LIE to a Polyglot

General discussion about learning languages
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby AnthonyLauder » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:27 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:
AnthonyLauder wrote:That is, when they read, or even think of, sheet music, it triggers vibration of the tiny hairs in the ear that would have been triggered if they were actually listening to the music.

Do they have to think of sheet music, or music? I never think of sheet music, but I DO think of tunes and songs during all awake hours. The way of the lazy fist keeps my repertoire alive. 8-)

The research focused on composers, who maybe think of sheet music more than musicians do. I am sure they think of tunes and songs too, but the research only mentioned the connection between reading sheet music and hearing the music in their ear as a result.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby tarvos » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:33 pm

I definitely vocalize everything I read that way. The more fluently I can do it, the better I speak the language, too.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:59 pm

tarvos wrote:I definitely vocalize everything I read that way. The more fluently I can do it, the better I speak the language, too.

same here, and just this morning I had a skype session with a Frenchman. He commented positively on my accent (or lack of) and reading fluidity. Reading out loud makes a lot of sense to me. Likewise does hearing the words in my head if I happen to read silently (when not alone).
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby Finny » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:22 am

Reading aloud was basically how I transitioned from not speaking Spanish to speaking it, physically. I find teaching the mouth to produce the language, the ears to hear the language coming from the mouth, and the brain to accept the language as being produced from the mouth and processed by the ears to be an essential process in "activating" a language when learning almost exclusively through input, as I do. I think you can get the same effects by self-talk, although there's a greater probability of saying incorrect things that way, or by thinking in the language, although that doesn't activate the mouth-ear-mind feedback loop quite as strongly.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby rdearman » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:25 am

hummm.... Interesting. I never sub-vocalise when reading, and actively avoid it in my native language. In fact, if I find myself hearing the words in my head I quit reading. This is because it means I'm reading at about 1/4 or 1/2 of the speed I should be reading. The human brain should be capable of processing between 300-500 words per minute, average speaking rates for English speakers are between 125-175 words per minutes. I didn't quote the studies, but these numbers should be about right.

My point is I spent a significant amount of time teaching myself to read and process words quickly and efficiently. When I was younger I sub-vocalised the words and even mouthed the words silently. As a part of becoming a black-belt in the lazy fist, I realised this is inefficient and so I taught myself not to do it. I also forced myself to learn touch typing because "hunt & peck" isn't efficient.

So now I'm wondering if it is worth breaking the discipline of years to not sub-vocalise in order to improve my language abilities. I don't think reading out loud would be a problem, but I wouldn't like to get back into bad habits. In a choice between efficiency of reading, or efficiency of speaking, I would always pick reading.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby garyb » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:50 am

I'm sure I've read, and I can believe, that sub-vocalisation can reinforce bad pronunciation as well as good. I tend to do it automatically, and it's one of my many reasons for avoiding too much reading in the early stages.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby Ani » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:59 am

rdearman wrote:
So now I'm wondering if it is worth breaking the discipline of years to not sub-vocalise in order to improve my language abilities. I don't think reading out loud would be a problem, but I wouldn't like to get back into bad habits. In a choice between efficiency of reading, or efficiency of speaking, I would always pick reading.

It doesn't have to be either or. Subvocalization is an important strategy when you are trying to teach yourself any new skill. I'll believe you if you insist, but I really doubt anyone who is a strong independent learner *never* subvocalizes. Subvocalization is #1st strategy of attack for most strong readers when tackling something totally new - higher reading level or learning out of your field. In fact there are whole (expensive) programs to teach those attack skills to middle and high school kids :)
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Improving Listening Skills with a Twist

Postby issemiyaki » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:55 pm

Thank you Leosmith for your post. I have been thinking about the same thing over the past few days. I, too, believe that listening is a skill that is not practiced nearly enough by language learners. Many have unpleasant surprises when they realize they cannot understand native speakers despite having spent hours, or even years, on grammar, writing, and speaking.

So, what I’m about to share is not particularly new, but it is a different way to attack the problem, at least for me.

FYI: I sort of stumbled on this practice method by accident.

My tutor simply tells me stories. It might sound silly, but I’m starting to see GOOD results!

So, what does my tutor talk about in these stories? We use 250 conversation starters on Fluent U. Some of the basic questions include: What would you do if you won $10 million; What was your first car like; or what was the worst vacation you’ve ever been on? And the list goes on and on.

This opens the window for answers that can stretch for as long as 15 minutes. (I do give my tutor the topic ahead of time, that way he can prepare some notes to guide him.) (Attention: These are not read out answers. This is spontaneous, off-the-cuff speech.) The narratives are often windy and very VISUAL and full of idiomatic expressions that we discuss after.

I record him while he’s talking, and then I re-listen to the responses later.

To switch things up, I listen to different sources as well. But, with help!!!! For example, if I see there’s an interview that I want to listen to on France Culture titled: “Did cavemen really exist,” I’ll ask my tutor to talk about the subject for roughly 5 to 10 minutes, with comprehensible input. This gets me warmed up for the interview on France Culture.

I would say I’m happy with the results. I can’t say I understand everything, but I the language no longer sounds like it did when I first started learning it.

It should be noted that my tutor speaks at a native clip, and no concessions are made for me because I’m a student. (If you are a beginner, you might be able to tell the teacher to slow down, but you’ll eventually want to unleash the tutor and let him/her fly at cruising altitude.)

But the biggest gain with this is that I am creating a bank, or a listening library, full of hours and hours of comprehensible input. And those conversation starters are great. A topic about “my first car” turned into a discussion of how difficult it can be to pass your driving test, and that morphed into how the government clashed with the infamous Auto-Écoles in France, schools that are known for ripping off students.

Again, I’m just starting to see positive results. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 2 months.
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby IronMike » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:32 pm

One must not discount the visual when it comes to listening. What's the stat? Communication is 80% visual? All I know is when I do my speaking test over the phone, w/o being able to see my tester, I routinely score a 1/2 point (2 vice 2+) than I do when I can see my tester, all other things being equal.

I understand my crazy Russian show Ревизорро much better when I can see what Elena Letuchaya is doing on the screen. (I've tested this by closing my eyes during some of the show.)

I love this philosophy though. My language(s) always get better when I do dedicated listening (not just hearing).
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Re: LIE to a Polyglot

Postby Systematiker » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:51 pm

I do far more listening than anything else, time-wise, and since I've started tracking it a little over a month ago, I can directly correlate gains in ability (e.g. Hey, I can do/understand this now) to the amount of listening I do (less directly to other things such as watching or reading).

I've been reading this with interest.

I subvocalize in everything but English and German, but if I'm tired I subvocalize in German. This is also really connected to reading speed for me. I have started recently reading aloud in Spanish.

And though not a composer but a musician, I can "hear" when reading sheet music.

I've never had the subtitle thing, though sometimes I visualize what I'm going to say in weaker languages if it's complex enough. I can, however, do it if I'm thinking about it, which is interesting.
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