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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3020 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 881 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 7:58pm | IP Logged 
Colour me a bit skeptical about Paul Sulzberger. I searched for his name and only came up with articles referring to that same one. One other article from the same time is the only one referring to the study directly, but it is just a shorter version of the same article. One of the other articles gave the Daily Mail of all places as it's reference. Whatever happened, the study didn't seem to go anywhere.

I was disappointed to find out nothing about his research. Did he study 10 rats and weigh their brains at the end of listening to 1000 hours of Spanish? Who knows?

I happen to think that the concept works, but it would be interesting to see some research to support the theory.
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emk
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United States
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 Message 882 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 8:29pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
Colour me a bit skeptical about Paul Sulzberger. I searched for his name and only came up with articles referring to that same one.

There's a reason why I referred to it as his "theory" (instead of his "study"), and I noted that Google Scholar came up with nothing. :-)

Still, as a working hypothesis, it's plausible enough, based on my own personal observations:

1. For the first several weeks I spent in an Italian-speaking country, the language was just a blur. But then it segmented into syllables and even words, even though I was making no particular effort to understand it. The brain really does seem to adapt to languages used in the environment at an entirely unconscious level.

2. I learned O Tannenbaum by heart when I was young, and one day in high school, we had to sing it in class. To my great surprise, big chunks of the song suddenly made perfect sense—I had learned a lot of German since I had last sung it. I've seen a similar effect on a small scale with French many times: Some little fragment of sound that's been stuck in my head will suddenly latch on to a meaning, and it almost never lets go. And I've even seen this with Egyptian. It's far easier for me to read sentences that are stuck in my head as if they were a song.

I think the music analogy really helps here: There are songs that I know big pieces of by heart, right down to the intonation. I don't even need to know the language. And this process can surely happen on a much smaller scale with speech, picking up individual words and common short phrases. I would have little problem, for example, learning the vocabulary in that particular Ramstein song.

There's also the weird transformation that happens to my subs2srs cards somewhere between 20 and 30 days. No matter how hard it initially was to link sound and text, they're suddenly perfectly clear, and they stay that way, and I remember the vocab in them. It's like my brain consolidates them into earworms or something.

So even if listening to incomprehensible radio news won't teach you language, it will certainly do something down at the unconscious level. And that's why I want to see if my MCD cards get any easier if I loop the matching audio in the background on a regular basis—theoretically I should be able to exploit that same mental playback that makes songs so memorable, and use that to help remember the missing syllables.

patrickwilken wrote:
Any idea thoughts on how helpful this research is when you are in >B1 territory?

I don't know. But I do know that certain things will often give me a huge boost speaking: Leaving the television on in the background all day, reading 50 or a 100 pages of French just for fun, or trying to work out how to explain something to a French speaker. Even just walking through Montreal and seeing the French street signs helps. Ambient language is a powerful thing.
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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3020 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 883 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 9:04pm | IP Logged 
I agree, and my limited experience makes me think that there is something in listening extensively even when you don't understand. I have had similar experience with incomprehensible babble transforming into unknown syllables.

Your post brought to mind something else. Could you post a link to somewhere you tell how you make your srs cards from subs? Or would it be better to wait for your software? I would like to create cards and study just a few films intensively, getting to the point where I know it inside and out. One obvious choice in French to do this with is Amelie, which is so pleasant that it's easy to watch again and again.

I found something great for intensively studying a film in Hindi: the film Sholay was so popular that they released just the spoken bits on cassette. So after watching the film a few times with subtitles, I then listened to it a couple times without subtitles or the visuals to help. I only wish I had a script for Sholay as well.
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conroy
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United Kingdom
Joined 3185 days ago

36 posts - 51 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 884 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 10:52pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
I would like to create cards and study just a few films intensively, getting to the point where I know it inside and out. One obvious choice in French to do this with is Amelie, which is so pleasant that it's easy to watch again and again.


There are another couple of reasons that Amelie is a good choice for subs2srs. One is that the subtitles are very accurate, hardly a word wrong. The other is that there are quite a range of different types of voice in the film - the homme de verre speaks slowly and clearly, the man who gets his toy box back is very slurred, the "malade imaginaire" in the café and the woman in the sex shop both have interesting voices, the failed writer speaks very quickly, the narrator is also quite quick, but also very clear. You get a real mix.

Somewhere in this thread I'm sure there's a link to emk's Amelie deck.
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emk
Diglot
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United States
Joined 3643 days ago

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 Message 885 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 11:20pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
I agree, and my limited experience makes me think that there is something in listening extensively even when you don't understand.

Yeah, it's never going to teach me a language (I need actual comprehensible input for that), but if it's combined with other stuff, it seems to make everything else just a bit easier.

Jeffers wrote:
Your post brought to mind something else. Could you post a link to somewhere you tell how you make your srs cards from subs? Or would it be better to wait for your software? I would like to create cards and study just a few films intensively, getting to the point where I know it inside and out. One obvious choice in French to do this with is Amelie, which is so pleasant that it's easy to watch again and again.

If you want to do this from scratch, you need:

1. A source of subtitles in SRT format. You can either find them online or you can use a DVD ripper to extract VOBSUB files, and then feed them through a tool like SubRip or SubExtractor to generate SRT files.

2. Once you have a SRT file, you need a matching MP4 file. I've had excellent luck with Handbrake for this step.

3. Feed the MP4 and SRT file into subs2srs, making sure the subtitles are aligned correctly. Configure subs2srs to add 1.5 seconds of padding to each end of each clip, and ask it to output one line before and after the current sub. This will allow you to recover from most alignment errors.

4. Cull viciously, somewhere between 80% and 95% on the first review. This is easiest if you configure "swipe right" to be "suspend card" in AnkiDroid.

Amélie is an excellent choice, because it's a very re-watchable movie, and there's an accurate SRT file floating around the net. But unfortunately, there's about a 9-second cumulative error between most DVD editions of the film and the SRT file. I keep meaning to correct this as a public service. The only other option is to convert the film in 5- or 10-minute chunks with a little extra buffer, changing the SRT offset as you go. Other films with very reasonable subs are Banlieu 13 and Intouchables.

Is subs2srs worth the trouble? It depends a lot on your computer skills. Does this pay off? I couldn't say, but it's a rather remarkable intensive listening exercise—I don't know anything else which gets me quite so solid on difficult audio. My intuition is that it's at least as good as trying to manually transcribe difficult audio by ear. I've done MC Solaar songs both ways, and I tended to do about 25% better with subs2srs-style cards than with manual transcription. And it's a lot easier!

Anyway, I need to finish my statistics homework for the week, and then go play on a French amateur Egyptology forum. :-)

Edited by emk on 12 January 2014 at 11:21pm

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conroy
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 3185 days ago

36 posts - 51 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 886 of 1317
12 January 2014 at 11:35pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Amélie is an excellent choice, because it's a very re-watchable movie, and there's an accurate SRT file floating around the net. But unfortunately, there's about a 9-second cumulative error between most DVD editions of the film and the SRT file. I keep meaning to correct this as a public service. The only other option is to convert the film in 5- or 10-minute chunks with a little extra buffer, changing the SRT offset as you go. Other films with very reasonable subs are Banlieu 13 and Intouchables.


+1 for Handbrake. I would just add that "subtitle edit" is an excellent piece of software for correcting timing issues on subtitle files, and will also rip subtitles out of decrypted dvd files.

The film of Nikita is another one with very accurate subtitles, although not so pleasant as Amelie :-)
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3643 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 887 of 1317
15 January 2014 at 11:53am | IP Logged 
These days, I don't write as much French at HTLAL. For some reason, to really stretch myself, I need to know that I'm writing for an actual francophone audience. But I do use lots of French in emails, PMs and other websites.

I wrote the following post for a French forum for people learning Egyptian. In it, I explain how I'm learning the language. This hasn't been proof-read by a native speaker, though I did verify several turns of phrase on Linguee and feed everything through the Bon Patron grammar checker, which found a few errors. In theory, I ought to post this to lang-8, but in practice, I can't get useful corrections for a text like this without relying on a hand-picked network of other users who can actually edit. But it's been too long since I've used lang-8 regularly, and most of my old network has moved on, so all that's left is drive-by corrections. And drive-by lang-8 corrections are pretty useless at B2 and above.

In this post, I give a short introduction to Assimil, Anki and MCDs. Corrections are always welcome, of course, though I'll probably post this to lang-8 at some point when I have time to build a new network.

emk wrote:
…Personnellement, j'utilise deux choses : la méthode L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique d'Assimil et le logiciel Anki.

L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique d'Assimil



Avant d'étudier l'égyptien, j'avais déjà utilisé Assimil pour une autre langue. Et donc quand j'ai vu le cours d'égyptien d'Assimil, je me suis demandé « Pourquoi pas? » Ce cours contient 101 leçons, et chaque leçon inclut :

1. Un texte hiéroglyphique.
2. Une transcription.
3. Une traduction mot-pour-mot pour mieux comprendre la grammaire.
4. Une traduction naturelle.
5. Des explications courtes de la grammaire et le vocabulaire.
6. Des exercices avec des textes à trous.
7. Un enregistrement facultatif.



Dans cette leçon, on peut voir un texte bien connu du papyrus Westcar.

D'habitude, j’étudierais une leçon d'Assimil par jour. Mais avec l'égyptien, j'avais deux problèmes avec ce plan : le cours était plus difficile qu'un cours comme L'Espagnol sans peine, et je ne voulais pas consacrer une heure par jour à l'égyptien. Donc, j'avais besoin de quelque chose qui me permettrait d'étudier une leçon par semaine sans oublier tout ce que j'ai appris entre les leçons. Et pour ça, j'ai Anki.

Anki et Image Occlusion

Anki est un logiciel gratuit (et libre !) qui implémente la répétition espacée. L'idée, c'est que l'on va oublier ce que l'on a appris après une période de temps. Mais si l'on révise une donnée juste avant de l'oublier, on va s'en souvenir à moins deux fois plus longtemps. C'est un processus exponentiel et donc très efficace une fois les intervalles durent plus qu'un an.

Oui, oui, ce sont des fiches, mais de haute technologie. :-)

Avec Anki, j'utilise des textes à trous. Par exemple, voilà le recto et le verso d'une carte que j'ai faite d'une leçon Assimil :



Sur la droite, il faut que je choisisse l'intervalle avant la prochaine révision. Mais je peux aussi faire « une image à trous » en utilisant Image Occlusion pour Anki (anglais).



Dans la capture d'écran ci-dessus, je vais faire trois cartes, et chaque carte va cacher un rectangle de signes et de texte. Quand je révise la carte, il faut que je donne la réponse correcte :





En fait, ça fait un jeux très agréable, et je peux réviser mes cartes quand je fait la queue au super-marché. Mais je veux qu'il soit un jeux facile : si je rate une carte quatre fois, elle est trop difficile, et j'ai configuré Anki pour qu'il la cache. Je peux toujours créer plus de cartes. Il n'y a pas besoin de garder une carte difficile jusqu'à ce qu'elle devienne un supplice. Le mot qui me donnait du mal sera plus facile dans un autre contexte plus tard.

Et je ne suis pas pressé — une leçon par semaine, ça suffit. Il me faut une heure pour l'étudier, et je ne vais pas l'oublier, grâce à Anki. Je vais finir le cours dans un peu plus qu'un an.

Comment étudiez-vous l'égyptien ? Je m'y intéresse beaucoup !

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3643 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 888 of 1317
17 January 2014 at 4:12am | IP Logged 
Yay! New DVDs from Amazon.fr! Most of them are French series for the kids, but I also picked up Hero Corp, from the little brother of the guy who did Kaamelott. Here are my thoughts so far:

1. The speech is native and colloquial, about on par with Engrenages. In other words, this is probably in the top 10% of French series, difficulty-wise, and about on par with the typical French film. I actually find it easier to listen to native speakers having a fast conversation!

2. There are French subs, but they only have a loose relation to the audio. Better than Engrenages, worse than Game of Thrones (which has abbreviated but useful subs).

3. The series is, well, stupid. It's the same kind of slightly asinine humor I'd expect from an average Monty Python TV episode: dumb people, doing dumb things, delivered rather dryly. But it's a competent example of the genre, so if you like that kind of humor, it's worth a look.

4. The episodes are about 25 minutes apiece, which is my favorite length—there's no excuse not to watch one, and then you'll want to watch another.

subs2srs update

Here's my current workflow on Linux:

1. Rip episodes to MKV format using HandBrake, making sure to include any subtitle tracks I want.
2. Export idx/sub files using "mkvextract tracks title.mkv 3:title.idx", where 3 is the stream number with the subs.
3. Convert subs to srt format using the Tools menu in Avidemux. This isn't as good as subs2srs, but it's less buggy and it runs on Linux.

This gives me an *.mkv video file and an *.srt subtitle file, which should work just fine with subs2srs. This still isn't an ideal workflow, but it's a lot better than what I was doing before.

In a perfect world I would be able to buy French TV series on my phone, use a ChromeCast-style device to trigger playback on my TV, and use some controls on my phone to specify when to skip back a few seconds of make an Anki card. Unfortunately, the number of organizations who would have to collectively give a damn to make this happen legally is depressingly large.


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