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Spanish: A little subs2srs experiment

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Stefan
Diglot
Senior Member
Sweden
stefannilsson.cRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2495 days ago

22 posts - 29 votes
Speaks: Swedish*, EnglishC1
Studies: German

 
 Message 73 of 147
18 November 2014 at 2:23pm | IP Logged 
Interesting thoughts about deletion. I do agree that you really should delete everything
that isn't 'perfect' or relevant (when I found out about Anki I actually added the German
word for "rabbit's foot" because I stumbled upon it when reading Asterix). This is why I
don't like the idea to add all words from a dictionary but instead use a list created by LWT
which sorts all unknown words based on frequency in the texts I read.

However, I also believe it's a mistake to delete everything you've learned. My main deck
for instance includes 700 images for common words such as dog, doctor, bathroom,
above, under, etc. When it's time for me to move on to french, it would be simple to just
replace the German translation with a french one. Another reason is that I can share my
decks with friends as soon as I've gone through and corrected them (thinking about
subs2srs decks). A third reason would be if you ever stop using the language for a couple
of months - then you can skim through the deck to refresh your memory.

Maybe a middle way would be to export niched decks (one for every movie) and suspend
words in your main deck when you know them. On the other hand, you don't want a
massive deck with a bunch of suspended words for no use...

Anyway. I'll be brutal with suspending cards and then try to go through as quick as I can.
1 person has voted this message useful



Ezy Ryder
Diglot
Senior Member
Poland
youtube.com/user/Kat
Joined 2517 days ago

284 posts - 387 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English
Studies: Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 74 of 147
18 November 2014 at 7:17pm | IP Logged 
I've been trying to do something similar the last couple days for Mandarin (I can read with some
difficulty, there's usually just one new word, rarely two, every few cards). I don't really delete
cards, since I make them myself, nevertheless I add a card for every utterance I don't understand
on the first hearing (unless I think it's utterly hopeless, like if there's too much noise and the
character speaks really quiet or something). Which means, I've got some cards which require little
effort to understand, and some which I keep getting wrong every day or two (76.12% correct on
"Learning," and 77.2% on "Young" cards). Do you think I should lower my leech threshold (set to
16 now)? It could potentially lower my daily workload (and give me an opportunity to start adding
more cards daily), but I'm afraid I'll just end up staying in my comfort zone, and slow down my
improvement.
1 person has voted this message useful



gordafarin
Diglot
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 2266 days ago

12 posts - 22 votes
Speaks: English*, Esperanto
Studies: Persian, Spanish, Mandarin

 
 Message 75 of 147
18 November 2014 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
kujichagulia wrote:
With the DVDs I have, more often than not, what a character is saying differs greatly from what is written in the subtitle.

For example, imagine a character is saying:
"I'm thinking of going to this great Italian restaurant downtown. Care to join me?"

But the subtitle written on the screen says:
"I want to go to an Italian restaurant. Want to come?"

I'm wondering if this audio and subtitle - which has nearly the same meaning as the line in the audio, but is structured differently - would be useless as an Anki card, because what you hear is not exactly what you read.


I have had a lot of trouble finding accurate subtitles for films in my TL (Persian), so I have done this a few times. I delete a LOT more cards than with accurate subs, and the cards I keep are also not quite as effective as with accurate subs.

That having been said -- a imperfect subs2SRS deck is better than none at all. So if you can't find any films with accurate subs, or you really want to study one film in particular, give it a try. I would not recommend it if you're starting from zero or at a very low level, because I doubt you would get much out of it - but the higher level you are, the easier it will be to interpret the audio and puzzle out what they're saying even if the subtitle isn't a perfect match. It's not as effortless as a "real" subs2SRS card, but it's still training listening with repetition.

tl;dr: Accurate subs are about 100x more useful and nicer to use, but if you definitely can't get accurate subs, inaccurate subs are not useless - just trickier.
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paxamericana
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 1829 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Speaks: English*, Spanish

 
 Message 76 of 147
21 November 2014 at 1:30am | IP Logged 
Thanks for starting this thread emk! I've been a reader for a while but just signed up to participate. I've created a deck with about 4 movies. My Spanish is not bad, but I have problems when it comes to watching native materials WITHOUT Spanish subtitles. It amazed me how much I use them as a crutch. My goal with this is to use native materials to wean myself off of subtitles.

One concern I have is that the subtitles are only one or two sentences max. It would be awesome if there was a way to combine or something to make dialogues more meaningful and longer. I was looking for some kind of "merge" tool in the subs2srs program.

I also set my deck to random. I've seen the movies I'm using numerous times so I'm hoping that jumping through random scenes will keep me on my toes.


1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3700 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 77 of 147
21 November 2014 at 4:34am | IP Logged 
The last several review days have been going great. Lots of use of the "Easy" button, plenty of cards where I could understand 80% before looking at the text, several more examples of useful words, and so on.

I remember from my various Assimil courses how things really started coming together after a month or two, as I become familiar with the core vocabulary and the most important grammatical features. It feels like things are actually coming together quicker this time, especially on the listening side. And of course the format is nice: I get a serving of interesting cards delivered up every day, with reviews at sensible intervals.

rdearman wrote:
When are you going to change your anki deck preference to Spanish not French? :)

I'm going to leave my electronics in French for now. That's the only language besides English which I might conceivably be able to do professional work, and I need to keep my technical vocabulary sharp. :-)

lorinth wrote:
As I feel my biggest
problem is listening comprehension (in Mandarin), I have been using monolingual Mandarin
subtitles: in many cases, revealing the written version is enough to make me understand what
is being said. When it's not, I check the meaning with an external program.

This is definitely a totally viable strategy once you can read fairly well.

Stefan wrote:
However, I also believe it's a mistake to delete everything you've learned.

Yeah, I virtually always use "Suspend" instead the of the delete button. It's easier, and it allows me to see how many cards I've discarded.

Ezy Ryder wrote:
Which means, I've got some cards which require little
effort to understand, and some which I keep getting wrong every day or two (76.12% correct on
"Learning," and 77.2% on "Young" cards). Do you think I should lower my leech threshold (set to
16 now)? It could potentially lower my daily workload (and give me an opportunity to start adding
more cards daily), but I'm afraid I'll just end up staying in my comfort zone, and slow down my
improvement.

Tough call. Maybe try it both ways and see what happens? My instinct is that a bunch of Anki reps should make a big difference with typical subs2srs cards, and anything which is still a leech after that boost is probably not worth the effort.

gordafarin wrote:
tl;dr: Accurate subs are about 100x more useful and nicer to use, but if you definitely can't get accurate subs, inaccurate subs are not useless - just trickier.

Yeah, having accurate TL text makes a huge difference, but you can still get some useful mileage out of the cards without it.

paxamericana wrote:
My Spanish is not bad, but I have problems when it comes to watching native materials WITHOUT Spanish subtitles. It amazed me how much I use them as a crutch. My goal with this is to use native materials to wean myself off of subtitles.

If you have the budget, I highly recommend picking up a couple of multi-season DVD box sets of fun TV series. Cavesa and I both saw huge improvements from following an easy ongoing TV show, and then another, and so on. The right TV show provides tons of hints (from the images and the plot), a relatively small group of actors, and a limited set of topics. This provides an ideal environment for improving your listening skills. You would need to understand maybe a bit less than half of the dialog already for this to work, though.

paxamericana wrote:
One concern I have is that the subtitles are only one or two sentences max. It would be awesome if there was a way to combine or something to make dialogues more meaningful and longer. I was looking for some kind of "merge" tool in the subs2srs program.

Subtitle Edit allows you to easily combine lines. Just right-click on subtitle in the main list and you should get a popup.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3700 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 78 of 147
22 November 2014 at 8:06pm | IP Logged 
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Avatar subs2srs to bring you one of my favorite graphic novels, now in Spanish:

Blacksad!



Here's the Spanish text, and a quick translation I made using the French text:

Quote:
Me pareció una extravagancia que alguien se preocupara por recibir tantas muestras de cariño y devoción por parte de sus admiradores…
It seemed a bit strange to me that she was so worried by receiving so many signs of affection on the part of her admirers…

…hasta que leí aquellas notas.
…until I read the messages.

Quote:
ZORRA, disfruta de tus últimos días.
ZORRA, enjoy your final days.

Al mas bello de los futuros cadáveres.
To the most beautiful of future cadavers.

Se trataba de hacer un trabajo discreto y eficaz, y yo cuando me esmero, soy muy discreto y sobre todo…
It's all about doing the job discretely and efficiently. And me, when I apply myself, I'm very discreet, and above all…

…eficaz.
…efficient.

This is a great series if you like film noir with a mix of humor and social commentary. It's created by a Spanish team, but published first in France, probably because of France's enormous market for bandes dessinées.

Seeing a word in several contexts

Above, we had:

Quote:
ZORRA, disfruta de tus últimos días.
ZORRA, enjoy your final days.

This reminds my of a subs2srs card using disfruta, spoken by Iroh, who is always awesome:



Quote:
Por que no disfrutas una relajante taza de té de jazmín.
Why don't you enjoy a cup of calming jasmine tea?

At this point, it's mostly a matter of numbers. The first time I saw disfruta, I was guessing based on context and the English subtitles. But now I've seen it on a package of Goya cookies, and in a graphic novel, and I know that you can disfrutar a cup of tea, or some cookies, or your final days.

This is another good reason to junk the difficult and unpleasant Anki cards: it allows me to see far more cards overall, and therefore make more connections. It also gives me more time to do other fun things with Spanish.

What does it feel like to read at this point?

If I try to read the Spanish text directly, I hit a brick wall. It's been too long since I read this volume in French, and there are too many words I've either seen once in Avatar, or not at all. (And my Avatar vocabulary is still to specialized.) But if I leave the French and Spanish editions open side-by-side and glance back and forth, I can actually decipher a huge fraction of the Spanish edition, and my work with Avatar helps enormously.

As usual, it's cheating and consolidating. It's time for that obligatory graphic again:



If I try to work with Blacksad directly, I'm stuck at Opaque. But if I combine the illustrations, the French edition, my knowledge of Avatar, and a bunch of cognates, I can make it to Decipherable and "read" the Spanish edition with great pleasure. And if I just keep doing this, I know that my reading will move to Automatic from sheer exposure and practice.

So I really am learning Spanish just by messing around with some cool native materials from day 1, with only the most haphazard study of my 8-page grammar cheat sheet. If there's anybody in the audience who's been grinding through the same three beginner courses forever, without ever trying native materials, you might want to start looking around for cool things to read and watch—it really does help. The trick is to find a way to more-or-less understand them somehow.
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4765 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 79 of 147
22 November 2014 at 10:21pm | IP Logged 
So something with cognates can feel opaque and require further cheating. Never thought of it like that before, but it kinda applies to my comprehension of the Scandinavian languages.

I also find that audiobooks help, because some similarities are more obvious in the pronunciation than in spelling (though idk if it applies to French and Spanish), and simply because an accompanying audio makes reading more dynamic. As long as you can't read faster than the narrator speaks, the audio will improve your reading speed.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3700 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 80 of 147
23 November 2014 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
So something with cognates can feel opaque and require further cheating. Never thought of it like that before, but it kinda applies to my comprehension of the Scandinavian languages.

Yeah, even though French and Spanish are related, I often just stare at Spanish and say, "Huh? Whaaa?" The way I see it, studying a related language language provides two different kids of help:

1. A head start. Some stuff is obvious without any study at all.
2. A speed boost. For every hour of study, the payoff is bigger.

With Spanish, I obviously get both. With Egyptian, I basically get neither. But as a speaker of English and French, my head start for Spanish certainly isn't enough to escape from Opaque. Without some additional cheating, I'm frequently stuck.

The real advantage when moving between Romance languages comes from the speed boost—when I do study, everything is a lot easier and faster than it would be otherwise. The same thing applied to learning French. I certainly had to work at it, but English was always there to push me along faster. The discount for related languages is very real, but the only way to claim it is to do the actual work. :-)

Serpent wrote:
I also find that audiobooks help, because some similarities are more obvious in the pronunciation than in spelling (though idk if it applies to French and Spanish), and simply because an accompanying audio makes reading more dynamic.

Some things about Spanish are definitely easier when listening than when reading. For example, I have to consciously decipher clitic pronouns on the page, but when I hear them, they often just "pop out" of the audio.

Also, I'm definitely nearing the point where Listening/Reading would work very well. I wouldn't need the recommended 10-hour sessions to make progress, because I've already internalized some of the low-level "mechanics" of Spanish using subs2srs. That may actually be a minor weakness of L/R: Even though you can do it from day 1, there may actually be easier ways to get started.


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