Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

General discussion about learning languages
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zenmonkey
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:04 pm

WalkingAlone13 wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:Somewhere along the way we are confusing memorisation methods with language acquisition. Using Cicero's Roman room method, Loci, Links, Pegs, etc.., one can memorise and produce vast information sets but not necessarily use them productively.

Don't confuse someone who can memorise Pi to the 7000th position with a mathematician.

And while learning can be greatly assisted by SRS, these contests are a memory exercise, not a language exercise.


I am unsure whether I've just interpreted your message correctly or not, as I agree that in THAT particular competition, it was indeed more of a memory task. However in your first sentence you noted methods, which if you are counting Memrise as said method, I don't agree. Memrise does use SRS, whether or not you use the mnemonics is entirely your decision. The mnemonics are, of course, a memory element and not a language element, but the SRS component as well as the fact that you are actively typing the answers and hearing the audio (dependent on the course) and reviewing the items are language elements. But SRS is a means of language acquisition and can lead you to actively producing coherent sentences as well as speech, I've seen many people achieve very good results with it. It was also how I got to basic fluency in Finnish before getting to see how well I could actively produce the language when moving to Finland.


I meant that there are specific methods for memorising very large sets of data - at one point I could produce the card order of a deck of playing cards after looking at them for 10 minutes. (It didn't mean I could play poker). There are people that can memorise an entire deck in less than a minute. These methods are what I am talking about - pure memory tools - Memrise isn't a particularly effective 'pure memory' tool and I am not criticising it or SRS at all. I use ANKI a lot. To memorise large card sets *for a contest* in a short time is an exercise of memorisation methods not for language acquisition.

It's like the guy who memorised all the 7 letter combos to win at French scrabble but doesn't speak French.
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Cavesa » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:07 pm

Yes, I have had good results with srs in past as well, even though I hadn't been using it consistently (but considering the "amount" of usage, really good results). The thing is whether you do as well other activities or not. Unfortunately, I've found far too many questions on the Memrise forums that looked like the author wasn't using anything else and expected Memrise to teach them everything.

Serpent, how does the SC discourage from variety? Not being ironic, I am genuinely interested in your point of view. I find it to be quite the opposite, the "required" amount drives me to more variety. And when I find out I miss out on other methods, fortunately there are the 6wcs and progress bars and all that gamification stuff that helps me rectify the situation :-)
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Expugnator » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:10 pm

It is safer to keep working with material you're already used to - or that you have already collected for reading/listening - than to search for something new. When I start a series for the SC I tend to go all the way to the end (well, I would do it anyway whether there was an SC or not).
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Serpent » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:38 am

Cavesa wrote:Serpent, how does the SC discourage from variety? Not being ironic, I am genuinely interested in your point of view. I find it to be quite the opposite, the "required" amount drives me to more variety. And when I find out I miss out on other methods, fortunately there are the 6wcs and progress bars and all that gamification stuff that helps me rectify the situation :-)

I mostly think that the decision to encourage learners of smaller languages to watch movies with merely subtitles in L2 was wrong. While at the same time things like short recordings (including news), museum audioguides, excursions, bus tours with audio, live lectures and even audiobook-like tour guides are not allowed. No matter how you look at it, there are some inconsistencies. Non-fiction and short pieces are ok in writing but discouraged as audio. Random TV is allowed but random radio isn't. All based on vague assumptions.

I'm thinking of suggesting a subchallenge that allows all of the above and ideally somehow encourages signing up with two or more of Spanish/German/English/French, or any language outside that list.
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Cavesa » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:56 am

Tour guides and such things are not allowed? I didn't even know. :-D I thought the SC was pretty free when it came to the kinds of material used. Really, I think these problems may come from sticking to the original definitions of the challenge too tightly, by this exlusion of live things, you would exclude theatre in the language as well, which would be absolute nonsense. Perhaps the solution is not creating yet another challenge but just making it clear these things are still ok to use? After all, the SC is to make us listen and read a lot and everyone is competing against themselves, it is not a large inter-personal competition in need of strict rules, I'd say.
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Serpent » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:38 am

Well, according to Cristina theatre is okay because it's pretty much like watching a movie. In fact I saw the Hobbit in Imatra's theatre in March, and right now I'm in Finland again and also hoping to go to the theatre :mrgreen:
But live lectures and excursions are not okay because they're not fiction :roll: :cry: Although the performance I want to attend is about a real person from 100 years ago :lol:

You probably missed this sh*tstorm and this infographic where green is the original idea, yellow and orange are various levels of acceptable and red is not allowed. (Although tbh it's much more challenging to listen to a match without watching)
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Cavesa » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:52 am

Yeah, I definitely missed that :-D

Well, I do not have problem staying within the rules, thanks to my interests. Even though should the "non-fiction is wrong" attitude got into the book rules too, I couldn't probably count in medicine textbooks in my target langauges. Really, I had thought it was more like "use your common sense and honest judgement" kind of rules. I was wrong.

Sometimes, it is actually nice to miss something. It leaves me with a bit more naivity. I haven't got much of that left, I need to protect the few grains :-D
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby aokoye » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:06 pm

Serpent wrote:Well, according to Cristina theatre is okay because it's pretty much like watching a movie. In fact I saw the Hobbit in Imatra's theatre in March, and right now I'm in Finland again and also hoping to go to the theatre :mrgreen:
But live lectures and excursions are not okay because they're not fiction :roll: :cry: Although the performance I want to attend is about a real person from 100 years ago :lol:

You probably missed this sh*tstorm and this infographic where green is the original idea, yellow and orange are various levels of acceptable and red is not allowed. (Although tbh it's much more challenging to listen to a match without watching)


I'm not going to try to rehash that thread in here but needless to say I'm glad I didn't try to do the SC. I shall cling tight to my documentaries.
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby Serpent » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:48 pm

video documentaries are allowed :)
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Re: Is this the ceiling? Memrise Memathon contest winner

Postby vm_nm » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:41 pm

Cavesa wrote:The thing is whether you do as well other activities or not. Unfortunately, I've found far too many questions on the Memrise forums that looked like the author wasn't using anything else and expected Memrise to teach them everything.


The question if it's possible to learn a language using Memrise only (including grammar decks) came up a lot in the "Memrise Madness" Facebook group, often posted by people who admitted being Memrise addicts. I didn't get the impression that those folks seriously believed Memrise was a panacea, but rather that they observed they found it easier to stick with Memrise than with other learning activities and therefore started to look for creative ways to make Memrise work for as many areas as possible.

From a pragmatical point of view, if someone is really unable to fit anything other than SRSing flashcards into their schedule, or is unable to keep up motivation without points and competition, I think this is way better than just giving up on language learning. The memorized stuff can still be activated later by immersion and some people are only aiming at basic survival and reading comprehension anyway.

But I agree, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around. Memrise shouldn't call their sets/decks "courses" to begin with.
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