Crosswords and language learning

I’ve almost finished adding a crossword game to SL. To be more precise, I’ve added it to SL but it isn’t entirely finished. There are bugs, and all things being equal they will be fixed next week.

I uploaded it by mistake too early. So if you try it, go easy on me.

Remember PPPPPP?

Proper planning prevents p**s poor performance. (No swearing on my blog). Unless you are FBTFFOF – work that out yourself. Anyway, as usual my attention to detail planning wise is poor. Very poor.  These reasons and many more explain why I write iPhone Aps for a living, rather than run a FTSE 100 company or something more grown-up.

For the geeks among you, feel free to copy the code (mainly javascript). I wouldn’t recommend it particularly, as it turns out that writing a decent crossword generator is something you need to do more than once to get it right. And as with so many things in life, it might well be something you only do once. It also turns out that my javascript knowledge isn’t as l33t as it could be. Ho. Hum. This isn’t the first time I’ve written shonky code, and it won’t be the last 🙂

For the non geeks/programmers javascript is a programming language commonly used to make webpages more splooshy. (I’m going to turn auto-correct off. I meant to write splooshy, and definitely not splashy).

I’m really hoping that these crossword generators will be a useful language learning resource, as picking up vocabulary can be difficult and needs re-inforcement in as many different ways as possible. This struck me as a good one – while chilling in the garden drinking a cool cider or maybe red wine.

Peace,

MF

 

Italian & Polish

It has been some time since I’ve mentioned either Polish or Italian in my ramblings, what with the dictionary issues and all. On that note, I’ve added the first one, and even finished the first of four dictionary based games.

So, all is going well on the programming side of things:)

But what about language learning?

At the beginning of this year, I set myself the (arbitrary) goal of reaching the B1 language level in both Polish and Italian. I already spoke some Italian (A1 ish) but not very much and no Polish at all, but SL is about languages, and I should learn them …

So where am I at?  (Don’t write like that kids if you want to pass your exams.)

My Italian is going well. I have a conversation partner and speak once a week. I’m starting to feel more confident in speaking (although with plenty of mistakes), and am starting to get a feel for how the language works. Success breeds success, and I’ve been spending more time on Italian than Polish over the last six weeks or so. Earlier in the year I spent more time on Polish, so I imagine the overall time spent will even out over the coming months.

I’m confident I will reach the B1 standard in Italian before the end of this year, and this will give me a good base going forward.

As an aside, I’m finding Italian grammar more complex than Spanish, but I don’t know if this is because it is more complex or just that I’m more accustomed to Spanish.

And now onto Polish.

Well, I was told by a Polish speaker the other day that Polish was very difficult for English speakers to learn.

I’m not going to disagree with that assessment.

If I had to guess my level, I’d say it is a low A1 – in other words I’m still very much at the beginner level. There is no way (this year) that I will reach B1 or even A2.

Surprisingly perhaps, I feel fine with this. Polish is a difficult language for english speakers to learn for many reasons. It is not impossible, but it is difficult. I am making progress, but slowly. The grammar is hard, most of the commonly used words are completely unrelated to english or romance languages, and there are a lot of consonants. (Actually, that isn’t a good reason for my tribulations with Polish, but there are a lot of consonants. How does this work playing scrabble. Is it easier or harder?)

I only have so many hours in the day, and so many hours to spend on Italian/Polish and while I will reach a good level in both (given time) I’m in no hurry – no tengo prisa, non devo sbrigarmi,  nie jestem w pospiechu (??). It is about the journey, and I don’t feel frustrated with my slow pace of learning. As long as I carry on improving, I will reach my goal.

But as well as this, I think that it is easy to forget how much there is involved to  reach a good A1 standard. I was ‘roughly’ assessed to be A1 in Italian at the start of the year, and I was surprised by how much I then needed to improve to reach A2.

So, I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved so far.

Anyway, it is a nice day, and I’m off to water some geraniums:)

Peace,

MF

 

Polish and some other stuff

I’ve added and now fixed a new word game on SL, and here is an example in  Afrikaans chosen at random.

This leads neatly into – because of the awesome programming of SL 😉 …

As a programmer I’m good enough and pretty much know what I’m doing, but when learning languages I feel much less certain. I’m writing this as I’ve just finished reading some motivational blogs re language learning to encourage me with my Polish struggles, and it amazes me how confident people are.

In real life, I’m quite outgoing, noisy even (maybe hard word if you are uncharitable?). But writing a blog I feel much less confident. I don’t like making definite statements in general and certainly not regarding languages. Life and learning isn’t black and white. There is often no right or wrong but subtleties, nuances and shades (of grey).  These shades are interesting. Apparently.

I don’t even like making definite statements about programming or running websites – areas in which I feel much more certain and have more experience. There is so often more than one approach to a problem. More than one way to skin a cat and One mans meat is another mans poison sums it up. I like maxims. Pithy and to the point.

So, regarding my slow journey with Polish, there is nothing definite, other than it is difficult but rewarding.

Polish

I’ve been learning Polish since the start of the year. Not full time. I have a family, job, dog, cat (low maintenance), this website and all sorts of activities going on – mainly arranged by my wife. Luckily. Otherwise I wouldn’t do much other than walk the dog.

The above are excuses  the setting within which I’m learning Polish – or trying to. Ok so where am I? The last time I wrote about this (a month ago?) I decided that I needed to focus on vocabulary acquisition.

Polish Vocabulary Acquisition

I learn Polish words and then forget them.

I’ve learnt about 1000 words. 🙂

I remember about 100 🙁

I can’t speak for anyone else, and I don’t think I am any worse at language learning than the rest of the world, but I am finding it difficult to retain Polish vocab.

What can I say in Polish?

It is not all doom and gloom.

I can introduce myself. I can say jestem rolnikiem (I am a farmer), jestem kelnerem (I am a waiter) or jestem studentem (I am a student). So I can almost say what I do!.

I can say where I am from ‘jestem z Anglii‘ and so on.

I can (more or less) order food – proszę frytki (chips please)

I can say what I like – lubię chodzić (I like walking)

So basically I can say a few things but it you were stuck in a lift with me (and only spoke Polish) it would rapidly become boring.

This will I think drive the next top secret  expansion of SL. This is sort of a hint as to how I hope to (time permitting) expand SL. Only five people read this blog yesterday, and if you five can keep a secret I’ll tell you now …

But what if one of you can’t? Hmmmm … the risk is too great.

So to change the subject :-

I’m about to add audio for the european portuguese pages. Yipee!!

With luck this should be done by next week – ready for the summer hols. So happy days for anyone going to Portugal – who doesn’t want to buy a language course!! And just wants to learn a few words and phrases. Actually quite a few. Over a thousand…

Peace,

MF

PS

Or Madeira?