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Listening from the beginning

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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tractor
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 Message 18 of 70
13 May 2011 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
szastprast wrote:
Arekkusu wrote:
Definitely agree, and wired to learn through speaking, not
writing.

We are wired to learn through listening, reading, speaking, writing, and perfoming actions.

Are you sure we are wired to learn through reading and writing? Widespread literacy is in most parts of the world a
new phenomenon and has probably had little evolutionary impact yet.

Edited by tractor on 14 May 2011 at 9:39am

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Cainntear
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 Message 19 of 70
13 May 2011 at 8:13pm | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:
Are you sure we are wired to learn through reading and writing? Widespread literacy is in most part of the world a
new phenomenon and has probably had little evolutionary impact yet.

There's a theory that human language evolved through a series of symbolic gestures -- i.e. sign language preceded spoken language.

If language evolution was primarily visual, literacy is in a way a return to our "roots". Of course, writing is more abstract and arbitrary than most sign languages, which have a fairly high number of representational symbols and model grammatical functions in a very clear analogue to the world, but then again writing is no less arbitrary in its representations than speaking. I mean, why "fish"?

After all, as you say, literacy hasn't been around long enough to have an evolutionary impact... but why then has all of humanity evolved the ability to relate visual words with spoken ones...?
budonoseito wrote:
Arekkusu wrote:
A lot of people make the mistake of over-intellectualizing their language studies, as
if language was a school subject, a topic you studied like history or geography. On the
contrary, languages are living beings and we should never lose sight of how they behave
in the real world. If our goal is to be able to speak the language, then we need to
expose ourselves to the language in its natural state by forcing ourselves to use it
with natives, and by listening to and watching people use it (audio and video).


Guilty. :(

I am Math/Computer geek. I realize what I normally do is not the best way to approach
languages. So, I try to make an effort to be more natural. Well, natural for other
people.

Guilty? No.
There's nothing wrong with trying to learn the rules -- your viewpoint and Arekkusu's are not mutually exclusive.

The reason "intellectualised" language is so much maligned at the moment isn't because intellectualisation of a language is an inherently bad thing, but because those most people who attempt it make the language fit the rules, rather than making the rules fit the language.

As a computer programmer (by training, though not by profession), I see the rules of language in terms of inheritance and overriding, and this helps me create simple and manageable rules rather than unweildy long ones. The concept of "overriding" one rule with another is just a different way of expressing the concept of exceptions, but I find it logical because I stop trying to encapsulate the conditions for exceptions within the main rule.

Oooh... I feel a blog post coming on....
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Arekkusu
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 Message 20 of 70
13 May 2011 at 8:15pm | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:
szastprast wrote:
Arekkusu wrote:
Definitely agree, and wired to learn through speaking, not
writing.

We are wired to learn through listening, reading, speaking, writing, and perfoming actions.

Are you sure we are wired to learn through reading and writing? Widespread literacy is in most part of the world a
new phenomenon and has probably had little evolutionary impact yet.

Exactly. No one said you can't learn by reading and writing, but there is no doubt that humans spent millenia learning eachother's languages through first-hand interactions, from listening and speaking.
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amethyst32
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 Message 22 of 70
13 May 2011 at 11:02pm | IP Logged 
Hi,

I agree with the OP about listening from the beginning, but for me the point of it is getting used to how the real language is spoken. I don't think the slower, simpler language used in beginner podcasts and programs offer this advantage, so I prefer listening to native audio while getting beginner input from my course and other resources. Also, I don't agree that passive listening is "a waste of time" since it doesn't necessarily use any extra time, and switching between passive and active listening is very easily done. Much of the advice on here seems to set these techniques up as a dichotomy, but I don't see any reason why it has to be like that. I find doing both gives me the best of both worlds. :-)



Edited by amethyst32 on 13 May 2011 at 11:07pm

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leosmith
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United States
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 Message 23 of 70
14 May 2011 at 3:02am | IP Logged 
szastprast wrote:
I would say that, for the beginner, listening and pronunciation are the most important skills to
acquire as soon as possible.

Why the change in philosophy? It almost sounds like you've learned something since the last time.
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hrhenry
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 Message 24 of 70
14 May 2011 at 3:35am | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
There's a theory that human language evolved through a series of symbolic gestures -- i.e. sign language preceded spoken language.

You've reminded me of a paper I read a couple years back about this (although not related to the thread). It talked about how speech evolved, precisely from gestures.

I'll have to dig it up. It was an interesting read. The author, a South African, surmised that once our groups, or tribes, reached a size of around 150 people, gesturing was no longer effective and vocalization, then speech was needed to effectively communicate with the entire group.

If I can find the paper I'll post it, assuming anyone is interested in reading it.

R.
==


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