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How does shadowing improve fluency?

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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JasonChoi
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 Message 9 of 39
11 February 2008 at 3:38am | IP Logged 
ProfArguelles wrote:
When you shadow properly, you put the correct resonance of a new speech form directly into your auditory system and simultaneously seek to match that resonance with your vocal output. To whatever degree you are not tone deaf, you will organically perceive any mismatch as the equivalent of a musical note out of tune and, to the degree that you have talent, you will naturally and instinctively seek to correct this mismatch upon repetition by changing your output. If you get into the physical habit of reciting entire dialogues aloud and correctly, how can this fail to improve your fluency?


While I do think audio-lingualism does work to some degree, critics of the Audio-Lingual method claim that students are merely parroting and cannot create anything spontaneous.

Quote:
Far from it, the general level of material for learning languages that was produced in the 1950’s and the 1960’s was far more sophisticated than most of that which is produced today.


This is quite interesting. Can you direct me to any of this material? Also, do you have any sources that prove this claim? I would really like to know more about this.

-Jason
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Alkeides
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 Message 10 of 39
11 February 2008 at 4:27am | IP Logged 
I believe the Professor is primarily referring to the standards of the Linguaphone and Assimil methods back then, although personally, I have to volunteer Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata as another exemplary methud from that period. THe Professor has also mentioned this series in another post.
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Raincrowlee
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 Message 11 of 39
12 February 2008 at 5:28pm | IP Logged 
JasonChoi wrote:
ProfArguelles wrote:
When you shadow properly, you put the correct resonance of a new speech form directly into your auditory system and simultaneously seek to match that resonance with your vocal output. To whatever degree you are not tone deaf, you will organically perceive any mismatch as the equivalent of a musical note out of tune and, to the degree that you have talent, you will naturally and instinctively seek to correct this mismatch upon repetition by changing your output. If you get into the physical habit of reciting entire dialogues aloud and correctly, how can this fail to improve your fluency?


While I do think audio-lingualism does work to some degree, critics of the Audio-Lingual method claim that students are merely parroting and cannot create anything spontaneous.


But that's true for language students under almost any teaching method if the students haven't figured out how to transform passive input to active output.

One thing that that's being ignored in this discussion is that Prof Arguelles does a lot more than merely shadow. He also reads grammar books and other material, so he has a broader base than most. But more to the point, I believe that he has trained himself to always try to speak his target language and transfer the material that he learns through shadowing into a more active and flexible state than simply parroting. He seems to approach the audio as a supplement for his own quest in understanding the language, rather than the sum total of learning.

If a student wanted to use shadowing in an effective manner, he would have to listen and repeat what he hears, and then try to use the material to create his own output. If that last step is missing, then he will just be a parrot.

Edited by Raincrowlee on 12 February 2008 at 5:28pm

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ProfArguelles
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 Message 12 of 39
17 February 2008 at 8:56pm | IP Logged 
James, I did not take offense at your question, but simply rather at the painful reminder of the damage that the “science” of applied linguistics has done to language learning materials. When you read that certain studies say that a method is ineffective, it is quite logical to infer that other methods must have been shown to be more effective, but sadly that is not the way it works. Criticism alone is enough to further one’s career, and in the age of dumbing-down, there are many actualities in education that are the diametric opposite of the purported goals. Ultimately, the kind of study you are reading about, and, I fear, even the one you propose, are not very meaningful. If you are an educator, it would be far better to test the efficacy of various methods by using them yourself to learn languages than it would be to watch others attempt to use them. If your field of study is language acquisition, then you ought to be a polyglot, but I have never known an applied linguist who had any range or depth of mastery in foreign languages.

On the same track, Mr. Choi, for the proof that you now request, all you need to do is to compare the offerings of any series of instructional materials (Assimil, Linguaphone, Teach Yourself, Colloquial, Hugo’s, etc.) of this generation with the one that preceded it. It may be hard to find such material in quantity because most libraries do not collect it in the first place, and those that do generally jettison their older materials when they acquire replacements. However, I possess many such tomes, old and new, in great volume, and I hereby extend a very serious invitation to you to visit me and peruse my shelves if you would like to examine the damning and depressing evidence for yourself. Even Lingua Latina, excellent though it still is, has been dumbed-down from its original 1954 edition.

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Serpent
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 Message 13 of 39
18 February 2008 at 4:09am | IP Logged 
ProfArguelles wrote:
James, I did not take offense at your question, but simply rather at the painful reminder of the damage that the “science” of applied linguistics has done to language learning materials.
Just to clarify things: I'm not among the ones to blame :D I'm a student of applied linguistics, but in Russia this field doesn't include second language acquisition and language teaching, but rather things like language-related computer technologies (computational linguistics), such as automatic speech recognition, and "applying" linguistics to other sciences, eg criminalistics.
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fat_hot
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 Message 14 of 39
25 February 2008 at 2:39pm | IP Logged 
Professor Arguelles,

I would be interested to hear how you would characterize the difference in effectiveness between the shadowing technique you propose and the audio-lingual method used in Pimsleur. [In Pimsleur, for those who haven't used it, words and phrases in a dialog are drilled using cues in the native language and the correct response in the target language is then played. The frequency of new cues starts out high and then decreases, using a system they call graduated interval recall.]

Specifically, do you see it as a problem that shadowing an entire chapter of a book requires the student to spend time rehearsing material that may already have been learned, and doesn't focus the practice time on studying new and more difficult words and phrases? I think that repetition of new phrases is a factor that makes Pimsleur particularly effective.

James

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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 15 of 39
01 March 2008 at 2:24pm | IP Logged 
Professor Arguelles,

I don't doubt the effectiveness of shadowing as a method to attain/maintain fluency (in fact, I do blind-shadow a lot, i.e. with no prior knowledge of the material, and sincerely feel that I learn much from it).

However, I would like to know if you think there are any certain benefits of the method as opposed to knowing the material beforehand, e.g. reading texts and then shadow. For instance, in the thread Ideal Systematic Approach to Korean?, you suggest that shadowing should be done before anything else (#4).

Any information is helpful.

Jeff Lindqvist
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zorglub
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 Message 16 of 39
01 March 2008 at 4:06pm | IP Logged 
If I may give my two cents..

My own impression is based on efficiency:
As i don't have enough time to try shadowing the Arguelles way (I tried, I get bored, I don't progress), I don't shadoww a text i do not understand. It works very well for me. It is efficient. Because It rewards me swiftly.

But this is just one way of shadowing, that of a lazy learner, just an oligoglot, and not an in-depth connoiseur of the languages he speaks.
The results achieved with Arguelles type shadowing may be much better.

jeff_lindqvist wrote:
Professor Arguelles,

I don't doubt the effectiveness of shadowing as a method to attain/maintain fluency (in fact, I do blind-shadow a lot, i.e. with no prior knowledge of the material, and sincerely feel that I learn much from it).

However, I would like to know if you think there are any certain benefits of the method as opposed to knowing the material beforehand, e.g. reading texts and then shadow. For instance, in the thread Ideal Systematic Approach to Korean?, you suggest that shadowing should be done before anything else (#4).

Any information is helpful.

Jeff Lindqvist



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