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Sentence Method question...

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27 messages over 4 pages: 13 4  Next >>
Javi
Senior Member
Spain
Joined 3907 days ago

419 posts - 548 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 9 of 27
15 April 2009 at 11:30pm | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
You can do that, but I don't believe it's optimal, for two reasons:

1. What they call "reading for content", I just call "reading", because that's the natural, normal way to read. I. Have. Had. Many. Students. Who. Read. Out. Loud. Like. This. because they've been taught to "read" every word. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't really reading. I've seen people who never get past this stage, so this strategy can be and is damaging to some learners.

2. Students who read "fluently", ie flowingly, will make the same mistakes with prepositions, articles etc as they do in their own speech. Students. Who. Read. Stiltedly will read the prepositions as written. But 10 seconds later, if you can prompt them to use one of the structures in the sentence they've just read, they'll make the same mistake as always.

OK, I know that reading for form/reading to learn can be done, but after a while it gets difficult to stay attached to the meaning[*]. Furthermore, it takes a lot of effort to overcome the natural tendency to do things the lazy way. Going from your native language to your target language removes the temptation, so removes the effort required to overcome the temptation.


[*]Compare with stories of teachers who become so focussed on a student's spoken form that they'll respond to sentences like "my grandmother has died last night" by correcting it ("my grandmother died last night").


How can it possibly be less optimal than translating the sentence you are working on to your native language just for the sake of writing a flash card?. These Polish guys behind Supermemo and Atimoon aim to a very high level of proficiency in English. I would say that not even native fluency but the English of an educated native. At this point working with monolingual material is the only way to go as there's no native language to go from. Perhaps you've noticed the fact that, for a start, it is a web page about learning English written in English!! I think we can safely assume that the typical follower of their methods knows how to read and how to use computers, and most likely they are in the habit of doing some kind of intellectual work. Yes I know, not all people can do those things, and so what?

It seems that you haven't learnt any of your languages to a near-native level and from your comments one could get the impression that you neither want to nor care about. That's fine, we are talking about different goals, different stages and different approaches. The OP don't even bother to show up, so at least for me this thread is over. It's not like I enjoy arguing about the same thing all the time.

Edited by Javi on 15 April 2009 at 11:41pm

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Cainntear
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Scotland
linguafrankly.blogsp
Joined 3937 days ago

4400 posts - 7688 votes 
Speaks: Lowland Scots, English*, French, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Studies: Catalan, Italian, German, Irish, Welsh

 
 Message 10 of 27
17 April 2009 at 8:43pm | IP Logged 
Javi wrote:
How can it possibly be less optimal than translating the sentence you are working on to your native language just for the sake of writing a flash card?.

It may take longer to build a bilingual deck than a monolingual one, but I believe that the self-discipline needed to use a monolingual deck is just too much of a burden.

You believe building a bilingual deck is too much effort, I believe using a monolingual deck is too much effort... we'll have to agree to disagree on that. I'm not going to convince you, you're not going to convince me.
Quote:
These Polish guys behind Supermemo and Atimoon aim to a very high level of proficiency in English. I would say that not even native fluency but the English of an educated native.

A) "aim for" and "acheive" are very different things. Many aim, few achieve.

B) "Educated English" is actually far, far easier than normal colloquial English. The grammar has been consciously regularised, so grammar books (for English speakers) will tell you that the opposite of I used to [do something] is *I didn't use to... when the real opposite is I never used to.... There's lots of little things like that.

Edit:
PS. I do want to learn some languages to near native level, but I don't want to learn all of them to near-native level. I thought I was getting close with Spanish, but I've realised that I've slackened off badly and amn't putting much effort into it at all, so unsurprisingly, I'm actually getting worse....

Edited by Cainntear on 17 April 2009 at 8:47pm

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Javi
Senior Member
Spain
Joined 3907 days ago

419 posts - 548 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 11 of 27
17 April 2009 at 9:53pm | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
You believe building a bilingual deck is too much effort, I believe using a monolingual deck is too much effort... we'll have to agree to disagree on that. I'm not going to convince you, you're not going to convince me.


I'm afraid it is more than just effort. What I fear are those connections between L1 and L2. I've worked without them so far and I haven't missed anything.


Quote:
A) "aim for" and "acheive" are very different things. Many aim, few achieve.

B) "Educated English" is actually far, far easier than normal colloquial English. The grammar has been consciously regularised, so grammar books (for English speakers) will tell you that the opposite of I used to [do something] is *I didn't use to... when the real opposite is I never used to.... There's lots of little things like that.


That may be true, but I didn't say educated English, I said educated natives. I was thinking of the kind of people who finished college, perhaps spent some time at university and are obviously quite capable of talking colloquially.
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Cainntear
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Scotland
linguafrankly.blogsp
Joined 3937 days ago

4400 posts - 7688 votes 
Speaks: Lowland Scots, English*, French, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Studies: Catalan, Italian, German, Irish, Welsh

 
 Message 12 of 27
17 April 2009 at 10:28pm | IP Logged 
Javi wrote:
I'm afraid it is more than just effort. What I fear are those connections between L1 and L2. I've worked without them so far and I haven't missed anything.

How do you know? If you've missed it, you won't notice that you've missed it -- that's the problem I've had with my Spanish. When people stopped correcting me, I got overconfident.

Anyway, it's not always about associating or connecting the L1 and L2.

Sometimes it's about making the differences between the two clear -- no matter how I've gone about learning a language, there will always be the tendency for L1 patterns to jump into my head, and knowledge of the differences has allowed me to catch my mistakes and fix them.

And it's also about connecting L2 with thought: when I see L1 I know what it means -- I understand it effortlessly, without having to think about it. When I produce the L2 equivalent, I'm then connecting that language to a clear, unambiguous thought.

But as you say, it's no fun arguing the same thing all the time. I've stated my argument as clear as I can and you're free to disagree. I can't prove I'm right.

Edited by Cainntear on 17 April 2009 at 10:29pm

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icing_death
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3787 days ago

296 posts - 302 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 13 of 27
18 April 2009 at 12:03am | IP Logged 
I prefer both ways, although L1-L2 is clearly more useful for me. As for the multiple comments condemning
translation, I disagree. People have been using translation in the early stages of language learning for centuries.
I've used it myself quite successfully. It's just a stage I go through when I'm learning. If you can skip it, more
power to you. Personally, I've tried, and found it much less efficient for me than a little translation.

I feel that the current trend of non-translation passive methods (10,000 sentences, L-R method, etc) are so
popular because people are under the impression that they are less work. Are they really less work? I've done
many experiments on myself and found passive learning not to work well for me. I wonder if these learners are
checking their progress, and if they are comparing it with non-passive methods. I would guess that passive
methods are the best choice for less than half the population, although I could be wrong.

I suspect another reason for the popularity of these methods: they really push the silent(non-conversation)
period idea, which is probably very attractive to the typical internet language learner. The learner is actually
encouraged to hide out as long as possible and learn passively, which fits the personality of many internet users.
I feel that this is dangerous, since it encourages reclusive behavior, which may make the learner even more
fearful of talking, or at least less encouraged to talk.

To me there is no substitute for learning to speak as soon as possible. The first skill that I can learn to a useful
level is conversation. I learn it, then use it to help me learn the other skills. It seems terribly inefficient for me to
hold back until I learn to read or listen to movies/TV well enough to really understand.
1 person has voted this message useful



charlmartell
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Portugal
Joined 4170 days ago

286 posts - 298 votes 
Speaks: French, English, German, Luxembourgish*, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Italian, Latin, Ancient Greek
Studies: Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 14 of 27
18 April 2009 at 12:29am | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:

B) "Educated English" is actually far, far easier than normal colloquial English. The grammar has been consciously regularised, so grammar books (for English speakers) will tell you that the opposite of I used to [do something] is *I didn't use to... when the real opposite is I never used to.... There's lots of little things like that.

And there was I thinking that I never used to... was the opposite of I always used to.... Weird!
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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4365 days ago

4475 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 15 of 27
18 April 2009 at 12:41am | IP Logged 
charlmartell wrote:
Cainntear wrote:


What are you doing? Stop it!


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Javi
Senior Member
Spain
Joined 3907 days ago

419 posts - 548 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 16 of 27
18 April 2009 at 2:30am | IP Logged 
icing_death wrote:
I prefer both ways, although L1-L2 is clearly more useful for me. As for the multiple comments condemning
translation, I disagree. People have been using translation in the early stages of language learning for centuries.
I've used it myself quite successfully. It's just a stage I go through when I'm learning. If you can skip it, more
power to you. Personally, I've tried, and found it much less efficient for me than a little translation.

I feel that the current trend of non-translation passive methods (10,000 sentences, L-R method, etc) are so
popular because people are under the impression that they are less work. Are they really less work? I've done
many experiments on myself and found passive learning not to work well for me. I wonder if these learners are
checking their progress, and if they are comparing it with non-passive methods. I would guess that passive
methods are the best choice for less than half the population, although I could be wrong.

I suspect another reason for the popularity of these methods: they really push the silent(non-conversation)
period idea, which is probably very attractive to the typical internet language learner. The learner is actually
encouraged to hide out as long as possible and learn passively, which fits the personality of many internet users.
I feel that this is dangerous, since it encourages reclusive behavior, which may make the learner even more
fearful of talking, or at least less encouraged to talk.

To me there is no substitute for learning to speak as soon as possible. The first skill that I can learn to a useful
level is conversation. I learn it, then use it to help me learn the other skills. It seems terribly inefficient for me to
hold back until I learn to read or listen to movies/TV well enough to really understand.


As I said in another thread, I don't think that L1->L2 flash cards involve true translation. It is rather rote memorisation of short sentences in the target language using the L1 part as a trigger. In the end it's not that different from what I do, which is reading aloud my not so short sentences, because I also end up almost memorising them. Nothing surprising, that's what SRS is about actually.

I say it is not true translation because if it was you'd run into troubles. I can see at least two potential problems:

1) As you progress you learn different ways to say the same thing. That complicates a lot the making of the cards, unless you relay on memorisation.

2) Translating leads to unidiomatic expressions. Non professional translators do that all the time even when they translate to their own native language, let alone to a foreign language. I myself produce crap Spanish when translating from English. I have trouble with passives, gerunds and so one. So, If you avoid those unidiomatic expressions is because you are neither translating nor producing, you are recalling a memorised sentence, nothing to do with the spontaneous production of new sentences that only happens in conversation or when you think or write. Yes, thinking and writing is also active.


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