kalvan: (Default)
That's what everything is, really.
I'm from the art scene, so to speak. By that, I mean that I've been trying to become "awesome" at art since I was about 12 years old (so six years). I've used pretty much every major art site out there, and I like to think that I've got a good idea of how the online art community(-ies) work. I haven't taken any formal art classes; art has been more of an asset that I've developed on my own and used in order to enhance my work in other, slightly related classes I've taken (Arts & Crafts [lower secondary] and Graphics/Graphic Design [upper secondary/college] for instance). Art was the first thing I tried to become good at; before that, I dabbled in things that, interestingly, have cropped up later on: Portuguese and French (I've turned out to be a linguaphile), HTML/web design-y stuff (I'm currently taking online classes in computer science as well as web development), Photoshop/graphic design (which I still do) and, well, drawing.
The thing that I just realised, although it may seem obvious, is that in all of those, subjects I suppose, we're all standing on the shoulders of giants. With art, you're consistently encouraged to study the Old Masters, as well as art/style history. I've done this subconsciously (as I didn't take any art classes), through poring over more advanced artists' work over on deviantART or tumblr or whatever. When I find a picture I like, I subconsciously try to find something about it, a technique or something, that I can apply to my own art in order to make it better. Steal like an artist, yeah? I like watching livestreams and speedpaints on YouTube, because they reveal the techniques my favourite artists use. It's the little things especially, like holding the pen differently, or using a different canvas size in X drawing programme (this actually matters!).
This goes for programming too. I'm currently taking CS50x, which is the free/online version of Harvard University's CS50 course (an intro to computer science of sorts. Very cool). The first week, you learn how to use a programming, hm, software, called Scratch (I don't like it very much, but that's a rant for another time). Anyway, the lecturers/professors and Teaching Fellows and whatnot constantly tell you to look at programs previous students have made with Scratch. It's pretty logical! You can't learn something without studying it, right?
Now, the interesting thing is that this goes for learning languages as well! I've learnt English (as well as Norwegian, I suppose!) almost entirely through reading and listening to native material. A couple of years ago, I kept finding myself repeating phrases I'd heard or read, just swapping out the key words in order to make them relevant to the text. I pretty much stole native phrases from native writers and repeated them!
I also recently read a book, Polyglot: How I Learn Languages by Kató Lomb, about learning a language through reading native material. That's essentially picking through native material and subconsciously remembering phrases, then repeating them later on: exactly the same thing as I did!

I don't know, this isn't exactly revolutionary; it's just a cool thing I happened upon.
kalvan: (Default)
It seems like I've kicked out Spanish and started learning Latin. Which means it's about time I figure out what I'm actually doing.

I've been studying this for about 4 months, and I currently know ~300 kanji by meaning and reading, plus ~600 vocabulary items (nouns/verbs/adjectives/expressions/etc.). That's pretty good, I think!
I'm learning Japanese because I want to read Japanese novels and play Japanese games in the original language. There are so many things that don't get translated/released in the West, so yeah.
Resources: A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, a rad online course, a bilingual reader, soon another Japanese course, + lots of original manga. I'm going to finish the online course first (currently 1/4th through it), then start reading the bilingual reader while looking up grammar constructs in the Dictionary. Then I'll do the other course + probably the manga.
I try to do something in Japanese every day: review/learn kanji on WaniKani whenever possible (which I've been slacking at for the past week, ugh), and do at least a little bit from the online course. I also want to start writing journals on Lang-8, but I'm not quite confident enough yet!

I think I'll just learn this first, enough to be able to read, and then start learning any Romance languages I want to speak (Brazilian Portuguese, French). It'll help with the latter, I think. Plus there are lots of Latin books to read.
Resources: Cambridge Latin Course, Lingva Latina Per Se Illvstrata. I'm also gonna try to get a hold of Caesar Julius's book, of which I can't remember the name! Anyway, I'll start with Cambridge then move on to Lingva Latina.
I'll try to study Latin on Fridays and, hmm, Tuesdays maybe.

Old Norse
I'm kind of-ish studying this at school. I'm learning it because I want to read all the awesome Old Norse literature in its original language. Also, ancestry.
Resources: a pretty good online course, A New Introduction to Old Norse volumes 1-3 and a copy of Inshelga. So I've got all I need, really! I'll go through the online course first, then the Introduction to Old Norse when I need it while reading Inshelga.
I'll study Old Norse on Sundays and Wednesdays.

(Mondays and Thursdays I'm usually too tired to even consider looking at a language, and Saturdays are reserved mainly for programming practice; non-Japanese languages if and only if I'm not too tired from staring at JavaScript all day. All of this might also change when my online programming courses start on Monday. aaaa I'm pretty excited for those! I'm taking Computer Science at edx.org and Python at mechanicalmooc.org and it'll all be awesome.)

So I guess I'm currently learning "only" three languages. I might do a little bit of Spanish on the side through duolingo and just plain reading (I just discovered a lot of Latin American authors that seem really interesting), but we'll see. I think, if I find a Spanish (especially Latin American Spanish) book that I want to read, I'll just get it and read it. In the original language. I'm confident enough in my reading skills for that; Spanish comes easy to me for some reason. So yeah.
If duolingo decides to release their Portuguese course before I've properly started Latin I'm gonna be screwed, hahah.
kalvan: (Default)
linguaphilia |lɪŋgwəˈfɪlɨənoun: the love for languages.

Languages are awesome. Okay. For the sake of cleaning up my wanderlust a bit, a list of languages I'm interested in:
(* = currently studying/using)

Must learn:
(Traditional) Mandarin Chinese
Arabic (preferably MSA + Levantine or Egyptian)

Want to learn it in order to read literature:
Old Norse*
Classical Latin

Mild interest:
Old English
Georgian (mostly because of the script)
Korean (because of the script)
Old Prussian

Moderate interest:
Old Babylonian
Ancient Greek
Middle Egyptian
Brazilian Portuguese

No particular use for them but can't quite shake them off:
Mexican Spanish*

All in all, that leaves me with seven languages that I'm pretty much 100% sure I want to learn to some level (B2-ish for the "for the sake of reading" languages, and preferably C1/C2 for Mandarin and Arabic). In order to keep my tendency to go "oh my god look at this awesome language!" I've promised myself never to do two languages of the same language family simultaneously. So no French until I'm able to read Spanish independently (I'm pretty close to this goal!), etc. Also, no Chinese of any sort until I can read Japanese at an intermediate-ish level, at least.
As for the issue of what I'm currently doing and what I should do (because I reeeally want to start a new language right now!), well. I'm currently studying Japanese; trying to work through some power-lessons in grammar, especially syntax (i.e. particles and word order) because that's where my biggest issue is for sure (I know the readings and meanings of ~300 kanji, and some 600 everyday words/verbs/expressions/etc.). Once I'm able to read simple things like children's manga and such I think I'll just start using the language rather than continuously working through textbooks. That's my goal, after all. The day that I am able to read Japanese thriller novels without a lot of problems will be the day when I consider my Japanese study to be done. Of course, I'm still gonna have to practise speaking, but I'll deal with that issue then.
Another language I'm currently studying kind of off-and-on is Spanish. I am proficient enough to be able to read lower intermediate texts, though I can't write for shit. My main goal is reading and speaking, so we'll see.
I'm studying Old Norse at school, because I have a huge interest in it and my Norwegian teacher decided to be awesome and sign me and another Old Norse-interested friend of mine up for a teacher's lecture on Old Norse. So I'm trying to study a bit in order to be able to read a little bit.
Other than that, I'd love to start(/continue) studying Finnish and German. The former has very little literature that is of interest to me, however, and the latter is just... Difficult. And also not a language I'm terribly interested in currently. Dunno what I'm gonna do about that.


Oct. 7th, 2012 05:06 pm
kalvan: (Default)
 I am a horribly inefficient person with a lot of interests, and as such I have managed to spread my "to-read" websites and articles over several different extensions, websites and browsers. I think so far I've got Pocket (Google Chrome extension), Chrome bookmarks, reddit saved links/comments, StumbleUpon favourites, several separate notes in different notebooks in Evernote and individual .rtf's scattered all over my two computers and external HDs. All of those contain dozens, probably hundreds, of links and websites. I know for sure I've got 300+ Chrome bookmarks, and I used to have 200 or so sites in Pocket before I cleaned it up earlier today (woo!).
I'm just thinking, what can I do about this? I mean, I never actually read any of it. I've started tagging my Pocket saved websites (as of two seconds ago), so I guess that might help, but it's still annoying.
I don't even know how it started. I think with the bookmarks, I kept just bookmarking entire windows and then restarting Chrome because, obviously, the thing becomes quite sluggish with 100+ tabs.
Ehh. Maybe I'll just go through my bookmarks/Evernote notes/.rtf's/reddit and save everything to Pocket. Then again, bookmarks are great, because you're pretty much guaranteed that Google isn't gonna go down next month; Pocket, not so much.
Hmm. I guess I could try building my own link "wiki" of sorts, with different categories or tags (probably tags; then I can tag them as read/unread) for the links and such. I don't have enough coding experience for that, though, yet.


Sep. 27th, 2012 09:10 pm
kalvan: (Default)
I've started noticing that I care more about visual aesthetics than I thought. Whether that's a good or a bad thing, I don't know, but it's interesting for sure. Especially since, lately, I've been wondering about just what the hell is going on with my drawings, because I... Don't really draw much. I try to, but it's not as easy as it was before last year's summer or so; when I do draw, I just don't think it looks very good and so I never upload anything. So yeah.

Anyway, like I said, visual aesthetics matter a lot to me, I think. I mean, most people who follow my tumblr probably know that I really like languages, right? Well, my favourite part is writing systems, because a lot of them just look really, really cool. All of my favourite languages either have a really cool writing system (Arabic, Japanese, Old Norse, Chinese, Georgian, Ainu, Mongolian, Manchu, etc.) or look really cool when written in the Latin alphabet (Finnish, Old Norse, Babylonian, Classical Latin, Nahuatl, Old English, Quechua, Middle Egyptian, Coptic, Maltese, Basque, Old Prussian...). It's quite seldom that I like a language based on its grammar, and even more so based on what it sounds like; the only examples that I can think of are Welsh and Polish.

This even goes for relatively non-visual things like programming languages! I much prefer the design of Python and Ruby to, say, JavaScript and HTML.

I don't know what the point of this was anymore, but yeah.


Sep. 26th, 2012 12:38 pm
kalvan: (Default)
Always wanted to make one of these, mostly with the intention of getting back into writing, I think. So yeah. I guess this will do nicely for an introduction.
Hello, I'm Remis. I'm from Oslo, Norway, though I have lived in Bournemouth, England, and am 99% certain that from August 2013 I will be living in England (either Bristol or Plymouth) for at least 3 years. I like a lot of things, as you can see in my interests tags. The most prominent ones (currently) are programming, linguistics, games/game design, Japanese and Old Norse. And learning cool things in general, I suppose. I'm currently learning JavaScript, Japanese, Old Norse, Spanish and Finnish. We'll see how it goes, though.



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