventure I have learned a great many things in various topics, which I will share here.  These topics will be whatever is on my mind at the time of writing and may be very broad in topics ranging from language to singing to time management, etc.  I hope that someone finds these things helpful in some way.

There are many people who are much more accomplished in the languages than I am who nearly abhor flashcards and SRS systems in general.  They tend to prefer learning words in context, or learning sentences instead, or simply going out and socializing with native speakers.  I applaud them in their accomplishments and do believe that these things are a vital part of learning languages to a high level.  I will not argue with them as I respect them and have learned many things from their respective blogs and youtube channels (I will talk about these things in a later post).  I have found in my studies, however, that my Anki deck is a very valuable resources in my study of languages.  The beauty of Anki, as pointed out in an earlier post, is that you can grade yourself on how well you know a word, or phrase, and the software decides when you should next review that card.  I have gone through nearly 500 words in my Swedish deck, and the results are shown in my reading test.  The other lovely thing about Anki is that you can make your own cards and modify them as you continue to learn more.  In my deck, verbs are conjugated into four tenses:  Present, Imperfect, Imperative and Supine.  As I learn a new tense I go back and add it to my cards, thus increasing my knowledge of the word and the grammar.  I think that flashcards, especially systems such as Anki are an invaluable resources for learners, not just of languages but of all fields.  If I had known about Anki in college I would have used it for all of my music history dates, composers and major works.  I strongly encourage anyone who needs to learn and memorize any information to use Anki.  It is not for the short-term learner, but for the person who wants to make sure they know something forever.

Note:  College students, this means you need to put all your relevant dates in earlier rather than later because if something is graded Easy by you three times or more you won't see it again for at least a month!

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