Grammar through massive input (exposure)

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NoManches
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Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby NoManches » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:40 pm

Since I began reading on a daily basis in my L2, my use of grammar has definitely improved. After a while, you start to get a "feeling" of what is right and what it not right.

Unfortunately, sometimes it requires a MASSIVE amount of reading to expose yourself to every grammar rule, and even then you may not receive enough frequent exposure tot he more obscure grammar rules.

I am wondering if anybody has had success with learning grammar through flashcards (specifically Anki). My plan was to gather hundreds of example sentences for some of the more advanced rules that still ( :roll: ) give me problems, and add them to Anki.

I assume that after seeing so many proper sentences using the grammar I want to learn, will help me get a feeling of what is right and what is wrong.

Thoughts?
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Marais
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby Marais » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:48 pm

Chances are if you've not seen them enough to have gotten a feeling for them like you have with the other 'rules' then they're probably not that important. Especially if you listen to and read natural native content.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby Cainntear » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:13 pm

I don't think it can hurt, but I struggle to imagine it being particularly helpful.

Anki is a bit of a blunt tool* when it comes to anything that isn't a straightforward "fact". Grammar is about making a choice, and if you've got a single example sentence for a given rule, there's no choice to be made, so you're only going to be reminding yourself consciously of the rule, and not practicing application of it. On the other hand, if you make multiple examples to teach the same rule, you need the algorithm to know they're related and handle them appropriately. The best you've got with Anki is the concept of "sibling" cards, but again, it's a blunt tool. No two sibling cards will be shown on the same day -- that's the limit of what they do. So if you get stuck with a oarticular rule and end up seeing it three or four times in the same day, you're going to see exactly the same example sentence three or four times, rather than seeing different but mutually supportive examples. If you don't make the cards siblings, then the scheduling will treat them as completely unrelated.

(* Note for non-native speakers -- describing something as a "blunt tool" means it lacks sophistication and flexibility and gives poor results.)
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby Iversen » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:17 pm

I don't think flashcards will be very helpful if you want to learn grammar, except in a few cases where the point is to learn fixed combinations of some kind - like verbs and prepositions, verbs and cases or the gender of German substantives (using articles and nouns). For morphology you should keep some concise tables within reach and use them for reference while doing intensive text studies - i.e. by identifying cases in the text - or while writing essays. For syntax the point is to understand and remember some typical structures (which is much easier when you already know something about the structures), and with time you have covered all those that are worth learning. In both cases the use of native texts or speech is essential, because they show how the tables and rules are used in the real world. On the other hand the use of tools like lists and tables and maps is just as useful as using a map is when you venture out into a bustling unknown metropolis.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby sans-serif » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:00 pm

If you're serious about perfecting your grammar, there's no substitute for systematic grammar study. Grammar knowledge alone is not going to make you speak/write a language free of errors, but it will help your brain to pick up on the all the relevant structures. With continued exposure and practice, these structures will become second nature to you, and eventually all that remains is an intuitive feeling for what sounds correct and natural.

It sounds like your problem areas are fairly limited and thus easy to target. I would simply drill and memorize some of the grammar points that haven't stuck and see what happens. I wouldn't advise this as an overall learning strategy, but in your case it could be a good fit.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby iguanamon » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:13 pm

The way I could see this helping by using srs would be to do cloze cards of example sentences of the grammar points. That being said, I don't use srs myself. My advice- keep reading, listening, speaking and writing. Look into getting a skype tutor (nulengua.com & plqe.org from Guatemala are $10 US an hour) to work on specific points of grammar where you have trouble. FSI drills would help to "automatize" certain grammar points. You wouldn't have to do all of FSI Spanish Basic, but you could pick and choose certain units which have drills of the areas where you may need work. You can also google specific grammar exercises for a big language like Spanish.
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Last edited by iguanamon on Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby Cavesa » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:14 pm

NoManches wrote:Unfortunately, sometimes it requires a MASSIVE amount of reading to expose yourself to every grammar rule, and even then you may not receive enough frequent exposure tot he more obscure grammar rules.


MASSIVE is the key word here. Yes, study grammar explicitely as well, to trully understand it, to get even the "rarer" things right, to understand the system. But to trully get used to it, to trully feel what is correct, to actively and automatically use it, you need massive exposure, which you've already been using.

There are people who use SRS to memorise sentences, khatzumoto (All Japanese All the Time blog) has been very successful with this. But I must say I hate this approach, as I prefer to approach grammar logically + exposure. But the 10000 certainly is an option for some learners at some point of the process.

SRS can help with some of the drills, such as verb conjugations. In that case, it can be very useful and help with the automatisation. I would say most people stuck at the intermediate level would improve really fast, if only they weren't too lazy to drill their verbs properly.

But in the end, the massive exposure (both reading and listening) wins. You get many examples. You get natural repeating algorhythm, based on "frequency of use". Your brain connects the structures with tons of stuff, informations, and emotions.

I'd say one or two super challenges are enough to build what you are looking for. And the more, if you study grammar normally as well. I don't think Anki would give you the same results, and certainly not faster in the end.
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mouse
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby mouse » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:36 pm

Cavesa wrote:There are people who use SRS to memorise sentences, khatzumoto (All Japanese All the Time blog) has been very successful with this. But I must say I hate this approach, as I prefer to approach grammar logically + exposure. But the 10000 certainly is an option for some learners at some point of the process.


I think it's less about memorisation than exposure.

I don't see anything wrong with using anki to drill sentences, it just depends on how much you like using SRS. Repetitive exercises like scriptorium, using glossika mass sentences or re-reading an actively studied text can be very useful, and using anki to drill sentences is essentially operating on the same principle.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby s_allard » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:50 pm

I think Anki is an excellent tool for learning grammar. I have to say that I'm curious as to why so many people seem to think that Anki is for learning only words. If you put entire sentences or paragraphs in Anki then you are basically putting in examples of grammar rules. The way I use it is to set up decks by grammar themes that I find difficult or tricky. For example, I have a deck devoted to the imperfect of the subjunctive verb form. I have around 40 entries there, and I might add more if I see something really interesting. I have a deck for hypothetical statements. I have one for prepositions that go with certain verbs. Etc. And I've just started one with some really tricky pronoun usage that I would like to master. It's great to be able to leaf through a set of examples that focus on a certain theme.
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Re: Grammar through massive input (exposure)

Postby reineke » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:24 pm

Cavesa wrote:
NoManches wrote:Unfortunately, sometimes it requires a MASSIVE amount of reading to expose yourself to every grammar rule, and even then you may not receive enough frequent exposure tot he more obscure grammar rules.


MASSIVE is the key word here. Yes, study grammar explicitely as well, to trully understand it, to get even the "rarer" things right, to understand the system. But to trully get used to it, to trully feel what is correct, to actively and automatically use it, you need massive exposure, which you've already been using.

There are people who use SRS to memorise sentences, khatzumoto (All Japanese All the Time blog) has been very successful with this. But I must say I hate this approach, as I prefer to approach grammar logically + exposure. But the 10000 certainly is an option for some learners at some point of the process.


Cavesa's advice is excellent. However, I'd like to object to explicit grammar study being elevated so much. If you look around, it's not difficult to find grammar and Anki students mixing up personal pronouns and other high frequency grammatical items that should be easily learned through grammar books and rote memorization. To "truly" understand grammar points one needs to have a feeling for the words and their underlying relations. If that's not the case, a student of grammar is like a man walking on wooden legs.

"Grammar isn’t as tame and predictable as grammar textbooks may make it seem. To truly understand grammar, we need to study it in the wild. With a partner, lead our class in observing a “wild” grammatical phenomenon in its natural habitat, analyzing its qualities and behavior, and handling it in the controlled environment of our own writing. Your work will help you and us to gain deeper understanding of what grammar does in the texts we read and write."

From a "grammar workshop".

Anki - I don't care for it. However if I were to prepare grammar cards, I'd use a notebook first to distill sentence examples and grammar notes into something useful.
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