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Glossika method


Auberon
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Was it? I can't find it anywhere on his website.

 

Yeah, it's not on the website. They announced it on their Facebook page and said you had to subscribe to their newsletter to get the details about it (which is a bit annoying). I haven't done so just yet.

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One of my Chinese study goals is to be able to be able to speak and reply instantly and naturally.

 

I remember a year ago my good friend who had been living in China for 10 years was with me and we were on a high speed train, chatting with one of the service staff.  She would talk and he would instantly respond, ask questions, make jokes.  I was stuck listening and trying to follow, but there was no way I could say anything other than "对" or "我是澳大利亚人" as I just wasn't able to understand, think about what I wanted to say, and respond before the conversation had already moved on.  Since then I have improved a great deal on everyday conversation topics, but still get stuck in many situations. Also, I tend to reply with slow, directly translated "englishese" sentences, instead of a natural sounding sentences.  I also frequently guess at the natural Chinese response and have check with my teacher whether you would actually be able to say such a thing.

 

So I feel the general value of "sentence packs" is that you are studying them in order to ingrain sentence structures by repetitively listening and copying them until you can "whip out" the sentence (or a simple variation on it) when you need it, without even thinking, and with no translation in your head.  You say it the way Chinese people say it.  If you know thousands of sentences, you may not be able to produce every sentence a native speaker can, but every sentence you produce will be pretty natural.  I feel like this is like when I was a kid and I memorized every line from Star Wars, The Blues Brothers, etc.  I certainly find myself pulling out sentences that I have learned in this fashion, modifying a verb or a noun, and parroting them successfully. 

 

So, Glossika provides two things - one is a method, and one is a resource of sentence packs.  Actually I'm not super clear on the method as I think it was all explained on the youtube site but that seems to be gone.  But I guess it's basically shadowing repetition, with an additional method of SRS style repetition of sentences at certain intervals.  I am not going to comment on the method as I am really using what has been recommended on Chinese forums for drilling.   So I really only used this as a source of content.  

 

I bought the business sentences pack mostly because I wanted a lot of sentences focused on business situations.  Sentences like "Change the way your sales force sells your product or service." is something I'm likely to say in a meeting once a week.  For $10 I consider it to be a steal - 1000 sentences is about what I get out of a movie (which I pay 25 kuai for anyway) but it's hard to find movies on business topics.  Depending on your budget you might find this expensive or cheap, but for me I'm happy.   I can introduce 1000 sentences into my sentence pool, and also work through them in my shadowing routine. There are issues (as I mentioned way back in this thread) on quality control of the pinyin and even hanzi.  But I only really want the audio and topic.

 

There are of course many other sources that you could use for the same purpose.  I subscribe to ChinesePod and listen to it every day.  I used 3800 Common Chinese sentences which is good for everyday life stuff.  And of course TV, Movies, news etc are also viable sources.  But a source for $10 on business topics - I'll buy more if they have them.  

 

For the purpose of improving pronunciation, any audio source is fine.  I actually expect to use the Glossika sentences more for sentence structure than pronunciation. 

 

By the way, question - one of the sentences is 我们周六和周日休息 but it sounds like the speaker pronounces 和 as han4 not he2 as I would expect.  Is this legit?

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So I feel the general value of "sentence packs" is that you are studying them in order to ingrain sentence structures by repetitively listening and copying them until you can "whip out" the sentence (or a simple variation on it) when you need it, without even thinking, and with no translation in your head.  You say it the way Chinese people say it.

 

Definitely agree with this. And also very useful way of learning different ways of saying the same thing: I think language learners understandably fix onto the first way they learned to say something and it takes a lot of effort to incorporate equally common (or more common) alternatives. I notice quite a few of the sentences are variations on a theme.

 

 

和 as han4 is normal in Taiwan I believe.

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@simc said:

 

 

hy do people decide to do it? Is there any theory behind it? Why bother to study N thousand random sentences?

This is a valid question. In the end, Mike Campbell is best suited to provide an answer. In fairness to him, he previously had dozens, if not hundreds of videos on YouTube discussing his method, but unfortunately (and it appears unfairly) his videos were taken down by YouTube. I know Mike has developed and refined this approach through the teaching he does with students in Taiwan.

 

In regards to "random sentences": I don't believe the sentences were randomly selected, although it's clear that they are not strictly ordered by topic (i.e., greetings, illness, telephone etiquette, etc.); I haven't worked through all the material enough to say for sure. Again, I'd love for Mike or someone else from Glossika to provide more background.

 

@simc said:

 

 

Perhaps it is a question of priorities. I'm sure that if I recorded myself and tried to make my pronunciation more and more like the recording then I'm sure it would become more accurate. But I don't have the time or patience to do this, and having accurate pronunciation is not highest on the priority list.

 

The oral drills that are a part of this approach aren't solely about perfecting pronunciation, but that certainly is a big part of it. This approach is not going to be of value to you if, as you admitted, you don't have the time/patience to do them.

 

@simc said:

 

 

If your main goals are listening and reading comprehension, does Glossika have anything to offer?

 

Glossika is not intended to improve reading comprehension, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone if that's what they want to focus on. The method is heavily aurally/orally focused. (And perhaps arguably more on oral than aural).

 

@simc said:

 

 

 If you have limited time it seems more worthwhile to do other things such extensive/intensive listening and reading, Chinesepod, watch TV and films. The sentences from these sources will presumably be meaningful,

 

It depends. Watching TV/films or reading is most productive if you are watching/reading something that is at your level, or perhaps just slightly above it. I know for me, if I really, really want to get the most out of a TV show - say, a typical Taiwanese TV drama - then it definitely involves "extensive/intensive" work: listening, rewinding and watching a scene again, pausing to looking up new words and expressions (maybe adding them to Anki if I think they are helpful), etc. There's definitely a lot of benefit to doing this kind of study, but for me it's highly time intensive, and I don't do it all the time.

 

Getting back to Glossika: it seems to be an efficient way to practice aural/oral skills. Just take a "Chinese only" GSM audio file for example: in the span of 3:45 minutes it provides 50 sentences for you to review. How much more efficient can you get? (And if you follow the method completely, you'll spend another ~3 minutes recording yourself practicing those sentences). 

 

Unfortunately, I think there's been a lot of missed expectations on the part of people who expected "X" from Glossika but got "Y" instead. And I think the Glossika folks are mostly to blame for that. 

 

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@OneEye said:

 

 

Yeah, it's not on the website. They announced it on their Facebook page and said you had to subscribe to their newsletter to get the details about it (which is a bit annoying). I haven't done so just yet.

And even more annoying is that I signed up for the newsletter but didn't receive the notification (I checked my Spam folder). <sigh> Mike C. might be a wiz with languages, but it seems like he needs help with the online/web stuff.

 

In fairness to Mike, the email actually was in my Spam folder. For whatever reason, Google is routing all the Glossika emails into Spam.

 

Also:

 

 

和 as han4 is normal in Taiwan I believe.

 

It is the normal pronunciation. But I noticed that the transcripts have the pronunciation as he2 and not han4 (as the speak says it).

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@imron, the current website is the main reason why I haven't been willing to buy any of their products. Well, that and the fact that I'm already swimming in an ocean of materials and need to stop buying new ones until I finish using most of the ones I have.

 

I think the site does a poor job of communicating to potential buyers what the program actually is and how it's intended to work. I've been able to infer a few things from the site, but for people who aren't language teachers, I'm not sure how they would have any clue what the program does or how it really works.

 

It's also hard for me to figure out how their current sale price is a good deal as it appears to be the same price as buying the non-sale items separately. I assume that you're getting more content in the bundle, but trying to compare the bundles against buying them separately is not easy or convenient.

 

I'll leave it to other people to comment on the accuracy of the actual language as I'm not really in a position to have an opinion.

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A key goal of this method (and many others) is to ingrain in the student the ability to instantaneously and effortlessly respond using the same language as a native speaker. For me, it's the "instantaneous, effortless, natural language" aspect of the method that holds the most promise - not learning new vocabulary or grammar.

 

I agree. Don't use the materials for learning new words, just use them to drill sentences. If you are learning too many words then the material is probably too hard for you at the moment. This is what I do:

 

  • Before I use the audio file, I spend 15 minutes doing scriptorium (http://learnanylanguage.wikia.com/wiki/Scriptorium) to the sentences that will likely be in the SRS file for that day. That way I'm really making sure those sentences are sinking in.
  • I spend 10-15 minutes using his Spaced Repitition System files a day, saying the Chinese just after I hear the English. With sentences I've already practised for a few days my speach will probably outpace the Chinese audio, but for those that are new that day, I'm probably going to be slower than the Chinese, or saying it in pace with the Chinese.

 

I've found that some sentences in the pack I've drilled I've used automatically in real life at a pace at least as fast as in the recording, no pauses or thinking time.

 

 

For those who are not buying just because of the website, I think that at the end of the day what you are buying is the sentence packs/audio not a website, people have described the materials in this 9 page thread, and regardless of website quality the only way you can evaluate his products is to buy them, use them for a reasonable period of time (without giving up when you don't sound like Mike after a week) and then see what the effects are.

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@Justin, the people here are immaterial. No offense to Roddy, but this is a relatively small forum compared with the total number of people that are studying Chinese at any given time.

 

The point is that if we don't think there's enough detail on the site to justify making a purchase, that's something that the site operators should consider fixing. It's their site and they can do with it as they please, but if after all these pages people are still not sure they need or want the product, that's likely costing them a lot of sales.

 

There's a rapidly increasing amount of commercial materials out there. Not to mention the free materials, so if their site isn't making a clear and compelling case as to why we should buy and use their materials, it's likely costing them a lot of money.

 

That's just my 2 cents, I don't have a particular dog in this fight, but I do think it's good for everybody when sites like this offer clear information about what they're offering and why it's something that we need.

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Well, fence-sitters, there's now a discount code in the first post (hope you don't mind the edit, Auberon) giving you $10 off a package listed at $69.99 (that marked down from $75). 

 

If you make a purchase, do let us know. And if you have any trouble using the code, Glossika should be your first point of contact. Although if you can't resolve any problems there, drop me a line. 

 

No commercial relationship here - they just sent me the code and I've posted it. 

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Roddy, I decided to take them up on the offer. I think the worst case scenario here is I have 3000 sentences to drill into my skull and $60 is hard to argue with for that.

 

As far as your previous post about affiliate links, I wouldn't personally mind that, just as long as any affiliate links are clearly marked as being affiliate links and you're mindful to disclose when you're discussing products that you're receiving a commission on. But, I think that's how you would do it if you decided to add those links.

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I wrote a script to cut the files up into seperate files for every sentence, so there are folders for traditional, simplified etc. each containing 1000 pngs with the sentence. The script requires python 2.7 with numpy and opencv as well as imagemagick installed (for pdf to png conversion using the convert command). Also you would have to make some small changes for every run since the files are slightly different. So it's not exactly user friendly, but I am testing it on all available Chinese glossika pdfs. Anyone interested?

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I took the dive and went for the 69.99 chinese package. (Though I didn't know about the discount code at the time, shucks!).

 

So far I'm satisfied. I just hit two things I thought strange, wonder if someone can clarify:

 

(1) 这个女人是谁?她是我的姐妹。-- Would anyone actually say this? I mean, the generic "jiemei" seems awkward. Wouldn't you specify "jiejie" or "meimei"? It sounds to me like saying "She is my sibling." But please correct me if this is natural.

 

(2) 她的小孩子在学校。-- In the recording it sounds like "ta de xiao haizi xue xiao", i.e. without the "zai". Is she actually saying "zai" and it just gets 'eaten', or what is going on here?

 

Resolving some minor things like this will help me find a confidence level with the quality of the glossika content. I hope to write a full, balanced review once I've finished the program.

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@wibr, I'd be interested in that as well. I don't know much Python, but I think it's probably a good choice for a project like this.

 

 

I got my download code yesterday and I'm finding the organization to be a bit of a mess. It's the little things like the inconsistent file names, the lack of indication in the book as to which files contain the sentences that appear in the text.

 

But,  I think that's something that they can fix easily enough and while the sentences are quick, I don't think they're unreasonably quick. Somebody starting out might need to listen to them quite a few times before they can keep up, but that's inevitable anyways.

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I contacted Glossika because I saw 姊妹 with the pinyin jie mei. I always saw jie mei as 姐妹 so I thought it was a mistake. Mike at Glossika assured me they have native speakers that write all the Chinese. My level is not advanced enough to comment on quality but Mikes response was lengthy and detailed.

I just bought the first level of Chinese basic myself. Whether you believe in the method or not the materials are handy for sentence mining. The mp3s are nice and easy to snip into sentences. Perhaps after going through level 1 I will also get the next two. Even if there are some flaws or differences between Taiwanese vocab/pronunciation and the mainland, I think the materials will be useful.

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So far I'm satisfied. I just hit two things I thought strange, wonder if someone can clarify:

(1) 这个女人是谁?她是我的姐妹。-- Would anyone actually say this? I mean, the generic "jiemei" seems awkward. Wouldn't you specify "jiejie" or "meimei"? It sounds to me like saying "She is my sibling." But please correct me if this is natural.

(2) 她的小孩子在学校。-- In the recording it sounds like "ta de xiao haizi xue xiao", i.e. without the "zai". Is she actually saying "zai" and it just gets 'eaten', or what is going on here?

I think a native speaker would definitely state which sister she is (姐姐,妹妹, etc.) Mandarin Chinese has a specific noun for practically every family relation you can think of, but other languages do not. Since one of Glossika's goals is to allow the mixing and matching of the source and target languages, perhaps this is why a more specific term isn't used.

As for 「他的小孩在學校」, the 「在」is definitely spoken. Although, there are other sentences where there is a slight mismatch between the speaker and transcript. I also found at least one mismatch in one if the tone drill packages as well. I'm assuming they will be corrected eventually.

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