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Spanish: A little subs2srs experiment

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emk
Diglot
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United States
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 89 of 147
25 November 2014 at 11:51pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
You were confused about cumplo? Have a real life example :)

Xabi Alonso es el primer jugador español que marca en el día de su cumpleaños en TODA la historia de la Champions League.

Thank you, Serpent! That's a nice example. I had to use Google Translate to help with some key words.

iguanamon wrote:
Some questions, if I may, emk.

Questions are totally welcome in this log!

iguanamon wrote:
Did you make a conscious decision not to use French subtitles in your learning?

My reasons are actually pretty boring. :-)

1. This log is actually a really important part of the project, and I wanted it to be accessible to English speakers.
2. I'm trying to avoid having multiple translation hops between my source and target materials. So I'm using an English base for Avatar, and a French base for Blacksad.
3. I can get correctly-aligned English subtitles for Avatar by ripping the closed captions from the DVD.

Also, I find that base language really doesn't matter much for subs2srs cards.

iguanamon wrote:
Speaking of Assimil, is it going to sit on the shelf or do you envision yourself going through it, even if rapidly, later? Do you think you might be annoyed by the slower, clearer audio of the course (after learning with native speed audio), and it's slow pace? I mean, you're a month out and you're already seeing the subjunctive. I don't know when Assimil introduces the subjunctive but I don't think that it's this early.

I don't have any real plans for Assimil yet. They do tend to pack a lot of useful turns of phrase into their lessons, so I can imagine finding some good stuff in there.

But honestly, my real goal is to answer the question: Can I jump straight from subs2srs to native TV? I've half-jokingly argued that "Language learning starts when you can understand TV; everything else is just bootstrapping." But I don't want to trudge all the way to B1/B2 first.

So far, I'm very cautiously optimistic I'll be able to start TV earlier than I did with French. My current strategy involves:

- Extremely narrow listening.
- An intense focus on native audio comprehension.

It seems like an investment in listening comprehension might pay off by making other skills easier. Internalizing grammar is a lot easier when I understand what people are saying. :-)
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emk
Diglot
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 Message 90 of 147
26 November 2014 at 3:24pm | IP Logged 
With 20 cards a day, my daily review numbers are getting scary, but it still goes really quickly, so that's good. My Spanish is already vastly better than it was a month ago. Of course, that's not exactly hard!

Also, I'm chewing through my decks rapidly—I started with 220-something cards in my episode 2 deck, and I'm down to 126. I'm going to have to align another episode or two during the long weekend.

Vocabulary is one of my biggest problems

Here are two cards from one scene:



I was missing three key expressions: despedida, limpiar and tener ganas de. It's going to take a lot of cards to get decent coverage of this sort of vocabulary!

An example of how hard material becomes easy without warning

Let me share an example from another deck. This is part of a lesson from Assimil's L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique. I've been having a rough time with these cards lately, because Assimil has started doing a survey of Egyptian literature, and I'm getting drowned in new vocabulary.



Quote:
(If you embarked for the Lake of Justice…)
5. your boat would not slow,
6. accidents would not happen to your mast,
7. you would not be carried away by the flood,
8. you would not taste the dangers of the river,
9. you would not look upon the face of (fear? the afraid?).

This is an MCD card, which means I see the same text multiple times, with different things hidden, and I have to fill them in. It's a nice way to learn vocabulary and to pick up tiny gramatical details.

Anyway, there's all this new vocabulary: "mast" and "flood" and "slow" and "danger", and it all arrived all at once, and it's just a total drag. So for the last several days, every time I see one of these cards, I groan.

But then all of a sudden, when I saw this card today, I could just read it. Something "clicked" since the last time I saw one of these. This effect is weird and very powerful, and I'm relying on it heavily to make faster progress in Spanish.

Edited by emk on 26 November 2014 at 3:34pm

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Tupiniquim
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Brazil
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184 posts - 217 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*
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 Message 91 of 147
26 November 2014 at 11:46pm | IP Logged 
This thread is very inspirational!

I think I might go back to studying languages after a long long hiatus.

Thanks for all the info!
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emk
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 Message 92 of 147
29 November 2014 at 3:27am | IP Logged 
Thank you for the kind words, Tupiniquim, and I wish you luck with any language studies you undertake!

Things have gone well for the last couple of days. I had a whole bunch of moderately challenging cards this morning, which pushed review time up to 31 minutes. But no major problems: New material is sticking, and I'm understanding a respectable minority of cards on the first try.

Episodes 5 and 6 fully synchronized. I'm going to finish episode 2 early next week, so I spent several hours manually synchronizing two more episodes for which I had accurate subtitles. This gives me almost 1000 Avatar cards.

Watching episodes 3 & 4 with English subtitles. The Spanish subtitles for these two episodes are wildly inaccurate, so I went ahead and watched them with English subtitles. Episode 3 was the easier of the two episodes, and my brain was still fresh.

Using the English subtitles, with no pausing, I was able to understand nearly half of the Spanish dialog of this episode. This is… remarkable. I'm sure some other people at HTLAL have developed their listening skills even faster than this, but this is a new personal speed record.
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emk
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 Message 93 of 147
29 November 2014 at 3:13pm | IP Logged 
Morse code teaching methods

Using subs2srs reminds me of certain popular methods for teaching Morse code.

Learning morse code is a lot like learning a language. Your "input", in this case, is a series of dots and dashes, and your goal is to understand text at a rate of 30 words per minute. Originally, people learned Morse code by listening to very slow input, and speeding it up gradually.

But later, other methods were invented. These were based on sending individual letters or words at "full native speed" from the very beginning:

Quote:
People learning Morse code using the Farnsworth method are taught to send and receive letters and other symbols at their full target speed, that is with normal relative timing of the dots, dashes and spaces within each symbol for that speed. The Farnsworth method is named for Donald R. "Russ" Farnsworth, also known by his call sign, W6TTB. However, initially exaggerated spaces between symbols and words are used, to give "thinking time" to make the sound "shape" of the letters and symbols easier to learn. The spacing can then be reduced with practice and familiarity.

Another popular teaching method is the Koch method, named after German psychologist Ludwig Koch, which uses the full target speed from the outset, but begins with just two characters. Once strings containing those two characters can be copied with 90% accuracy, an additional character is added, and so on until the full character set is mastered.

If you look at how I've spent the last month or so, then these Morse code teaching methods should sound really familiar. I've been working with short clips of full-speed audio, most of them around 2 to 4 seconds. Each clip is surrounded by "think time", to assimilate what I just heard. And of course I get lots of repetition, scheduled so that my comprehension strengthens and becomes more automatic.

At this point in time, most of my Spanish knowledge is basically these brief snippets of native speed audio, snippets which I've trained myself to hear and understand without translation. And of course, I'm only working with a handful of speakers, and a very limited set of topics. So it hasn't taken me long to get decent coverage, especially with my English/French speaker discount.

It appears that training myself to understand high-frequency, native-speed chunks of audio pays off quite rapidly in listening comprehension. This seems like something worth knowing.
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napoleon
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India
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 Message 94 of 147
29 November 2014 at 10:48pm | IP Logged 
Good to see you're having fun!
The morse code example was fun to read.
The only thing missing is an RS method for it. :)
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mitcht
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Australia
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 Message 95 of 147
30 November 2014 at 1:01am | IP Logged 
This is a really interesting idea - I did consider trying to do something similar but balked at the difficulty of getting
it all into Anki. I do have a copy of y tu mama tambien so i might work through those steps at some point.
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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
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 Message 96 of 147
30 November 2014 at 11:16am | IP Logged 
So I finally have my first deck set up! Since I've already worked with Spanish courses
and have learned the "basics" I'm diving in with telenovelas. So far I've found it's a
mix of easy stuff, mostly easy stuff with a few aspects that get muddled (pronouns and
whatnot), and more difficult stuff (I find the male lead pretty difficult to understand
so far). Among the more difficult cards that I've reviewed so far, I do notice them
getting easier which is great! I had imported a 10 minute clip first and re-watched it
in full after reviewing for about a week and it wasn't until about halfway through that
I noticed that I wasn't watching with subtitles.

What works really well going clip by clip is that it really forces you to get all the
details. It's so easy to overestimate how much you understand when watching TV/movies
primarily for entertainment. TV/movies have very set narrative structures that we're so
accustomed to that it's easy to understand meaning without paying attention to the
actual dialogue. So if I just turn on a telenovela on TV, I can see a nervous-looking
character approach a receptionist, greet her, ask a question (as indicated by vocal
inflection), see the receptionist answer while pointing (indicating that she's giving
directions, probably to someone who has a job interview) and understand everything that
went on without understanding much dialogue at all.

Going through these scenes bit by bit with SRS makes sure that I'm really comprehending
everything that's being said rather than just a few key words and the context "this is
a greeting" "this is a job interview". I'll be excited to see how much this helps my
listening comprehension!


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