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Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2022 5:55 pm
by Cainntear
språker wrote:In the example of the adult learner with fossilised errors, it could just be that the process of replacing some patterns is just very slow, and that some things in the language takes extra effort to overcome, and that deliberate study/corrections are just a quicker way

If it is "just very slow", then the "very slow" we're talking about is clearly beyond the lifetime of many migrants, as they never overcome them.

Besides, if it takes "effort", then it is not merely a matter of acquisition as a consequence of exposure to sufficient amounts of comprehensible input. Part of the argument against Krashen is that when you look at successful learners in L2-monolingual classrooms, many of them are doing very different things outside of class to supplement that, and even if they aren't, you can interview them and you'll find that they are applying their higher-order reasoning skills to help them learn.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:37 am
by leosmith
språker wrote:If external correction would be the only possibility, wouldn’t it be very hard to reach a high level in a second (or native) language?

Could you define "external correction" and "very hard"? Imo, regardless of which path you choose it is very hard to reach a high level in a second language, so maybe I don't understand your point. Another thing, I wouldn't try to equate learning an L1 to learning an L2; there are too many differences for me to feel comfortable doing that.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:23 pm
by Beli Tsar
ryanheise wrote:
Beli Tsar wrote:Kauffman talks about truly enormous levels of repetition with his mini-stories to get those high-frequency words (among other things) in during the early stages. We don't all have the patience for that; cutting the repetitions by 3/4 or more and doing a couple of minutes of SRS a day would get similar results.


Everybody's different.

Some people may be able to breeze through their daily SRS queue in 2 minutes, while other people may struggle to recall each card without the added context you get when just engaging directly with the story.

That's totally fair. While I do wonder if many problems with SRS are more to do with the difficulty of learning to use Anki itself well than with the words, there's no question that it can be harder for some people. Indeed, just changing the language you are learning can make it much harder too.

I should have put my point in a more balanced way - Kaufmann is too dismissive of SRS Frequency lists: he gives the impression they do not give added utility. They do, even if it's not always for everyone or easy to use. Done right, for a lot of learners doing a lot of languages, they make the initial period of language learning easier. I've learned a lot from Kaufmann in the past, but this feels unhelpful.

ryanheise wrote:It is also almost certainly the case that you do not actually need flashcards for the most frequent words. If you consume 10,000 words of input in a day (e.g. listening to a 1 hour audio book, or reading 3 chapters of a novel, or perhaps a 20 minute audio / 1 chapter of a novel but 3 times over again), you will hear the top 100 most frequent words at least 10 times each day, and you'll hear the top 2000 most frequent words at least once each day. There must be a point on that scale above which you ARE getting enough repetitions of a word naturally, and you can save SRS for the words below that point. Graded content would boost those numbers further.

Again, point taken, and certainly you don't need flashcards for any words, let alone these ones. That said, words vary in difficulty, and the first 100 by frequency tend to be brutal - they are all the annoying little connectives and prepositions, words which give little clue as to their meaning, and often flexible in ways that don't map onto other languages. As has often been observed here on the forum, those are the hardest words to learn, whereas plenty of rare words are actually concrete nouns that are pretty easy to remember. There's a reason textbooks don't introduce the first 100 words by frequency all at once.

In other words, I personally find all the help I can get useful with these words, and that means SRS. And in the earliest stages of language learning, when SRSing very common words makes sense, one hour of listening or 3 chapters of reading is beyond what most people can handle anyway. The point of it is to make that day come sooner.
ryanheise wrote:Finally, there is a very simple answer to the question "Why slow down that process?":

SPEED is not the only goal, or even the main goal, for everyone. For example, I enjoy taking the scenic route to the grocery store, even though it may take me longer to get to the destination. People should make an individual choice that will help them fulfill their own goals, and one of those goals may be to enjoy the journey.

Yes indeed, and well said. And there's no question that finding SRS enjoyable is... unusual; so many may not wish to make it part of their hobby. Thank you for the reminder.
Nonetheless, I think there is a danger with Kaufmann's approach that it actually makes language learning harder. SRS is a tool that can make language learning faster, and (done right!) easier. That in turn makes it more accessible. In one sense, I don't want to rush the journey myself - but I'm just far too busy not to take advantages of tools like this. I couldn't learn languages without them, simply due to lack of time.

And indeed, it was SRS that opened up the very possibility of language learning for me - it took away the burden of not knowing vocab, of forgetting it again and again, so that I could begin to read, and so make progress. That's what I should have been trying to say in my original post - that Kaufmann's dismissive attitude (and behind it, Krashen's) potentially shuts people off from something that, for some at least, makes language learning far more accessible, more successful, more rewarding, and ultimately more enjoyable.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:42 pm
by TopDog_IK
Beli Tsar wrote:Yes indeed, and well said. And there's no question that finding SRS enjoyable is... unusual; so many may not wish to make it part of their hobby. Thank you for the reminder.
Nonetheless, I think there is a danger with Kaufmann's approach that it actually makes language learning harder. SRS is a tool that can make language learning faster, and (done right!) easier. That in turn makes it more accessible. In one sense, I don't want to rush the journey myself - but I'm just far too busy not to take advantages of tools like this. I couldn't learn languages without them, simply due to lack of time.

And indeed, it was SRS that opened up the very possibility of language learning for me - it took away the burden of not knowing vocab, of forgetting it again and again, so that I could begin to read, and so make progress. That's what I should have been trying to say in my original post - that Kaufmann's dismissive attitude (and behind it, Krashen's) potentially shuts people off from something that, for some at least, makes language learning far more accessible, more successful, more rewarding, and ultimately more enjoyable.


Memrise community vocab decks can be a somewhat fun way to learn with SRS. The app is heavily gamified and super easy to get started with. They also have memes and leaderboards. I can't see any harm in doing the first 1K or 2K words at the beginning of a language. Maybe people should try to do a mixture of CI and SRS for the first month or two?

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:25 am
by ryanheise
Beli Tsar wrote:
ryanheise wrote:
Beli Tsar wrote:Kauffman talks about truly enormous levels of repetition with his mini-stories to get those high-frequency words (among other things) in during the early stages. We don't all have the patience for that; cutting the repetitions by 3/4 or more and doing a couple of minutes of SRS a day would get similar results.


Everybody's different.

Some people may be able to breeze through their daily SRS queue in 2 minutes, while other people may struggle to recall each card without the added context you get when just engaging directly with the story.

That's totally fair. While I do wonder if many problems with SRS are more to do with the difficulty of learning to use Anki itself well than with the words, there's no question that it can be harder for some people. Indeed, just changing the language you are learning can make it much harder too.

I should have put my point in a more balanced way - Kaufmann is too dismissive of SRS Frequency lists: he gives the impression they do not give added utility. They do, even if it's not always for everyone or easy to use. Done right, for a lot of learners doing a lot of languages, they make the initial period of language learning easier. I've learned a lot from Kaufmann in the past, but this feels unhelpful.


One thing to grant Kaufmann is that he does preface his views on SRS by saying things like "I personally find that ..." or "For me, I ...", and he says that if you enjoy SRS, then it could be worthwhile for you. I think the premise of Kaufmann's YouTube channel is that if you're interested to learn languages in the same way that he likes to learn languages, you can keep listening to his perspectives. He built the LingQ platform around the way he personally likes to learn languages, but he does at least acknowledge that other people should do SRS if they are so inclined.

Beli Tsar wrote:
ryanheise wrote:It is also almost certainly the case that you do not actually need flashcards for the most frequent words. If you consume 10,000 words of input in a day (e.g. listening to a 1 hour audio book, or reading 3 chapters of a novel, or perhaps a 20 minute audio / 1 chapter of a novel but 3 times over again), you will hear the top 100 most frequent words at least 10 times each day, and you'll hear the top 2000 most frequent words at least once each day. There must be a point on that scale above which you ARE getting enough repetitions of a word naturally, and you can save SRS for the words below that point. Graded content would boost those numbers further.

Again, point taken, and certainly you don't need flashcards for any words, let alone these ones. That said, words vary in difficulty, and the first 100 by frequency tend to be brutal - they are all the annoying little connectives and prepositions, words which give little clue as to their meaning, and often flexible in ways that don't map onto other languages. As has often been observed here on the forum, those are the hardest words to learn, whereas plenty of rare words are actually concrete nouns that are pretty easy to remember. There's a reason textbooks don't introduce the first 100 words by frequency all at once.

In other words, I personally find all the help I can get useful with these words, and that means SRS. And in the earliest stages of language learning, when SRSing very common words makes sense, one hour of listening or 3 chapters of reading is beyond what most people can handle anyway. The point of it is to make that day come sooner.


Words such as connectives and prepositions are precisely the kinds of words that I find SRS to be the least helpful with compared to reading/listening in context. When I first started learning Japanese, I used SRS cards based on a word frequency deck, and I found these flashcards in particular to be ineffective:

の - of, in, at, for, by, ... (The #1 most frequent word in Japanese)
に - at, on, in, to, for, ... (The #2 most frequent word in Japanese)
と - and, or, with, if, ... (The #9 most frequent word in Japanese)
で - in, at, from, by, ... (The #11 most frequent word in Japanese)

And to do a good job of creating effective flashcards for these words would take a lot of time. The frequency dictionaries unfortunately don't tell you the individual frequency of each meaning of the word, so to make a good flashcard, you need to spend some time to decide which meanings you are going to focus on, and then perhaps create multiple cards so that you don't overload a single card with too much meaning.

The good thing about these words, however, is that they are so common. As soon as I started reading basic dialogues, with an online dictionary for each word (which is basically what LingQ does, or web browser plugins like Rikaichamp/Rikaichan), I very quickly got a handle on these words. I really did not need them in my SRS at all because they occur multiple times even within the same sentence, they're that common.

If you think about it, software like LingQ, LWT and Rikaichamp does part of what SRS does, at least for L2->L1 vocab flashcards. With a flashcard, you turn over the card to see what it means, but you try to remember the meaning on your own before you look. With LingQ, LWT and Rikaichamp, you hover your mouse over a word to see what it means, but you try to remember the meaning on your own before you look (and you don't need to look if you're already confident). The difference is that reading tools like LingQ give you rich context for free but don't follow the optimal mathematical repetition intervals, while SRS gives you the optimal mathematical repetition intervals but without the free context. However, my own experience is that the optimal mathematical repetition intervals do not help me at all when it comes to learning words that extremely common like this anyway, and what matters much more is having multiple examples to get used to how these words work.

As for whether 1 hour of listening per day is too much for the average learner, all of the stats I gave scale linearly. So you can just halve that and listen to 30 minutes a day, and you're going to hear the top 100 most frequent words at least 5 times each, and the top 10 words at least 100 times each, and the top 1000 words at least once each. You can keep halving that, and you just need to halve all the other stats. But whatever amount you arrive at, my point is still the same, which is that there will be some point on that scale above which you are going to get sufficient repetition of those words through your reading or listening material, and you can save SRS for the words below that which occur in nature less frequently than the SRS would deem optimal.

What I'm interested to explore is how we can use computers to help us select input material to fit the forgetting curve more closely. For more about this idea, you can read my post SRS vs natural repetition.

ryanheise wrote:Finally, there is a very simple answer to the question "Why slow down that process?":

SPEED is not the only goal, or even the main goal, for everyone. For example, I enjoy taking the scenic route to the grocery store, even though it may take me longer to get to the destination. People should make an individual choice that will help them fulfill their own goals, and one of those goals may be to enjoy the journey.

Yes indeed, and well said. And there's no question that finding SRS enjoyable is... unusual; so many may not wish to make it part of their hobby. Thank you for the reminder.
Nonetheless, I think there is a danger with Kaufmann's approach that it actually makes language learning harder. SRS is a tool that can make language learning faster, and (done right!) easier. That in turn makes it more accessible. In one sense, I don't want to rush the journey myself - but I'm just far too busy not to take advantages of tools like this. I couldn't learn languages without them, simply due to lack of time.

And indeed, it was SRS that opened up the very possibility of language learning for me - it took away the burden of not knowing vocab, of forgetting it again and again, so that I could begin to read, and so make progress. That's what I should have been trying to say in my original post - that Kaufmann's dismissive attitude (and behind it, Krashen's) potentially shuts people off from something that, for some at least, makes language learning far more accessible, more successful, more rewarding, and ultimately more enjoyable.


Yes, but there is a certain unfair asymmetry to what you're saying: i.e. The danger of Kaufmann's approach is that it makes language learning harder, while SRS is a tool that can make language learning easier. Well yes this is true, but the reverse is also true and it depends on the person.

Now I think it's perfectly OK to be an advocate for your own preferred method, and I think it's also perfectly OK to listen to a different point of view, consider the reasons given, and then decide that it does not resonate with your own experiences, and dismiss it as "unhelpful". But if you hold up a mirror, this is what both you and Kaufmann are doing. We all do it. For Kaufmann, he also also plugging his product, so that's different, although I don't think there is any principle that says that when marketing one's product, one should not try to advocate for it. :-) The concern would be whether he is falsely advertising his product, but I don't think he has gone to that extent, and rather, I think he has generally been one to acknowledge that there are different learning approaches that may suit different people.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:12 pm
by einzelne
I came across this historical anecdote about Virginia Woolf. Just like most of language students she hated grammar instruction but when she decided to skip it and go straight to reading, it didn't work well:

In his autobiography Leonard Woolf notes how in just a few years he went from being an excellent classics scholar to a reader: "I could read Greek and Latin fluently, as I still can, but I had forgotten all the paraphernalia of syntax and writing Greek and Latin compositions." Woolf writes in her diary for February 2, 1905, after almost a year of not studying because of illness:

I am glad to find that I don't forget Greek & read Thucydides which is tough, as easily as I ever did. I am going to throw my Spanish grammar over board, I think, & start reading & see how the plan works. I believe it is the only way, I at any rate can learn a language-Grammar is hopelessly dull, & infects the whole language.
(Apprentice, 23 1)

Not surprisingly, her enthusiasm for Spanish studies did not last. Ignoring grammar and making straight for the sense is held out as the promise of teaching Greek through reading in its most extreme formulation. But most teachers find it more practical to insist that beginners memorize some paradigms, general rules, and vocabulary lists even as they welcome the appealing stories for beginners restricted to active verbs in the present tense. Hence the importance of Janet Case's systematic teaching for Woolf's lasting ability to read Greek, even though she did not study enough to do good prose and verse compositions.


Link

PS. Incidentally, the case of her husband also demonstrates the difference in active/passive skills' deterioration.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 10:39 pm
by Kraut
Kaufmann, one-day old video

Does Language Immersion Work?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3qvRXlL31U

Language immersion sounds like magic. You go live in a country and once you are there you learn the language. In this video I explain why this isn’t necessarily the case, and what you can do to increase your chances of language immersion strategy success.

0:00 I learned English as a child through immersion.
1:53 the French Immersion Program in Canada.
3:08 Good comprehension leads to an accelerated learning process when it comes to speaking the language.
4:09 Why many language immersion attempts fail.
4:47 You need to have a language immersion plan in place to be successful

-------------------
There is also a comment section that can get easily overlooked at the very bottom of the page.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 3:41 pm
by Le Baron
Kraut wrote:Kaufmann, one-day old video

Does Language Immersion Work?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3qvRXlL31U

It's a good video, though I think he overstates the ability to 'quickly interact' on a base of comprehension. For sure someone with a higher comprehension level has the comprehension barrier removed/reduced, but the point of production is that it's a skill of its own. There's a tendency to believe that what you see/know you can also reproduce, but this isn't so. Not unless you work for some of it.

There is of course value in immersion. Sprachprofi wrote in another post that 'fluency is never more than topic fluency'. In the video where Kaufmann talks about Canadian immersion students doing chemistry lessons etc entirely in French, we see that this is mainly input rather than interactive use. No different than you sitting in a school history lesson and understanding the teacher more or less, but then his stern gaze falls upon you and he asks you to 'summarise' or answer a question and it all falls to dust. And this is all in your native language! The point is that as well as needing to understand the language/meaning, and understand the topic, you also need to know how to reproduce it. You got good at understanding by doing that very thing, so why wouldn't reproducing it on your own terms be developed by doing that very thing?

The 'topic fluency' often missing from people struggling to activate speaking is the topic of 'general interaction', which is the core topic. Isn't it true that TL learners very often say: 'I can understand the news, some documentaries, TV shows even speeches or formal debates, and read books, but when the natives start talking among themselves it's often gibberish to me!'? That's the topic area with which you need to get familiar. whilst keeping in mind that this is running and if you haven't crawled and walked beforehand you're going to struggle. And that it's a different kettle of fish formal and semi-formal language in books, news media and even some films/TV, none of which completely resemble natural speech. It is there where immersion-input comes to the fore. To live, love and experience day-to-life through a language is what brings it alive. This isn't as accessible in the same way outside a TL environment.

Also I'd like to revive the unpopular (but true I think) view that some people are just better language learners than others. For whatever fathomable and unfathomable reasons, nature or nurture or both. Without ruling out that anyone can become better. This tends to muddy the waters of results when we deal with these 'methods' which are considered to be universally applicable. Whether we call it 'natural aptitude' or just a more developed and advantageous starting position (e.g. already had 2nd language exposure early on); that some people are more gregarious and less apprehensive in social interaction; that someone is more focused and aware of what they're doing; that a person has a good ear for sounds, whilst another is a bit tone deaf. All that will also impact immersion experience and success.

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 6:23 pm
by einzelne
Kraut wrote:Kaufmann, one-day old video

Does Language Immersion Work?


We have more reliable sources:

Immersion experiences, where only the language is used, have great pay-offs in morale, motivation, perception of skill, and stamina in using the language. They appear to have the greatest payoff above the S-2 level. Despite what some published research has indicated, for example Brecht, Davidson, and Ginsberg (1993), our experience is that in-country immersion is most effective where the learner is at higher levels of proficiency.


Lessons learned from fifty years of theory and practice in government language teaching

Re: Krashen and "Krashenite"

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 9:02 pm
by Cainntear
Le Baron wrote:The 'topic fluency' often missing from people struggling to activate speaking is the topic of 'general interaction', which is the core topic. Isn't it true that TL learners very often say: 'I can understand the news, some documentaries, TV shows even speeches or formal debates, and read books, but when the natives start talking among themselves it's often gibberish to me!'? [highlight]That's the topic area with which you need to get familiar[/highlight]. whilst keeping in mind that this is running and if you haven't crawled and walked beforehand you're going to struggle. And that it's a different kettle of fish formal and semi-formal language in books, news media and even some films/TV, none of which completely resemble natural speech. It is there where immersion-input comes to the fore. To live, love and experience day-to-life through a language is what brings it alive. This isn't as accessible in the same way outside a TL environment.

While I would absolutely agree with most of that, I'd caveat the part I've highlighted and emphasised.
It is clearly a topic that you need to get familiar with and it is the topic that everyone needs to get familiar with, but it's also one of the most difficult topic fluencies to get. Try to imagine going one day without saying "would" (or the equivalent in any given language) and you're going to struggle.

There should be no shame in using more tightly constrained topics to get a handle on language skills in a more controlled environment before handling the full complexity of general chit-chat.

Also I'd like to revive the unpopular (but true I think) view that some people are just better language learners than others. For whatever fathomable and unfathomable reasons, nature or nurture or both. Without ruling out that anyone can become better. This tends to muddy the waters of results when we deal with these 'methods' which are considered to be universally applicable. Whether we call it 'natural aptitude' or just a more developed and advantageous starting position (e.g. already had 2nd language exposure early on); that some people are more gregarious and less apprehensive in social interaction; that someone is more focused and aware of what they're doing; that a person has a good ear for sounds, whilst another is a bit tone deaf. All that will also impact immersion experience and success.


I've got no problem with that. Some people have some unspecified advantage. A point I keep coming back to here is that most of us here are good at it for some reason or another so are more likely to succeed with sub-standard materials and methods than the average learner, so we have to be cautious about recommending what we do.

I've long adhered to the school of thought that says a teacher or methodology should never be judged based on the top 3rd of the class or the bottom 3rd of the class, but the middle 3rd. I don't trust anything or anyone that seems to justify themselves based on high performers, and a lot of immersive courses seem to have such high dropout rates that only the high achievers are left at the end.