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Does fluency involve an "epiphany moment"

  Tags: Epiphany | Fluency
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
47 messages over 6 pages: 1 2 35 6  Next >>


Iversen
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 Message 25 of 47
01 May 2007 at 9:04am | IP Logged 
Le_Champion wrote:
In my opinion the epiphany has 2 steps.

The first step is when you realize that you can understand the language without having to think about translating and it just flows naturally.

The second step will only come if you immerse yourself in the language and are advanced in my opinion.

The next level of epiphany for me was dreaming in the language and thinking in the language.


I would start to think in the langage much earlier, even if my thoughts would be fragmentary and corrupt and limited in the beginning. Being able to think in a language is essential for gaining any kind of fluency. Speaking to natives is another matter, - I would postpone that until I could think more or less fluently.

The epiphany moments will then - hopefully -come automatically when I try out a wellprepared language on an unsuspecting native or a broadcast in normal tempo and it works the first time.

Compare this to the take-off of an airplane. Many pilots accelerate gradually, and then you almost don't feel the start. Others put on the brakes and turn up the engines until the whole plane roars, only then they release the brakes and the plane takes off like a cannon ball. That's how I like to get into the air, and I want my encounters/listening experiences in a new language to take off in the same way. That's epiphany for me.

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William Camden
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 Message 26 of 47
08 October 2007 at 6:50am | IP Logged 
One "epiphany" I had with Turkish was when I went to a public meeting, was handed a leaflet in it, and found I could actually read it without consulting the pocket dictionary I always carry.
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xtremelingo
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 Message 27 of 47
08 October 2007 at 5:02pm | IP Logged 
I get those moments alot.

The hardest thing I find about language-learning is how to measure how much I have progressed.

You usually find out, once you are in the environment where the language takes place, watching tv, immersion, talking etc.

I think this is the essential element that often increases or decreases motivation, because it is really difficult to establish levels of understanding.

For example in French. It's really hard for me to benchmark my improvement, because I had some initial french influence around me (Canada). When I teach myself vocabulary sometimes I feel as if I've seen these words before and I am unsure of whether I am actually learning anything new.

Just the other day I heard the word "Miel" on TV and immediately knew what it meant (honey). However, going through my vocabulary cards, both software and hard cards and other language aids. I realized this was not a word I previously learned. I was really confused how I knew this word.

Then I realized, the next morning how I learnt this word.

Eating breakfast in the morning, it was staring at me right in my face. "Miel", it was on the Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal box (the bilingual translation).

There are so many words that I know I have learned this way, that I can't put a number on.
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Iversen
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 Message 28 of 47
28 October 2007 at 12:13pm | IP Logged 
I have just had one of those epiphany things today.

I recently wrote in another thread that I felt slightly guilty about Dutch because I have been neglecting it lately. In fact, I haven't listened to Dutch at all since way back in August (before I went to South America, which for a while turned my attention towards the Romance languages). My tiny Dutch book stock mainly consists of one thick book about Zoo Artis in Amsterdam and some short zooguides, and I got through that stuff even earlier. So for almost three months I have just read a few short texts on the internet and apart from that done my beloved wordlists (from a new fat dictionary I bought in August).

Last time I listened to Dutch through the internet (back in August) I remember that I tried out some local TV-stations, but didn't really understand much. Then I found a program about a new library somewhere in the Netherlands and it went slightly better, but not overwhelmingly so. In short, it was frustrating and tiring and irritating, especially because I had few problems with written Dutch.

So today I finally sat down to try again, expecting the same kind of experience as last time. But no, this time I understood the whole thing almost down to the last word. First I followed a program about old cars, later some other stuff from different regional channels. When one of these began a noisy and disgusting transmission from a local beauty contest I switched to an educational channel and learnt a lot about the woes af Dutch people wanting to adopt children. Around midday I finally ended up at AVRO's Museum TV, where I sat totally enthralled for five hours and just gobbled up program after program about art and handicrafts, all in pure Dutch without subtitles except for one program where it was a Frenchman who spoke (in French, but hurray, they didn't dub or translate or subtitle anything, apparently they just assumed that everybody could understand him). I only left this blissful channel because they started repeating their programs.

The only conclusion I can draw is that utter neglect sometimes helps, - at least my understanding of Dutch has taken a tiger leap during the 'dry' period. So my task is quite clear now: I just have to work on my pronuncation and think a lot and write some essays in Dutch, then I have one more language in the bag. After that it will either be Icelandic or (maybe) Modern Greek, while my Russian is progressing way too slowly for my taste. Maybe I have to kick it in the butt and neglect it for a couple of months to make it behave...

On a more practical note: I have as usual used the portal Beeline TV to access these channels, - fine utility. Internet TV Guide is another useful portal with lots of links to foreign TV-stations, and there are free radio stations galore at Neft's Netradio. Sometimes these days I wonder how we succeeded in learning languages in the bad old days before the advent of the internet.




Edited by Iversen on 28 October 2007 at 12:57pm

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William Camden
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 Message 29 of 47
03 November 2007 at 6:17am | IP Logged 
I had another epiphany moment with Turkish. I was sitting drinking tea in a cafe by the Bosphorus. The table was wet and unstable and the tea started sliding. I thought, "The glass is sliding," and caught it. Then I realised I had thought in Turkish, not English.
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Grace
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 Message 30 of 47
03 November 2007 at 6:15pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
Le_Champion wrote:
In my opinion the epiphany has 2 steps.

The first step is when you realize that you can understand the language without having to think about
translating and it just flows naturally.

The second step will only come if you immerse yourself in the language and are advanced in my opinion.

The next level of epiphany for me was dreaming in the language and thinking in the language.



Basically, though, I seem to have the opposite order of experience as you do.


That would be my experience as well. First, I start to dream in the language-- usually just phrases I know. Very
limited. Then, through immersion, I find I suddenly realized I did not have to concentrate on every word
anymore. The words just washed over me and I realized I could understand them all.

I remember my "epiphany" as the time I was halfheartedly listening to a lecture in Hawaiian. Halfway through,
realized with a start that the speaker was not speaking English. For me the understanding was as effortless as
listening to the same lecture in English would have been. Along with that came the step of "thinking" in that
language. I guess, then, that that third step for me is split and the dreaming part comes first, the thinking comes
later. Unless, by thinking, you are referring to actually translating in your head everything into the target
language as a mechanism for practice.


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Grace
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 Message 31 of 47
03 November 2007 at 6:30pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
Le_Champion wrote:
In my opinion the epiphany has 2 steps.

The first step is when you realize that you can understand the language without having to think about
translating and it just flows naturally.

The second step will only come if you immerse yourself in the language and are advanced in my opinion.

The next level of epiphany for me was dreaming in the language and thinking in the language.



Basically, though, I seem to have the opposite order of experience as you do.


My experience has been similar to that of the second poster. When I learn a new language, I first dream in it,
usually just practicing phrases I know, or being in a situation where someone is speaking the language and I
understand and respond, although, when I wake up, not much of it makes sense.

With my experience with my most fluent language besides my native tongue, my next step was to be immersed
in the language. My epiphany came one day as I was listening halfheartedly to a lecture in my target language.
About halfway through, I was startled to realize I was not listening to English- the understanding was that
effortless for me. It just flows over me and I do not have to concentrate on every single word and translate in my
head. Sometimes I find I still have to think hard and concentrate to understand, when the topic of conversation is
something more advanced in nature, but, in general, I do not have to have all my attention focused on the
conversation to understand it. I do not have to translate it to understand it.

Finally, I find I think in the language. More thinking than just practicing translations in my head. The thinking in
my target language is markedly different than that of English, so sometimes I find that I can only think of the
words and meaning in the target language.
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NYC_Trini_Span
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 Message 32 of 47
21 November 2007 at 12:30am | IP Logged 
My moment was Jan 15th 2006 - i wrote it. But it was 3 in total that kept me studying hard. I'd moved to the Dominican Republic with 6 months of self study , my LSLC and my Practice Makes Perfect books. (Also my 101 most used verbs flask cards)

Keep in mind at this point i could get a hotel, food and directions- but i had to always think and construct these things.
One morning i rose from bed, and on my way to the bathroom was thinking of my best friend who was coming to visit and the whole first phrase in my HEAD was "Cuando él viene..." (when he comes) something like that and i kind of just paused and smile, and thought to myself how worth it that it was to move to a target language country (quicker absorbtion *most times).

The 2nd one was the same week by dreaming in Spanish twice, and the very next week-the 3rd moment- was when the girl i was "dating" was blabbering to me, which i usually only understood %30 of the gist, and all of a sudden i realized she was making sense. Every word or 3.

That was jsut what i need to finish my LSLC and Spanish Verb Book


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