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Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2386 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 1153 of 1317
09 October 2014 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
a. Assimil (grading, repetition).
b. Listening/Reading (volume and long consecutive hours, providing repetition).
c. subs2srs (small chunk size w/parallel text, with optimized repetition).


Funny you should mention this; this is basically what I did to learn to read Spanish.

When I started, I did Assimil Spanish with Ease while working through the Spanish dub
of Avatar and trying to add 30 words from the show to Anki every day. I didn't have
subtitles, so I had to work hard to make out the words I didn't know and wanted to
learn. I was also taking a Spanish class at college at the same time. In total, my
study time was about two hours to two and a half hours on days when I had class, but I
skipped lots of days of study at home 'cuz I'm lazy. Also, the class itself was,
predictably, incredibly slow and could have been foregone.

Once I hit episode 10 of Avatar, I started to understand some of the conversations
fairly well (helped by the fact I had previously watched it in English and French),
and by episode 30 I was understanding a large majority of what I was hearing (even if
I had to go back now and then).

After I finished Avatar and got bored of Assimil at lesson ~70 or so, I decided to L/R
the Hobbit. I tried to spend the most time I could on this every day and managed a
couple 3 hour sessions. This helped IMMENSELY. It's hard to quantify how much I
learned during this period, but I after 6 or so hours, I went from understanding
little to understanding the large majority of what was written.

At about the halfway mark, I felt I didn't need the English translations anymore, so I
just read the rest of it (continuing to listen to the Spanish audio) for fun and
didn't have any major problems with comprehension.

The whole process took about 5 months, with some days of no study, and was an
enjoyable experiment that has lead me to look deeper into intercomprehension with 3
other Romance languages: Portuguese, Italian and Catalan.

Either way, I can't recommend L/R from day one or even after a few weeks. I tried with
Swedish and only after rereading the first chapter 3 times and listening to the audio
many more times at work was I able to understand anything beyond a simple sentence.
Even then, my time could probably have been spent more efficiently.

Anyway, good luck with your experiment! I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out
for you.
1 person has voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3213 days ago

3333 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 1154 of 1317
09 October 2014 at 10:56pm | IP Logged 
It's hard to imagine myself at your place because Spanish has always been transparent for me, but maybe I can think about Italian first.

Italian is closer to the Iberian languages than French, the only reason I understand French more than Italian is that I learned French. Even so, I can say the most crucial obstacle to understanding either was their preference for le passé composé. After I learned this outstanding grammar difference, I just worked on common knowledge, cognates etc. I can say that what contributed the most for understanding Italian was overcoming this fear of estrangement/unfamiliarity, which, in the case of a cousin language, is caused by simple grammar features that make the language look more distant than it actually is (forgot to mention the particles y,en/ci, the combined use of object pronouns which doesn't happen in spoken Portuguese for instance).

If I were to learn Italian now (I may go to Italy next year), I'd work quickly at an Assimil, 7 lessons a day, focusing on getting used to the sounds of the language and learning the vocabulary for daily usage objects that may be different - the more abstract you get into the language, the more cognate it looks. I wouldn't worry about learning each Assimil lesson intensively, and I feel it wouldn't be necessary at all. After the first Assimil, I'd go for a second edition if necessary, then to the intermediate edition. I don't feel the need of studying formal grammar at this stage because I can notice it mostly from context. After all, I can tell all parts of speech one from another right away, it's not as if I was learning Georgian or Chinese.

Then I'd work on intermediate textbooks alongside with native materials. Parallell reading while necessary, L/R when possible, but I think video would still be my main source for audio as it would give me insights on the spoken language the way it is, naturally. it would help me avoid sounding bookish, which isn't usually optimal for any language, leave alone for a culture that has so much in common with mine. Double subtitles would help familiarize with how sentences are built and different idioms are rendered. I'd gradually get hid of L1 subtitles, then L1 translation, then even dictionaries and I'd reach my goal.

An intermediate textbook I'm recommending are Routledge's Modern [Language} Grammar: a Practical Guide. They focus less on declensions and rules and more on fulfilling grammar knowledge for performing situational tasks. This approach is useful at any cases, but even more so in a familiar language where the 'normal' graded grammar teaching will just slow you down because you absorb a lot of grammar through comparison.

This is what I did for German. I restarted it after pausing it at a medium-baked A2 years ago. Context: C-ish English and B1~=B2 Norwegian. It was actually the Norwegian that helped set the bridge for German, just like French helped me fill the gaps from Iberian to Italian, so that I didn't need to just move from the most familiar/less difficult to the least familiar/most difficult.

I went through 3 Assimils in a rush, 2 intermediate Assimils more calmly, a grammar-focused textbook, and then I started combining native materials with intermediate textbooks. When I noticed textbooks weren't providing much new in terms of vocabulary, I picked Routledge's grammar to trimm off the edges and kept working on native material. We're talking of roughly 7 months of native materials which started at painful reading and assisted listening and went further and further. Then today I realized I'm almost at 90% of understanding of a German text and may soon be able to read it extensively in a comfortable way. The same took me 2 years and a half with Norwegian. So, Norwegian helped me with German and they were at different stages, but German is filling the gaps and getting closer and closer. Interference was worse when I (re)started German, as I had to shut down Norwegian the minute I'd start the German turn, everyday. It only got better, though, with sounds and words taking distinct places in my head even if sometimes I'd think of a Norwegian root first and then finally remember the German one.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Darklight1216
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3147 days ago

411 posts - 639 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 1155 of 1317
10 October 2014 at 1:07am | IP Logged 
Sizen wrote:


After I finished Avatar and got bored of Assimil at lesson ~70 or so, I decided to L/R
the Hobbit. I tried to spend the most time I could on this every day and managed a
couple 3 hour sessions. This helped IMMENSELY. It's hard to quantify how much I
learned during this period, but I after 6 or so hours, I went from understanding
little to understanding the large majority of what was written.

At about the halfway mark, I felt I didn't need the English translations anymore, so I
just read the rest of it (continuing to listen to the Spanish audio) for fun and
didn't have any major problems with comprehension.

The whole process took about 5 months, with some days of no study, and was an
enjoyable experiment that has lead me to look deeper into intercomprehension with 3
other Romance languages: Portuguese, Italian and Catalan.

Either way, I can't recommend L/R from day one or even after a few weeks. I tried with
Swedish and only after rereading the first chapter 3 times and listening to the audio
many more times at work was I able to understand anything beyond a simple sentence.
Even then, my time could probably have been spent more efficiently.

Anyway, good luck with your experiment! I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out
for you.

So how did exactly do you like to L/R? Do you just look at the words in your TL while
listening to your TL or do you read TL while listening in a language that you know
already or perhaps something else?

Also, I'm watching Avatar in French and it's pretty good. I thought that I had seen it
years ago, but I'm realizing that I only saw a handful of episodes so it's nice that I
can be surprised by it still.

On that note, please mark any spoilers so I can avoid them!




1 person has voted this message useful



Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2386 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 1156 of 1317
10 October 2014 at 1:50am | IP Logged 
I believe I did it in the way it was originally proposed to be done (not that it
matters). I would read anywhere from a paragraph to a page in English, followed by the
same text in Spanish with Spanish audio, then one final go with the English text and
the Spanish audio.

I liked doing it this way because I would mentally prepare myself for the Spanish text
instead of just plunging headfirst into it. This way, I at least knew what to expect.
Then, when attacking the Spanish text, I would encounter some words that I would be
able to compare with the mental image I still had of the English text from just
moments ago, but there would still be words that I couldn't remember or guess the
meaning of right away (I don't have a photographic memory!). That's where the last
run-through would help because I was able to compare words and sentences in real-time,
and therefore fill up all the holes in my original comprehension of the text.

This repetition is probably what helps most in L/R, at least for me. Not only will the
words be coming up a lot in the book anyway, but you're also forcing yourself to see
those same words twice as many times, each time being able to compare it to the
English context you have.

A little anecdote: I remember that a word that came up a lot in the Hobbit was
"antorcha", "torch" in English. I could easily guess the meaning of this word with
context and because it basically looks and sounds like "torch", but what was fantastic
about this word is that I was able to "feel" how it entered my long-term memory over a
few days. At first, there was a little hesitation, until it started to feel like a
real word, as if the word torch had always been antorcha, until finally I didn't even
need to pay attention for the meaning to pop up naturally in my mind. I'd never felt
this kind of quasi-tangible learning experience before with as many words. And to be
honest, I've had difficulty reproducing it since.

(By the way, it really helps to be attached to the book you're reading, whether it be
because you love it so much that you've read it 100 times, or because you're reading
it for the first time and are fascinated by the story. It gets incredibly boring to
read the same thing 3 times in a short period of time if the story isn't captivating
and worth the hard work.)
2 persons have voted this message useful



Darklight1216
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3147 days ago

411 posts - 639 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 1157 of 1317
11 October 2014 at 12:34am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the explanation, Sizen.

Sizen wrote:

(By the way, it really helps to be attached to the book you're reading, whether it be
because you love it so much that you've read it 100 times, or because you're reading
it for the first time and are fascinated by the story. It gets incredibly boring to
read the same thing 3 times in a short period of time if the story isn't captivating
and worth the hard work.)

I'll keep that in mind. Le petit prince might not be best option in that respect, but
beggars can't be choosers...

In other news: I borrowed the third season of Avatar only to find out that the dvd
version does not have French audio, or subtitles, or anything except for English
audio. I try to limit my English movie consumption so I guess I'll have to skip to
Korra.

Edit: But only for season one apparently...
WHY?!


Edited by Darklight1216 on 11 October 2014 at 12:43am

1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3579 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 1158 of 1317
23 October 2014 at 12:19am | IP Logged 
Thank you, everybody, for sharing your experiences with extensive learning early on.

Catching up with Anki

Things have been busy lately, and I've been neglecting Anki. This makes virtually no difference for French—at worst, I've lost some marginal vocabulary, and some words have retreated from active to passive. When it comes to French, Anki is basically just a way to review fun quotes from books I love, and review ridiculously obscure vocabulary at the same time.

Egyptian is going to be a bit harder. If I try to catch up a rate of 20 cards/day, I have enough to keep me busy for three weeks. Not the end of the world, especially since I'm mostly dealing with bilingual MCD cards, which are forgiving and discardable.

I think I'm going to just toss my deck of French regions completely.

Cheating and Consolidating (again)

I've been following the recent thread about the Mandarin video experiment. My reaction is conflicted: I learned plenty of French sitting on the couch watching TV, and I recommend it highly. But based on my experience with French, I have a personal theory about how extensive activities work:



This is basically Krashen's idea of "comprehensible input": We learn by understanding messages. So my argument is that you should cheat outrageously to make input decipherable, and then let exposure do the rest. Just watching TV seems like a bad idea, because there's only the tiniest smidgen of comprehensible input.

But if you could somehow boost comprehensibility, I suspect it's perfectly possible to learn from fun native media starting from almost day 1. Which brings me to…

Still messing around with Spanish

I'm not actually studying Spanish officially, because that would involve making a regular time commitment (like I have for French and Egyptian) and I just can't be bothered right now. For now, I'm just poking around the edges, looking for a way to make progress without opening my Assimil L'Espagnol course.

I've been experimenting with my Spanish-language audiobook of Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal. This is fun, but Harry Potter is too advanced for me to be able to get much out of it without either (1) actually doing some work or (2) entering it into an Anki audio deck. But I'm far too lazy to cut and past audio into Anki cards.

After a helpful conversation in French with tastyonions today, I've decided to pick up a copy of Y tu mamá también, a Mexican movie with good reviews and semi-accurate but abbreviated subtitles. This audio is even more difficult than Harry Potter, but the vocabulary is simpler, and I don't have to cut-and-paste sound clips manually from Audacity.

Now, I clearly start with a huge advantage in Spanish: I can already more-or-less align the movie dialog with the words in the subtitles, and I can more-or-less align Spanish text with either French or English text. Oh, and I have the usual 10,000+ renaissance cognates. So it shouldn't take me too long to reach A1 comprehension.

Oh, and I watched episode 2 of Destinos today. This is very nicely done, once you get past the English blather in episode 1: They explain things in English up front, then they show the scenes in Spanish, then they review them very slowly in clear Spanish. This nicely satisfies my desire for things which are partially decipherable with no prior knowledge.

So maybe I'll keep messing around with Spanish on and off. No promises, though.
1 person has voted this message useful



iguanamon
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3309 days ago

2224 posts - 6707 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 1159 of 1317
23 October 2014 at 1:19am | IP Logged 
¡Cuidado, emk! You may just cross over the Pyrenees, start a new log and learn a new language! That's how I started with Portuguese. Before I knew it, I was learning it "officially" :)

I recommend Matando Cabos. It has accurate, full length subtitles in Spanish. English subs are available on the DVD and online as well. This is a heck of a fun film.

BTW, as per your recommendation, I bought "El Gato del Rabino" on abe books for $1.00 plus $3.99 shipping to the VI.


Edited by iguanamon on 23 October 2014 at 1:23am

2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3523 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 1160 of 1317
23 October 2014 at 2:02am | IP Logged 
My first post from NZ, shame the French didnt beat the English here ;) No im just taking this opportunity to
actually state im in another country... so...

emk wrote:
Y tu mamá también, a Mexican movie with


My memory of movies is not great, oddly its rare for me to remember details. However for what it's worth, 'Y
tú mamá también' does stick in my mind as a very good movie indeed.


emk wrote:
Oh, and I watched episode 2 of
Destinos
today. This is very nicely done, once you get past the English blather in episode 1: They
explain things in English up front, then they show the scenes in Spanish, then they review them very slowly in
clear Spanish. This nicely satisfies my desire for things which are partially decipherable with no prior
knowledge.


IMO after having used a lot of courses in French, Spanish, Dutch & German, this is the best course i have
used in any language yet. For me it sits just above French in Action and Assimil New French with Ease. If you
do have the books and audio, when/if you get serious in Spanish I can't recommend this course (all
components) enough: It has it all- course like explanations & grammar exercises, plenty if i+1 reading (if i'm
following that concept correctly), video, audio at normal/faster speed, medium and slow speeds depending on
which part of a lesson, which part of a video episode or how far into the course you are, engaging story &
exposure to Spanish from different countries. I got as far as lección 26 (half way), and it took my Spanish
from zero to what felt at the time like B1- confident enough to discover i could mantain long type-written
coversations in Spanish chat rooms and had more than 1 person think i was lying about Spanish not being
my mother tongue. Mind you it's easy to avoid language you're not confident in when typing/writing in a
foreign language. Anyway great course, i liked it so much i bought the follow on Nuevos Destinos and ALL
accompanying courses (I think 4 courses in total aimed at different levels can be used with Nuevos Destinos).
Some day when I begin Spanish I'll be using Destinos as my number 1 resource for sure...

Thanks for sharing again emk, i always find your insights insightful. Also your comments on flaschards are
always useful too as i have a must use/hate relationship with them. I find that if I used them my exposure to
native language decreases but the chances of my remembering obscure/new & tricky grammar rules or
vocab increases. But they really do irritate me because I feel like I could be using my time more effectively.
I'm sure you're familiar with my on and off relationship with FC's.

Edit: I have tried to fix an issue with quotations above but can't seem to fix it. You'll see my response to your
quote regarding 'Y tu mama también' is contained within your quote, my apologies. I'm clearly missing
something that is interferring with the functionality of the quote, something obvious i'm betting

PM

[I fixed the quote for you. -emk]

Edited by emk on 23 October 2014 at 1:24pm



3 persons have voted this message useful



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