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Re: "Usefull languages"

From:Aquamarine Demon <aquamarine_demon@...>
Date:Saturday, February 16, 2002, 18:54
>>Based on what I've read, it really makes no difference in adult (or late
teen) education whether or not you include reading from the start; I've read studies that say that over three years, it all averages out, and at no point does the more vocal group really have an advantage.<< Well, if it is over THREE years... then most of my classmates will have trouble speaking French for the rest of their life, because most will stop at two years. Not like most of them care; most are probably just in there because Spanish got full...
>>It's also more comforting to the learner - I have no immediate need for
another spoken language. But if I can learn to read German, there becomes open to me a great range of writings I didn't have access to before. (...) -- David Starner<< Good point. Though, for me personally, spoken language is just as valuable as written... it's all interesting to me...
>>Well, change readings, because this is nonsense :)) . What averages out
is the competence of the students of different origins (for instance, a German student learning English will have an advantage over a Chinese student, but this advantage dies out after three years of conventional studies).<< That makes sense.
>>But the difference between the vocal group and the reading group never
averages out. As an average, it takes two years to a vocal student to reach a level that takes 10 years for a reading student. Believe me, I am a perfect example of this. I learned English in the conventional reading way of the French education, and it took me ten years to get to the level I am now.<< Ten YEARS?! Yikes... Right now in my class we do have a lot of listening activities, but much more reading and writing, for sure. Though, my teacher speaks to us in as much French as she can; ie, she gives instructions in French, mostly. And she does encourage us to speak it... but usually repeating it, and when there are sentences, she breaks them up. Sheesh. I really, really hope that it doesn't take me that long to learn French. But it probably will.
>>I may have had a good level in reading and writing after three years,
but I couldn't utter a word correctly.<< I have no idea how my French pronunciation is going, since there's a lack of native French speakers in Southern Nevada (which is probably why my mom tried to convince me to learn Spanish...). But, I'm sure it's better than most of my classmates'. But that's probably because I want to be there, and because language is easy for me. At least, it has been in the classroom.
>>Now I've taken Dutch through the Dutch system, heavily based on sound
and actual use (to the point of giving no grammar lessons. "The grammar will come when you know the words"),<< You know, that actually makes more sense... learn the words, then the grammar. It seems more natural that way.
>>and after four weeks of studies I'm able to find my way into Dutch and
have conversations in it, something which took me more than 5 years for English (and I was much younger when I began learning English), and I can hope to talk nearly like a native within two years.<< Hmm... yeah... Where do you live, though? Because I've also heard/read that if you're being constantly surrounded by a language 24/7 then it sticks better that way, too.
>>It wouldn't have been possible with a conventional reading-writing
study. Believe me, the learning of speaking is completely discoupled with the learning of reading and writing, except that if reading-writing is taken first, the mind gets clouded by the written language and gets less receptive when learning to speak, while if speaking is strongly emphasized (as in Dutch schools, and the high level of multilingualism of the Netherlands show that it works quite well), reading and writing can come after more naturally, much like for native speakers.<< Again, that makes more sense!
>>I remember the time I learnt German by myself (only the reading-writing,
I had no tapes). I could read it quite well, but impossible to utter a word.<< Hehe. I can't even learn languages by book, even if they had cassettes. I must not be patient enough... though, I personally think it'd be easier for me if I were to have VIDEO tapes, so I could see what the words look like when spoken; I am a visual learner, after all...
>>Result: I forgot everything after one month without reading much
German.<< I know what you mean. I have a book on Mandarin, without cassettes, using pin yin (NO characters, even). Needless to say, I can neither read, write, nor speak Mandarin, and right now I'm wondering why I even bought the book in the first place....
>>Now it's been nearly two months I stopped studying Dutch (and didn't use
it as much as I would have liked) and I until now lost nothing of what I learnt.<< Yay. :)
>>Learn only by readin writing needs constant training, or you'll lose
your knowledge very soon.<< True.
>>Learn by speaking and you can discontinue for a month or two without
losing anything, and it will take hardly one lesson to get back to the level you were before stopping. If that's not an important difference... (...) Christophe.<< That may be true. Though, I'd also have to say it depends on how much you hear it during the time that you discontinue... I'd say (not from experience, just a guess) that if you're learning how to *speak* something like, say, Inuit, and you live in Ethiopia or something, and you stop, then you'd probably lose it just a bit... This, of course, is not to disagree with your opinion; I do agree that it's easier and more natural to learn through speaking and writing first. ===== The Aquamarine Demon "All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry." -Edgar Allan Poe "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand." -Mark Twain __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Sports - Coverage of the 2002 Olympic Games