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Writing dialogues as a way of practicing

  Tags: Writing
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
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BaronBill
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
HowToLanguages.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3162 days ago

335 posts - 594 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, German
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin, Persian

 
 Message 9 of 44
01 November 2013 at 6:39pm | IP Logged 
I write extensively in dialogue and monologue form in my target language(s). I use them as a "written fluency" excercise as I try to think as fast as I can write. I don't have them corrected usually (unless I am brand new in the language) but I do go back and revise them, re-read them and sometimes re-write them. I find that this not only helps my writing, but also has an impact on my spoken fluency as it encourages me to "speed up" my thinking process as far as output.

Oftentimes, the dialogues mirror conversations I had in English that day with friends or co-workers. This keeps my vocabulary up to par in the topics I discuss on a daily basis. I probably spend close to an hour a day writing like this.


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kujichagulia
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3320 days ago

1031 posts - 1571 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 
 Message 10 of 44
02 November 2013 at 4:45am | IP Logged 
Medulin wrote:
If I were to write dialogs from Brazilian soap operas and send them to native speakers dealing with grammar, what I would receive from them would be something very strange no native speaker uses in the spoken language in daily life.
I did this once, a long time ago, and all those CHEGAR EM, ME DIZ!, VI ELE came back crossed and corrected to CHEGAR A, DIZE-ME, VI-O etc etc. So, better not to take this path.

There's a reason why some languages (Finnish, Czech, Brazilian Portuguese, Swiss German, Tamil, Arabic) like to keep the written and the spoken form apart.
So, writing down a dialog is something that would not look nice to many native speakers, since dialogs are never supposed to be written in the 1st place!

In the case of Tamil, you can't even write colloquial Tamil in the Tamil alphabet, you have to use the Latin script for it.

Well, Tamil presents quite an obstacle for this challenge, then! Wow... never knew that about Tamil. Kind of makes me want to study it.

But some languages have ways of expressing spoken language in written form. I remember seeing "Tô bem" somewhere for "Estou bem" in Portuguese. We can do that in English, too:

BOB: Hey, man, waz goin' on?
RICK: Ah, nuttin' much, dude, you?
BOB: Jus' chillin' a' home, watchin' da game. Yo wife still shoppin' a' da mall?
RICK: Yup. She's gonna be dere all day.

I wonder if, when writing a dialog and sending it to a native speaker, one could include a note that says "colloquial dialog - please correct accordingly" or something like that.

Edited by kujichagulia on 02 November 2013 at 4:51am

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kujichagulia
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3320 days ago

1031 posts - 1571 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 
 Message 11 of 44
02 November 2013 at 4:48am | IP Logged 
BaronBill wrote:
I write extensively in dialogue and monologue form in my target language(s). I use them as a "written fluency" excercise as I try to think as fast as I can write. I don't have them corrected usually (unless I am brand new in the language) but I do go back and revise them, re-read them and sometimes re-write them. I find that this not only helps my writing, but also has an impact on my spoken fluency as it encourages me to "speed up" my thinking process as far as output.

Oftentimes, the dialogues mirror conversations I had in English that day with friends or co-workers. This keeps my vocabulary up to par in the topics I discuss on a daily basis. I probably spend close to an hour a day writing like this.


This.

The biggest problem I have is committing time to this. Like BaronBill, it would take me an hour a day to do this regularly. But most days, I have only an hour total for each of my two languages, so I feel a need to do some input like reading, listening or studying a textbook. But I'm at a level - particularly in Japanese - where I need to focus more energy on output, so probably making writing like this a priority is the way to go.
1 person has voted this message useful



kujichagulia
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3320 days ago

1031 posts - 1571 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 
 Message 12 of 44
02 November 2013 at 4:50am | IP Logged 
I'm With Stupid wrote:
My instinct is that this would have to also involve a certain amount of memorising and performing the dialogue to be useful. Because otherwise it's a bit like you're writing to improve your speaking.

I hear from a lot of people that writing helps your speaking. Obviously it's not going to help with things like pronunciation, etc., but it seems to make the process of "getting words out of your brain" faster. It trains the same mental output mechanisms. And if you do it fast like BaronBill mentioned, it helps automaticity.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3639 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 13 of 44
04 November 2013 at 5:07pm | IP Logged 
I think "diglossia" is overrated for some languages. There are a few important grammar
features in spoken and colloquial Portuguese and French that account for big
differences, but once you become aware of them you can easily talk naturally.

As a matter of fact, the difference between written and spoken language is most of the
times more significant in terms of what is NOT said. Written language lacks some
particles and expressions that aren't slang nor diglossy nor whatever, and they account
more for a colloquial flavor than how you conjugate verbs. You might conjugate verbs
informally and yet lack the expressions that give color and topicalization to the
spoken language. Take this dialogue I wrote in Norwegian (already mostly corrected, I
can't write that well):

Hun skal på universitetet

- Hallo!
- Hei! Hvordan har du det?
- Bra, takk. Hvordan går det med familien din?
- Helt fint. Per er på skolen igjen og Lisa vil studere økonomi på Universitetet i
Stavanger.
- Dette var virkelig gode nyheter! Er du ikke bekymret? Du kommer til å savne dattera
di en masse!
- Ja, sant, men jeg håper hun utmerker seg med studiene.
- Det skal sannsynligvis hende. Hun er ei veldig flittig jente.
- Å, tusen takk. Du, nå skal jeg til slakterbuttiken. Hils Arnold for meg.
- Takk, det skal jeg. Ha det!
- Ha det!

I'd say it this way in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese:

Ela vai (deve ir) para a universidade

- Ei!
- Ei, como vai?
- Bem, brigada. E a família, como [é que] tá?
- Tudo tranqüilo. Pedro voltou pra escola, e Lisa vai estudar economia na UESB.
- Mas que notícia boa! Você não tá preocupada, não? Cê vai morrer de saudade da sua
filha, com certeza!
- É verdade, mas eu tô torcendo pra ela se sair bem nos estudos.
- Ah, mas com certeza. Ela é uma menina muito dedicada.
- Brigada. Deixa eu te falar, eu tenho que ir no açougue. Dê lembranças a Arnaldo pra
mim.
- Pode deixar, brigada. Até mais!
- Até!

The most remarkable aspects of colloquial language are the 'tá' shortening forms, the
'brigada' and 'cê' elipsis, "Deixa eu te falar" and "no" instead of "ao" and the
contraction 'pra'. Other than that, the language is the same. Other than that, it is
the use of some colloquial expressions that make the language sound like as if it is
spoken, and those aren't exactly condemned by prescriptivists, they are just
expressions, interjections, belonging to the factual communicative function.
1 person has voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3639 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 14 of 44
04 November 2013 at 5:14pm | IP Logged 
Now, the challenge. I am going to write down my own plans, and whoever feels like joining may write down what
they want.

My goal isn't that ambitious, as I still devote a lot of time to initial textbook learning. My idea is to
write a total of 100 dialogues among the several languages I'm learning, and then check how much I've learned
after 120 days (so that I can more or less skip the weekends and not feel guilty about that).

Starting date: November 11th 2013
Completion date: March 04 2014

List of participants in the Dialogues Writing Challenge and their goals

Expugnator
Write a total of 100 dialogues/short stories distributed through the following languages:
30 Georgian dialogues
30 Norwegian dialogues
30 French dialogues
10 Chinese dialogues
1 person has voted this message useful



kujichagulia
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3320 days ago

1031 posts - 1571 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 
 Message 15 of 44
05 November 2013 at 5:13am | IP Logged 
OK, now for my plans, which admittedly are not as ambitious as Expugnator's, but I'm aiming for attainable goals here:

kujichagulia
Write a total of 30 Japanese dialogs/short stories/islands* by March 4th, 2014
Write a total of 15 Portuguese dialogs/short stories/islands* by March 4th, 2014

* An "island" is a speech or a collection of statements a person can use when having a conversation in a foreign language. The concept comes from Boris Shekhtman's excellent book, How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately.
3 persons have voted this message useful



BaronBill
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
HowToLanguages.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3162 days ago

335 posts - 594 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, German
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin, Persian

 
 Message 16 of 44
05 November 2013 at 5:56am | IP Logged 
kujichagulia wrote:
OK, now for my plans, which admittedly are not as ambitious as Expugnator's, but I'm aiming for attainable goals here:

kujichagulia
Write a total of 30 Japanese dialogs/short stories/islands* by March 4th, 2014
Write a total of 15 Portuguese dialogs/short stories/islands* by March 4th, 2014

* An "island" is a speech or a collection of statements a person can use when having a conversation in a foreign language. The concept comes from Boris Shekhtman's excellent book, How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately.


I am a HUGE fan of this book. I used the concept of islands to get my German over the "fluency" bump. It made me a believer.

My personal dialogue challenge goals:

* 50 dialogues/monologues/islands in Spanish

* 50 dialogues/monologues/islands in German

I'm shooting for 2/1/13

Edited by BaronBill on 05 November 2013 at 6:00am



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