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Strategy: Learn 600 words a week.

 Language Learning Forum : Questions About Your Target Languages Post Reply
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xtremelingo
Trilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 5197 days ago

398 posts - 515 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Punjabi*
Studies: German, French, Arabic (Written)

 
 Message 89 of 167
10 October 2007 at 9:50pm | IP Logged 
Apparition,

Thank you for trying the system. Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Quote:

1) It was fun for me to write the words. This is probably due to the novelty of writing the script and being able to pronounce the words as they are written.
2) I've made about 150 flashcards because I ran out of cards to make them. I would have gladly spent all week writing the cards out it was so fun for me.


Great! :) This is a very important component to the system. You learn alot by just writing things down.

Quote:

2) I've made about 150 flashcards because I ran out of cards to make them. I would have gladly spent all week writing the cards out it was so fun for me.


It's totally ok to start with 100 in the beginning. I suggest 200 generally after you have established a sense of comfort for it first.

Quote:

there are cards that I've reviewed ten times and still can't remember. Obviously this isn't restricted to xtreme's system, but I thought I'd share the difficulty anyway.


This is actually a good thing. You have now pinpointed key areas of difficulty. It would be harder to see this if you had memorized a larger stack of cards initially, since the exposure/frequency of these words being tested would be very little compared to a smaller set. In this way, you can focus on these cards until you get 100% before you proceed where memorization will become increasingly challenging.

Quote:

As far as 10 + 10 = 20, then 20 + 20 = 40 goes? I didn't feel much like reviewing the cards I already knew. They were so automatic when I knew them, that I decided to alter what seemed to be a key component to the system. I took out the words I knew and kept the words I didn't. Couldn't help it, really.


Actually, this is evidence that the system may have been working for you. The goal is for the cards to become familiar to you as you increase the deck. This demonstrates you have learned them. If you couldn't rememember them as you continued, then it wasn't working for you. Don't remove the cards, even when you feel confident initially that you know them. Because these same words will start looking unfamiliar once you start reaching the levels of 200+ cards, and when you start adding multiple items per card (in the future). The real challenge actually starts when you can pass through 100+ cards with 100% accuracy in one complete go.

If you were finding it too easy to recognize the words early on, don't remove the cards, but instead increase the total number of cards instead -- increase your challenge, don't remove challenges. Try to increase the total amount of cards in the original decks. Instead of starting with 10 card decks, start with 15. Control the difficulty/challenge level according to your needs. If it's too difficult with 10, reduce it to 5. But still follow the same memorization order. Eventually, you will find your own balance of what works for you effectively.

Quote:

) I only do flashcards max 10 minutes at a time throughout the day. I can't do more than that. My mind rebels and wants to do something else pronto.


Most definitely. It really does take some time getting used to rote memorization techniques. With practice and positive results this motivation may increase. I highly suggest you finish the entire method and get to the meat. When you get to 100-200+ words, you will be amazed, particularly when you can do them all in one go. This is where the real results show themselves. The steps before are just the building up to the climax.

Another cause of difficulty can be,

If you are new/inexperienced in reading the script. This is definitely going to pose some additional challenges as opposed to if the language you were studying was in a script you could fluently read i.e. romance languages or whatever you are fluent in.

Everyone should expect that if they use this method on a brand new script, then expect to take a little more time.

The factor of different script can slow you down tremendously as you are not only learning how to memorize the vocabulary/structures itself, but reading the script simutaneously, which requires synthesizing the alphabet/symbols to sounds -- which is a form of symbol -> sound memorization and then from there sound (word) --> equivalent meaning memorization. So basically a two-step process, as opposed to one-step if you can read the script fluently. i.e. English/French, etc.

Edited by xtremelingo on 10 October 2007 at 9:53pm

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xtremelingo
Trilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 5197 days ago

398 posts - 515 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Punjabi*
Studies: German, French, Arabic (Written)

 
 Message 90 of 167
10 October 2007 at 10:55pm | IP Logged 
I did not get a chance to read all the follow-up responses to this thread, but I will do so probably tommorow after I get some work done today.

However, I agree with Iversen on most of these points.

Personally, I am not saying memorize words and expect to know how to use these same words all of a sudden in context in a grammatically perfect sentence or even perfect expression of meaning. This is where learning (and memorizing) grammar is important.

The goal is to have a plentiful supply of words, expressions in your head, so when you do read and learn in context you have something to actually work with. It also makes life a little more efficient and far less annoying when you don't have to constantly flip through hundreds of pages to find words. If you are the type of learner that constantly uses a dictionary as you read, why not speed the process up by memorizing the very same words (that you are looking up) in your head? Even more effective, if you memorize the words that you are most likely to use (high-frequency/lexemes).

Reading in context is extremely difficult, if you have nothing to work with initially.

Sometimes knowing the equivalent involves understanding how to take that meaning of isolated words and manipulating their meanings to fit context.

So lets pretend a person knew ZERO french (absolutely a new beginner with zero vocabulary), and without any specific knowledge of grammar, they wish to understand the following sentence/paragraph:

Boeing a pris du retard dans la fabrication de son avion de ligne de nouvelle génération.

They may then try to synthesize this meaning by learning all words that exist in this sentence, before actually really reading it. I would do this, to get an 'idea' (and I stress 'idea' heavily) of what is going on. They don't know the grammar yet, they may miss alot of tenses and other elements that affect the meaning, but they will get the jist of what is happening.

So lets pretend a beginner, decided to learned/memorized each word seperately (out of context). Remember, I am only referring to reading NOT writing.

In their *head* they translate:

Boeing. has. taken. of. delay. in. manufacture. of. sound. plane. of. line. of. new. generation.

Although this direct literal translation is gramatically incorrect.

It does not imply a meaning can not be extracted from it, using common sense.

Now using an element of common sense, we can see that

Boeing has been delayed in the manufacturing <?> of a line of new generation aircraft.

Sure when reading it, it may not flow very well and be choppy. However, the meaning is pretty clear. Think about how we skim reading in our native language, to read things faster and get an idea/meaning quickly. It is basically the same principle.

Although the translation and fluidity is undesirable. We can still derive logical meaning from this when reading, after we have taken words memorized and then place them into context.

Ideally, you wouldn't continue this way or write this way (because I would expect learners to improve and progress). However, this does not mean you can't read/understand this way. You will start reading much sooner (which is the most important thing), develop those skills in reading, recognizing those patterns and sequences to the point that you will learn alot about the grammar through reading in itself.

Sometimes I think grammar can be taught directly from reading alot, without any need to explicitly study it. Although I do study it, but I feel this way.

For the absolute beginner with zero knowledge and has studied high frequency vocabulary, and is getting into the basics of grammar, this will essentially get them reading sooner and deriving meanings without explicitly worrying about complicated grammar rules initially. Worrying about specifics and details without getting to the point of understanding can be demotivating -- even if it may be slightly incorrect understanding initially. This will become improved with lots of practice, experience and further study. Perfectionism in understanding is what often slows learners down. Expect perfection to come with experience and practice.

Don't forget grammar, but instead learn some grammar through reading alot as it is much more fun reading real material especially in initial stages where quick results are important to motivation. Eventually, you will notice patterns and way the language is constructed without specifically needing to study those particular constructs.

Many people on this forum have excellent grammar, and I am quite sure a good portion of them may not have actually studied the grammar itself. They just 'know how to do it.' Most of their success in formulating grammatically correct sentences often have to do with exposure to reading alot of good material and practice in writing.

Reading alot does help in writing and expression.

Edited by xtremelingo on 12 October 2007 at 5:39am

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xtremelingo
Trilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 5197 days ago

398 posts - 515 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Punjabi*
Studies: German, French, Arabic (Written)

 
 Message 91 of 167
10 October 2007 at 11:31pm | IP Logged 
^^^^

Back in the old school days, they didn't have the luxury to do this, because it was inefficient due to the lack of tools/technology to make the process more efficient and thus effective/reliable. The tools and technology were unavailable to study language in such a way. Therefore much of the research in doing it this way doesn't even exist. Now tools/technology exists, and I can predict the research will change with it. Very important tools such as:

- frequency word counters w/flash-cards (software or paper) - for this thread.
- automated translators/dictionaries
- language exchange over VoIP (voIP is a relatively new invention.)
- flash-card software

This is why I am not surprised when old/outdated research does not 'support' some methods, because generally they are also unaware of the new technology that would allow learners to learn this way. Only until research has investigated and taken these technologies into account, could we accurately determine whether learning a language this way is ineffective or effective.

Frequency word counters are definitely a very critical tool, because now you have the ability to acquire and study/memorize specific vocabulary before reading. This is a highly efficient way of reading sooner. Language-exchange offers the luxury of native speakers to your computer door-step that was once impossible.

Learn smarter, not harder.

At one point in time, sending snail mail was a very efficient method of communication across the world. Then the internet was invented. At one point, horse-buggy was the best way to get around-town. Then they developed cars.


Edited by xtremelingo on 10 October 2007 at 11:43pm

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frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5853 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 92 of 167
11 October 2007 at 12:03am | IP Logged 
Linguamor wrote:
Of course, there is no reason why these larger stretches of language could not be learned in the native-language > target language direction from flashcards and wordlists ... The practical problem is the large number of flashcards that would have to be used to cover even a fraction of the items that the language learner needs to learn. For this reason, most of it will still have to be acquired from exposure to comprehensible language - reading, watching tv and movies, listening to radio, conversing with native speakers, etc.


The need for comprehensible input is never in doubt, the question was more to what extent memorizing vocabulary in the native->target direction speeds up the development of active skills, i.e., whether one would be better off investing one's time into something else for that purpose.

I haven't been doing it myself, so I don't really have an opinion on this issue, but it does appear that enough people review vocabulary in the native->target direction that it might well be helpful unless misused in some fashion.


Edited by frenkeld on 11 October 2007 at 12:24am

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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5613 days ago

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 Message 93 of 167
11 October 2007 at 5:00am | IP Logged 
xtremelingo wrote:
... You will start reading much sooner (which is the most important thing), develop those skills in reading, recognizing those patterns and sequences to the point that you will learn alot about the grammar through reading in itself.....


I totally agree, except maybe on one point: I do think the use of a grammar at an early stage is a good idea - though it is absolutely not a good idea to start reading it from page 1 to page 2785! Even a novice will need some morphology at a very early stage. I have proposed to write some simplified tables on a piece of cardboard and keep it within reach for easy reference, - that will lessen the need to do rote memorization here and now, and it will ease the process of inferring the system from context (whatever approach you prefer). Later it may be practical to consult the syntax part of a grammar now and then, not to learn the rules by heart, but to make sense of the things you meet while reading or listening to genuine utterances. A grammar should be seen rather as a friend you can consult when you are in trouble than as an army oficer who is entitled to push you around.


Edited by Iversen on 11 October 2007 at 6:16am

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leosmith
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5460 days ago

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

 
 Message 94 of 167
11 October 2007 at 11:03am | IP Logged 
apparition wrote:
As far as 10 + 10 = 20, then 20 + 20 = 40 goes? I didn't feel much like reviewing the cards I already knew.

good call

apparition wrote:
I took out the words I knew and kept the words I didn't.

I think it's ok to review the easy words less frequently, but wouldn't take them out of the stack until you've had at least 3 days in a row of correct answers. If you want to stay in paper (rather than computer), these cards could go into an "easy" pile, which you could review less frequently, but not zero.

apparition wrote:
there are cards that I've reviewed ten times and still can't remember

Rather than high numbers of reviews (more than 2 per day) I recommend using mnemonics for the tough ones.

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apparition
Octoglot
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United States
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Speaks: English*, Arabic (Written), French, Arabic (Iraqi), Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Pashto

 
 Message 95 of 167
11 October 2007 at 11:29am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the tips, guys!
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Linguamor
Decaglot
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United States
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 Message 96 of 167
11 October 2007 at 1:35pm | IP Logged 
xtremelingo wrote:

Boeing. has. taken. of. delay. in. manufacture. of. sound. plane. of. line. of. news. generation.

Although this direct literal translation is gramatically incorrect.

It does not imply a meaning can not be extracted from it, using common sense.

Now using an element of common sense, we can see that

Boeing has been delayed in the manufacturing <?> of a line of new generation aircraft.

Sure when reading it, it may not flow very well and be choppy. However, the meaning is pretty clear.


I don't think the meaning of <Boeing. has. taken. of. delay. in. manufacture. of. sound. plane. of. line. of. news. generation.> is clear. I'll try running it by some native English speakers to see what meaning they can come up with.



Edited by Linguamor on 11 October 2007 at 3:34pm



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