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Language Learning Orthodoxy You Ignore

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Bao
Diglot
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 Message 49 of 116
03 December 2014 at 7:34am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
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.

Funny thing, I really thought this thread was opened by somebody else.

As for the idea of orthodoxy; it's not a vague, countless majority that has to hold a specific set of ideas to be true: it has to be the majority of a given group to which the belief is relevant, and it can also mean the adherence to a belief that the majority of previous generations of such a group held to be true, while the majority of the current generation does not.

While I agree that in the latter sense, little of what people wrote about here fits the criterion of traditional orthodoxy, most of the contributions were about beliefs that certain people (in the group of learning enthusiasts who use the internet for their study) propagate as universally true, which might be the same as ones propagated in the same way in traditional language teaching or which are presented as mutually exclusive to such.
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Lemberg1963
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 Message 50 of 116
03 December 2014 at 7:46am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Lemberg1963 wrote:
For me the big one is that I use and like
Rosetta Stone. It fits perfectly into my Anki workflow.

Please expand on that. I'm sure what most of us agree about is really that there's
next to no evidence of anyone achieving anything significant with RS that wouldn't
have been achieved faster and more smoothly with other methods. But most are willing
to question that if they see evidence that doesn't come from someone who's obviously
working for RS.

And then there's the financial part. Did you get RS from a library?


I'll agree that RS won't get you far on its own, it doesn't teach nearly enough
conversational stuff to make you socially functional. However, it's a damn good
supplement for mass farming sentences into Anki during the beginner phase. I get RS
for $99 as a 3month subscription, which is plenty of time to go through all 5 units,
yielding ~2000 sentences. Each lesson gives about 100 sentences, every one accompanied
with a unique context-relevant image and clear native audio, which makes it worth the
price for me. I wish Assimil added images to their e-method, it would save me so much
time Ankifying those conversations.
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DaraghM
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 Message 51 of 116
03 December 2014 at 10:40am | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:

DaraghM wrote:

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

-     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)


I actually found these to be true for my French, but the key is it requires truly
titanic-levels of massive input. As in, I had done two levels of Assimil, three
quarters of FSI, and read 10,0000 pages of French lit over two years, but had zero
conversation practice. And my language skills really did seem to magically appear
when I finally actually went to France.

I tried the same with half the work in Spanish, and had no results. No magic, just me
sounding like a typical gringo.


You’ve inspired me to retest my assumptions regarding massive input. I’ll give it another shot next year, but at a ‘titanic’ level. Logically it should work as you’re seeing repeated language patterns over and over again that are used in a number of different contexts. The main issue I found was that I would understand a text or audio, but I wouldn’t be focused on specifics like gender or other forms of agreement. I felt I was developing heritage learner capabilities and very strong passive skills, but not an active ability.
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Serpent
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 Message 52 of 116
03 December 2014 at 12:37pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, I agree with kanewai. I think most of those for whom it "doesn't work" simply don't do enough reading (heritage learners, movie fans) or listening (most others). Or they don't do enough of either activity.

However, I don't think the Super Challenge amount of work is necessary, unless you're learning only one language and more is always better.

As for not glossing over the details, it helps even simply to read with this goal in mind. emk posted somewhere about spotting gender agreement in French. Resources like lyricstraining and GLOSS can also help, and you can even make your own exercises. But these are just ways to speed it up, in my opinion.

Edited by Serpent on 03 December 2014 at 12:45pm

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s_allard
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 Message 53 of 116
03 December 2014 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
Lemberg1963 wrote:
...

I'll agree that RS won't get you far on its own, it doesn't teach nearly enough
conversational stuff to make you socially functional. However, it's a damn good
supplement for mass farming sentences into Anki during the beginner phase. I get RS
for $99 as a 3month subscription, which is plenty of time to go through all 5 units,
yielding ~2000 sentences. Each lesson gives about 100 sentences, every one accompanied
with a unique context-relevant image and clear native audio, which makes it worth the
price for me. I wish Assimil added images to their e-method, it would save me so much
time Ankifying those conversations.

I really have to commend this poster for having the courage to defend RS in this neck of the woods. If
there is one subject that maybe fits the definition of orthodoxy here, it's probably the near-universal
idea that RS is anathema to all HTLALers and a total waste of time, money and effort.

But here we have someone who actually uses and likes RS. I've tried it and don't like it much myself,
but but I also know some intelligent and educated people who swear by it. It is even used on a mass
scale by a local school system here in Montreal. What gives? It can't be all that bad. Who knows, I
might give it a whirl another time.

This makes me think that instead of griping about what one dislikes, it might be more productive to
explore or revisit ideas or approaches that may not appear to be one's cup of tea. That's the great
thing about HTLAL; there's a plethora of ideas that one can experiment with. Whether it's wordlists a la
iversen or emk's high-tech tools, just to mention a few, there is so much to try.

If there is one thing that I have picked up from my time here it is the paramount importance of working
with a good tutor, especially at an advanced level. I won't call it orthodoxy; I'd prefer to call it a
personal dogma. If actually performing in the language is important, i.e. speaking and writing, there is
nothing better, in my opinion, than using the services of a professional tutor for critical feedback.

I know that a lot of people don't want to pay or say they can't afford it. In that case, a language
exchange may be an option. Failing to get good critical feedback about one's performance leads to
something that I observe every day: people totally unaware of all the terrible mistakes that they are
making in the target language.      
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Jeffers
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 Message 54 of 116
03 December 2014 at 2:22pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
As for not glossing over the details, it helps even simply to read with this goal in mind.


I agree, and this is something I've realized I need to work on at my level in French. When I was struggling to understand everything, I paid attention to everything. Now that I can easily pick up the gist of a paragraph without understanding every word, I sometimes read faster and ignore the tiny details of grammar. I've recently realized that if I want my reading to have an impact on my future speaking/writing, I need to slow down a bit and pay attention not only to what the author is communicating but the way the author is communicating.

Even in your own language, paying attention to an author's way of communicating makes for a more satisfying reading experience. But for language learners, it also helps you to actually pick up on the structures you're trying to learn.
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Serpent
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 Message 55 of 116
03 December 2014 at 2:40pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
If actually performing in the language is important, i.e. speaking and writing, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than using the services of a professional tutor for critical feedback.

Subtle insults again. Not to mention that you always assume speed as an important component, but if you don't have frequent opportunities to use L2, it's less relevant.

Quote:
something that I observe every day: people totally unaware of all the terrible mistakes that they are making in the target language.      
Speaking with confidence and fluency doesn't mean they're not aware that their grammar isn't perfect. They may simply care more about making themselves understood, or consider themselves too old/busy/technically-minded etc to learn a language well.

Do you actually see any independent learners who struggle to learn to speak/write on their own (and are delusional about that), or do you see classroom learners who:
-get a lot of poor non-native input from fellow learners
-are forced to speak too early (and produce bad input for other learners)
-only receive corrections relevant to the current grammar topic
-have unrealistic expectations about how much they can learn in class and how little they need to work outside of it
?
Only the last point isn't a direct downside of classroom learning.

I think there's a fallacy here along the lines of "if even classroom learners need tutoring, then independent learners need it even more".

Edited by Serpent on 03 December 2014 at 2:43pm

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DaraghM
Diglot
Senior Member
Ireland
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 Message 56 of 116
03 December 2014 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Yeah, I agree with kanewai. I think most of those for whom it "doesn't work" simply don't do enough reading (heritage learners, movie fans) or listening (most others). Or they don't do enough of either activity.

However, I don't think the Super Challenge amount of work is necessary, unless you're learning only one language and more is always better.


During my 1,000 hours challenge, I read about 3,000 pages and listened to around 400 hours of audio. It was very benficial, but I may have move through the material too quickly. I developed very good listening and reading skills, but not very strong active skills. If kanewai is right, even this isn't enough, and I need to up the figure to Super Challenge levels.

Serpent wrote:

Resources like lyricstraining and GLOSS can also help, and you can even make your own exercises. But these are just ways to speed it up, in my opinion.


GLOSS is a great tool and I've used it a bit. I regard these as active engagement as you are focused and working in the language. I've started using a few other resources in this area as well and it helps a lot. I think I might do more focused reading, and see how that works out. Thanks again for everyones tips.


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