reineke wrote:Edited.for brevity and clarity.
*I certainly did not look up anything when I was 6,7,8,9 etc.
I learned German as a teen following a similar approach and recently I made good on my promise about Spanish and Russian.
This is a small forum. Keith is apparently only interesting as a way of portraying a language acquisition failure. Victor is the comic "guy from Brazil" who went MIA and Patrick's success is being whittled down to failure. Reineke is either ghosted or forgotten unless someone needs something.
One of my core tenets as a teacher is never to use the success of a minority as proof of a method -- the ones who succeed aren't the ones who need the guidance of a teacher or a method. I have no doubt that a minority of people out there can achieve incredible things from input exposure, but the evidence shows they are exactly that -- a minority. Certainly, I am not part of that minority, as I handle uncertainty worse than most.
reineke wrote: Cainntear wrote:
Bill VanPatten wrote:Do you ever remember being taught what round meant? And if you do, did you understand that definition? Most likely, you weren’t taught anything about roundedness. Over time, you developed a notion of roundedness from lots of exposure to round objects. In short, your knowledge of roundedness comes from the numerous samples of roundedness you were exposed to. Mental representation for language develops much in the same way.
Not if by "language" he means "second language". Even if you work in an immersive monolingual environment, learners will always attempt to pin new vocab onto existing preformed concepts. If you teach redondo in Spanish, learners are either going to get it slightly wrong and confuse it with the cognate "rotund" or they're going to associate it with the pre-formed concept represented by the word "round".
If you present the word in isolation and ask sudents to brainstorm you will get all kinds of answers. You can of course provide some context.
That sounds like hell to me. I can see no reason to spend several minutes discussing an answer with people who don't know the answer, when the answer could be instantly provided by the man or woman next to the whiteboard or a quick trip to WordReference on my phone.
As I said, though, I know my tolerance for uncertainty is lower than most people's, so I do remember to keep that in mind when considering what is appropriate for other people. However, I do remember seeing a study by Mondria (summarised in his article on vocab myths
) which showed that inferring meaning had no noticeable benefit over being given the meaning, and took longer. To me that suggests that most other people aren't really much better at learning without being certain than me, just that they're better at handling it emotionally than me.
In an immersion environment you may read or hear
número redondo - round number
agujero redondo - round hole
objeto redondo - round object
la mesa redonda - round table
Caballeros de la Mesa Redonda -
The Knights of the Round Table
and many other combinations.
Compare that to:
The collocations work in your favor once you start picking up some basic vocabulary. At first glance however you can easily come up with a theory that it's impossible to pick up words from spoken context. And yet...
There's two caveats to that:
1) Repetition, whether of single words, collocations or phrases/idioms is not guaranteed in an unplanned context. Learning by example needs some level of comparison, and if repetitions or comparable items are too dispersed in time, one example won't be available to the brain to compare with the next. In a planned course, items can be deliberately repeated and/or presented alongside different forms to allow the learner to build up memory and understanding of relationships.
2)The example of the Round Table shows that at times, even in a fully monolingual external environment, everyone falls back on their mother tongue (and/or previously studied languages). Le Table Ronde
is not understood by learning a new French concept. La Mesa Redonda
is not understood by learning a new Spanish concept. Both are understood by the same concept I already have tied to the English phrase "the Round Table". Not only this, but the structure
of the phrase is understood through the English too.
In fact, this sort of phrase is often used to demonstrate grammatical rules in immersive classes precisely because understanding the concept through the native language lens makes the grammatical pattern pretty explicit.
To me, that says that monolingual teachers are involved in a fair degree of self-deception.
But put that to one side: "developed a notion of roundedness from lots of exposure to round objects. […] Mental representation for language develops much in the same way"
As soon as an English speaker understands the phrase "la mesa redonda", they are activating the mental concepts of table, of round, and of the-round-table, unavoidably. They are linking new word forms to pre-existing concepts.