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Shadowing demonstration video

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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ChiaBrain
Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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402 posts - 512 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish*
Studies: Portuguese, Italian, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 41 of 56
01 March 2009 at 3:58pm | IP Logged 
I see the value of shadowing but I have issues with speaking out loud in such a manner
around here.

I also find shadowing (vs. repeating after a pause) difficult as it feels that hearing
my own speech and that of the recording at the same time is discombobulating. Maybe I
just need more practice?

Thanks in advance for feedback and suggestions.

Edited by ChiaBrain on 01 March 2009 at 5:33pm

1 person has voted this message useful



parasitius
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Cantonese, Polish, Spanish, French

 
 Message 42 of 56
02 March 2009 at 2:46am | IP Logged 
ChiaBrain wrote:
I see the value of shadowing but I have issues with speaking out loud in such a manner
around here.

I also find shadowing (vs. repeating after a pause) difficult as it feels that hearing
my own speech and that of the recording at the same time is discombobulating. Maybe I
just need more practice?

Thanks in advance for feedback and suggestions.


Personally, since the Professor told us that proper technique really requires some work, I think everyone should do at least 20 full hours of shadowing using your own intuition to adjust technique before asking more. A lot of things seem to work themselves out as you get frustrated with it and use your own intuition to adjust the practice.

For example I was think I could devour whole chapters of a book at a time and put a 7 minute segment of audio on repeat! After 1 hour of shadowing that I felt such intense mental anguish I wanted to jump off a cliff! I've since discovered anything shorter than 45 seconds will give me a headache because the repetition is too frequent, but anything longer than 75 seconds will start to cause the same painful memory effects the 7 minute segment did. Thus Assimil has the perfect length at 1 minute, and so that's how big of hunks I cut audio books into for shadowing as well.

I know exactly what you mean about speaking out loud. I deal with it in this way: I think of it as good training for life, cause if a person cares so much about what strangers will think about him, and is so terribly inhibited for such an irrational reason, then he is surely too much of a sissy (myself included) to really get what he wants in life. If it is people you know that will hear you, there is even less reason to be embarrassed as you can just explain to each person once "this is an excellent language learning technique".




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Ruan
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Groupie
BrazilRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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95 posts - 101 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English

 
 Message 43 of 56
16 March 2009 at 11:23pm | IP Logged 
I found out that McLuhan's ideas can explain how shadowing works, and how it can be
improved. Please, meet McLuhan:

Click and hear "Terence Mckenna -
RidingRangeWithMarshallMcluhan rc"


McLuhan Playboy
interview


McLuhan on deoxy.org

Basically, the child acquires its native language when the environment evenly
stimulates its
senses. Literacy extends (overstimulates) sight, and causes visual bias. When the
child learns to read, languages may not be learned anymore, for they are
primarily aural and tactile (interactive) skills. The grown-up may now only struggle
through visual-biased methods which will, at best, only partially suceed; and
shadowing isn't visual-biased, surely.








Edited by Ruan on 16 March 2009 at 11:33pm

1 person has voted this message useful



ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5798 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 44 of 56
30 March 2009 at 9:07pm | IP Logged 
At long last I have gotten around to making a follow-up video, "Shadowing Discussed,", and the next video that I plan on making will also be an explanation of this topic.

AA
1 person has voted this message useful



ellasevia
Octoglot
Winner TAC 2011
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Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian, French, Greek, Italian
Studies: Russian, Swedish, Persian, Turkish, Japanese

 
 Message 45 of 56
01 April 2009 at 3:33pm | IP Logged 
Dear Professor Arguelles,
     This morning before my first period class, I tried your blind shadowing technique for a couple Italian lessons in the school courtyard. I found it to be surprisingly relaxing and a very enjoyable experience. I do believe that I still require some work to improve my technique, but it seemed to work. My text that I was shadowing was probably 30 seconds-1 minute long, and was a conversation between a professor and a student who had missed classes for the past couple of days. However, the recording broke down the dialogue into section chunks and repeated each thrice. Would you consider this detrimental to the learning process? Thank you very much.

Philip Georgis
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ProfArguelles
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United States
foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 46 of 56
01 April 2009 at 7:21pm | IP Logged 
Mr. Georgis,

I am happy to hear that you find this method enjoyable and relaxing, for this means that you will probably find it very efficacious.

No, it is not detrimental to use recordings that break the dialogue into chunks and repeat each section several times in the fashion of FSI or other audio-lingual recordings. However, unless you particularly like this, there is no advantage to it either, and you will probably find it more interesting and thus more enjoyable to work with straight narrative, which will also enable you to work with longer segments. I will discuss this in detail in the next video.

Regards,

Alexander Arguelles

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parasitius
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4540 days ago

220 posts - 323 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Cantonese, Polish, Spanish, French

 
 Message 47 of 56
01 April 2009 at 7:21pm | IP Logged 
Dear Professor Arguelles,

I tried posting my question on the Youtube video, but I butchered the text too much for you to follow it I guess. Sorry about that.

I have three things I wanted to ask about shadowing that I don't think have been addressed before:

1) I was surprised that in another comment on the new shadowing video you recommended working with 20-30 minute segments of audio. I was under the impression that the only way one can get a good enough imprint on his memory to be repeating almost simultaneously with the recording by the 5th or 6th iteration, is to work with segments of audio no longer than 45-70 seconds in length and repeat them until extremely familiar. When I first tried shadowing, using a Japanese literature audio book, I tried shadowing an entire chapter at a time, about 8 minutes in length, and nearly drove myself mad over the course of a few hours because I couldn't remember anything of the beginning of the segment after 8 minutes had elapsed and the full segment began to repeat. I was never able to shadow more than a few very simple sentence when putting such a long segment of audio on repeat.

I don't know how it could be possible to use a 20 minute segment, but perhaps this has something to do with the level of the text? With Assimil and easy dialogs where it would actually be possible to remember all that was said in 5 minutes if it was one's native language, I think 20-30 minutes might be possible? But a novel has so many low-frequency words and ideas packed into every single sentence, I don't see how such a long segment could be used without it being very frustrating and exhausting? Do you make any adjustments to the shadowing technique when using Assimil vs an audio book?

2) As above, most of the shadowing I tried so far I found that I could only work with ~1 minute segments. I basically leave the segment on repeat on my player until I feel I have made as much progress as I will on the particular bit of audio without 24 hours and some REM sleep to improve my performance. (I then move on to another 1 minute segment and continue until I'm tired of shadowing in general.) Eventually, after a few sessions, I get to the point that I can recite 92% of such a ~1 minute segment of audio with a certain decent level of proficiency above which I can not progress further. (at least with my current level in the language) But, I tend to have another 8% bit which I consider a kind of mental "knot". Even after days of shadowing the same 1 minute segment I find it very difficult to nail the 8% tongue-twisting bit, but grow very bored of repeating the 92% of the same segment which I have already basically mastered. How do you normally deal with such bits (3 seconds here, 4 seconds there)? Of course there are paragraphs which I can shadow in their entirety without problem, still the many others having long strings of difficult/new words or unusual strings of certain difficult grammatical constructions in a row (what I find to be the most common cause of such 'knots') are very frustrating.

3) On the video I was surprised you tried to emphasize that shadowing is "just" another technique amongst many. I clearly remember you mentioning earlier in this thread the following:

ProfArguelles wrote:
In the meantime, as far as I myself am concerned, I will confirm that shadowing was not something incidental that I did “in addition” to learning the languages I know in some other manner, but that it was indeed my basic and fundamental means of getting a grounding in all the languages I taught myself in the period of about 1995-2000, when I entirely devoted my mental energies to wholesale language learning. On the basis of my own experimentation with more techniques that most people can probably even imagine wanting to imagine, I found that there was just nothing like it for building a relationship with a language, for planting solidly it in the terrain of my brain, as it were.


Which makes it sound like if one gets shadowing technique down it can be almost the be all and end all to getting grounded in a language. Can you please clarify this seeming contradiction between your earlier reply to me and the new shadowing video?

Thank you !

Justin Wilson

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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 48 of 56
03 April 2009 at 10:06pm | IP Logged 
Dear Mr. Wilson:

I am afraid it appears that you have misunderstood the nature of shadowing. You are to be highly commended for sticking with it with one minute segments nonetheless, however, for I myself would find working with such a limited amount to be so tediously redundant that I would long since have abandoned the endeavor. I hope and believe that once you come to a clearer understanding of how you could be doing this in a more enjoyable fashion, that that very experience of enjoying your studies will lead you to be able to develop systematically regular habits, for this is the true key to success.

It seems as if you are under the impression that the purpose of shadowing is to permanently memorize material, forcibly and all at once. This is just not the case. It sounds, in essence, as if you are trying to cram the material into your brain. Now, while cramming may produce short term results, it is never a good study procedure. Why are you trying to remember the material at all, and why do you aspire to match the recording perfectly by the 5th repetition? Instead of memorization, your focus should be upon understanding, and instead of perfection, you goal should be improvement. As long as you understand a bit more with each repetition and as long as you can match the rhythm of your voice to the fixed audio a bit better each time, you are making progress. The best way to do this profitably and enjoyably is to focus on the content of the didactic dialogues and narratives or the plot of the novel or story, as the case may be, and in so doing come, over time, to increase your vocabulary by learning words from and in their living context, internalize sentence patterns and correct grammatical forms, and continue to match your pronunciation and intonation against a correct model. Thus, in specific answer to your question about whether there is any fundamental basic adjustment when using Assimil vs. using an audio book or novel, the answer is no because presumably you should be at a much higher level already to even conceive of using the latter.

As to your second point, while I cannot understand how you can measure so precisely that you get 92% and fail to get 8%, I think this whole problem of knots should take care of itself and become moot once you adjust to the above way of looking at the whole procedure and switch from 1 minute segments to 15, 20, or even 30 minute segments depending on how long you can stay sustainably focused on the process. Please note, too, that it is best not to work with the exact same audio every single time. At the Assiml/didactic manual stage, you will be adding a new lesson per se every day, whereas at the novel/audio book stage, you will want to be getting through the story. Again, there is no need to hammer away at each and every sentence to be able to get it fluid, and in point of fact if you work with longer segments and thus more material, you will probably often find that, when you do cycle around to the next wave of the same segment, many things that were formerly difficult will have taken care of themselves. However, and particularly since you are working with such a different and therefore difficult language as Japanese, you should expect some sticking points to remain, for please recall that it takes years of effort and thousands upon thousands of hours of study to make marked progress here.

As to your third point, have you not seen my videos about learning styles or read anything I have written previously about the subject? I myself have found shadowing to be the best way for me to learn a new language, and I can describe it and teach it as such, though certainly not as the be all and end all of all methods. Not all methods are created equal, but there are a number of other efficient manners of mastering a foreign language. However, you have to have a suitable character for any of them to be a good method for YOU. For instance, my own father, who has continued to learn many languages throughout his life, has always been perfectly well served by straightforward grammar-translation manuals. Books of explanations and exercises, dictionaries and texts —- those are his tools. He simply has no patience to sit and listen to audio or even simply play it in the background, let alone focus on it and try to imitate it, so shadowing would never work for him.

As promised, over the coming weekend I will try to make another video about shadowing in which I will discuss each stage step by step, and I hope this will answer any of your concerns that I failed to address here.

Study well!

Alexander Arguelles


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