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Spanish: A little subs2srs experiment

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emk
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 Message 41 of 147
09 November 2014 at 5:55am | IP Logged 
Errrgh. Blurble.

I just spent four hours preparing an Anki deck for Avatar episode 2. Here's what I started with:

1. The English closed-caption track from the DVD.
2. A very accurate set of subtitles for main episode. These were in huge chunks—only about 100 long subtitles for the whole episode. And they didn't include the intro.
3. An accurate copy of the intro text that I found by transcribing some of what I heard and Googling it.

The first step was to break the Spanish subtitles into much smaller chunks, and align them against the English-language closed captions using Subtitle Edit:



After that, I manually added the intro sequence. Then I went through the Spanish subs, realigning everything manually and merging short lines into complete thoughts. When this was loaded in subs2srs, I got this gorgeous deck:



I don't mind spending 4 hours on a Saturday night preparing subtitles. At my level, activities such as aligning Spanish against English, or listening for phrase boundaries, all basically count as study.

This gives me a total of 483 cards from Avatar. Remarkably, virtually all of these cards are usable at my level. Sprachprofi needed something 1,500 cards to understand her Japanese series, so I'm hoping that my French background will be enough to put me over the top. I'd be totally ecstatic if I could actually bootstrap up to watching Avatar unassisted.
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Crush
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 Message 42 of 147
09 November 2014 at 2:04pm | IP Logged 
I think you won't take long to get there, passive French came really easily to me after having studied Spanish (though i still think French pronunciation is much less clear than Spanish). Also a little note, the "vosotros" form in your sheet will only be found in Spain, many Latin American Spanish courses don't even mention it.

Going back a few posts:
Quote:
Hace dos años, mi padre, junto con los hombres de mi tribu decidieron unirse al reino tierra para luchar juntos en contra de la nación del fuego…
Your understanding was pretty good, with the exception of one part. Here, junto isn't a verb, it's an adjective. Maybe that will make the sentence clearer: "My father, [adj] with the men of my tribe, ..." Juntar is also a verb (to gather, collect), but junto would be the first person singular. Juntó would be the 3rd person singular, past tense.

I also think you're right in tackling the verbs, in my opinion that's the biggest obstacle in Spanish, at least at first. Once you get the tenses down and figure out the patterns in the irregular verbs, Spanish will stop looking so menacing/unsurmountable.

Also, regarding "roto", it is indeed an irregular participle. You probably have no trouble making out the meaning of its infinitive from French: romper.
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emk
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 Message 43 of 147
09 November 2014 at 3:00pm | IP Logged 
Crush wrote:
Here, junto isn't a verb, it's an adjective.

Ah, thank you! I was already learning towards that conclusion, thanks to several other cards with junto that I've seen over the last couple of days. But as we've previously mentioned, it doesn't matter much if I guess the "formal" grammar wrong—I'm trying to do at least 90% of my learning by osmosis, and only I'm only explicitly drilling down into one or two areas of grammar at a time. But your corrections are always appreciated!

And, yeah, Spanish verbs definitely look like best place to focus my attention right now.

subs2srs on the wiki

I've just updated the unofficial HTLAL wiki pages for subs2srs:

subs2srs
Spanish_subtitles for use with subs2srs

These now contain links to all the necessary tools, pointers to various subs2srs-related experiments, and instructions for getting the accurate, manually-aligned Avatar subtitles for episodes 1 and 2. Enjoy!
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victorhart
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 Message 44 of 147
09 November 2014 at 7:44pm | IP Logged 
Great posts, this is very useful stuff. It's also an interesting counterpoint to my
experiment. Even though the basic concept is similar, all the details are kind of the
opposite.

Just come comment. Since you are "cheating shamelessly", as you say, I believe there
is one simple exercise that is uniquely useful in Spanish. Spanish has one and only
one sound for each letter in the alphabet, plus the ll, rr, ñ, and ch (I may be
missing something else).

So if you learn and drill just a bit the pronunciation of each letter, it will help
you create the right mental model, which should help your listening comprehension, and
will undoubtedly help your speaking once you get to that. Ideally, you should do this
with a native speaker to get immediate feedback. Alternately, you could find a self-
study resource and just do some drilling on your own. But in this case the teacher
would be very, very useful. One one-hour class should easily do the trick.

The other thing I would recommend you do, if you haven't already, is to learn how
accents work in Spanish, which is completely different from French. This will probably
take you all of about 5 minutes to learn. I'm guessing you have already, what with the
materials you purchased, but just in case ...
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emk
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 Message 45 of 147
10 November 2014 at 4:05am | IP Logged 
victorhart wrote:
Great posts, this is very useful stuff. It's also an interesting counterpoint to my
experiment. Even though the basic concept is similar, all the details are kind of the
opposite.

Thank you for dropping by! Your Mandarin experiment was one of the inspirations for my little Spanish experiment. (The other inspirations were Judith Meyer's subs2srs experiment, and the fact that I keep having good opportunities to use Spanish.)

My short-term goal is to see if I can watch Avatar without subtitles, and actually understand enough so that I can easily learn more from context. I'd normally need to be a solid B1 to properly watch a show like Avatar, but I want to see how far I can finesse that.

This is actually a half-baked theory behind my experiment. During the time I've spent studying French and Egyptian, I've come to believe several existing theories capture something useful about language learning. I'm trying to make use of the following:

1. Comprehensible input, obtained via subtitles and a familiar show.
2. Narrow listening, by focusing on a single TV show.
3. The testing effect, by exposing myself to audio (and an image), and testing comprehension.
4. The forgetting curve, by using spaced repetition software to schedule reviews.
5. A weak form of the noticing hypothesis, by calling out a few isolated features for conscious "noticing."
6. Something like the earworm effect, in hopes of getting Spanish to start "looping" in my head.

This is my second experiment in language acquisition. The first was learning Middle Egyptian ridiculously slowly by exploiting the testing effect and forgetting curve. That experiment is ongoing, but I'm happy with the results. So I'm trying to figure out how much further I can take this general strategy.

victorhart wrote:
So if you learn and drill just a bit the pronunciation of each letter, it will help
you create the right mental model, which should help your listening comprehension, and
will undoubtedly help your speaking once you get to that.

A good suggestion. I mostly just messed around with Wikipedia and an IPA app.
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emk
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 Message 46 of 147
10 November 2014 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
Watching Avatar on my TV

I've been using Videocast for Chrome and a Chromecast to watch Avatar on my television. Here's how it's going:

- I can understand about 2/3rds of the scenes I've studied, directly in Spanish, without subtitles.
- I can understand random snippets of the scenes I haven't studied yet.

Here are some examples of what I can understand without having studied it:

Quote:
Can understand the audio directly without studying

¡Eres un maestro aire!
No es magia, es aire control.
Si, un hombre necesita dormir.
Principe Zuko, necesitas dormir.
Aang: Este es todo el pueblo.
¡Excelente!, tu eres maestro aire, Katara es maestra agua…
No quiero que te entusiasmes por nada.

…and more every time I loop the video.

Can understand using context

¿No hay nadie en tu tribu que pueda enseñarte?
Salgamos de aquí.

…etc.

Not bad! I think it would be a very good idea to just loop the first couple of episodes in the background while I work around the house, or to convert them to MP3s and listen to them in the car. This is by no means an original idea: Khatzumoto apparently spent a huge amount of time looping the anime he was studying.

More fun with verbs

I'm definitely getting a good verb workout:



Thanks to my "verb watching guide", I know that sabía and estabas are both imperfect, and so on. This is helping my "hook up" Spanish tenses with the closest tenses in French and English.

How vocab gets refined

A while back, I expressed doubt that Los veo raros actually meant "You're acting strange" on the card on the left:



But on the right, we now have ¿Me estás diciendo rara? "You're calling me weird?", which pretty much settles the question: raro means "weird, strange."

And here's where Anki is working its magic: The artificial memory boost provided by Anki allows me to remember all these little snippets of dialog, and to compare and contrast how words are used. So instead of needing to see a word in 20 different contexts to internalize it (the usual estimate from several studies), I only need to see it in 2 or 3 contexts before I "own" it.

This is a nice way to learn.
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sctroyenne
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 Message 47 of 147
10 November 2014 at 9:33pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Spanish resources

I found the following useful pages while looking for a subtitled series. I'm not
interested in any of this right now, but maybe somebody else will be able to use it.

- List of
Websites Where You Can Watch Spanish Videos with Spanish Subtitles or Transcripts
Online
(impressive!)


Have you seen his book
ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00GXSS4CO&li nkCode=as2&tag=leftsidebarh
ls-20">The Telenovela Method
? (forgive me if that link is broken) I'd be
interested in seeing you two collaborating on a hack native media for learning project
:)
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tommus
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 Message 48 of 147
10 November 2014 at 10:37pm | IP Logged 
emk, your techniques of using these tools and your impressive tutorials are marvelous. I have been experimenting with them and have even been able to get all the hard-subbed (embedded in video) subtitles off a 45 minute Dutch video. But it was not for the faint hearted and it required a lot of manual intervention and a whole lot of frustration.

For those who might want to get flash cards and audio into Anki, there is a more basic and easier approach, although it will take longer. However, there is a lot of language learning going on during the process, and it is very accurate. Here is what worked very well for me for a new Spanish deck based on Veinte Mundos, which itself is a wonderful resource with huge quantities of interesting articles and exact, high-quality audio, but no translations.

Tools required: Browser, Anki and Audacity.

1. Go to a Viente Mundos article.

http://www.veintemundos

2. Download the mp3 audio file.

3. Input it into Audacity, zoomed in so you can see the audio waveform for the words and sentences.

4. Copy short sentences, parts of sentences, or phrases into the first line of Anki.

5. Find the corresponding audio in Audacity and highlight it.

6. Put your cursor in Anki right after your sentence or phrase. Click the red record circle in Anki. Click the green play arrow in Audacity. As soon as the audio stops, click the stop button that pops up in Anki.

7. Translate the sentence using your favorite translator, with the help of the pop-ups which appear in Veinte Mundos over the underlined words.

Sounds complicated but it is remarkably easy. And you learn the target language as you go along.

You could do the same thing with the movies and sub-titles. Although there may be more work involved, it is, in my opinion, a lot less complicated and frustrating.


Edited by tommus on 10 November 2014 at 10:40pm



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