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My confusing method

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 25 of 38
30 June 2015 at 3:42am | IP Logged 
Okay, I misread it about FSI then. And I agree that one anecdote is enough to counter the claim that something is impossible. But not enough to speculate on whether it's likely/easy/doable etc.
Kudos about the English result, I never implied that this is impossible. According to HTLAL standards English is probably considered your secondary native language, btw. Of course whatever works for you.
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smallwhite
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Australia
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 Message 26 of 38
30 June 2015 at 4:31am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
According to HTLAL standards English is probably considered your secondary native language, btw.


Like I said, my editor Serpent just has to qualify my posts.
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4585 days ago

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 Message 27 of 38
05 July 2015 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
Awkward silence... I'm sorry for my contribution to derailing the thread.


Serpent wrote:
And interestingly, a few years ago the tendency on HTLAL would be to say "don't worry about achieving a native-like level, start with a smaller goal". But now we see people taking that too literally and worrying about their exact place in the range of A1-A2 or A2-B1 or B1-B2.

To expand on what I said, I think it would be great to set some personally meaningful goals. Learn a song or poem. Get accustomed to a specific source of German. Try out a resource, technique or a type of resources (e.g. podcasts). Use a programme with a competitive aspect, such as memrise, duolingo, lyricstraining (or use habitRPG to add this gaming aspect to any language tasks).
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Cavesa
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Czech Republic
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 Message 28 of 38
06 July 2015 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Awkward silence... I'm sorry for my contribution to derailing the thread.


Serpent wrote:
And interestingly, a few years ago the tendency on HTLAL would be to say "don't worry about achieving a native-like level, start with a smaller goal". But now we see people taking that too literally and worrying about their exact place in the range of A1-A2 or A2-B1 or B1-B2.

To expand on what I said, I think it would be great to set some personally meaningful goals. Learn a song or poem. Get accustomed to a specific source of German. Try out a resource, technique or a type of resources (e.g. podcasts). Use a programme with a competitive aspect, such as memrise, duolingo, lyricstraining (or use habitRPG to add this gaming aspect to any language tasks).


I couldn't agree more!

We've seen so many great goals being achieved by various htlalers.
We've seen many people getting to finally reading a book (common choices being The Little Prince, Harry Potter, or various classics), understanding tv news or movies, getting by on a holiday, understanding relatives and getting in touch with one's past and heritage, learning x words in anki, putting in y hours during a 6wc, completing a super challenge, completing a course or a grammar book, understanding a song and so on.

It is sad to see all these options (some of which were even invented only for the purpose of giving us more goals to strive for on the long path) reduced to worries about CEFR.

It is not that surprising though, given how often do the language schools split the low levels to many sloooow paced semesters to get more money (and how many courses are split into several volumes just to get you to A2), or the fact there are more and more "exam" certificates just for the sake of a new money making certificate (heh, there is an A1.1 DELF according to a small note on my diploma. And I could rant for a long time about several levels of "exams" for children Cambridge has recently introduced, which in fact discourage the children by being so easy that even the stupidest and laziest pupil gets the full score).

The only way I think a detailed CEFR "self analysis" can be motivating is using the "can do" self assessment list. Taking the individual points as one's goals, that could be an interesting and motivating journey. However, I'd say more people waste time wondering whether they fulfill the vague brief criteria on wikipadia cefr page instead.

Edited by Cavesa on 06 July 2015 at 1:25pm

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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berejst.dk
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 Message 29 of 38
06 July 2015 at 2:10pm | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
I was listening to a book today about motivational research, and it is a well proven psychological fact that a longer term goal of "mastery" will provide more motivation and more engagement than a short term focus on a specific goal like "A2". You're more likely to succeed if you put your target as a complete mastery of German, regardless of how long it takes.


I have been thinking about this since I read rdearman's message. Motivational research is one of the sciences I have read rather less about (lack of motivation, I suppose - and too much distrust of slick salespeople and peptalkers). But I see the choice between A2 or mastery as a fallacy. Maybe people in an area where a certain language is spoken all around you all day long can learn it simply through absorption - especially if they don't have a choice (like children) - but at least some of us need some kind of hardcore study. But this will only lead you to a certain stage, and that could be A2, but depending on your method probably slightly more than that. The rest of your pilgrimage towards excellency is more a question of using the things you have learnt, and it's much harder to specify methods for that.

So for me it is relevant to have immediate, reachable goals for my intensive studies,but everything beyond those goals is something that will come by itself if the right circumstances can be established. Setting A2 as a goal is too abstract for me, but learning at least 1000 common words well and some 10-15.000 words passively is an attainable (and necessary) goal, and I have both study techniques and control techniques ready for that task. It is harder to quantify grammatical knowledge, but I can check whether I know the content of my 'green sheets' with the most important tables etc. And syntax? Well, good luck quantifying that. But routinely asking yourself how the utterances of native speakers are constructed will give you some indication of your level.

So instead of gazing at the stars like a forlorn child I like to set myself some concrete tasks defined by concrete techniques and concrete resources. This could be making wordlists or new green sheets, but I guess the statistics over read pages which some members here keep also are pretty concrete. But transforming those skills and that knowledge into the ability to think,read, write, listen and speak like a nearnative Wunderkind isn't a operational goal because you can't define exactly what will take you there - you just have to take a lot of concrete steps along the way and hope that the right books, TV programmes, chance encounters and travels pop up at the right moments.

In other words, telling myself that the end goal is excellency doesn't tell me anything I can use in my day to day learning. In contrast I can tell myself to learn 100 words from the letter B in Polish, and I'll know when I have succeeded in doing it. And then I just have to do some different kinds of activities in my languages to make them progress, and it will to a large extent be my resources and environment that decides how fast I get better (or deteriorate).

Edited by Iversen on 08 July 2015 at 12:15pm

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aokoye
Diglot
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United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 30 of 38
11 July 2015 at 1:48am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
But I see the choice between A2 or mastery as a fallacy....In other words, telling
myself that the end goal is excellency doesn't tell me anything I can use in my day to day learning. In
contrast I can tell myself to learn 100 words from the letter B in Polish, and I'll know when I have
succeeded in doing it.


I understand the need for concrete goals like "I want to learn 100 words in X language today". That
said that I don't think that that exclusive of realizing that you will never stop learning a language that
you continue to use. A native English speaker living in a country whose official/de facto language is
English will never stop learning English. The idea of "if I learn X words and Y grammatical structures
then I've learned the language" is a fallacy and I think that's what some people have been trying to
point out. My goal is to become a translator (translating from German to English). Even if I get my MA
in translation from a German or Austrian Uni and work in the field, I will never know all of the
vocabulary there is to know - that's not how languages that aren't dead work.

You could compare it to a musician always learning. My one of my old flute teachers has received a
Grammy, plays in multiple ensembles, gives master classes, is in at least one music festival each
summer, etc. Despite the fact that she's been playing flute for the vast majority of her she will never
stop learning. That's just not how it works and that's a good thing.

I think it's also incredibly incredibly important to do away with the attitude of needing to learn a
language as quickly as possible (unless you're in a situation where you need to get a job, trying to go
to school in a country, or in various other time sensitive situations of which most of the people on
here aren't in). Learning 100 words a day isn't realistic for a lot of people and that's not a bad thing.

edit: Additionally just because someone can learn 100+ words a day doesn't make them somehow
better. They aren't a "better language learner" just because they can memorize words easily, it just
makes them different and good at rote memorization.

Edited by aokoye on 11 July 2015 at 4:15am

6 persons have voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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 Message 31 of 38
11 July 2015 at 10:24am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
rdearman wrote:
I was listening to a book today about motivational research, and it is a well proven psychological fact that a longer term goal of "mastery" will provide more motivation and more engagement than a short term focus on a specific goal like "A2". You're more likely to succeed if you put your target as a complete mastery of German, regardless of how long it takes.


I have been thinking about this since I read rdearman's message. Motivational research is one of the sciences I have read rather less about (lack of motivation, I suppose - and too much distrust of slick salespeople and peptalkers). But I see the choice between A2 or mastery as a fallacy. Maybe people in an area where a certain language is spoken all around you all day long can learn it simply through absorption - especially if they don't have a choice (like children) - but at least some of us need some kind of hardcore study. But this will only lead you to a certain stage, and that could be A2, but depending on your method probably slightly more than that. The rest of your pilgrimage towards excellency is more a question of using the things you have learnt, and it's much harder to specify methods for that.

So for me it is relevant to have immediate, reachable goals for my intensive studies,but everything beyond those goals is something that will come by itself if the right circumstances can be established. Setting A2 as a goal is too abstract for me, but learning at least 1000 common words well and some 10-15.000 words passively is an attainable (and necessary) goal, and I have both study techniques and control techniques ready for that task. It is harder to quantify grammatical knowledge, but I can check whether I know the content of my 'green sheets' with the most important tables etc. And syntax? Well, good luck quantifying that. But routinely asking yourself how the utterances of native speakers are constructed will give you some indication of your level.

So instead of gazing at the stars like a forlorn child I like to set myself some concrete tasks defined by concrete techniques and concrete resources. This could be making wordlists or new green sheets, but I guess the statistics over read pages which some members here keep also are pretty concrete. But transforming those skills and that knowledge into the ability to think,read, write, listen and speak like a nearnative Wunderkind isn't a operational goal because you can't define exactly what will take you there - you just have to take a lot of concrete steps along the way and hope that the right books, TV programmes, chance encounters and travels pop up at the right moments.

In other words, telling myself that the end goal is excellency doesn't tell me anything I can use in my day to day learning. In contrast I can tell myself to learn 100 words from the letter B in Polish, and I'll know when I have succeeded in doing it. And then I just have to do some different kinds of activities in my languages to make them progress, and it will to a large extent be my resources and environment that decides how fast I get better (or deteriorate).


My post was perhaps too short to convey the intention of the message. This is what I get for writing quickly.

The research doesn't suggest you don't adopt short-term goals; the research suggest people who have a goal of mastery of the subject tend to stay with the short-term goals and use more methods for learning the nuances. My suggestion to the OP was therefore rather than adopt the A2 goal as the only goal, adopting "mastery of German" as the goal, you'd get to and pass A2 anyway. If your goal is mastery then the methods you choose for learning will certainly include a lot of concrete short-term golas like X words per day, etc. If you remember part of the OP's original problem was motivation:
EnglishEagle wrote:
This is because I get frustrated too easily and didn't like how slowly I progressed, which I think is down to the fact my study method was inefficient/ineffective. I've wanted to learn German for many years, but feeling demotivated and frustrated has just caused me to quit too easily.


If your goal is mastery, and you know it will take a long time, then you're less likely to feel frustration or demotivation because of a lack of perceived progress when you've been forced to skip a day of study, or you weren't able to speak as fluently as you'd have wished to the train conductor who spoke your target language, etc. Adoption of only a short-term goal means you're more likely to set a fixed date for completion and feel frustration and demotivation when you don't reach the desired level in the desired timeframe.
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EnglishEagle
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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 Message 32 of 38
21 July 2015 at 9:12pm | IP Logged 
Thank you everyone for the replies, it has been very interesting to read the 30+ replies in this thread.


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