Cebuano and the quest for B2

Discussion in 'Language Learning Logs & Super Challenges' started by Bob, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I transcribed yesterday some stuff that I have listened to several times over 3 or 4 days. Today, still no awesome comprehension. I went back and watched that same Spanish show. It's hard again. Something else... on those good days, I understood less Tagalog than usuall.

    I will say this, I'm reconginzing more words in the show that I can look up.

    I guess my Cebuano skills are cycling like before, but the wave just jumped last week. Perhaps now my old high is my new low. If so, nothing I can do but keep going. In a way I suspect that I'm training my ear, as my comprehension of Cebuano & Spanish seem linked together. It would be nice to think that I'm breaking down the wall to learn languages easier. French & portugese would not be far behind.

    edit:
    some data from my "jumps"
    apr 11 2103 reading suddenly got eaiser after roughly 11 months of study
    Jan 22 2104 after 5days of bloodhound listening, I understood a news broadcast
    aug 5 2104 understood a soap episode easily after transcribing

    each time my general oral comprehension got better
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
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  2. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I got a copy of "Fluent Forever" on my kindle, because it had allot to say about listening. I don't really agree with it at all and it seems counter productive.

    He puts a big emphasis on IPA and learning the sounds correctly up front. This sounds good, but there are so many little variations in how people say things that to learn THE letter for THE sounds doesn't really help. What I need to know is that people are going to say "gonna" instead of "going to". Plus, why use a special phonetic alphabet for highly phonetic languages and largely familiar sounds like Spanish and Cebuano? My goodness just learn that alphabet instead of IPA.

    For advanced learners who have problems with native accents, his advice is to watch TV without subtitles. That's pretty much it. Thanks allot, I've been doing that for a year... I'd like some more details. I watched Spanish TV for 2 years.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
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  3. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that review!
  4. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    This is not to knock the general quality of the book, it just doesn't go that deep into listening, aside from foreign sounds that are hard to distinguish. I actually have reverse problem... thinking of v & b as the same letter, etc.
  5. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    Critiquing ideas is the only game in town if betterment is the goal. You've pointed out some shortcomings politely, and you saved me some money.
  6. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    listening was just one of the topics of many. I just looked at those parts. The goal of the book was "to make a language stick". The juiciest thing I found is here. (at the bottom) A tutorial on how to make minimal pair cards for anki, which is very useful for distingushing sounds you are not used to. Might be a useful thing for me if I get back to Hungarian.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  7. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I think I can say that my mistake was not transcribing Tagalog. Over the last few days somehow I just get in the right "zone" and things start making sense In all my foriegn languages. I'm really feeling a broken ear syndrome. It's hard to keep it for long periods of time. I read in the translation thread something emk said about
    learning to listen for individual words at first and getting stuck there for a long time.

    For kicks I transcribed some NT greek from John. It's a very familar text, but it's amazing how quickly I can start hearing stuff using this the right way. It used a modern Greek pronounciation scheme.

    I found the Waray Bible in the Faith by Hearing app, complete with recording. I dropped it before but now I have some way to use it :p
  8. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    Does it have background music ? I've been tempted to contact them to see if I could purchase recordings sans music. Such a resource for languages with no resources.
  9. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    That one does. It doesn't bother me. You're usually safe from that if you don't use a "dramatic" recording.
  10. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    hmmm my sister suspects I have a form of ADD. She's been listening about it allot because her kids have been diagnosed with it. There's a symptom called "hyper focus" where you block the world out when you are concentrating on something. I've been like that all my life in a stand out-ish way and remember haveing issues with my 5th grade teacher because of it. not sure if this could help my studies in any way. If this is true then I've probably already learned to deal with it.

    The last few days my listening skills seems to work and then I can tell it just turns off at some point. I'm starting to get the idea that proteins help me get back the focus.

    Current motivation level : tired.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  11. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    You sure it's not OCD instead with hyper-focus? Many think ADD is the most over-diagnosed "illness" in America, and some think it does not exist. To me it is possibly a symptom of something if it does exist, as in a symptom of too much digital media. I mean when we were children were there just scads of undiagnosed ADD kids among our peers?

    Everyone has their daily ups and downs physically, mentally and emotionally. Only if it gets way out of wack would I be worried, or even worried enough to attribute daily fluctuations to some cause. I just put my head down and plow on. The only medical problem I would watch for is depression, as I have seen it take many people down a dark road.

    It is natural to get tired and lack motivation sometimes. Learning can't be fun all the time, or from my view even most of the time. It's OK to back off a little as long as one doesn't lose good habits that were slowly acquired and can be quickly lost. The easiest thing to do when tired or unmotivated is just to not study explicitly and instead just immerse yourself in L2 input, even if you don't pay much attention.

    As I have studied German I have found true the often repeated concept that at higher intermediate plus levels it takes far more to progress and there are not many recognizable milestones. I guess when we begin a language it is like going straight uphill, but later it becomes like taking a longer slower spiral around and up the hill.
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  12. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    hmm OCD... I remember now my Grandmother was an uber-packrat. I'm not sure if ADD is a real thing either. there's something about how the last step in diagnosis is a judgement call from the doctor. When I was teaching high school sometimes I wondered if my ADD students had an actual medical condition, or a physical lack of lashes on the patootie.
  13. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Here's an article I think about allot http://www.mezzoguild.com/how-to-improve-foreign-language-comprehension/

    I'm still trying to determine how best to boost my comprehension (in the shortest possible time). I found some youtube news thing in Portuguese, and I listened to it a few times a few weeks ago and it was like a brick wall. I tried it again yesterday, and I actually started understanding pieces of it. Like wow, I didn't do anything.

    I got a new episode in Cebuano, watched it yesterday, and this morning & it wasn't that good. I got some coffee & listened to it again and I felt like I was "in the zone" again. A third time and I picked up some more details. I've gotten kind of tired of transcribing.

    Maybe when this is all over I'll write a book called "Fluent in 3 Years"
  14. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    That article is mainly addressing the well known problem of being unable to distinguish the sounds of a language. Really it is kind of a beginner's problem, though of course your reading could be far ahead of aural comprehension. This is why I prefer news broadcasts at first because they are slowly spoken and clearly enunciated. Dramas or talk shows are definitely harder, especially if there is any slurring, reduction, etc. going on. So is this the main problem, i.e. not distinguishing the sounds of Cebuano in fast, native speech, or is it lack of vocabulary?

    You really need some transcripts for your program, like the ones Big Dog and others are providing for that Russian show. Given the economic differential between where you live and the western world, perhaps it would be fairly cheap to pay someone to listen and transcribe for you. They have court reporters in Cebu?


    If you never bought into the fluent in 3 months spiel from the language grifters, and considering that level of achievement is far more than most college language programs teach in 4 years, then that is not necessarily a bad time frame for a small language with relatively few resources.
  15. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    current motivational level: interested

    Even given that it's beginner's advice, I watch this stuff so much that I quote it to myself in the middle of the day. It's not a bad thing, but I usually have to listen more than once, and that's a bit annoying at the moment because you can't normally replay in real life.

    I meant the "fluent in 3 years" thing in a realisic way. It's a book that I would buy, and so maybe it's something I should write. I really doubt people are going to read Benny's book and get the "fluent" results that they want in that time frame. There's another article on mezzofanti somewhere called "listening comprehension, the only thing you can't... um... fake" and it seems that many following Benny's ideas are going to face that fact.

    edit: tacking this on here because its the same day still

    I went and listened to my Cebuano audio Bible again today. Wow at this point it feels so slow and easy to follow. I don't know a word here and there, but I hear them all.
    motivational level: pumped but cautious
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  16. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    just had a conversation with my neighbors who got robbed. Then I walked away and thought of all the mistakes I made :p In short we all know that thieves can and will get past out outside gates. It's kind of depressing. Maybe we can get the landlord to put some barbed wire on top.
  17. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice article; thanks for sharing it. Some comments:
    1) He has possibly the beadiest eyes I've ever seen
    2) Good general advice, and I agree with just about everything he says, which is really rare for me. The only thing I don't like is his advice to listen to a scene over and over again. Repeating a few times is good, especially at the beginner level, but there is a "the more times you listen the better" camp out there, and I think it's overkill for most people. For me, it's more useful to move onto a new scene after 2 or 3 listens in most cases. There are ways to accelerate listening comprehension, like reading the script, writing out the script, etc, that would be more effective if used in combination with listening 2 or 3 times, than say listening to it over and over for the same amount of total time.
  18. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Agreed. At least in the same day. After 3 "just listen"s I'm probably not going to notice anything else. but for some scenes that I understand but couldn't re-create, I go back to those for a few days and I think they stick better that way so that I could use the words, or recognise them in other contexts.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  19. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Today is a strange day because there were several things I wanted to say that didn't come out quite right. When someone told me how to say it, it occured to me that I understood exactly what they said, but I wouldn't have said it that way.
  20. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    This is the hardest thing to get right even in thinking, i.e. not just expressing oneself correctly grammatically, but also in the same manner as a native would. Obviously it is highly dependent on register. To me a lot of it is a matter of more natural word/sentence orders and distinguishing nuances of meaning between words that appear to be synonymous. Do you write such things down in a notebook for future use? From what you have written in the past about Cebuano sources, I doubt there is the kind of substantial manual for usage that is available for many major languages.

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