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 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 9 of 90
06 April 2007 at 3:37pm | IP Logged 
Farley wrote:
They have an equation for what they call 'hours of understood listening'. They say we need around 1000 hours of understood input to learn another language subject to an easiness factor. So, for example, an English speaker needs 720 hours of understood listening to learn French, but 1800 hours for Thai.

Do you think one could equate 'hours of understood listening' with 'comprehensible input'?

As for the hours, the French figure of 720 matches the FSI classroom hours to get to ILR level 2/3. The Thai figure is longer than the FSI class time (scroll towards the bottom of the page).

Do you understand their estimates as saying that one hour of listening at 50% comprehension = 30 minutes worth of the "goal listening time"?

I guess it's time to get listening.

Edited by luke on 06 April 2007 at 4:24pm

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Farley
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
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681 posts - 738 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*, GermanB1, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 10 of 90
06 April 2007 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
Do you think one could equate 'hours of understood listening' with 'comprehensible input'?

Yes I think you could. They based many of their studies on Krashen’s ideas of input.
luke wrote:

Do you understand their estimates as saying that one hour of listening at 50% comprehension = 30 minutes worth of the "goal listening time"?

Yes that is what they were getting at. You could watch a 2 hour movie, maybe there is only 1 hour of conversation, you might only understand 30 minutes, and may you only pay attention to 15 of those minutes.

EDIT:
Here is a review of AGL's course. You will have a scroll down find the article: Critique of AUA's Automatic Language Growth Program

Edited by Farley on 06 April 2007 at 4:13pm

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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
Joined 4756 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 11 of 90
06 April 2007 at 7:11pm | IP Logged 
So this can be compared to a sort of a spoken sentence method. A movie can have less than a half hour's worth of conversation (unless you're into real touchy feely stuff and even then there's a lot of "significant" silence). What is more important, perhaps, is the number of hours you'll be listening with little to no comprehension. We're talking going cold turkey here, listening to a language until you start understanding things and once you start collecting bonus points for "understood listening" you can do the math to see how long it will take you to finish. Right? Well, I did a lot of that with and without previous knowledge and I can tell you that previous formal training accelerated my comprehension. I still needed to do a large number of hours of listening, but having some sort of a grammatical skeleton on which to slap some flesh did help tremendously.

I do not believe in witchdoctor talk that you should only follow their method and nothing else.

Edited by reineke on 07 April 2007 at 1:12am

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leosmith
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4859 days ago

2365 posts - 3803 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 12 of 90
06 April 2007 at 11:24pm | IP Logged 
Comprehensible input is input you can comprehend. I think if one doesn't know anything, and watches a typical movie, at the end, one probably won't comprehend much more than in the beginning. I'm not saying that this is what AGL does, but this is what I've seen people post. Maybe AGL has designed graded comprehensible videos. Who knows. But I still wonder if holding one's tongue for so long is smart.
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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
Joined 4756 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 13 of 90
07 April 2007 at 1:10am | IP Logged 
The "critique" explains their method somewhat. A lot of the input comes directly from the teacher and is tailored to student's knowledge. It progressively gets harder, perhaps too fast (and therefore the critique). A second teacher helps by interacting with the first one. I am sure they use movies etc but it seems that their teachers are the main source of spoken language. How early they start with movies I don't know but all their content has method behind it. My "method" from the input perspective was very natural (and slow). The upside was that I was never bored. I basically just stared at all sorts of content meant for children and adults that I wanted to see. I was exclusively interested in the content and not in the process itself. I was in no hurry to ace the test. I believe it took a long while to say hey, I understand this and after that first Eureka my progress went incredibly fast. Way too fast perhaps and this leads me to believe that the hours spent listening to incomprehensible gibberish were paying a golden dividend. Some of the input I received over and over again may have rubbed off and bits may have been sleeping and waiting for the right key to unlock parts of the "system". I think way too much attention is being paid nowadays on trying to develop speaking skills from the very start. Everyone wants to be able to speak ASAP (even when they have no pressing need) and the schools are trying to oblige. Shorter courses for busy people who need to travel and hopefully make themselves understood in foreign lands are a completely different ball game.       

Edited by reineke on 07 April 2007 at 1:47am

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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4891 days ago

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

 
 Message 14 of 90
07 April 2007 at 1:50am | IP Logged 
I read about the ALG approach a good while ago, and I've used some of their thoughts to guide my Mandarin learning. Unfortunately, I had spoken a bit before I first encountered the method. I have a few comments.

I don't see any reason why using dictionaries, grammar studies, etc., would do anything but increase the comprehensibility of the input. I advocate doing normal study, with a bit more focus on getting input, and simply not speaking at all, for example doing Pimsleur or FSI, but thinking the answers instead of speaking them out loud. Your job is to get as much comprehensible input as possible, and you can't expect the input to get comprehensible by itself. So you've got to use the tools at your disposal to make it so. That includes sentence analysis, flashcards, repeating the input, and what have you.
To the self-learner who wishes to follow the ALG approach, I'd say the Rosetta Stone is about as close as you get, though it will hardly provide you with enough material for 800 hours.

Finally, I don't think I'm going to wait for 800 hours of comprehensible input (1500 hours of input altogether?). A good accent is nice, but it's not that important to me. So when I've had a good number of hours (no amount specified), I plan to start chorusing. This in combination with the silent period will hopefully get me a "good enough" accent. I've got more languages than Mandarin to learn, so I can't afford to go for perfection.
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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
Joined 4756 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 90
07 April 2007 at 2:17am | IP Logged 
I believe 1600-800 implies 50% comprehension on average. The first number depends on the shortcuts devised by the teachers (gestures, pictures etc.), on the course material and on your own individual progress. Mine was probably 4000-800. The second number depends on the difficulty of the language and is nothing else than an ideal number of hours of comprehensible input needed to reach a certain level of competence. Good pronunciation was a natural outcome of the process but not the main goal in itself. In any case the first number is always significantly higher than the second one. If I got something wrong someone please correct me.

If I'm using Pimsleur and there's a silence, I don't see why I can't open my yap and pronounce things as my voice is not directly interfering with the input.

Edited by reineke on 07 April 2007 at 2:31am

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Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4891 days ago

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

 
 Message 16 of 90
07 April 2007 at 3:51am | IP Logged 
reineke wrote:
If I'm using Pimsleur and there's a silence, I don't see why I can't open my yap and pronounce things as my voice is not directly interfering with the input.


That's the whole point. Don't open your yap. The theory goes something like this:

  1. The brain decides how the mouth will pronounce the words based on how they sound.
  2. More exposure to the sounds will mean that the brain has a better idea of how to make the sound.
  3. The imprint from your own speaking is much stronger than that of others speaking, i.e. your brain will form the sounds more based on how you've pronounced them before than on how you've heard them being pronounced by others.
  4. So if you start speaking before you've let your brain take in enough of the sounds from other speakers, your pronounciation will be less than perfect (probably because the brain borrows the missing data from how you've pronounced similar sounds in the past, mostly in your native language, or just 'winging it').
  5. This will lead to a malicious loop where you pronounce badly, which leaves an imprint in the brain, which makes you pronounce it just the same the next time. Conscious effort and mimicking the sounds of natives can improve your pronounciation a bit, but it's very difficult to get all of that bad pronounciation out of your brain.


This means that there's no such thing as a "critical period". The difference between how children learn a language and how adults learn, is that children keep their yaps shut for three years. If adults do the same, they get the same results, as the ALG classes demonstrate. Problem is, for an adult, keeping the yap shut is dreadfully boring and frustrating.

And naturally, the input has to be comprehensible, or your brain won't know which sound goes with which word.


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