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Uses for a notebook in language learning

  Tags: Scriptorium | Writing
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
25 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3 4  Next >>
Joined 2786 days ago

30 posts - 42 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 1 of 25
18 June 2014 at 7:01pm | IP Logged 
Hi all :)

I've been scouring the forum and the web in search of ideas, but it appears there are not a whole lot of uses for notebooks in language learning besides vocabulary lists of one kind or another (e.g. Goldlist, words to look up later, etc.)

The one use that seems most interesting to me is ProfArguelles's Scriptorium. I get the vibe though that it is a technique best tailored towards those learning a language with a different script from their L1. That is, you would get the most out of it that way. Is it of much use if I study a language (French in this case) that also uses the Latin script like English? Please report back to me if you have experimented with this.

I'm also interested other possible uses for writing in notebooks as a language learner. I don't see myself journaling at this time.

I have thought of transcribing what I hear in pieces of audio; however, I'm not at the level I would like to be at for this.

I got this nice notebook (thin, about 64 pages front and back) from a Living Language course I purchased, the paper is of excellent quality and I'd rather not waste it on lists and such.

Thanks in advance for anything you contribute here,

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Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2217 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 2 of 25
18 June 2014 at 11:57pm | IP Logged 
I've only used the scriptorium method once or twice, so I can't really comment on it, but I believe the general idea
is for you to take notice of the structure of the language and the way it works - little details that we might
otherwise overlook. When I first watched the professor's video, I also thought it was only for languages with
different writing systems, but apparently that was just done to make it more interesting to watch. I found
this thread useful for
explaining how to do and use scriptorium, and it also gave me ideas of how I could adapt it for myself.

Otherwise, I find writing things out by hand helps me to remember them. I don't usually make word lists, except for
when I want to look up words later, and that can be easily done on loose paper, but I found that copying grammar
rules out by hand helps me to get to grips with them better, especially if I try to re-explain them using my own
words. If you find that simply reading something on a screen or from a book doesn't help you understand or remember,
maybe you can use your journal for that. I also like doing translation exercises, but I tend to use loose sheets of
paper. I tend to lose them a lot, too, so maybe that's a sign.
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Senior Member
Joined 3960 days ago

725 posts - 1351 votes 

 Message 3 of 25
19 June 2014 at 12:04am | IP Logged 
I was finishig your last paragraph, when I finally realised, you did not mean this, but that ;-)

I have thought of transcribing what I hear in pieces of audio; however, I'm not at the level I would like to be at for this.

I do dictations from the first day onwards in a new language. I write all the lessons I listen to on paper.

Edited by Cabaire on 19 June 2014 at 12:05am

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Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3623 days ago

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Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Creole (French)

 Message 4 of 25
19 June 2014 at 2:05am | IP Logged 
There's something about the act of writing, even if it's just writing out dialogs from a textbook. It seems to reinforce the lessons somehow. I think, the act of writing the dialogs tends to give more focus. It doesn't make much sense, I know.
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Senior Member
Joined 2805 days ago

747 posts - 1122 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 5 of 25
19 June 2014 at 4:51am | IP Logged 
Nowadays everything is online. It's hard to justify why we need to copy a word or phrase onto a piece of
paper when we can look up a dictionary on computer / online and simply Copy & Paste the definition
onto a document.

The other day I was typing a document in English with a few Chinese names of people and places in
between with Chinese characters. Basically everything was done electronically. If I needed a word or
phrase, the computer dictionary was a few clicks away. And some of the time if you need to verify
names, you go to Google to see if this is the way the name is spelled (the official version).

The word Notebook here can just be referring to a Notebook computer...
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Senior Member
Joined 3550 days ago

241 posts - 430 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Japanese, Catalan, Luxembourgish

 Message 6 of 25
19 June 2014 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
The worst thing you can do with a notebook IMO is to be precious about it, trying to have it all perfect or all useful. I just buy the cheapest A5 books and start filling them. I'm not usually a big writer, but I just fill them with anything and everything relevant to the TL. Lists of words; phrases; script practice; diagrams of prepositions; rules; grammar tables. Sometimes I review them and throw pages away, and sometimes I copy word lists to the computer. Consuming 2-3 notebooks a year is just part of my memorisation and learning process, just like an artist might have a drawer full of 100 sketches of a painting he wants to produce.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3794 days ago

174 posts - 426 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Esperanto, Latin, Ancient Greek

 Message 7 of 25
19 June 2014 at 4:45pm | IP Logged 
See this post by Retinend on color coding parts of speech.

I agree with chokofingrz, whatever you do, *use* it. I too use up several cheap notebooks a year with scriptorium and other exercises. Yet, I have probably half a dozen quality notebooks sitting around empty because I'm waiting for something worth putting in them. I recognize this is pointless, yet I can't bring myself to think otherwise.

I would recommend using it to create a special annotated copy of something literary that you will re-read. So, you're not just filling a notebook, you are creating a manuscript (in the literal sense of the word) that you intend to keep and reuse like you would any other book.

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Senior Member
Joined 4401 days ago

294 posts - 363 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Ancient Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Latin

 Message 8 of 25
27 June 2014 at 4:26pm | IP Logged 
I use two A5 notebooks. One is used for grammar tables, rules,prepositions, declensions, etc and the other notebook is filled with vocabulary, phrases,etc. There's sometimes a third notepad for script practice as well (I filled two of these just for Ancient Greek). Also I don't designate notepads for individual languages. I used to but having twelve notepads floating about the house with only 20-30 pages filled in just seemed excessive. Besides it's easier to carry only two notepads around.

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