Sunday, February 27, 2011

Music, music.

Music is primarily on my mind, but I'll document what else I've done this week, too. I get all excited about music in general in February because of an Italian music festival - Festival della canzone italiana di San Remo. I can't help it. It was the first and only European music festival I had the privilege of attending. How my friend scored tickets to it is beyond me, but I'm glad he did. Anyway, this is the oldest festival of its kind in Europe. And it's a precursor to Eurovision. There are similar song festivals throughout Europe.

On to Norwegian, I watched the Norwegian film Bare Skyer Beveger Stjernene (Only Clouds Move the Stars). It's a good family film that deals with family loss. And the girl that plays Maria - Thea Sofie Rusten - is fantastic in her role. My next movie for the week is Svidd Neger, which looks like a really interesting story. I'll recap in my next post.

Since I've been spending a good portion of my winter either in the Twin Cities or in Northwestern Wisconsin, I'm sort of in the heart of Norwegian immigrant territory. I've been able to speak the language more than I would have thought before coming up here, even if the people I talk to speak a somewhat archaic Norwegian.

Since I finished the Chmielewska novel I've been looking for something else to read, preferably another one of her books. No such luck in finding anything. I have a substantial Polish pop music collection, so I've been listening a lot to that. And it fits in with my music obsession this week.

The Türkçe Öğreniyoruz series of language courses I picked up are really good. Very different accents on the audio, and as I mentioned last post, everything is in Turkish. I'm cruising though the second course, since most of the contents of the first course I've already learned elsewhere. I also managed to find a Skype partner for Turkish, so I can practice not just writing, but speaking. We've agreed to chat twice a week, and already I'm feeling more confident. I also discovered another Turkish singer - Gökhan Özen. I'm listening to him as I write this post, as a matter of fact. I'm enjoying his high-energy music.

On a final note, I have to giggle a little at the Norwegian, Polish and Turkish top 20 charts. Bruno Mars in on all of them. I know I'm an old coot, but what's up with that?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not wanting to write.

I'll just get this out of the way, right out of the gate: I have not been in any kind of mood whatsoever to write. At all. In any language.

But that's OK. I've been doing what I've set out to do, and that's progress with my languages.

In the last couple weeks I've seen two Norwegian films: En Ganske Snill Mann (A Somewhate Gentle Man), starring Stellan Skarsgård (very funny!) and Salmer fra Kjøkkenet (Kitchen Stories). Salmer fra Kjøkkenet was interesting to me - I've always been interested in the friction between Sweden and Norway (or between Sweden and any other Scandinavian country, for that matter) and this movie handles the subject in any interesting way. I also got a hold of Sønner, but frankly, I've not had any desire to watch a film dealing with pedophilia. Maybe next week.

I'm now on the last chapter of Rzeź bezkręgowców. I feel so much more at ease reading now, compared to when I started this novel. I now only need to look up one or two words a page. And I really like Chmielewska's writing style. Once I'm done with this novel I'll have to see if I can find any other novels written by her.

I finished the Teach Yourself Turkish course. And with perfect timing, I found a set of Turkish courses written completely in Turkish! It's called Türkçe Öğreniyoruz. The course is old enough that the accompanying audio is on cassette. No matter - I've already plugged the output of an old cassette deck into the Audio In of my PC and converted it to MP3. I bought the four-volume set at a used bookstore. I understand that the entire series consists of six volumes, so at some point I'm going to have to hunt down the last two volumes.

Since I've not been in the mood to write lately, I've also not done anything on Lang-8. I will get back to writing there.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A milestone...

I'm going to change up the order I describe my week.

First up is Turkish. I hit a milestone with the language: I dreamt in Turkish for the first time this week. Every time this has happened in the past with other languages, it's marked a turning point in my learning. It was a complete dream that dealt with home matters (really, the dream was about fixing up the bunkhouse at my cabin and everything that entails). So that was exciting for me.

On the Teach Yourself Turkish front, I'll be finishing it within two weeks. I'd like to find a course that's completely in Turkish, similar to, say, "Stein på stein" in Norwegian. I thought that was an excellent course that brought me up a solid level all around: in vocabulary, comprehension and confidence in speaking. But I'm not aware of any Turkish equivalent, so I'm on the hunt for something along that line.

I'm continuing with the Polish novel Rzeź bezkręgowców. I've gone through two more chapters and am feeling comfortable with my reading level.

I'm continuing to watch Norwegian film. The film I saw this week was a horror film - something I normally don't watch - called Villmark. But I enjoyed it, if nothing else for the variety of accents in the film. There were two very different accents throughout the film. I still have a few more films to get through, but I'm going to need to head back to Norwegian-friendly video store territory for more within a couple weeks, I think.

On an unrelated note, I've decided to stay on at the cabin for the remainder of the winter. Am I crazy? A little, I suppose. But I've gone through the worst weather by now and it's only going to get better. Also, I really want to be around when the ice on the lake breaks up and melts. Everybody tells me that it's a feast for both the ears and the eyes.