aaleks's log

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Ingaræð
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Languages: English (N)
Learning: Russian (beginner), French (B1-2*), German (A2-B1*).
Dabbling: Croatian, MSA, Mandarin
Previously studied: Italian, Welsh.
Mainly (but not solely) interested in Eurasian languages with focus on Mediterranean/West Asian.

*Dialang
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13222
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby Ingaræð » Thu May 28, 2020 5:48 pm

aaleks wrote:The problem is that dumb fake Hollywood Russian accent he's using in the video when reading the answers of his opponent. To me it sounds very offensive. And it seems I'm not the only one how thinks that - there are several comments from other Russian speakers who pointed it out to him.

This video reminded me why often I feel so insecure about my English, and why sometimes I want it to be perfect even though I don't really need it to be perfect at all. Anyway, I think I need to stop worring about English and put more time in learning French. It's just this video is an example of the things, reasons, why I keep thinking - "my English sucks" (btw, this is almost the title of the video - the "sucks" part :lol: )


I've yet to hear a 'Russian' character in a Western TV show that doesn't sound horrific - and my ears are those of a lowly beginner! The accent in English, the mispronunciation of Russian (even basic things like сто instead of что) - clearly no one ever bothers to hire a vocal coach who knows anything about the language. People then just copy what they've heard on TV. Frankly, it's embarrassing, and just cements the stereotype of Anglophones and languages. They are becoming more 'equal opportunities' with poor accents, however - recently I heard a German character who sounded 100% Swedish. :roll:

Also, your English may not be absolutely perfect, but it's obvious how much work you must have put in to speak as well as you do. (I'm so glad I have native knowledge of when to use 'a' and 'the'... :shock:) You should be proud! :)
2 x
Shun everything, and then shun shunning!
Corrections etc. welcome.

aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Thu May 28, 2020 6:52 pm

Ingaræð wrote:I've yet to hear a 'Russian' character in a Western TV show that doesn't sound horrific - and my ears are those of a lowly beginner! The accent in English, the mispronunciation of Russian (even basic things like сто instead of что) - clearly no one ever bothers to hire a vocal coach who knows anything about the language. People then just copy what they've heard on TV. Frankly, it's embarrassing, and just cements the stereotype of Anglophones and languages. They are becoming more 'equal opportunities' with poor accents, however - recently I heard a German character who sounded 100% Swedish. :roll:


As far as I know even when the actor is a native Russian speaker they're still required to speak with that fake accent.
For inctance, I've seen Russian characters in German series as well but they were always native speakers and their accent in German is really Russian. Sometimes I think this might be the reason why normally I don't feel offended even if those Russian characters are criminals, bad guys.

Ingaræð wrote:Also, your English may not be absolutely perfect, but it's obvious how much work you must have put in to speak as well as you do. (I'm so glad I have native knowledge of when to use 'a' and 'the'... :shock:) You should be proud! :)


There's one thing I'm really proud of regarding my English -- having learned the language completely and entirely on my own*. So my English is really my (mine). I didn't have English either in school or uni. I have never attended English classes or any kind of school for EFL/ESL learners, never had an English teacher/tutor. I like being an independent learner but as everything that has a flip side - the lack of feedback. And it just happened that in my particular case my very first feedback was a negative one. C'est la vie :D . I guess this is one of the many reasons for my lack of confidence. Not that I always feel like that but there are moments when this insecurity raises its head, so to speak :)

*but I really appreciate all the help - correction, feedback, supporting words - I'm receiving here :)
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:28 pm

Another month has passed, so now my French is 7 months old. This log entry is supposed to be about my progress in French, but it won't be. First off, because there was not much of a progress. Maybe there was a tiny one, I don't know. I just feel that I wasn't spending enough time on French to make a real progress. Besides, I think that there always are the periods of time when it seems nothing really happens. But still, I often think that in the first two years of learning English I'd been speanding a lot more time on and with the language... Maybe it was because the whole language learning thing was something new to me... And here comes the second reason - English. Today I'm going to write about English and why (I think) I fail to learn the English grammar just from input. Do I really need to learn grammar from textbooks? So English, grammar, and the English grammar - that's what this post is going to be about. I believe, I'm going to repeat myself, and also I'm going to quote two posts of mine written in Russian from that other forum. So... Warning - this is going to be a very boring post but I wanted to write down these thoughts and conclusions, just for myself.

Last week on efl.ru I took part in a discussion.. well.. let's say about different goals in language learning, Krashen's theory, etc. At some point, speaking of my English learning experience I wrote this:

"Насколько я помню в самих перфектных конструкциях я have/had игнорировала и ориентировалась только на смысловое слово. Мне было достаточно знать, что, например, did и done это "прошедшее" для do. Примерно так. Воспринимать смысл пассивно это вообще никак не мешало. Возможно какие-то нюансы терялись, но если воспомнить, что англичане, американцы и австралийцы использут Презент перфект не совсем одинаково, то вероятно эти нюансы дейстительно незначительны. Однако это самое игнорирование вспомогательного слова потом и привело к проблемам. Согласно моей теории)), если бы я вообще была не в курсе про смысловые/вспомогательные слова, я бы обращала внимание на всю конструкцию и заметила бы разницу, ..."

and then this:
"Я не воспринимала язык отдельными конструкциями до тех пор, как решила свернуть в сторону грамматического подхода. Для меня текст был един и я воспринимала его в целом. Я не знаю как объяснить... Т.е. были какие-то моменты, которые я выделяла, потому что знала, т.е. я знала что такое существительное и что такое глагол, например, или предлог и артикль и т.п. Знала про сущестование вспомогательных слов. Но мне всегда было достаточно конекста - он и давал смысл. Разбор членов предложения я не делала."

I put these two texts here to use them as a take-off point for later musing and conclusing (I mean, 'conclusions' of course :) ) There's a theory that writing helps thinking, sorting things out. That's what happened when I wrote these two posts - something clicked, and I got the answer to a question that I'd been asking myself the last four or so years - why after (previous) four years of listening to and reading in English my grammar was so bad that I couldn't string a sentence without making mistakes? very basic mistakes, actually.

In the first Russian text above I wrote that in my before-I-started-writing period normally I would ignore the words 'have'/'had' in the perfect tenses (Present Perfect, Past Perfect) and pay attention only to the meaning bearing word. IMO, this is the root of my problem, and the reason why I didn't pick the grammar up from input, or maybe did not pick up every thing but only some things.

As far as I remember I had problems with using the Present Continuous, the perfect tenses, the articles, and prepositions. In case with the Present Continuous I omitted 'to be' (am, are, is, etc.). So I would write "I doing" instead of "I'm doing", and the like. Plus, as I found out later I didn't understand, or misunderstand how to use the tense in general. The perfect tenses I didn't understand at all. What was similar about these tenses to me - I knew the pattern from textbooks. I knew that those were kind of grammar constructions with auxiliary verbs, even if I didn't know the term. In my first "serious" attempt to learn English (in the early 2000's) the Present Continuous was probably the last topic I learned (then I gave up). And the textbook I used back then was rather an old fashion one with a lot of exercises and texts with word-lists. With the perfect tenses was a bit different story. I looked at them, leaf through them, I knew what they looked like, I knew they were kind of different ways of speaking about the past, I knew they were something difficult and confusing that most learners couldn't understand. I decided I wouldn't be able to do it either. To sum up, what these tenses have in common are - auxiliary verbs. Did I know the patterns from textbooks? Yes, I knew. And because of that I treated the auxiliary verbs as something meaningless. I didn't pay attention to them, as if they were background noise. The result was - I did not acquire them. The mere fact that I knew the patterns didn't help me, in fact that knowledge prevented me from learning/acquiring those grammar patterns.

I don't want to say - do not learn grammar the traditional way from textbooks, etc. What I've written above is my story. I believe that there are many people who really need the patterns being pointed out to them. Maybe sometimes just to be sure. There is nothing wrong with it. I don't need it, because I don't need that kind of patterns at all. That is not how I see a language. The logic and patterns that I use are different from the ones we normally see in a textbook. I don't know how to explain it but, for instance, it is important to me to see both 'have' and 'been' in 'I have been' as words with meanings, I don't need to see 'have been' as a pattern, or I'd rather say I need to not see it as a pattern/a unit. By the way, I started understand how articles work only when I realized that they are a meaningful part of a phrase or sentence. I guess, I still make mistakes with articles here and there but, well, I'm still learning :).

... mmm... the post is really long and boring... but I warned... ;)
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:57 pm

While reading other forum-members' logs I found out that there were one test of the Dialang ones that I actually had never done - Vocabulary. For some reason I'd always thought that 'Placement test' is the Vocabulary test. So I decided to take it for... English. I just do not feel ready to take that test for my three other languages.

I'd say I rather failed the test.

While I seemed to have done okay on Placement test:

Placement test feedback
Your score:940
A very high score, typical of a native speaker, or a person with near-native proficiency.


I guess, this has been my best result in this part of the test so far.

But I didn't do so well in the test itself:

DIALANG Test Results
Your test result suggests that you are at level C1 in vocabulary on the Council of Europe scale.


24 correct answers out of 30. Meaning - I answered 6 questions wrong. Three of these 6 mistakes I made because: #1. I knew the word but couldn't recall it no matter what, #2. I misunderstood the task, #3. my usual second-guessing problem. But that doesn't really matter, I still got at least 3 questions wrong. That's funny that while I always feel that my Dialang scores in Italian and Frencn are way better than my real levels in those languages really are (A1/A2 vs. B1/B2 in Dialang) I've never been able to do the same in either of Dialang tests for English. I know my English vocabulary isn't big or/and impressive, when I take the test on testyourvocab.com my score usually is ~ 21,000 - 22,000 words, and I don't think that my English is at a C2 level. It's just - why can I not trick the test when it comes to English?.. :roll:
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:45 am

So this time I missed my usual time for making an update but I kind of did it on purpose. Not exactly on purpose though, it just happened that I was in the middle of ... well... . I don't know how to call it - a process, an experiment? I guess my English vocabulary isn't good enough so I just can't find that right word.

I don't know, maybe at some point I started losing the interest, but my last update was not about my French experiment, among other things, because I had nothing to write about. Sometimes I really didn't have the time, sometimes I just procrastinated watching random youtube videos not only in English but in Russian as well. I even binge watched three seasons of a Russian tv series. I watched part of the third season on TV, got interested, and decided to watch the whole series from the beginning - all three seasons are available on youtube. A couple of weeks I spent on ZDF Mediatek watching random German series. I tried to watch one old French series that I'd watched many years ago on TV but this time I didn't find it interesting so I guess I was barely able to make more then ~30 min a day. Sometimes, but not too often, I watched Hélène et les garçons. All in all, I was spending too little time on French, I had to push myself to do even this little, and I keep being distracted by other stuff that I would find more interesting at the moment. But, I didn't want to quit French so I decided to start watching Peppa Pig. I hadn't done it before (in French) because this cartoon seems to be almost like a language learning course, so in my opinion it would be cheating if I'd stated with it, I mean in the beginning. But it'd been 7 months at the moment so I decided it didn't matter anymore, and I needed something I would and could watch everyday, without skipping days. I guess I'd been watching Peppa for two weeks or so when, finally, I found a series I liked.

Actually it wasn't the fisrt time I came across that series but maybe then it seemed to be too difficult or something (btw, I believe, I had watched early seasons on TV, dubbed in Russian, as many other French series. I probably watched as many French series as English-speaking ones. Or close to that. It's hard to tell now but I really watched many French movies and series in my teens and 20's) . Well, this time it was too difficult as well - a police procedural, or something like that, with the level of the language like in The Mentalist, I guess. I managed to understand only 20% or so of the first episode I watched. I was able to understand who was the killer and his motives, and maybe some details but I couldn't even make out the words in most of the dialogues. First I thought I would watch one episode a day so I watched one episode one day, another episode next day, and then I got interested and started watching one episode after another. I don't remember after which episode my listening had improved a bit so even when I couldn't understand I, at least, could hear the words being said. I might've watched five or seven episodes by then. After some time I figure out that I needed to watch at least 3-4 episodes to make some progress. Also I realized that it was that rare moment when I had both - time and interest - and I should make the most of it. My binge-watching started on July 1st or 2nd, usually I (try to) make an update at 9th day (10th) of a month, but this time it was just too early to write something, and I prefered watching my French series to writing another lengthy update of something that was just in process.

I watched bunch of episodes (30-40 maybe), and then decided to watch some of the earlier seasons of the series besause I stared rather from the middle. On July 23-24th I closed that circle and watched those "first" episodes I watched three weeks before. To my surprise this time I was able understand a looooot more. If three weeks ago it was 20 to 80, now the ratio felt the same but the other way around. Meaning, I felt like I could understand (everything) about 80% but there were rare moments when I couldn't understand something or anything. I've tested my progress on other things (Hélène et les garçons, youtube podcasts, France24) and it seems that my listening comprehension has improved in general. This is one more case when I continued with the content I barely understood at the beginning, and then, against all odds, my efforts paid off. I've noticed every time I challenge my brain with stuff like that - something that at first seems to be way above my head - I make the most noticeable progress, while spoonfeeding has never worked for me.
5 x

aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:04 pm

The time for an update. Though, this post is rather going to be about outlining defining, refining, maybe revising my goals with the elements of update. In other words, I'll try to sum up the things that had let me to starting my French experiment.

When I realized that I was actually capable of learning a foreign language I started thinking of learning one more - it was supposed to be English and another European language. When, eventually, I decieded at least try to do it, another realization came to me - I didn't want to learn a new language the same way as I did with English. I just couldn't do that once over again. When I started learning English I was new to language learning, and because of that and that I saw progress almost right from the beginning, I felt excited and enthusiastic. I would spend every spare moment with the language. Back then I didn't find annoying or distracting having to look up every new word in a dictionary. About 2/3 of my current English vocabulary I learned in those fisrt 1,5-2 years. But memorizing words is not enough, you need to internalize them that requires more time. I remember at some point feeling like my head would explode if I tried to remember one more word. I felt this way of learning words was unhealthy and very stressful. I didn't want to go through that experience again. Another reason for changing the approach was that I didn't feel happy with the result. Even though my story of learning English might seem to be a successful one there are things about my English that make me unhappy. I think that all these problems stems from how I saw the whole process of learning a language - the way I was taught a foreign language in school.

The concept of learning a foreign language I had after enduring school foreing language lessons was grammar+word lists+translating back and forth. Or you should've started learning the language as a very little kid, or moved to the country. If the two last options aren't available, all you're left with are grammar drilling, words cramming, and translating every single word (because how else can you understand what's been said in a foreign language?). The only reason why, when I decided to try to learn English, I didn't start with drilling grammar from another texbook was that I'd tried it and failed before, and therefore I knew that if I started properly - with grammar I would fail again. But I still had that (faulty) concept in my head - to me learning a language was like building a castle from LEGO bricks. At the same time, during my language learning journey I learned about other approaches to learning a language but often I wasn't bold enough to actually try them, even when I found them quite logical. My French experiment is a lot about trying out those approaches. So far the things I believed should work really worked, sometimes even better and faster then I'd expected.

So, goals and results. At the start I had two goals: 1. satisfying my curiosity about the possibility for an adult to learn a language through input since the beginning, and 2. finding a more suitable way for me to learning and maintaining my langauges. I think with the first goal I've more or less done. Now I know that at least for an European language that is possible. The question about the quality of such learning lays somewhere between the first and second goals. And the second goal is actually the main goal.
What I've learned so far (results):

1. it's better for me to learn one language a time. I may be maintaining other languages at the same time but my main focus should be on only one language.

2. it seems that I remember the words I've learned through input way better than the ones I've learned by looking them in up a dictionary. These words stay with me even when the language gets neglected as it often happens with my Italian. Even when I forget some words they easily come back later. Normally, I don't need to translate such words when I'm reading or listening to the language, or the translating period is very short.

3. the language learned this way doesn't feel so foreign as the one learned through the one I used before for learning English (Let's call it a "dictionary method", but the name doesn't matter really)

And I'll stop now. I thought I'd write more but maybe later. I'm not sure if I really have more to say at the moment though. We'll see...
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aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:59 pm

The most difficult thing in my French experiment is to overcome my own prejudice toward the chosen approach. I remember that there was a moment when my comprehension started improving, sometimes I would watch something that I'd watched before, for example an eposide of Hélène et les garçons, and thought something along the lines "Now I can understand it because I've learned these words from...", and then I would realize that there was no "from" beside exposure to the language. I hadn't looked up those words in a dictionary, or learned from a textbook. But the rational part of my mind seemed to refuse to acknowledge that fact. So, what I'm getting at is that if there's a person who I wanted to prove something starting my French experiment, that person is me.

But... Well, I need to say that actually I believe that it is possible - the other rational part of my mind is sure of that, it just never had the chance to prove that.

Okey, jokes aside. Normally, the stories about learning a foreign/second language through exposure sound almost identical: the language is English, starting like a kid, the "immersion" material are cartoons and/or video games, had English lessons in school. But later in life not even all of those who learned English like that can learn another language as an adult using a similar approach. Another downside of learning language through input is claimed to be the time it supposedly takes. Usually, when someone asks "Is it possible to learn a language by watching TV?" and the like, the most positive answer might look like "Yes, it's possible but it'll take a lot of time". Also, such popular methods/approaches as AJATT and MIA based on learning through massive input still include Anki as a part of the learning process. Given all that, one might get the impression that a "reasonable" input-based approach should include at least some of words memorization, and even learning some basic grammar, or it will take centuries to learn something. And, of course, there are lots of failure stories of the people who tried something like input-only learning and learned nothing, or was progressing very slowly. That is why I decided to give myself a year to try something that logically seemed to be possible but was frowned upon by many. The weirdest thing is that I like the process, I like the results, and yet I feel like somewhere in the back of my mind I keep questioning the approach that seems to work for me just because many people think that it is not possible and waste of one's time. Honestly, sometimes it feels like language learning is more about psychology than about acquiring a language. Or maybe it's just what's this experiment has turned out to be for me :)
6 x

aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:16 pm

An update? It's time but I'm not sure I want to write one. Not because my French is not doing well, in fact it is - I'm pleased with the result. It's just I don't keep any numbers, and at my currernt stage of learning things kind of slow down. At least for something like the Dialang tests. So, yes, I can clearly see that I'm progressing, my comprehension is growing. At the moment I'm rereading the French book I've read earlier, and even though there are words I don't know, and sometimes I can't undesrtand a sentence or half of a sentence, at the same time there are pages that I understand completely, and in general my comprehension of the book may be around 80% or so. But the percentage is the problem because I don't really know how accurate my guessing is, and that is why I don't feel like I really should write an update. I thought about it and decided that it would probably better if I post something like summeries instead. After all, my posts here are always more about my thoughts, I'm not sure if even one of them can pass for a true update :) .

So, it's been 10 months... This, I mean the last month, I spent a lot of time on reading about language learning - about comprehensible input, stories of the people who've learned (or believe to have learned) a language from input, and stuff like that. I don't care about the quality of that reading - is it a scientific research or just an anecdotal evidence. I read them to sort out my own thoughts. I might be wrong but I've noticed that pro-grammar people react very aggressive everytime someone mentions having learned a language without using grammar book, or expresses an intention to try to learn a language that way. Another observation is that many if not most of those who try to learn a language the "natural" way even if they avoid using textbooks, still use Anki, dictionary, etc. It seems to be really a rare case when an adult learns a foreign language without any supplementary materials. Basing on my own experience and what I've seen on the Internet I'd say that the reason is not that it's impossible for an adult learn a second language that way but that most adults won't take the risk. Who wants to waste their time or look stupid? As I wrote in the post above "sometimes it feels like language learning is more about psychology..." Normally all the success stories of that kind are kid+cartoons stories that of course go dismissed because the learner was a kid, and especially if on top of that the language was English. So I have no illusion that my experiment, if I succeed, will convince anyone (besides me). And to be honest I'm not sure that I want to convince someone to follow my approach because even though the concept is really simple yet it is not so easy to explain. I mean I can't give anything like an instruction. The key element of the learning-from-input approach, as I see it, is "not-trying". But. It's not-trying to learn a language but still caring about following a story - cartoon, series, book. I remember reineke wrote something about letting the brain sort things out. I've had at least three moments during this experiment when I would start watching or reading something that I didn't understand and had no chance to use my conscious mind, logic, to figure out meaning of unknown words - they all or almost all of them would be unknown to me, but for the experiment's sake I'd keep on with that series/book, and after some time my comprehension would improve as if on its own. I remember that when I started reading the book that I'm re-reading now I read the first page I didn't understand a word. And then it went like that: the first ten pages I could understand maybe five words a page, the next ten - just a gist, the next ten a little more details, and so on. I've re-read about 100 pages so far, and it's almost like reading a new book. But, even though I didn't understand a lot when reading the book the first time I never misunderstood things, so the book is new in the sense that now I'm filling in the details I missed on before. And the most fantastic thing to me is that I've reached this level of comprehension without looking up and memorizing words.

Grammar. Some time ago I thought I needed to do something like conscious efforts to figure out the grammar rules but later I noticed that I seemed to start picking it up kind of naturally. I started noticing things without trying to do it. So eventually I came to the decision that I kind of let it be - I'm going to watch the process but not direct it.

I think that's all for now. I guess I'll write another "musing" post some time later when I'll feel like I have or want (even though have nothing) something to share.

(This was going to be a short post, btw :mrgreen: )
4 x

aaleks
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:03 pm

I feel like I should make an update, and well I have one of the kind :) . A couple days ago I did the Dialang text for reading. This is the result:

Placement test feedback

Your score: 453
People who score at this level typically have a good basic vocabulary, but may have difficulty handling material that is intended for native speakers.

DIALANG Test Results

Your test result suggests that you are at level C1 in reading on the Council of Europe scale. At this level people can understand long and complex factual and literary texts as well as differences in style. They can understand "specialised" language in articles and technical instructions, even if these are not in their field.

Self-assessment
In the self-assessment task you gave responses which we would normally expect from a learner at level B1. However, your test result suggests that you are at level C1.

27/30


As said in the self-assessment text I myself think that I'm rather B1 which is really what I think of my current level (passive skills). I took the test just out of curiosity because I thought I might get that C1 in reading even though I don't think it is my true level. I think if I tried to pass the listening test I'd get B2. But anyway I thought I could post the result as some kind of final result for my French experiment. Even though the final date is supposed to be a year, and I started on November 9th last year, I've decided to start summing up the results, thoughts, etc. I don't know if it will be one long post or several (long haha) posts. I don't make any drafts or something like that, I just write (and then delete half of the text :D ) and that's it. Today's no summary though. Maybe tomorrow, we'll see.
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 767
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:17 pm

First off all I wanted to say that by starting that experiment I wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone or I would've chosen Japanese, or any other distant langauge, instead of French. I did (have done) it for myself - to satisfy my curiosity, get my own experience. I'd read a lot of stories about learning a language through input, comprehensible or not so comprehensible, and I wanted to try it myself so I would know the answer to the question "Is it possible...?". In other words, I wanted to have my own story. Since my story is still just an anecdotal evidence, and my education has nothing to do with languages, besides I'd really like to have some leeway, I've decided to call what I'm going to write in this (and next) post(s) "my believes". Maybe one day I'll read it and think how wrong I was. I don't ask to take what I about to write with a grain of salt, actually, I'm saying that I'm myself doing exactly that. Well, it seems always doubting myself is part of my personality :) ... And before I begin I'd like to apologise for my not-in-its-best-shape English that, I'm afraid, is going to veer to the Runglish direction.

So, let's begin. I'll start with saying that I don't find the input method less effective, or slower, than the grammar-wordlist-translation one. Somehow I used to think that learning through input would take a lot more, maybe twice as many, time than the "traditional" approach. After all, everyone seems to say that. Everyone says that grammar-first is a sortcut, and learning through input would take longer. But I feel like my French now is at about the same level as my English was after one year of learning. I guess, many might scream here "but French is your second second language! It's not the same as learning the first second one!". Well, it's true and not true at the same time. I learned German in school and then tried to learn it on my own. I forgot almost everything I'd learned back then yet I got some experience that helped me with my English later. I always say that I started learning English being a false-beginner. Even though I've never learned English formally (school, classes), and my knowledge about grammar was limited, I knew some words. How many? I don't know. Maybe 100, maybe 500, maybe 1000. The first time I came across testyourvocab.com, after ~ 4 months of learning English, it estimated my vocabulary as 4000, maybe 5000. Thus, I think it's okay to compare my progress in French to the one I had at one or another moment in English. Besides, during that first year when I was learning English I would spend way more time on the language each day than I've been spending this year on French. If nothing else, English was the only language I was learning back then, and now I have to at least try to keep alive three more.
...

I'll stop here, and continue next time. I really don't want to throw half of what I wanted to say away, as I often do, because I get tired, it's late, and I don't have time to finish my thought.
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