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How many words do you learn per day?

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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Denmark
berejst.dk
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 Message 185 of 213
10 December 2010 at 11:34am | IP Logged 
slymie wrote:
2. For Russian - Meh. I think my level is still low to really benefit from the lists. Some words just won't stick out of context. I may still do the lists but only from words taken from lessons or podcasts. Maybe I just haven't trained my brain to memorize Russian words yet? Sir. Iverson, at what level do you think word lists should be incorporated?


I have had exactly the same experience, and therefore I mostly use words from texts I have studied when I'm dealing with a new language where almost all words look like nonsense syllables. As you say you can then at least use the context to assist in your memorization. But at some point I get tired of all those scattered words, and then I start doing wordlists based on a dictionary - and always a dictionary from my target language into Danish or a language I know really well (like English or German).

At some point looking unknown words from genuine texts up in a dictionary and maybe taking notes will be enough to make me remember them, and then I stop transferring words from my notes to formal wordlists. But once in a while I still do a dictionary based wordlist in one of my better languages. If I 'run out of dictionaries' (like Slymie seems to have done with Chinese) then there are still things like bird guides and other specialized sources. But then it is more a question of studying a subject than adding even more vocabulary. How many farm implements or flower names do you need to know?

justberta wrote:
My point is that 20 words per day aren't automatically retained simply by writing them down and pronouncing them one time, you must still "learn" them again tomorrow. Write lists etc. Refine that list, and so on. To learn a word I must repeat it 10-50 times.
   

Precisely - and therefore I devised a format where I work both ways, where I have incorporated at least one formal repetition round and where I don't take one word and (maybe) its translation at a time, but instead work on groups of 5-7 words at a time so that I can have the pleasure of seeing them almost disappear and then drag them back again using different kinds of memory hooks. This is training in recall, not in reading aloud.

Or - to reuse one of my old formulations - I don't believe in the kind of mindless repetition where you say "Horse cheval horse cheval..." or "cheval cheval cheval.." for ten minutes.


Edited by Iversen on 10 December 2010 at 11:55am

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justberta
Diglot
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Norway
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Speaks: English, Norwegian*
Studies: Indonesian, German, Spanish, Russian

 
 Message 186 of 213
10 December 2010 at 2:18pm | IP Logged 
ellasevia wrote:
justberta wrote:
My point is that 20 words per day aren't
automatically retained simply by writing them down and pronouncing them one time, you
must still "learn" them again tomorrow. Write lists etc. Refine that list, and so on.
To learn a word I must repeat it 10-50 times. I may do this in a day or every day for a
month, depending on how often I hear it and it's usefulness.


I understand what you mean. I may go through and study a list of vocabulary for a
lesson in my coursebook, but by tomorrow I will probably have forgotten many of the
words. This is what SRS programs like Anki are for, and many forum members take
advantage of these. Once you input words, it feeds them to you as new words each day at
your specified pace and you repeat them in increasing intervals according to how easily
you remember them. You should try it. :)


I doubt that you understand what I mean unless you've thoroughly read my above posts.
No thank you I will not try this Anki whatever that is. It sounds like something a
passive internet language learner would learn. I certainly don't need any more words.
Vocabulary is so overrated. If you can not pronounce and remember the words perfectly,
what's the point. It seem as if many learners on this forum think that they are fluent
in a language merely by having studied it at home for a year, never having spoken it,
having a large vocabulary. While still having that very annoying, always present native
language shining through.
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ellasevia
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Japan
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 Message 187 of 213
10 December 2010 at 2:59pm | IP Logged 
Okay, fine, no one's forcing you. Don't you just love negativity?
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doviende
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Senior Member
Canada
languagefixatio
Joined 4294 days ago

533 posts - 1245 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Spanish, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Hindi, Swedish, Portuguese

 
 Message 188 of 213
10 December 2010 at 4:03pm | IP Logged 
Asking how many words people are able to learn in a day is an important question for many learners. It allows us to question our methods, and hear about other inspirational methods. It's inspiring when we hear about the remarkable progress that some people are making, and when we learn that they are not necessarily super-savants with magic powers, but just regular people who've figured out efficient ways to teach themselves, and have worked very hard for many hours.

It's pretentious when you come in here and tell us that you're better than all of us who are trying to help and encourage each other. It's annoying when you tell us that our efforts are worthless. They are not.

I'm sure you're also a successful language learner, but you have no reason to lump everyone else into a group that you think you're better than.

And just for argument's sake, I don't think vocabulary is overrated. I think vocabulary is one of the most important pieces. I gain great joy from being able to effortlessly read a book in another language, and the biggest thing holding me back most of the time is vocabulary. I enjoy gaining a large passive understanding of a language during my silent period, before I go out to activate my knowledge.

It's wrong of you to judge me because of this style of learning that apparently differs from yours.
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justberta
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
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140 posts - 170 votes 
Speaks: English, Norwegian*
Studies: Indonesian, German, Spanish, Russian

 
 Message 189 of 213
10 December 2010 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
As long as a person states that he reads and writes a language. That's
fine. However to state that he speaks a language merely from studying it alone
in his room with grammar tables and vocabulary lists is a bit much if he's never been
to the country or spoken to natives.

Even savants aren't that impressive. I've only seen professor Arguilles two
times on Youtube, where he read a Norwegian text and conducted an interview with an
Indonesian person. I wasn't very impressed. Surely, he reads and writes many languages
and pronounces them, but lacks a cultural understanding I believe. The interview was
very funny as he had no idea how to communicate with the Indonesian person. Besides it
was mostly in English.

Take Daniel Tammet, British polyglot and math genius. He learned Icelandic in a month
or a few weeks and everyone were very impressed by this. Yet when we consider that he
had a month to prepare before he went to Iceland, a private tutor while there AND
previous knowledge of similar languages it doesn't impress us that much does it?

If I had to chose to give a medal to a person who studied Mandarin on his own for a
year, achieving intermediate/fluent written/Skype/Youtube levels, or a person who lived
in suburbia in China for a year, achieving spoken intermediate/fluent cultural levels
of Mandarin with pronunciation, tones and all that I would give it to the latter...
1 person has voted this message useful



hrhenry
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United States
languagehopper.blogs
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 Message 190 of 213
10 December 2010 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
Justberta, I can't help but notice that you're spending an awful lot of time fretting over the issue. Why? So you don't agree with this particular method of learning. That's fine, you have every right not to agree with it.

But you should also understand that digging your heels in deeper probably isn't going to convince anyone to change their methods, doubly so when they've responded to you and told you that indeed, they have learned.

There are things mentioned here on the forum that I probably wouldn't agree with too, but is it my place to come here and disparage them simply because I don't agree with it? On the contrary, I'm more interested in finding out why someone thinks that a particular method works for them when it might not or hasn't in the past worked for me.

Being a Negative Nancy - relentlessly so, even - just ends up being comical, not helpful.

MHO.

R.
==
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justberta
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3893 days ago

140 posts - 170 votes 
Speaks: English, Norwegian*
Studies: Indonesian, German, Spanish, Russian

 
 Message 191 of 213
10 December 2010 at 4:53pm | IP Logged 
Comical is when a 20 year old native English speaker noob comes to this forum stating
that he will now study Russian, Mandarin and Spanish. Simultaneously.

1 person has voted this message useful



doviende
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
languagefixatio
Joined 4294 days ago

533 posts - 1245 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Spanish, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Hindi, Swedish, Portuguese

 
 Message 192 of 213
10 December 2010 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
1) grammar tables and vocabulary lists account for less than 1% of my study time.
2) people can learn to speak a language quite well without traveling to another country.
3) Arguelles is not a savant, but is a great example of a very hard-working person who has achieved success in languages. He doesn't claim to be perfect in all languages that he has studied, so I see no reason to be down on him for not being perfect.
4) People can learn an excellent chinese accent and tones without leaving home, so I don't see why you're assuming that everyone who studies on their own must have such bad pronunciation.
5) Not everyone can afford to pick up their life and move around the globe.



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