Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

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reineke
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby reineke » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:32 pm

AML wrote:
reineke wrote:Bakunin


How about a story or even a link to how this is relevant to the original question.

Sure.
Adrianslont wrote:There is a guy who used to frequent this forum who has cartoons drawn to learn Khmer and Thai. Sorry can’t remember his name. He makes recordings too. Available on net somewhere
reineke wrote:Bakunin

reineke wrote:Bakunin does a lot of cool and interesting things. You will find Bakunin's comment at the bottom of David Long's post.

ALG's David Long:

Speak perfectly at 700 hour

"The expectation that we can learn a language through practice demonstrates the need for increased understanding about how language works.I have conversations with people from time to time that indicate some misunderstanding about what we're saying when we talk about speaking. We have observed that for a native English speaker, it's an average that one begins speaking at about 700-800 hours. So the other day, a friend came into my office and asked to see some of those students who speak perfectly at 600 hours. I was a bit set-back by this. No where do we even make such a claim.

http://auathai.com/blog/2010/03/21/spea ... -700-hours

reineke wrote:I saw Bakunin's work buried somewhere and remembered it. I thought it a shame to leave it there and I added a few links. If everyone would donate 10 minutes of their time we could have an enviable list of language resources here.

DaveBee wrote:
rdearman wrote:Very interesting. Isn't this the sort of thing which Bakunin did?
I looked him up. From his log he linked to one of his own web-projects, which linked an ALG site (and also something called Growing Participator Approach (GPA)).

jeff_lindqvist wrote:When it comes to stress, intonation and stuff like that, I mention Olle Kjellin. I just searched the forum for his last name and found no fewer than 83 matches. Have a look at say, Bakunin's thread about Chorusing, or AlOlaf's log, starting with this post (including a few links from Iversen some posts below mine).

If you want to learn where to put the stress in sentences (and also think it's important to know that), you have to work with audio and full sentences. Those who only work with isolated words (or heaven forbid - never open their mouth at all) won't get that far.

Axon wrote:Bakunin's log

Serpent wrote:Listening. I understood the easy stuff for learners and I recognized familiar words in songs but I couldn't process the language fast enough otherwise.
olim21 wrote:Well, there is if you trained correctly from the beginning.
We have different definitions of training correctly.
What I'm trying to make people realize is that most of the learning happens during reading.
Historically, people have always learned languages by speaking. See Bakunin's posts.
Also, we vary a lot in how easily we can read in a new language, etc. My reading speed is atrocious even in L1.

that forum, and HTLAL before it, are full of failed experiments of people trying to learn just by listening. Is there even one success story?
Depends on what you consider success.

Finny wrote:For me, listening to the radio and reading books appear to be the magic formula for my learning a language.

If I could only choose one of the two, it would be listening, hands down, since there are far more fluent illiterate speakers around the globe than fluent speakers who learned languages completely by reading them and never by hearing them. As Bakunin notes, language has historically been an oral process, and not a written one.

rdearman wrote:Check out Bakunin's log on this fourm.
http://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=789
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby golyplot » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:53 am

I studied ASL (American Sign Language) for a while, which doesn't even have a written form. Unfortunately, I didn't make as much progress as I'd have liked. The lack of a written form makes things significantly harder because there is no way to look up unfamiliar signs.

It turns out that it is kind of hard to learn a language only through speaking if you don't have access to regular speaking practice, so I was forced to give up.
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby Teango » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:33 am

IronMike wrote:When I was in DLI way back when (mid-80s), they did an experiment for one class. The class was known as the "cartoon class." They spent the first six months of the 47-week course learning Russian only using a book filled with cartoons. These guys were already speaking at a "3" on the ILR scale after six months. Only then did they learn how to read Cyrillic.

I always wished I'd gotten a chance to sit through that class. A few years ago while researching language programs I tried to get a copy of the cartoon class book (it could be used for any language! and I had thoughts on teaching Esperanto this way) and the contacts I got ahold of at DLI had no idea what I was talking about. Damn.

Here's something similar for Tagalog by the Peace Corps:

Tagalog through Cartoons (1992)

Ngumiti ka naman! Tagalog with Humor. Language and Culture through Cartoons...140 lessons based on cartoons from a Philippines newspaper.

P.S. It's times like these when I miss having Reineke around.
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby AnthonyLauder » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:37 am

IronMike wrote:When I was in DLI way back when (mid-80s), they did an experiment for one class. The class was known as the "cartoon class." They spent the first six months of the 47-week course learning Russian only using a book filled with cartoons. These guys were already speaking at a "3" on the ILR scale after six months. Only then did they learn how to read Cyrillic.

I always wished I'd gotten a chance to sit through that class. A few years ago while researching language programs I tried to get a copy of the cartoon class book (it could be used for any language! and I had thoughts on teaching Esperanto this way) and the contacts I got ahold of at DLI had no idea what I was talking about. Damn.


Several of the DLI courses that I own include cartoon books. Some are military specific (called "Illustrated Military Situations"), but some are very general (not very miliary related at all) such as a 100 page book for the Czech course called "Cartoon Guides" which has no text, and 100 pages of strip-cartoons for 95 seemingly random everyday situations, such as going to a nightclub, buying tires for a car, and visiting a glass factory.

Hunting around on the internet just now, I found a similar (but different) "Cartoon Guides" book for the DLI Russian course. Maybe this is the one you mean? https://git.yojik.net/eric/Dialog-carto ... s-1-83.odt

Having said that, the Cartoon Guides book states that it is not a replacement for the main course, but rather a supplement to it, to improve the student's imagination and facilitate discussion. In short, it seems to be aimed at getting the students to become good at paraphasing and getting over the conversational hurdle.

Here, for example, is a cartoon strip called "At the tailors"

Screenshot (52).png
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby IronMike » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:13 pm

AnthonyLauder wrote:
IronMike wrote:When I was in DLI way back when (mid-80s), they did an experiment for one class. The class was known as the "cartoon class." They spent the first six months of the 47-week course learning Russian only using a book filled with cartoons. These guys were already speaking at a "3" on the ILR scale after six months. Only then did they learn how to read Cyrillic.

I always wished I'd gotten a chance to sit through that class. A few years ago while researching language programs I tried to get a copy of the cartoon class book (it could be used for any language! and I had thoughts on teaching Esperanto this way) and the contacts I got ahold of at DLI had no idea what I was talking about. Damn.


Several of the DLI courses that I own include cartoon books. Some are military specific (called "Illustrated Military Situations"), ...

Yeah, I had some too in the normal Basic Russian course, but these were different. Nothing but cartoons. No writing at all.
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby Iversen » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:20 pm

These days I'm heavily lopsided towards the written language, but long time ago I learnt to understand Low German (Platt) by listening to NDR (the Northern German TV station), which back then still took the local speech form seriously. I only saw it written in longer texts around 10 years ago, when I bought a number of small books by Ina Müller and others in Flensburg and Hamburg. And of course I have also learnt to understand a number of dialects through the ear (not only Danish ones), but I don't pretend to speak any those. Even my limited active skills in Platt are sadly seeping away due to lack of training.

But compared to Kanewai's experiences with Fananu this is just a matter of turning one's listening apparatus in the right direction. I would NEVER attempt to learn a new language unless I had access to dictionaries, grammars and a good selection of texts (preferable bilingual). Cartoons don't function for me because I don't want to solve irrelevant riddles to learn a language. Making sense of a text knowing only half the words is in itself some kind of riddle - and the only kind of riddle I find relevant for my studies.

kanewai wrote:- The most important thing I learned early on was how to conjugate "to go." Upwe. I go. Kopwe. You go. Sipwe. We go / let's go, inclusive. Aupwe. We go, exclusive. As in: everyone else is going, but not me.

Fascinating - a language with beginnings instead of endings! On the other hand, how does "Aupwe" differ from a third person plural form? Or in other words: is there also a non-all-encompassing third person plural?
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby El Forastero » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:43 am

Partially, Yes. I learnt portugues to a middle level, not through speaking, but through listening to songs and radio news.

I'm a spanish speaker. Some day I found a brazilian music CD, listened to it carefully, and discovered some songs sounding incredibly understandable without previous portuguese study at all. I didn't understand 100%, but by far more than 75%.

So I decided to find that music and download as many songs as possible (it was the Napster and thelephonic internet connection era, so it was not so easy as nowadays). The only speaking excercise was limited to sing the songs. I was more focused on knowing the music than the languages itself

Some months after, I discovered the radio online and used to listen to the news, but I kept listening to music. That was the only input I had. I suppose I reached at least a B2/C1 level in listening, a B1 in speaking and nothing at all in writing. Reading was not so hard because of my mother tongue, but I didn't read very much.

Some years after, I start a master degree and there were three brazilians among the new students. I decided to speak with them with my limited knowledge and it worked. For the following 2 years, I spoke portuguese almost every day, but without writing tasks at all, even though I flirt with some reading eventually.

My fluency had improved a lot, I wnderstood the humour almost 100% of our conversations in a normal speed, so Finally, at the end of my master and with the dark foresight that I will never be able to speak with a brazilian person for a longtime anymore, I decided to take a C1 certification (DAPLE) in my highest portuguese level ever. My result is:

Reading: 76%
Writing: 40%
Grammar: 55%
Listening: 72%
Speaking: 75%
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby kanewai » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:33 pm

Iversen wrote:
kanewai wrote:- The most important thing I learned early on was how to conjugate "to go." Upwe. I go. Kopwe. You go. Sipwe. We go / let's go, inclusive. Aupwe. We go, exclusive. As in: everyone else is going, but not me.
Fascinating - a language with beginnings instead of endings! On the other hand, how does "Aupwe" differ from a third person plural form? Or in other words: is there also a non-all-encompassing third person plural?


I never thought of it like that - but again, I also know how to say things without knowing why. Hence, I don't know what the proper grammatical terms would be, but I remember the patterns! Here is "I eat" in various modes:

ua mwéngé - I eat, am eating
upwe mwéngé - I will eat, I am going to eat
upwap mwéngé - I might eat later
upwele mwéngé - I will eat now, soon
usap mwéngé - I won't eat, I don't eat
use mwéngé - I am not eating

This repeats with other persons. So "r" makes it third person plural (ra mwéngé , repwe mwéngé, etc), "s" is for us, inclusive (sa mwéngé , sipwe mwéngé, etc)

What's interesting is that a lot of the common words (coconut, fish, five, face, island, family) are clearly related to Malay and Polynesian languages, but Micronesian grammar feels a world apart.
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby Tristano » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:31 pm

I learned Spanish through listening and talking only, in 2 months. That is possible because I'm Italian and I used initially podcasts which were spoken slowly, allowing me from the day 1 to understand the whole text. I gradually moved on up to normal speed native podcasts. After one month I started the italki challenge and did 20 hours of lessons with Spanish and sometimes south American tutors. I was shocked the first lesson to discover that I could speak the language and I had a conversation of one hour without problems! The following lessons helped me to build up vocabulary and internalize the grammar, and discover that my preterito simple is outrageous (hehe). At the end of the month I went to my planned vacation in Andalucia and had lot of fun speaking the language with the locals. I have been even capable to make a phone call to reserve a place to a camping site (which didn't work out because the camping was closed :D).

I guess I can repeat the experiment with Portuguese, though it would be impossible with unrelated languages. My Spanish anyway rusted quite a bit, but my listening skills remained.
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Re: Have you ever learned a language only through speaking?

Postby sirgregory » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:28 pm

I have not. But I once met an Italian guy who spoke six languages and he claimed to have learned these by working on cruise ships. I spoke with him at length and can confirm that his Spanish was basically perfect. We didn't speak much English but I remember that being so-so. He gave me a demo (while very drunk) of his other languages which, as I recall, were German, Russian, and Greek. I couldn't properly judge his abilities in those languages, but he sounded pretty convincing. That is to say his speech sounded fluid and confidant with natural pronunciation. But I don't know if he mastered the grammar of those non-Romance languages or if he could handle an extended conversation.

People aren't always entirely accurate in describing their methods ("oh, I just picked it up"), but his story seemed more or less plausible as he was very transient and didn't seem to own any books.
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