einzelne wrote:Yes, they do indeed — by being immersed in the language all the day long, by being constantly supported and corrected by parents and then teachers.
Constant corrections by parents and other grown-ups are greatly overstated. Kids learn the language more by imitating, rather than listening to explicit corrections.
Sure, natives are being immersed in the language, but it's not like they consume the best kind of content all day long. Often it's repetitive and cliched kind of interactions between peers, forced input through school instructions (to which the kids are not always very receptive), depending on personal circumstances there may be long stretches of time where the kid is left to their own devices (and certainly not all the kids like to fill their free time with vocabulary increasing activities like reading books).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that the natives don't have the overwhelmingly advantageous position over us, foreigners, to learn their own native language. Still, a language enthusiast can go a great deal by actively seeking content to improve their language knowledge as best as they can.
I do envy the natives in their greater exposure to the kind of colloquial/local language that it's hard for learners to find even if we do read lots of books/watch TV shows (since it's mostly used only in everyday/informal situations).
einzelne wrote:It's not how it works. Let me explain: if sauterelle is the only word you came across while reading in a day, then, yes, you might remember it. This scenario usually happens at the very advanced stages of fluent reading. What happens if you haven't reached this stage yet? Well, you have 5-10 new words per page. Imagine, you read 30 pages today: that means on average you encounter 150-300 words per session. It's too much information, and even if you check the meaning by using a pop-up dictionary, it evaporates immediately because you're constantly bombarded by dozens of other new words. Your brain is too overwhelmed since it cannot process all this information.
Yes, of course the learner's experience of vocabulary acquisition is quite different at the different stages of their learning endeavour. 150-300 per sessions is too much to attempt to memorize them all at once, even with all the supporting memorizing and reviewing techniques. So what? I guess, you should try to avoid to strain your concentration to the point where your brain just says 'nope!' and refuses to remember anything at all. You are going to let a great part of the words go (hoping that at best they manage to leave some vague traces in your subconscious), but still try to retain some part of them, so that you keep improving.
If there are so many new words, there's an ample opportunity for progress. What you were talking about in the first place are the rare words, that are still common (not obscure) from the native's point of view, which means they are still used in a repetitive manner somewhere else (hence my proposed solution of widening the variety of content you consume).
einzelne wrote:5-10 years — that would be a more realistic estimation (provided we are talking about general reading fluency, i.e. the ability to read a wide variety of texts).
For sure, one couldn't expect to become an expert reader in just one-two years. Still, one can go a long way.
einzelne wrote:I tried both methods extensive reading only and extensive+intensive (in my case that usually means that I gloss words on the margins or make a list of new expressions from my kindle books and then review them) and I can tell that, although more challenging, extensive+intensive mode of reading leads to better results, especially if you don't have the luxury of reading in your target language at least 3 hours a day.
I probably never read in full extensive mode, where I don't make any attempt at paying closer attention to some words and phrases, looking them up from time to time, etc. Only in a hurry I try to just read as fast as I can and maybe ignore the unknown being satisfied with only the gist (but I don't feel like I'm in a hurry in general). So it's more like extensive/partially intensive (with intensive mode taking up more or less space depending on my current goals or circumstances), although in my case 'intensive' doesn't entail preparing the words for subsequent reviewal.
It is, of course, problematic to fully devote your attention when you're not just studying a single foreign language. A polyglot's curse, so to speak. And trying to reinvent the entire world of ideas in all its diversity each time you study a new language can get pretty old. So it does make sense to try and make it more efficient by turning to specialized techniques for retaining and reviewing the vocabulary that you may not naturally memorize as fast as you wish you could. Or settle with what you have and compromise on your level. And rationalize it like "you can't become an expert in every language you want to learn", or something.
About having the luxury of learning, I was under the impression that TS is ready to devote enough time every day to reach the mastery of their target language?