I've been thinking a lot about L2 input and learning rate and tools like L-R, L1 vs L2 Subtitles, my collection of 'learning' dialogs, etc. It has occurred to me that there is a rough formula for how well these things work: ----------------------- Learning rate = Volume * Parsing% * Meaning% Volume: words per unit time Parsing: % of words you individually parse out and really "hear" / "see" Meaning: % of words/messages you get the meaning for (one way or another) ----------------------- Some examples that I think fit the model: Beginner trying to listen to L2 radio all day? Volume: Very High Parsing: near 0% Meaning: near 0% Result: nearly nothing Japanese Anime watcher with L1 subtitles and near zero Japanese listening skill (who quickly ignores the L2 audio as a wall of incomprehensible sound) Volume: High Parsing: 0% Meaning: High Result: nearly nothing L-R'ing L2 audio, L1 text Volume: Very High Parsing: Low to Moderate Meaning: Moderate to High (depending on how "parallel' the translation is) Result: moderate-good progress, increasing as parsing ability improves L-R'ing L2 audio, L2 text Volume: Very High Parsing: High to Very High Meaning: *** Depends a) Cognates b) L2 Vocab level c) familiarity with the story/text Result: Highly dependant on ***, increasing as parsing ability and vocab improves Grinding Learning Textbook dialogs over and over Volume: Very Low Parsing: ~100% (depending on usage) Meaning: ~100% Result: low, DECREASING as vocab level saturates the volume of text Intensively watching a video and pausing to look up every word in the subtitles you don't know: Volume: Low (depending on existing vocab level, and look-up tools) Parsing: High Meaning: Moderate to High (again, depending on level and look-up tools) Result: low to moderate ----------------------- Of course there are lots of other factors that can effect these inputs. For example, motivation can effect both Volume (you get bored and do less of it or get excited and do more) and Parsing (bored: you don't really paying attention to the sounds, excited: you are hanging on every word or perhaps replay bits you miss.) And in languages with diglossia issues or non-phonetic written languages, things get a bit more complicated as "parsing" audio and "parsing" written text can be very different things. For example, in Cantonese, the Standard Written Chinese subtitles you find almost everywhere do not match the audio, at times they are little more help than the English subtitles as far as listening comprehension... i.e. they only provide meaning and do not help with "parsing" the audio. I'm sure this fits in the "obvious" bucket for most experienced language learning folk, but I thought I'd share anyhow as it was a small "Aha!" moment for me.