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Strategy: Learn 600 words a week.

 Language Learning Forum : Questions About Your Target Languages Post Reply
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apparition
Octoglot
Senior Member
United States
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600 posts - 667 votes 
Speaks: English*, Arabic (Written), French, Arabic (Iraqi), Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Pashto

 
 Message 153 of 167
16 October 2007 at 2:33pm | IP Logged 
This thread has gone on so many tangents!With respect to xtreme's method, I think I've found something that works better for me.

I have a bunch of dialogues/texts in Gujarati that have wordlists with definitions. I find that it's enormously helpful for me to read aloud the wordlists, then read the passage right after that. Then I do it again. I listen to the recording as well, in between attempts, to get the feel of the language. I don't have a translation, but having the words is enough to get the meaning, as long as the texts mainly stick to using the previous vocabulary (which mine do).

Then, when I'm away from the passage, I listen to the recording. I usually retain 90% of the meaning. Overall, I'd say I've learned about 300 words this past week (I've been going like a madman).

So, that's my experience. The flashcard thing was a good stepping-stone to what I'm doing now, but this is more enjoyable.
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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 154 of 167
16 October 2007 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
Apparition,

That's okay, I'm enjoying the discussion. :)

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Linguamor
Decaglot
Senior Member
United States
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469 posts - 599 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch

 
 Message 155 of 167
16 October 2007 at 3:51pm | IP Logged 
apparition wrote:

I have a bunch of dialogues/texts in Gujarati that have wordlists with definitions. I find that it's enormously helpful for me to read aloud the wordlists, then read the passage right after that. Then I do it again. I listen to the recording as well, in between attempts, to get the feel of the language. I don't have a translation, but having the words is enough to get the meaning, as long as the texts mainly stick to using the previous vocabulary (which mine do).

Then, when I'm away from the passage, I listen to the recording.


This is very similar to what I did when working with dialogs/texts in language learning materials.

The method I used:

I glanced over the vocabulary and any grammar notes.

I read the dialog or text, checking vocabulary when necessary.

I repeatedly read the dialog or text until I could understand it without checking words or grammar, and without thinking in any language except the target language.

I listened to the dialog or text until it became very familiar and I could understand it easily.


I worked with dialogs and texts without recordings the same way, reading them until they became very familiar and I could understand them easily.


What I would change:

I would begin listening to the dialog or text earlier.



Edited by Linguamor on 16 October 2007 at 10:54pm

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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 156 of 167
16 October 2007 at 6:57pm | IP Logged 
Linguamor,

Quote:

I think the main opposition to your suggestion was that people felt that you were encouraging learners to communicate without regard to the accuracy of the language the learners were producing.   


This is where they were wrong. Accuracy is important. But Accuracy that is aligned with skill is even more important. The synchronization of accuracy and skill should progress and develop together. This means, to speak with ZERO GRAMMAR --> BASIC GRAMMAR --> INT GRAMMAR --> ADVANCED GRAMMAR. etc. But at all points, there are opportunities to speak. Complexity/sophistication increases and develops over time with experience and progression.

Too many learners are learning how to swim by reading a book and not jumping into the pool and just doing it.

Quote:

Some people believe that by waiting as long as possible to begin speaking that the language learner will make fewer errors. However, in my experience most language learners would like to start speaking sooner rather than later. Directed output that is based on comprehensible input, rather than free output, allows them to start speaking very soon without sacrificing accuracy.


From my experience, the longer you wait to speak, the longer it will take to speak. The earlier you speak, the earlier you will find out the type of errors you make, the sooner you will understand and correct them.

Waiting long to speak is like studying for a major exam right now that is 2-years down the road, without any little quizzes/tests in between. You need to know where you stand.

I think trying to avoid errors is the wrong way to do it. Making errors should be encouraged, as they present many good memorable learning opportunities.
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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 157 of 167
16 October 2007 at 7:02pm | IP Logged 
Linguamor,

Quote:

Acquiring vocabulary through comprehensible input means acquiring vocabulary by understanding language that is being used to communicate. Pre-learning of vocabulary, looking words up in a dictionary, and looking at a translation, as well as inferring and guessing meaning from context, are all valid means of accessing the meaning of the input.


Yes, this is what I also wanted to hear.
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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 158 of 167
16 October 2007 at 7:40pm | IP Logged 
We don't expect to understand our L2 within the framework of L1. This is pretty clear, and if anything we try to detach ourselves from L1 as much as we can, in order to therby THINK in L2.

I don't think anyone is suggesting we remain in L1 to understand L2.

However, my suggestion is, as we are learning we should focus on deriving meaning instead of figuring things out 'perfectly.' Our accuracy/perfection/refinement of this meaning will go through several 'filters' as we progress and study. We will become better at perfecting (filtering) meaning over time.

Beginners should learn how to derive meaning, learn how to recognize words and think about their order/sequence and about the meaning(s) that could be inferred. The more vocabularly they know initially, the easier it will become to do this, particularly while they read. The more practice they get, the better they will become and they will naturally pick up alot of grammar due to exposure of reading. Many already do this, by using a dictionary as they encounter a new word, they look it up.

My suggestion is simple, memorize the words in advance (by using technology such as word counters), so when you do encounter words, the necessity of a dictionary would be minimized. Not only do you rely less on the dictionary (that impedes reading speed), you will remember words with regards to their importance (frequency) in the context and read more efficiently.

Memorizing these words will aid in efficiency of reading. Sure, you can take your frequency list, find the definitions and have them written on paper for reference as you read -- without any memorization. This works as well. But you still need to refer to that list. It is more productive just to memorize it, not only do you prevent this cross-referencing with dictionaries/wordlists (that takes time) but you now have added more words to your vocabulary. Learning more vocabulary never harmed anybody.

Get the BIG picture then focus on the little details after.


Edited by xtremelingo on 16 October 2007 at 7:41pm

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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 159 of 167
16 October 2007 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
Linguamor,

Quote:

If you say it this way, I don't disagree. Actually, let me say it more precisely, if awkwardly. A memorized word list, like a dictionary, can be an AID - something that helps, but is not sufficient on its own - you need some previous knowledge of the language - to understanding language you have not YET acquired which is embedded in language which you have ALREADY acquired, this already acquired language also providing context and help to access the meaning.


I totally understand what you are saying here. I am not saying you will learn language by memorizing JUST vocabulary words independently, without any further study. Hell no.

My whole point of this thread was to demonstrate efficiency techniques.

1. If you are going to use a dictionary to look up words while you read. Why not, use technology like a word counter to find all the unique words that you are likely to look-up anyways. Look them up directly, by letting the word-counter tell you what unique words exists in the document, how often they appear, so that not only will you look up all the words you will be needing, but you will focus on the words that are the MOST important in that particular context. After you have memorized the words (by using things such as flashcards or wordlists, that you would have looked up anyways), then you read like you normally would.

What you will find is, reading will become tremendously faster when you don't have to constantly flip through pages of dictionaries. It is tedious to do this, and it is a quick motivation killer when reading feels too mechanical and labourous.

Memory is one of the fastest and efficient tools you have. Use it.


Edited by xtremelingo on 16 October 2007 at 7:57pm

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frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5853 days ago

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

 
 Message 160 of 167
17 October 2007 at 1:07am | IP Logged 
xtremelingo wrote:
Memory is one of the fastest and efficient tools you have. Use it.


If the reading matter of interest is available digitally, which it would have to for the frequency word-counter approach to apply, a good pop-up electronic dictionary installed on the user's computer is another tool that is fast and efficient, and it allows one to look up the words in the context in which they occur.


Edited by frenkeld on 17 October 2007 at 9:53am



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