The limits of comprehensible input?

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frenkeld
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby frenkeld » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:35 pm

Serpent wrote:I just saw your posts. Great to see you here! :D

Thank you!

Have you seen the super challenge? It has enabled people to make some incredible progress.
I'm not a fan of TV shows either, with some exceptions like El tiempo entre costuras.
Have you tried audiobooks?

I personally think that massive reading can give you very good writing and thinking skills, but speaking skills are much easier to develop if you also do listening. But if you don't find listening motivating, it's better to read a lot than to do nothing.

I will look up the super challenge. As for TV shows, I think I will bite the bullet and try to develop the habit of watching them regularly in foreign languages even though I lack this habit in my daily language - in the internet age, it feels too constraining to just read, without developing listening comprehension as well.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Iversen » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:38 pm

It does feel constraining only to be able to read things, but my stance has now become that it is easier to learn to understand and produce written texts so that's where I start with new languages.

When I then listen to TV programmes or sources on the internet - and soaps are definitely out in my case! - I'll in the beginning only understand a few words here and there, then some but not all entences, and with a bit of luck then more or less everything. And the last part of this process may go fast, as when I several back sat down to watch something called museum TV on a Dutch internet site - and then suddenly I could understand more or less the whole language fluently (a socalled epiphany moment). This is only possible when you already know a lot, and in my case it also presupposes that I already can read, think and write in the language.

BTW: on my TV right now there is a Croatian channel, which shows a US American program with the following three themes: how to survive a sugar binge, how to cook cheap and good meals in 16 minutes and is there a life after death (!) I can more or less understand the subtitles, but if I turn on the sound I would not yet be on the epiphany level - probably because I have spent too much time on music during the years where I have studied Slavic languages and therefore I haven't listened for nearly long enough.

Another afterthought: the majority of those who have reported success with strictly listening first have been through some kind on immersion or course where they have dealt with extremely simple utterances first and then proceeded to slightly more complicated utterances. Those who haven't been fanatically orally addicted have probably also read some textbooks and done some other things. I would however be curious to hear if anybody have learnt to speak a language ONLY from native sources, including TV fiction. I have one language on my list where it started out like that, namely Low German (Plattdüütsch), but here I already could understand High German fairly well when I watched those Talk op Platt programs on NDR. And because I never really have had an opportunity to get to speak it I would probably not be able to have a conversation in Low German at the turn of a hat - it would take at least an hour or so with a patient native speaker (and maybe some brush-up on the written version) before I could speak reasonably fluently.

You may then say: get a Skype mentor or something, but I don't like to be mentored - and especially not through gadgets. And for me paying a professional teacher would be like paying a domina to whip me ... I'm not into that kind of stuff.

I had a similar case with Scots, where it also was difficult to find anyone to speak to who spoke real hardcore Scots and not just one that had a Scottish accent. I have heard some rather genuine Scots during my stays, but not in situations where I could get to speak it myself - until at the gathering in Bratislava earlier this year, where I finally got my first conversation in Scots, hurray. However the point here is that I had prepared myself thoroughly by writing in Scots, reading whatever I could find (and that's not much) and by listening to people who at least had the accent (like Billy Connaly). And when I write I'll of course be using the things I already know plus an online dictionary PLUS my knowledge of English to fill out the holes - but only the last of these things is around me if I actually should meet a friendly (and patient!) Scots soul another time.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby SGP » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:45 am

As it is no secret, children keep learning by comprehensible input.
An adult could choose an approach that is (somewhat) similar.
But within different circumstances, no doubt.
Adults have their own learning advantages.

And what about at least skimming through a grammar book sometimes, in addition to being exposed to comprehensible input? This is a shortcut, unless one is able to spot "All of Those Grammar Patterns" anyway. And even if he/she really is able to do so, grammar books do have their own unique benefits, too.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Saim » Tue Dec 25, 2018 8:56 am

SGP wrote:As it is no secret, children keep learning by comprehensible input.
An adult could choose an approach that is (somewhat) similar.
But within different circumstances, no doubt.
Adults have their own learning advantages.

And what about at least skimming through a grammar book sometimes, in addition to being exposed to comprehensible input? This is a shortcut, unless one is able to spot "All of Those Grammar Patterns" anyway. And even if he/she really is able to do so, grammar books do have their own unique benefits, too.


Agreed, although a good grammar book (at least if geared towards foreign learners) would also include example sentences, which I would still classify as a form of input.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby SGP » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:12 am

Saim wrote:
SGP wrote:As it is no secret, children keep learning by comprehensible input.
An adult could choose an approach that is (somewhat) similar.
But within different circumstances, no doubt.
Adults have their own learning advantages.

And what about at least skimming through a grammar book sometimes, in addition to being exposed to comprehensible input? This is a shortcut, unless one is able to spot "All of Those Grammar Patterns" anyway. And even if he/she really is able to do so, grammar books do have their own unique benefits, too.


Agreed, although a good grammar book (at least if geared towards foreign learners) would also include example sentences, which I would still classify as a form of input.


Saim, du bist "überall", oder was? (Saim, you are "everywhere", aren't you?). ;)

Yes, grammar books often do contain example sentences as well. This reminds me of two books by the PONS Verlag (printing house) about Spanish and French I had been working my way through some time ago. Each of them consists of several parts. There are lists of words and phrases, verb conjugation tables, and grammar notes, including (more) example sentences. I split those (used) books into several smaller parts myself, and by that, I mean "disassembling" them. So I had many micro-sized books for reading in an Immersion and Exposure Based Manner.

By the way, I already have been thinking of contacting you today because of a very nice language topic that just might be of some benefit to both of us. And I didn't remove that idea from my "to do queue" either.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Serpent » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:47 pm

patrickwilken wrote:
DaveAgain wrote:The testyourvocab.com (english) website found a strong correlation between reading and vocabulary size.
http://testyourvocab.com/blog/


What the data on this site shows is that native people immersed in their L1, going to school etc still don't peak in their language abilities (at least vocabulary) until their mid-thirties. So I always find it a bit bizarre when language learners think they speak like a well-educated native after 3-4 years work. If you can get to that level so quickly (with or without CI) then you should share the methods with the international school committees as apparently no school in the world is teaching their native language efficiently.
I'm late but... I don't think anyone claims they can discuss *everything* an educated native knows. Typically they mean topics that make one come across as an educated native, such as literature, art, philosophy, professional topics, hobbies. Besides, at school and university you spend a lot of time learning how things work, and in your L2 you mostly just need the vocabulary to talk about that. (I do think most people underestimate just how much vocabulary you learn at school, perhaps because they can't use much of it with academic precision - but they still have a general idea, and even if you don't argue about certain hot topics on the internet, you still get exposed to this vocab every now and then)
And then there are topics that you didn't learn at school but eventually need to deal with as an adult, such as taxes, car repairs and whatnot. Also any new hobbie you start (I think emk wrote about learning to kayak via French materials?).
I think people are misreading what I said a bit. I am (admittedly self assessed) at C1 for reading and listening in German. ...

But it's still frustrating not being able to process German in the same way as English. I have been getting into audiobooks this year, and slowly cranking up the speed. I mostly listen to audiobooks at somewhere like 1.7x-2.2x normal speed, Youtube videos at 1.5x-2x (I can't listen to Youtube videos at normal speed anymore, people speak sooooo slowly). But if I try to do the same trick in German I quickly hit a wall. I want my German to be as good as my English, but that's going to take a long time.
The goals you're describing are above C2. (and not everyone can do that even in L1) Or at least they're beyond the scale of CEFR - I guess it's possible to learn to listen to accelerated audio but not reach C1/C2.
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Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby zenmonkey » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:30 am

Valddu wrote:I found this surprising since this seems to go against the comprehensible input theory I’ve been reading so much about and incorporating into my studies over the last year. The younger brother has lots of input as part of his day-to-day, but rarely needs to speak. As a result, that skill is comparatively weak. I would have thought that this isn’t possible—the constant comprehensible input should automatically develop output that is grammatically correct to other native speakers.

Is this a fluke? Or does this an example of how comprehensible input can only take you so far?


Not a fluke. What really happened is that in his environment, his need for output was focused on a language continuum of the two languages that was heavily weighed to one of them. If you spend any time around bilingual communities this is quite common, particularly when the parents focus on one local language.

Does this negate Krashen's theory?
Yes, no, maybe? It's a bit of a mishmash whether 1) acquisition requires meaningful interaction 2) and for it to be meaningful requires output.

If you think Krashen's theory means that one will learn to speak well just from hearing and never producing, then yes, it really invalidates CI, since many people can have relatively advanced listening and understanding ability without the ability to speak.

If you consider his theory to focus on acquisition and not production, then CI works out, the person in your example has acquired the language (they understand it). As far as I've read, and I'm no expert, it doesn't state that you do not need speaking practice to be productive. It's just that being productive isn't a large part of acquiring the language.

Personally, I think this is partially wrong. I truly believe that the act of speaking, echoing and repetition has a positive impact on the subconscious acquisition. I know I'm able to create better "hooks" simply by a) increasing sensations (input, visual clues, sound, touch, and production.
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