Oof. Ouch. Yikes. "Stay tuned", he says. Well, if you did stay tuned for half a year, I'd like to apologize. I don't have any excuse really, but that makes the apology more weighty in a way, right? Sorry. But what happened after that last post? Did I finally fucking download Babbel? Yes, actually! And it held what it promised, from what I can estimate. I got a free weeklong sample subscription with full intention of letting it expire and becoming a paying longterm user (even though it was somewhat more expensive than I had anticipated at roughly €100 per year) about two weeks after my last post. It was kind of frustrating to have to start from the beginning, but immediately, the lessons felt more comprehensive than Duolingo's, providing more context and going into the grammar. Additionally, it had the advantage of being on my phone, like Duolingo before. Though less addictive than that app, I believe that I would have been able to keep up with it (and might have even finished the course by now), but... 100 € is a lot of money... So, just so I could sleep soundly at night, I went to the public library to check if they had any swedish learning resources I could borrow for free on the day before my membership ran out. And they did! A whole set of two books and 3 Cds specifically for teaching yourself. Perfect! And FREE!!! So I cancelled my membership at the last second and took the set home. And then? Pretty much nothing. There's two reasons for this: For one, the barrier of entry is much higher, since I have to specifically sit down at my table and potentially even get my cd player set up to start learning with the set, wheras with Babbel I could do a lesson on the bus, quickly and without having to bother with the complications of a workbook which I cannot actually write in, since it's from the library. Because of this, I either have to note the answers in my head which leads to self-cheating and a lack of the sense of coherent progress you get when filling out a workbook, or I have to get a seperate notebook to copy the questions and answers into, which turns the whole ordeal into an even bigger hassle. This whole barrier of entry thing might not seem like much, but I'm the kind of disgusting loser who takes months to get through non-handheld videogames because he can't be bothered to plug in the cords when its so much easier to lay in bed with youtube on autoplay. The other reason is that besides the whole IKEA thing, I really don't have anything motivating me to learn Swedish. It has a relatively small amount of speakers, and I don't really care about the culture. Now, Portugese- that's a language I'm motivated to learn! I could sing along to (and understand) my beloved Bossa nova and mpb, I could read Clarice Lispector's whole catalogue, I could visit (move to?!?!?!?!?!) sunny Brazil. But Swedish? I don't know man. Nothing comes to mind. Frankly, I'm suprised at how far I managed to get, being the person I am. The Duolingo Spotify Wrapped clone dropped the other day and revealed that I was in the top 6% of users last year. WHich is persumably less impressive than it sounds on first brush, since I assume about 50% of users signed up because it was free, gave up after at most a week and never deleted their accounts. But still. For something which really was just a stupid bit, I have put a shocking amount of effort into learning Swedish. Wasted effort, some might say. And they might be right. But I'm on that sunk cost fallacy shit, baby. Plus, people seemed to be really into this idea and I feel bad to have left them hanging like this. So I'm making learning Swedish my New Year's resolution. Just so you don't get your expectations too high, though: Even if I do manage to keep it up this year, this is a loooongterm project. I don't think I'm gonna enter the actually-reading-books-in-IKEA-phase in 2023. I need to have a pretty high reading comprehension for that. I might do a testrun in a few months though, just to see what I'm up against. Until then, it's studying with the new coursebooks I got for my birthday.
PS: check out this rare based IKEA moment
I was kind of ripped off the other day... There was this used book seller who had a stand set up infront of the Unis cafeteria. After browsing a bit, I asked him if he had anything on learning Swedish, and he pointed towards a coursebook for beginners. That was exactly what I'd been looking for: a physical, quantifiable 1 and done thing after wich I could confidently say: "My Swedish is on (insert Letter/number combination) level". No apps, no ads or subscription services, no crowdsourced courses. Certified international shit, baby. So I bought it for 14€, but when I opened it up back home, the receipt came flying out: Seven. He bought it at a STORE for 7 Euros. This dude's got a 100% profit margin selling used books to naive, impulse-buying students like me who seemingly fail to realize that they could easily WALK to the source of these books - the enumerable used book stores and Antiquariats in the Inner City - in 10 Minutes. I wouldn't be so stuck on this if the book actually helped me. Turns out I might have been too harsh on the Duolingo course. I flipped to the last page and it was still baby stuff. Feeling really stupid. I seriously should have just signed up for Swedish II, I'm sure I could have managed, and I need a bunch of language credits for the Study program I'm switching to anyway.
Few days later, having some time to kill, I walked into an academic book store (this city is 67% book), and they did have some higher level professional grade workbooks, but those cost FIFTY EUROS. Can't cough up that kind of money for something so stupid with how expensive food's getting. Therefore, I shall finish this post, as I am aware is starting to become a pattern in these updates, with an appeal to myself to set up a Babbel account. Stay tuned to find out if I finally follow through on that!
btw, the swedish course thing ain't working out. Appearently, the beginner course is only available during winter semesters, and i didn't have the balls to sign up for Swedish II. Babbel it is!
I'm halfway through the Duolingo Swedish course. Wich might sound like an impressive accomplishment to anyone who's taken one of the more popular language courses on Duolingo and is used to them having 7 or more units, but as the swedish course is severly undercooked (proven, for example, by there being none of the "stories", the existence of wich I found out about when I opened up the German course out of curiosity, by all of the line readings being done by the same female text to speech voice (wich calls into question the usefulness of the listening exercizes), and by it being only available in english, meaning I'm learning my third language in my second), it only consists of 4 units. Basic math should now suffice to tell you that it took me 4 months to get through two units, and your face should rightfully contort itself into a grimace displaying a nutritious blend of disappointment and disgust. Truth is: those first three months were pretty fruitless. I'd get really into it for a day, doing courses for hours on end until I couldn't HEAR the sound of the "ding!" you get with each correct answer anymore over my chronic groaning. I'd be hungover the next day, let my streak freeze do its job and promise myself to get back to it the day after, only to never do so. But in the last 4 weeks, something changed. Some might suspect that I managed to fall into a healthier routine of doing a set daily amount, say, "15 minutes a day", as the app/site's own loading screens proudly proclaim would be enough to teach me a new language. NOOOOOOPE. The gacha shit hit me, that's what happened. I'm not a psychologist or nothin', but number go up make brain feel good. A concept that works on gross png collecting weebs shall also work on me, someone who would be one of the latter if he wasn't filled with insurmountable amounts of SHAME. I found myself frantically turning on the computer at 15 minutes to midnight and belting out a lesson as fast as possible to keep that damn streak going. I found myself - Mr. Uncompetitive in the flesh! - nervously eyeing the leaderboards. Yesterday (orthedaybeforetheyallblendtogether) I found myself in the DEMOTION ZONE after having been to busy to do my usual way-too-many-lessons-a-day for a bit and managed to get myself up to ninth place over the course of an afternoon. When only one hour was left, someone had overtaken both me and the guy before me, placing me right at the edge of the PROMOTION ZONE. I was fucking sweating, did a few more lessons, but it wasn't enough to get me entirely out of the reach of the guy in 11th. I was PRAYING that he didn't get online, as a little green ball next to his icon in the leaderboards would have indicated. When the countdown for the last minute began, I wanted to shout at my phone to hurry the FucK up, even though there was no conceivable way for anyone below me to get enough xp to somehow surpass me in one minute. I got FOURHUNDREDFIFTYSOMETHING EXP that day. I am currently on a 26 day streak. I am at the moment of writing in 3rd place of the Amethyst league. And I'm showing no signs of stopping. If this keeps up, I'll finish the course before the new semester begins. During wich, by the way, I'm planning to take a real swedish course. I think I should sign up for the beginner course, even if 5 units would put me on equal footing with a student of 4 semesters, as the app says. Those research results they're basing that statement on have definitely been embellished. I can sense it in my urin. Or maybe my expectations of uni language courses are just too high. We'll see.
I've been learning swedish on/off using Duolingo for about 2 months now, and I don't feel like it's a very great tool for learning languages, to be honest. For one, they don't actually teach you the grammar. They'll just present you a word you already know in a new grammatical setting, and you have to guess what it means, wich isn't too hard, as you're given several possible solutions to choose from, and the word wich you know it is because you recognize the stem of the vocab only comes up once, in its correct grammatical form. So you choose that word, say the plural of "boy", without knowing WHY the plural is formed like that and without being able to infer how to form Plurals of similar words, or how the ending of the word might change if it was put in a posessive context, for example. You're essentially learning the language word for word, on a case by case basis, at an agonizingly slow pace. Add to that the way the thing is set up with all its silly little characters and gacha game bullshit and the fucking owl keePS SPAMMING MY MAIL INBOX!!! I'm just not a big fan of that. But I guess that's what you get for free. A discord server focused on learning swedish vouched for Babbel, but that used to be out of the question as it's a 5 Euros per month subscription service. Now that my Bafög has quadrupled, I might set up an account there.