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Spanish: A little subs2srs experiment

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Tupiniquim
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Brazil
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Speaks: Portuguese*
Studies: English, Russian

 
 Message 97 of 147
30 November 2014 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
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.


Thank you, emk!
I've already started some preliminary tests combining your method with L-R.
Maybe in a couple of weeks, depending on the effectiveness, I may start a log of my own.
In the mean time, I'll keep stalking this thread (and your posts in general ;)), because man, they're a great source of motivation!
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emk
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 Message 98 of 147
01 December 2014 at 6:14pm | IP Logged 
Episode 2 of Avatar is done! That went a lot faster than episode 1. At a rate of 20 cards/day, with a reasonable amount of deletion, it's possible to study entire 23-minute cartoon episodes in a week and a half or so. Here are my stats for just the two episodes of Avatar (and not Y Tu Mamá También):



My suspension rate is still really low, mostly because the material is so good, and so well-matched to my current level.

Tupiniquim wrote:
I've already started some preliminary tests combining your method with L-R.
Maybe in a couple of weeks, depending on the effectiveness, I may start a log of my own.

I'd imagine that L/R mixes quite well with subs2srs, and also with Assimil. All three are pretty much the same method: L2 audio+text with L1 text. And I'd certainly enjoy reading your log!

mitcht wrote:
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.

You can make your life a lot easier by using these two pages on the wiki:

Subs2srs tutorial
Spanish subtitles for use with subs2srs

In particular, if you download the *.zip file with Avatar subs, you'll also find prepared subs for Y Tu Mamá También. You'll need a copy of the Criterion Collection version of the movie and a DVD drive. There's an Amazon link on the subtitle page.

sctroyenne wrote:
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.



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!

It's pretty fun "mastering" a scene with subs2srs. :-) I'd really like to do some more experiments with subs2srs and French films someday. I still struggle with many French films (much more than French TV), and I wonder whether subs2srs would help at my level. I mean, I know it would help with a specific film, but would it also give me a boost with films I hadn't studied?

Some more cards



Some nice, complicated Spanish verbs. These sorts of sentences are getting easier and easier to understand.



Left: This is the second time I've seen the expression Eso si que fué used to express amazement (once genuinely, and once sarcastically). I like hearing this in context, with appropriate emotion—it's nicer than just getting an Anki card with eso si que fué written on side.

Right: I understood this without subtitles.



Left: Before showing the subtitles, I understood the overall meaning of what Katara was saying to Aang, but I couldn't parse the verb form está esperando completely.

Right: I'm still paying attention to hay "there is". These tiny little expressions do a lot of work, and they can be hard to hear.

The din in my head

On my way back home yesterday evening, I kept drifting in and out of sleep as my wife was driving. My brain was replaying all sorts of little audio snippets from my Anki decks, and trying to assemble things in various ways.

News radio is still way above my level

I'd like to revisit this bit:

emk wrote:
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.

I spent a couple of hours this past weekend listening to Mexican news radio. As you might expect, my listening comprehension plummeted. I didn't have pictures, or pauses, or an English subtitle track to point me in the right direction.

My mental "database" of Avatar snippets is only useful under very limited circumstances. I still require massive amounts of cheating to understand anything. It's time to repost that diagram again. :-)



Basically, I can now "decipher" roughly half the dialog in a very easy Avatar episode in real time, but only if I have English subtitles. It's a great start. But if I want to tackle news radio, I'll need to do a whole lot more "consolidating" first.

My plan is to keep doing subs2srs for another 2–4 episodes of Avatar, and see if I can reach a point where I can really enjoy episodes without any subtitles. At that point, I'll cut back on Anki, and I'll try to start watching the series. So far, I have 40 episodes of Avatar available in Spanish, plus 12 episodes of Korra, and another 27 episodes on my Christmas list.

After that, I have lots of good options for broadening my skills: Listening/Reading, more TV box sets, etc.
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emk
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 Message 99 of 147
03 December 2014 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
I wrote up a really long post in the Advice Center this morning. This actually explained some of my future ideas for my subs2srs experiment, so I thought I'd repost it here.

TL;DR: I don't expect to develop any real Spanish output skills from studying input. If I ever want to work on output, I'll probably use Susuru-style MCD cards (described below), lang-8 and a tutor of some sort.

emk wrote:
Potted Plant wrote:
I have been studying Japanese consistently for the last three years. I, like many others, was introduced to AJATT and I found the methodology of 'exposure + Anki` to be very effective (and one I have continued to use). Even though I only used simple front/back cards in Anki for the first year and a half, my ability in the language jumped.

After which I saw diminishing returns on the simple cards, although I'd say the vocabulary I was using didn't help (vocabulary lists for the JLPT exams, which are horrifically boring), and I decided to switch to full sentences again following AJATT/Antimoon's example of using a sentence to provide context for the vocabulary to be learned. The change in card format was a success, and I still use it, albeit with a personally created deck and not one downloaded from the Anki site.

Now, you may have noticed that there is no place for structured (formal) grammar study. At the moment I have begun to look up any interesting looking grammar I see while reading. This `looking up when interested` does help the grammar to remain in my head, although when it comes to produce, be it speaking or writing, it is never `actively there` and I feel that I may need some exercises/activities (or something) to help it all *click*.

Unfortunately, such structured (formal) study doesn't hold my attention and I don't tend to retain it well without doing horrid things as writing it out millions and millions of times over reams of paper. Unsurprisingly, I would like to avoid that (and a return to *brr* secondary school) if at all possible.

OK, I'm going to offer you two suggestions: the "AJATT answer" and my own suggestions.

The "AJATT answer"

Khatzumoto's original "10,000 sentences" method definitely failed for quite a few people. This is partly because he never described in sufficient detail, partly because people creatively misinterpreted it, partly because not everybody is Khatzumoto, and partly because input-only methods are insufficient for some people.

Input-only methods do work for some people. But for other people, massive input may lead to weak active skills. This can also happen with bilingual kids: I know people who have near-native comprehension of their parents' language (in the C1+ range), but who doubt they can put together an actual grammatical sentence.

Now, when Khatzumoto started selling his very expensive Silver Spoon/Neutrino product, which comes with a "fluency or your money back" guarantee, he substantially revised his method. The current version seems to be based on:

1. Really massive exposure to input. They don't call it "All Japanese All The Time" for nothing.
2. MCD cards created using special Susuru features that are hard to recreate in Anki.

Khatzumoto gives few public examples of how Susuru MCD cards actually work. But as far as I can tell, they're very grammar-focused and they each require a small chunk of ouput. I've seen two principal types, which I'll explain below. But first, we need a demonstration text. Let's imagine that you're an English-speaker learning Spanish, and that you start out with the following bilingual text from Avatar:

Quote:
La ciudad Omashu del reino Tierra.
Siempre venía aquí a visitar a mi amigo Bumi.
- Wow, no tenemos ciudades así en el polo sur.


- The Earth Kingdom, City of Omashu.
I used to always come here to visit my friend Bumi.
- Wow, we don't have cities like this in the South Pole.

Next, a bit of Anki notation. In Anki, the string "Foo {{c1::bar}} {{c2:baz}}" will create two cloze cards:

Quote:
Anki input: Foo {{c1::bar}} {{c2:baz}}.

Front 1: Foo {...} baz.
Back 1: Foo bar baz.

Front 1: Foo bar {...}.
Back 1: Foo bar baz.

OK, now we're ready to talk about Susuru cloze cards. :-) The two types I've seen are:

1. Closing every word separately. If you start with a 24-word text, this will generate 24 cloze cards, each of which has a single hidden word:

Quote:
{{c1::La}} {{c2::ciudad}} {{c3::Omashu}} {{c4::del}} {{c5::reino}} {{c6::Tierra.}}
{{c7::Siempre}} {{c8::venía}} {{c9::aquí}} {{c10::a}} {{c11::visitar}} {{c12::a}} {{c13::mi}} {{c14::amigo}} {{c15::Bumi}}.
- {{c16::Wow,}} {{c17::no}} {{c18::tenemos}} {{c19::ciudades}} {{c20::así}} {{c21::en}} {{c22::el}} {{c23::polo}} {{c24::sur}}.


- The Earth Kingdom, City of Omashu.
I used to always come here to visit my friend Bumi.
- Wow, we don't have cities like this in the South Pole.

Obviously, many of these cards will be useless or annoying. This is probably one of the reasons why Khatzumoto believes in deleting cards very aggressively.

2. Clozing grammatical particles and inflections. For this format, we start out with a long list of prepositions, articles, particles and word endings. For example, here's a short list for Spanish:

Quote:
la del -ía a -ar -emos -es en el

We then apply apply this list to our text, generating 9 cloze cards:

Quote:
{{c1::La}} ciudad Omashu {{c2::del}} reino Tierra.
Siempre ven{{c3::ía}} aquí {{c4::a}} visit{{c5::ar}} {{c4::a}} mi amigo Bumi.
- Wow, no ten{{c6::emos}} ciudad{{c7::es}} así {{c8::en}} {{c9::el}} polo sur.


- The Earth Kingdom, City of Omashu.
I used to always come here to visit my friend Bumi.
- Wow, we don't have cities like this in the South Pole.

Notice that card #4 will have two blanks, each of which needs to be filled in with the same text "a"!

This just leaves one big question: What's the end-game here? Well, Khatzumoto doesn't talk about it much, and I've only seen one older, possibly "obsolete" conversation which might apply:

ハクション大魔王 wrote:
I live in Japan so listening is not so much of a problem. In fact my listening is stronger than my writing, reading or speaking…. probably put together.

So, I would love love love it if you would address how you became fluent as a speaker. Speaking is a hurdle I just can’t seem to overcome.

khatzumoto wrote:
Here is my take on speaking.

You said you’re listening is strong, and I’m sure it is. But how strong? Can you follow Trick 100%? Can you follow the Japanese Diet proceedings (www.shugiintv.go.jp) 100%? Can you follow Tiger and Dragon 100%? Can you repeat virtually any 5-15-second-long piece of dialogue you hear, verbatim, after one listening? If not, then, I’m going to go with the input hypothesis here and say that you do still need to listen EVEN MORE.

Canonical example: you watch a commercial once a day, or every other day for several weeks, and then suddenly you can say: “I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO”, even without having tried to memorize it.

What I’m saying is, don’t force the speaking, let it come out naturally as a result of input.

Will this work? Personally, I have no idea. But as the example I linked up-thread suggests, really massive amounts of reading and watching may not be sufficient.

My own suggestions

I have two children at home, and I get to observe lots of other monolingual and multilingual children (and compare notes with their parents). And yeah, some kids really do wait a while, and then start speaking in complete, mostly correct sentences. Other kids, meanwhile, start speaking as soon as possible, and butcher their grammar horribly. I've even seen kids with "fossilized" grammatical errors that lasted for almost half a year, just like a typical adult language learner. And, of course, I've seen several kids who can understand a home language, but who can't speak it. So even among actual children, the whole input/output situation is pretty complicated.

One thing all these kids have in common: If they actually need to speak a given language every day with other children, they'll eventually learn to speak it fluently and grammatically.

So my recommendation is to take a hint from the kids: If you want to be able to speak, start speaking!

Some things you can do to get started:

1. Consider trying some MCD cards, particularly format #2 above. This will force you to pay close attention to prepositions and particles.
2. Try to write 100 words per day, and get them corrected. Detailed suggestions here.
3. Find a tutor, language exchange partner, or willing victim, and start speaking regularly.

Anyway, I hope one of the suggestions in this thread points you in a useful direction. Good luck with your studies!

OK, now back to your regularly scheduled log. :-)
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rapp
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 Message 100 of 147
03 December 2014 at 10:03pm | IP Logged 
Just fyi, there is an MCD plugin available for Anki that works very well for creating cards in format #1 (it may work for format #2, I just haven't tried using it that way).

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tastyonions
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 Message 101 of 147
04 December 2014 at 1:33am | IP Logged 
If you want to try something that is factual but definitely easier than typical news radio, I found a nice documentary about the peopling of the Americas: link.

A bunch of different accents in it: standard Spain accent, Argentinian, Chilean, and also Brazilian and anglophone American. :-)

Edited by tastyonions on 04 December 2014 at 1:34am

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emk
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 Message 102 of 147
04 December 2014 at 12:32pm | IP Logged 
Yesterday and the day before were rougher than usual: I understood fewer new cards on the first try, and I had to listen several times before understanding many of the old cards. But this morning, everything was more-or-less back on track again. On my bad days, I sometimes feel like I'm going to have to listen to a lot of episodes before I can do this without subtitles. On my good days, it seems tantalizingly close. :-)

One cause of these "bad days" is the combination of a difficult new conversation with a bunch of cards from earlier difficult conversations.

Oh, there's one way I can increase my number of good days: Play Avatar in the background while working, and occasionally stop to watch it for 5 minutes. Anki-based learning methods can feel a bit "sterile" unless I supplement them frequently with actual input.

rapp wrote:
Just fyi, there is an MCD plugin available for Anki that works very well for creating cards in format #1 (it may work for format #2, I just haven't tried using it that way).

Hi, rapp! Great to see you again. How has Neutrino been working out for you? And yes, there's at least one Susuru-style cloze plugin for Anki, but I haven't looked at it yet.

tastyonions wrote:
If you want to try something that is factual but definitely easier than typical news radio, I found a nice documentary about the peopling of the Americas: link.

A bunch of different accents in it: standard Spain accent, Argentinian, Chilean, and also Brazilian and anglophone American. :-)

This is a great documentary! And indeed, the audio is exceptionally slow and clear, and I even understood small bits here and there. :-)

Cards! More cards!



- Left: When I originally passed this card, I ignored the final three words because they were much too hard. But I've seen them in enough other contexts that I can finally more-or-less understand them without looking at the text.

- Right: The cabbage vendor is a running gag in Avatar. He really can't win. Also porquería is a great word.



- Left: les is the ustedes form here, meaning "you". Espera is "wait" in Spanish, but espérer is "hope" in French.

- Right: Ah, OK, ellos is the masculine form of "they". This threw me off because of its similarity to ellas "they (fem.)" and the French elles "they (fem.)".



- Left: I thought meta was subjunctive, so I checked the conjugation tables. Yup! Even though Spanish is more enthusiastic about the subjunctive than French, I still have an instinct for where to look.

- Right: This is just a terrific sentence, with some fun grammar and vocabulary. Also, how can I not love magic applied to large-scale commerce? If magic really worked, it wouldn't just be used by mysterious people in the woods.



- Left: Another fun card with some nicely complicated things going on. This card is maturing nicely, and I can understand the audio on the first or second listen without the subtitles.

- Right: The cabbages, again. One of the great things about subs2srs is that phrases like ¡Van a pagar por esto! come loaded with plenty of emotion.

Reviews are hovering pretty steadily around 30 minutes per day.
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Serpent
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 Message 103 of 147
04 December 2014 at 2:39pm | IP Logged 
Esperar can also mean hope.
Ellos is also used for mixed-gender companies, although in informal writing ell@s seems to be preferable for those who care about equality. or ellxs.
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emk
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 Message 104 of 147
04 December 2014 at 4:41pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Ellos is also used for mixed-gender companies, although in informal writing ell@s seems to be preferable for those who care about equality. or ellxs.

Thank you, I've seen this before. I've been keeping an eye on how French speakers handle these issues, and it seems to be harder to find neutral forms that aren't totally ugly. But I've seen some pretty interesting examples in Madmoizelle, which is sort of like a more feminist version of Cosmo aimed at French women in their late teens and twenties.

Trying readlang with Harry Potter

I have my own extensive reading tools (which I'll release one of these days), but they're better suited for the intermediate level. So I thought it would be fun to try out readlang with Spanish. Here's one of the first sentences I stumbled across:



I learned several of the key words in this phrase from my subs2srs decks:

Quote:
Supongo que no sabes lo que es un padre,
al haber sido criado por monjes.


I suppose you wouldn't know of fathers,
being (having been) raised by monks.

No se escaparán esta vez.

It's not getting away from me this time.

So my subs2srs cards have been pretty useful for reading comprehension! Let's see how they work with a longer section of Harry Potter. The words I didn't understand are shown in English, using the readlang ebook reader in my browser:



Even with my knowledge of French, this is really not bad after 15 hours of Anki reviews! (And some other miscellaneous study.) I'm rapidly picking up a lot of the high-frequency, non-cognate Spanish vocabulary, and learning how the grammar fits together.

Mind you, I'm still "deciphering" pretty intensively here, and I'll need a lot of repetition to make reading automatic. But I'm very happy with my progress, given the hours I've invested.

Flashcards

There's a nice miniature SRS system build into readlang:



Also, I'm thinking that a good 20 hours of listening/reading over the upcoming holidays might pay off nicely at this point. Tempting.



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