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Sentence Method question...

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Ortho
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 4342 days ago

58 posts - 60 votes 

 
 Message 17 of 27
18 April 2009 at 6:54am | IP Logged 
Javi wrote:
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.


Why do you think this is a problem? If you know ten different ways to say "Let's go to the movies" in L2 and the English phrase "Let's go to the movies" comes up, and you say one of them in L2, you mark it correct, whether you hit the exact one on the back of the card or not. What's the problem?

The point is NOT that you translate from English into the other language. The point is that you have an occasion to say something in the foreign language.

Pimsleur is horrible for this, because when it gets you to producing the question will be (in L2): "Now tell me that you want to go the movies" and your answer will be "I want to go to the movies", and you haven't had to produce anything, because the L2 way of posing the question just reminded you of all the words and sentence structure that you're supposed to be producing. I'd be really good in French if I had a little demon on my shoulder to whisper the words in my ear every time I needed to say or write something.

Anyway, for me the L1 question is just a way of putting myself in the situation where I can attempt to produce the L2. It could be L3 or L4 or pictures or recordings or someone doing mime (but not sign language because then we'd be translating oh noes!), but just writing the L1 on the side of the card is quick and easy, and it doesn't create some kind of chronic disease where I have to always translate through my native language in order to use the L2.

That said, when I was writing my reponse to you I had an idea about how to do this all in L2 (putting a little situation on the front of the card, like Q: "There is a new film coming out this week, you'd like to go see it with your friend. Describe how the conversation might go." Or something like that, with a better-written question. Maybe this is a way to deal with the problem (I agree that using L1 is a problem because it's inefficient--cards with L2 on both side would give you twice as much practice, I'm just saying I haven't really found a better way) that you're pointing out.



Edited by Ortho on 18 April 2009 at 8:37am

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icing_death
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3853 days ago

296 posts - 302 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 18 of 27
18 April 2009 at 8:32am | IP Logged 
Javi wrote:
As I said in another thread, I don't think that L1->L2 flash cards involve true translation.

Reading a card in L1, and saying it in L2 is translation.

Javi wrote:
It is rather rote memorisation of short sentences in the target language using the L1 part as a
trigger.

Not necessarily, but I think I see what you are getting at. If you are using sentence flashcards and you've spent
too much time on the same flashcards, you might get to the point where you recognize the card by the first
character, and blurt out the answer without really reading it or formulating an answer.

This is not a problem with single words, as it's pretty much what one wants to happen. This is not even a big
deal with sentences, provided you are not too reliant on flashcards, that is, if they don't make up too high of a
percentage of your study time. It's good to use a variety of techniques; try not to be one-dimensional.

I only use sentence flashcards for idioms/set phrases, grammar examples, and tough vocabulary items. I don't
mind memorizing these. Otherwise, I stick to words. For reading practice, I read (don't use flashcards). Another
thing you can consider is deleting your flashcards after a few months. Not only will this help you with this
particular problem, but it will allow you to add more new material, which is always good.


Javi wrote:
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.

There are some benefits to memorizing sentences outright, but what the 100000 sentence technique is really
supposed to do for you is teach you to read. Having whole sentences memorized is useful, but not as useful as
having words and short phrases memorized in my experience.

Javi wrote:
Nothing surprising, that's what SRS is about actually.

Agreed. If people are shooting for internalization rather than memorization, maybe they shouldn't use SRSs. On
the other hand, taking the measures I mentioned above should make it better.

Javi wrote:
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.

There are some flashcard writing tricks that might help here, but the best advice is stop being so anal with
cards. There is no need to go overboard and try to learn every phrase and every definition, especially at the
sentence level, with flashcards.

Javi wrote:
2) Translating leads to unidiomatic expressions.

Sometimes. But no more than, in the case of someone who has memorized thousands of sentences, having to
create a sentence that they haven't memorized. When it comes to production, no technique is going to allow one
to create perfectly idiomatic speech/writing without a lot of practice. This is one reason I believe producing early
and practicing a lot as part of my regular routine is so important.
Javi wrote:
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.

If you are able to use a memorized sentence "as is" in a conversation, then you are pretty good at figuring out
what to memorize. Well done. But creating perfect sentences is something you can do with practice - it's not a
skill limited to sentence memorizers.
Javi wrote:
Yes, thinking and writing is also active.

I think by most definitions speaking and writing are considered active, reading and listening are considered
passive. I can see thinking going either way, depending on what kind of thinking it is.


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charlmartell
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Portugal
Joined 4236 days ago

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

 
 Message 19 of 27
18 April 2009 at 9:49am | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
charlmartell wrote:
Cainntear wrote:

What are you doing? Stop it!

Point taken. Except I wasn't arguing with him, I was just asking for clarification on a point of spoken English. As I suppose he is an expert in that respect at least.
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charlmartell
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Portugal
Joined 4236 days ago

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

 
 Message 20 of 27
18 April 2009 at 10:04am | IP Logged 
icing_death wrote:
Javi wrote:
...
...

Good grief, another cainntear! As if one dissecter weren't enough!

Edited by charlmartell on 18 April 2009 at 11:01am

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slucido
Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
Spain
https://goo.gl/126Yv
Joined 4667 days ago

1296 posts - 1781 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Spanish*, Catalan*
Studies: English

 
 Message 21 of 27
18 April 2009 at 10:11am | IP Logged 
These discussions are more about fads than anything else.

If you live in a country where your target language is not spoken, "inverse translation" is a good method. Harder, but very good. Your memory reinforcement will be stronger and yes, at first this "inverse translation" method can be a long serie of behaviour chains with two behaviours every one.




Edited by slucido on 18 April 2009 at 10:12am

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Cainntear
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Scotland
linguafrankly.blogsp
Joined 4003 days ago

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Speaks: Lowland Scots, English*, French, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Studies: Catalan, Italian, German, Irish, Welsh

 
 Message 22 of 27
18 April 2009 at 2:31pm | IP Logged 
Javi wrote:
2) Translating leads to unidiomatic expressions.

As I've already said, I don't believe "translating" these short expressions is the same as translating a long text, but setting that aside for one moment....

When you are doing L1->L2 flashcards, you're teaching yourself not to translate literally and instead to translate idiomatically. If you were to start with "tengo hambre" and you translated it as "I have hunger", the other side of the flashcard would tell you you were wrong, and you would learn to say "I am hungry" instead.


Quote:
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.

But that depends on the size of your card deck. The Michel Thomas courses, for example, teach by L1->L2 translation, and there is virtually no repetition of any given sentence (almost every prompt is unique), so I don't think this is necessarily true.

So if the deck is large enough that you don't see an individual card often enough to completely memorise it, it would be production (but then again would that still be the method we're talking about?)



Charlmartell,
if you're genuinely curious about the "used to" thing, PM me and I'll give you an explanation, but judging by your response to icing_death I'm guessing you just said it to try to start a fight.
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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4431 days ago

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

 
 Message 23 of 27
18 April 2009 at 4:53pm | IP Logged 
charlmartell wrote:
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!


At best, this is a point in which English varies regionally. "I never used to" is not a statement I can imagine myself ever making.

I can spontaneously say "I used to ..."; the opposite simply doesn't spontaneously come up. In response to "Did you ever do...", I'd say "No/nope, never" if the answer was negative.

The extreme case, for me, is if someone was talking about something and, while I wasn't questioned, I felt the need to explicitly deny having done it (and, frankly, this simply doesn't tend to happen: it would sound defensive, and depending on the context, likely silly or judgmental - regardless, it would be awkward). In that case, I'd probably simply say "I've never ..." - ie, "I've never eaten stir-fried chipmunks!"

Anyhow, I simply wouldn't use 'used' in a negative form of the sort posited above - not with "never" and not with "didn't". The whole idea of negating something with a repeated aspect in English strikes me as weird: either you never did it (and hence don't use 'used to'), or you only did it sometimes, and so you say "I occasionally/I sometimes/I rarely/I didn't often..." ...


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icing_death
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3853 days ago

296 posts - 302 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 24 of 27
18 April 2009 at 9:19pm | IP Logged 
Depending on context, I think another valid "opposite" of used to is will. (Three years ago, I used to go to the
library every day. Three years from now, I will go to the library every day.)


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