How to learn with dialogues?

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reineke
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby reineke » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:04 pm

Speakeasy wrote:I’m sorry, but I really do not see the need for a debate here. Dialogues are stilted, artificial, and insufficient for learning a language: and this is supposed to be news? Putting aside the fact that we have yet to clearly define the term “learn a language” at every level in what many of us would admit is a lengthy and uncertain process, my overall reaction is: yes, dialogues are not ideal representations of natural speech, so what? In passing, I have yet to see, anywhere in this discussion thread, the presentation of a truly “practical, efficient, and effective alternative” to dialogues and sentence-pattern exercises for use in a self-instruction situation in the initial stages of language-learning...


So then, I really couldn’t care if dialogues are unnatural, they serve a very useful purpose as models of how language might be used in a given context.


Authentic passages differ from created passages in terms of their orality, a feature that captures factors such as redundancy, disfluencies, and syntactic complexity. Research on orality suggests that more oral passages are easier for L2 listeners to comprehend. Authentic dialogues have also been found to differ from created (textbook) dialogues in terms of information density and length. Though the amount of research addressing how authentic passages differ from created passages is very small, this combined with findings concerning orality suggest that authentic passages may be easier for listeners than created passages. However, other factors likely to be more prevalent in authentic passages, such as unfamiliar speaker accents, varying speech rates, culturally specific information, distortion, and noise, are likely to increase the difficulty of the passage."

Factors affecting second language listening comprehension

In our half century of language education at FSI, we have moved from “teaching the textbook” to “helping the learner to learn,” from a strict diet of sentence-based pattern drills to a range of “communicative activities,” from using predominantly teacher-developed materials to a heavy emphasis on authentic or “found” materials...

Lessons learned from fifty years of theory and practice in government language teaching
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby neumanc » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:09 pm

reineke wrote:From Memory and Memorization: There IS a Difference

When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning
A teacher's quest to discourage his students from mindlessly reciting information

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/a ... ng/279425/
The message of the above video is that you shouldn't rely soly on memorization of maths facts if you want to succeed in mathematics. Is this really relevant for language learning? As long as you understand the sentences you are learning, not only their meaning, but also the underlying grammar patterns, one can say that you learn "from memory", whatever this may mean exactly. So you suggest: Do not learn by heart canned phrases mindlessly and without understanding what they mean and how this meaning is created. I think most people could agree on that. But what do to precisely with your dialogues? Analysing them, copying them in your workbook, reciting them, repeating them, shadowing them, translating them, retranslating them, modifying them, rewriting them, etc., etc.?????
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby neumanc » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:15 pm

reineke wrote:
Speakeasy wrote:I’m sorry, but I really do not see the need for a debate here. Dialogues are stilted, artificial, and insufficient for learning a language: and this is supposed to be news? Putting aside the fact that we have yet to clearly define the term “learn a language” at every level in what many of us would admit is a lengthy and uncertain process, my overall reaction is: yes, dialogues are not ideal representations of natural speech, so what? In passing, I have yet to see, anywhere in this discussion thread, the presentation of a truly “practical, efficient, and effective alternative” to dialogues and sentence-pattern exercises for use in a self-instruction situation in the initial stages of language-learning...


So then, I really couldn’t care if dialogues are unnatural, they serve a very useful purpose as models of how language might be used in a given context.


Authentic passages differ from created passages in terms of their orality, a feature that captures factors such as redundancy, disfluencies, and syntactic complexity. Research on orality suggests that more oral passages are easier for L2 listeners to comprehend. Authentic dialogues have also been found to differ from created (textbook) dialogues in terms of information density and length. Though the amount of research addressing how authentic passages differ from created passages is very small, this combined with findings concerning orality suggest that authentic passages may be easier for listeners than created passages. However, other factors likely to be more prevalent in authentic passages, such as unfamiliar speaker accents, varying speech rates, culturally specific information, distortion, and noise, are likely to increase the difficulty of the passage."

Factors affecting second language listening comprehension

In our half century of language education at FSI, we have moved from “teaching the textbook” to “helping the learner to learn,” from a strict diet of sentence-based pattern drills to a range of “communicative activities,” from using predominantly teacher-developed materials to a heavy emphasis on authentic or “found” materials...

Lessons learned from fifty years of theory and practice in government language teaching
So another of your suggestions would be not to use textbook dialogues but natural speech. This disqualifies most of TV, by the way, because it's scripted. Maybe interviews on YouTube would be usable? But there's no transcript. So back to textbooks it is...
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby Kraut » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:32 pm

Maybe interviews on YouTube would be usable? But there's no transcript. So back to textbooks it is..

The most natural conversations are telephone pranks. Here is one with machine-translated subtitles. I have also seen some man-made subs, but they are rare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzukBQt ... Sf&index=8
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby Speakeasy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:14 pm

reineke wrote: …A teacher's quest to discourage his students from mindlessly reciting information.
I am left with the impression that the information that you provided is something of a digression. But, what the heck, I will respond by saying that, even as far back as the late 19th century, most truly enlightened educators were aware of the weaknesses of rote learning as it was (far too often) applied at that time; that is, as “rote learning, for rote learning’s sake.” They believed that the sole justification of rote learning was to permit the student to acquire certain elementary concepts (which were to be committed to memory) so as to free the mind to contemplate more advanced concepts at some later date. They believed that the alternative was to require every student to “rediscover” (almost indefinitely) a number of obviously elementary notions priory to advancing to more elevated levels of knowledge and that such a process would retard the student’s development, it would be a colossal waste of time, and it would not necessarily provide better results. That is, rote learning does have its place but that, like everything else in life, the technique must be used wisely. An example which was often used to demonstrate the usefulness of rote learning was the memorisation of multiplication tables prior to the study of algebra. Reinke, while your link was “cute”, I presume that you are not proposing that, upon arrival in high school and prior to embarking upon the study of algebra, students should have no notion whatsoever of elementary arithmetic. You have committed your home address to memory, haven’t you? Or, perhaps you haven’t, for fear that by doing so you might permanently damage your “sense of wonder” at discovering it anew every time you leave for home. I find myself wondering if learning to tie one’s own shoe-laces doesn’t fall into the same category. We simply could not function without the assistance of, and immediate access to, the thousands of paradigms that we have committed to memory ... often, through rote learning.
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby Speakeasy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:40 pm

reineke wrote: Authentic dialogues … at FSI, we have moved from “teaching the textbook” to “helping the learner to learn,”...
Reineke, you have provided a large amount of information which, in my view, despite its noteworthiness, is either not germane to this discussion or is unrelated to the practical world in which the independent student of foreign languages frequently finds himself. Look around you! The overwhelming majority of materials either for self-instruction, or for classroom-instruction, of foreign languages contains scripted dialogues and exercise sets. Let us be realistic here, very few members of this forum are ever going to have the luxury of partaking in an FSI or a DLI language programme. So then, with the deepest respect, what’s your solution? What is your suggested programme of studies for the self-instruction of a foreign language in a situation where most resources are quite limited. Please, no more quotes, just some meat on bone!
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby reineke » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:49 am

Speakeasy wrote:
reineke wrote: …A teacher's quest to discourage his students from mindlessly reciting information.
I am left with the impression that the information that you provided is something of a digression.

You have committed your home address to memory, haven’t you? Or, perhaps you haven’t, for fear that by doing so you might permanently damage your “sense of wonder” at discovering it anew every time you leave for home. I find myself wondering...


I don't think I have strayed from the subject given the OP's irrepressible urge to "recite" dialogues. I am surprisingly flexible and pragmatic when compared to drill guys and their next generation memorization offspring. Speaking of the devil...

neumanc wrote:
So another of your suggestions would be not to use textbook dialogues but natural speech. This disqualifies most of TV, by the way, because it's scripted. Maybe interviews on YouTube would be usable? But there's no transcript. So back to textbooks it is...


neumanc wrote:I am very sorry to say this, but most of the contributions here don't actually answer my question. You have given me ample reason not to learn with dialogues at all, ..

The only question is:...


You asked a whole lot of questions. You have also presented a lot of personal opinions as facts. And yet this thread contains some very detailed answers to many of your questions. You also received some good answers in one of your previous threads:

"Glossika--Is the only thing that counts in fluency development the number of “reps”

neumanc wrote:To begin with, let me express my appreciation of the convenience of the Glossika program. It is wonderful to have 3,000 sentences with audio, transcription, pronunciation, and translation, and in different kinds of formats (i.e. A-files, B-files, and C-files). Following the forums, I have the impression that many language learners have had tremendous success with Glossika.

Since Joseph Colon (Deka Glossai) recommends Assimil (which also contains between 2,000 to 3,000 sentences), the question arises if repeating the sentences in an Assimil book over and over would be equally beneficial as Glossika? Or is shadowing (as recommended by Professor Arguelles) even more effective...

For the time being, I will just continue doing Glossika without wondering too much about the hows and whys of its inner workings. I consider it a worthwhile resource, the various translation errors already taken into account. As I see it, the L1-L2 audio format, which enables recalling from memory (i.e. memorization), is heavily underused in language learning materials...


How has this worked for you? Why are you still asking the same questions about language learning basics?

You were interested in building a Glossika-like spaced repetition course. How did that go? You ask, ask, ask but you don't offer much in return. Are you trying to fine-tune a successful language learning system or are you tapping in the dark?

As I see it, you're trying to build a bigger and better peashooter where you need a harpoon.

Regarding authencity etc, you are putting words into my mouth and drawing conclusions that suit you.

If you're interested in this subject, you can read

"Orality Markers in Spanish Native and Dubbed Sitcoms: Pretended Spontaneity and Prefabricated Orality" and similar papers.

In short, native (and dubbed) programs are plenty authentic and if you care to split hairs sitcoms are apparently closer to the real thing than soaps.

Some textbooks include authentic materials. As I have mentioned before, I like Mauger's French coursebooks but for most cool kids out there the books will feel dated. While I have yet to complete a single course I also ike L2 >L3 audio vocabulary builders. I wouldn't listen to them more than a couple of times though. If I were to do a course or two I'd do it quickly (including "stacking" courses) and move on. I would not attempt to memorize sentences or dialogues. On the other hand I don't mind revisiting interesting (authentic) material. Grammar/reference lookups can prove useful especially if they're relevant to what you are doing (listening, writing etc). If you are unable to extricate words and grammatical structures from uninterrupted spoken language this should be your no 1 priority.

neumanc wrote:"But what do to precisely with your dialogues? Analysing them, copying them in your workbook, reciting them, repeating them, shadowing them, translating them, retranslating them, modifying them, rewriting them, etc., etc.?????"


I listen to them. If I have the opportunity, I participate in actual conversations. TV programs allow me to transition to literature, history books and eavesdropping on random strangers. I don't think I have been very secretive about this.

You're welcome.
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby neumanc » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:32 am

reineke wrote:You asked a whole lot of questions. (...) You have also presented a lot of personal opinions as facts. And yet this thread contains some very detailed answers to many of your questions. You also received some good answers in one of your previous threads. (...) Why are you still asking the same questions about language learning basics?

You were interested in building a Glossika-like spaced repetition course. How did that go? You ask, ask, ask but you don't offer much in return. Are you trying to fine-tune a successful language learning system or are you tapping in the dark?
Thank you, Reineke, for your contributions. Please let's remember that we should always be polite to each other. I really don't have to justify myself why I am asking questions and stirring up discussions. This forum, at least as I see it, is not only a place for know-it-alls, who just need a space for letting others know about their wisdom, but also a place for discussion about different approaches to language learning. The attractiveness of this forum depends on whether any new members or guests find interesting conversations about the big questions of learning languages, like what to do with your textbook, and feel free to join and ask for themselves.

I really don't find it helpful when discussions are nipped in the bud by copying and pasting abstracts of linguistic studies that are only of peripheral interest to the topic in question. If I am asking about what to do with textbook dialogues, what good does it do to post about a study according to which authentic passages may be easier for listeners than created passages? I do understand my textbook dialogues just fine, because I have a transcript and a vocabulary list or even a translation. This is no answer to my question. It is also absolutely irrelevant whether memorization could be good or bad for succeeding in mathematics. Please don't continue derailing this thread.

Besides, I have to reject the assertion that I wouldn't offer much in return. I wasn't only interested in building a Glossika-like spaced repetition course, but I succeded. I posted the code on this forum for anybody to use freely for their own personal use. The script works. Isn't this something "in return"? Apart from that, are only people allowed on this forum who can give something "in return"? Is this meant to encourage anybody to join our forum and partake in discussions without having a background in linguistics? Believe me, it doesn't. But to answer your question how it worked out: The only problem I ran into with my script is that I haven't found good ready-made bilingual audio for the language I am currently studying the most, Dutch (if you read my last discussion topic, you would know this). That's why I'm back to learnig with dialogues.
reineke wrote:Regarding authencity etc, you are putting words into my mouth and drawing conclusions that suit you.

If you're interested in this subject, you can read

"Orality Markers in Spanish Native and Dubbed Sitcoms: Pretended Spontaneity and Prefabricated Orality" and similar papers.

In short, native (and dubbed) programs are plenty authentic and if you care to split hairs sitcoms are apparently closer to the real thing than soaps.
Frankly speaking, I am not interested in this paper, because it doesn't have anything to do with the topic of discussion what to do with your dialogues. Furthermore, regarding linguistics, please let me say that I am very impressed with what has been achieved so far. But this doesn't apply to the academic field of "second language acquisition" (SLA). In my eyes, this field has yet to discover anything helpful for the independent language learner. This I say as someone who himself is working in academics and who therefore is familiar with and appreciates the scientific method. The bulk of the studies seem to be occupied with what happens in the classroom, which is of peripheral interest to independent language learners at best. The test-subjects are usually unmotivated college students who aren't really comparable to us either. And most of all, many studies are just stating the obvious. Do I really need a study to tell me that good TV shows are similiar to spoken language? No, I don't, because if the shows did sound off, they wouldnt be as succesful as they are. They know what they are doing at Nexflix & Co. Besides, I didn't get to my verdict without having a look into the subject of SLA. In the vain hope I might get something out of it, I read the books "Lessons from Good Language Learners" by Carol Griffiths and "Understanding Second Language Acquisition" by Lourdes Ortega from cover to cover and with great interest. I really don't want to discuss this here now, but please rest assured that books of this kind don't really help the independent language learner.
reineke wrote:While I have yet to complete a single course I also ike L2 >L3 audio vocabulary builders. I wouldn't listen to them more than a couple of times though. If I were to do a course or two I'd do it quickly (including "stacking" courses) and move on. I would not attempt to memorize sentences or dialogues. On the other hand I don't mind revisiting interesting (authentic) material. Grammar/reference lookups can prove useful especially if they're relevant to what you are doing (listening, writing etc). If you are unable to extricate words and grammatical structures from uninterrupted spoken language this should be your no 1 priority.

neumanc wrote:"But what do to precisely with your dialogues? Analysing them, copying them in your workbook, reciting them, repeating them, shadowing them, translating them, retranslating them, modifying them, rewriting them, etc., etc.?????"

I listen to them. If I have the opportunity, I participate in actual conversations. TV programs allow me to transition to literature, history books and eavesdropping on random strangers. I don't think I have been very secretive about this.
Here finally you are kind of answering my question. Thank you for that. So courses are only something to get mostly ignored, perhaps listened to, and quickly abandoned in order to get to watching TV, reading books and conversing. I get that. But listening to dialogues alone doesn't make them comprehensible. Don't you at least look at the vocabulary list or translation? Don't you read through the grammar explanations at all? How actually do you learn vocabulary? Don't you study at all? Is there no place for actually learning a language, is everything acquisition only? Aren't there succesful language learners who actually do study a lot with dialogues or at least with sentences like Professor Arguelles, Luca Lampariello and Mike Campbell?

I myself have gathered very different experience with courses than you. Of course, I only began to study languages on my own quite recently, and I don't really have much time to do so. Nonetheless I got the impression that courses, especially advances courses, can be a formidable short cut to jump-starting your active skills. I tried out any method I could read about or think of to study with dialogues. Some people would say I'm tapping in the dark, I say it's always good to second guess your approach. The most successful, but also most tedious, way to learn I tried out was to actually memorizing the Assimil Using French course. Since the "translations" are so free that they are more or less useless for doing an active wave, I did this by noting the first letter of every word in a small notebook. Later I just noted the first one or two words of every sentence. Then I repeated the lines as often as necessary to recite whole lessons from memory. The result was that after about two thirds of the course, for the first time, I felt that I had something to say. I asked the first French tutor I ever spoke with how he judged my speaking abilities. The answer was B2 (!). Maybe the tutor was just flattering me, and I know that I didn't take a formal test nor am I inclined to do so. But there's something to it. We discussed right away everything which came to mind without too much strain for either side. On the other side, I often see people on apps like Hellotalk who aren't able to string together one single sentence but want to converse already. I find this learning-by-just-doing-approach to be utterly painful and inefficient. If I don't know the words yet (actively, I mean), I don't converse. In order to learn the words and expressions as quickly as possible, I do a course, or better two or three. On the other hand, I never studied English after I graduated from school. In the last two decades, I got quite an amount of input by reading books and watching TV. I even worked for some time in an English-speaking environement. Do I have the impression that I learned something by just using the language? Certainly, but it took so long that it's simply not practical if you have a demanding job, a family, friends and hobbies, let's say a life to live. How long am I supposed to watch TV each day in order to make enough progress in more than one or two languages? How many hours of reading books a day would be necessary? If you aren't jobless, an underchallenged student with lots of time on your hands, or have the luck of living and/or working in a multi-lingual environement, there has something to be done to speed up the learning process. And this can only be studying, i.e. regular, conscientious hard work. Since most resources are dialogues or other kinds of texts, the question how to process these texts in the most efficient and effective way seems legitimate to me. Only listening to them and then going on to the next resource doesn't cut it. I therefore encourage anybody who actually studies their textbooks to contribute which kind of approach they felt was most succesful. As of now, my go-to method is shadowing repeatedly with the eyes firmly on the translation until you can exactly speak on top of the audio. Works for me, at least I think so, and is much less straining than actually memorizing.
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby smallwhite » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:02 pm

LLorg is not about efficiency. LLorg is about fun.
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Re: How to learn with dialogues?

Postby neumanc » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:41 pm

smallwhite wrote:LLorg is not about efficiency. LLorg is about fun.
What? What is this even supposed to mean? That we shouldn't have any more discussions about heavy-duty study methods like doing audio-lingual drills and memorizing dialogues? I don't want it to be true, but I do get the impression that the quality of the discussions on this forum is a bit impoverished compared to HTLAL. And besides, aren't you doing 8,000 flash cards of Turkish according to your profile? This is definitely not the kind of fun I'm into. Did I say that I am a confessing Anki-unbeliever?
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