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Rapp’s Neutrino Log

  Tags: Spanish
 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 1 of 21
03 October 2013 at 5:46am | IP Logged 
So, over on this thread http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=36992&PN=1 emk asked for feedback from anyone doing Khatz's (of All Japanese All The Time fame) silver spoon/neutrino program, and so far I'm the only person to admit to using that course. I'm just over one month into the course, and had been kicking around the idea of doing a log of my experiences in it, and that question pushed me over the edge. So here it is. An intermittent log of my experiences in AJATT's Neutrino Spanish program.

If you want a somewhat detailed overview of how the neutrino program works, I would advise you to see that other thread. I've given a good bit of info over there, but I'll try to give a very brief recap here.

Essentially, neutrino presents a "gamified learning" approach to language learning, awarding "experience points" for completion of each "atom". An atom is a very small task involving some sort of interaction with the target language. Examples are: doing 1 SRS rep, starting any Spanish audio playing, opening a Spanish book and reading one sentence, starting a Spanish language movie playing, etc. The overall goal is to provide a rewarding environment that encourages frequent exposure to native materials that you find personally interesting.

AJATT has offered Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin versions of the neutrino course for quite a while now. I've followed that blog and been interested in Khatz's theories of language learning for a long time, but I'm not really interested in any of those languages. But when I heard that he was going to start offering a Spanish version of the course, I decided to take a chance and see whether the course would really accomplish what he said it would.

The neutrino Spanish course went live on 9/1, so I'm just over a month into it. The way the system is set up, you "level up" whenever you gain 60,000-ish experience points, and since there is a daily goal of gaining 1,900 XP that equates to leveling up roughly once per month. I leveled up for the first time I believe on 9/27, so I am now a mighty "double-helix", having started as a "quark". I am planning to update this log at least each time I level-up, with sporadic updates in-between if I have any thoughts/insights that I think people may be interested in.

I should say that I'm not a complete beginner at Spanish, although I'm close to it. I took two years of Spanish classes in high school, but that's distressingly close to 30 years ago. I have completed the Michele Thomas foundation course, and maybe half of the advanced one. And I have also completed 22 lessons in duolingo.com's Spanish course. Still, at this point any 2 year old from a Spanish speaking country could talk rings around me. I'm not sure that I could successfully order lunch in a Mexican restaurant. If I did manage it, it would be with very halting, broken Spanish. So there you go.

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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 2 of 21
03 October 2013 at 6:00am | IP Logged 
The neutrino website always shows you a set of daily and all-time stats, so here are my current all-time ones:

:Level: 2=Double Helix | You're only 48,065 XP away from levelling up! | Hitcount: 914 | Kindacount: 41 | Skipcount: 15 | Phase: 3.1

Badges/Medals: Centurion | Trooperion
[Rot: -77] XP: 70,685 / 1,900,000

So that means that I am level 2, I have a ways to go before I level-up again, I have complete 914 atoms so far, I have sort-of completed 41 of them (An example of what that means is if one atom tells you to start a Spanish movie playing and a subsequent one tells you to start any Spanish audio playing, well you're already kind of doing that, so you're kind of cheating if you mark that second atom complete and take full XP for it.), and I have skipped 15 atoms. And I have gained just over 70,000 XP on the way to the ultimate goal of 1.9 million of them (apparently that equals fluency).

Oh, and the centurian badge was awarded when I completed 100 all-time hits, and the trooperion one means that I have shown up for 7 straight days with no "rot". (showing up = logging into the neutrino website and completing an atom, rot = experience points lost to inactivity).


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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 21
03 October 2013 at 6:27am | IP Logged 
I don't know if I will keep track of the media I've consumed on an ongoing basis, but just as an example of what the neutrino program has prompted me to do in the first month, here goes:

I've read 4 children's books:

El Ratoncito Inteligente

El trabajo de un dragón nunca tiene fin

Las personas que se derritan en la lluvia

Un negocio muy mono



I've partially read 3 comic books:

Cthulu #1

Imposible

Gabriel (capitulo 1)


I've watched multiple episodes (roughly 5 each) of:

Viaje a las estrellas: la nueva generación

La fuga

El pantera

Primer impacto


And I've watched the movies:

Tyrannosaurus azteca

Beowulf & Grendle

El comte de monte cristo

Máncora

El primer bazucazo

Where the Wild Things Are (partially)


I've also listened to several podcast episodes, watched a about 3 hours worth of Spanish "let's play" videos on youtube, and listened to maybe two hours worth of Columbian and Mexican radio broadcasts.

So the program really does encourage frequent contact with various target language media. It kind of divides the effort between focused attention and background watching/listening so that it never really feels like you're doing anything difficult. For example, it might ask you to open the nearest Spanish book and read one sentence. I call that a "focused attention" atom, but it is only one sentence, so it is easy as pie. On the other hand, it might ask you to start any Spanish audio playing and leave it on. It doesn't specify that you have to pay strict attention to it for any length of time. Focus on it if you want, let it drift into the background at other times, but let it just be there for a while letting your ear get used to the sounds of the language if nothing else.







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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 4 of 21
26 October 2013 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
I just leveled up for the second time, just a few days before the two month mark.

My stats look like this:

Level: 3=Cell | You're only 56,374 XP away from levelling up! | Hitcount: 1,406 | Kindacount: 84 | Skipcount: 15 | Phase: 3.1

Badges/Medals: Centurion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Millennion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion
[Rot: -77] XP: 121,751 / 1,900,000

So in terms of badges, I've added several "trooperion" ones (= 7 days without losing any points to "rot"), in fact enough to earn the "medallion of honour" (= 30 consecutive days with no rot"). I also got the "millenion" badge for completing my 1000th atom.

As far as types of atoms goes, there's been no big change since last month. Lot's of playing Spanish music, watching Spanish movies and let's play videos (I've actually gotten kind of addicted to those, despite not really being a gamer. I've probably watched 10-12 hours of them over the month.) and listening to podcasts.

The last couple of weeks, though, it has really been grinding on one particular atom "Lookup one known/unknown word in a Spanish dictionary". I've seen that one probably several dozen times, and each time I look up a word and enter example sentences from the dictionary into my SRS deck using Khatz's "MCD" format. My number of daily SRS reps has varied widely, but generally in the range of 50-200.
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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 5 of 21
26 November 2013 at 6:37pm | IP Logged 
Another level completed, just short of the three month mark. Here are my current stats:

:Level: 4=Zygote | You're only 54,281 XP away from levelling up! | Hitcount: 2,044 | Kindacount: 116 | Skipcount: 22 | Phase: 3.2

Badges/Medals: Centurion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Millennion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion
[Rot: -77] XP: 183,219 / 1,900,000
【★★9.6%         ;           ;           ;           ;           ;         】

I've found it very easy to stick with this program. I have only missed reaching the 1900 XP daily goal once, and I haven't lost any XP to "rot" (from staying away from the neutrino website to too long a period) since way back in month 1. I've never found any other program so easy to stick with.

I think part of the reason is the emphasis the program puts on doing small, easy tasks frequently. So even after I've completed all of my neutrino atoms for the day, I'll do things like do 4 or 5 SRS reps, read one paragraph from a book, start a podcast or movie playing in the background but only pay attention to it when I feel like it and for however long seems fun. There is so little pressure associated with such small tasks that I feel no hesitation to do them.

Previously, when I set stricter goals for myself, like spending 30 minutes every evening doing SRS reps, the tasks was big enough that I kept coming up with reasons why now wasn't the ideal time to start. And when I did start, if I were bored 5 minutes into it I would force myself to keep going, which over time just increased my resistance to starting in the first place. That doesn't happen any more.

But I don't limit myself to only doing small tasks. The other evening I started reading the Spanish version of a graphic novel called "Blankets" that one of the neutrino atoms recommended buying. It turns out to be a very good story so I just kept flipping pages (reading with much better comprehension than I would have expected from 2.5 months of easy "studying") and the next thing I knew I had read 100 pages and it was way past time for bed. But it was fun and easy and engrossing the whole time, exactly because I hadn't put artificial goals on myself. I just allowed myself to read until it was more fun to do something else (or I guess until external factors like needing a good night sleep before work the next day forced me to stop).

I have also noticed a change in how I think about my SRS cards (and the software itself) that I think ties in to this. Since starting neutrino, I've been using Khatz's Surusu SRS software. Previously I had been a long-time user of Anki. I can't really explain the reason for the change in attitude, but I find that with Anki I tend to focus on creating the "perfect" deck of cards, while I treat Surusu much more dismissively, like just a tool for displaying cards. I don't care what scheduling algorithm it uses, I don't care how it handles a large backload of cards after an extended period of not using the software (because I've had no such periods with neutrino), I don't spend time elaborately tagging the cards, or shuffling them around a bunch of sub-decks getting them perfectly organized, or any of the other time-wasting stuff I used to do with Anki.

And for the cards themselves, I'm much less attached to them. Surusu makes it very easy to generate scads of cards in Khatz's MCD format. Having to invest so little effort in creating the cards makes it easy to delete them if they are in any way confusing, badly formatted, or whatever. So I delete lots of them. That has lead to a mindset where I know that no single card is critical to my eventual fluency, so if I decide it is not an excellent card, it gets deleted. If I have read one paragraph from a book and feel like I don't want to continue for any reason, I stop and do something else.

The critical thing is to do something in Spanish frequently. But no particular "something" is important enough to suffer through. There's always a different "something" I could do that would be fun. So I just go do that instead. Easy peasy.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3671 days ago

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

 
 Message 6 of 21
27 November 2013 at 2:09am | IP Logged 
I'm really enjoying your log! It sounds like you're having a fun, productive time.

rapp wrote:
And for the cards themselves, I'm much less attached to them. Surusu makes it very easy to generate scads of cards in Khatz's MCD format. Having to invest so little effort in creating the cards makes it easy to delete them if they are in any way confusing, badly formatted, or whatever. So I delete lots of them. That has lead to a mindset where I know that no single card is critical to my eventual fluency, so if I decide it is not an excellent card, it gets deleted.

If I could underline this paragraph of yours, boldface it, and make it blink, I would do so. :-) I learned much the same lesson when working with subs2srs. It generated cards by the hundreds and thousands, and I had to throw most of them away in sheer self defense. And it taught me that SRS cards should be cheap and disposable, and that any excuse at all was good enough to delete them.

rapp wrote:
The critical thing is to do something in Spanish frequently. But no particular "something" is important enough to suffer through. There's always a different "something" I could do that would be fun. So I just go do that instead. Easy peasy.

Wise words!
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rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 7 of 21
27 November 2013 at 4:40am | IP Logged 
Thanks emk. The expendable, deletable card thing has been a revelation to me.

Previously, I spent so much time typing in cards, tagging them, organizing them that it really felt like a waste
to delete them. But my goal is not to curate the ideal deck of cards. Any SRS is just a way of systematically
exposing myself to the language I'm learning. Why would I want to expose myself to something sucky? An
automated method of creating cards makes it easy to delete cards because you invested so little in creating
them.

One of Khatz's motivational statements said, "deleting a card counts as a rep." That resonated with me,
because I find it easy to get caught up in the game of correctly answering the cards. But if I am capable of
recognizing that I don't need yet another card that prompts me for the word "español" or whatever, that in
itself is evidence that I've progressed at least an iota in the language Yes, yes, I know what the name of the
language is. That counts. That is a success. Pile up enough such tiny successes and I'll be fluent.
1 person has voted this message useful



rapp
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3870 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 
 Message 8 of 21
23 December 2013 at 5:58pm | IP Logged 
Another month, another level-up. I'm now at level 5, an "embryo".

A couple of weeks ago, Khatz revamped the stats page on the neutrino site, so that it now gives you a much more detailed breakdown of your activity. Here are my stats as of today:

Stats@Today
Hitcount: 23 | Kindacount: 2 | Skipcount: 0 | Skipstreak: 0
[Rot: 0] XP: 2,238 / 1,900
【★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ ★★】★★★117.8%
Nice! You're currently scoring at +6.7% above your daily average!
BTW, you're batting at 69.7% of your personal best.

Stats@Recently
In the past week...

    You've shown up 7 day(s)...
    You've earned 15,454 XP through personal awesomeness
    You've lost 0 XP due to absence (rot)

Over the past month...

    You've shown up 30 day(s)...
    You've earned 63,810 XP due to your awesomeness
    You've lost 0 XP due to absence (rot)

     
Long-Term Showupiness

    You've shown up a total of: 114 / 995 days
    Of the days you've shown up, you've completed (hit or exceeded 100% XP on): 107
    Your median single-day score is: 2,030 points
    Your mean single-day score is: 2,097 points
    Your personal best single-day score is: 3,212 points (achieved on 2013-10-09)

Stats@All-Time
Level: 5=Embryo | You're only -57,739 XP away from levelling up! | Hitcount: 2,571 | Kindacount: 144 | Skipcount: 25 | Phase: 3.2

Badges/Medals: Centurion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Millennion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour
[Rot: -77] XP: 239,136 / 1,900,000
【★★★12.6%       & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp;      】




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