Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

How many words to speak?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
309 messages over 39 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 22 ... 38 39 Next >>
Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 5031 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
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 169 of 309
18 September 2014 at 4:47am | IP Logged 
Most of the time it has nothing to do with science. It's just sharing experiences, giving advice, knowing what to expect. That's what this forum is generally about and you can't change much.
Amateurs built the ark of Noah while professionals built the Titanic.
3 persons have voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5639 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 170 of 309
18 September 2014 at 10:23am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
leosmith wrote:
s_allard wrote:
Just by listening to this little sample, we are able to make an overall assessment of these speakers' language skills.

I'm guilty of doing this myself, but the sample is too small to be accurate, and I would never claim otherwise, as you seem to be doing. Which brings me to the same question I often ask you in these long silly threads - why are you doing this? How many words to speak?


Why do I like to debate a subject to the bitter end? The answer is simple: I question what I think is poor science. I'm a skeptic. I don't take things for granted.

Although I may be a bit snarky at times, I've never stooped to insults here and anywhere. And it's not for lack of wanting to.


Congratulations on that last point. You've behaved better in that regard than I have at times.

The challenge that some of your detractors may feel, is manifold.

Quote:
I don't believe that a large vocabulary is synonymous with language proficiency.


The opposing position isn't saying a large vocabulary = language proficiency, but rather that true language proficiency is significantly bolstered by a large vocabulary.

Another major gripe I have is the extrapolation of certain cases and doggedly taking a position that is not based in verifiable experience. E.G. where is the candidate who "aced" the CEFR B1 with a vocabulary of 300 words? If you are using vocabulary in a very limited way to mean the words actually used in few conversations, then your detractors may be misunderstanding your argument in that they are using the word vocabulary in the larger and more commonly used sense of those words that are available to the speaker.

Finally, the logic of your argument is bothersome. To draw an analogy. I've watched a UFC knockout reel where various opponents were subdued in a few seconds. It would be absurd for a real aficionado of the sport to then argue then that a champion only needs to know how to deliver a few blows to subdue a worthy opponent. Similarly, if one argued that numerous bouts have been decided in the first minute, and therefore, a UFC athlete doesn't need to train for a 15 or 25 minute contest, they would be entirely missing the real sport, which requires grit, determination, talent, and the ability to fight through a tremendous challenge.


Edited by luke on 18 September 2014 at 10:29am

4 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 5031 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
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 171 of 309
18 September 2014 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
I may be stubborn and hard-headed but when i'm wrong I'll admit it. I have been corrected on a few occasions.

No, you just ignore many posts as if they weren't even there, constantly hinting that they aren't as worthy as Iversen's or emk's etc.

Well, at least your most recent posts seem to limit this to English and French. Great. But I think it's much more honest to just estimate the numbers for any language, say 3000 active words and 6000 passive for B2, and then acknowledge that in most European languages you don't actually need to learn that many words because you get them for free (or at a discount). In other languages one actually has to learn all these words though, and then the claims about your marvellous 300-word method become frustrating.

Edited by Serpent on 18 September 2014 at 12:38pm

5 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3864 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 172 of 309
18 September 2014 at 3:43pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
s_allard wrote:
...

[quote]I don't believe that a large vocabulary is synonymous with language proficiency.


The opposing position isn't saying a large vocabulary = language proficiency, but rather that true language
proficiency is significantly bolstered by a large vocabulary.

Another major gripe I have is the extrapolation of certain cases and doggedly taking a position that is not based
in verifiable experience. E.G. where is the candidate who "aced" the CEFR B1 with a vocabulary of 300 words? If
you are using vocabulary in a very limited way to mean the words actually used in few conversations, then your
detractors may be misunderstanding your argument in that they are using the word vocabulary in the larger and
more commonly used sense of those words that are available to the speaker.
...

The point is well taken here. I think there is some confusion about what is meant by a productive vocabulary of
300 unique words. I've added unique because I even think there is some confusion there. When I say a well-
prepared candidate can ace the B1 speaking test with a vocabulary of 300 unique words, I mean exactly that, i.e.
choosing from a pool of only 300 words.

I should point out that this debate is rather secondary for me because I don't want to give the impression that
one needs only to learn 300 words for such an exam. My fundamental argument is that you really don't need
more words to pass the test.

The main argument against my position, if I need state it again, is that you don't know what topics might come
up on the test. Therefore a wider vocabulary is necessary to cover all the potential subjects. Let's say 2000 even
though you might only use 300.

I actually agree with this in principle with two reservations. And I'm repeating myself here. First of all, the very
vague and general nature of the B1 level speaking test does not require a large available productive vocabulary to
cover all the possible topics. At a C level, it's another story.

Secondly, vocabulary size is just one element that enters into the assessment of speaking proficiency. I would
argue that good pronunciation, fluency and overall accuracy, i.e. lack of mistakes, are probably much more
important. I say this because this is what I believe strikes the examiners most. This is also how we perceive the
speech of others and even ourselves.

I gave the video example of the graduate of the seven-week intensive French course. The results are excellent
but what's lacking? I don't think it's really more vocabulary. The two main problems are the many mistakes and
the lack of fluency. Fix those, add more vocabulary and you have a winner.

If I look at my own spoken Spanish, I know a ton of words, but this morning I had a session with my tutor and I'm
still hesitating and searching for words that I already know. Plus I'm making pronunciation mistakes, To add to all
this, I'm making mistakes because of the interference of French, e.g. qui instead of que. I probably know most of
the words that I'll ever need in a conversation; the problem is how to get them out smoothly and correctly.

Or, on another thought, maybe I've spent so much time studying written Spanish that I've neglected the spoken
language and I don't have the proper words for interactive speaking.



Edited by s_allard on 18 September 2014 at 3:46pm

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5137 days ago

9078 posts - 16471 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 173 of 309
18 September 2014 at 4:14pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Amateurs built the ark of Noah while professionals built the Titanic.


Both were shipwrecked - one at the top of a mountain, the other in the middle of the ocean.
4 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 3141 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 174 of 309
18 September 2014 at 5:10pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Most of the time it has nothing to do with science. It's just sharing
experiences, giving advice, knowing what to expect. That's what this forum is generally
about and you can't change much.
Amateurs built the ark of Noah while professionals built the Titanic.


That just shows that the amateurs don't even know that you build boats at sea.
1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 5031 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
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 175 of 309
18 September 2014 at 5:51pm | IP Logged 
Well but it did perform its function. Although in general, "a boat is safe in the harbor, but this is not the purpose of a boat." We can talk safely with tutors but this is not what we learn languages for.

Quotes aside, I think another reason why s_allard's posts aren't met with all that much enthusiasm is that such an approach obviously requires a teacher. I mean, how can a beginner find the most multifunctional words? You also need constant corrections of your usage, something that wouldn't be necessary if you only focused on the main meanings of the basic words at first, and then learned the more advanced subtleties naturally from input. Also, I don't know about others, but as a beginner I would personally find it hard to accept idiomatic expressions as legitimate if they seem to mean nonsense literally. This takes a lot of input as well.

Quote:
The main argument against my position, if I need state it again, is that you don't know what topics might come up on the test.

Nope, it's more about wanting to speak on various topics in real life and also fitting the definition per CEFR rather than being able to cope with the typical exam tasks.

You seem to imagine learning words just in case and ending up with a pile of useless words that you don't need after the exam. But more or less everyone else probably means learning the vocab that you'll need later anyway even if you can get away with not knowing it initially. B1 is just the beginning anyway, even if you technically never meet the requirements for higher levels. It's called the threshold level for a reason.

Edited by Serpent on 18 September 2014 at 5:53pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



Maecenas23
Triglot
Newbie
Ukraine
Joined 3045 days ago

21 posts - 56 votes 
Speaks: Ukrainian*, Russian, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 176 of 309
18 September 2014 at 5:56pm | IP Logged 
Every time somebody appeals to science, he should first check a common sense. And the
common sense tells us that there is no way anyone can speak using 300 words.
These 300 words would be mostly abstract and functional, thus wouldn't enable you to
talk even on basic topics. There is no abstract "speaking", you always have a certain
set of well-trodden areas you can effortlessly speak about and your vocabulary is a key
here.For example, as of recent I have had a deep interest in learning everything about
diets. I've been interested in diets for more than a year and have already read several
books and hundreds of scientific papers. Every time I speak about diets people confuse
me with a native speaker, but as soon as we change the topic to something unfamiliar to
me, but still very general, my fluency level drops to the ground.
I know one person who is a great expert in biology and his English serves one purpose,
he can discuss biology almost like a native, but when it comes to talking about day-
today-things he babbles like a toddler.
In my opinion, you can become a master of language only through a massive exposure and
by massive I mean thousands and tens of thousands of hours. Using a few words skilfully
would be rather a sign of extereme mastery and control over the language, which most
people don't have and which comes only on the late stages of language acquisition.


4 persons have voted this message useful



This discussion contains 309 messages over 39 pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3594 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.