And now for something completely different - Experiment time
In the recent thread HTLAL vs LLORG
, some people lamented the fact that there aren't many language learning experiments done anymore, as there were on the old HTLAL. I was also a longtime lurker on HTLAL and enjoyed reading
about people's crazy - or not so crazy - experiments, so the discussion made me think that I might want to try experimenting with methods a bit more as well. It also reminded me that once upon a time I really wanted to try out the LR method (as proposed by atamagaii/buenaparte; you can find most infos on the method here
, although there were also several threads on HTLAL about the topic). I did actually give it a very short try with Japanese back in the day, but it turned out to be very exhausting and frustrating and so I gave the idea up again very quickly and afterwards I sort of forgot about the method to tell the truth.
But seeing how Italian refuses to leave my mind, I thought: why not use this opportunity to see how (a modified version of) LR works for me? Admittedly, Italian being a rather transparent language for me, I wouldn't be able to use the results to conclude that I could use the method to learn, say, Polish or Korean, but it nonetheless seems like an interesting experiment to me.
For those who don't know what LR is and don't feel like wading through atamagaii's admittedly somewhat haphazard infos, the process, at its core, involves a long text (preferably a novel) in L1 and L2, it's L2 audio book and the following three steps:
1. Read the text in L1 to familiarize yourself with it.
2. Listen to the audio book while reading
along in L2.
3. Listen to the audio book while reading
along in L1.
Step 3 is usually repeated several times (atamagaii writes that going through step 3 3 times is usually enough for her to completely understand the audio of the book. Once that state is reached, you move on to the next book and repeat the steps until you have reached your desired level of understanding of natural language audio.
I will skip step 1, because I already know the book I chose (Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale) very well.
There's also a step 4 that involves repeating some of the audio as you listen along to work on your pronounciation and speaking skills and a step 5 where you translate the text from L1 to L2 (in a very Assimil active wave fashion, I guess), but I've decided not to include them for this experiment. I made this decision because I'm really much more interested in passive knowledge of Italian, since any active skills I gained would be gone again very soon, as I do not intend to spend much - if any - time on Italian after my upcoming trip, since I really neeed that time for my other languages. Moreover the time I have to spend on this experiment is somewhat limited as well.
Over in rdearman's log, smallwhite made the suggestion of taking Dialang tests before and after an experiment to measure progress and I decided to shamelessly steal that idea and subject myself to the painful process of taking Dialang tests for listening
in a language I've never learnt.
My plan looks as follows:38 hours of Listening-Reading in a new, transparent language (Italian)Previous learning:
None.Knowledge of related languages:
French (~C1), Spanish (Passive ~B2-C1), Latin (Passive Intermediate)Dialang pre-test listening:
A1 (or below)Dialang pre-test reading:
19.01.2018 - 25.02.2018 (38 days)Actual learning time:
38 hoursLR Material:
Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale (Runtime: 9.5h) Learning steps:
1. Listen to audio while reading
along in Italian (9.5h)
2. Listen to audio while reading
along in English x3 (28.5h)Alternative:
Should I feel like I've already mastered the book after less than 3 repititions of step 2, I will opt to repeat steps 1 and 2 with HP2 instead. We shall see.Test conditions:
In order to prevent contaminating the experiment, I will refrain from doing any other Italian learning during the time of the experiments. The one exception to that is that I reserve the right to look through my Italian grammar book for an overview of the grammar and important verb forms etc. if and when
I feel like it, but I will of course note it here if I do so.
In the original LR method, you're supposed to LR for several hours at a time, several days in a row without any real breaks, basically, but seeing how I have a full-time job and all that that's never going to happen. 38 hours in 38 days would beautifully work out to one hour a day, but the idea of spending an hour a day on this for 38 days is also not very realistic for me, so most (if not all) of the LRing will probably happen during the weekend. This is, I suppose, not ideal, but hopefully it will none the less be somewhat effective.
Furthermore 38 hours is not a lot of time for getting results with this method, but I'm hoping that the fact that Italian is a very transparent language for me will mean that I get some useful progress in less time.
As for what I'm expecting from this experiment - obviously I'm hoping to be magically fluent by the end of it! In the more likely event of that not happening, I am
actually hoping to be in a position to read easier novels in Italian afterwards without much trouble (which would make my trip to Italy so much better, since I'd be able to enjoy browsing all of the bookshops!). At the same time, I hope that the deluge of audio input will leave a good impression of Italian pronounciation in my head, meaning I could actually read novels without fearing to completely cripple my Italian pronounciation. I would also hope to be able to enjoy easier TV shows in Italian - things like Avatar, certainly, but also maybe easier real TV shows dubbed into Italian.
Welp, guess this is actually happening now. Comments welcome.
*Even though I did expect to get a higher score for reading than for listening before taking the test, considering the anount of questions where I simply chose one option at random because I had no idea made me doubt the accuracy of the result somewhat. I really missed an "I don't know" option during the test to mitigate the chance of altering the results through 'lucky guesses'.