How to learn from watching videos in target language

General discussion about learning languages
Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3434
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: How to learn from watching videos in target language

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:08 pm

golyplot wrote:
Cavesa wrote:But if you put in more time and more efficiently, there is no reason to not get to that point in something between let's say 6 and 18 months. It all depends on you. That sounds more palatable, doesn't it?


I think that waiting 6 months before you start watching TV is pretty crazy. For transparent European languages, I think one month is more realistic. But you also have to be comfortable with watching TV when you don't understand much about what is going on. I suppose it's just a matter of taste. If you can't stand missing anything, then it might take a lifetime before you are comfortable watching TV.


There is nothing crazy about it. As you say, it is about the level of comfort while not understanding everything, and how much you don't get. And elsmandino is right now not comfortable or profiting a lot from the tv series, that's what I read in their posts. That's why I give this piece of advice and not another one. :-)

Yes, I started very early in my second and third romance language but definitely not in the first one. Elsmandino is learning their first romance language. And no, the transparency English-French is not really that awesome. And why waste a hundred hours on tv series as a beginner, if you can just get to the same point a bit later, with better preparation, and much faster? And you'll learn a lot of other stuff while patiently studying with the coursebook, which will pay off.

While I agree with the sentiment that there is no point in waiting for many years (really, I know lots of examples proving that), 6 months to B1 and a more comfortable start is a really a good time and nothing unrealistic. And at B1, you will still miss plenty of things. ;-) After one month of learning a completely new language (unless you study for eight hours a day and get to B1), you will miss pretty much everything and not learn much.

Really, starting at weak B2 didn't harm my French at all, and I could start the other romance languages much earlier. On the other hand, starting German tv series around A1 was clearly a mistake and normal courses are a much better use of time at this point.

Based on my recent observation (let's say last two years in communities like this one, or reddit), I'd say the pressure to start with normal media extremely early and unreasonable distrust towards coursebooks are a really bad combination leading to lots of disappointed learners, surprised they don't progress much, and thinking they are the problem. Nope.

Based on my experience with lots of extensive listening and tv series use in five languages so far at various levels, I would say the ideal starting point for most (not all) learners is around B1. A bit later for those too frustrated by how little they understand at the beginning, earlier for those knowing a similar language or significantly more frustration-proof.

For most beginners, the tv series are just a waste of time and illusion making then feel that they are learning and in such a modern and fun way. Instead, they just stagnate for years. Investing half a year in learning from coursebooks and then adding the tv series and enjoying a much more friendly learning curve, that is a much better course of action. But it is just not a popular thing to say, I know.
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