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The Cheating & Consolidating Method

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/kanewai
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1386 posts - 3054 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 105 of 136
08 August 2014 at 8:25pm | IP Logged 
Arnaud25 wrote:

- "trou" and "debout", are very common, I'm sure you already met them.

Thanks for the notes!

And here's the funny thing about languages: I've seen "trou" a thousand times. I've probably used it in a
sentence. And yet yesterday I stumbled: it's hole. Or pit? No, spring. Or well. Wait, spring. It's like forgetting
someone's name who you know perfectly well.

When I was going back and adding color tags I was shocked: I missed this???? But I was aiming to see what
was automatic, so I kept it red / opaque.

Other things I missed seem so obvious now, a day later. With "hautes dans le ciel" I kept thinking "hautes"
must be a thing in the sky, and couldn't figure out what that thing was.



Edited by kanewai on 08 August 2014 at 8:38pm

1 person has voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 106 of 136
08 August 2014 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:
Arnaud25 wrote:

- "trou" and "debout", are very common, I'm sure you already met them.

Thanks for the notes!

And here's the funny thing about languages: I've seen "trou" a thousand times. I've probably used it in a
sentence. And yet yesterday I stumbled: it's hole. Or pit? No, spring. Or well. Wait, spring. It's like forgetting
someone's name who you know perfectly well.

When I was going back and adding color tags I was shocked: I missed this???? But I was aiming to see what
was automatic, so I kept it red / opaque.

Other things I missed seem so obvious now, a day later. With "hautes dans le ciel" I kept thinking "hautes"
must be a thing in the sky, and couldn't figure out what that thing was.



I am so glad I'm not the only one who does this!

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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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 107 of 136
09 August 2014 at 12:36am | IP Logged 
I'm taking a Coursera class about learning how to learn and this graphic reminded me on emk's method:



Basically, it's easier for the brain to use the existing neural connections than to create new ones. (I think someone said this is why Cristina temporarily forgot Spanish when she learned Italian) I've also heard of that in the context of coping with anxiety - the more times you've had a thought or a whole vicious circle of thoughts, the easier it is to think of it again, sometimes jumping to unreasonable conclusions that you no longer question. So while forming new pathways is important, you also need to consolidate and "walk these paths repeatedly", until they are as automatic as getting home from the nearest bus stop or store.

The picture shows a new connection, one that has already been practiced a bit, and a mature one.

Edited by Serpent on 09 August 2014 at 12:43am

3 persons have voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2638 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 108 of 136
16 August 2014 at 5:56pm | IP Logged 
OK. Out of curiosity I tried to translate the same passage as EMK, but using the German translation, before I looked at his translation.

Interestingly the 347 French words become only 283 in German - not sure if this means that some parts were left out or if really German is nearly 20% more compact!

Quote:
DER MANN DER BÄUME PFLANZTE

>THE MAN THAT PLANTED TREES

Um aussergewöhnliche Qualitäten eines menschlichen Wesens erkennen zu können, muss man das Glück haben, sie während vielen Jahren beobachten zu können.

>To get to know the exceptional qualities of a human being, you must have the luck to be able to observe them over many years.

Falls das Werk ohne jeden Egoismus und die Idee von einzigartiger Grossmut ist, wenn es ganz sicher ist, dass nirgends nach Entschädigung gesucht wird und erst noch sichtbare Spuren auf der Erde hinterlassen werden, dann begegnet man wirklich einem unvergesslichen Charakter.

>In the case of work without any hint of Ego and possessing a uniquely courageous idea, then it is absolutely certain that never after [praise? Entschädigung] was looked for and left behind visible signs on the Earth, than one really meets an unforgettable individual.

Vor etwa vierzig Jahren unternahm ich eine lange Wanderung in der uralten Alpenregion, die sich in die Provence hinein erstreckt, einer Touristen völlig unbekannten Gegend.

>About forty years ago I undertook a long trek in the ancient Alps region, which stretches through Provenance, a region completely unknown to tourists.

Im Süden wird sie durch den Lauf der Durance zwischen Sisteron und Mirabeau begrenzt, im Norden von der Drome von der Quelle bis nach Die, und im Westen von den Ebenen der Grafschaft Venaissin und den Vorgebirgen des Mont Ventoux.

>In the south between Sisteron and Mirabeau it is bordered by the [Lauf der Durance - meandering course?? of the Durance], in the north from the Drome from it's source until after Die, and in the west from the plain of Grafschaft Venaissin and the foothills of Mount Ventoux.

Sie enthält den ganzen nördlichen Teil des Departements der Basses-Alpes, den Süden der Drome und eine kleine Enklave der Vaucluse.

>It includes the complete northern section of the Departements der Basses-Alpes, the southern part of the Drome and a small enclave of Vaucluse.

Zur Zeit als ich zu meiner langen Wanderung aufbrach, war das eine nackte und monotone Landschaft auf 1200 bis 1300 Metern Höhe, nur von wildem Lavendel bewachsen.

>At the time when I started my long trek, it was a bare and monotone landscape with an altitude of up to 1200 to 1300 meters, covered only with wild lavender.

Ich überquerte dieses Land in der ganzen Breite und nach drei Tagesmärschen befand ich mich in einer einzigartigen Einöde.

>I crossed over [der ganzen Breite - the full extent??] of this land and after three days march found myself in a place of strange [lit. unique] desolation.

Ich nächtigte an der Seite der Überreste eines kleinen verlassenen Dorfes.

>I overnighted at the edge of the remains of small abandoned village.

Seit dem Morgen hatte ich kein Wasser mehr und ich musste unbedingt danach suchen.

>In the morning had I no more water and I had to urgently look for more.

Bei diesen Ruinen, die wie ein altes Wespennest aussahen, musste es doch in alter Zeit eine Quelle oder einen Brunnen gegeben haben.

>By these ruins, that looked like an old wasps nest, there really must have been in olden times a spring or a well.

Eine Quelle war da, aber völlig ausgetrocknet.

>A spring was there, but completely dried out.

Die fünf oder sechs von Wind und Wetter zerfressenen Häuser und die kleine Kapelle mit dem eingestürzten Turm waren zwar angeordnet wie die belebten Dörfer, aber alles Leben war daraus verschwunden.

>The five or six houses that were chewed up by the wind and weather and the small chapel with the collapsed tower were truly laid out like a living? village, but with all the life throughout disappeared.


I was a little surprised by the results. First, I was surprised by how few words I didn't know so depending how you count I would have a pretty high comprehension rate.

However, there were quite a few rough patches, which are not obvious when you simply count words.

First, the whole second sentence "Falls das Werk..." threw me, as I wasn't expecting to have a sentence about someone's works, right after the sentence about the person themselves. Because I wasn't expecting it was really hard for me to parse in a way that I felt confident with the translation. So while I would count most of the words as known, you could perhaps say that I didn't understand much of the sentence at all, which would have a big impact on my overall comprehension score.

"Lauf der Durance" was fairly opaque for me. "Lauf" is obviously something like "walk" but I didn't get that Durance was a river. Once I got that then "meandering" or something like it is obvious, but without that insight the expression is unintelligible.

"der ganzen Breite" I had trouble with, simply because I couldn't get my idea around how he could walk the entire breadth of the region in three days.

"belebten" I also had trouble with because I couldn't imagine how the village looked like a living village with people, when the houses were chewed up and tower of the church collapsed.

What this underlines for me, is (perhaps obvious point) that simply knowing words (or grammar) is not enough. You need to have a sense of the general context/action of what is going on, to hang the words off. As soon as I started making wrong assumptions about the text then I couldn't understand parts of what was going on.

I think it's often assumed that:

Vocab and Grammar = Comprehension

But I think this can work in reverse:

Comprehension = Vocab and Grammar

I've had this impression multiple times when I come back to a book I have struggled partway through in German and then given up. On the new reading I suddenly feel like I understand so much more than previously. I am sure this comes not simply from having better vocab/grammar, but from having a better internal model of how the words/grammar should hang together to tell the story gained from my previous reading. This is particularly obvious for books I have started and then given up, because my much improved German suddenly drops away as soon as I reach a section I haven't read before.

Edited by patrickwilken on 16 August 2014 at 7:53pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



Sterogyl
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2472 days ago

152 posts - 263 votes 
Studies: German*, French, EnglishC2
Studies: Japanese, Norwegian

 
 Message 109 of 136
16 August 2014 at 6:19pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:

Interestingly the 347 French words become only 283 in German - not sure if this means that some parts were left out or if really German is nearly 20% more compact!


German needs fewer words than French (and English), yes.
2 persons have voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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 Message 110 of 136
16 August 2014 at 6:37pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
I've had this impression multiple times when I come back to a book I have struggled partway through in German and then given up. On the new reading I suddenly feel like I understand so much more than previously. I am sure this comes not simply from having better vocab/grammar, but from having a better internal model of how the words/grammar should hang together to tell the story gained from my previous reading. This is particularly obvious for books I have started and then given up, because my much improved German suddenly drops away as soon as I reach a section I haven't read before.


To me this is a great example on how you know you're actually making progress over time.

When the initial struggle is great, if one can carry on, a subsequent trip will be easier. That's what I've found.

Edited by luke on 16 August 2014 at 6:44pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2638 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 111 of 136
16 August 2014 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:
I've had this impression multiple times when I come back to a book I have struggled partway through in German and then given up. On the new reading I suddenly feel like I understand so much more than previously. I am sure this comes not simply from having better vocab/grammar, but from having a better internal model of how the words/grammar should hang together to tell the story gained from my previous reading. This is particularly obvious for books I have started and then given up, because my much improved German suddenly drops away as soon as I reach a section I haven't read before.


To me this is a great example on how you know you're actually making progress over time.

When the initial struggle is great, if one can carry on, a subsequent trip will be easier.


Yeah. But without wanting to sound negative, part of this progress seems to be illusory - in the sense that the comprehension boost is probably simply because I know the layout of the story better. I am pretty sure the same thing would happen if I had read the story previously in English or even if I had only read a short summary of the story's plot. I often don't understand what it being said because I make wrong assumptions about what I expect to see/read.

Actually, to use EMK's "cheating" terminology: Although I don't generally do this, I think it can be a good and useful trick to convert text to comprehensible input by pre-reading a summary in your L1. Or for instance by reading the text as a graphic novel.

Edited by patrickwilken on 16 August 2014 at 7:34pm

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montmorency
Diglot
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United Kingdom
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 Message 112 of 136
16 August 2014 at 8:25pm | IP Logged 
Sterogyl wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:

Interestingly the 347 French words become only 283 in German - not sure if this means
that some parts were left out or if really German is nearly 20% more compact!


German needs fewer words than French (and English), yes.


I don't know about French, but I would respectfully question that statement for German
and English. It had always been my impression that German overall needed slightly more
words, and this is what I've found when preparing my own parallel texts, although I
haven't done that many.

I had a quick look at volume 2 of the Penguin German-English Parallel Text reader,
which contains several short stories, it varies with the story, but I'd say that the
German generally takes at least as many words as the English, and in some cases more.

The last story is interesting: "Der Zimmerer" by Thomas Bernhard. It is laid out as one
single long paragraph. The last pair of pages has the text made up of the same number
of lines, with exactly one word on each of the two last lines! So, a dead heat in that
case. :-)

Of course, for "literary" translations, you are somewhat at the whim of the individual
translator.

Edited by montmorency on 16 August 2014 at 9:10pm



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