Self-taught study

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tractor
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby tractor » Mon Sep 26, 2022 10:27 pm

TopDog_IK wrote:
leosmith wrote:
TopDog_IK wrote:Why doesn't this student just do like tens of millions of other young people these days and learn English by watching English-language TV shows, films and youtube?
Almost nobody learns like this because it's incredibly ineffective. "Young people" typically take lots of English classes in addition to these activities.


Almost nobody? What about the millions of people around the world who have learned English through movies, games, tv shows and youtube, and who never had formal English education at school?

In which countries do the millions of people who have learnt English this way, without any form of English classes at school, live?
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby Le Baron » Mon Sep 26, 2022 11:23 pm

rdearman wrote:@lebaron, your father wasn't the guy referred to in those old assimil books by any chance?

Unfortunately not. That elusive fellow seems to have been rich. All the tailors doubt the existence of this person in real life. :lol:
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby TopDog_IK » Tue Sep 27, 2022 3:29 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Possibly two thousand hours. (See also the TV method.)


2,000 hours sounds about right for German. If you are immersing with shows and books you absolutely love, those 2k hours will be a joy, a breeze, not a burden.
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby anitarrc » Tue Sep 27, 2022 5:55 am

tractor wrote:
TopDog_IK wrote:
leosmith wrote:
In which countries do the millions of people who have learnt English this way, without any form of English classes at school, live?


México, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panamá Columbia...

There is "some" English in school in the Americas, but it is pretty grim so kids forget it as soon as they pass the test. I found about 6 mistakes on ONE exercise page my son had to do for the night college. I can assure you that he speaks next to zero English, but a bit of French which is my influence.

That is Why I consciously omitted Nicaragua and Belize, there is ZERO English for young Nicas and in Belize it is almost a second language for historic reasons.
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby leosmith » Tue Sep 27, 2022 1:17 pm

anitarrc wrote:
tractor wrote:
TopDog_IK wrote:
leosmith wrote:
In which countries do the millions of people who have learnt English this way, without any form of English classes at school, live?


México, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panamá Columbia...

There is "some" English in school in the Americas, but it is pretty grim so kids forget it as soon as they pass the test. I found about 6 mistakes on ONE exercise page my son had to do for the night college. I can assure you that he speaks next to zero English, but a bit of French which is my influence.

That is Why I consciously omitted Nicaragua and Belize, there is ZERO English for young Nicas and in Belize it is almost a second language for historic reasons.

That wasn't my quote.
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby Querneus » Tue Sep 27, 2022 3:57 pm

anitarrc wrote:
tractor wrote:In which countries do the millions of people who have learnt English this way, without any form of English classes at school, live?


México, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panamá Columbia...

There is "some" English in school in the Americas, but it is pretty grim so kids forget it as soon as they pass the test. I found about 6 mistakes on ONE exercise page my son had to do for the night college. I can assure you that he speaks next to zero English, but a bit of French which is my influence

We were talking about people who've actually learned English though.

Even in these countries you mentioned I think there's a good convergence in the Venn diagram of people who've attended a non-trivial amount of classes and people who know English well. Even if a lot or in fact most of their learning ended up coming from shows and videogames, we still shouldn't discount the role of classes in transmitting the basics and, in particular, Germanic vocabulary.

Also,
anitarrc wrote:Columbia

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Re: Self-taught study

Postby lowsocks » Fri Sep 30, 2022 11:55 pm

The following is a very small smaple, no more than half a dozen people. But it is based on my personal observations, so it may be of some value:

There are some international students at my school (I live in Canada), who have attained a decent level in English. I have sometimes asked them, how they became so good at English. Some gave very vague answers; perhaps they felt my question was impolite, which is fair enough. But of the ones who were willing to to discuss their language-learning history, it was interesting that their stories were so similar. IIRC, their home countries included Brazil, Iran, South Korea, and perhaps a few others.

To begin, they went to decent schools, but nothing out of the ordinary. English was a compulsory subject, taught with the usual grammar and vocabulary lists to memorize. Not surprisingly, this alone did not enable them to do very much with the language. But around the ages of 12 to 14, their parents starting sending them to extra English classes, outside of school. These were usually held for a few hours a week, usually on a Saturday. (They still had other school subjects to study, so they could not spend too much extra time on English.) The classes were mainly conversational, with only occasional forays into grammar instruction. The emphasis was on learning to use the language.

Note, though, that grammar was not ignored, or considered useless. They would teach it if needed. But they could generally assume that their students were already learning English grammar in their regular school classes. So the instructors could concentrate more on applying that knowledge to conversations.

This went on, Saturday after Saturday, week after week, though sometimes with some holiday breaks, usually until they were 18 or so, and went off to university. So, depending on the age they started, this could be 4, 5, or even 6 years of weekly conversational classes in English. By the end of this, the students found that yes, they could hold reasonable conversations in English, including with native speakers.

I suppose that as they improved, they could make use of more native language materials, especially on the internet. Though they did not mention this.

Also, regarding the cost, they said it was not that bad. It was something a middle-class family could afford. And indeed, it does not sound so very different from the extra classes and lessons that a North American family might arrange for their children. The difference is that in Canada and the United States, they are more likely to be for such things as the piano, figure-skating, gymnastics, a martial art, and so on. (Though to be fair, there are some places that offer heritage language classes for children on the weekend.) Parents in these other countries instead chose to send their children to extra English classes, that's all.

What about those students who did not really want to say how they learned English? It is hard to say. Perhaps some of them did learn much, simply by watching movies and television series. But I am a little doubtful. In my observation, those who feel that they did it "all by themselves" (whether or not that is really accurate), are usually quite willing to tell this to others. (One need only look at the posts made by some members to this forum :) ) My suspicion is that, at least for some, they did not wish to sound as if they were "privileged" in having these extra classes, and so did not mention it. (Even though, as mentioned above, these classes were not all that expensive for many people.)

At any rate, for the ones who were willing to discuss it, it seemed clear that these extra conversational classes (or at least, several years worth of them), were the key in allowing these students to convert their regular school studies into a real, useful ability to use English. But again, to say that either component could be dispensed with does not seem to be true. Both were essential. And in any case, both were a matter of conscious, directed study. There was nothing random about any of it.

Just my observations.
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby sfuqua » Sun Oct 02, 2022 5:35 am

I think the research on students in bilingual classes in Canada pretty much rules out the idea that students simply being exposed to comprehensible input will lead automatically to a high level of skill in production. Krashen and his followers can be cagey about it; i+1 is not defined in a way that one can test it, "comprehensible" itself is not well-defined, and when you add in "affective filter," the whole input hypothesis becomes untestable and therefore not science. Although it is less of an issue not, the whole idea of the "Monitor" and what conditions allowed monitoring are so flexible that one cannot really test that either. If it turns out that one can use formal grammar knowledge on a task, Krashen says that the task allowed monitoring. He assumes that his ideas must be correct; studies that do not support them must be flawed. :lol:

A theory that cannot be disproven is not a scientific theory. :D

There doesn't seem to be any limit to the amount of skill in comprehension one can develop from comprehensible input. Highly accurate production is not the inevitable result of large amounts of comprehensible input, if you use any reasonable definition of the terms. :(

Hopefully there isn't any big disagreement about this. These studies have been available since the '80's. Many people have reported that high levels of comprehension speed up the process of developing high levels of speed and accuracy in production, although I'm not aware of studies that prove this. I am way out of date in my technical reading on the subject. :lol:
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby Tom » Sun Oct 02, 2022 8:45 am

sfuqua wrote:Hopefully there isn't any big disagreement about this.


First time on the internet? :D
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Re: Self-taught study

Postby dlt529 » Sun Oct 02, 2022 1:33 pm

sfuqua wrote:I think the research on students in bilingual classes in Canada pretty much rules out the idea that students simply being exposed to comprehensible input will lead automatically to a high level of skill in production.


sfuqua wrote: There doesn't seem to be any limit to the amount of skill in comprehension one can develop from comprehensible input. Highly accurate production is not the inevitable result of large amounts of comprehensible input, if you use any reasonable definition of the terms. :(


So, I'll start by saying that I agree with you, that was both what we were taught and how I read the literature. The observation that comprehensible input was not enough in Canadian immersion was what led to the formulation of the Output Hypothesis, and later to the Interactionist approach. What's interesting is that I just read a module from Routledge on Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (an Krashen-inspired approach), and the author claimed (with no citation) the exact opposite--comprehensible input was enough to develop production. I don't think you're wrong, I think that people mostly decide a priori what their stance is and do not really revise it based on evidence, but twist the evidence to support their view.

I think sometimes people forget (or are unaware) that Krashen was trained in the Chomskyian approach to linguistics, with a fundamental division between competence (intutions) and performance (use), and was really only concerned with competence--performance is always an after thought. There was an immediate pushback against the idea, which is how we got the construct of communicative competence/proficiency, but the damage is done because Krashen is so widely read by people interested in langauge learning but who are not necessarily widely read in applied linguistics. A lot of second language acquisition research isn't really helpful to people who want to learn to communicate a language beacuse of this distinction. For research, we need to be very clear about the domain of study and ensure that what we study falls into that domain. A fundamental question of second langauge acquisition, especially from the Chomskyian perspective, has traditionally been whether nonnative languages can be acquired with the same mechanisms as the native language (Is Universal Grammar active in nonnative language aquisition and, if so, to what extent)? As speakers of a nonnative langauge, it doesn't really matter if we're all monitoring, or if the language representations are fundamentally different between native and nonnative languages, or whatever else, as long as we can communicate with it.
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