Examples of Input Only

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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Finny » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:28 am

walldepartment wrote:Hello. I have trouble finding this information. I am curious about some differences between input and output. I would like to read some examples of people who have had a lot of input ONLY and no output. Can anyone give me some links to this?


Oh, I miss HTLAL in some ways (though not in others). I was always inspired by solidsnake and was sad when he stopped posting; he was the closest adherent on the forums to the AJATT approach, but with Mandarin, and his posts were inspiring with regards to the results that were possible if you did one thing, and took it exceptionally seriously. It took me several years to learn the lesson, but when I did, along came the languages. I now know I could take on any language and learn it well if I made it my overwhelming focus, and that knowledge--or rather, that self-efficacy--is powerful.

To return to the OP's topic, however, the approach is one that lots of people have pursued with success; reineke has, as usual, posted plenty of wonderful anecdotes and references. To those I'd add the Antimoon and AJATT fellows. They both were (are) advocates of focusing on input and not worrying about output, with the idea being that if you get enough input, the output will come.

I'd also count myself as an example; while I did speak to people here and there in Spanish while learning it, 99% of the work was simply listening to the radio, watching telenovelas, and reading kids' books. I also self-spoke and read aloud, which I found far more useful than talking to people, as there wasn't the pressure of speaking correctly and processing responses.

With French, my "output" was teaching it to my kids while learning it. So in that sense, again, yes there was output, but it was more general use of the language. At first I was saying things like J'ai faim. Je vais manger. The goal was simply to start getting the kids to repeat things back to me in French instead of in Spanish. Thankfully, things got better from there.

Xmmm wrote:https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/19/health/l ... index.html

All these people learning from TV using native language subtitles ... makes me wonder why I do it the hard way, lol ...


This is lovely. I used subs in Spanish when watching telenovelas, but it was the same idea. I also remember that after a while, I turned off the subs because I'd gotten to the point where I could understand most of what was said without them, and I didn't want to read and watch at the same time. It was pretty cool.

My core shows were Amores Verdaderos, Porque el Amor Manda, and Por Ella Soy Eva. I started Mentir Para Vivir but never finished it; I don't actually have the attention span to watch TV on my own 99% of the time, as I'd rather be looking stuff up on the Internet. Listening to the radio came much easier, as I could do other things while doing it.

As a result, in French, although I watched some shows here and there, it was much less than with Spanish, especially since I preferred listening to RMC over watching any TV, which, for me, took too much attention. But I'm in full agreement with the idea that people can learn any language from 99% input. There's that story of the fellow who learned native-level Hebrew from scratch over the course of a decade in an Israeli restaurant in LA; I've posted it elsewhere on the forum here.

There are always going to be folks who say it's not possible or who pooh-pooh the idea. That's just life; most folks think doing anything beyond what they already do is impossible. If you want to do something difficult, in general, it's best to take advice from people who've done it successfully. That's not to say that this is the only way to learn a language; any time on this forum or others will show that there are as many ways as there are people. But for me, I can easily say that focusing on input and either reading aloud or talking to myself for output is more than sufficient, given enough time and effort, to pick up a language.

Oh, and as a final point, Stephen Krashen, while not necessarily a believer in 100% input for SLA, has written a boatload arguing for free voluntary reading in an L2 for mastery. To me, this is just the literary equivalent of telenovela-binging; he's even shared examples of people who developed fluency through reading all of the Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew-type series. This is much more up my alley and more descriptive of my approach. I went through series like Dork Diaries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Hunger Games in Spanish and French, and still read those books for fun. The overarching point across both media forms is to get obsessed; AJATT mentioned this a lot. Find something that you'd do all day long in your L1, and do it in your L2. Repeat until the language is buzzing around in your head so much you want to start spontaneously speaking it.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Tom » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:59 am

Xmmm wrote:https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/19/health/learn-new-language-telenovela-trick/index.html

All these people learning from TV using native language subtitles ... makes me wonder why I do it the hard way, lol ...



I'm quite surprised. I was under the impression that using native language subtitles wouldn't be beneficial at all. I'm am currently watching a series with target language subtitles, which does seem somewhat helpful, but I may have to rethink what I'm doing.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby golyplot » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:48 am

You can add me to the list of people who study almost exclusively through input. Of course, that's partly a matter of expediency, because it is a lot easier to watch TV than to do anything which requires actual effort.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Bex » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:46 am

Xmmm wrote:https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/19/health/learn-new-language-telenovela-trick/index.html

All these people learning from TV using native language subtitles ... makes me wonder why I do it the hard way, lol ...

And I thought I was just being lazy....seems I was actually learning and not just cheating after all :lol:
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Cainntear » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:28 pm

reineke wrote:The average American watches five hours and four minutes of television per day. Source: Nielsen Ratings. I suppose that's in addition to any regular hobbies.

I've consumed audiobooks and other media in my secondary languages for fun and relaxation.

And so have I. The difference is that I don't enjoy them until I have achieved a good level of understanding, but you do.

I don't think anyone here actually believes that your claims about your own learning are false -- the issue is just whether the techniques are generally applicable. And as I already said, you can't judge the efficacy of a technique by looking only at those who succeeded with it. Continuing to list individual isolated success stories won't bring the conversation any further forward.

Baese-Berk said there are three tricks to learning a foreign language through a show.

First, it has to be highly engaging...

Second, it's best if the show has subtitles, so when viewers hear a new word, they can look down and find it in written form in their own language.

Third, the storyline should be repetitive.

I have a few problems with that. First up, I know I'm not alone in finding it very difficult to disregard subtitles. If they're there, I read them.
In Scotland, all Gaelic television (except kids programmes and live broadcasts) is shown with subtitles that you can't turn off. Gaelic speakers got so sick of their eyes being drawn to the English that quite a few of them actually went as far a sticking cardboard or electrician's tape across the bottom of the screen to block them out. I find the subtitles particularly problematic for comedy, as the punchline is often revealed in English before it's delivered in Gaelic, and the whole role of timing and performance is undermined.

Secondly, what does "engaging" really mean in this context? I cannot be engaged if I do not understand, and a truly engaging plot is going to be difficult to follow.

Finally, what if I find repetitive material boring?

Anyhow...
I started learning Welsh years ago, but didn't do much with it. However, I have been following a Welsh language soap on-and-off ever since, and my comprehension has slowly increased. Recently I noticed I process a lot more of the Welsh when playing games on my phone, because I'm not looking at the subtitles. (Thankfully the subtitles can be switched off on Welsh TV.)
So while L1 subtitles may be useful for some people, that use is limited for a lot of people... which brings us back to the matter of generalisability and repeatability of success.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby reineke » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:03 pm

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Last edited by reineke on Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby golyplot » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:28 am

Cainntear wrote:I have a few problems with that. First up, I know I'm not alone in finding it very difficult to disregard subtitles. If they're there, I read them.
In Scotland, all Gaelic television (except kids programmes and live broadcasts) is shown with subtitles that you can't turn off. Gaelic speakers got so sick of their eyes being drawn to the English that quite a few of them actually went as far a sticking cardboard or electrician's tape across the bottom of the screen to block them out. I find the subtitles particularly problematic for comedy, as the punchline is often revealed in English before it's delivered in Gaelic, and the whole role of timing and performance is undermined.


You are not alone. I find it impossible to disregard subtitles. Even if the subtitles are in a language I have no knowledge of, they are still a huge annoyance. And subtitles which can't be disabled are the worst. In fact, I will usually refuse to watch a movie if it has subtitles that can't be disabled properly.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am

Cainntear wrote:
reineke wrote:The average American watches five hours and four minutes of television per day. Source: Nielsen Ratings. I suppose that's in addition to any regular hobbies.

I've consumed audiobooks and other media in my secondary languages for fun and relaxation.

And so have I. The difference is that I don't enjoy them until I have achieved a good level of understanding, but you do.

I don't think anyone here actually believes that your claims about your own learning are false -- the issue is just whether the techniques are generally applicable. And as I already said, you can't judge the efficacy of a technique by looking only at those who succeeded with it.

This is so important. Steve Jobs found a good way to get rich. It doesn't mean I can or should follow the same path. It may be that learning from input, as Reineke does, is a great method, but we need to compare successes and failures on both sides to evaluate that. It would be great to see (much) more data.

And Cainntear is not alone in not enjoying things he does not understand. Personally I'd want to gouge out my own eyes after watching five hours of TV in one day, even if I did understand it. And as for watching many hours of simple children's shows I didn't understand...

This is not a small thing! Learning by a method you find tortuous is unlikely to be highly effective. And while I may be a bit extreme, I'd be surprised if many serious language learners fit the profile of 'average American' or anything like it. That's why the average American only speaks one language.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby Dragon27 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:43 am

golyplot wrote:You are not alone. I find it impossible to disregard subtitles. Even if the subtitles are in a language I have no knowledge of, they are still a huge annoyance. And subtitles which can't be disabled are the worst. In fact, I will usually refuse to watch a movie if it has subtitles that can't be disabled properly.

I personally go as far as to actually hide the part of the picture, where the subtitles are located, using the "Erase logo" feature in VLC media player (and a custom mask created in GIMP). The result looks very awkward and I can't see some of the stuff on the screen, but at least those pesky subtitles are taken care of.
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Re: Examples of Input Only

Postby golyplot » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:16 pm

I tried covering up the bottom of my screen once, but it was distracting and covered important stuff.

Anyway, the worst is when there is non-TL dialog that you need subtitles for. For example, the German movies Jenseits der Stille and Nirgendwo in Afrika both feature important non-German dialog. Unfortunately, at least for the American DVD release, the only options are English subtitles or no subtitles at all (which means you miss important dialog).

Likewise, the Spanish dub of Men in Black on Netflix was rendered unwatchable by the fact that it was missing subtitles for the "alien" dialog.


Luckily, with streaming, things are usually much better nowadays then they were in the DVD era. (I kind of wonder whether the reason MiB was so bad was that they just ripped the dub from a DVD)
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