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Iversen’s Multiconfused Log (see p.1!)

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Iversen
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 Message 3713 of 3959
01 October 2014 at 2:13pm | IP Logged 
På ældre dansk kunne man faktisk sige "jeg tykkes" eller "det tykkes mig" (from Old Norse "þykkja(st)") - tiest den upersonlige konstruktion. Men ordet er forsvundet ud af nudansk, og i de jyske dialekter - hvor det stadig er almindeligt - bruges det sædvanligvis personligt, som i mit eksempel ovenfor.

Edited by Iversen on 02 October 2014 at 3:11pm

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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 3714 of 3959
01 October 2014 at 7:26pm | IP Logged 
I've definitely heard the -ycke- part be pronounced something like -öe-, both in mycket - möe, and tycker - töer (source: Småland accent).
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Iversen
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 Message 3715 of 3959
02 October 2014 at 3:39pm | IP Logged 
DU: Laatste nacht fand ik het buitengewoon moeilijk in slaap te vallen, maar ik vond een effectieve remedie: op de achterkant van mijn boekenkast vond ik een politieroman van Nicolas Freeling: "Millionaire op Vrijersvoeten" van 1966, waarin de commissaris van der Valk in diep geheim moet een misschien vermiste miljonair vinden - alleen en zonder de gebruikelijke middelen van de politie zo as een openbare beroep door de media. Dit is al heel onwaarschijnlijk. Vandaag zou ik een autobus-trip in ambtelijke functie doen, en ik lees daar nog eens 30-40 pagina's - en viel vervolgens in slaap op mijn zitplaats. Literatuur kan uiteraard ook worden gebruikt voor iets nuttig. Nederlands is een taal die ik enigszins verwaarloosd heb, maar zo'n simpele roman kan ik nog lezen zonder het gebruik van een woordenboek.

Last night I had some problems falling asleep, but I found an effective method: I found a Dutch police novel from 1966 about a police commissioner named Van der Valk who is ordered to find a possibly missing millionaire - but he has to work alone and do all his work in as much secrecy as possible. This is obviously not realistic, but the recipe worked: I fell asleep. Today I had to go by bus to a neighbour town Randers (about one hour in each direction) and on the way back I read some 30-40 pages more - whereupon I fell asleep as if somebody had pressed a button. At least I could read the stuff without a dictionary.

Edited by Iversen on 02 October 2014 at 3:51pm

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Iversen
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 Message 3716 of 3959
15 October 2014 at 12:35am | IP Logged 
Long time not write, but I have been away on a trip from Zadar over Banja Luka and Beograd to Novi Sad, where I have been attending the polyglot conference. Those who have read Cristina's delectable reports from the event already know pretty much what happened there, and I'm not going to try to compete with that superb piece of reporting. I should however emphasize that I didn't intend to convey that

Solfrid Cristin wrote:
.. the Super Challenge is a waste of time, (not that he sad THAT, but he might as well have) but eventually he also proved that the studies had considerable weaknesses, which was a relief.


And as for the well meant prayer:

Solfrid Cristin wrote:
And Lord have mercy on the interpreters' souls, because between the speed he talked at, and the amount of text he had on his foils, I would have had a nervous break down if I were to interpret that, but I guess that is when you can tell the pros from the amateurs.


.. I should probably mentioned that I spoke to the interpreters before my speech, and I told them that they shouldn't try to translate every bit of text on the screen - even I didn't try that. But I did not deliberately try to speak fast - I even made a few small pauses where people could relax before the train rolled on.

I'll make a fuller travelogue in some relevant language when I have finished putting my photos in order and readjusting to having a daytime job, but I'll just sketch briefly what I said at the conference.

First I showed those curves that demonstrate that a few very common word forms (including the 'grammar' words) take up most of the occurrences in an average corpus (I used data from Kilgareff). The most common 20 wordforms make up a third of all wordforms. 2000 wordforms cover 83,4%, but to get to 95% you need 5100 wordforms and to reach 98% you need 6700. And why should we care about those tresholds? Well, according to Paul Nation and others you need at least 95% coverage to just about understand a text, and 98% would be better. However I did also mention the 'getting the gist' kind of understanding and illustrated this with a case where I summarized the content of a placard in an Albanian solely by building on knowledge about the Illyrians, loanwords and the objects displayed near that placard - without any knowledge about Albanian. Being able to guess in this way can be both fun and useful, but it doesn't teach you many new words - you just use those you can recognize. In contrast the 95% or 98% refer to a detailed word for word comprehension, where you may even be able to make guessworks concerning the few remaining lacunes - about 1 unknown word in 5 lines in a book for 98%.

And how do you get there? Well, a hippie polyanna ideology has been spreading in certain pedagogical milieus that you allegedly can learn words just by reading without any intention to learn anything. But in a series of research articles (quoted by Waring and Takaki) less than 10% of a series of previously chosen 'unknown' test words were picked up by ordinary test persons - as demonstrated by using multiple choice tests (which are easy to score). My next slide showed the results of a comparison between the effect of listening, reading and reading-while-listening. I would like to quote the figures from this research (Brown et al.: Incidental vocabulary acquisition from reading...):

Reading only: 12,54 of 28 words with multiple choice - 4,10 when tested by translations
Reading while listening: 13,31 resp. 4,39 and
Listening alone: 8,20 resp. 0,56 words out of 28

Or in other words, multiple choice is a very lax and dubious test method, and if you ask people to demonstrate a bit of real hardcore knowledge by translating the words under scrutiny then you'll se that the scores tumble downwords. And that means that the already low scores from the other research reports basically just demonstrate that if you ask people not to learn anything they do exactly that - learn nothing. Brown et al. glowingly reports the 13.31 words (48%) from reading+listening as a success, but 4,39 is a more sober indication of the learning involved - OK higher than in some other experiments, but not really impressive. And passive listening alone is a waste of time.

And at this point in the lecture I looked over to Solfrid Cristina and Prof.Arguelles - slightly puzzled expressions. The solution is however fairly straightforward: you can skip an unknown word 30 times without learning it, but if you see it just 5 times, think about it and if necessary look it up, then you have a fair chance to learn it. There is no such thing as a free lunch, but as long as the payment just is a bit of commitment and attention then it isn't too bad.

And then people looked happy again.

I went on to say something about choice of texts, memory hooks and formal learning methods (including SRS software and wordlists), but the psychological apex of the lecture was telling people that learning vocabulary from texts isn't a myth - it just takes some good oldfashioned dedication and attention (and maybe also some association formation). Well, doing wordlists isn't a bad idea either...


Edited by Iversen on 15 October 2014 at 1:28am

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daegga
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 Message 3717 of 3959
15 October 2014 at 2:05am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:

Or in other words, multiple choice is a very lax and dubious test method, and if you
ask people to demonstrate a bit of real hardcore knowledge by translating the
words under scrutiny then you'll se that the scores tumble downwords. And that means
that the already low scores from the other research reports basically just demonstrate
that if you ask people not to learn anything they do exactly that - learn nothing.
Brown et al. glowingly reports the 13.31 words (48%) from reading+listening as a
success, but 4,39 is a more sober indication of the learning involved - OK higher than
in some other experiments, but not really impressive. And passive listening alone is a
waste of time.


I wouldn't call it a lax and dubious method. A multiple choice test tests a different
kind of memory/knowledge than a recall test. If you are able to recognize a connection
between two words of similar/identical meaning (like you do in the multiple choice
test), then you have acquired some knowledge. The question is: what kind of knowledge
do you need in order to use this knowledge for language understanding?
If we want to read a text, we don't need to know the translation of every single word.
We need the words to contribute to the meaning of a sentence/paragraph however. If all
the little we know about each individual word in the sentence combined gives us the
right meaning of the sentence, then we have understood it. So the real question to ask
is: can the meaning of the word be activated in your brain when you read it in a
context, ie. a sentence/paragraph. Neither the multiple choice test nor the recall test
answers this adequately. I would guess that the multiple choice test gives too high a
number and the recall test too low a number. The reality will be somewhere inbetween.
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Iversen
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 Message 3718 of 3959
15 October 2014 at 11:47am | IP Logged 
Or maybe the answer is dependent on the kind of understanding you require. If you are satisfied with 'getting the gist' then the loose hunches which are enough to get a good score on multiple choice may be enough. But that is apparently not enough to get the kind of precise and detailed comprehension people are thinking of when they claim that 95% or 98% coverage is necessary to understand a text. And when we are speaking about learning words and expressions from a text (or speech) then not only the devil, but also all the angels are in the details.
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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 3719 of 3959
18 October 2014 at 11:34am | IP Logged 
I am still waiting for your comprehensive entry from Novi Sad :-)
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Iversen
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 Message 3720 of 3959
19 October 2014 at 11:08pm | IP Logged 
Ја сам обећао да напише путопис о моју путовању из Задра преко Бањалуке и Београда до Новог Сада да биx учествовати у Полиглота конгресу у Новом Саду. Ја закашел већ пре сам отишао кући, али ја не откаже путовање, осим ако сам мртав. И срећно никога је седео у седишту поред мене у летовима Рианаир у Задар. Ја сам имао Задар хотел близу Лидла, али 4 км од центра града. Први дан сам био веома уморан и остао у мооју хотелу (само са екскурзије у Лидла). Други дан сам ишао веома споро до центра, али када сам био тамо сам уобичајену туристицал коло: Бастион парк, Двор ректора, Археолошки музеј и сладолед. Трећи дан сам такође отишао у центар, даље кашаљаси, али барем сам морао да ходам само пола пута узбрдо, јер сам отишао у Бања Луку на дуго аутобуској 7 сати вожње.

Бања Лука је главни град Српске Републике у Босни и Херцеговиа. Босански Марка се користи, али је иначе овај део земље понаша као независна држава, а ту је и "Зграда Владе Републике Српске" y Тргy Републике Српске. Посетио сам главни цркву и Кастел града. Ту сам вечерао, а ја изабрао нешто што се зове "шницла Карађорђе" - цилиндрични поховани телетинашницла са течним течним сиром масе у средини. То нема апсолутно никакве везе са чувеног српског хероја независности да раде, али је изумео кувар који је нимао више пилетину на складишту и морао је да се пронађе решење.

Дхавде само две ноћи и један дан у Бањој Луци, па сам се вратио у аутобус возио у 7 сати, овај пут у Београд. Сам посетио капитала више пута Србије. Овај пут сам успео да поново Беозоо, а ја сам планирао да видим Железнички музеј, али били затворен због реновирања. Ја ипак сам посетио 5 књижаре у потрази за српско-ништа речника, где српски део би писане ћирилицом. Ха ха, не постоји. Да, биле је две научне књиге, сваки пет центиметара дебљине, а било је и комбинације са руским и новогрчки са српском језику ћирилицом. Али српски-енглески? Српски-Француски? Српска то Спанисх? Нема шансе.

А онда сам се одвезао до Новог Сада са путничким возовима, где сам посетио Музеју Војводине, паркова, супермаркета, цркве - и јели много сладолед а за 50 динара по куглy (80 динар кугло у Београду). Сам чак и учествовао у некy конгресу - али сте већ чули о томе...

...

And now - after the travelogue - a little bit of conference summary.

I had spent the first part of Friday 10. October eating icecream and relaxing in the Dunavska park, and somewhere after 12 o'clock I came rambling along to the Kulturny Centar where - lo and behold - there I saw one known face, namely that of Solfrid Cristin, and we greeted in according with some supposedly Old Norse rite, whose outlandish details Solfrid already has described in her own log thread. We talked a few minutes and then spotted Richard Simcott speaking to - lo and behold once more - professor Arguelles. Richard was busy as a coorganizer so I only spoke briefly to him a couple of times, so the two persons I spoke to for most time during the conference were actually Cristina and the professor. One amusing detail this was that each time he caught Cristina and me speaking English he asked us why we didn't speak Danish and Norwegian. And as he spoke excellent Swedish we had several conversations in multiconfused Scandinavian during the conference.

I also met a few other HTLAliens and participants in the Budapest and/or Berlin events, but the overlap was actually not overwhelming. However the conference could still muster a quite international attendance and not just the 10 foreigners and [x minus 10] Serbians in one room which you might have expected. And I got through something like a dozen languages (including rarely used ones like Greek and Afrikaans), but curiously enough neither Esperanto and Latin were among those that were called into action. I didn't feel ready to try out my Serbian (partly because I couldn't use my time in Zadar and Banja Luka to preparations due to tiredness and a sore throat, as you may know from the travelogue above), but for instance in the Vojvodina museum only the main titles of the signboards were in English, the rest was in pure unadulterated Serbian, and I could more or less read the stuff. Likewise I came out of Novi Sad with a noticeable improvement in my Serbian oral comprehension due to the lectures in Serbian.

And the lectures? First Saturday:

Vanja Ković gave a very interesting account of the weird life of an interpreter, - including the sad story of public authorities that chose to go for low prices even though that meant low quality interpreting. I'm extremely glad that I don't have to survive in that kind of business (and let me send a thanks to the people who translatied the lectures back and fro from boxes in the back of the lecture halls. Then I listened to a series of speeches about minority lectures .. in Serbian. I used the bloodhound technique: stop listening for the general meaning, just parse the sounds - then the meanings of those words you do know will by themselves magically combine to something like a gist. And because of my previous exercises with Serbian vocabulary I could generally follow the arguments. Unfortunately some of those lectures were read aloud from a manuscript, and that (plus one unnecessary art film) meant that people from room B were the last in a dining queue that to boot was almost immobile. I lost patience and went out in the town to eat some more icecram, and when I came back the queue had shrunk to just a few meters.

After dinner I switched to the soft cinema seats at ground level, where I listened to Carole Westerkamp's peptalk about "the power of metaphor". Very inspiring, though not exactly filled to the brim with concrete bits of knowledge. I'll never forget the tale about the bilingual Mother Mouse. The following lecture from Grześkowiak about the role of a language coach primarily served to warn me against ever having recourse to language coaches or any other kind of coaches - maybe some personality types can live with the interference of such a person, but I couldn't. No way. Then a refreshment break, and I could deliver my own lecture - but I have already written something about that earlier this week. It was a positive experience, and making such a lectures also forces you to think and rethink the topic thoroughly, which in itself can be very fruitful.

Sunday:
All activity was now at the 2. floor: "Alex(ander Dimitris George) Rawlings spoke about "How to learn and multiple foreign languages", and I remember that it was fascinating to listen to him .. but now a week later I struggle to write a summary. I remember that he exemplified the necessity of abbreviations by referring to his own long name, but apart from that I have forgotten the details. Luckily all the lectures were filmed and will be published on the internet, so I see forward to refreshing my memory. After this Luca Lampariello should have spoken about pronunciation, but he couldn't come so instead prof. Arguelles spoke 10 minutes more and the lunch break was extended.

Professor Arguelles' lecture "Reading literature in foreign languages" was expecially interesting to me because I had spoken about some related things the day before. I had said that there was something called 'getting the gist', but true acribic understanding would require at least 95% or more likely 98% wordform coverage for most readers according to Paul Nation and other specialists. And I had said that just reading or listening wasn't very efficient when it comes to vocabulary learning - to get sizeable results you need to FOCUS on the unknown elements. Professor Arguelles first mentioned the lamentable loss of reading capability among ordinary people and the resultant loss of vocabulary width - even the vocabulary of university students was often limited to the 5000 or so word families that were necessary for intelligent conversation. He latched on to the 98% coverage treshold (leaving to the readers to find study materials where they had that kind of coverage) and stated that by reading lots of high-quality and long texts people could extend their vocabulary to the size it ought to have in a well-educated adult native speaker - instead of the basic level necessary for conversation. But he didn't want to use formal vocabulary study methods to help people along, and that's the one point where I have to disagree with him.

After lunch L.M.R. Berscia spoke about an ontological minimalistic theory of language etc. etc., but even though he was a sympatic person and initially had some interesting glimpses from the life of a field linguist, the message got stuck in a quagmire of linguistic distinctions with little relevance for practical language learning. I much preferred the following speech by Andrej Fejgelj, leader of the Kulturny Centar, who turned out to be a noteworthy polyglot and language researcher in his own right. He spoke about the way new words are introduced - and gave examples where new useful words had been blocked by ridicule and stupid remarks by people who should know better. And the result could very well be the introduction of one more English loanword. Finally I listened to the concluding speeches, where especially the one (in Serbian) by Marini was touching and memorable.

I participated in the ensuing group photo session, and somehow that felt as as a fitting conclusion to the conference for me so without giving the matter a second thought it I left the Centar and walked back to my hotel - totally oblivious to the fact that there still were some games and greetings going on at the 2. floor.   


Edited by Iversen on 20 October 2014 at 11:09am



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