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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 89 of 170
23 October 2014 at 2:56pm | IP Logged 
Finland seems to be doing just fine.

However, reading is also an important factor in the Nordic countries, as not everything is translated, and the originals tend to be cheaper (and you don't have to wait for the translation). My guess is that in Finland the level varies more depending on how much one reads in English.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
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 Message 90 of 170
23 October 2014 at 3:12pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:

However, reading is also an important factor in the Nordic countries, as not everything is translated, and the originals tend to be cheaper (and you don't have to wait for the translation). My guess is that in Finland the level varies more depending on how much one reads in English.


That must be right, given that the amount of reading you do makes a huge difference for your level as a native English speaker as well.

Edited by patrickwilken on 23 October 2014 at 3:45pm

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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
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Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 91 of 170
23 October 2014 at 3:18pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
I wonder if the English is just easier for Swedes to pick up since both are Germanic languages, compared to say Japanese for speakers of Mandarin/Cantonese.


Like I said before, the closeness of the two languages is a major factor of the Swedes' famous English proficiency. The "no dubbing" argument is frequently exaggerated and I suspect we'd be pretty good at English even if we did dub our TV shows and movies. In order to do the experiment, you'd need to make Swedish singers sing in Japanese, Swedish radio play Japanese music, Swedish university students read Japanese textbooks, Swedish kids learn Japanese from fifth grade, Swedish parents teach Japanese to their kids, Swedish children play MMORPGs with Japanese teammates, Swedish advertising agencies use Japanese in their marketing, Swedish policy makers name city districts, arenas, companies, national sporting events and just about everything else in Japanese, Swedish students search for Japanese websites in their school projects, Swedish businesspeople use Swedish with all their international clients, Swedish companies require all documentation to be in Japanese, as well as meetings, Swedish engineers use Japanese standards, Swedish people dream of emigrating to Japan, Swedes marrying non-Swedes use Japanese to communicate, Swedish companies require a good working knowledge of Japanese (but not Swedish) to get a good job … And so on. Lots of Swedes use English as much as Swedish in their daily lives (and these are the Swedes that non-Swedes tend to interact with). The TV shows are part of a comprehensive immersion program for the entire population.

Do all that, and I suspect our Japanese levels would be pretty ok, but of course, not as good as our English levels are today, since Swedish and English are really close.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
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Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 92 of 170
23 October 2014 at 4:16pm | IP Logged 
For those who are interested in academic versions of this experiment, here are some links.

Foreign-grammar acquisition while watching subtitled television programmes. Summary: Kids do pick up vocabulary from watching TV in Esperanto, but they don't acquire grammar within the course of a single episode (isn't this obvious? grammar comes well after vocab with young children). Some grammar may be learned if the students receive instruction beforehand. The full paper is available, and it discusses lots of earlier studies.

Children's vocabulary acquisition in a foreign language through watching subtitled television programs at home (paywalled). Vocabulary acquisition is measurably better with subtitles. This was Dutch children watching English TV, so we can't assume they're starting from zero.

Children Under Three Can't Learn Action Words From TV -- Unless An Adult Helps (paper).

This is a pretty active field of research, and there seem to be some broadly agreed-upon results:

1. Children and adults can learn vocabulary by watching TV.
2. Certain things are harder to learn from television than from interaction.
3. Subtitles (and explicit grammar instruction) allow children to get more out of the TV.

Based on informal experience here at HTLAL and elsewhere, we've also seen that:

4. Semi-comprehensible television can be hugely effective under the right circumstances (me, Cavesa, several other people).
5. Incomprehensible television does not reliably result in language acquisition, even after 80, or 150, or 500+ hours (for example, Patrick in this thread, but also thousands of anime fans).
6. Artificially slow and clear TV with occasional explanations in English can work quite well (see Destinos epsiode 2 for a good example).
7. Parallel L2 audio/L2 text/L1 text can produce useful results quite quickly (Assimil, L/R).
8. Subs2srs can produce useful results within 30 hours, even in relatively difficult languages (Sprachprofi).

Looking at Europe in general, we can also see that:

9. Substantial classroom English instruction without subtitled English-language television generally produces mediocre English skills (France).
10. Substantial classroom instruction plus subtitled TV (plus other factors?) frequently produces excellent English (northern Europe).

This collected evidence suggests quite a few interesting experiments. In particular, I'd love to know:

- What happens if you let 4-year-olds watch a few hundred hours of fun cartoons in a totally unrelated language?
- Can an experienced polyglot acquire a language from native TV? (victorhart is trying this version)
- How quickly can somebody achieve basic comprehension of an unfamiliar language using nothing but tools like Destinos and subs2srs? Sprachprofi suggests about 30 hours for understanding a single TV series, which is a lot faster than I'd expect. Can we verify that?

Has anybody else run these experiments? If so, what results did you get? If not, is anybody interested?
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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 93 of 170
23 October 2014 at 5:44pm | IP Logged 
I'm interested. I've got a TV series in Mandarin which has 4 seasons. But I can't find subtitles for it. I think that will be the problem really finding a TV series with subtitles. I'll look around.
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emk
Diglot
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United States
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 Message 94 of 170
23 October 2014 at 6:15pm | IP Logged 
I see that various people have used subs2srs with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Summer Palace, so those might be good DVDs to check for subtitles first.
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Snowflake
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4069 days ago

1032 posts - 1233 votes 
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 95 of 170
23 October 2014 at 7:47pm | IP Logged 
Yun-Fat Chow's Mandarin in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is quite bad. Some native
speaker friends warned me about that movie. Also I read an Ang Lee interview where he
said the scenes with Yun-Fat Chow had to be reshot multiple times, sometimes as much as
30x as the Mandarin was so bad. Ang Lee was pretty much "tearing his hair out" with
frustration. So I hope none of the subs2srs clips use Yun-Fat Chow's dialog.
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YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
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472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 96 of 170
23 October 2014 at 8:02pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

- How quickly can somebody achieve basic comprehension of an unfamiliar language using nothing but tools like Destinos and subs2srs? Sprachprofi suggests about 30 hours for understanding a single TV series, which is a lot faster than I'd expect. Can we verify that?

Has anybody else run these experiments? If so, what results did you get? If not, is anybody interested?


One of the things I've been trying recently that feels like it could greatly accelerate the speed of learning with SRS, is increasing the default review intervals, which I think are aimed at learning individual words brick by brick. Because there's a lot of vocabulary overlap with SRS, I think it's better to see a lot of new sentences each day, partially forget them and then review them a week later. Since I think you learn faster encountering words in different contexts than memorizing the same context over and over, I think it's much better to have wide range of content that slowly cycles through your deck instead of memorizing all the content as you encounter it.

I'm currently experimenting with short intervals of anki-only study with Hindi, Malay, and Thai recently just to see how efficient it can be on it's own, but I'm also mixing in some beginner course sentence cards with audio instead of waiting for simple stuff to show up in my SRS decks.

Edited by YnEoS on 23 October 2014 at 8:04pm



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