* * *

Jun. 10th, 2016 09:04 pm
taelle: (cosy)
I've been on Tumblr for ages and I am still bewildered by the use of the emotional-disaster language when talking about fandom and fannishness. Everyone always has fits of ugly crying and having their life ruined. *shrug* I don't know if anyone does sociology and psychology of Tumblr or something - I'd read an article on this.

... then, I'd read an article on everything. Normal people deal with politics, for example, by having a discussion on FB. I deal with politics by finding a suitable monograph to read.

Language learning still occupies a lot of my time. But. I have two goals in learning languages: (1) How does this work anyway, I am curious; and (2) More books available to read, cool! Duolingo is sort of decent for the first stage, but not quite enough - I guess I have to spend less time there and more time reading grammar books.

Also, this doesn't work with Spanish. I kind of revived my Spanish through Duolingo, but now I need reading to not let it get rusty, and I don't know what I want to read in Spanish. I did not choose it consciously, I sort of fell into it when I was ten. So I read a lot of classics and worthy moderns, which I mostly did not like. And I can't practice a language by reading what I do not like, I just won't read it. And it's stupid to lose a language. What on earth do I want to read in Spanish?

... maybe I should finish watching Ministerio del Tiempo at least, though TV series are usually not my thing.

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Mar. 3rd, 2015 01:14 am
taelle: (Default)
I've known it for a long time, but it's still unsettling that the word for 'Jew' in Western Slavic languages is one that exists in Russian but is offensive...
taelle: (Default)
So I went to Israel for a week and it was pretty awesome (and I have 700+ photos to deal with). I want to come again, with a route more tailored to my particular touristic tastes. I am not sure I'd want to _live_ there, though (summer weather!), even though I may end having to.

Also, once again I feel annoyed at myself for not knowing all the languages. Oh well, my slots for language-learning all taken for now.

Also want to read more about current culture/social situation there. We ended up watching a strange program we first thought was a reality show and then I am not sure (just because it had Russian subtitles), and we ended up researching what was a freha and what problems are connected to this.

Reading-wise (this started as a belated Wednesday reading post, after all) I mostly read Rivers of London fanfics. I started reading a Petit Fute guide book but haven't finished it yet; also started a memoir by an Israeli officer of the pre-Independence/ Independence War era, very fascinating.

I did finish Lia Silver's Prisoner, which was interesting - I somehow loved the life at the secret base being actually life - but did not feel like a whole book.

* * *

Sep. 5th, 2014 03:24 am
taelle: (cosy)
I swear there should be a day of the week called 'Approximate Wednesday', for me to post my reading lists.
Then again, since I work at home and frequently work through weekends... let's say it's not approximate Wednesday, it's a relative one (Wednesday in Japanese seems to be 'Water day' judging by kanji, which makes me want to interpret 'Wednes' as 'Wetness', even though I know it's not so).

Anyway. I finished Klemperer's LTI, which was scary both on the level of 'I did not know this part of history' (seriously, I somehow thought all Jews in Nazi Germany went to camps. I knew of ghettos, of course, but only related them to occupied territories) and on the level of 'this reminds me of what's happening now'.

I also finished Boris Pasternak's 1905/Lieutenant Schmidt poems. Of which I previously have read only the first one, and I still like it better. But I now kind of want to read stuff about Schmidt now.

I am reading a bunch of stuff simultaneously, which is what usually happens when I feel jumpy and tired (well, more than 3 books is what happens when I am tired - 3 is normal); most of these, I think, I have mentioned already - the Poland history guide, the lesbian Pride and Prejudice, the next October Daye book (the 5th one). I also started a bunch of new stuff - Ernest Gellner's Nations and Nationalism, Yamaori Tetsuo's book about face in Japanese culture, Paolo Virno's book on multitudes (my sister gave it to me last New Year, but it seems strangely appropriate right now. Then again, everything seems strangely appropriate right now).

I don't think I will be up for making reading plans until I finish at least something.

* * *

Dec. 8th, 2012 06:52 pm
taelle: (Default)
... a strange moment: several times when discussing the recent 'hospital prank' story here, I've encountered the attitude of 'ha-ha, these people at the hospital somehow believed that the Queen would speak with an Australian accent, how silly of them' - not even 'attitude', but actually the first reaction.

While somehow I never doubted that people who make their living working with their voices can use various accents.

People's immediate assumptions are somehow fascinating.

* * *

Nov. 28th, 2012 03:48 am
taelle: (books)
http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/791082.html - comparison table for four translations of the same poem. Which led me to look whether I can find how it sounds in Polish, to feel which rhythm is better, and, when I couldn't find it, to try and read the original myself (stupid idea - puzzling out the meaning is far easier than trying to parse out the rhythm of the phrase - not that long, actually, since I finally learned to do that in English).

* * *

Jun. 25th, 2012 06:50 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
It's amusing to read an Avengers fic set in Palanga. I keep thinking "But I've _been_ to Palanga!", and also "But -11.1 degrees Celsius isn't bone-chilling! Cold, yeah, but not _that_ cold!"

... but the Russian language in Avengers fic is mostly tiresome. Though I get that Natasha's peculiar patronymic is comic book canon.

* * *

Feb. 15th, 2012 04:24 am
taelle: (books)
It is perhaps ridiculous, but I read far more in English than I do in Russian (actually, since I mostly read nonfiction and, for relaxation, urban fantasy and mysteries, it's totally understandable - there's practically no Russian nonfiction about what I am interested in, and Russian urban fantasy genre is rather dubious. As is the mystery genre).

Though, well, it may keep my English fresh and lively - but what about my Russian? Do I start using English-type constructions, bad syntax and all? I know that with words, I keep forgetting which scientific/Latin-originated terms made their way into Russian and which didn't.

Trouble is, I should read more in Russian, and in good Russian, but, well, what? (I reread Master and Margarita in January and enjoyed it a lot, and I ought to finish War and Peace, but beyond that I am out of ideas)
taelle: (Default)
I may be getting prudish in my old age, but I really, really can't understand why an article about an amazing woman and her achievements should be written in the style of "and then she wrote a letter to the editor ... bitchslapping the everloving fuck out of a sexist ballsack of an article" (Nellie Bly, in case anyone's interested). Does it make her cooler, or what? It does make _me_ a bit uncomfortable.

Our mail decided to act and gave up a whole bunch of Christmas mail it held hostage. It also proved that it doesn't know the difference between Austria and Australia, because I was notified that I had a package from Austria - which surprised me a lot, until I started to suspect what they meant. [identity profile] calanthe_b.livejournal.com, thanks! I did not own it, no, and now I am kind of thinking about a reread...

Meanwhile I have two jobs to do at once, and being rather slow at both - oh well, I always start slow.

* * *

Oct. 30th, 2011 04:19 am
taelle: (city)
By a complicated route usual for websurfing I came to listen James Earl Jones reading The Raven by Edgar Poe... and I like it, but something keeps being off for me in his intonation, and I can't figure out what it is. The best I can formulate is that his tone of voice seems to me a bit more monotonous than I'm used to, less amplitude. Is it that what I'm most used in listening to poetry read in English is English actors, and mostly Shakespeare? Or is it just the tone most suitable to this poem? Or just my imaginagion?

... must listen to more poetry.

* * *

Oct. 21st, 2011 01:41 pm
taelle: (Default)
I suddenly realized last night that I never actually learned a language from the beginning by myself. For all that my workable English is mostly my own doing, I did study the basics in school (and grammar is something our school is good at).

So: can I even do this? Or, to be precise, as I don't have a specific goal like "a trip in 3 months, have to know how to get around", can I do this in such a way that the process will keep being interesting for me?

... this post was brought on by a merry chain of die, das and der dancing around me.

* * *

Oct. 20th, 2011 03:23 am
taelle: (city)
Why wasn't I provident enough to go and start learning Japanese five years ago? Silly me.

... that was me watching a Takarazuka show together with a very nice person who translated the dialogues to me. Weird feeling, this being able to understand what's going on (and not to guess from gestures and facial expressions. Which, in Takarazuka, are expressive but not _that_ expressive).

In other news, still no writing is happening. The resolution of writing every day is rather hard to follow when you don't feel like writing drabbles and the planning for all the longer stuff is stuck.

And it's getting colder: no sun today, and fairly sharp wind (they say there was first snow in the morning, but I missed it). I still like it: the architecture around where I live is the late 19th-early 20th modern and eclectic commercial housing, with lots of brick industrial buildings, and it's mostly all warm colours (especially the dark red brick - I do love it so). So when the weather is not sunny and everything is greyish, the houses look soft and warm to me, in all their unpreposessing shabbiness.

(My autumn/winter jacket is dark grey - but so wonderfully light! - but I do have a bright scarf. Maybe I will make another: I am so colour-dependent)
taelle: (Default)
" I thought I was coming to Russia’s second city, but now think it is better described as Europe’s fourth city." - UK's Consul General in Saint Petersburg. I can't help wondering which are the first three, by his count.

Actually, I've been thinking about accents. For anyone dealing with English as much as I do the importance of accents for Englishpeople is fairly notable (am I the only person in the universe who thought the accents in Life on Mars sounded rather lovely?) But as for accents in Russian... I do have rather a tin ear, as I've been repeatedly told by my phonetics instructors at the uni, but still. ... I remember being trained out of the local accent in primary school - "No, you don't pronounce it in this uncultured way, you pronounce it [like they do it in Moscow]". Which is especially funny in view of eternal argument of 'we're not the capital any more, but we're more cultured than Moscow - we're the _cultural_ capital'. And now I am not even sure there's much of the local accent, phonetics-wise (tin ear, as I said; perhaps to a trained observer my speech would be instantly identifiable).

There's still vocabulary arguments, the more common the differing words, the more active the argument. 'They're using their quaint way of calling it X instead of Y as it properly is' (actual article critiquing St. Petersburg translators), and eternal joking arguments with Moscow friends about how I keep calling types of bread incorrectly. ... I don't know if it's still accent or not; I clearly wasted my uni education.

However, my bank happens to have series of ads with pairs of words of the 'lift-elevator' or 'apartment-flat' type and the slogan 'Two capitals, one bank'. There are banners with these ads on the railway station from where the trains to Moscow go, and I walk along the platform sometimes, checking what words they used.

... and I don't know the point of it (I also don't know what my accent would sound to a native English speaker. I have the pronounciation of a bookish child who learned her words by sight, I have far more practice writing than I do speaking, and, naturally, I mix English and American words (I mostly spell English, though - that's the way I've been taught).

Apropos of nothing, some people are now trying to convince me that there were witch trials in USA in early 20th century, only they can't remember where or the exact date, I can't find anything on my own and I don't particularly trust those particular people (well, in the accuracy of statements; I do not believe they'd steal my silverware or something).


* * *

Sep. 8th, 2010 04:05 am
taelle: (tea)
Trying to learn a language by yourself is a weird, if interesting, experience. And I made it even weirder for myself by using a Pimsleur course, which is obviously English-based, for my getting at German. But (a) I like Pimsleur, mostly, and (b) it's interesting comparing English and German (now, Pimsleur Ukrainian - that was a bit too weird).

The only problem is, I am too much a visual learner for Pimsleur to be enough for me. For now - in the middle of German I - it's enough for me to try looking new words up in online dictionaries, but. I'm in a boring place right now: I got a bunch of new words and expressions and some basic conversation models, and it was interesting, but now these models have to be trained in all their variations. And it's kind of, well, boring - necessary, of course, but I already want something more. And, of course, my knowledge isn't yet enough for reading even newspaper articles *sighs and tries to hold on*

* * *

Jun. 30th, 2010 03:58 am
taelle: (reading)
Trying to learn German using an English-produced audio course is definitely an exercise for someone who enjoys comparing stuff. Someone like me, so to say.

I suppose it's a bit like this with studying Ukrainian, but I am a bit better able to analyze English as a language, being more removed from it. Though I wonder how much the likeness between English and German obstructs my learning.

As for Ukrainian, maybe I should return to Pimsleur Ukrainian, just skip first several lessons, since they're a bit too amusing. I like Pimsleur; it fits with the way I like to learn things, extracting the general rules by myself, out of many examples.

* * *

May. 4th, 2010 02:36 am
taelle: (tea)
So I've been reading discussions about modesty, and acknowledging your own awesomeness (like here), and the comment threads with people listing their awesomenesses (yes, I know it's not a word), and I thought "Oh, I don't even have anything to list"...

And then I paused and thought about what I'm doing here. Like, on DW and on LJ. And realized something I forgot.

Hey, you know what? I can write pretty well in a language not my own. I can use idioms, play with language, that sort of thing. It took me a lot of practice to be able to do that. Can you imagine how many books in English I'd read to get a decent wordhoard? (not that was a hardship, mind)

And more than that, I can do more than blog and have conversations online in English (with people often not realizing I'm not a native speaker). I can write pretty decent stories in English. Stories that people have read thinking not 'Damn, this foreigner can make grammatically correct sentences in English' (which wouldn't always be true, btw - Past Perfect is not my friend) but 'Damn, this person can tell a story'.

Am I awesome or what?

* * *

Jan. 24th, 2010 09:15 pm
taelle: (sad)
I was never and still am not an 'audial' person. I have bad memory for voices, I am bad at remembering things I listened to... but I have this fascination with English accents. I am bad with them too, I can't distinguish them (and I hate to imagine what _I_ sound like when I'm speaking English. I have few occasions for practice and all the problems of a bookish child learning new words from reading), but I love listening to them. My first and biggest impression from watching Life on Mars was 'This accent sounds lovely!' (and the second was 'there's something wrong with Sam's ethics, but that's another story).

... so I watched a couple of episodes of the New Who. Which I liked, despite not really caring for SF-and-fantasy-in-the-movies, but my chief impression also was 'I love how they sound' (I also watched a bit of the classic Who, but it, of course, sounds more flat).

Am I weird or what? :)

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