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Spanish: A little subs2srs experiment

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Serpent
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 Message 9 of 147
26 October 2014 at 8:40pm | IP Logged 
Afaiu, Sprachprofi's strategy should enable you to understand a new episode of the series that you've been sub2srs'ing. What kind of new content would you expect to understand when you've got the most out of your deck?
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iguanamon
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 Message 10 of 147
26 October 2014 at 9:50pm | IP Logged 
Focusing on a couple of movies for his experiment surprised me a bit, especially because emk has been a huge proponent of series. Still, it fits with the stated limited nature of his experiment. I guess a series would be much more of a commitment. At any rate, I am quite interested and intrigued.
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emk
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 Message 11 of 147
26 October 2014 at 10:16pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Afaiu, Sprachprofi's strategy should enable you to understand a new episode of the series that you've been sub2srs'ing. What kind of new content would you expect to understand when you've got the most out of your deck?

This is an excellent question. I think that Sprachprofi's decision to use a series is a wise idea, because long TV series are an excellent way to exploit narrow listening (PDF). And of course, I had great results watching multiple seasons of Buffy after reaching B1 in French.

This time, I chose a movie mostly because good movies with accurate Spanish subtitles can be found for $15. This allows me to buy a couple of different movies and focus on whichever one works best. If this works out, I can always track down a series next.

My hopes for this experiment are very modest:

1. I'd love to get a good feeling for Mexican Spanish pronunciation and intonation.
2. I'd like to get a handle on how common Spanish vocabulary is used in the real world.
3. I'd be delighted to have A1 listening comprehension, and the ability to muddle through simple texts.

Over the next few days, I'll be trying out different ideas, and adjusting my approach accordingly. My goal is maximum comprehension for minimum effort.

iguanamon wrote:
Focusing on a couple of movies for his experiment surprised me a bit, especially because emk has been a huge proponent of series. Still, it fits with the stated limited nature of his experiment. I guess a series would be much more of a commitment. At any rate, I am quite interested and intrigued.

Yeah, series are a huge win for extensive listening. But subs2srs is very much an intensive listening activity, and it gives me a huge comprehension boost, so maybe I won't need to use a dubbed series for now. We'll see how it works out. :-)

Keeping my eyes open for weird little details

I have two unfair advantages going into this project:

1. I already speak one Romance language fairly well.
2. I've learned the hard way that details matter: endings, prepositions, and so on.

As patrickwilken has recently observed, it's possible to reach a high level of comprehension and only internalize some of the grammar. In his case, he has a good grasp of verb inflection, but a weaker grasp of noun inflection. I had analogous problems at a low-intermediate level in French. Ultimately, I fixed many of these problems when I started writing on lang-8, which trained me to pay attention to tiny details in my input.

For example, this card is weird:



un pediatra especialista en alergias…

Here, un is masculine, but pediatra and especialista both end with -a, which I would normally guess is a feminine ending in a Romance language. I have no idea what's going on here—an OCR error? irregular endings? some screwy grammar rule?

I don't actually need to answer this question at this point. But I do try to notice stuff like this, because it forces me to pay attention to the actual sounds and letters being used. After much trial and error, I've learned that it's enormously helpful to perceive what's actually in front of me, and to not allow my brain to make assumptions based on decades of experience with English. Left to its own devices, my brain is quite happy to use top-down processing, which is a totally unhelpful strategy when the pre-existing models in my head are wrong.

(Top-down processing is why natives can extract meaningful speech out of fast, slurred input in a noisy room. They already have a very good idea what kinds of things might be said, and that allows them to unconsciously fill in the details that aren't actually there.)

Edited by emk on 22 December 2014 at 6:10pm

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chokofingrz
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 Message 12 of 147
26 October 2014 at 10:28pm | IP Logged 
It's a good thing you didn't split them to individual words. The number of "chinga" cards would have dwarfed anything else in your deck.
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Crush
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 Message 13 of 147
27 October 2014 at 1:05am | IP Logged 
I think it would refuse to add duplicate cards, so you'd only get one "chinga" anyway ;)

And i know you didn't ask for an answer, but words derived from Greek that end in 'a' will generally be masculine. Usually this will end in -ma or -ema (sistema, tema, problema, poema, etc.). But here you've also got the fact that the pediatrician is a male pediatrician. A female "pediatra" would use la/una. This is common of many Spanish professions, in particular the -ista's.
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Serpent
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 Message 14 of 147
27 October 2014 at 7:00am | IP Logged 
One more question: did you watch the movies before starting your deck?
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emk
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 Message 15 of 147
27 October 2014 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
chokofingrz wrote:
It's a good thing you didn't split them to individual words. The number of "chinga" cards would have dwarfed anything else in your deck.

Crush wrote:
I think it would refuse to add duplicate cards, so you'd only get one "chinga" anyway ;)

Yes, but if you sorted by frequency, you'd learn it very soon. This is a road trip movie with two obsessed teenage boys.

Also, a bit of subs2srs advice: Just go ahead and suspend all the dialog that occurs during a sex scene. Your deck will be far more useful that way, because you can review it public without people giving you very strange looks.

Crush wrote:
And i know you didn't ask for an answer, but words derived from Greek that end in 'a' will generally be masculine. Usually this will end in -ma or -ema (sistema, tema, problema, poema, etc.). But here you've also got the fact that the pediatrician is a male pediatrician. A female "pediatra" would use la/una. This is common of many Spanish professions, in particular the -ista's.

Thank you, that's pretty cool. I never object to explanations, but at this point, I'm quite content to simply notice that weird stuff.

Serpent wrote:
One more question: did you watch the movies before starting your deck?

I highly recommend watching the movie with subtitles first. Otherwise it's hard to understand what's going on. And of course, I'm in favor of anything which artificially boosts comprehension (the good sort of "cheating").

But in this case, we had guests all weekend, and so I've only watched the first 15 minutes of of the first film. I'll be fixing this as soon as I find time. :-/

Looking up vocabulary

Those of you who've been following my French log for a while may remember that I have a tool for adding definitions to sentence cards (it's still in private beta):



This works really well. I don't have anything so fancy for subs2srs yet, of course. But last night, I decided it was worth adding a few definitions to cards (look near the bottom):



Do you see the "quedar = remain" near the bottom?

I haven't figured out my workflow for these yet. But I think it will be something like: "Oh, that card would be so good, if only I knew that one word. *mark* *suspend*" And later I'd add the definitions, clear the mark, and unsuspend the card.

I certainly don't plan to define every unknown word on every card. Good grief, no. That sounds like depressing masochism. But if can quickly salvage a few otherwise awesome cards, that seems like a good tradeoff.

How to make Anki pleasant and stress-free

Those of you who are following this log from the beginning already know this, but it's worth mentioning again for future readers: I don't like using Anki as a "cybernetic memory", where I'm somehow responsible for knowing every fact that gets entered. That's just stressful, miserable and punishing. Instead, I use Anki as a "memory booster", one which allows me to remember things maybe 5x better than my natural memory could. But I accept the fact that, even with this boost, lots of stuff will still fall through the cracks for various reasons. So I delete, and suspend, and choose arbitrary buttons, and generally abuse the system. Anything which I actually need to know will reappear in my input soon enough. And if it doesn't reappear, I don't need to know it.

Edited by emk on 22 December 2014 at 6:10pm

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emk
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 Message 16 of 147
28 October 2014 at 12:09pm | IP Logged 
So far, so good. I'm spending about 10 minutes/day on this project. Most of that time is spent learning new cards:



As you can see, reviews are going quickly. That's partly because I only had 5 cards to review this morning, but mostly because the audio is sticking! As usual, if I can understand an audio clip even briefly, then I'll understand it even better the morning after, when I review it. And instead of forgetting the clip in a couple of days, I can use Anki to preserve and enhance that understanding.

Y Tu Mamá También seems like a pretty good choice so far. Despite the protagonists' obsession with sex and the use of Mexican slang, the movie contains a lot of "slice of life" dialog. For example, I've been seeing lots of greetings:



But at the same time, the movie also has lots of examples of the formal register, thanks to the voice-overs by the narrator. I saw the same structure in Amélie, and it made for an enjoyable subs2srs experience: I had a nice mix of formal and informal speech.

One thing that's a bit weird about this experiment: I'm working with relatively advanced audio from day 1. I'd guess that most of the narration is about B1-level audio. But the dialog contains lots of C1-level audio, fast speech with heavy phonetic reductions, the sort of thing which I still have trouble with in French films. (French TV series are easier, because I have more opportunity to adjust to characters' idiosyncratic speaking styles.) Happily, this doesn't seem to be a barrier to using subs2srs. I just discard a few more cards, and keep my eyes open for "i+1" content that I can decipher with help from subs2srs.

In fact, I'm getting a surprisingly high proportion of useful cards:

Suspended: 54 cards.
Kept: 19 cards. (I'll keep discarding these as I review.)

So after four days, I'm cautiously optimistic. My source material contains lots of "i+1" content, the audio is sticking the way I hoped it would, and I've already learned a bunch of things in less than 40 minutes of study.

Edited by emk on 22 December 2014 at 6:10pm



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