Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Three rules for improving listening

  Tags: Listening
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
105 messages over 14 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 12 ... 13 14 Next >>


emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3767 days ago

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

 
 Message 89 of 105
18 December 2013 at 3:15pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
The reason the learner settles on course A + course B is that the advice as described
above is completely incomprehensible to a language newbie. They want simple advice, and
they don't expect to spend 3 hours a day for the next 3 years.The advice Iguanamon gives
in his imaginary post is great (as usual), but most people coming for advice are asking
because they need something simple. The problem isn't that the average learner stays
"inside the box", the problem is that the average learner gives up after a while for a
huge variety of reasons. There is nothing wrong with a course alone + Anki.

There are several successful learners on these message boards who have gotten their start
that way.

One of nice things about Assimil, as James29 points out, is that it gives you many of the pleasures you'd get from fooling around with native text, without the potentially brutal difficulty. If you read three pages of my log starting here, you can watch me pound my head against a hieroglyphic translation of Peter Rabbit. My conclusion: Even with a couple of hours of dictionary work, I'm lucky to be able to decipher 60% of a page, despite already being at Assimil lesson 30. Without those 30 Assimil lessons and my Anki deck of the 200 most common hieroglyphs, I'd be totally lost.

There are ways to work around around this. If you know the writing system, and if you have parallel texts (but not word-for-word translations), then you can make mostly opaque MCD cards and use volume to puzzle out patterns slowly. But even then, working from Assimil's graded, word-for-word translations still gives me a significant boost, as you can see here.

But if you read those three pages of my log, you'll also see that I start down two or three false trails that would probably be fatal to a novice learner. But thanks to my prior experience with French and with my 3,000+ card Anki deck, I can notice when I'm wasting time, when I'm getting lost in the weeds, and when I'm trying to cope with text that's way above my level.

The problem is that first-time language learners don't necessarily have the toolbox to pick up a Spanish children's book and use it effectively. And if you give those same learners a copy of The Book of the Dead and a typical graduate-level, grammar-heavy Egyptian course, then they're going to be so totally screwed that it's not even funny.

So that's why I recommend Assimil fairly often. If you do one lesson a day until you finish the course, it's pretty hard not to acquire the basics of a language. I'm a little bit more careful about pushing Anki, because even though I consider it an invaluable tool, there are several easy ways to ruin your life using Anki. (Such as learning more than 20 cards a day, endlessly recirculating your leech cards, or not deleting cards that cause that sinking feeling every time they pop up.) And of course, native materials are wonderful, amazing and essential. But I don't see any harm in putting them off until Assimil lesson 50 in a European language if you want, and even then only dabbling with them in a casual, low-stress fashion. (Of course, it's never to soon to turn on an L2 TV channel and get some new songs on your MP3 player: Lots of listening hours helps. But unless you really like the movies Stargate, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, good luck working on your Middle Egyptian listening comprehension!)

The problem with giving advice is that novices can't always troubleshoot and they may not notice when they're going horribly astray. So any advice needs work reasonably reliably for most people. And ideally, it should also take into account that only a handful of novices will stick with the kind of brutal techniques that an experienced learner would use to short-circuit the learning process.

Edited by emk on 18 December 2013 at 3:25pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3144 days ago

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

 
 Message 90 of 105
18 December 2013 at 6:50pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
I apologize, for the "self-serving" tone of my post. I wanted to show people, especially beginners, that there are consequences to staying inside the course/anki box. I probably could have said what I wanted to say more effectively and persuasively outside of the format I used of an imaginary dialog, which does come off as arrogant and self-serving. I just get frustrated sometimes. I'll try to avoid that in future.   



Thank you for your very mature response. I found your post more amusing than offensive, but that's because I know you to be a poster with a lot of good advice and experience to share. I imagine that the frustration you are experiencing is akin to the reasons a lot of the heavy posters of a few years ago are becoming strangers around here.
2 persons have voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4938 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 91 of 105
19 December 2013 at 10:20am | IP Logged 
James29 wrote:
What is the difference between the language in "a program" (like Assimil for example) and "native material"? Nothing except the program is specifically designed by experts to help the learner learn material relevant to beginners and to learn as fast and efficiently as possible. There is no magic in "native material." It is not a different language.


The main difference is the content.

In textbooks there may be some relevant and interesting texts at the end, but the dreary stuff keeps on for too long. For instance my antique Latin textbook by Mikkelsen started out with "Sicilia insula" est, and then it kept going on with unconnected sentences until the far end of the book where the readers were treated to a feast of Punic wars and and other genuine, but comprehensible texts. However on the way we weren't subjected to silly games and multiple choice inanities, and all the unconnected sentences were clearly illustrating something in the grammar, so I am still rather fond of this book.

Most other text books try to make the initial part more interesting by introducing fictional characers who interact while saying the kind of sentences you would say during role play in a class room setting. Maybe this is seen as more pedagogical, but on me it tends to cause nausea because I hate roleplay - especially if I find that the characters are stupid and irritating and awkward. I may have to use such books in the beginning of my learning process, but I'll try to get through that phase as fast as possible so that I can start reading about real things like dinosaurs and baroque music and the geography of Southern Africa and .. oh yes, also grammar (because grammar actually is an interesting subject). And luckily I can produce bilingual study materials on the fly using Google translate.

The progression which is built into the textbooks isn't as relevant as it might seem at a first glance. I don't remember everything I have read once, so if a textbook assumes that I remember a word from lesson one when we have reached lesson twenty then I have to look it up - and then we are in the same situation as with native materials. The grammatical progression is also of limited value because I normally try to get an overview over the grammar from the beginning by reading a true grammar book - I don't try to piece the elements together from the fragments I'm feed in some preset order. This doesn't mean that the progression principle as such is wrong, but I just feel more at home with a progression through the grammar of a language when I already have got that bird's eye view over the whole field from a book dedicated to the purpose.

Sorry about the digression, but it can partly be justified insofar there also are audio elements in most courseware nowadays.

Edited by Iversen on 19 December 2013 at 12:15pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4832 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 92 of 105
19 December 2013 at 3:58pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
The progression which is built into the textbooks isn't as relevant as it might seem at a first glance. I don't remember everything I have read once, so if a textbook assumes that I remember a word from lesson one when we have reached lesson twenty then I have to look it up - and then we are in the same situation as with native materials. The grammatical progression is also of limited value because I normally try to get an overview over the grammar from the beginning by reading a true grammar book - I don't try to piece the elements together from the fragments I'm feed in some preset order. This doesn't mean that the progression principle as such is wrong, but I just feel more at home with a progression through the grammar of a language when I already have got that bird's eye view over the whole field from a book dedicated to the purpose.

Sorry about the digression, but it can partly be justified insofar there also are audio elements in most courseware nowadays.
And it totally applies to Assimil because tons of words from translation exercises only appear once prior to that.

And yeah the progression is another reason why I don't use courses anymore, especially the English-based ones.
2 persons have voted this message useful



eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2334 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 93 of 105
19 December 2013 at 4:17pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
And it totally applies to Assimil because tons of words from translation exercises only appear once prior to that.

I've only consistently used the one Assimil course (the newest ‘Le Breton’), but one thing I've remarked on many times throughout the course is how it seems almost like they have a spaced repetition thing going on. Of course, many words from the translation and fill-in-the-blank exercises have only appeared once before, but that's because their purpose is to get you practising the new words you are currently learning in that very day's lesson.

Maybe ‘Le Breton’ is unconventionally good for Assimil in this respect. As I said, I haven't followed any other Assimil course.
1 person has voted this message useful



James29
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3610 days ago

1265 posts - 2113 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 
 Message 94 of 105
19 December 2013 at 5:06pm | IP Logged 
Assimil has a strategy for progression. Maybe it is not perfect, but other experts may have developed other strategies that could be more suitable to different people. Certainly the folks as FSI put a ton of time, effort and money into developing their courses.

The point is that in courses these things have been analyzed and studied by experts and they are doing all the work for the new learner. With a course the new learner does not need to waste countless hours figuring out how to learn (progression, appropriate level, finding translations/audio, etc). How does the progression in "native materials" work for the beginner?

Certainly for people who know or study 22 and 18 languages jumping right into native materials may be easier, but new learners are going to be much better off if they spend their time learning the language with appropriate programs... rather than trying to become an expert on language learning so they can then learn their first language.

1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3767 days ago

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

 
 Message 95 of 105
19 December 2013 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
eyðimörk wrote:
Serpent wrote:
And it totally applies to Assimil because tons of words from translation exercises only appear once prior to that.

I've only consistently used the one Assimil course (the newest ‘Le Breton’), but one thing I've remarked on many times throughout the course is how it seems almost like they have a spaced repetition thing going on.

I made the dubious decision to retype all the hieroglyphs, transliterations and literal translations in the first 30 lessons of Assimil's LÉgyptien hiéroglyphique, and then I did SRS reps on it for a year. Along the way, I absolutely noticed the "spaced repetition thing" you mention—a lot of the vocabulary is just one-time filler, but there's a certain core of words that get repeated frequently at first, and then less often as the course goes on.

Another odd thing: After I had started reading French in earnest, I went back and flipped through New French with Ease. Towards the end of the course, the density of useful idioms is remarkable—quite a bit higher than I'd expect in normal French text.

The one glaring weakness is listening. Assimil's audio is slow and clear and well-articulated all the way up until you reach Business French, at which point it finally reaches full speed. I think well-articulated audio plays a role (watch how parents of toddlers speak when they want to make something clear), but Assimil doesn't provide any exposure to high-speed audio. And so I completely agree with everybody who has suggested native audio, transcripts, the radio, and so on.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3144 days ago

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

 
 Message 96 of 105
19 December 2013 at 5:31pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
eyðimörk wrote:
Serpent wrote:
And it totally applies to Assimil because tons of words from translation exercises only appear once prior to that.

I've only consistently used the one Assimil course (the newest ‘Le Breton’), but one thing I've remarked on many times throughout the course is how it seems almost like they have a spaced repetition thing going on.

I made the dubious decision to retype all the hieroglyphs, transliterations and literal translations in the first 30 lessons of Assimil's LÉgyptien hiéroglyphique, and then I did SRS reps on it for a year. Along the way, I absolutely noticed the "spaced repetition thing" you mention—a lot of the vocabulary is just one-time filler, but there's a certain core of words that get repeated frequently at first, and then less often as the course goes on.

Another odd thing: After I had started reading French in earnest, I went back and flipped through New French with Ease. Towards the end of the course, the density of useful idioms is remarkable—quite a bit higher than I'd expect in normal French text.

The one glaring weakness is listening. Assimil's audio is slow and clear and well-articulated all the way up until you reach Business French, at which point it finally reaches full speed. I think well-articulated audio plays a role (watch how parents of toddlers speak when they want to make something clear), but Assimil doesn't provide any exposure to high-speed audio. And so I completely agree with everybody who has suggested native audio, transcripts, the radio, and so on.


One further thing I noticed about Assimil French while doing the active wave: some words which haven't appeared for a long time appear on the same day in the passive lesson first and then in the active lesson. In other words, the author made sure to reuse some words 50 lessons later.

The audio is fairly slow on Assimil French, but the difference between disc 1 and disc 4 is quite a bit. Having listened to news, watched TV and films, etc, I felt that the final 20 lessons or so are pretty near native speed (but clearly articulated, of course).


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 105 messages over 14 pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.4531 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.