learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
zackstone98
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:49 am
Languages: mother tongues: Swedish, English
Studying: Spanish French, Italian
x 2

learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby zackstone98 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:53 am

Hello everyone!

I was scrolling through the forums and I noticed that none of the subforums that I was discussed learning a language ("X") as it is supposed to be learned.  Note - I did not look too deep into the subforums so i don't know if this has already been discussed. Note, this post is quite long.

Short personal bio on my history of language studies (you can skip this).  I am Bilingual in English and Swedish.  Studied German for 4 years ending with a grade D (A1-A2) in my national tests.  I can't remember a thing now.  I started studying Spanish for fun because i have a lot of latino friends. After 1 year I started with step 3 Spanish (B1 level) and felt that the lessons soon became too easy.  I studied mainly by watching videos of different accents and researching things i wanted to learn about Spanish speaking countries like the slang they use and the culture.   About 3 years has passed and now I have a C2 level and am 100% fluent in the language including understanding all accents and slang.

Before you start studying your desired language take a moment and think about how babies learn their mother tongues, or how you learned your mother tongue.  Can babies read or write straight from the get go? No, of course not! so how do they learn? From listening; which is then followed by speaking.  Children learn languages "faster" than adults because they "listen and repeat" what they've heard and don't care if they make mistakes.   These are the two main parts of any given language and should then (in my point of view) be prioritized above other forms of studying a language.  and what is the easiest way to listen to your target language? By listening to music! here are a few tips to learn any language with complete independence and freedom from textbooks and dreadful grammar sheets.
- Learn what you want from the language and how you want. With these tips there is no need for studying grammar, the grammar comes with time and practise. And for the love of god make mistakes.  You can't learn by always doing something perfectly and writing essays... It's not efficient to go up to somebody with a note asking where a restaurant or bar is on a piece of paper and expect them to write the answer for you; and good luck with a whole conversation..

Nobody cares if you slip up and use the wrong tense. The important thing is that you are understood. Learning a language takes time so spend it wisely and write these tips down and get started.  Study 30 MIN a day in 10 MIN intervals.  10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the evening and 10 minutes at night (study more if you want!)

Fundamental tip - Learn that each word you hear/read IS the translation in your mother tongue. Ex.  learn that when you hear Perra, you think of a dog.  Do not translate back and forth, it is too slow and you will get hung up and confused very quickly. You can also record yourself to listen for improvements and flow/accent.

1. Download the app "Musixmatch" which is a free user-based application on the app store/play store.  It gives you the lyrics for almost all songs you will be listening too and most of them have translations added by other users. It works for youtube, spotify, soundcloud and even some mp3 files. Note! Activate floating lyrics for easier access to lyrics and translations (highly recommended)

2. Make a playlist in spotify youtube, soundcloud etc.. Add all the music you have found. Be sure to add songs with varying vocal speeds (like rap, RnB, Trap...). Salsa is especially good for spanish learners (Latin Brothers "Sobre las olas", Oscar D´Leon "Llorarás") I currently have a list of 27 hours from studying spanish.  

3. Listen to the playlist daily and learn to sing along with the songs. The more the better!  listen to the song a couple times and focus on the vocals while reading the lyrics from musixmatch.  Focus on the differences of pronunciation compared to how it is written. Pause the song and read out loud the lyrics with out the music. Try to mimic the pronunciation of the artist.  - Note! Every language has different accents and dialects so PICK the one you find most fun/easy to mimic/speak and stick to it for the time being. - Also! Learn as much slang as possible! It makes it more fun and interesting when studying.

4. Once you have learned to sing along with the song(s) start breaking down the lyrics with the translation.  What parts/words mean what in your mother tongue? Repeat the word/phrase out loud. Use the lyrics in your conversations!  This can be single words by themselves or entire sentences and is VERY important to train your mouth to articulate the words as a native. Listen and repeat, try different tongue and lip placements.  Is the tongue touching the teeth or the roof of the mouth?  How is the person speaking?  Listen to the melody of the speaker and copy it!

5. When listening to someone speak or when listening to a song, do not get caught up on "the one word you know but can't remember"...  You will loose focus and miss everything that comes after.  Listen to the sentence as a whole and then summarize what was said.  If you miss something then ask the person to repeat themselves or simply repeat that part of the song.  Can't hear what they are saying? Going to fast? Slow it down (for youtube) and/or listen to it again and again until you can hear it clearly (this takes time).  The point is to "train" your ears to hear the differences of the speaker.

6. Once you have learned a couple of songs and you feel more comfortable speaking the language, start having conversations with yourself.  As if you are talking with another person.  Don't worry about the grammar,  just say the first thing that pops in your head and try to continue the conversation and switch it up, ask yourself questions,  give/ask for directions etc... . TIP! Write down all the words you can't remember so you know what you don't know.

7.  Lastly, continuing on 6. When you speak to somebody try to incorporate words they use to add to your sentences to keep conversations going.

think about active and passive vocabulary.  Active is what you can speak in the moment, passive is what you understand.

And finally, IF you are struggling in school don't waste all your energy on trying to understand what your teacher is going through on the board, most of the time the grammar will be too complicated so just keep listening to your playlist and learning to pronounce the lyrics.  Pay attention when your teacher goes through something that catches your eye.  Use them when you need/want to.  for an extra edge always speak the language you are studying with your teacher, only resort to your mother tongue when absolutely necessary. 

here is a spanish playlist with varying music genres and accents. (Spanish, DR, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile)
spotify:artist:4q3ewBCX7sLwd24euuV69X

i have attached a document explaining the different Spanish accents i'm working on. (not finished)

hope you liked the post and that it helped you out!
give me some feedback on your thoughts!
Last edited by Serpent on Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: capslock removed
2 x

Cainntear
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1522
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 3562
Contact:

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Cainntear » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:52 pm

Might I suggest that when you are new to a forum, you start by reading and replying to other people’s threads? It would save you a lot of effort, because to be absolutely honest, I doubt anyone will actually read a post that long from someone they don’t know, particularly one that seems to be discussing things that have been discussed a million times here, but with no attempt to make any reference to anything anyone has said here previously on the topic.

Your experiences and insights are welcome, but would be more useful as part of a collaborative discussion than a lecture.
8 x

User avatar
aokoye
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:14 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Languages: English (N), German (~C1), French (Intermediate), Swedish (beginner), Dutch (A2)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10151
x 2901
Contact:

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby aokoye » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:39 pm

zackstone98 wrote:Before you start studying your desired language take a moment and think about how babies learn their mother tongues, or how you learned your mother tongue. Can babies read or write straight from the get go? No, of course not! so how do they learn? From LISTENING; which is then followed by SPEAKING. Children learn languages "faster" than adults because they "listen and repeat" what they've heard and don't care if they make mistakes.

We know from studying first and second language acquisition that first languages are learned differently than second languages. We also know that babies are essentially flooded with thousands of hours of their L1(s) before they begin to speak. This is, quite logically, something that adults or even young children, don't have the advantage of. It doesn't make sense, linguistically, to attempt to learn an L2 the way that we have learned our L1.
12 x
Prefered gender pronouns: Masculine

User avatar
reineke
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3434
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:34 pm
Languages: Fox (C4)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6979
x 6096
Contact:

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby reineke » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:10 pm

AGAINST RULES: ROTHMAN VS THE GRAMMARIANS

"Rothman took three groups of people who knew Spanish: native speakers, those who had studied, and those who had acquired Spanish “naturalistically,” i.e. on their own, largely through TV, radio and interactions with native speakers. All did the same two tasks.

They sorted the students to account for Spanish knowledge etc etc, so they got three groups who were functionally similar (ie all could read Spanish about equally well).

Task One was, read “Goldilocks” in Spanish, and choose the correct of two forms of the verb (preterite or imperfect). Task Two: read a paragraph with blanks, and generate the right form of the verb (again, the choice was between preterite and imperfect).

Now, this was a “Monitor” task. The students dealt with writing, and had time to employ the conscious mind, rules, declarative memory etc. Rothman hypothesised that, because conscious learning and rules couldn’t capture the subtleties of the p-vs-i distinctions, students who had acquired via these rules would underperform others.

The results?

1. Native speakers all overwhelmingly made the same and correct choices.

2. The “taught” students of Spanish made a wider variety of errors, and many more of them, than did the native speakers.

3. The “naturalistic acquirers” of Spanish made significantly fewer errors than did the “taught” students, and their error patterns were more native-like than those of the “taught” students.

Rothman’s hypothesis was therefore confirmed: acquisition of the aspectual (tense) system of Spanish was significantly slowed by conscious learning and speeded up by exposure to input. As he puts it, “pedagogical rules of oversimplification can result in L2 performance variation, perhaps indefinitely.”

Rothman points out that if teachers wanted to meaningfully and beneficially “explain” the p-vs-i distinction, they have to do it in significantly more complex ways than they– we– now do. There is, in other words, way more going on than the “photo vs movie” metaphor.

And the old problem of mental bandwidth here arises: because, as Bill VanPatten notes, we have limited “room” in our heads for explicit information, the more explanations we get, the less “sticky” they will be in our memory. In addition to this, some of these explanations about why we would use one verb tenses or the other– are not particularly student-friendly. Do you want to explain about adverbial quantifiers, semantic distinctions, and accidental vs foreseen generalisations? Could kids understand these? Would they care?

There are obviously also about 1,000,000 more “rules” in Spanish– or any other language– and so we would rapidly hit a wall if we had to teach using rules. No time, little student interest, and no way to keep all those rules in your head (or access them in real time tasks, such as speaking or listening).

Luckily, there is a way out. One major implication for teachers, which Rothman notes, is that “the only compulsory variable is sufficient access to quality input.” This is exactly what Stephen Krashen predicted forty years ago: providing input beats anything else, and there is very limited benefit to learning grammar “rules."

https://tprsquestionsandanswers.wordpre ... ammarians/
8 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3434
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 10132

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:41 pm

I totally agree with Cainntear!

zackstone98 wrote:Hello everyone!

I was scrolling through the forums and I noticed that none of the subforums that I was discussed learning a language ("X") as it is supposed to be learned.  Note - I did not look too deep into the subforums so i don't know if this has already been discussed. NOTE, this post is quite long.
.....
hope you liked the post and that it helped you out!
give me some feedback on your thoughts!


This is not a good way to start and finish one's first post on a forum. You know, many people here have been learning just fine without being preached to. We are always open to new ideas and welcome new members, but we are not waiting here for a saviour to "help us out" and "as we are supposed to learn" ;-)

Btw I have a doubt about an English sentence used here: "give me some feedback on your thoughts!" Is it correct and I am unnecessarily confused, or is there a logical mistake?
Shouldn't we be giving feedback on the post? Or to give our thoughts? And then, when we'll have presented our thoughts, we can get some feedback on those thoughts? :-D I am not sure whether this is funny, or I am confused by the grammar. Like this, it sounds to me as if we were supposed to write our thoughts and give ourselves some feedback.
3 x

User avatar
Bex
Blue Belt
Posts: 505
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:10 am
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7387
x 1224

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Bex » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:02 pm

I find these responses to this new member a little uncomfortable.

Since when have posts only allowed to be short?
Is this forum only for asking for advice and not giving it?

I love new members and their ideas... shouldn't we be welcoming and discussing these suggestions, whether we agree or not?

I am a very socially nervous person and if I had got responses like these after my first post - I would have never returned.
17 x
SC 2018/19: Spanish
100 books: 92 / 100
100 films. : 91 / 100

FSI Basic Spanish:
Vol 1 - 01-15: 15 / 15 :D
Vol 2 - 16-30: 4 / 15

Cainntear
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1522
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 3562
Contact:

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Cainntear » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:18 pm

Cavesa wrote:Btw I have a doubt about an English sentence used here: "give me some feedback on your thoughts!" Is it correct and I am unnecessarily confused, or is there a logical mistake?

It’s definitely a mistake, but it’s a pretty meaningful one.

Halliday defines language as encoding three “metafunctions” simultaneously: the ideational (that is, the literal meaning of the words), the textual (how it relates to what is said before and after) and the interpersonal (what it says about how the speaker regards the other party).

Other writers noted that he maybe should have included an “intertextual” metafunction describing how it relates to other texts, but I think Halliday’s counter-argument was that intertextual effects are still best described in terms of the three basic metafunctions.

Why am I talking about Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics here?
Well, partly cos I’m just in that sort of mood, but mostly because I’m seeing evidence of a specific intertextual reference in his sign-off: it’s just like the end of a YouTube video.. “well, I hope that was helpful. If you liked this video, click like and subscribe. And if you’ve got any thoughts on the matter, let me know in the comments below.”

The ideational content is straightforward but shallow; the textual metafunction is extremely — it makes no reference to the preceding text, and serves essentially as a very wordy “video over” message; and the interpersonal message is superficially inclusive, but the formulaic construction and the fact that the conversation is effectively over by that point actually displays a fair degree of disregard for the audience.

Which brings us back to the broken construction in the post. The fact that the writer couldn’t even be bothered to think enough to produce a correct sentence is loaded with interpersonal significance.
2 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3434
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 10132

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:50 pm

Bex wrote:I find these responses to this new member a little uncomfortable.

Since when have posts only allowed to be short?
Is this forum only for asking for advice and not giving it?

I love new members and their ideas... shouldn't we be welcoming and discussing these suggestions, whether we agree or not?

I am a very socially nervous person and if I had got responses like these after my first post - I would have never returned.


I don't think the problem is the length, Bex. There are many new members with great long posts.

But the whole impression of the post is as if I went to a conference of cardiologists like "hi guys, I haven't paid attention to any of you, but I've passed an exam or two, and I'd like to give you all a lecture that will help you treat all the heart related illnesses much better. Send me your thanks and kind comments by email. You're welcome".

Sure, if the content of the post was of the quality we are used to from some of the best posters, or from someone like Prof. Arguelles, it would be different. I'd gladly learn from the lecture, and the confidence of the poster would be well founded. But not from someone presenting a mix of basic stuff, some mistakes, and a few good tips that are getting lost in this avalanche.

Cainntear is right, when he says it's like the youtube videos. Personally, the only thing I am missing in the post is "and visit my website somethingsomething.com, where I sell a lot of great courses following my theories!" :-D
4 x

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2250
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
x 5915

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:08 pm

@zackstone98, welcome to the forum! I look forward to reading what-I-hope-will-be your expanded thoughts and experiences on the acquisition of foreign languages, most particularly related to the situation of the average adult whose opportunities for studying are limited by full-time commitments (work, school, and the like) and who is attempting to a learn second language through part-time self-instruction (as is the case for many members of this forum). Then again, perhaps your preferences are for classroom instruction or for true full-immersion “in situ” without the support of materials, of teachers, or of tutors; that is, as a recent immigrant or as long-term visitor might experience. Either way, your comments are welcome.

@reineke, as always, your posts make for interesting, instructive reading … je me coucherai moins niaiseux ce soir (I’ll go to bed less dumb this evening).
0 x

Cainntear
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1522
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 3562
Contact:

Re: learn the language as it was intended (detailed explanation)

Postby Cainntear » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:59 pm

Bex wrote:I find these responses to this new member a little uncomfortable.

Since when have posts only allowed to be short?
Is this forum only for asking for advice and not giving it?

I love new members and their ideas... shouldn't we be welcoming and discussing these suggestions, whether we agree or not?

I am a very socially nervous person and if I had got responses like these after my first post - I would have never returned.

I personally thought I was being quite restrained in my first post, but because you're talking about posts in the plural, I can see you think otherwise. I deliberately didn't reply when I first read it, because I was quite annoyed and I didn't want to get aggressive with a newbie.

But I was offended, and don't I have a right to be offended? And when I'm offended, can I not express that?
2 x


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dragon27 and 1 guest