Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
lechuan

Does Visualization help Language Learning?

Recommended Posts

lechuan

I recently found out I have Aphantasia (an inability to visualize things). I'm now very fascinated by the fact that people can hear and see things just by thinking about them. For the (majority of?) people who can, how does this help your language learning? Can you "see" chinese characters in your head when you hear them? Do you use a visual image to recall a character before writing it? Can you "draw" a character in your head? If you use mnemonics, do you actually see the the word association as a picture? When you recall a Chinese dialog, can you actually hear the audio or the video and "replay" it in your mind? 

  • Like 1
  • Good question! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

suMMit

I can definetly replay some dialogs in my mind and hear that speakers pronunciation. Im currently aiming to apply the voice i like to what i read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xiao Kui

when I was learning characters I would mentally use imaginary pink spray paint to paint it on a blackboard in my mind, but only for complex characters I was having difficulty with.  I often do visualize characters in my mind when people are talking, but this sometimes happens to me with English, too.  I don't use mnemonics or memory palaces, though, too much trouble and blessed not to need them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mungouk

When I've been using flashcard programs with built-in audio to learn vocab, I've found I'm definitely able to recall the audio in my "mind's ear", which has helped a lot with learning tones.

 

But you asked about visualisation, and Aphantasia relates to the "mind's eye" not the "ear". I used Skritter for a while when I started learning Hanzi, but otherwise I don't really visualise characters in my head as far as I'm aware... I think they're generally too complex. If I were to try and imagine characters I would draw them in space with my finger... For me I think the muscle memory combined with understanding strokes is much stronger than visualising a static image. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

This is very intriguing, I do think visualization is definitely part of learning languages but if its more or less difficult if you can't then I am guessing you only have to look at yourself to see that it doesn't prevent or hinder your ability to learn languages.

 

A bigger question, from my point of view is how did you get so far in life not knowing you were missing out. It can't have been obvious if you have only just found out. When you read a sentence, in any language, for example "She walks down the road" do you not see a female walking down a road in your mind? How does the information convey itself to you?

I just find it hard to understand how you could have got so far in life before finding out. I obviously am not familiar with Aphantasia but have heard of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lechuan

@suMMit That sounds helpful (no pun intended)! I do a lot of imitation of audio, but more so to analyze how it sounds and try to analytically reproduce what I just heard, what the tone number is on the word, where to pause.

 

@Xiao Kui Really cool! I mentally "draw" characters by imagining my finger moving drawing the character (based on kinesthetic memory from drawing them in Skritter)

 

@mungouk I also have no mind's ear. According to aphantasia.com: "Aphantasia is the inability to visualize in the mind's eye, hear sounds in the mind's ear, or imagine experiences outside the present moment. Sounds like we use the same method for remembering characters via stroke order.

 

@Shelley Right! Visualization does sound like a helpful tool, but just one of many in the toolbox.

If I read "She walks down the road" I get it conceptually, but do not see any female walking down the road.

I had a bunch of clues growing up, ie. super fascinated by classmates who could draw detailed images without looking at the subject; a book on playing Jazz that said one needs to "hear" the basic melody in our head first in order to improvise on it; my Piano teacher who assigned me to write out a lead sheet from memory and it was a huge struggle (I never did finish it); getting annoyed by really descriptive books wondering why they spent so much time on visual details non-essential to the plot, suggesting that we see the character in our mind before writing it; public speakers who said "imagine the following scene..."; my sister telling me to try and replay what I did that day to remember where I put something I misplaced, etc. I just assumed people were speaking metaphorically, that visualize meant "think about", or that I didn't have much talent in those areas.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

It does sound like you were aware of missing something but you were not sure what it was.

 

Another couple of questions and if this is becoming too personal I will understand if you don't answer. Do you dream?  Can you draw a simple picture of house?

 

I wonder what percentage of the world population has this and would there be any way of getting an accurate number? So are you normal :shock: or the minority and those of us with visualizations the norm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lechuan

I do dream visually, and can remember having seen things in the dream (but can't "re-see" them), that's the weird part.

 

I can draw a simple picture of a house, only because I remember the "formula" (draw a square here, then a rectangle here, etc). I couldn't easily draw a specific house I just saw without remembering the facts about the house (it has a large window on the front, two pillars beside the doors, etc).When I was young, I liked the drawing books that showed how to create animals from geometric shapes. I would memorize the formulas to reconstruct the image.

 

According to this article about 2% of the population don't have a working mind's eye or ear. But that was based on a small survey.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mungouk
15 hours ago, lechuan said:

Sounds like we use the same method for remembering characters via stroke order.

 

If you use the Skritter app to learn vocab, it also tests you on whether you can correctly "draw" the tone shape as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavyJonesLocker

I never do, just recognizing components , handwriting and noting characters you personally find confusing ( e.g 庄 and 压 for me recently ) is my method of choice.

 

Identify radicals , pictographs is totally pointless in my experience (and believe me I tried!). Even trying to identity symantic and phonetic components is just a starting clue at best. 

 

After trying all sorts of tips and tricks,. I found brute force (90%) to be the best way (10% personal touch)

 

Every fad idea or APP that comes along every few years, always seemed to be raved by people who have tried it for two days. 

 

I'm much more interested in hearing peoples experience who have been learning characters for 5 years minimum 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JamesLDub

I also have aphantasia (I self-diagnosed about 11 years ago, before it was a recognized condition). I don't have a huge amount of advice for you, but want you to know you're not alone! I've always struggled to produce vocabulary, even in very familiar situations, which I attribute to the inability to attach new terms with their real-world object. Concepts and objects are very rooted to their linguistic representation in my mind, so it's hard to get past the mental translation stage. 

 

I just started learning Chinese. I imagine writing will be a challenge (I draw a house just like you do, but I can't draw the house I lived in for 22 years because I can't remember how many windows it has, or whether it was white or grey), but reading has been surprisingly easy - probably due to years of coping strategies & finding explicit ways to recognize things. 

 

What has worked well for me so far has been diving in to the character components that aren't always taught, in my experience, at the beginning - learning the most common radicals and pronunciation components. Learning the components (rather than just entire complete characters) makes it a bit easier for me to decode and puzzle together the meaning. 

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...