How do language realizations come about and how to expedite them?

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Antigravitas
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How do language realizations come about and how to expedite them?

Postby Antigravitas » Sat May 08, 2021 4:34 am

An example is without having practiced them, certain English words and constructions started coming out of my mouth seamlessly after cultural exposure in Australia, like an auto-activation thing. Or after keeping up with writing random Polish sentences in my diary for fun, conjugations of certain verb types were thoroughly mastered without having actively drilled them. However I still make basic mistakes in certain areas with ENglish despite having drilled them endlessly, as with Polish and Russian. I find this weird how things you've barely practiced master themselves so easily while others take so much more time and practice sometimes even at the basic level. (I'm quite proficient at discussing complex religious and spiritual topics in English yet when it comes to giving basic map directions I struggle a lot!) What are some similar things that you guys have learned regarding this and how should one use this knowledge to one's advantage?
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Jinx
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Re: How do language realizations come about and how to expedite them?

Postby Jinx » Sat May 08, 2021 11:17 am

In my experience, what makes the biggest difference is if you can somehow set it up so that you've got the same concepts coming at you from different angles, repeatedly.

What do I mean by this? Say you are working through a textbook and you see a new expression. You listen to the accompanying audio and hear the expression pronounced. Then, perhaps you're listening to a podcast later that day and you hear someone say the expression, and you think "Oh cool, I just learned that this morning!" And then that evening, you're idly scrolling through target-language websites and you catch sight of a commenter using that same expression yet again, in a slightly different context.

The challenge now is: how do you create the opportunity for this lovely sequence of coincidences to happen? Because when it does, the concept will get lodged deeper in your subconscious than it would if you had received it from only one angle (e.g. only from the textbook).

The easiest way to achieve this delightful multiple-angles effect is simply by exposing yourself to the language as much as possible, as I describe in my example above. This creates a type of more loosely-structured SR (spaced repetition, more commonly seen in the abbreviation SRS for "spaced repetition software") experience. Having the same concept bounce back into your brain at certain time-intervals has been demonstrated to be a very effective method for learning, and in my experience it's even more effective if you encounter the concept in varying formats/contexts/media.

This can bring about the sort of "language realization" you're talking about, the same way handling an object and examining it closely from multiple angles gives you a much deeper knowledge of that object than simply seeing a picture of it in a book.
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白田龍
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Re: How do language realizations come about and how to expedite them?

Postby 白田龍 » Sat May 08, 2021 4:00 pm

Read a lot, listen a lot, talk a lot.... there ain't much else to it...
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