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

featured image from https://forums.sfep.org.uk/templates/sfep/images/sfep/sfep_banner_960x182.png

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

Project Polyglot Parry IV: Reborn! / New Year’s Resolutions 2016 @irishpolyglot #newyearsresolution @resolutions

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New Year’s Resolution 2016: An Update

Project Polyglot Parry: my personal quest to turn myself into a multilingual maestro. But I haven’t really applied myself to the task well of late. So one of my major new year’s resolutions for 2016 is to get back on track with my language learning. Part one of which is to start regularly doing Duolingo in Spanish and Swedish again. Well, I have now started.

One of the best ways of sticking to personal goals is to tell everyone. This way, social stigma forces you to see it through. Consider yourselves told.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

 

Project Polyglot Parry III: January 2016 Update @irishpolyglot

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Project Polyglot Parry is me turning myself into a multilingual maestro. Unfortunately, despite being pretty regular on Duolingo, the graphic below(PROJECT Polyglot Parry March 2014) is still an accurate reflection of my language levels. How can that be possible? I’m where I was 22 months ago! Ah yes; a combo of not enough practice and not pushing myself enough when I do practice. Well, learning languages is on my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, so I’ve got to get a grip. Enrolling on a class might be the way to force myself forward.

I don’t want to make excuses or put things off, but I am actually in the middle of several really important life things right now. I physically don’t have that much time. But I’m going to force myself to Duolingo again, effective immediate; I can do it on the bog (half an hour per language per day). Then I reckon in a couple of weeks or so, I can think about enrolling on classes and so on.

My ultimate goals for 2016 are to get myself the certificates and/or level of:

  • B1 TISUS level in Swedish,
  • B1 DELE in Spanish,
  • refresh my ancient Greek by successfully re-finishing Duff and then starting on Taylor’s GCSE to Greek I again,
  • Doing Portuguese Duolingo half an hour / two “disks” per day for the whole year.

As much as I’m keen on Basque — I’ve always loved the language, my wife is Basque, we have a house in the Basque Country –, I decided to only focus on learning that when I am certified C1 in Spanish.

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Polyglot Parry I
Polyglot Parry II

© 2015 – 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

Shadow-outline @FiatLingua #conlang

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A nonce word is one made up on the spot, for the occasion — a one-off, one-time-use word, as it were. Recently I wanted to say “silhouette”, but the word would not come to mind — so instead, shadow-outline plopped out.

I was immediately struck with how elegant and self-explanatory this nonce word is. Since then I’ve tried slipping it into conversation, but that’s been quite hard — how often do we talk about “silhouettes”, in any case? But when I have used it, it seems to have gone down well. That is, nobody has noticed I’ve smuggled in a made-up word — and I seem to have been clearly understood(!)

So there we are. Shadow-outline. A nonce word worth keeping around, perhaps? (if I do say so myself) And it also does away with remembering how to spell that Frenchy word S-I-L-H-O-U-E-T-T-E.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

this post originally appeared on my other blog Wrixlings: https://wrixlings.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/shadow-outline/

featured image from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhouette#/media/
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Hacking Portuguese

 

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I’ve stumbled upon this amazing website for learning Portuguese, and I just wanted to share it with you all.

http://hackingportuguese.com/

Enjoy!

featured image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Flags_of_Brazil_and_Portugal.svg

Rationalisation Measures

plainenglishNOTpngThe company that runs my workplace is changing. The new company recently sent a document through to all staff. This is such delightful gibberish that I just had to share it.

Restructure
CENSORED* will be a clustered model which may result in the requirement for less staff to undertake certain jobs where rationalisation can be achieved by combining roles and responsibilities or due to the terms of the contract resulting in the requirement for less staff in certain areas.

Wow. I mean… wow. Words fail me. There’s so much wrong with this sentence — and yes, check it out again, that is one sentence! Some lowlights:

  • 46 + word long sentence
  • “…clustered model…”
  • “…where rationalisation can be achieved…”

And the document just goes on and on.

But to be fair to my (new) company, this type of language is standard. But standard or not, it just isn’t on. There was a genius quote in the Evening Standard** by Lucy Tobin recently. She’s slagging off email etiquette, particularly that of employers(!) I want to share one of the zingers she comes out with:

This is what happens when managers who learned “how to deal with people” in a two-day module at business school are released into the community.

!!! Brilliant! And I’m keeping a clipping of this article for future students (and bosses!): yes, I’m an English teacher.

So, back to where I began. Instead of the, frankly, offensive drivel that my new employers splurged into my inbox, how about this?

Restructure
We will group CENSORED*. We may lay some people off in some areas, if we can, because it is cheaper to get two people to do three people’s jobs.

My version isn’t the pithiest or the best you could come out with. But that’s the point: I just splunked that off, but it is still shorter and makes far more sense. It also doesn’t patronise people with nonsense euphemisms like “rationalisation” and “combining roles and responsibilities”.

So there we have it. In other news, here’s the Plain English Campaign’s website.

This article first appeared in slightly different form on 14th August 2014 on my language blog Wrixlings

Notes:
*Company and work location deleted.
**Tuesday 29 July 2014, p15 Comment.

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Project Polyglot Parry

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I speak British, American, Australian, and Fajita Restaurant

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I’m an English teacher, linguist, and language nerd. However, I can’t speak any foreign languages; well, not properly anyway. I really do get turned on by reading about grammar and how different languages have differing strategies in how to approach any given area of communication. It thrills and delights me. People see my interest in languages and assume I’ve reached a pretty decent level in several. So they’re always disappointed to find out I only know English. “So, you’re not really a linguist then, are you?” they aggressively assert, apparently angered by being swindled out of what they thought was a genuine encounter with that most impressive and rare of beasts, a polyglot, an English polyglot to boot! I always retort that the greatest living linguist, Chomsky, only speaks English. Well, that’s nothing more than a grown-up version of the child’s comeback that,”I am rubber, you are glue…” Doesn’t convince me, doesn’t convince them, barely saves face. And Chomsky’s getting on, so I won’t even have that lame retort for much longer.

My problem is that I’m such a procrastinator and I always find an excuse to get distracted before I achieve my goals. I genuinely think I’ve got some kind of climax fear; I’m a bit of a perfectionist and this often holds me back. It manifests itself in all areas of my life; for example, chess: I always set up my pieces into a solid defensive formation, a real fortress, and then what? I just sit back and wait for my opponent to make a mistake. I get a kind of performance presure paralysis when it comes to me taking the first move. I think, when you get down to it, I’m generally scared to take the initiative because then it opens me up to possibly failing. It’s like I’d almost rather do nothing, and blame my crummy circumstances on everything else, than take the jump and put myself out there to get knocked down. My Dad was highly competitive, too, and would always say, “If you come second, you’re still a loser”. Nothing was good enough but perfection. Combine that with shyness and my Mum’s procrastinatory skills, and bam! Thanks, Mum and Dad! Reminds me of the Larkin poem This Be The verse.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad./
They may not mean to, but they do./
They fill you with the faults they had/
And add some extra, just for you.

But I’m tired of dreams filling my head, dreams I never come close to accomplishing or even acting on at all.

And so, in the year in which I’ll hit the big three-oh, I’ve decided to get a grip, at long last, and achieve my goals. And this time I’m for real; I’ve even bought a plastic ringbinder. I have moved beyond, ‘failure is not an option’, to, ‘even failing is a sign I am moving’. And moving is the first step towards moving forwards. So let’s start failing forwards instead of failing through inaction.

There’s several languages that I’ve had a desire to learn for a long time now. But let’s just limit myself to languages I’ve already got some real knowledge of. Currently I know:

  • Spanish to GCSE Foundation level / A2 (Common European Framework)
  • Swedish to A2
  • Ancient Koine Greek (well enough to read the New Testament mostly unhelped)

In order to keep me on track, I’m going to spell out my goals and have a yearly update on my progress. My five year plan (language-wise, at least), so to speak, is to:

  • Carry on with Spanish, course after back-to-back course, until I have achieved DELE (Diploma en Espanol como una lengua extranjera) C1.
  • Do one Swedex Swedish qualification a year starting with A2 this year. I will then achieve a TISUS (C1 level) in four/five years.
  • Successfully complete, again, (1) Duff’s Elements of New Testament Greek, and go on to do, (2) Taylor’s Greek to GCSE part 1, (3) Greek to GCSE part 2, (4) Taylor’s Greek Beyond GCSE, (5) a Classical Greek GCSE, (6) a Classical Greek A-Level.
  • Start to learn Modern Greek: do GCSEs and A-Levels in it.
  • Start to formally learn Basque (I already know some basic stuff). But I won’t start this for maybe three years until I have boosted up my Spanish, Swedish, and Greek.

So, I’ve written it down, now: the Internet Gods will not be best pleased if I give up. Check back in a year to see how well I am failing forwards.

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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