august week 1 summary

It’s been one week since instating my goals, and i’m feeling pretty good.  Although there are still plenty of things that i don’t know, it’s been pretty helpful keeping stats so that i can judge my progress by numbers going up instead of just wishing i was awesome already.  It’s enough to know that things are going up, and eventually i’ll get to where i want to be as long as they keep going up.

Somehow i managed to get in 21 hours of german TV this week. My goal was 17, which would give me 70hrs total for the month. I watched a lot of star trek, along with a little bit of House, Simpsons, and MASH. MASH and the Simpsons are reasonably easy to follow, and star trek is great now, but House is pretty difficult. I think most of the jokes in House are based on sarcasm, and are sometimes subtle, so it’s a bit hard to get, but i’ll keep trying.

Reading is going well, but i didn’t make as much time for it as i wanted. I only did about 2/3 of my goal amount, but i think i can catch up this week. Harry Potter is starting to seem really familiar, and there are lots of words that i know. There are still some parts where i wonder wtf is going on, but i usually get it if i start the chapter over again once or twice.

Adding sentence cards to anki has been tremendously helpful. A lot of the words from those sentences come up all the time in my tv shows and books, which gives me yet more context and exposure. I’ve mostly been adding things to anki based on common verbs or adjectives. Sometimes it’s stuff that i found in a tv show or book already, and other times i just look at a frequency list of german words and pick out some “common” stuff that i don’t know yet, and go find sentences for them.

Here’s a good spot for finding german example sentences: where “X” is the word you want. I found this randomly in a google search, but i hadn’t seen it before. It seems to use the contents of all sorts of magazines and newspapers to pull up examples. Although there’s a “search” area at the top of the page, it seems to link elsewhere, so i just edit the URL to put in new words. Sorta a hastle, but the real example sentences are worth it. Some of them are quite complex, so i sorta browse through until i find one that’s mostly understandable, and then i add it to anki for review.

My extra listening exposure has been a bit of a problem. I thought i’d have plenty of situations where i couldn’t watch TV, but i could have my headphones in and be listening to stuff, but it actually hasn’t come up as much as i’d thought. I have a Harry Potter audiobook playing right now as i write this, but otherwise it seems like i’m busy doing something that doesn’t quite work with headphones. I’ve lowered my goal for that, but maybe i’ll get a lot more headphone time at work this week. I think i partially made up for it this week by exceeding the TV goal, anyway. At least all the numbers are still going up.

Overall, i really like this numbers-based approach. I like getting high scores, and it gives me something to work towards. It also sorta reminds me of mudding, ie playing online roleplaying games. somehow getting my numbers to increase is pretty satisfying, but maybe that’s just my weirdness.


3 Responses to august week 1 summary

  1. reineke says:


    I like your blog! I am also actively studying German. I also like your approach. One million words means reading about ten 300-400 page novels but I’m sure you knew this. Sorry, I couldn’t resist mentioning it 🙂

  2. doviende says:

    hey, thanks for stopping by. I read your blog constantly.

    Ya, 1 million words is a lot, but that’s what’s needed. It’s nice having a number to aim for, and I already saw tons of improvement by the 100000 mark, so i’m sure the 1M mark will be highly rewarding. In fact, lately i’ve noticed that i know most of the words in Harry Potter book 1…i think by the end of book 2 it’ll be pretty easy to burn through several thousand words per day.

  3. Doviende,

    I really like how you’re keeping detailed stats. I’m a stats/graphs guy myself, so what you’re doing really appeals to me. I might have to give it a shot (right now all I have are the stats that Anki keeps for me).

    German is one of my great disappointments. I studied it in high school and college, before actually learning anything about how to learn, and have thus forgotten most all of it. I’ve toyed around with the idea of going back and picking it back up, and one of these days (though it will probably be a while) I’m going to do just that!

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