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Shadowing demonstration video

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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Russianbear
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5321 days ago

358 posts - 422 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, Ukrainian
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 9 of 56
21 March 2008 at 10:12am | IP Logged 
Professor, thanks a lot for this demonstration video. It is very impressive and inspirational. I have read your posts about shadowing before and I imagined it to be somewhat different. Perhaps I didn't expect it to be this intense. However, with Chinese being so different from the languages I speak, maybe I am getting a wrong impression.

I would like to second rob's suggestion for another video where a viewer can hear the same thing you are hearing. That would be helpful as far as the mechanics of the method go and would answer questions of just how much of a delay is there and just how closely you try to duplicate/mimic the actor's intonations. I know a boombox isn't supposed to be a part of the method, but it could be useful for demonstration purposes. May I also suggest using one of the more common languages (like Spanish or German or French) instead of Chinese, so that the majority of us would be able to get a greater understanding of just how you approach it as far as intonations and rythms go.

Thanks.

Nick

Edited by Russianbear on 21 March 2008 at 10:23am

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Ruan
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 Message 10 of 56
22 March 2008 at 10:46am | IP Logged 
What is the length of the recordings you shadow? As I saw in this video, it's around 30 seconds. I've been trying to shadow recordings¹ with varying sizes without reading them (blind shadowing), and I noticed that recordings longer than 1 minute¹ are not effective as they do not give a feeling of repetition. There should be a balance between failure and reward, and recordings longer than 1 minute makes you fail so much without seeing any improvements. Is it right?

¹: These experiments were conducted in various languages, through audiobooks of varying nature and length. All the recordings were made at natural velocities, and were intended to entertain native speakers rather than help language students. I tried a huge variety of languages just to make sure that I was developing the technique properly, but my studies were mainly focused at English and Mandarin Chinese, with great sucess.
_

Qual é o tamanho das gravações em que você faz shadowing? Pelo que eu vi no vídeo, é perto de 30 segundos. Eu tentei fazer shadowing em gravações¹ sem olhar na transcrição, e eu percebi que gravações maiores que 1 minuto não são eficazes porque não dão a sensação de repetição. Nos estudos deve haver um equilíbrio entre fracasso e recompensa, e em gravações com mais de um minuto eu falho muito sem ver melhoras. Estou certo, ou minha técnica ainda está imatura?

Edited by Ruan on 22 March 2008 at 11:12am

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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 11 of 56
23 March 2008 at 8:06pm | IP Logged 
A picture being worth a thousand words, I naively thought that making this video would answer most of the questions and uncertainties about my shadowing technique. Instead, it seems to only have stirred up more interested queries, which I suppose is actually a very good thing, although I do not know how I am supposed to answer then. Ultimately, it seems, to a degree that even I truly did not know, shadowing is a technique or a skill or an art that I cannot explain in words but must most likely demonstrate and actually train in person. Shooting an arrow from a bow or playing music through a flute or other instrument may look relatively simple, but one can only describe so far in words how these things are done.

I simply and truly cannot understand what it is that you all can not understand about the principle of speaking simultaneously with the recording. At any rate, in the next shadowing video I make, I will indeed endeavor to allow you all to hear what it is that I am hearing, though a) that will indeed violate the very purpose of the exercise, (i.e., require illustration of wrong practice), and b) be technically difficult. I do not suppose anyone knows of any kind of earphone adapter that will allow the recording to be heard both through the speakers and through the earphones simultaneously? Also, I will follow the suggestion to use a mix of more commonly studied languages as demonstration material. I did not do that this time because I wanted to make an authentic presentation. I am actually learning Chinese by this method right now, and I thought it would be best to show that.

Regarding, earphones, yes, the $100 audiophile type are actually undesirable in that they insulate you from the vibrations of your own voice, which you emphatically need to sense. Actually, I had not thought to stress the quality of the earphones at all; the point I was trying to make is that headphones that go over your ears do not deliver the same effect as earphones that are inserted in your ears.

Regarding the length of the material to be shadowed, that can vary greatly. If you find 30 seconds or 1 minute to be optimal for concentrated repetition, certainly you should work with that. The lessons in the Assimil Chinese manual I am working with are closer to 90 seconds, and if I were actively learning them one by one, then I would indeed repeat that length of material several times in a row. However, these days I take a more global approach and cycle through all the material on the tape.

Regarding the fast pace and the abrupt turns I make: the turns are only for the sake of staying within range of the camera, but the pace is very important. I have seen some groups of joggers who can converse as they run; if I could do this, I would, but I cannot. Still, I endeavor always to remain at the fastest walking pace I can without breaking into a run. Having experimented with learning and studying languages in every fashion imaginable, I have simply found this to be the best and most effective technique, so what you see in this video is indeed what good, hard, serious, intense, intensive foreign language study should look like. Obviously I sit down to write, but for imprinting meaningful new sound systems in your mind, this is what works best. In doing this, you not only kill the proverbial two birds with one stone, you kill four:

1)     you acquire a new language in the most efficient fashion
2)     you get physical exercise in nature
3)     you overcome the normal and natural psychological and physical inhibitions against speaking your new language aloud
4)     you bring language learning out of the closet, as it were, and while some make think you are strange (most, in truth, are too caught up in their own lives and concerns to really pay you any mind), occasionally at least you just may inspire others to study as well.

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andee
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 Message 12 of 56
24 March 2008 at 1:37am | IP Logged 
ProfArguelles wrote:
I do not suppose anyone knows of any kind of earphone adapter that will allow the recording to be heard both through the speakers and through the earphones simultaneously?


You can buy a double-adapter type of connection for the typical 1/8 inch headphone input at most electronic stores. From there you could use the headphones on one line and a set of portable speakers on the second line. Although, you would probably have to be stationary.. Unless you could mount the speakers on your belt or something..
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Cherepaha
Diglot
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 Message 13 of 56
27 March 2008 at 12:20am | IP Logged 
"[...] Whenever I have taught this technique to groups of college students, they have inevitably found it difficult to develop proper form. Initially, they find it strange to study while in motion and would prefer to remain seated. Once moving, they find it hard to break out of a comfortable stroll, and they are chronically inclined to slouch. They are also very much prone to muttering hesitantly or even just listening silently.

Different people learn in different fashions, and it may well be that the most effective way for you to use this technique is in a less military fashion than I am demonstrating. However, I have experimented with every manner of using this technique, and I have always found that compromising any of the above three points even slightly reduces the efficacy of the method to a very great degree.[...]"

Professor,

Thank you very much for producing and posting this video and for the accompanying instructions!

I find it most fascinating that what you are demonstrating is remarkably familiar to me. This is exactly how I’d been preparing for all of my exams (7 high school exit exams and 4 University entrance exams in one summer at some stage, and later all the way through the various academic programs). Very fast walk regardless of how much space was available and repeating the material out loud, while either reading it or just recapping what I’ve read from memory. I have found that the faster I walked the more intense the process of learning inevitably became. Slowing down was reducing my productivity. I would agree with you that “almost running” is optimal.

My other condition would be the temperature of the air, though. I find that my productivity drops in the heat. The temperatures in the 60s work and in the 70s degrees Fahrenheit are probably optimal. I wonder to which extent that preference is connected to the individual predisposition. I know that you have lived in many places with a very hot climate, and clearly you were able to study quite effectively despite the heat. Do you find any correlation between the temperature that is comfortable for you and the speed at which learning can occur?

Thank you,

Varia
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ronp
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Studies: Turkish, Swahili

 
 Message 14 of 56
30 March 2008 at 3:37pm | IP Logged 
Dear Professor,

Just to say thank you for making your experience(s) available
through this forum and now some clips.

It took me a while to read most of the old postings, so that
is what I have been doing the last weeks, lurking in the shades,
so to speak.

I was pleasantly surprised with this forum, being extremely interested
in the topic of polyglottery. A translator by trade now, and former
philosophy student, I actually enjoy the process of learning new
languages and the new perspectives this offers.

I currently do not have any questions to ask you, since a lot has been
discussed in previous postings, which will take some more time to digest
and apply.

But thank you once again and perhaps I may have some questions for you
at a later stage.

Kind regards,

Ron Peek



Edited by ronp on 01 June 2008 at 4:55am

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Ruan
Diglot
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 Message 15 of 56
30 March 2008 at 4:24pm | IP Logged 
Cherepaha wrote:

My other condition would be the temperature of the air, though. I find that my productivity drops in the heat. The temperatures in the 60s work and in the 70s degrees Fahrenheit are probably optimal. I wonder to which extent that preference is connected to the individual predisposition. I know that you have lived in many places with a very hot climate, and clearly you were able to study quite effectively despite the heat. Do you find any correlation between the temperature that is comfortable for you and the speed at which learning can occur?


I usually shadow at 110 degrees Fahrenheit, but I'm habituated to this climate for five years. I didn't noticed any improvement in learning speed due temperature variations or different environments, but shadowing in silent and clear places helps a lot of course.
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ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5802 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 16 of 56
30 March 2008 at 10:10pm | IP Logged 
Varia,

Warm climates are something that I tolerate of necessity, not by preference. I actually find that the ideal climate to be quite cool—I would not want to put a specific temperature range to it, but there would be a distinct nip in the air. Indeed, were it not for the damaging effects to the pages needed in some stages of shadowing, I would actually prefer for there to be a misty moisture in the air as well. For these reasons, in imaging the architecture in my ideal academy, I would allow for many cloistered walkways...



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