Tuesday, January 25, 2011


After this last week, I feel like I've gotten a fresh kiss from winter. What was I thinking, coming to the cabin in such cold weather? One night it reached -30 below - real temperature. This is in an uninsulated log cabin.

Anyway, we're back in the 20s and heading to above freezing by the end of the week.

I watched Vinterkyss, a rather sad, but good Norwegian movie that came out in 2005. Surprisingly, there was a substantial portion of the movie that was in English. I didn't mind. It served its purpose in the film.

I also put up a couple more entries on Lang-8. I'm so happy to be using it now. I've already gotten good corrections and learned things from it. And made a couple new friends in the process too! Originally, I was thinking to only write my entries in Norwegian for now, then maybe mid-year start with Polish entries. I may move that up by a couple months and hopefully start with Polish entries by March.

I've gone through another chapter in Rzeź bezkręgowców. That's coming along nicely, even if a bit slower than I'd originally planned.

And I've gone through two more lessons from Teach Yourself Turkish. I'm at the point right now where grammar is really making a difference, and as a result, it's requiring much more attention to detail. I'm happy with my progress, in any case.

Overall, it's been a pretty productive week. I've even had a fair amount of translation work. And I'm kind of amazed I've been able to do all this from the cabin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A fantastic movie and a bit of reading and writing

I got a chance to watch Elling, an absolutely fantastic Norwegian film the other night. I HIGHLY recommend this film! By far the best Norwegian film I've seen to date. It was also the easiest film to follow the entire dialog that I've watched. I'd like to think that a week away from hearing any Norwegian refreshed my senses and that was the reason I understood so much, but I doubt it. It was just a great movie and kept me interested. There are a couple other movies that are related that I'll have to check out: a prequel and a sequel.

I've also finally begun using lang-8 for writing. We'll see how that goes. There really aren't all that many native Norwegians there, so we'll see how often the corrections come. Because I'm a free account member, I can only list two study languages. It's not a problem for now, since I'm not ready to start writing in Polish, much less in Turkish. Unrelated, by what's up with so many Norwegians studying Japanese? The majority of Norwegian users are Japanese learners.

I'm getting through the Polish novel Rzeź bezkręgowców nicely. I'm pretty happy with that. It's not too difficult for me, and I like the author's writing style. Many of Chmielewska's novels have been translated into English, so I will probably try and read her in English at some point too. Just not this year.

I'm about half way through the Teach Yourself Turkish course. I'm very happy with how that's progressing. I don't know the exact count, but I would guess that my Turkish vocabulary is at about 1200 or so words. Not bad for having studied the language for under three months.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kind of a rough week

This last week has been austere, as far as language-learning goes.

I decided to come up to the cabin to enjoy some quiet winter time. The trip itself was no problem. Heating up the place was no problem either, despite the thermometer showing 10 degrees fahrenheit indoors when I arrived.

The problem? My AC adapter for my laptop died. That means that when the battery finally died (a mere three hours after firing it up), I lost access to a good deal of my material. And in a very remote part of northwestern Wisconsin at that. Luckily I have neighbors year round here and could at least head down to their place and check my email, etc. I was able to order a replacement charger through amazon.com, and it finally came today. Yay! I have everything back.

So what have I done these last few days? Well, I have a Nokia internet tablet that I could still use, and luckily, I'd copied a couple things to it. I had copied my Colloquial Norwegian course to it. So for Norwegian, that's what I'd done. There was a decent amount of writing practice, as well as exercises to keep me busy and feel productive.

For Polish, I'd managed to copy Zaczynam Móvić po Polsku. It wasn't the Chmielewska novel I'd started, and the book is substantially easier than I'd wanted, but it was fine in a pinch.

Thankfully, I had also copied over my Teach Yourself Turkish course, so I could continue on with that without any interruption.

Now that I've got everything back, tonight I'll be watching Elling, a Norwegian film. I'm looking forward to that! And after that, well, I've got enough Norwegian films to take me through a couple weeks. Of course, I'll continue watching NRK, especially the news and documentaries available.

But above all, I'm happy that I have solid access to the internet again. I had forgotten how tedious it was to actually use a paper dictionary.

Monday, January 3, 2011

More movies

I've continued with Norwegian cinema. This last week I watched two offbeat movies - just my style. The first was Budbringeren. Overall, easy to understand, and I liked the story, even if it was somewhat depressing. There wasn't a whole lot of dialog, so truth be told, it was really just a normal movie-watching experience. I'd like to say that it's because I'm getting just that comfortable with watching Norwegian movies in general - and maybe I am - but the next movie I watched tells me no. The second movie I watched was Naboen. An equally quirky movie, if not more violent. Where Budbringeren was easy to follow, Naboen was irritatingly difficult to understand at times. Lots of different accents going on. That one I will watch again.

I'm also watching a lot of NRK programming, now that I've found their great plugin for XBMC. In fact, I've been going through a lot of their documentaries. There's a lot of interesting stuff to keep me interested.

I'm also making a concerted effort to improve my writing in Norwegian. A while back, I went through two courses, both completely in Norwegian, the first titled På Vei, which is considered A2 material, and Stein på stein, which supposedly takes the learner up to B2 level. I used both the textbook and the audio, but never went through the workbooks. Well, I got my hands on the workbooks and am now going through the Stein på stein one. It's a nice review, and is really cementing my written Norwegian.

I'm back on track with my reading in Polish too. A friend of mine recommended I check out Joanna Chmielewska. She's primarily a crime/thriller novelist, much in the same vein as Patricia Cornwell, but a generation older. So I found a copy of Rzeź bezkręgowców (Kill all Invertebrates). I haven't really started in other than the first couple pages, but it has much more familiar language than Linia Czasu has. So I'm hopeful. Her writing seems to be very much from a woman's point of view - again, much like Patricia Cornwell - but that's fine. I'm just thrilled I found some original, engaging literature.

I've gone through one more chapter of Teach Yourself Turkish. I'm still very happy with my progress with Turkish. If anything, I wish I had more time to devote to it.