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Language Learning Orthodoxy You Ignore

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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
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Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 33 of 116
01 December 2014 at 1:56pm | IP Logged 
If I had had my druthers, I would have called this thread "My Language Learning Gripe List". I really
don't see much orthodoxy, if by that we mean a set of beliefs that is held by the majority to be
universally true. Nobody says that flashcards or Anki are the best tools for memorizing vocabulary for
everybody. Some people believe in speaking from day 1, whatever that means, and other people want
to wait until they are ready. Where's the problem?

What we do see is different practices, including the vast world of language teaching in classrooms.
Sometimes I think we at HTLAL ignore that hundreds of millions of people are learning languages in
classes with real teachers. How well that works is another story. There is probably where you will find
anything resembling language learning / teaching orthodoxy. A lot of people here complain about this
but I like to think that classroom teaching is not all bad.

The main point is that we all have ideas that inform our learning strategies and practices. For example,
some people think that you need to know at least x thousands of words before you can begin
speaking. Other people, like myself, believe that a few hundred can get you going very well. These
positions determine different learning practices. We may argue about these ideas, but they are hardly
orthodoxies. What really counts is the end results. How well can you speak the language?
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DaraghM
Diglot
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Ireland
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Studies: French, Russian, Hungarian

 
 Message 34 of 116
01 December 2014 at 3:45pm | IP Logged 
As I read this thread, I’m bombarded by ads for Rosetta Stone. I’d say the most common orthodoxy we don’t believe is

-     Rosetta Stone is the best way to learn a language.

My own personal disbeliefs around language learning, some of which are mentioned before, are,

-     You can reach B2 from scratch in three months.
-     Massive input leads to output. (I wish this were true, but it hasn’t worked for me)
-     You can converse in a language, without practising conversation skills. ( I think Prof. Arguelles has reversed his position on this)
-     Grammar familiarity can be avoided.

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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
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Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 35 of 116
01 December 2014 at 6:08pm | IP Logged 
DaraghM wrote:
You can converse in a language, without practising conversation skills.


Why would you want to converse without practicing conversation skills? I do believe you can practice conversation skills without conversing, though. You might not get all the way there, but doing the following:

* Practicing listening conversation
* Practicing output via writing and self-speak
* Practicing pronunciation/fluidity via phonetics/shadowing/whatever.

… will likely mean you have a much smoother experience in your first conversation than if you have done none of them. You might not be flawless the first time, but you can surely get a pretty descent ability without having to spend a bunch of time studdering through conversations. My first conversations in both Mandarin and Portuguese were, if not without problems, then at least quite functional and not annoying for my interlocutor.
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Expugnator
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Brazil
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Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 36 of 116
01 December 2014 at 8:27pm | IP Logged 
I can't think of an orthodoxy that hasn't been mentioned yet, but overall I'm relieved that several people won't do SRS, or believe in extensive reading as a solution, or in speak from day 1. It is a pleasure to notice that the thread has been carried on with lots of contradictory opinions and in a reasonable way.

Only @iguanamon: there are some of premises of yours that assume you'll be learning a close language, with almost transparent vocabulary, which is the case. At most other languages you can't have such luxuries (like using only monolingual dictionaries, or 'reading from day 1' or non-stop listening).
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glavkos
Triglot
Newbie
Greece
glavkos.blogspot.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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13 posts - 15 votes
Speaks: Greek*, English, Esperanto
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 37 of 116
02 December 2014 at 8:10am | IP Logged 
chokofingrz wrote:
Take advantage of your target language holiday by chatting
extensively to all the locals and making lots of new acquaintances:

Hell no! Where's the do-not-disturb sign for my hotel room door?! (And what's the Greek
word for "xenophobe"?)


If you the person who is afraid of immigrants then you might say : ξενόφοβος, but it is
not frequent ;)

Edited by glavkos on 02 December 2014 at 8:11am

1 person has voted this message useful



cpnlsn88
Triglot
Groupie
United Kingdom
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63 posts - 112 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, French
Studies: Spanish, Esperanto, Latin

 
 Message 38 of 116
02 December 2014 at 3:43pm | IP Logged 
The orthodoxy I ignore is 'don't look up every word'. This might be a bad habit of
mine, but it arises with German where two factors are at play (1) I found genuine
difficulty understanding things with my vocab as it was and (2) I love the way German
forms words and so am motivated to find more! But it's an orthodoxy that I would
generally subscribe to but do ignore in the case of German. I wouldn't advise any
other language learner to do this as some kind of model though.

There's a bit of debate over SRS rather than Orthodoxy but it's a situation where both
sides form their own orthodoxy to some extent. I don't subscribe to the idea of doing
excessive SRS - most of mine is done when otherwise I'd be staring in out of the
window on public transport and breaks I might take from work and rarely amounts to
more than 20 minutes in a day (on anki - memrise is a slightly different story and is
much more addictive). I didn't do SRS for many years (so 'you don't need to do SRS'
was an orthodoxy for me) but now think it has some value, dependent on the person's
needs and how fidgety they are on buses.
1 person has voted this message useful



Lemberg1963
Bilingual Diglot
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United States
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Speaks: English*, Ukrainian*
Studies: French, German, Spanish, Polish

 
 Message 39 of 116
02 December 2014 at 3:51pm | IP Logged 
For me the big one is that I use and like Rosetta Stone. It fits perfectly into my Anki
workflow.
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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4950 days ago

2314 posts - 5695 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 40 of 116
02 December 2014 at 5:32pm | IP Logged 
Lemberg1963 wrote:
For me the big one is that I use and like Rosetta Stone.


And here I thought that "Rosetta Stone is the worst*" was the one orthodoxy we could all agree on.

---
* I literally can't even.


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