The limits of comprehensible input?

General discussion about learning languages
User avatar
zKing
Orange Belt
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 11:59 pm
Location: Seattle Area
Languages: English(N), Learning: Cantonese, Italian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7973
x 668

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby zKing » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:41 am

smallwhite wrote:
zKing wrote: 又 = jau6, and/also
...
三 = saam1, three
款新 = fun2 san1, new/recently developed (model, product)
嘅 = ge3, possessive particle

又= again
三= three
款= style, model, COUNTER WORD
三款= three styles of
新= new
嘅= adjective marker
新嘅= new

“again rolled out three styles of new products” (new products in three styles)

“款新” don’t go together as one phrase here.


Yes, thanks, I was being a little sloppy when I quickly typed this up. I just grabbed a short phrase that happened to be in front of me and manually spit that out in one go. Designating 款 as a measure word here makes way more sense. :oops:
1 x

User avatar
Saim
Green Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:14 pm
Location: Poznań
Languages: N: English (AU)
C2: Catalan, Serbian, Spanish
C1: Polish
B2: Urdu, Hungarian
~B1-A2 (some rusty): Hebrew, Punjabi, Galician, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Asturian, Occitan, Dutch, French
~A2/1: Slovene, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Turkish, Basque, Arabic
x 742

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Saim » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:21 am

Valddu wrote:Is this a fluke? Or does this an example of how comprehensible input can only take you so far?


This is not a fluke. In fact, it's extremely common. I'd avoid making conclusions on what autodidacts can do based on the incomplete acquisition of the home language of bilingual children. They're just different situations. The incomplete acquisition of a home language also has to do with the social pressures present that make the child want to adapt to the dominant community language (in this case English), which is a factor absent among audodidacts who are passionate about languages.

In any case, I experienced incomplete acquisition of my second home language, Serbian, during childhood, and managed to reactivate it at a later date without much struggle. Of course getting the formal language down took a while, and it took me many months to start understanding the news, but I had very little trouble with listening comprehension or pragmatics, at least in more colloquial situations. So I think even in this case comprehension seems to give you the core of the language that you can then activate with a lot of speaking and writing.
12 x

User avatar
patrickwilken
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:39 am
Location: Berlin
Languages: English (N), German (B2+), Spanish (A1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8886
x 487

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby patrickwilken » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:26 am

Without knowing more it's hard to judge how really bad this person's Spanish is, and how much Comprehensible Input they've got. I've done a lot of CI for German, and generally found conversations the least useful (esp. in lower-intermediate stages) as people don't talk about a wide range of subjects, and naturally try to tailor their speech to what you can understand.

I'm now at a point where I can very comfortably watch TV shows on whatever topic I want, but I still find reading books a bit of a slog. As soon as I pick up a serious book I can see the gaps in my vocabulary (in part because reading makes these gaps obvious; in part because reading just uses a larger vocabulary). That doesn't mean I can't read any book I want, but it does mean that I have tolerate a certain level of ambiguity.

My spoken L2 is OK, but it's definitely nowhere near native level. There are three main problems I can see: (1) I still lack lots of useful vocabulary - when talking about the school system in Berlin with other parents in my Kita or about maternity hospitals my 1000s of hours of Netflix don't help much - it's surprising how often these gaps trip me up; (2) My pronunciation is still not great for some words - I am often thought of as Norwegian or Danish for some reason - there seem to be two sorts of people: those who understand me close to 100% and those close 10% comprehension; (3) My sentence structure is not standard German - while I can understand a German sentence fine, that doesn't mean I repeat the same sentence later. I have a slight tendency to use English rather than German word order, I also have a certain tendency to use the words/phrases that sound most English when speaking, rather than the most appropriate German ones.

None of this seems particularly problematic to me. I think to a large extent I just need to do a ton more Comprehensible Input to get my vocabulary much better, and really strengthen the use of idiosyncratic expressions. For instance, if I just really immersed myself in German for a couple of years my German would improve drastically.

One thing people forget about CI is how long it takes native monolingual speakers to learn a language. It's been estimated at 16 years old you only know about 2/3 of the words you'll know as an adult. And any 16 old year has done a ton more CI then most L2 learners.
13 x

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2014
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek, Turkish.
.
x 3559
Contact:

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby smallwhite » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:15 am

Patrickwilken is probably the most immersed member here - lives in Gemany, German wife, Germany-born child, consistent multiple hours of media for multiple years. English native learning Cat II language. If Patrickwilken is still not doing that great then it seems to me relying on comprehensive input to learn anything but sister languages is unrealistic and infeasible.
9 x
Dialang or it didn't happen.

The real LLorg

User avatar
Adrianslont
Blue Belt
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:39 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), Learning Indonesian and French
x 1096

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Adrianslont » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:35 am

smallwhite wrote:Patrickwilken is probably the most immersed member here - lives in Gemany, German wife, Germany-born child, consistent multiple hours of media for multiple years. English native learning Cat II language. If Patrickwilken is still not doing that great then it seems to me relying on comprehensive input to learn anything but sister languages is unrealistic and infeasible.

I think the nature of the input counts too, though. It’s “easy” to be immersed and get good at day to day language and watch TV. It seems that extensive reading is necessary to get through the c levels? I get the impression that Patrick doesn’t do much reading - I could be wrong about that.

This is not based on my own learning experience. I’m not in the c levels but it is based on my observation of lots of people who “settle” for being quite good at day to day stuff and TV but aren’t readers. And my observation of readers who advance further. And I think Krashen says this about reading, too - I know he promotes extensive reading. So, still CI but a different kind.
3 x

DaveAgain
Green Belt
Posts: 329
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:26 am
Languages: English (native), French (intermediate), German (beginner).
x 466

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:44 am

Adrianslont wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Patrickwilken is probably the most immersed member here - lives in Gemany, German wife, Germany-born child, consistent multiple hours of media for multiple years. English native learning Cat II language. If Patrickwilken is still not doing that great then it seems to me relying on comprehensive input to learn anything but sister languages is unrealistic and infeasible.

I think the nature of the input counts too, though. It’s “easy” to be immersed and get good at day to day language and watch TV. It seems that extensive reading is necessary to get through the c levels? I get the impression that Patrick doesn’t do much reading - I could be wrong about that.

This is not based on my own learning experience. I’m not in the c levels but it is based on my observation of lots of people who “settle” for being quite good at day to day stuff and TV but aren’t readers. And my observation of readers who advance further. And I think Krashen says this about reading, too - I know he promotes extensive reading. So, still CI but a different kind.
The testyourvocab.com (english) website found a strong correlation between reading and vocabulary size.

http://testyourvocab.com/blog/
2 x

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2014
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek, Turkish.
.
x 3559
Contact:

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby smallwhite » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:59 am

Adrianslont wrote:I get the impression that Patrick doesn’t do much reading - I could be wrong about that.

His log post #1:
> I stopped keeping track last year, but at that time after five years of work I had watched more than 1300 movies, and read more than 40000 pages of books in German.
4 x
Dialang or it didn't happen.

The real LLorg

User avatar
Adrianslont
Blue Belt
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:39 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), Learning Indonesian and French
x 1096

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby Adrianslont » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:02 am

smallwhite wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:I get the impression that Patrick doesn’t do much reading - I could be wrong about that.

His log post #1:
> I stopped keeping track last year, but at that time after five years of work I had watched more than 1300 movies, and read more than 40000 pages of books in German.

I stand corrected - I was going on a hunch from what he said - the way he said “serious book” led me erroneously to jump to the conclusion that he wasn’t a serious reader:
As soon as I pick up a serious book I can see the gaps in my vocabulary (in part because reading makes these gaps obvious; in part because reading just uses a larger vocabulary). That doesn't mean I can't read any book I want, but it does mean that I have tolerate a certain level of ambiguity.

Plus my observations of other learners and Krashen pushing extensive reading as mentioned above.

I guess you are promoting the idea of explicit study as well as CI?
0 x

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2014
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek, Turkish.
.
x 3559
Contact:

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby smallwhite » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:37 am

> I guess you are promoting the idea of explicit study as well as CI?

Whatever is fastest.
2 x
Dialang or it didn't happen.

The real LLorg

User avatar
patrickwilken
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:39 am
Location: Berlin
Languages: English (N), German (B2+), Spanish (A1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8886
x 487

Re: The limits of comprehensible input?

Postby patrickwilken » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:12 pm

DaveAgain wrote:The testyourvocab.com (english) website found a strong correlation between reading and vocabulary size.
http://testyourvocab.com/blog/


What the data on this site shows is that native people immersed in their L1, going to school etc still don't peak in their language abilities (at least vocabulary) until their mid-thirties. So I always find it a bit bizarre when language learners think they speak like a well-educated native after 3-4 years work. If you can get to that level so quickly (with or without CI) then you should share the methods with the international school committees as apparently no school in the world is teaching their native language efficiently.

I think people are misreading what I said a bit. I am (admittedly self assessed) at C1 for reading and listening in German. So CI worked really well for me. The last time I looked a couple of years ago I had a knowledge of at least 10000 words in German, but that just doesn't equate to knowing all the words on a page. There are still lots of gaps as soon as you start reading serious newspapers or books, though I can still read and understand these things without a dictionary.

But it's still frustrating not being able to process German in the same way as English. I have been getting into audiobooks this year, and slowly cranking up the speed. I mostly listen to audiobooks at somewhere like 1.7x-2.2x normal speed, Youtube videos at 1.5x-2x (I can't listen to Youtube videos at normal speed anymore, people speak sooooo slowly). But if I try to do the same trick in German I quickly hit a wall. I want my German to be as good as my English, but that's going to take a long time.

And this year I have been doing a lot of English reading (after 5 years of only German - 103 books so far!) so I am probably getting slightly rusty with German. People over estimate the advantages living in their L2 community. I speak German every day (basically always when I leave the house), but I am learning little doing that as I have roughly the same conversations with the kindergarten teacher, baker, candlestick maker. I could presumably find a tandem partner I liked, but I am pretty certain one-hour tandem would give me less than 15 minutes reading a serious non-fiction book. The big advantage living here is that there is lots of culture at my fingertips (bookshops, films, theater, etc).
14 x




German Spanish
1500 Movies : 1389 / 1500100 Movies : 4 / 100
50000 Pages : 41089 / 500005000 Pages : 0 / 5000

All goals to be completed by 31.12.19.


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest