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Focusing Exclusively on Reading


ablindwatchmaker
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Would be interesting to read the study. To be clear, I find great benefit in spending lots of time reading novels and watching talk shows or documentaries - as long as they're not too difficult. I think I'm the same as all the "comprehensible input" guys out there in this respect.

The 'intensive listening' I was referring to was part of achieving what I might call full-spectrum dominance (!) over a specially selected text (close listening and reading followed by detailed discussion and then writing an essay). Seems a great way to internalise grammar patterns and tone of voice/change of emphasis when speaking, as well as forcing the brain to adapt to ever more complex ways of expressing meaning in Chinese.

A combination of these two is probably how almost everyone has ever successfully studied a language.

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I’m pretty sure most ajatt:ers aren’t using intensive listening. Not one myself but they’re a quite known part of the comprehensive input community and some of them have had excellent results in quite a short time. I expected the Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition to provide at least some answers but didn’t find much of value.

 

I also think it sounds reasonable to use intensive listening, but since it’s quite a fatiguing strategy au want to know that it’s time we’ll spent.

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To be honest I don't really know what you mean by ajatters and I don't really know what you mean by intensive listening. I'm referring to when you listen to text while reading it and then listen to the same text while saying it out loud -- I don't think it's a very radical technique?

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On 11/11/2021 at 11:21 AM, realmayo said:

I'm referring to when you listen to text while reading it and then listen to the same text while saying it out loud -- I don't think it's a very radical technique?

 

I think this is what's sometimes referred to as repeated listening. I also think that intensive listening is generally meant to be close to a method I think @imronhas mentioned in post that sometimes gets linked, which aims for a hundred percent comprehension in the end (by rewinding, replaying, looking up words etc.), before you move on to the next small snippet of audio. Sorry to imron if I misremember your post.

 

I can't find the Korean study (even if I know I found it through my university library) but will try to look some more to see if it's hiding there somewhere. From my memory one group listened to one story intensively, while the other target group listened extensively to several ones (seven I think). The extensive group performed better at general comprehension. Obviously a small study, like most I've been able to find on different aspects of language learning. I've had a hard time finding studies on these areas, which makes me sad. I hoped The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition would be the answer to many of my questions but didn't find it useful at all.

 

AJATT and it's children (like Refold) is basically learners of Japanese who have taken Kraschen's theories and gone all in. Only material aimed at natives speakers, listen for hours and hours every day and Anki i+1 sentences. Doesn't seem to be the best method looking at hours spent, but surely seems to provide very good results in little more than a year. I don't have the stamina or will do go all in for such a method though.

 

As always when it comes to these discussions, it's important to point out that my actual knowledge in the field is virtually zero, but I want to know more. I want to learn languages for the rest of my life, and I want to do that in a way that is both fun and proven to work.

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What you remember of your study sounds reasonable enough: concentrating word-by-word, sound-by-sound, it can be easy to miss the wood for the trees, in terms of overall comprehension. I also see why my "comprensible input" -> your "ajatters", my mistake, I was solely thinking about how they suggest 98% comprehension (for English learners) as an ideal ease/difficulty level for broad reading. As for 'intensive' listening, I wasn't trying to make things an either/or: like most peope I think a wide sprectrum from extensive to intensive has its value, and I'm not sure that there is even a settled understanding on these forums about what extensive/intensive actually mean.

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What I want to say is... Guys, stop talking about learning and start learning. You don't need a perfect method. You have plenty of time ahead of you (the rest of your life if you're that dedicated) to figure out what works best for you. You want to be proficient in a language, not the pedagogy of it. [insert profanity]!

 

OK. I'll show myself out.

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@Publius, Reading your comment was real funny because I was thinking almost the same thing. 😂


I love analyzing my learning just as much as the next guy and before going back to laboring over the best way to learn, I just want to smart ass around and say, don't overthink it and just keep doing something in the language and you'll be fluent eventually. Most likely sooner than later. The difficulty level of the text or audio doesn't really matter if you like it enough to keep at it. Sure you can go find some easier material, but if you hate it and it makes you stop reading/listening, then what's the point.

 

Enjoyment is the single most important thing in language learning and everything else is secondary. So instead of "practice what you want to learn" I'd say "practice what gives you joy". The moment repeating some tedious exercise feels cumbersome, you shouldn't feel ashamed or whatever to just go do something else.

However I know very well that enjoyment can come from the gratification of hitting arbitrary goals like passing an HSK test or reaching a certain reading speed. What ever makes you go back every day is the "best method"

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On 11/11/2021 at 8:19 AM, Insectosaurus said:

Also @imron, Mandarin Peppa Pig is a blast! I’ve seen all episodes. 

If you have Netflix, also check out the Mandarin dubs for Octonauts (both the series and the movies) and Gigantosaurus (Octonauts will be easier than Gigantosaurus, but Gigantosaurus is more interesting for adults).

 

On 11/11/2021 at 3:10 PM, Insectosaurus said:

I think @imronhas mentioned in post that sometimes gets linked

That would be this one.  See here for others.

 

On 11/11/2021 at 7:29 AM, realmayo said:

No one's goal is to be great at looping and looping audio until comprehension, or near-memorising a set text from a textbook, or making up five sentences that use a recently learned grammar pattern. But those can be hugely helpful overall.

These are things I agree with 100%.  Drilling is really good for making responses automatic, which frees up brain power for other things.  Incidentally, I also recommend people do the drilling you mention here in my "Train what you want to learn" article.

 

On 11/11/2021 at 4:28 PM, Publius said:

Guys, stop talking about learning and start learning. You don't need a perfect method. You have plenty of time ahead of you (the rest of your life if you're that dedicated) to figure out what works best for you

I get this sentiment, and usually support it wholeheartedly, but this thread is about someone asking for advice for a couple of months of dedicated study that he might not have the opportunity to do again (at least in the short term), and there are things (to me) that can be done to optimise the learning that happens in that time.  But yes, hopefully that time won't all be spent reading/arguing on the forums :mrgreen:

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On 11/12/2021 at 12:28 AM, Publius said:

What I want to say is... Guys, stop talking about learning and start learning. You don't need a perfect method. You have plenty of time ahead of you (the rest of your life if you're that dedicated) to figure out what works best for you. You want to be proficient in a language, not the pedagogy of it. [insert profanity]!


Yes, 100%

 

Over the past 10+ years, I have learned so much on these forums. But my language skills improved the fastest when I was too busy listening and reading and speaking in Chinese to post here.

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