Language chunks to ease language activation

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lusan
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Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby lusan » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:03 pm

I wonder if after having a basic vocabulary it would be better learning chunks of sentences than learning full sentences to activate the language. Chunks look like these: "I think that...", "I did not know that... or "I wonder if..." I think that they would facilitate conversation in L2. The point is that I do not want to memorize full sentences that probably I will never use.

Chunks are used all the time. My question is should I create them in L1 or L2. In L2 they are very easy. In L1 is a lot harder because there too many different ways to say the same thing in L2.

By the way, I set certain rules for a good chunk. These are:

1. No grammatical point. For example, verb conjugation, colloquial forms, etc. But words that I find very often together.
2. No longer than 4 words otherwise I would be memorizing sentences.
3. No less than 3 words otherwise it would defeat the purpose and would be defaulting on straight vocabulary study
4. All words must be already known.

Notice that even in these paragraphs I have plenty of them: "I wonder if..", "look like these", "by the way, I..", "no less than", "I have plenty of them."

Have anyone looked into the chunk topic? Comments would be appreciated.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby tommus » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:15 am

I totally believe in language chunks. I think they are very much underestimated as to their importance to language learning, especially as you try to advance beyond a basic capability. For word lists or flash cards, I think these chunks and short expressions (or even more common), adjective and noun combinations, are extremely more effective and productive than single words. A good way to collect short chunks is with Readlang. You can highlight several adjacent words and they are translated as a chunk and added to your ReadLang Wordlist as a chunk, together with the translation. Very convenient. http://readlang.com/
I see no reason to create them in L1. Start in L2 where you are sure they are a genuine chunk.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby lusan » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:46 am

tommus wrote: ReadLang Wordlist as a chunk, together with the translation. Very convenient. http://readlang.com/

I have never visited readlang. How does it compare to lingq?
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby tommus » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:50 am

ReadLang is primarily an excellent reading environment using pop-up translators (words, phrases or sentences), with an embedded personal word list and flash card function. It can operate on uploaded texts and web pages, even interactive video, or browser web pages. I find it to be extremely good. Very well thought out and constructed. Best to check out the site yourself.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby smallwhite » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:18 am

Have anyone looked into the chunk topic?


I call most of them phrases. "La rose" is a noun phrase, "on top of" a prepositional phrase, and "by the way" an adverbial phrase (I think). I think most people have these in their flashcards.

For longer chunks like "I wonder if" that cross grammatical phrase boundaries, I've never felt the need for them. Maybe other drills I do already cover them, I don't know. But when I see them in pre-made decks, I like them and would often download a deck or two to practise a bit.

And then there are collocations, "to ride a bike", "rich coffee", "poor sales". I don't study adjective-noun collocations because other things I do already cover that (eg. I extract new words from novels I read, and I remember what noun the adjective was describing in the story). But with German, the grammar to form phrases like "helps someone" or "is proud of something" is hard due to cases and the infinite range of possible prepositions, so I put these verb-noun phrases into my flashcards even when the collocation itself doesn't pose any difficulty.

I'd say I tend to learn or practise single words or shorter phrases wherever possible, and do longer chunks only if I really need to.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby pir » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:45 am

Readlang is a new one for me -- that's easily the nicest LWT-type site I've seen; thanks for the link!

I like the Youtube feature, and how relatively easy it is to sync up lyrics -- I don't use lyrics a lot to learn, but I am forever wrangling with Japanese lyrics just for fun, and this will help.

Yes, absolutely, language chunks are a very efficient way to study because acquiring the common ones first allows one to read real texts fairly quickly, and that speeds everything up in my experience.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:50 am

Somewhere on Benny's site http://www.fluentin3months.com, he talks about "conversational connectors" which are basically the kinds of phrases you're talking about. You can download a bunch of them in excel from his site, but I'm not sure if you have to be a member or not. Anyway, it's one of the secrets to his technique of becoming fluent in a short time.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:57 am

Brun Ugle wrote:Somewhere on Benny's site http://www.fluentin3months.com, he talks about "conversational connectors" which are basically the kinds of phrases you're talking about. You can download a bunch of them in excel from his site, but I'm not sure if you have to be a member or not. Anyway, it's one of the secrets to his technique of becoming fluent in a short time.


Available here:
https://sites.google.com/site/fluentcze ... tarterpack
http://www.fluentin3months.com/conversa ... -language/

These chunks, phrases or conversational connectors can be very useful in not only creating fluidity but also a sense of comfort, essential in language learning.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:24 am

Thanks, Zenmonkey! I didn't have time to find the exact links this morning.

Also, I never really answered the original question, but maybe my answer was obvious. I do think learning those kinds of phrases is very useful. I've done it myself in Norwegian and now I'm trying to work on it in Spanish.

We use loads of them in our native language too. Stock phrases give you time to think about what you want to say. When speaking our native language, we don't put sentences together word by word. To some extent we do, but we also use chunks that we've used many times before and know without thinking about them.

Just make sure you learn quite a few of them. I used to be friends with a lot of ESL students at university and at one point their teacher had talked about using those kinds of set phrases to improve fluency. I remember several of them enthusiastically using the phrases, but they'd only bothered to learn a few and ended up starting almost every sentence with, "To tell the truth..." or "For example..." It made for some strange conversations.
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Re: Language chunks to ease language activation

Postby rdearman » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:47 am

Here are some I've used previously. (Probably covered in the links)
actually
admittedly that is true, but
after all
all joking aside
allow me to say it another way
and besides that
and more specifically
and one more thing
and that is why
and there is the problem
and what do you think?
and what's more
anyway
as far as I am concerned
as far as I know
as you already know
as you may know
between you and me
by the way
can you tell me please
certainly, why not?
don't be upset, but
even though
exactly right
firstly
frankly speaking
how can I put it?
I agree
I am afraid that
I am not certain whether
I am not such an expert, but
I am sorry that
I don't have a big interest in that
I don't know exactly
I have an interesting story about it
I have my own opinion on it, but
I have the impression that
I haven't thought about it before, but
I hope it is only a question of time
I hope that
I must say that
I presume that
I said it by mistake
I would like to emphasise that
I would like to think that
I would like you to know that
if I am not mistaken
if I understand correctly
if that is true
in my opinion
in no case
in other words
in principle that is true, but
it is usually true that
it was a slip of the tongue
like every other man
more and more
most certainly
my better half said
my wife pointed out that
nevertheless
now and then it seems to me that
now it occurs to me that
now seriously
oh, I nearly forgot
on the other hand
once upon a time, long ago
one hundred percent
only up to a certain point
recently, I heard that
secondly
she said something like
should I explain in greater detail?
thank you heartily
that is a good question
that is a matter of opinion
that is all for now
that is all there is to say
that is an exaggeration
that is such a difficult question
that is to say
that isn't such a big problem
that isn't true at all
that remains to be seen
that sounds like
that's one way to say it
the way I see it is that
to be more precise
to say it another way
to sum up
to tell the truth
understandably
well then
well, as a matter of fact
while I am already talking about it
without doubt
without question
would you be interested in us talking about something else?
you never know, but
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