Things Always Planned Are Never Completed

I’ve got so many projects of so many different kinds that I’m working on, that I will probably never get half of them finished. As an example, I have several languages which I have made up. I’ll give you a second to get over the shock of that… yes, I invent languages. Ready to move on? Good. Tolkien spent his whole life working on the languages Quenya and Sindarin, more-or-less non-stop, and he still, by his own admission, never got anywhere close to “finishing” these two projects. Yeah, well, I’ve got more than two made up languages, and I’ve got a whole bunch of other projects besides.

Therefore, I have recently resolved to try to release my projects in dribs and drabs so that, at the very least, some little things end up being circulated, out there, in the big wide world. I mean, it’s not just that some projects are lengthy; life is short, and you never know when “some blind hand shall brush [your] wing”, as Blake put it.

So you may soon start to see snippets of things which hint at larger works released.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Neologism: Parchment Contract

So, me and some workmates were talking about older work contracts today and how people on older contracts have much better terms and conditions than people on new contracts. It’s like, it gets progressively worse over the last thirty years. Seems to be common across organisations. Anyway, I said,  ‘Of course so-and-so was entitled to such-and-such a benefit; their contract is so old it’s written on parchment’. And then I was, okay, “parchment contracts”.

So there we are, I offer my nonce word up as a useful new word:

parchment contract n. phr. an older contract with preferential terms and conditions and pay, specifically used in bitter reference to how such contracts are now ancient, long-forgotten, history, and never likely to return.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Project Polyglot Parry VIII: Duolingo: English-Spanish Duolingo UN-Accomplished @duolingo #duolingo

As recently as this four posts ago, I posted an update proudly sharing how I had conquered the English-Spanish tree/course in Duolingo. Yet by the very next day, Duolingo had apparently updated the course — something they almost never do. Okay, good news: extra material to learn to take me to the next level. But the bad news: they updated the course with a lot of new material. Just check out the pictures below. I am miles from completing the tree! Waaa. I feel like someone who’s been retroactively stripped of my gold medal through no fault of my own (think: Usain Bolt’s third Olympic gold for the 4x100m relay; yes, that is an exactly analogous situation!)

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

Project Polyglot Parry VII: Duolingo: English-Spanish Duolingo Accomplished @duolingo #duolingo

I’ve finished my third Duolingo tree! Well done me. This time, I finished the English language for Spanish speakers tree. I clearly already speak English, but having previously completed the Spanish for English speakers course, it seemed like a natural next step. As it happens, I have learnt things and been tested in ways that didn’t happen doing the Spanish for English speakers course. For that reason, I would recommend everyone to do this “reverse tree”.

So, what are the next steps?

  1. Get the Spa-Eng tree golden and keep it golden! And keep my Eng-Spa and English-Swedish trees golden, too!
  2. Spend more time doing the Duolingo Eng-Spa, Spa-Eng, and Eng-Swe courses on Tinycards and on Memrise.
  3. Spend more time doing listening work: Notes in Spanish and 8-Sidor (news site and podcast).

These three steps should last me till the Summer or thereabouts. Upon which I will need to reassess again. Probably (4) do a language exchange, (5) start studying more closely to the DELE and Swedex curriculums, (6) think about enrolling on a course at the Cervantes Institute.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

Project Polyglot Parry VI: Swedish Duolingo Accomplished! @duolingo #duolingo

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I’m a real language-lover. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to be fluent in several languages. Unfortunately, aged thirty and after many, many false starts, I’m still only fluent in English! But hitting thirty made me determined that I will achieve my life goals — including fluency in several languages.

To keep my language learning on track, I’ve been doing regular updates. Read all my Project Polyglot Parry posts here.

I’m very proud to say that I completed the English>Swedish tree in Duolingo on 29/10/16! 😀 They even gave me this handsome (virtual) trophy!

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My next goal is to complete the Duolingo English for Spanish speakers course. At my current rate of two-three sessions a day, I reckon I can finish the new tree by the end of March. And after that, I want to get to the maximum level possible on Duolingo in Spanish and Swedish: level 25 (that’ll take a while, though).

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

Next Step in Blogging? #newyearsresolution @resolutions #SMART

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Me: I’ve got a blog
Other Person: Ooh! What do you blog about?
Me: Err, y’know, I’unno: stuff I’m interested in. Language, politics, atheism and religion, healthy living, films, err, sport…
Other Person: Err, okay?
Other Person’s eyes glaze over and they look bored and disappointed

I’ve had the above exchange loads of times.* Apparently blogs need one overriding, dominant theme. Yet I’ve always thought of this blog as being like a (admittedly crappy) newspaper or magazine: of course plenty of different topics will be dealt with.

But apparently I’ve misunderstood how blogs are supposed to work. Therefore, I’m guessing this blog needs to focus on one topic. It can bring other random stuff in it, but it’s got to be 90% one thing. After all, my YouTube channel — which I kind of view this blog as the written version thereof — is probably 75% atheism/religion, 25% everything else, and my subscriber base bears that out.

The problem: I’m interested in too many things. I don’t want to limit this blog’s content!

So maybe I need to keep this blog as my kind of “core” or “hub” blog, but spin off various other blogs which solely focus on my topics of choice.

But this approach has a problem, too.

I simply do not have enough time to post, say, four blog entries a week, one for each of my prospective blogs (e.g. the Health and Lifestyle Blog, the Religion & Philosophy blog, the Languages Blog, the Film Review Blog). I’m barely finding time to do one blog entry a week. But that’s the sad and frustrating thing:

I have so much waffle to say and not enough time to say it. Gah!

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 has to be to massively increase my time spent blogging. It would help if I could get some residual income from my articles! That would give justification (to my wife!) for me to devote such extravagant amounts of time to the endeavour.

Let’s see if I can crack on with this in the new year.

*I was going to say “cottrels of times”, but apparently “cottrels” is a dialectal word that nobody’s ever heard of. Who woulda thought that an insular and undiscovered dialects existed in West London, eh!

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

Project Polyglot Parry V: September 2016 Update @irishpolyglot #newyearsresolution @resolutions @duolingo #duoling

 

I’m learning two main languages, Spanish and Swedish. I’ve been using Duolingo to learn them of late (in fact, I’m more-or-less relying on Duolingo at the moment, which isn’t good; you should use more than one resource to give you good variation). I’ve been doing around 30 minutes a day for each language, which is the bare minimum you should do.

If you know how Duolingo works, I’ve just managed to fully regild my completed Spanish tree. Which is great news. Next steps:

  1. Keep the tree gold.
  2. Work on and complete the “reverse tree”; that is, the English for Spanish speakers course (which is a learnsome challenge). Then keep that gold.
  3. Start the online virtual Spanish classroom from the Cervantes Institute, probably at B1 level.
  4. Go and sit a B1 level DELE.

This will make me firmly intermediate in level. I should have started step 3 by Summer 2017, and maybe completed step 4 by the following summer. When Finish step 4, I’ll work out the best way to keep that level and build on it. The ultimate goal is to be C2, of course.

I was stuck on Swedish for a long time. I kept mucking up infinitives and this sapped my energy. But I’ve been powering on lately. Moving onto new topics has got me pretty excited. In particular, I have loved getting to grips with the kommer att future form and the håller på present continuous. There’s a lesson for you: don’t get bogged down on troublesome topics, as it will kill it for you. Just keep moving.

I hope to have finished the tree by 30th November. So my middle-term plan is thus:

  1. Finish and keep the Swedish for English speakers tree golden.
  2. There is no English for Swedish speakers course, so I need to start a distance / online / self-learning course at B1 level (I am, more-or-less A2 right now).

2016 actually marks ten years of learning Swedish(!) I’m pretty sure I should be fluent right now. Cambridge recommends 1000-1200 hours to be fluent (C2); so, studying an hour a day, I should have been at C2 level by 2010. But more on that next time!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

The Greatest Frustration Duolingo Can Give… @duolingo #duolingo

… is when you get a sentence wrong because you idiotically made a mistake on the ENGLISH!! 😀

DuolingoFail

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

Semantic Satiation @thesfep

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Editing a student’s MSc dissertation earlier. For some reason, this Briton wrote using entirely American spelling. I read and corrected the word “behavior” so many times that I genuinely became skeptical that it was an English word at all; with or without the “u”, it seemed like a French word I had only just now come across. Yet I was sure I could remember using it five minutes previously and knowing what it meant.

Semantic Satiation, a not uncommon affliction when I edit people’s work. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

P.S. I can edit your work for you. HIRE ME NOW. I NEED TO EAT.

© 2016 Bryan. A. J. Parry

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The Greatest Pleasure Duolingo Can Give… @duolingo #duolingo

…is when you finish one lesson but it refreshes more than one!

😀

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© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry