Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby Vedun » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:05 pm

Immersion and forcing myself to produce output.
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CardiffGiant
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby CardiffGiant » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:01 pm

Cavesa wrote:-extensive reading and listening. in huge amounts. But that is only efficient after a certain level

At what point did you find that this did not provide further improvement? I have done a lot of listening and I have backed off a bit as of late.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:10 pm

CardiffGiant wrote:
Cavesa wrote:-extensive reading and listening. in huge amounts. But that is only efficient after a certain level

At what point did you find that this did not provide further improvement? I have done a lot of listening and I have backed off a bit as of late.


Hmm, not sure where did I ever imply that the improvement ever ends. Extensive reading and listening is not too efficient at the beginning,unless you know a related language already. I find it a bit sad and funny at the same time, that the subreddit about langauge learning is filled with beginners trying to read novels and surprised it is not easy. At the beginning, I don't think it is a good way to spend time.

But approximately around B1, it changes. It takes a bit of time to notice the results (that's why many people think it doesn't work or is totally inefficient), but when I look back, I see awesome results, much better than I got from any other type of activity. And the results can come a bit earlier, if you binge watch or binge read :-)

As to the "ceiling of usefulness": I don't think there is any. When you feel like you are no longer getting anything from the content, find something different and more challenging. There is always something new to explore. It is sometimes just not that easy to find and access.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby leosmith » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:23 am

The following was taken from a discussion here:
I ask because I've done some informal documenting of time I've spent using certain techniques in my learning, and I've found that my improvement in conversation is almost directly proportional to the number of one hour conversation where I briefly noted and later memorized vocabulary and sentences that I lacked or didn't understand. Like yours, my classes were also 100% target, and other than the noting process which only took a few minutes, were just as you described; no corrections unless they truly didn't understand me.

To be perfectly honest, I've been using this method for a long time now, and the only things I compared were periods when I read 2 hrs/day vs 30 min/day, periods where I did the exercise mentioned above vs conversation with no memorization and periods of 5 - 7 hours conversation per week vs 3 or less hours per week. As I mentioned, the overwhelmingly best indicator of level in conversation turned out to be the number of hours spent conversing and memorizing. I was quite surprised that 2 hrs of reading wasn't noticeably better for conversation than 30 minutes for the single data point of myself.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby Querneus » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:03 am

I made huge leaps in English by becoming immersed in it after moving to Canada. I pretty much immediately, very drastically, switched to a lifestyle where I lived about 90% of the time in English though, a feat I'm not sure I want to pull off again. I've gotten very cozy now about the way I live in Vancouver (ignoring, for a moment, the current problems due to the virus).

For French, I found it immensely helpful to actually get exposed to the spoken language. A lot of what I learned at the beginning was purely through books (because I'm a bit too much of a book guy), but attending physical classes held entirely in French, at the university I was at, also added improvements elsewhere, even in the speed I could read the language at, besides the fact they made us read various novels in it (as is typical in higher-level classes in college, for better or worse).

I'm entirely self-taught in Latin. I tried to work through Keller and Russell's Learn to Read Latin, but I found its exercises too difficult to understand as they were all of ancient quotes that quickly got long (as guyome complained about earlier, likely while not using the same textbook). I had feelings of dread every time I saw a passage from Horace or Tacitus was coming up, a bit less so Lucretius and Vergil. Even when I got a translation of the passages elsewhere (not in the textbook), I struggled with them too much.

Things got a lot better when I tried reading easier Latin with a translation at hand, like the Latin of Jerome's Bible, Cato (yes, the little book on agriculture, as boring as it may seem), Eutropius' simple history work, Plautus' plays (whose scenes surprisingly read like telenovela scenes a lot of the time). Cicero's speeches, at least, are not actually that bad either, and neither is Ovid if you ignore the crazy poetic word order...
CardiffGiant wrote:
Cavesa wrote:-extensive reading and listening. in huge amounts. But that is only efficient after a certain level

At what point did you find that this did not provide further improvement? I have done a lot of listening and I have backed off a bit as of late.

By any chance, did you misread what she wrote as "But that is only efficient until a certain level"? I noticed I misread it that way at first and didn't read her post correctly until the second time. Your post makes more sense if you made the same misreading I made. :D
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby rdearman » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:43 am

Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Start.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby guyome » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:59 am

Ser wrote:I'm entirely self-taught in Latin. I tried to work through Keller and Russell's Learn to Read Latin, but I found its exercises too difficult to understand as they were all of ancient quotes that quickly got long (as guyome complained about earlier, likely while not using the same textbook). I had feelings of dread every time I saw a passage from Horace or Tacitus was coming up, a bit less so Lucretius and Vergil. Even when I got a translation of the passages elsewhere (not in the textbook), I struggled with them too much.
In my case, it wasn't the textbook I used that threw too complex texts at me. Invitation au Latin (the old 1980's edition in two volumes, the new one in three volumes is not as good*) is great because it uses long texts of carefully graded difficulty (i.e. made-up), has plenty of exercises, and introduces new material slowly. Because of this, I was lucky enough never to get into the habit of translating Latin (hunting for the verb and all that) but I just read. The book itself doesn't use authentic texts, though I think there are some at the end of volume 2. It was after I completed the book that I thought "ok, now I can read authentic texts, right!?". And you can imagine how it went :) No textbook can give you enough to tackle Cicero or Cesar, if your goal is to read rather confortably, but what did I know at the time?
Then, as you mentioned, I struggled so much I eventually put Latin aside. It took me a long time to get back into Latin but this time I was better prepared (there was also a lot more available online) and I build up muscles by reading things like Beeson's Medieval Latin (the easier sections), Lhomond's De Viris, Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles, and plenty of even easier stuff.

*Shortly after the mid-1990s, textbooks using made-up Latin were outlawed in Frech schools (no, really) and all textbooks had to use authentic texts only from day one. That may work in some cases (there are after all several ways to learn/teach a language, cf. Reginald Foster who is vehemently against the use of made-up Latin), but the way it was done was just stupid.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby JohannaNYC » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:38 am

Cavesa wrote:-extensive reading and listening. in huge amounts. But that is only efficient after a certain level
-workbooks. a high quality grammar or vocab (or other) workbook can move me forward extremely fast. The famous Progressives are a good example. For example, it is possible to get from near zero to B1 in a matter of weeks of intensive work (that means 5-6 hours a day), with all the applied skills (the famous 4) catching up extremely fast.


Sounds good. Can you provide the link to the website or at least a full title? I Googled it, but couldn't find it
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby Cavesa » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:09 pm

JohannaNYC wrote:
Cavesa wrote:-extensive reading and listening. in huge amounts. But that is only efficient after a certain level
-workbooks. a high quality grammar or vocab (or other) workbook can move me forward extremely fast. The famous Progressives are a good example. For example, it is possible to get from near zero to B1 in a matter of weeks of intensive work (that means 5-6 hours a day), with all the applied skills (the famous 4) catching up extremely fast.


Sounds good. Can you provide the link to the website or at least a full title? I Googled it, but couldn't find it


What website? I haven't mentioned any.

The names of the workbooks are like Grammaire Progressive, Gramatica de uso del español, Una grammatica italiana per tutti,... and similar titles also cover other areas than grammar.
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Re: Describe the most effective thing you have done to advance your language learning

Postby CardiffGiant » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:06 pm

By any chance, did you misread what she wrote as "But that is only efficient until a certain level"? I noticed I misread it that way at first and didn't read her post correctly until the second time. Your post makes more sense if you made the same misreading I made. :D
Absolutely! Missed the boat completely!
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