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Listening-Reading system

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post Reply
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Iversen
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 Message 113 of 489
16 July 2007 at 2:45pm | IP Logged 
I do see the point of bombarding yourself with sound and texts L1+L2 for a long time in a row (like 8-10 hours daily for a week) - it must be like working yourself into something like a trance state. But it takes a certain kind of person to sit through such long sessions without falling asleep or running away in despair.

In my case I don't have serious problems reading a whole book in one go even if it takes 4 or 5 hours. But listening to people speaking for hours doesn't appeal to me, - of course I have to listen to people if I want to learn their language, but I do look eagerly forward to the moment when they shut up. So even if it is against the original rules I prefer taking a serious dose of reading, and then afterwards up to an hour with audio, certainly not more than that (I might however switch to another language and listen for half an hour more).

As I have written earlier this thread has to some degree made me rethink the concept of parallel texts, and I have discovered that even the process of making interlined parallel texts may have its benefits because you are forced to compare the L1 and L2 during the process. Unfortunately you also discover how sloppy some translations are.

The thread has not convinced me that it is better to start from scratch and expect to learn everything through exposure. On the contrary, every word and every morphological table that I have learned through my ususal methods is helping me to get a grip on both the written texts and the audio. So I will treat the use of parallel texts and audio as a way to be able to cope with massive amounts of L2 before I could do it if I only had to rely on my own knowledge.



Edited by Iversen on 16 July 2007 at 6:29pm

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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 114 of 489
16 July 2007 at 2:51pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
I haven't found 'getting lost' to be a problem at all.


I should have written "lose the feeling" instead (referring to Iversen's post about Anna Karenina on page 5). "You're supposed to "remember well what you understand and what you feel is 'yours' psychologically" (according to siomotteikuru's post) but for some works I would have great problems (even in my native language) after just one page.

Imagine what I would "remember" after reading a whole book. Not much, I suppose. How on earth should I be able to remember what's on page 1? Sort of like trying to recall what a fingerprint looks like. :) That's why I think there could be a point reading one chapter at a time (or less).

Own example - a few days ago I decided to give this method a go, and borrowed Elfriede Jelinek's "Die Klavierspielerin" in German and Swedish. I read the Swedish translation and I really wonder how many times I will have to read the original since I didn't find the Swedish that "easy" (the German audio isn't available yet at the library, but I'm on the waiting list).

Well, maybe I should just do Anna Karenina in Russian (provided that I find audio).

Anyway, I belive that this method works - I only have to put some more hours into it!

Edited by jeff_lindqvist on 16 July 2007 at 2:53pm

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siomotteikiru
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 Message 115 of 489
16 July 2007 at 10:55pm | IP Logged 
I went through all the replies. I thought I made myself clear but I was wrong.

You might have noticed I said: IF you want to learn a language quickly.... blah, blah, blah...
It means, among other things, it’s a condition and that I consider you a free human being, I am a strong believer in individual freedom of thought and action. I’m most certainly not a pope who tells his sheep what’s good for them unconditionally.

Now let me explain in more detail why I think the Three Steps are a useful tool in acquiring a language.

STEP 1
You read the story to make it “yours” psychologically.
I added: you must be passionately in love with the text you’re going to study.
Imagine you’re a biologist and you’ve been crossing frogs with snails and cloning sheep since you were in cradle – it’s your life, you know hell of a lot about it, it makes you happy and you can’t imagine your life without it. One day you discover there’s a wonderful new theory on how sheep can be grown into lions. Unfortunately it’s in the clitty-titty language, and you don’t know it. So you decide to learn the wonderful clitty-titty in a day or hang yourself.

Notice two points:
you know almost everything about the subject and you’re in love with it.
The texts in clitty-titty will be self-explanatory and highly enjoyble, you won’t get tired (on the contrary, you’ll get happier and happier) and you’ll guess the meaning of at least half of the sentences in clitty-titty.

And now a real life example: La principessa, a teenage girl, is in love with Harry Potter, she’s been reading the books time and again and knows them by heart. She decides to become a witch herself: to go to Hoggwart, she must learn English in a week to prove she’s worthy.
No problem, she has a magic wand: audiobooks of her prince (Harry Potter), but, unfortunately she has no English texts.
She listens to the books time and again, after a few times she can understand every single word.

Notice two points:
Harry Potter is her life, and the texts in English are self-explanatory.

I’m sure you remember my own example: Kafka and Nabokov.

You might as well remember I say you can skip Step 1 and 2.
They are not absolutely necessary, though they might be useful.

Step 2
You listen to the text in LSD2 and look at the written text in LSD2.
If you’ve ever tried to listen to native speakers of any language, you must have noticed that at first you do not know which groups of sounds form words and that they (speakers, not words) speak as if they were machine guns.
The aim of STEP 2 is to cure these two small drawbacks, and at the same time to get some exposure to meaning, sounds, rythm, intonation in the LSD2.
Whether you should go from the beginning to the end depends on two things:
1. how much you understand
2. if you already can recognize the boundries between words and the speed is no longer frighting.
If you understand quite a lot (being a free person, you yourself must decide how much is enough for you), you’d better go to the end.
If you don’t understand anything new after the first ten to twenty pages but you can follow the written text easily and can spot the boundries in the flow of speech, you’d better stop and go to STEP 3. If the speed is still frightening you go on until it stops being so.

You might as well remember I say you can skip Step 1 and 2.
They are not absolutely necessary, though they might be useful.


STEP 3
The Paradise proper, though it seems Hell at first.
You’re reading LSD1 and listening to LSD2.
IF you’re a fast enough reader you can read much faster than people speak, so you’re able to know IN ADVANCE the meaning of what you’re going to listen to, and to be in a position to guess at least some meaning (with a good translation almost everything) of what you’re listening to.
How difficult the text for “listening-reading” should be depends entirely on you, you might start with something relatively simple.
Because of the IDIOLECT of the author the first 10 – 20 pages might be a nightmare for some, but then it’s getting easier and easier, the longer the text the easier it becomes, but it’s still the same IDIOLECT, variation after variation on the same theme, more and more celestial music, tengoku no ongaku.

IF you’re not capable of doing it without stopping the tape (audio file, tempora mutantur, there are no tapes any longer), you might decide to read a page (or a paragraph) and listen to the passage once or twice and go on.

The aim of STEP 3 is obvious: MEANINGFUL EXPOSURE, INPUT, LISTENING COMPREHENSION.
And ultimately: NATURAL LISTENING. That means understanding completely new texts.
I might add here: garbage in, garbage out.


Acquiring ANY SKILL means going through an INCUBATION PERIOD, during which you get confused time and again at first.

I found out from my own experience and a few hundreds people studying on their own:
To get to the stage of NATURAL listening you have to do about 20 to 30 hours of ‘listening-reading’ to NEW TEXTS.
You might get down even to 10 hours, it mostly depends on the ‘density’ (= new words per page) of the texts.

Listening to a short text time and again does not mean new exposure, it is still the same mechanical repetition. It might have its merits as well: you’re exposed to sounds, rythm and intonation, but that’s about it, nothing more.

NOTHING EVER SHOULD BE DONE AT THE EXPENSE OF EXPOSURE until you get to natural listening to difficult texts.

Some say listening comperhension is passive.
I couldn’t agree less, it is the most difficult skill to acquire. On how you do it depends a great deal: pronunciation, speaking, and to a large extent reading and writing.

I might say: God DID know what s/he/they was/were doing when s/he/they told us to listen first and then learn how to speak, and much later to invent writing.
But we are clever enough to cheat on her/him/them and use writing to acquire listening skills as well.

When you’ve come to the stage of natural listening you might decide you’d like to say something to your beloved.
And here there’s one more minor obstacle to overcome: PRONUNCIATION (phonemes, stress, tones, rythm, intonation).
It does matter whether you distinguish sh*t and sheet in English, or proszę and prosię in Polish, or blé and bleu in French and so on.
It’s not difficult at all: right amount of listening-reading, natural listening and phonetic listening does the trick.


Speaking is easy: almost everything depends on the above. You might decide to repeat after the recording, after you’ve reached the stage of natural listening it should be very easy and done without any effort. It does not matter if you repeat each word, phrase or sentence.

While repeating after the recording (professional actors in fact) you’d better not look at the written text, for two reasons:
1. interference of your mother tongue, particularly when LSD1 and LSD2 use the same alphabet
2. speaking means taking SOUNDS out of your brain, not reading aloud.
I might add here as well: taking part in a conversation means first of all being able to understand what is being said to you.


GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY
are in the texts,
why should you bother with lenthy and often wrong explanations?
When LSD1 and LSD2 are not closely related, say English and Japanese or to a lesser extent Polish and Japanese (Polish is much more complicated grammatically than English, though from the point of view of a Japanese person, they are two different dialacts of the same language), you might want to read some basic information about the LSD2.


READING
When you’ve done the right amount of listening-reading with parallel texts, you don’t have to learn the skill separately.
With languages using a different script, say Japanese for Indo-Europeans (us, unlucky bastards), ‘listening-reading’ saves a lot of toil, thousands of hours compared with traditional methods using textbooks and flashcards.

WRITING
on the wall
together we stand, divided we fall
After the right amount of exposure to complicated texts with full and beautiful DISCOURSE, a little bit of written retranslation from LSD2 to LSD1 should be enough.
You don’t need to translate whole books, though, only the phrases or sentences you feel you wouldn’t be able to say or write yourself.



Listening-reading, the same as any language, is in fact a SYSTEM (= a set of interdependent elements that mean something as a whole, in opposition to each other in the set, not seperately). If you skip or omit one element, the structure crumbles. You may live in ruins as well, why not, and be brainwashed by schools, teacher, publishers. If you’d rather use Pimsleur, FSI or (the best of them all) Assimil, please do.
I tell you how to be free and some try to tell me how to be a good slave.
Sorry, not for me, I’d rather die.


ASSAULT
= massive exposure in a short period of time
Why?
Hmm, let me think.
The curves of learning and forgetting and overlearning.
Any decent textbook on general psychology begs you to be read.


But you say there are no parallel text with audio. You’re wrong, there are aplenty.


Radosne nic
bez granic
poezJA



PS
I DO hate censorship.
I meant s h i t no sh*t.



Edited by siomotteikiru on 16 July 2007 at 11:04pm

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Volte
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 Message 116 of 489
17 July 2007 at 2:31am | IP Logged 
siomotteikiru wrote:

If you understand quite a lot (being a free person, you yourself must decide how much is enough for you), you’d better go to the end.

If you don’t understand anything new after the first ten to twenty pages but you can follow the written text easily and can spot the boundries in the flow of speech, you’d better stop and go to STEP 3. If the speed is still frightening you go on until it stops being so.


Thank you, this is the kind of guidance that I know I, for one, was looking for. By all means, I'm a free person, etc; but equally, I acknowledge that you have -years- of experience with this method, and I've known about it for days. Hence, I like being able to hear about what important parts are, why, what factors seem to be important, and what you've just empirically found from the method.

Basically - what you've talked about is something which seems incredible, and extremely appealing to me (it fits my learning style in other subjects almost perfectly). I plan to experiment a lot with it, etc. However, what I -do- want is a foundation; without that, it's just guessing and hoping that I come across some of the things you already know about, and that I can manage to do decently with the technique without falling into too many of the pitfalls or less effective methods that you know about and I don't. (I'm not saying I'd never experiment and find out if these methods were less effective for me too - but it's nice, -at the beginning-, to try from a baseline of what's been found to be effective, and to be able to avoid things which are less so).


siomotteikiru wrote:

STEP 3
The Paradise proper, though it seems Hell at first.
You’re reading LSD1 and listening to LSD2.


This is one of the parts that confuses me. I've done this 'purely', only looking at the L1 (when I don't have parallel texts) and hearing the L2, and I agree, it's wonderful. However - you say parallel texts are important - not just having the same text available in both languages, but not in parallel. How do I effectively -use- them? Basically - what's the critical part of having -parallel- texts?

I can guess a few things it's not:

I can't easily compare the texts of both languages as I follow along with the audio; the most I can do is sneak a few glances at the L2, but this totally breaks the flow of reading along with the L1 -in parallel- with the L2, sentence-by-sentence and even clause-by-clause, which seems to be something I can (largely, not quite perfectly) do with less than an hour of exposure, and a few of hours of exposure, respectively.

Reading the L2 as the primary focus while glancing at the meaning in the L1 also clearly isn't the point, both from what you said, and from having tried it (I tried it, and didn't like it).


siomotteikiru wrote:

How difficult the text for “listening-reading” should be depends entirely on you, you might start with something relatively simple.
Because of the IDIOLECT of the author the first 10 – 20 pages might be a nightmare for some, but then it’s getting easier and easier, the longer the text the easier it becomes, but it’s still the same IDIOLECT, variation after variation on the same theme, more and more celestial music, tengoku no ongaku.

IF you’re not capable of doing it without stopping the tape (audio file, tempora mutantur, there are no tapes any longer), you might decide to read a page (or a paragraph) and listen to the passage once or twice and go on.


Is there any disadvantage to just listening straight through, without stopping? What I've found myself doing with both Kafka and Orwell is listening for chunks of about an hour, then taking a short break (where I do things like pour myself another glass of water). Frankly, I find the idea of going back (with a couple of exceptions - I think I've intentionally done so a small handful of times) quite annoying.

siomotteikiru wrote:

I found out from my own experience and a few hundreds people studying on their own:
To get to the stage of NATURAL listening you have to do about 20 to 30 hours of ‘listening-reading’ to NEW TEXTS.
You might get down even to 10 hours, it mostly depends on the ‘density’ (= new words per page) of the texts.


Which was more important, time per day or not doing other (mental) things that day? In a previous post, you mentioned doing 10+ hours a day, stopping to only sleep and eat; do you have any idea how much of a negative impact doing 10+ hours, but also doing a few hours of unrelated mental work, would have?

siomotteikiru wrote:

Listening to a short text time and again does not mean new exposure, it is still the same mechanical repetition. It might have its merits as well: you’re exposed to sounds, rythm and intonation, but that’s about it, nothing more.

NOTHING EVER SHOULD BE DONE AT THE EXPENSE OF EXPOSURE until you get to natural listening to difficult texts.


I agree entirely that listening to short texts repeatedly isn't the way to go. However, I'm confused about -how many times- to repeat a long text: is -no- repetitions and exposure to totally new texts good, or are 1 or 2 repetitions a net benefit?

Here, you say "nothing should ever be done at the expense of exposure", but in your first post, you said "usually three times [of doing step 3 on a specific text] is enough to understand almost everything". Basically - is it better to repeat the same -long- text 2 or 3 times, or only once? Given, say, an 18 hour text - if I repeat it once, for 36 hours, how much better or worse is it than doing 18 hours of some entirely new text?

siomotteikiru wrote:

When you’ve come to the stage of natural listening you might decide you’d like to say something to your beloved.
And here there’s one more minor obstacle to overcome: PRONUNCIATION (phonemes, stress, tones, rythm, intonation).
It does matter whether you distinguish sh*t and sheet in English, or proszę and prosię in Polish, or blé and bleu in French and so on.
It’s not difficult at all: right amount of listening-reading, natural listening and phonetic listening does the trick.


About how much natural listening? How do you define phonetic listening, and going about it? Have you found any particular sounds that are especially troublesome?

siomotteikiru wrote:

WRITING
on the wall
together we stand, divided we fall
After the right amount of exposure to complicated texts with full and beautiful DISCOURSE, a little bit of written retranslation from LSD2 to LSD1 should be enough.
You don’t need to translate whole books, though, only the phrases or sentences you feel you wouldn’t be able to say or write yourself.


That makes perfect sense; thanks for making it clear!

siomotteikiru wrote:

Listening-reading, the same as any language, is in fact a SYSTEM (= a set of interdependent elements that mean something as a whole, in opposition to each other in the set, not seperately). If you skip or omit one element, the structure crumbles.


Hence, my desire to understand the system.


siomotteikiru wrote:

But you say there are no parallel text with audio. You’re wrong, there are aplenty.


There are - but I know I for one am just learning about sources, on- and off-line, for them, and I think it's safe to say that others are also going through this process. This is an age with a pretty vast number of resources (and tons of shallow gunk with little value, but that's a side issue) - with the paradoxical consequence that most people (if not all) are unaware of huge bodies of knowledge and resources. What's obvious to someone who's been actively looking and paying attention for years is often entirely not so to one who hasn't.

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blindsheep
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 Message 117 of 489
17 July 2007 at 6:01am | IP Logged 
siomotteikiru, thanks for your on going assistance...

Having experimented with this method like Volte, I would like to second the majority of his points... they are more or less the same areas of confusion I have...

Particularly the listening to L2 while reading L1 with the parallel text usage... I find glancing at the L2 column if I'm confused about something totally looses me upon switching back to L1... because I need to re-find my place in both what I'm listening to and the L1 text... and this causes me to miss sizable chunks of text... perhaps this isn't really a problem... but it definitely hurts the continuity and thus lessens the enjoyment of what I'm following somewhat... perhaps though this becomes less and less of an issue with more exposure?

Volte's other points are pertinent as well.

Cheers and thanks.
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luke
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 Message 118 of 489
17 July 2007 at 6:40am | IP Logged 
siomotteikiru wrote:
While repeating after the recording (professional actors in fact) you’d better not look at the written text, for two reasons:
1. interference of your mother tongue, particularly when LSD1 and LSD2 use the same alphabet
2. speaking means taking SOUNDS out of your brain, not reading aloud.

Thanks for your followup post. You have clarified several points that I was not clear on. The first time through I'd assumed step 4 used the text. After reading your followup post and the original, I see that step 4 is book free. Now I have a "listening-reading" step that I can in the car.

Edited by luke on 17 July 2007 at 6:42am

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reineke
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 Message 119 of 489
17 July 2007 at 10:12am | IP Logged 
1. you read the translation
because you only remember well what you understand and what you feel is "yours" psychologically

2. you listen to the recording and look at the written text at the same time,
because the flow of speech has no boundaries between words and the written text does, you will be able to separate each word in the speech flow
and you will get used to the speed of talking of native speakers - at first it seems incredibly fast

3. you look at the translation and listen to the text at the same time, from the beginning to the end of a story, usually three times is enough to understand almost everything
This is the most important thing in the method, it is right AT THIS POINT that proper learning takes place.
If you’re in a position to do it right from the start, you can skip 1. and 2.

4. now you can concentrate on SPEAKING: you repeat after the recording, you do it as many times as necessary to become fluent
Of course, first you have to know how to pronounce the sounds of the language you’re learning. How to teach yourself the correct pronunciation is a different matter, here I will only mention the importance of it.

5. you translate the text from your own language into the language you’re learning
you can do the translation both orally and in writing, that’s why the written texts should be placed in vertical columns side by side: you can cover one side and check using the other one.

Ibelieve that repeating while reading the text is what Ardaschir has been doing all these years.
What's approximately the number of hours we're looking at here? Translation is the last step. That should take up a few hours. Given the right number of hours you could learn a language by watching tv/reading, listening to audiobooks etc or a few other "methods" that don't involve coursework. "As many times as necessary to become fluent" is a little vague.

Thanks.
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Farley
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 Message 120 of 489
17 July 2007 at 10:33am | IP Logged 
reineke wrote:
Ibelieve that repeating while reading the text is what Ardaschir has been doing all these years.
What's approximately the number of hours we're looking at here?


The whole process above is consistent with what Ardaschir and others have written about using the dual-text approach. How long it takes depends on the individual – aptitude and motivation. Personally I think the method above presupposes a good ear for sound and an intuitive grasp of grammar/syntax. Just to second your thoughts above, how you learn both is a separate matter. People who have both the ear and eye for languages often take it for granted. The rest of us have to work at it.

John



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