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Language Learning Orthodoxy You Ignore

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Darklight1216
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 Message 9 of 116
28 November 2014 at 10:47am | IP Logged 
I don't bother with flashcards either. They bore me and learning a language that I don't
actually need isn't worth making myself miserable.
1 person has voted this message useful



epictetus
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 Message 10 of 116
28 November 2014 at 10:48am | IP Logged 
dampingwire wrote:
Bao wrote:
Let's say it's internet orthodoxy.


"Free advice is worth every cent" :-)

I do happen to use SRS and RTK (for Japanese rather than Chinese) and I find both of them useful.
If I didn't then I'd stop.

I treat the free advice as a source of ideas. Lots of people have learned languages in lots of
different ways. I find it useful to have the (possibly new - to me) ideas presented, then I might
try them and decide for myself whether they work for me.



That's part of a larger realisation I've had over the past few years. The internet is really good at
answering certain types of questions and absolutely terrible at others. Rather than asking "will this work?",
it's better to just do something (if it hasn't been done as you imagine it) and then report back to the
group. Unless you know well the people who offer advice (and them, you), it's mostly just another idea yet to
be personally tested.

I tried to like Anki. I wanted it to solve my problems. But I couldn't continue to justify it the day I
finished my 5000th word.

I'm a little surprised to read the comment about not wanting to talk to native speakers in their country...
why else would you go on a language learning trip?! Surely you can do at home what you'd do in the hotel
room? I can't imagine how a xenophobic language learner could exist.
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chiara-sai
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 Message 11 of 116
28 November 2014 at 11:20am | IP Logged 
The best way to learn the pronunciation is to imitate native speakers
If I tried this my accent would be at best terrible, at worst unintelligible. Phonetics saved me!

But really, I’m not sure what the orthodoxy is, there seem to be many different ones depending on whom you
ask.
For example, a lot of people here are saying that the orthodox view is that flashcards are brilliant, but I think
outside of the Internet people don’t even know what flashcards are; for instance, I have studied French in
elementary school, English in high school and Mandarin at university (the first two in Italy, the latter in the UK)
and in none of these instances flashcards were even mentioned, never mind recommended, and I’m sure the
approach of school teachers is as orthodox as you can get.
Indeed now I feel the need to go against the orthodoxy of this thread and say that I love flashcards, they’re
very helpful to me and I even enjoy doing them!
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tristano
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 Message 12 of 116
28 November 2014 at 11:55am | IP Logged 
lichtrausch wrote:
What are some hallowed principles of language learning that you ignore? As for me:

- Flashcards and SRS are a great way to learn vocabulary.
Both of them repulse me so much that I've never used SRS and haven't used flashcards
since I was a kid. I think they are unnecessary and make language learning into a
boring chore instead of the engaging discovery process that it should be.

- You can develop an excellent vocabulary through extensive reading alone.
I am convinced that at the end of this path you are left with a far too foggy idea of
far too many words. I want more than that.

- Remembering the Kanji (RTK) is a great way to learn Chinese characters.
If Chinese characters were composed of more or less arbitrary strokes, this would be
an interesting method. In reality, Chinese characters are composed of a limited amount
of components that carry semantic and phonetic information about the characters they
combine to create. This information is far from perfect, but I found it to be a far
better learning crutch than memorizing thousands of wacky stories.





- Flashcards and SRS are a great way to learn vocabulary.
I find them useful to learn to distinguish words that seem to be all equal, thing that happens often with languages with
very little relation with one's mother tongue. Especially with Memrise. But then you need to see the words in action, in
real word phrases, to see how they are really used.

Remembering the Kanji (RTK) is a great way to learn Chinese characters.
I found indeed that I was skipping all the stories because I find them absurd and far from being mine.
I would prefer a method that really explain the radicals, how they are used to construct new words and so on. And if you
know such resources please let me know :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Ogrim
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 Message 13 of 116
28 November 2014 at 1:48pm | IP Logged 
Speak from day one.
Not sure if that is considered "orthodoxy" around this place, but it is certainly something you hear from many, not only the Irish polyglot. Whether you wait three months or a year, I belive a "silent period" getting the basics in place is necessary in order to say anything meaningful, at least that's how it works for me.


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tristano
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 Message 14 of 116
28 November 2014 at 1:53pm | IP Logged 
"Speak from day one" fits a very specific personality.
I like to study alone, I like reading, I like to understand. I'm a social introvert and
I'm eventually proud of it. All the people like me prefer the "silent period", not
because we're afraid to speak, but just because we are listeners more than talkers. And
since we like to listen, we like to understand more deeply.
8 persons have voted this message useful



eyðimörk
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 Message 15 of 116
28 November 2014 at 2:36pm | IP Logged 
Start with children's media.
No thanks. To say that I hate children's media would be an exaggeration, but only a slight one. The Hobbit or Harry Potter is where by tolerance level is set — I find them slightly too childish in English, but decent enough for a weaker language. I did once manage to listen through several children's audio books in Breton for the novelty of understanding almost every word of material that was new to me, but I had already spent a lot of time with other materials by then.

Start with graded readers.
Maybe I've had bad luck with graded readers, but in my experience they are as bad as children's books... at least the ones that are written as beginner's versions of classics. I had several of those in French as a child and I hated them. The language was flat and uninteresting, and the focus on hitting all the important points of the story made the stories rather uninteresting as well.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Bao
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 Message 16 of 116
28 November 2014 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
eyðimörk wrote:
Start with graded readers.
Maybe I've had bad luck with graded readers, but in my experience they are as bad as children's books...

Worse. The graded readers I've tried were written to fit specific textbooks published by the same company, and they assumed a lot of obscure words to be known, but then explained words that should be transparent to native German speakers with a halfway decent sized English vocabulary. Really good at making me feel stupid and inadequate. I'd rather fight my way through a book written for native speakers and know that it's the level I will have to reach when I want to function like a native speaker, than to let a dumbed down book tell me that what I know is not what I am expected to know. (Annotated unabridged texts are slightly less patronizing, but I have the same problem with them.)


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