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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 73 of 170
22 October 2014 at 5:46pm | IP Logged 
victorhart wrote:

- It seems that jotting down a word a day (my own phonetic transcription) on a list
and the exact source where I heard it is OK in that it is really just a way of
focusing my attention and facilitating review of specific video clips.


I'm curious about this. Mandarin is a tonal language, so depending on which tone of the five is used you get a different meaning.
Quote:
Quoting Wikipedia
    A high level tone: /á/ (pinyin ⟨ā⟩)
    A tone starting with mid pitch and rising to a high pitch: /ǎ/ (pinyin ⟨á⟩)
    A low tone with a slight fall (if there is no following syllable, it may start with a dip then rise to a high pitch): /à/ (pinyin ⟨ǎ⟩)
    A short, sharply falling tone, starting high and falling to the bottom of the speaker's vocal range: /â/ (pinyin ⟨à⟩)
    A neutral tone, with no specific contour, used on weak syllables; its pitch depends chiefly on the tone of the preceding syllable.


So I'm curious how you are writing out these words "phonetically"? I think you are going to have serious problems with your experiment with a tonal language. This might have worked for Dutch, where regardless of the intonation the word is the same, but not Mandarin.

SPOILER ALERT - I'M GOING TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING NOT ON TV :)

Quote:
Quoting Wikipedia
    mā (媽/妈) "mum/mom"
    má (麻/麻) "hemp"
    mǎ (馬/马) "horse"
    mà (罵/骂) "scold"
    ma (嗎/吗) (an interrogative particle)


there are 5 different meanings for a word which is pronounced the say way, but with a different tone or inflection. How are you determining which word you are hearing without some study or knowledge of tones? Also because of a rising tone (like a question in English) can appear in a statement, the Chinese use particles like ma above to indicate a yes/no question, there are other particles as well, so how are you going to figure these out?


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victorhart
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 Message 74 of 170
22 October 2014 at 5:57pm | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:

So I'm curious how you are writing out these words "phonetically"? I think you are
going to have serious problems with your experiment with a tonal language. This might
have worked for Dutch, where regardless of the intonation the word is the same, but
not Mandarin.

. . .

How are you determining which word you are hearing without some study or knowledge of
tones? Also because of a rising tone (like a question in English) can appear in a
statement, the Chinese use particles like ma above to indicate a yes/no question,
there are other particles as well, so how are you going to figure these out?



I don't know, and you have a good point.

I'm sure in 1,200 hours there will be a ton of details, including
differentiation of many tones, that I simply won't get. But I think I'm absorbing
something about tones naturally, as a child might do. The main limitation is not being
able to practice them and receive corrections from native speakers. I'm sure that type
of modeling and correction would be very helpful, so this is a sacrifice in terms of
efficiency that I make for the sake of (1) better isolating and testing the variable
and (2) being able to "study" at 1 am in a highly enjoyable and relaxing way without
the hassle of scheduling regular classes.

However, I think this issue of tones has little to do with jotting down a word a day
phonetically. That practice of mine is really just a way of being able to watch that
clip again and hear the word in context over and over. I'm not basing my mental model
of the terms on what I wrote down, but rather on what I'm hearing in the video.

Edited by victorhart on 22 October 2014 at 6:00pm

1 person has voted this message useful



iguanamon
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 Message 75 of 170
22 October 2014 at 7:53pm | IP Logged 
The OP posted in the Portuguese thread and I asked him about his background. I didn't receive a response but when reading his blog, I clicked on his about me link and have some answers. He grew up as a Bazilian-American bilingual. He spent a semester in a French school in Burundi in 7th grade, another semester in a Brazilian school in 8th grade, and a university semester in Sevilla, Spain. He has started and has something to do with The Natural Language Institute (link to site in Portuguese) in Brasilia. I am curious as to how this experiment may tie into this. His blog is written in English and his school's site is in Portuguese, so I don't think he'd be encouraging his students to drop out and drop in to dvd's. Though I don't know if he is still involved with the school.

A few years ago, on HTLAL, more members were of the course + anki + course strategy with the balance heavily weighted towards courses/srs. My observation is that the pendulum has swung much more towards native materials in a higher percentage of learners on the forum now, especially since the super challenge started. As much as I advocate early use of native materials, I would never advocate exclusive use of them. Even a little bit of help in making the incomprehensible, comprehensible, goes a long way, as does having at least one language learned under the belt.

I, as a monolingual who has learned two Romance languages to a high level, could probably do this experiment with Italian and French and learn a lot. I doubt that I could do the same with Welsh, Russian or Japanese. Give me something to help, even a dictionary or a phrasebook (better if both), and I would make progress. Give me a basic course in the mix and I will be able to learn the language more quickly.

Let's give this guy a chance to prove us wrong. He's got a good background (bilingual-multilingual) to recognize patterns. Time will tell.

Edited by iguanamon on 22 October 2014 at 7:58pm

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iguanamon
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 Message 76 of 170
22 October 2014 at 8:32pm | IP Logged 
Natural Language Institute- English course wrote:
...Trabalhamos somente com professores nativos...As aulas são de conversação, intercaladas com correções e explicações gramaticais e de pronúncia, feitas pelo professor. Em casa o aluno lê textos diversos, como artigos de notícias atuais e de literaturas clássica e moderna; treina sua compreensão auditiva com CDs, DVDs ou Internet e prepara redações regulares para treinar a escrita e a gramática.

O professor procura material escrito e auditivo de interesse do próprio aluno, conforme seu nível, sua área profissional e seus interesses culturais e de lazer. Desta forma, o aluno sente prazer em estudar e a aprendizagem procede naturalmente e com máxima eficiência. Após cada aula, o professor prepara um resumo do vocabulário novo e das correções de pronúncia e gramática, colocando essa lição no site do instituto para o acesso de cada aluno. ...source


Here's my rough translation

"We work only with teachers who are native-speakers...The classes are conversation interspersed with corrections and explanations of grammar and pronunciation done by the teacher. At home, the student reads many different texts, such as current events (news) articles and classic/modern literature. The student's listening skills are trained by cd's, dvd's or via the internet. The student also writes regulary to practice writing and grammar.

The teacher finds written and audio resources of interest to the particular student, according to their level, professional area of concern, cultural and hobby interests. In this way, the student enjoys studying and learning proceeds naturally and with maximum efficiency. After each class, the teacher prepares a new vocabulary review including grammar and pronunciation corrections. putting that lesson on the institute's website for student access."

I'm not a good translator. I don't like translating. This is something that looks to be much better than the average, run of the mill, Brazilian language school, or even most language schools anywhere :). Sounds like how I worked with my Portuguese tutor over skype.

Edited by iguanamon on 23 October 2014 at 12:47am

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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 77 of 170
22 October 2014 at 8:49pm | IP Logged 
victorhart wrote:
But I think I'm absorbing something about tones naturally, as a child might do. The main limitation is not being able to practice them and receive corrections from native speakers.


You've picked up on the one thing I always have a problem with when people say "Learn like a child does" which is you don't have one/two people who are constantly on call 24 hours a day to do corrections, answer questions, help with pronunciation, etc.

I'm not trying to discourace you, but just saying that when you are writing phonically you might actually want to try using Pinyin format and try to listen for the tones as described in my earlier post. You can add a 1,2,3,4,5 to the end of your phonetic writing to indicate tone.

Anyway, good luck.
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Serpent
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 Message 78 of 170
23 October 2014 at 12:43am | IP Logged 
victorhart wrote:
being able to "study" at 1 am in a highly enjoyable and relaxing way without the hassle of scheduling regular classes.

That's what HTLAL is about ;) Video is just one of the many things you can use for this.

I entirely agree that this is very different from LR, btw. Volte and others had some great experiences with it, even when learning Finnish (search for the Finnish experiment).
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smallwhite
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 Message 79 of 170
23 October 2014 at 6:32am | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
He has started and has something to do with The Natural Language Institute (link to site in Portuguese) in Brasilia. I am curious as to how this experiment may tie into this.


I read victorhart's blog, too. I think I'm starting to understand his motivation for watching videos like that.

* * *

Maybe you don't have to experiment yourself. My generation of Hongkongers grew up watching Japanese TV and movies with Chinese subtitles, and listening to Japanese songs. You can study people like that to see how much they learned. Most of us learned nothing.

So, if victorhart has already learned something over the last few weeks, I believe he listens less relaxed as those Hongkongers who had no intention to learn Japanese whatsoever.

victorhart wrote:

My goals include ... (2) ... slowly learn Mandarin ... as a way to relax and have fun at the end of a long day.


Not as relaxed as that sounds. In which case, I think the video-watching is sort of like (my understanding of) L-R. My understanding of both is: hearing L2 while reading L1. Indeed, I know little about L-R.

* * *

Hongkongers learned no Japanese watching TV, but the Swedes learned English. So what does that mean? I don't know.

* * *

victorhart wrote:
... I'm not always sure of
the boundaries on what types of activities or compromises--in addition to just sitting
passively in front of streaming video in Mandarin without subtitles and paying
attention--are coherent with my experimental methodology.

... What do you think?


I believe, if you are specific enough in defining the aim of your experiment, you will automatically know what's allowable and what's not.

Maybe you can think about what videos really are and how they're different from textbooks and courses. How is Qiao Hu different from Alliance Francaise classes where the teachers speak only French from day 1, illustrating ideas with pictures and body language. If there are video'd or animated versions of Assimil and Michael Thomas, do they count as courses or as videos. If going over a word trying to remember it is not a violation, then is going over the number-counting system from 1 to 99 in your head a violation, and is recalling scenes from a movie a violation.

I don't know. Depends on whether you're trying to prove whether NATURALLY watching TV works (which I originally thought was the experiment), or whether you're just trying to use videos the way you use books (re-reading things, underlining things, copying parts into a separate notebook) (in which case does not seem an interesting experiment at all, since it's just a slight change in media).

Edited by smallwhite on 23 October 2014 at 6:37am

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Ari
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 Message 80 of 170
23 October 2014 at 8:14am | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
You've picked up on the one thing I always have a problem with when
people say "Learn like a child does" which is you don't have one/two people who are
constantly on call 24 hours a day to do corrections, answer questions, help with
pronunciation, etc.


Well, those things are hardly necessary for children to learn. In many cultures, grownups
don't speak to children until the children can hold up their part of the conversation,
and those children have no problems in learning the language fluently.

However, what children do have are brains primed to learn language. Adults don't have
that. Trying to learn language like a child does is like trying to learn flying like a
bird does. You're better off using technology to your advantage.


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