Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

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Dragon27
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby Dragon27 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:12 pm

A more 'holistic' approach, that aims to make you an overall competent user of the language, is contained, I think, somewhere in that set of documents written in Polish:
Miss Stokrotka About L-R in Polish by Phi-Staszek.7z
We may call it 'L-R extended'. I never really gotten much into it, although I did read a few documents there trying to pick up some useful ideas, but mostly I use only what I would call 'L-R proper' (and not even all 5 steps), and once I consider myself able to transition into purely native materials I just do that and continue doing the learning my way (which is not much of a way at all, being so unsystematic).
There's no argument that a full-fledged mastery of a language comes with many years of consistent effort through a variety of activities and engagement with a diverse range of materials. It should be considered just common sense in the language learning community.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby luke » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:21 pm

RyanSmallwood wrote:Listening-Reading offers a different tradeoff that some people may prefer over the above, you can get compelling comprehensible input using native-level books as a beginner, but it doesn't really become efficient unless you have books you naturally enjoy and get absorbed in re-reading. (Although if you can find beginner materials that are compelling and extensive enough, that would still be the best way to learn I think.)

To me it seems like the original author explains it like a 1 stop solve all your problems method, because what they want to do most in the world with their language is re-read their favorite books over and over again, so they use Listening-Reading until they 100% understand certain audiobooks, and then they can do other activities like watching TV, listening to radio, figuring out how to move passive to active vocabulary, all the activities other learners do, they just don't talk about it, because for them the learning process is about getting books they want to read to 100% comprehension first, and after that the others are easier.

I really appreciate all of your posts, so please take with a grain of salt that my different perspective on the original author's intent is more generous than most.

The author made it clear the method isn't for everyone. He/she enumerated a list of types that it wouldn't work for. I won't go into that, but just don't want anyone (and I know you don't have this opinion) that Listen-Reading is the be-all-end-all-for-every-language-learner. The author didn't have that opinion.

On the bit I bolded. The author was interested in systems and he/she created one. I don't think though that the author's goal was to "re-read favorite books over and over again" in different languages or even to become a polyglot. Re-reading favorite books was a tactic to some larger goals, which I will enumerate freely using Harry Potter as an example. Harry Potter is just a variable. The book can be anything that meets the "Harry Potter Obsession Threshold" that people, young or old might experience (the young have many advantages - no ties to theories, more vigor in discovering the world, etc):

1) Johnny or Jane is in my class, enamored with Harry Potter and I'm here to help them learn and they would be thrilled to be able to read Harry Potter in English! They're always bringing up "Harry Potter" and talking about characters in those books.

2) The author wanted to read other books he/she loved in their original language. With the foothold of "I already know I love this book and I've read it multiple times because it's so great", I can leverage that to help me learn another language. E.G. I know and love Kafka's "The Process" and I have a reason to learn German. That reason could be as simple as wanting to read it in the language Kafka wrote in, or I have to teach these kids a foreign language and the traditional methods don't work with these kids and what a gift it would be to some of these kids to learn a language that may be more useful in a bigger world than their native language gives them access to.

3) The author developed a system through trial, error, personal theory, etc so that he/she could repeat it and he/she could teach it to his/her students.

4) As an afterthought, as a gift to the world, this aging individual thought, "why don't I set my discovery free? It might help others".

The order of these "goals" may have been different. 2 probably came before 1 or was simultaneous with 1.

I think there was some altruism at work. Good teachers often have that. Hopefully everyone here has had some great teachers in their lifetime.

Remember, he/she was teaching in a school for the dregs, those who the normal education system was giving up on and deemed problematic.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby Le Baron » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:38 pm

Your appraisal is more sympathetic. I can go with that reading; especially the motivation for the author creating it. And you write it in such a clear, calming way (when is your novel coming out? :) )
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby german2k01 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:51 pm

There are other things you still have to enjoy.

1. Brain fry :lol:

After having done L-R to 8 books in total - the only highlight that came out of this method was worth noting. An old German lady that I am friends with used to say "allein" now she says "einsamkeit" because I used it in a conversation. And, the word came out straight from "A Gentleman in Moscow" book. Now it has become a part of her active vocabulary. After going through so many "brain frys" consecutively - this was the result from the oral production point of view. :D

I like the method because I can understand difficult books by using translation in L1 text. It is listening heavy so I am developing a good sound system in my target language. So it is not a total waste of time.

What I am going to add is "extensive reading without using a dictionary and check my overall understanding of the book whether it improves". If that is the case, then I will keep doing L-R. In any case, even if it does not turn out to be a miracle drug one can use it from time to time in their language study if the book is really good.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby RyanSmallwood » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:16 pm

luke wrote:my different perspective on the original author's intent is more generous than most.


Sure, I'm not too invested on deciding one way or another what the author's original intent/audience was. Personally I think there's a lot of good advice in there, and I probably wouldn't have tried the method out and found a way to make it work for me if I hadn't read the original idea, so I owe the author a lot on one hand. On the other hand, it took me a while before I stuck to the method, and after first trying to follow the instructions more closely to how the author presented them, I had to kind of take everything apart and test it in different ways, before understanding why it was put together the way it was and how to use it for my own goals/motivations. Also I know a good number of people that use Listening-Reading and find it helpful, but very few as originally presented, so it seems like there are a lot more possible variations (and to be fair to the author they started to record some in listing other people's accounts of using it). I also think the author's writing style can be offputting to some people, it may inspire others, but there's definitely some people who just will lose interest pretty fast because of it.

Not saying the author is obligated to try to get more people interested or list more variations beyond what worked for them, but when I'm trying to show the usefulness of it to more people, I often find myself highlighting different aspects, and filling in certain details that helped me understand how the process worked that I didn't get from the original text. So I haven't dug through all the original notes in Polish, and I dunno if I'm representing the author well or not, just in explaining my own preferred way of using it I try to point out how I think the author may have came to something like their presentation, and how people might experiment with there own variations.

Different styles of presentation may be more or less useful to different people, so I'm mostly just trying to present the aspects that helped me more, in case some parts might help different people than the original presentation did. And I'm happy to hear what other people have tried and other ideas of why the author presents the method in the way they did, and if there are other aspects and benefits to that specific approach maybe I'm missing out on.

I think there's still a lot of people who would potentially find the method helpful either as a supplement or a main method, and different ways it could be adapted to suit different goals and interests. So hopefully as more people experiment with it and discuss their experiences we'll get a better idea of how it can be modified and there will be more kinds of explanations that might help more people figure out how they might start using it.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby luke » Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:39 pm

RyanSmallwood wrote:
luke wrote:my different perspective on the original author's intent is more generous than most.

Sure, I'm not too invested on deciding one way or another what the author's original intent/audience was. Personally I think there's a lot of good advice in there, and I probably wouldn't have tried the method out and found a way to make it work for me if I hadn't read the original idea, so I owe the author a lot on one hand. On the other hand, it took me a while before I stuck to the method, and after first trying to follow the instructions more closely to how the author presented them, I had to kind of take everything apart and test it in different ways, before understanding why it was put together the way it was and how to use it for my own goals/motivations.

I think there's still a lot of people who would potentially find the method helpful either as a supplement or a main method, and different ways it could be adapted to suit different goals and interests. So hopefully as more people experiment with it and discuss their experiences we'll get a better idea of how it can be modified and there will be more kinds of explanations that might help more people figure out how they might start using it.

Yes. I also think experimentation is good and helpful with Listen-Reading.

One tiny bit on the author's systematization of the method that I didn't mention, but comes to mind when I hear some of the criticism. That is, part of coming up with a system is to try to improve how it works, another, and this one I think is more relevant here, is to "provide a theory", and the "you have to have a theory" pressure sometimes comes from outside. You know, "why should that work"? or, "I already do that", when the strongman says "lifting shovels of dirt is not the same as lifting this or that big rock on a regular basis for practice".

On the "why should it work?", I'm drawn back to the analogy. Strongmen may have had an idea why lifting heavy things was helpful in developing strength, but it may have just started with "I like to lift heavy things", "feats of strength get me admiration I wouldn't get otherwise", or "I wonder if I can lift that". Whether the strongman's theory is correct, a little off base, wrong in theory but right in practice, not fully optimized is the nexus I see to Listen-Reading. Sometimes when a precise method or theory is demanded, it forces the originator into a smaller box than they would have otherwise chosen if not under pressure to "bark like a dog" or "sit up".

And yes, rocks are sometimes dirty, sometimes slippery, not equally weighted, get you dirty, etc. Strongman's not arguing those points. You said you wanted to lift heavy things. I told you what I do.

Not all are physically gifted as strongmen. Some have no interest. To argue though that applying the strongman's methods are useless or couldn't possibly work seems closer to arrogance and ignorance than enlightenment.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby RyanSmallwood » Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:27 pm

luke wrote:Yes. I also think experimentation is good and helpful with Listen-Reading.

One tiny bit on the author's systematization of the method that I didn't mention, but comes to mind when I hear some of the criticism. That is, part of coming up with a system is to try to improve how it works, another, and this one I think is more relevant here, is to "provide a theory", and the "you have to have a theory" pressure sometimes comes from outside. You know, "why should that work"? or, "I already do that", when the strongman says "lifting shovels of dirt is not the same as lifting this or that big rock on a regular basis for practice".

On the "why should it work?", I'm drawn back to the analogy. Strongmen may have had an idea why lifting heavy things was helpful in developing strength, but it may have just started with "I like to lift heavy things", "feats of strength get me admiration I wouldn't get otherwise", or "I wonder if I can lift that". Whether the strongman's theory is correct, a little off base, wrong in theory but right in practice, not fully optimized is the nexus I see to Listen-Reading. Sometimes when a precise method or theory is demanded, it forces the originator into a smaller box than they would have otherwise chosen if not under pressure to "bark like a dog" or "sit up".

And yes, rocks are sometimes dirty, sometimes slippery, not equally weighted, get you dirty, etc. Strongman's not arguing those points. You said you wanted to lift heavy things. I told you what I do.

Not all are physically gifted as strongmen. Some have no interest. To argue though that applying the strongman's methods are useless or couldn't possibly work seems closer to arrogance and ignorance than enlightenment.


Sure, this is getting a bit more into philosophy of knowledge, so it may be a bit of a detour, but its kind of relevant in language learning. But a lot of our practical knowledge is not certain, but unless we have reasons to be skeptical we don't feel the need to verify it to a high degree of certainty. So if someone says they see something very ordinary, and then tell their friend what they saw, the friend is less certain what was there, but doesn't have any reason to doubt, because its not uncommon and their friend has no reason to lie. If you see something very unusual, you yourself have more certainty of what you see (unless you find out you're dreaming or hallucinating or whatever), but to convince someone else, they either have to trust you a lot, or be able to verify it themselves, or hear it from enough other reliable sources to think it may be true.

With language learning you have people's self-reports about what works, you have methods that are commonly used by lots of successful and proven language learners, and you have scientific studies on language acquisition that try to isolate variables, but may have trouble testing/replicating all real world and personal factors. Self-reports aren't always trustworthy, because people commonly overestimate their level, or leave out personal history and other factors that may be important (for example a common thing happens is person tries method X, fails to learn a language, tries method Y, succeeds to learn, reports method Y is the best way to learn, tries to learn another language and find Y doens't work by itself, because it was doing X and Y that worked for them originally.)

A person may have confidence or certainty that what they're doing works for them, but unless something is repeated or documented, other people have a right to be skeptical that they're not fully reporting all the things they tried and other personal factors, that they're overestimating their level, or they could be flat out lying (more worrisome if they're selling something).

With Listening-Reading currently we have 1 persons self-report about the "original method" and a handful of people self-reporting finding various variations useful, but no one who has really publicly documented exactly what methods they've used and to reach a certain proven level of language knowledge. And the original self-report claims to have reached highly unusual results, so when people read it they don't say "oh that makes sense with my normal language experience", but they're incredibly skeptical, and as far as I know no one has replicated these unusual results. And even if the person proves they do have the language level they claim in all the languages, people can still question if they reported all the language activities they've ever done, and even if they themselves are confident they did it and we decide to trust them, unless we show it can be replicated, we can't really in good faith recommend to other people that they can follow it and achieve the same results.

So personally, I've experienced enough positive results for myself that I trust that the method does something and that it works better for my goals than other methods I've tried. For the authors fast results, I'm sort of uncertain, I can kind of imagine in perfect circumstances how it could happen, but I'd like to see more people replicate it before I would go around telling people to expect those results. So in terms of how I suggest the method to other people, I think the most effective way is to help people find the mechanism so they can see for themselves, and once they see how it can work, they will naturally keep doing it and find ways to make it work better.

The original method kind of recommends a very long process with lots of different conditions, the author sometimes says "there's no set rules, so you're free to do what you want" but also gives out lots of warning "If you don't do it this way, you're not Listening-Reading". For me personally the author didn't really give me a clear way to find the mechanism to really trust in the method and start experimenting with it. Maybe they got lucky and the first time they tried it the results were immediately obvious to them and so they kept with it. Again its not like they need to prove their method works to anyone if they're happy with it, but if more people are going to try it, they need to have some better way to be sure it will work, whether it be proving it to themselves, or having more people be successful with it.

So a big thing that is missing for me from the original presentation (at least the passages in English) is it doesn't really tell me how they came to exact steps they did, it sometimes mentions conditions where you can modify and skip steps, but it doesn't really explain their language learning history, and how they came to trust in the method and refine it down to the steps they list. Now maybe some people don't need re-assurance and just trust the author and find the method so appealing they just go all in and it works for them. But there's a lot of people who won't want to commit a lot of time to it until they have some better re-assurance.

So again, anyone who personally finds it useful is free to keep doing it without needing to explain themselves to others, and they can try and explain what they do for the benefit of anyone who trusts them, and aren't obligated to supply any additional proof to anyone who is skeptical. But if they want skeptical people to be convinced and to try it, they need to supply some way they can either test it for themselves, or show strong documented evidence of people being successful with it.

So personally I was willing to try the method and experiment with it occasionally, but I needed to find a way to prove it to myself better before I stuck with it, and when I share it with others I try to supply ways that they can prove it to themselves in a reasonable time frame, because that was important to me sticking with it and I think more people would enjoy using it.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby luke » Wed Sep 22, 2021 2:04 am

RyanSmallwood wrote:follow it and achieve the same results.

Very thoughtful post and I enjoyed reading it.

Hopefully no one gets the idea that I disagree with the bulk of what you say, because that would be incorrect.

But on that bit I quoted, since I do think people tend to want something exactly like "achieve the same results" (since the originator's reported results were fantastic).

We don't start in the same place, we don't all have the same abilities, we don't all do the same thing. If someone said the previous statement is your inputs, but I want the output to be "achieve the same results", I'd be frustrated by their lack of insight.

Please understand, I'm not saying you are taking that stance. The "achieve the same results" seems like a reasonable expectation.

If we scale back expectations to "typical results", then reasonable discussions can take place, which is what you and most everyone (perhaps everyone) has been doing all along.
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby Le Baron » Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:24 pm

What are 'typical results' in a scenario of widely different starting places, abilities, approaches, usage of the system...?

I'm not being obtuse here, I know that e.g. many people can buy the same tennis equipment and follow the same basic rules and still get different results - some put the equipment in a cupboard forever and some win tennis tournaments. But when something is put forward as a working system with defined results - and I've read the original posts where it really is put forward as that - then it is not unreasonable to assume that doing what the rules say ought to produce what the (copyrighted even) claims state.

Linguaphone, e.g. puts forward a stepwise method for how a student proceeds. Of the thousands who follow it there will be differences in how they exactly carry this out, but everyone basically following the same steps and having been told what it is intended to achieve, should expect this to happen to a reasonable degree. Or should they not? Whereas the L-R method seems to be getting a free pass because no-one is selling it and its 'methodology' is treated as extremely elastic according to whomever employs it and how they apprehend it specifically. Which is really more like 'no method'.

Is this an incorrect analysis?
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Re: Did the Listening-Reading method work for you?

Postby RyanSmallwood » Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:24 pm

I’m not sure quite what you’re looking for. People call the variations on the method they use Listening-Reading insofar as it resembles the method associated with that name and they don’t have another name that would better communicate what they do. In terms of results people just need to find it helpful enough to be worth doing over other things, either because it’s more effective than other materials they tried, more enjoyable and/or more suited to their specific language learning goals.

People can decide to use the name more or less strictly in terms of how closely it follows the original proposal, or someone can try to come up with different names for variations or components of the method of they feel that’s easier to communicate what they do.

I just sort of direct people towards Listening-Reading in so far as I think there’s advice in the original post that’s worth applying to their routine that I don’t see discussed elsewhere or used by other names. It doesn’t matter to me if people want to use the name differently or use different names in the future, this is just the most convenient current usage to me.

Not sure if I’m missing your point or not.
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