How many tracks are too many tracks?

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luke
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby luke » Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:05 pm

iguanamon wrote:I have been thinking about re-writing the post to better reflect the changes that have taken place since I wrote it. If things with work ever calm down, I'll probably do that at some point soon.


I'm sure it will be awesome!
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby outcast » Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:06 pm

A related idea to this, in my humble experience, is concurrent study of different levels. That is, studying intermediate grammar after finishing some courses on the basics. The caveat is that you should have a sense of understanding the basics before moving on (that is obviously the learner's call to make), but what I am basically saying is that perhaps many learners, including myself in my early days of language learning, made the mistake of thinking I must MASTER the basics before moving on to the next level. I had a very small tolerance for mistakes so I didn't move on if I made just a few. That was an improper strategy. I say move on to more advanced grammar even if you don't have 80% grasp of the easier stuff. If you can handle 75%, move on. And yes, you will forget some ridiculously basic concepts while remembering more advanced ones, but you can always go back and review the earlier levels. Just don't get into the trap of sequential perfection (I must be near perfect in Level 1 before I can do Level 2). That's the same trap as "I will start talking the moment I feel I have enough vocabulary and grammar". The "moment" never comes.
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luke
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby luke » Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:41 pm

outcast wrote:Perhaps many learners, including myself in my early days of language learning, made the mistake of thinking I must MASTER the basics before moving on to the next level. I had a very small tolerance for mistakes so I didn't move on if I made just a few. That was an improper strategy.


That's a very good and interesting point.

If I didn't start Cien años de soledad until I could understand 98%, I wouldn't have read it so may times already. Comprehension improves with repetition.

I've been doing like you were saying with FSI, which is that if one answer seems a bit slow or doesn't match response, I keep the exercise on my playlist until everything is close to perfect and easy. If I lowered the bar a bit, I could move along a little faster.

I do make a distinction between Cien años and FSI, but perhaps it's artificial and I can't see forest for the trees. That is, with FSI, I think of each unit building upon all the previous units, and therefore something not mastered will haunt the rest of the course. With a difficult novel, I accept I may not understand the story very well the first few times through. I get the main storyline, but may miss some subplots and nuance. The nuance, subplots, possible deeper meanings, etc, continue to materialize as I go through it again.

I'm one of those people who would be content to discuss each chapter of The Little Prince for an hour and still think there's more there than we covered.

If I lowered the FSI perfection threshold just a bit, not sure if the course would fall apart after several more units, of if I should just accept that there will be a repeat.

In previous runs at the course, I did a lot of circle back and reviews, generally going back to the beginning. That makes it difficult to actually get to the end. This time through, I've just maintained a fairly high standard. Will have to think about this.
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby Le Baron » Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:59 pm

rdearman wrote:You've now had the options from the self-disciplined, language masochistic crowd... How about an entry from the lazare faire, lazy fist side of the spectrum.

I have three tracks, and a goal.
  1. read something occasionally
  2. listen or watch something occasionally
  3. talk to people
......
I work under the theory that nobody is going to stand up at my funeral and accuse me of being a dimwit because I didn't learn Korean and Mandarin before I died and because I could only speak French and Italian I was a slacker.

I am not in a race. If I only learn 10 or 15 vocabulary words a week's so what?

For mandarin I recently decided to give up on characters and just learn to talk. I don't care if I am illiterate. I only learn languages to talk to people anyway.

So you can have just one track if you want. More isn't always better and as long as your walking in the right direction you'll get there eventually.


It made me laugh after a bad day. :lol: So thumbs up. There's much to be said for this attitude of not beating yourself up for not meeting regimented 'weekly goals' or getting there in double quick time. It depends on your needs. I don't need to speak/understand Spanish right now, I just want to. So slacking here and there only slows things down with no major consequences. It was a different story when I needed French and later Dutch and German for work and to function in those societies. Necessity is a great motivator. I've coasted a lot with Swahili because the necessity is low.

You do get there eventually with slow and steady, but I don't want to be knocking on 80 years old and only just venturing out to tackle Spanish conversation! 'Efficiency' and 'life' have to meet halfway. I do feel the clock ticking though and it seems to move faster than it did between say 18-35 with fewer problems. Right now there are so many others things I also need to get done.
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby Beli Tsar » Tue Jun 01, 2021 5:25 pm

iguanamon wrote:I have been thinking about re-writing the post to better reflect the changes that have taken place since I wrote it. If things with work ever calm down, I'll probably do that at some point soon.

Yes please! It would be fascinating to hear how you'd change it, both with regard to the way learning resources have changed, and in regard to the change in dominant/fashionable language learning philosophies.
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby luke » Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:29 pm

Thanks everybody, lots of good feedback!

So, Assimil Using Spanish is going on the bookshelf for now. El Quijote from Anaya has been invited into the bathroom where the CD plays and the simplified text is handy. El Quijote is also good in a shop or a restaurant.

The RTVE Don Quijote in modern Spanish is my new reading / listening track. Very well done. The acting, production, and sound effects help the story a lot. They seem to have taken about 1/2 of the content, and although they are pretty faithful to the original text, there is some simplification and modernization which makes this fun right from the start. I'm already into the 4th hour in less than that many days.

La fea más bella has been put in her proper place. No more 30 episodes in one week at the expense of reading. 5 episodes / week is what the average viewer would have done when it was released. I may do a bit more, but will try to enjoy the ride more and not focus on the destination.

Cien años de soledad listening episodes with the incredible Con Kepa Amuchastegui youtube video series will continue as they come up. He covers about a chapter per week.

My FSI plans are not changing much. Drills in the car, about 20-30 minutes per day. Preview the dialogues, readings, patterns (new grammar). Review more thoroughly the older lessons with the book. Anki deck. So, in addition to the built-in review in the course, I've got the advanced front where I'm in unit 28. (Review is in unit 7, Drills are in units 15/16).

Anki vocabulary stockpiling. Lowering one of the decks to about new 5 cards per day from an average of around 10. Keeping the other decks limited to about 10 and 15 minutes. (so still about 30 minutes total, but trying to just keep a steady pace and not worry about how long it will take the decks to mature). If I end up reducing Anki time, that's okay. It's for stockpiling, not a goal in and of itself.

Hidden moments with Wikipedia article on Don Quijote.

Extra immersion with various youtube videos and an occasional NetFlix episode.

It's interesting. The 2 weeks or so I dived into Fea más bella seems to already show fruit when I watch an Arrested Development episode.
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby Iversen » Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:20 am

I use bilingual printouts for intensive study because they allow me to attack more difficult and (quite often) more interesting texts. And attacking is just the right word since I do see a new language as some kind of fortress that must be conquered by any means available to you (or in other words: using more than one 'track').

The small exercise texts in textbooks are typically haphazard jumbles of sentences, and they may seem easy, but that's all they are. Or they are rock bottom of bad literature about subjects that don't interest me, and with no control of the things they are supposed to illustrate. I would prefer ordered sets of sentences that illustrated one specific syntactical phenomenon at a time and from more than one angle, but the textbook authors apparently think that this would make their books even more boring - and then they choose chaos over boredom.
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Re: How many tracks are too many tracks?

Postby IronMike » Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:56 pm

Beli Tsar wrote:
iguanamon wrote:I have been thinking about re-writing the post to better reflect the changes that have taken place since I wrote it. If things with work ever calm down, I'll probably do that at some point soon.

Yes please! It would be fascinating to hear how you'd change it, both with regard to the way learning resources have changed, and in regard to the change in dominant/fashionable language learning philosophies.

Ditto. Hope work calms down, iguanamon!
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