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The Cheating & Consolidating Method

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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sctroyenne
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 Message 9 of 136
31 July 2014 at 5:40am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
And another group of students seem to feel this crazy obligation to tackle native materials directly, with no help, and they're hoping to jump straight from "Opaque" to "Automatic" via some kind of miracle. I wasted maybe 75 hours trying to understand news radio by brute force, hoping for some kind of miracle when it would all became easy. Eventually I learned that I've got to through "Decipherable" first, before I get to "Automatic."


We have one of these in my Irish study group. She looks scornfully at anything "dumbed down" for learners and only enjoys "authentic" texts. Sort of by accident the group leader assigned an incredibly difficult poem as reading this past week (written in the mid-18th century). Even the native speaker said there was nothing really to be gained linguistically from it seeing that much of the vocabulary was outdated or had meanings that are vastly different now. It was very discouraging and I was questioning if I wanted to even go since that's not what I'm looking for right now. The only one who voted to keep studying it for the following week was the authentic text enthusiast. There is a certain joy in taking something that's practically indecipherable and finally puzzling out the meaning but that's unrelated to actually learning a language. I'll stick to my cheesy readers and teen dramas for now.
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Serpent
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 Message 10 of 136
31 July 2014 at 6:25am | IP Logged 
Tell her about linguistic enigmas.
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Arnaud25
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 Message 11 of 136
31 July 2014 at 7:06am | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
Take, for example, Deutsche Welle's Radionovela series in French Learning By Ear- Français. These are 10-12 minute audio plays about a wide variety of subjects intended for Francophone Africa. The language is conversational, intended for adolescents and young people so not overly complicated. The actors are native-speakers- though African, not metropolitan French. There are exact transcripts available as well- and they're free to download. As a bonus, the same series is available with English and Portuguese transcripts.

Would you be kind enough to give the link to the french transcripts, I can't find them.

Btw, if you like absurd old cartoons, you can find the transcripts of the Shadoks
here (with a few mistakes, unfortunately).
Each episode is very short, generally 2 minutes, you can watch few of them on YouTube

Edited by Arnaud25 on 31 July 2014 at 8:27am

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Bao
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 Message 12 of 136
31 July 2014 at 11:17am | IP Logged 
That's pretty much it.

Personally, I wouldn't have made the visualization linear but put a circle between 'cheating' and 'consolidation' to indicate that you go through many, many cycles using different techniques or in different lexical fields.

Because I think that exactly is the issue why some people seem to find it impossible to go from textbooks to ressources where instruction is secondary at best. [That could be media, be it aimed at native speakers, learners or a specific target audience, but also direct interaction with native or proficient speakers.]

I think the important point is that for a long time, you'll have to make use of such strategies everytime you're confronted with something new in your target language, but also that knowing how to cheat smartly makes it possible to actually deal with it.



Interaction with native speakers:
Talking about topics you know well. (Guessing the details from your general knowledge of the topic.)
Talking to people you know well. (You usually can read their body language well and they yours, apart from knowing details of each other's knowledge, personal experiences and opionons.)
Being part of a group setting. (More time/clues when observing others talk about a topic before somebody might want to talk to you about it. Very helpful when another native speaker doesn't understand what the first native speaker was trying to say and asks for clarification. Usually there's somebody whose speech style and sentence patterns you can copy and modify without feeling like a parrot.)
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iguanamon
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 Message 13 of 136
31 July 2014 at 1:12pm | IP Logged 
Arnaud25 wrote:
Would you be kind enough to give the link to the french transcripts, I can't find them.

You must click on the link I provided on the previous page for the French site and then click on an individual radionovela you want. Then you scroll down to the pdf's et voilà. For the other languages on the site you'll need to at least know enough to translate the title to find it there and follow the same procedure.

Deutsche Welle is ending it's language services to Africa on January 1, 2015 except for English and a dramatically scaled back French service. Get these while you can.
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Arnaud25
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 Message 14 of 136
31 July 2014 at 1:32pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:

You must click on the link I provided on the previous page for the French site and then click on an individual radionovela you want. Then you scroll down to the pdf's et voilà. For the other languages on the site you'll need to at least know enough to translate the title to find it there and follow the same procedure.

Deutsche Welle is ending it's language services to Africa on January 1, 2015 except for English and a dramatically scaled back French service. Get these while you can.
Thank you, it's working and thanks for the infos concerning the end of the service. I'm going to download all that asap for one of my friend.
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s_allard
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 Message 15 of 136
31 July 2014 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
I think that emk has done a great job of explaining a learning process for written French (or any language). My only
question is, like that of iguamon, why the use of the word cheating. I know that emk has addressed this question,
but to me this process called cheating is what I would call structured or systematic acquisition or simply acquisition.

This so-called cheating is contrasted to learning by brute force, i.e. just listening or reading with the idea of
absorbing the language naturally. But the latter has never worked. Following a program or method (e.g. Assimil),
using transcripts, flashcards, dictionaries, subtitles, tons of input and repetition are the foundation of any effective
learning strategy. I would add graded readers and the explicit study of grammar with a good reference work.

All in all, great stuff but I maintain that it is not really cheating.
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Iversen
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 Message 16 of 136
31 July 2014 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
As I understand it, Iversen recommends plenty of reading once a reasonable amount of vocabulary has been learned. I suspect that if you omit the reading practice, none of these vocabulary-oriented methods will produce fluent, automatic reading.


That's exactly what I recommend. I have once decribed language learning as a military campaign where you want conquer a town. First you assemple a lot of soldiers and cannons and stuff, and when you have enough of that you smash the walls and start pillaging.

With just a few words at your disposal you can't read ordinary texts or listen to TV or radio for fun so your first task is to get to that stage as fast as possible - and 'cheating' with popup dictionaries and bilingual texts is a perfectly legitimate way of getting there fast. Once you can have fun with a language the intensive studies should be supplemented with lots of extensive activities because it is the use of a language that keeps the hard-won vocabulary accessible. And funnily enoughly this will happen even if you don't see the exact same words which you had in Anki or on some kind of list, or you saw them so long ago that you had forgotten them. Skill in accessing your hidden stores is a general ability - it isn't tied to specific words which you have seen recently. And of course the same applies to the activation of language: somewhere you should have a store of words and expressions, but being able to recall them at will is a general ability.


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