Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

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LesRonces
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby LesRonces » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:16 am

Gomorrita wrote:For me German has:

- Much higher clarity of spoken language
- A population much more willing to speak to you in German rather than English
- Much better language learning resources

Those three things very easily outweigh the grammatical complexity of German.

It has much higher clarity for me too. I can hear every single word in German, yet after a couple of years of French still struggle.
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby aokoye » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:46 am

Gomorrita wrote:About learning German while knowing Dutch, it could be that the huge amount of common word roots give an initial feeling of similarity that might fade in more advanced stages. I am only around B1 in both languages, but while I see so many connections between words in both languages, the specific words and their specific usage is often quite different. In comparison, between Latin languages I feel that it is often a matter of differences in morphology rather than differences in usage. I can almost make grammatically correct sentences in Italian just by "italianizing" Catalan/Spanish/French words, but trying to speak German while "germanizing" Dutch words I just don't think would work very well.

But of course, there might something special about Romanian that makes it very different from other Latin languages.

reineke wrote:Dutch really is easier than German, and here’s why

"Learning German grammar tables was the bane of my school existence, and when I got to learn Dutch I was delighted to know that no such torture awaited me.


For me German has:

- Much higher clarity of spoken language
- A population much more willing to speak to you in German rather than English
- Much better language learning resources

Those three things very easily outweigh the grammatical complexity of German.

From what I've heard it's much easier for native German speakers (and likely L2 speakers with a very high proficiency) to learn Dutch than native Dutch speakers to learn German. I suspect a lot of that has to do with grammar though I could be wrong on all counts. I would need to do more research. That said, it isn't at all difficult to find Dutch universities that have 6-8 week intensive courses that take native German speakers from 0-B2 in preparation for university level study. I haven't found the same to be true for native Dutch speakers wanting to learn German at a German university.

On your last points, what do you mean "clarity of spoken language"? In terms of resources, I think it's more that German just has significantly more resources, both bad and good, as opposed to better resources across the board. I will say that German has better C1 and C2 learning resources but again, that's also an issue of "do those resources even exist for Dutch?"
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby brilliantyears » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:08 am

aokoye wrote:From what I've heard it's much easier for native German speakers (and likely L2 speakers with a very high proficiency) to learn Dutch than native Dutch speakers to learn German. I suspect a lot of that has to do with grammar though I could be wrong on all counts. I would need to do more research. That said, it isn't at all difficult to find Dutch universities that have 6-8 week intensive courses that take native German speakers from 0-B2 in preparation for university level study. I haven't found the same to be true for native Dutch speakers wanting to learn German at a German university.

As a Dutch native, I think this is pretty much true. German and Dutch are very similar, but German grammar is a level up from Dutch grammar. That's where the difficulty lies for Dutch speakers. German grammar (the genders and cases in particular) don't come natural to Dutch speakers. In comparison, for German speakers Dutch grammar is basically simplified German grammar ;)
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby aokoye » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:44 am

brilliantyears wrote:
aokoye wrote:From what I've heard it's much easier for native German speakers (and likely L2 speakers with a very high proficiency) to learn Dutch than native Dutch speakers to learn German. I suspect a lot of that has to do with grammar though I could be wrong on all counts. I would need to do more research. That said, it isn't at all difficult to find Dutch universities that have 6-8 week intensive courses that take native German speakers from 0-B2 in preparation for university level study. I haven't found the same to be true for native Dutch speakers wanting to learn German at a German university.

As a Dutch native, I think this is pretty much true. German and Dutch are very similar, but German grammar is a level up from Dutch grammar. That's where the difficulty lies for Dutch speakers. German grammar (the genders and cases in particular) don't come natural to Dutch speakers. In comparison, for German speakers Dutch grammar is basically simplified German grammar ;)

Yeah in November I'm probably going to try to tack Dutch back onto the languages that I'm studying. I'm looking forward to the step down in grammar complexity compared to German. That and I actually just like the language. I already have one A0-A2 textbook and will probably buy a A2-B2 book shortly before I leave for the US (it's easier to get it here despite the cost and the fact that I'll probably ship it back to Portland with a bunch of other things via Deutsche Post).
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby reineke » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:30 pm

Re:clear speech
The listener may be listening to "clear speech" (see below) and/or the listener's sound inventory and other linguistic background may "click" well with the target language.

"Previous research has established that naturally produced English clear speech is more intelligible than English conversational speech. The major goal of this paper was to establish the presence of the clear speech effect in production and perception of a language other than English, namely Croatian. A systematic investigation of the conversational-to-clear speech transformations across languages with different phonological properties (e.g., large versus small vowel inventory) can provide a window into the interaction of general auditory-perceptual and phonological, structural factors that contribute to the high intelligibility of clear speech."

"Talkers naturally and spontaneously adopt a distinct intelligibility-enhancing mode of speech production called “clear speech” when they are aware of a speech perception difficulty on the part of the listener due to background noise, a hearing impairment, or a different native language."

" ... the acoustic-phonetic features of the conversational-to-clear speech transformation revealed cross-language similarities in clear speech production strategies. In both languages, talkers exhibited a decrease in speaking rate and an increase in pitch range, as well as an expansion of the vowel space."

Production and perception of clear speech in Croatian and English

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1850617/

Mutual Intelligibility of Closely Related Languages within the Romance language family

" As part of a research on the mutual intelligibility of 16 European languages (3 main language families – Germanic, Slavic and Romance), this paper investigated the mutual intelligibility within the Romance language family. Native speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, French and Italian participated in three different tests, all of them in a written and spoken form.

The overall results show that on all levels Spanish and Portuguese are show the highest mutual intelligibility (including a high asymmetry for the spoken tasks), followed by Spanish and Italian. French is clustered further from the three mentioned above and Romanian shows the smallest degree of intelligibility with the remaining Romance languages. However, for Romanian a high asymmetric intelligibility was
measured. Romanians understand all the other Romance languages to a much higher extent than vice versa."

Mutual Intelligibility of Closely Related Languages within the Romance language family
Stefanie VOIGT, Charlotte GOOSKENS
University of Groningen, The Netherlands

A good explanation, I think, why a French film might sound harder to understand than a non fiction program, or a real life conversation with a helpful native. If Romanian or Portuguese were profoundly different from the other romance languages lay subjects with no previous formal studying experience would not be able to understand the other languages.

I believe Tristano will experience some pleasant surprises if he keeps studying and listening to Romanian. On the other hand relying on mutual intelligibility as a sign that a given language is one's birthright might result in unpleasant surprises.
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby Tristano » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:22 am

@Reineke, I understand now what you mean, I did not consider that certain languages have a steeper learning curve than others but the overall time to learn them to proficiency/mastery is likely to be the same.

About discounts and surprises: whether it's cool to be able to read a language that I never studied before (or in the case of Spanish, also listening to) and whether it definitely saves time, the overall time needed is likely to be slightly reduced, unless yes, I can converse in fluent broken Spanish in a way I still can't do with my much better Dutch. But, again, it's broken :mrgreen: Somehow I think that learning Romanian to fluency will improve my listening comprehension of Portuguese but won't do much with my other Romance languages. But I'm curious about it. The unpleasant surprise is that I still have to study (ed io che credevo... io che speravo...).

I still have mixed feelings about German's difficulty. I must report an anecdote that I already wrote somewhere.
When I was starting studying Dutch, mainly through Michel Thomas and Memrise, I started to try to listen Dutch podcast. All what I could hear was an endless stream of weird noises not at all sounding like what I studied before. Then I tried to listen to a German podcast (Easy German or something like that). It is indeed easier than what I tried to listen to in Dutch, but I was understanding the most of what was spoken, without that I ever studied German! I was studying Dutch but I was understanding German better!
Said that, as far as I know, the only two things that are more difficult in German than in Dutch are the distinction in masculine and feminine and the cases. Yet, I think that the only pain in the *** of German is the gender unpredictability, and I don't really know if the cases of German are so much worse than the horrible and seemingly random preposition system of Dutch where you have to memorize the 'vaste combinaties' by heart. It is confusing also for the Dutch. But maybe it is a problem also in German, I don't know.

This is what Robert Lindsay says about German:
Robert Lindsay wrote:Learning German can be seen as a pyramid. It is very difficult to grasp the basics, but once you do that, it gets increasingly easy as the language follows relatively simple rules and many words are created from other words via compound words, prefixes and suffixes.


source: https://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/200 ... -to-learn/

In the next 10 years I will subscribe also to the Germanic inc and the Slavic inc. Four years ago I could speak 3 languages less and understand 5-6 languages less than now. I have big plans for the future :twisted: (or not, since I change my mind continuously)

By the way, which other unpleasant surprises do you see? I expect not the interferences as that is a very secondary issue.
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby Gomorrita » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:25 am

Analysing the difficulty of languages always becomes an incredibly complicated task because there are too many factors to consider. The most obvious is of course the learner's background, i.e. which languages can the learner speak. But there are many others, like different learning curves (e.g. easy at the beginning, harder to perfect), different difficulties for different aspects of the language (speaking, reading, understanding speech...) or different criteria for what it means to know a language (for example, some people might say Tristano's Spanish is better than his Dutch because it's more fluent, but he considers his less broken Dutch better instead).

And all these factors are dependent with each other, creating so many combinations that it can be hard to find two learners with the same assessment of the difficulty of learning a language.

And let's not forget the factors that are extrinsic to the language itself, such as accessibility to resources, including people to talk to.

If you don't want to oversimplify it, you might need to write a 5000 word essay of the difficulty of learning a specific language, and still it would only apply to yourself. :lol:

But then comes the FSI and says "this one is Category I, this one is Category II...". Yes, ok, very useful! :P
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby tarvos » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:31 am

The German prepositions are equally random and they always take the case you didn't expect them to take. No, I'll stick with Dutch, thanks. The real difference is that Germans slur less when they speak, unless they're speaking dialect of course. And also, most combinations in German are, guess what, the same as in Dutch (though they may not be equivalent semantically).
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby Serpent » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:56 pm

Tristano wrote:Somehow I think that learning Romanian to fluency will improve my listening comprehension of Portuguese but won't do much with my other Romance languages.
I don't think it will help tbh. But you'll pick up some Slavic vocab :D
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Re: Rapid passive knowledge acquisition

Postby reineke » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:25 pm

Tristano wrote:@Reineke, I Somehow I think that learning Romanian to fluency will improve my listening comprehension of Portuguese but won't do much with my other Romance languages. But I'm curious about it. The unpleasant surprise is that I still have to study (ed io che credevo... io che speravo...).

I still have mixed feelings about German's difficulty. I must report an anecdote that I already wrote somewhere.
When I was starting studying Dutch, mainly through Michel Thomas and Memrise, I started to try to listen Dutch podcast. All what I could hear was an endless stream of weird noises not at all sounding like what I studied before. Then I tried to listen to a German podcast (Easy German or something like that). It is indeed easier than what I tried to listen to in Dutch, but I was understanding the most of what was spoken, without that I ever studied German! I was studying Dutch but I was understanding German better!
Said that, as far as I know, the only two things that are more difficult in German than in Dutch are the distinction in masculine and feminine and the cases. Yet, I think that the only pain in the *** of German is the gender unpredictability, and I don't really know if the cases of German are so much worse than the horrible and seemingly random preposition system of Dutch where you have to memorize the 'vaste combinaties' by heart. It is confusing also for the Dutch. But maybe it is a problem also in German, I don't know.

This is what Robert Lindsay says about German:
Robert Lindsay wrote:Learning German can be seen as a pyramid. It is very difficult to grasp the basics, but once you do that, it gets increasingly easy as the language follows relatively simple rules and many words are created from other words via compound words, prefixes and suffixes.


In the next 10 years I will subscribe also to the Germanic inc and the Slavic inc.

By the way, which other unpleasant surprises do you see? I expect not the interferences as that is a very secondary issue.


You are already working two jobs (ie you are using Dutch on a daily basis).

I recommended German to you before. I had good luck relaxing with German and my base was much weaker than yours. I did not "study" anything and I don't recall ever contemplating the difficulty of German. That's forum talk. In a way, I regret discovering HTLAL. Many learners have these thoughts but on forums they seem to grow disproportionately and turn into unhealthy habits.

Anyway, I'm not going to suggest that you should "just" watch TV but try to listen to something interesting or potentially interesting on a regular basis. Ideally you should hear dozens of Romanian voices every day. Listening comprehension requires rapid processing skills. If you can't process, you can't accumulate additional skills. You will need to sleep on everything you have processed a certain number of times.

Fluency is a different story. I have seen enough polyglots who can speak Asian languages and are fluent or at least capable of producing good Spanish and/or French and yet their Italian is a disaster. The conclusion you should draw from this is that nothing is free and that you will need to work hard on your languages. Polyglots are cool and they should not feel bad about practicing their languages.

If your needs and wants remain the same and you are OK with macaroni Spanish you should be fine. Your options will never expire but you may discover that they need longer to cash in (depending on how much you're trying to "withdraw"). You can perhaps evaluate the passive equivalent of macaroni Spanish/Portuguese etc on Dialang.
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