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Hard Core FSI

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luke
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Senior Member
United States
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3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 1 of 10
11 November 2014 at 11:15am | IP Logged 
I discovered that Audacity, the free sound editing software has a "Compress Silence" under the "Truncate Silence" option. This is found under the Effects menu. The default "compress silence" is to remove 50% of it, so a 10 second "silence" becomes 5 seconds. "Truncate silence", on the other hand, completely eliminates any silence over the threshold. So, in this example, a 10 second silence becomes 1/2 second.

In doing FSI drills over the years, I've noticed that when I really have a drill down, I can repeat the response twice in the pause. When I really felt on top of things, I could also shadow the response and repeat it again two more times in the following pause. That's overkill and hard on the voice.

This new discovery is a middle ground between repeating a drill that you have down pretty well, which takes some time that might could be used more productively. Also, since you've upped the ante, it's more challenging.

The theory behind this is that FSI drills are designed to promote automaticity and proper habit. By reducing the think time, automaticity is fostered. You really have to have it down cold. Also, by making the drills shorter, you have more study time.

Edited by luke on 11 November 2014 at 11:19am

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s.mann
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lang-8.com/973514/jo
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 Message 2 of 10
27 December 2014 at 6:46pm | IP Logged 
This reminds me of what I'm currently experiencing with Pimsleur French, which only has
enough time to respond. Even if I would have eventually spat out the correct words given
a couple more seconds, I can't consider myself proficient in the section until I can say it
automatically. I may do the 50% compress before going too far with the course.

Out of curiosity, how long is the entire course if you truncate silence to 1/2 a second? It
stands at 81.6 hours unedited.
1 person has voted this message useful



luke
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 Message 3 of 10
11 January 2015 at 3:36am | IP Logged 
s.mann wrote:
This reminds me of what I'm currently experiencing with Pimsleur French, which only has enough time to respond.


I was thinking today that the Pimsleur courses would also benefit from the Audacity "Compress Silence" feature.

s.mann wrote:
Out of curiosity, how long is the entire course if you truncate silence to 1/2 a second? It stands at 81.6 hours unedited.


For FSI Basic French, I have:
Full course: 82 hours, 8 minutes
Compress silence (the "hard core" approach): 57 hours, 47 minutes
Truncate silence: 33 hours, 26 minutes

Edited by luke on 11 January 2015 at 3:36am

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robarb
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languagenpluson
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Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 4 of 10
12 January 2015 at 11:28pm | IP Logged 
Thanks luke! This is a real game-changer. I used to hate FSI for being so boring, but with Truncate Silence it goes
by so fast, and even a repetitive exercise becomes engaging when you have to shadow it.

But I'll have to keep dreaming of the day when we can have software that does things like "Speed up English by 2x,
but leave Japanese at the original speed" or "Slow down and increase volume when a speaker is talking through a
low-quality phone line."
4 persons have voted this message useful



AlOlaf
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Speaks: English*, GermanC2
Studies: Danish

 
 Message 5 of 10
29 January 2015 at 12:21am | IP Logged 
What a great tip! I shortened the ridiculously long pauses in my Danish pronunciation recordings in a jiffy.
1 person has voted this message useful



epictetus
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Canada
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 6 of 10
31 January 2015 at 3:28am | IP Logged 
I did this with Assimil a few months ago with Spanish. 109 lessons were 3:41 without adjustments and with
fairly aggressive truncation (but not too unnatural sounding) I've pared it down to 1:25. It's a completely
different way to use the material as it comes at you so quickly.
2 persons have voted this message useful



sfuqua
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Speaks: English*, Hawaiian, Tagalog
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 Message 7 of 10
01 May 2015 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
I actually find this makes my first trips through a drill more pleasant. Of course I fail, but I fail immediately without suffering through the seconds of feeling dumb, trying to answer something that I don't know.

It leaves more time to repeat the drill, which is what I really need to do to start to get the drill down.

It seems to keep me more alert during the drills also.

Edited by sfuqua on 01 May 2015 at 8:39pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
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AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 8 of 10
27 June 2015 at 12:49pm | IP Logged 
I hactually (aspirated 'h') feel like being a complete teenage like idiot and just saying a stupid word... so I'll go
ahead and do that:

"turd"

I wonder how much damage I've done to my brain over the years with sugar fuelled binges for the best part of
a decade. Does it show?

Okay okay... truncate. My response isn't worthy. Doesn't interest me. But, not to be a total stick n the mud,
luke, it does look very inticing for others and very useful, I give you that, just depends whatever floats your
boat I guess.

Marty McFly (yes yes I am in the future- like the year 2000, hover-boards an' everything yo)


2 persons have voted this message useful



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