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Polish: another attempt

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 98 of 154
12 March 2008 at 5:02am | IP Logged 
bacchanalian wrote:
I would try to find material where the audio matches the text, but don't spend too much time. Maybe check with
You-Know-Who.

In the meantime, it sounds like it would be worthwhile to go through Margarita again. Actually, I would be
inclined to stick with Margarita until you feel you are ready to shadow . . . then shadow and apply the
scriptorium technique to parts . . . then go to the next novel if desired . . . but maybe that is the wrong
approach.

I'm not clear on whether one should go through multiple novels passively before doing any shadowing . . . but I
would tend to shy away from that.



You need at least 20-30 hours of NEW texts, according to atamagaii. I'm inclined to believe him/her on this. I feel like I'd benefit a lot more from seeing words in new contexts - especially the all-too-numerous-and-irregular words that connect everything together. Doing a second novel of 10 or more hours at least twice is my best guess as to what would be optimal. With "The Master and Margarita", the rate that I'm learning is slowing down as I do more passes: partly because there's less left to learn, and partly because it's limited: words only appear so many times, and in so many contexts, and they don't change from one reading of the novel to the next.

Sticking with only "The Master and Margarita" strikes me as the wrong approach; I think I need a bit more input. Shadowing and doing scriptorium work on it would be largely missing the point of L-R, in my opinion: it's still too early, and I don't think that doing another 3 passes through it would fix that, though it would help. If I do a 4th pass, it will be in parallel with preparing materials for another book.

The way L-R works, in my understanding, is as follows:
- L-R at least 20-30 hours of NEW texts, repeatedly, for 40-90 hours of exposure.
- At this point, you should be reasonably comfortable with 'natural listening'.
- Then, and only then, start active work.

There are perfectly legitimate approaches that require working one thing to death (whether it's a syllable, a novel, or anything in-between) and require early output. L-R isn't one of them.


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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 100 of 154
12 March 2008 at 6:49am | IP Logged 
bacchanalian wrote:
Okay, okay. Then in light of what you are telling me I think you should stick to her prescribed range of hours -
- which is apparently just a guideline as to when you might expect to have attained the coveted "natural
listening." Since you have a modicum of Polish under your belt (This is your second attempt at Polish?) you might enter a natural listening state toward the low end of the number range she gave.


My first attempt was pretty minimal; I L-R'd "Animal farm" (a fairly short book, with about 4 hours of audio, if I remember correctly) twice, and then decided that "The Master and Margarita" was too hard and ran into a dead end. In the meanwhile, I've tried L-R with other languages, and done more 'serious' reading of fiction in English (which was something I hadn't done in about 3 years), and found "The Master and Margarita" usable this time.

I think that my first experiment can be more or less summed up by "I didn't understand 'how are you?' at the end of it". I picked up more Polish in those 10 or so hours than I did Persian during my 6-week experiment, where I mixed the Assimil passive wave and blind shadowing, but still not a lot.

This experiment has been much more successful, so far.

bacchanalian wrote:

I think you should jettison the material where the Polish audio doesn't match the Polish text if you can find
something better. If you can't, then you will have to use it. As you know, the key step is reading the English
while listening to the Polish anyway.

....

Maybe she has something better can give you...



Atamagaii posted what s/he has in the first page of this thread. I find Harry Potter unusable for L-R. That basically leaves some works by Hans Christian Andersen, Animal Farm (which I could use again, I suppose), Süskind's "Perfume", and materials which aren't in English.

Perfume looks rather too gory for my tastes; it's about a guy who doesn't have a smell, turns into a mass murderer, and then, having made a perfume, is ripped apart and eaten by other people. While I foolishly bought a copy of it and corresponding audiobook for German some months ago without realizing how warped it was, I'm less than convinced that I'd enjoy L-R'ing it. Bear in mind that I have trouble with some parts of "The Master and Margarita" for being too gross/violent.

What this boils down to, then, is the list of options I presented yesterday. If I read the appropriate works by Camus in English first, the French approach may be doable; I quite enjoyed using French-Spanish texts for "The Little Prince" after having done one pass with an English-Spanish text. The major difference in that case is that French and Spanish are quite similar to each other, English, and Italian; I could use my knowledge of one to shore up almost all the holes in the other. This wouldn't be the case yet with Polish.

bacchanalian wrote:

If you can't find something better, you can consider going straight (or sooner rather than later) to the step
where you read the English while listening to the Polish with the material in question.


Ehm, what's your understanding of what I'm currently doing? While I refer to the written Polish to various degrees, I -read- the English while listening to the Polish audio. Different versions of the text make these referrals more difficult and fragmentary, but don't fundamentally change much at this step.

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 102 of 154
12 March 2008 at 9:25am | IP Logged 
bacchanalian wrote:
My understanding of what you were doing was:

(a) if not a parallel text you would do a somewhat standard LR -- read L2 (Polish) while listening to L2, then
subsequently read L1 (English) while listening to L2

(b) if a parallel text you would take a quick read of L1 as you were going, but read L2 while listening to L2


Then I've explained it rather poorly. That's very different from what I'm doing.

For a), I don't share FSI's approach (the user, not the courses or institute) of alternating L1 and L2 sweeps. I -only- read in L1 if I don't have a parallel text, at least in the context of L-R (other techniques I've used previous to trying L-R would just cloud this discussion further).

For b), it's another story. The following is -only- a description of what I do in 'stage 3', without touching on the other stages.

I (as close as I can to) -always- read the English text; I vary in how much I read the Polish text. There are a few ways that I do this; I'll describe the extremes, and an interpolation.
Extreme 1: I only read the English. I make an effort to read it at exactly the same time as the corresponding Polish, although different orderings of clauses within a sentence make this slightly hit-and-miss.
Extreme 2: I read some amount of text, up to a paragraph, during a gap in the narration, such as when there's a pause between sentences. Then, I follow along with the Polish at the same time as the speaker.
Middle ground: I mix the two techniques. For particularly difficult, long, fast, or new passages, I tend towards extreme 1. This is a continuum. No matter where on the contiuum I am, I do read the English. What varies is the attention paid to the written Polish: from -none-, to glancing at some words/phrases, to reading all of it.

I let the balance be entirely driven by 'intuition', or what feels right at the time. Forcing myself one way or the other is either boring (too little Polish) or amazingly distracting (forcing myself to read both when I'm not ready to), and hence detrimental.

I've also done one other thing which doesn't quite fit on this continuum. For particularly easy/familiar passages, I've experimented with 'reading' the Polish and glancing heavily over at the English. This could equally legitimately be analyzed as reading the English as I do it (since I end up reading it all anyway); the difference is that I tend to hit the English somewhat -after- the speech this way, and end up focusing perhaps 40-80% of my attention on the Polish, making it the centerpiece and the English something that I just refer to. I found doing this briefly to be useful, but I have no intention of using this as my primary technique at this point.

For what it's worth, I first used the mainly-reading-L2 technique with Spanish, using a Spanish-French parallel text. It becomes more pleasant and natural as my level in L1 and L2 converge, I find.

----------
The above has largely been discovered through trial and error. Some errors have only become apparent to me recently, though I've found that atamagaii -did- warn about them; the largest of these is doing too much intentional analysis. I'm still working out how to best balance this; my 'thoughts on L-R' thread reflects a bit of my current state of mind, open questions, and how I'm experimenting on this.

In the end, I think L-R is a relatively radical technique. Specifically, I think everyone needs to tailor it a bit for him/herself, rather than taking a 1-size-fits-all 300 page paint-by-the-numbers description and internalizing it. Then again, I could be wrong.

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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6308 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 104 of 154
12 March 2008 at 11:24am | IP Logged 
bacchanalian wrote:
It seems like what you are doing is reasonable. I believe the most important part of the whole passive part of
the process is to make sure that when you are hearing L2 you are understanding the meaning . . . which you
are by reading L1 and/or L2. (Oh, and don't forget love and incubation.) You have some experience with this
now, and you have talked to atamagaii more than I.

Personally, I believe that it would be most efficient to do LR at a more intermediate stage (this is what Dr.
Arguelles said in a post to me). However, this is great that you are doing this as an experiment.


I'm actually a convinced fan of using this method from the very beginning. My passive knowledge of Polish is miles ahead of where I was in any other language after a similar amount of study, assuming that language wasn't already largely transparent to me.

Outside of the Romance and Germanic languages, and Esperanto, I've only made serious attempts at Japanese, Polish, and Persian. My excursions into Polish have been, by far, the most quickly rewarding. This definitely isn't a matter of grammar; Persian is much, much simpler and more English-like grammatically. Vocabulary in both Persian and Polish is fairly far from that of English.

I'm not convinced one way or another about the idea of doing pure L-R and nothing else from the beginning; I've found the time I've spent with reference grammars and grammar charts to be a good investment overall, even though I found some particular grammars and ways of using them to not be particularly effective.

My current stance is to respectfully disagree with Professor Arguelles, and to agree with atamagaii, on early stages of study. My experience with blind shadowing has been fairly disappointing. I find shadowing from the beginning to be ok -only- for familiar languages (ie, ones closely related to ones I already have some level in, and which I can already understand a lot of and which are largely grammatically familiar). For further-afield languages, it's a much more mixed tool at the earliest stage, in my opinion.

I think that if your goal is indeed to learn a large number of languages in parallel, over a long period of time, Professor Arguelles' technique is better. I experimented with daily shadowing of 6 languages last summer, using Assimil courses. I made progress in all of them, and I seem to forget less learned through shadowing than through L-R. But I also pick up a lot less through shadowing in the same period of time. L-R is optimized for learning -one- language quickly and intensively; Professor Arguelles' techniques are optimized for something else entirely.

I may well change opinion on this; I have on quite a lot of things related to language learning over the last year. But that's my current opinion nonetheless.


bacchanalian wrote:

And maybe
this will work for languages for which good learning materials aren't readily available. Who knows, maybe this
process will end up being very efficient.


That would be great, but those languages tend to be rather short on L-R material as well, unfortunately.

bacchanalian wrote:

And again, I see no reason for you not to count Animal Farm as "new" material. I have not read the English
book but I have glanced at it in a bookstore. It seemed like it might be suitable for LR, although the
translation is obviously important. 1984 is another decent read by Orwell that has probably been widely
translated. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are other possibilities. I don't know how set you are on
using parallel texts.


The reason not to count it as new material is quite simple: it's not. I've previously L-R'd in Polish with it. I may use it again anyhow. The translation is fine.

I've read both 1984 and Animal farm a few times each. They translate much better than Tolkien's works do. Also, heretically enough, I'm not a particularly big Tolkien fan. I originally thought that that was just because I was too young to appreciate LoTR at 8, but I didn't like it any better rereading it as an adult.

I'm fairly set on using parallel texts, at least for this experiment.

bacchanalian wrote:

As for my Spanish quest, I will probably save LR for a somewhat later stage. Let's hope the translations of the
Dan Brown novels are suitable for my purposes (e.g. more suitable than the Harry Potter translations). You
know the technique I plan on using. The good thing about it is it works for non-parallel texts (even though it
might not be as enjoyable as your methodologies).

If I ever decide to pick up another language(s) I might try reading a grammar primer and then going straight to
LR. If it doesn't work well for me I can then do Assimil, FSI etc.


Actually, I don't know which of the many things you've written about that you're referring to as the technique you're planning on using. The Spanish translations I've seen of Dan Brown novels looked ok at a glance, but I haven't read a full page of any of them.

Good luck.



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