Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

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Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby Valddu » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:29 am

This year I got very serious about learning my L2, and after reading through these forums and learning about “comprehensible input” I’ve been trying to focus heavily on exposing myself to the language through podcasts, books, and videos. I still maintained about 2-3 iTalki lessons a week to keep my speaking up, but the bulk of my learning has been though input, shadowing, and using an SRS system. My vocabulary has definitely improved and I can understand more and more of what I hear without subtitles (I’m trying to avoid them at this point). I’m hoping that within a year from now my comprehension will be at the point that I can easily understand native materials.

At that point I was thinking of switching from lots of input to lots out of output. I can’t do an immersion trip unfortunately, but I think I could do something where I schedule 1-2 hours of iTalki per day. Possibly more during the weekend. Has anyone attempted something like this before? A study diet heavy on input and then a transition towards lots of output to try to develop fluency and activate your knowledge of the language? How did that go for you?

I haven’t been able to find anything from Krashen that really explains this switch from lots of input to being able to speak so any advice would be great.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby rdearman » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:25 am

OK, I was going to make a brief comment on this, but I think I will give it a bit of time and explanation to the answer I was going to give which was: I think only output will help output.

However, after a little thought I decided that this isn't exactly true. Input helps output tremendously. It will improve your comprehension and your vocabulary so that you can interact with someone. What it will not do is help with the "fluidity" of speaking in a TL. I believe this is because when you speak you need to train your vocal apparatus to perform the required pronunciation, you need to train your mind to access all that vocabulary quickly and to have large "chunks" of full or partial phrases which you can access quickly. It is also good to have lots of conversation fillers to use, things like. "That is a very good question, but...", "At the end of the day...".

When outputting you also need to have the ability to "circumnavigate" around unknown words such that there is no noticeable lag in the conversation while waiting for you to find the right word or phrase. This is a skill which requires practice.

The four skills you need for languages, reading, writing, speaking, listening, all reinforce each other. All this input to learn vocabulary will help you with output, but it will not help you with pronunciation. It will not help you with fluidity of speaking, only output can do that. Writing will help you with grammar, which in turn will help with correct sentence formation when speaking. Listening will help you with comprehension and therefore helps with conversations. Output will help you discover vocabulary, grammar rules which you don't know, and will train your mouth, lips, tongue and breath to work together to correctly sound the words you need to use.

So after this long-winded droning on, what I'm actually saying is that while focusing on only one aspect of the language, e.g. input will not hurt you, I believe you should try to get a more balanced approach and try to work on all 4 skills at the same time. I believe this simply because of the "Rule of Reinforcement" (A rule I have just made up right now) which says: "All language skills reinforce the learning of the others."

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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby StringerBell » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:18 pm

I am not currently doing something that could be called massive output in Italian, but about 2 months ago I decided to increase my output from 1-2 hours per week to 5 hours per week. So far I haven't noticed a huge difference, but again, I wouldn't consider what I'm doing massive output.

I have Italian in-laws visiting for 3 weeks soon, so I'm going to try to take advantage of that by only speaking in Italian during that time. I'm not expecting a huge improvement in such a short period of time, but I'll let you know what happens.

This idea reminds me of a really interesting experiment that Donovan Nagle did where he tried to recreate an overseas immersion at home. Here's a link to the article: https://www.mezzoguild.com/italki-experiment-results/
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby Valddu » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:41 pm

rdearman wrote:OK, I was going to make a brief comment on this, but I think I will give it a bit of time and explanation to the answer I was going to give which was: I think only output will help output.

However, after a little thought I decided that this isn't exactly true. Input helps output tremendously. It will improve your comprehension and your vocabulary so that you can interact with someone. What it will not do is help with the "fluidity" of speaking in a TL. I believe this is because when you speak you need to train your vocal apparatus to perform the required pronunciation, you need to train your mind to access all that vocabulary quickly and to have large "chunks" of full or partial phrases which you can access quickly. It is also good to have lots of conversation fillers to use, things like. "That is a very good question, but...", "At the end of the day...".

When outputting you also need to have the ability to "circumnavigate" around unknown words such that there is no noticeable lag in the conversation while waiting for you to find the right word or phrase. This is a skill which requires practice.

The four skills you need for languages, reading, writing, speaking, listening, all reinforce each other. All this input to learn vocabulary will help you with output, but it will not help you with pronunciation. It will not help you with fluidity of speaking, only output can do that. Writing will help you with grammar, which in turn will help with correct sentence formation when speaking. Listening will help you with comprehension and therefore helps with conversations. Output will help you discover vocabulary, grammar rules which you don't know, and will train your mouth, lips, tongue and breath to work together to correctly sound the words you need to use.

So after this long-winded droning on, what I'm actually saying is that while focusing on only one aspect of the language, e.g. input will not hurt you, I believe you should try to get a more balanced approach and try to work on all 4 skills at the same time. I believe this simply because of the "Rule of Reinforcement" (A rule I have just made up right now) which says: "All language skills reinforce the learning of the others."

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Very interesting. And yes, I agree that all 4 are necessary skills that build off each other—even now with my emphasis on input I still schedule 2-3 iTalki sessions a week. It gives me a chance to “activate” some of the things I’ve been learning through input. Still, I wonder about a focus on output after a long period of input is a strategy that would lead to stronger fluency/proficiency.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby Valddu » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:42 pm

StringerBell wrote:I am not currently doing something that could be called massive output in Italian, but about 2 months ago I decided to increase my output from 1-2 hours per week to 5 hours per week. So far I haven't noticed a huge difference, but again, I wouldn't consider what I'm doing massive output.

I have Italian in-laws visiting for 3 weeks soon, so I'm going to try to take advantage of that by only speaking in Italian during that time. I'm not expecting a huge improvement in such a short period of time, but I'll let you know what happens.

This idea reminds me of a really interesting experiment that Donovan Nagle did where he tried to recreate an overseas immersion at home. Here's a link to the article: https://www.mezzoguild.com/italki-experiment-results/


Fantastic article. This is exactly what I was curious about. And I’m very curious to see how your opportunity to practice output develops your italian. You should post about the effects.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:27 am

rdearman wrote:What it will not do is help with the "fluidity" of speaking in a TL. I believe this is because when you speak you need to train your vocal apparatus to perform the required pronunciation...

All this input to learn vocabulary will help you with output, but it will not help you with pronunciation. It will not help you with fluidity of speaking, only output can do that


While I agree with many of your comments regarding input helping output, I disagree on your above comments on input not helping with pronunciation and to a lesser extent fluidity. Input helped my pronunciation considerably and fluidity to some kind of unknown extent as well.

How? Reading about, dissecting and listening to aspects of pronunciation has helped/helps my output. I have had many conversations with French speakers (and other languages) based on a ratio of perhaps 99% input 1% output, and my pronunciation is not one of my weaker skills.

However, maybe we are both correct. Okay, so throughout my language learning I’ve always read anything written down in my textbooks/courses aloud, always, unless on the rare occasion I had to remain quiet as I was in a public place for example. That carried on to reading books aloud. I have also almost always shadowed all audio from courses. Is this input or output? If input, then I disagree with you. If output, then I agree with you somewhat.

Either way I haven’t been conversing with French speakers even regularly, until I began speaking to my daughter in French. That output was produced from all my input (plus speaking to myself aloud whatever that is classed as). Now if all that came from input, it’s now created output when I converse with my daughter in French.

Listening I believe has also helped my output. In training your ear (intensive or extensive listening), I feel it does help give guidance on pronunciation when it comes to output.

If you feel that my speaking (from courses, reading) aloud to myself and shadowing is indeed output, and that listening doesn’t directly help pronunciation, then at the very least strictly explanations on pronunciation have helped my output.

I do absolutely agree that we must train our mouths to articulate the sounds of a foreign language, which means you must speak to help speaking ability. Hence all the reading aloud etc, but again is this output? I don’t know.
Last edited by PeterMollenburg on Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby rdearman » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:30 am

I think speaking aloud and shadowing are output since you are physically training vocal production.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:39 am

rdearman wrote:I think speaking aloud and shadowing are output since you are physically training vocal production.


Okidoki, then I mainly agree with your comments but still feel some input activities (listening, pronunciation descriptions) help a little with pronunciation. Otherwise, I couldn’t agree more, output by speaking helps pronunciation and rhythm.
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby jonathanrace » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:45 pm

This is interesting for sure. I'm not nearly at the level to be doing this I think in Japanese. That being said, I think it is certainly worth trying it. I wouldn't recommend this for newbies though :)
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Re: Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?

Postby SGP » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:26 pm

Valddu wrote:A study diet heavy on input and then a transition towards lots of output to try to develop fluency and activate your knowledge of the language? How did that go for you?
EN, AR, ES, SWA, FR, toki pona.
Comprehensible input played a major role. But as for the first two, there also were many active exercises.

Valddu wrote:I haven’t been able to find anything from Krashen that really explains this switch from lots of input to being able to speak so any advice would be great.
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