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Systematic Study Charts

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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Iversen
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 Message 17 of 40
26 December 2007 at 4:09pm | IP Logged 
I'm amazed not only at the dedication that such a table shows, both in terms of time spent and number of languages covered, but also at the acribic accuratesse with which professor Arguelles has systematized his studies. People with a full time job obviously have to settle for less, but it is thought provoking to see how much sheer hard work it really takes to become a first class polyglot, and we can certainly all learn a lesson from that.

As I have mentioned in another thread here I could personally not work according to such a strict scheme, but in retrospect I might write a table with X hours spent on reading in language A, X hours doing word lists, X hours listening intently to a television program in a target language an so forth. The question is whether it would serve any purpose. After all I have a fairly precise idee about my weak points and also about where I have done too little work lately. External factors may play a role (for instance I have not had internet access for a couple of days so some of my usual routines have had to wait), but even if I have spent time on for instance reading the effect will vary much with my choice of books.

With such an array of languages to tend to and so many hours to organize I can see why a fixed scheme may be seen as a solution, - what I don't understand is how anybody can stick to it (which ultimately boils down to a question of personality). If I have done something that has worked unexpectedly well my first reaction would be to take a pause and then do a lot more of the same thing. If it had seemed like a waste of time I would do something else in the same language instead. If I experienced some unexpected progress in a certain language I would step up my time in that language at the expense of other languages (though without neglecting them totally). In short I would never be able to stipulate how many hours I would spend on any given activity or any given language even one week ahead. And if I wrote down my activities in one week the situation would without any doubt be different the next week.

But in spite of this is has been fascinating to see the chart because it documents so clearly what a gruelling task it is to reach true excellence as a polyglot.


Niels Johs.Legarth Iversen


Edited by Iversen on 09 March 2008 at 7:05pm

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gidler
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 Message 18 of 40
27 December 2007 at 6:00pm | IP Logged 
Nephilim wrote:
Gilder, are those colours your own or are they the original ones in the professors chart? They are very striking. ;-)

I have not altered the file in any way. The colours surprised me as well, but I think they are quite refreshing and do a good job separating the numerous sections of the chart. :)
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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 19 of 40
30 December 2007 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
Having been prevailed upon by many voices to share my personal charts with the world, I must say that I am rather disappointed that they have generated so few expressions of deeper commitment to serious study. As Mr. Iversen commented, if these charts show anything, they show how much systematic hard work is required to achieve the kinds of goals that bring us together here. In 48 hours, it will be a New Year, and that is a very good ritual time to resolve to instill better habits in oneself. I really do hope that more of those who indicated that they wished to see my charts will indicate that they intend to adapt them for their own use! If you manifest your dedication, you can learn more than you can now imagine.
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 20 of 40
03 January 2008 at 2:00pm | IP Logged 
Now, more than week after the chart was posted I have decided to let my New Year's resolution "simply" be to establish (and later on - maintain) good study habits. The Excel chart provides a lot of suggestions to make a more "systematic study approach" come true (if one for any reason do not focus on a particular aspect of language, one could ignore that column).

In your post last week you gave us several detailed explanations to what they headlines meant. Still a few things are unclear.

You said that "narrative hours" included both reading and listening to recorded books. Do you listen and read at the same time, and if so, do you count the hours individually? I have felt that listening reinforces my reading and vice versa (albeit some differences between my own reading speed and the narrator's speed). Doing just one, would more easily let my mind wander. In a way one could say that I get two hours of work done in just one hour. Aural input as well as visual. For what it is worth, I have divided the "narrative" column into "listening" and "reading".

Some technical questions - if there is nothing wrong with my version of Excel, I miss rows 70-126, and 139-154, the latter of which are taken into account when summing up the bottom five red fields. (e.g. the "Identification only hours" - 100 hours in your own chart). How can I see these? The "analysis hours" take info from some hidden cells (F4:F126) as do "shadowing hours" (G4:G126). I have set all my values to zero and still have 8 hours worth of analysis and 92 of shadowing. Confusing. I assume that "analysis" + "shadowing" = "identification" but I still cannot see where the hidden hours come from.

Any additional information would be appreciated.

Jeff Lindqvist
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gidler
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 Message 21 of 40
03 January 2008 at 5:17pm | IP Logged 
Mr. Lindqvist, some of the rows are hidden. Try selecting the whole chart (Ctrl+A), then right-clicking one of the row numbers and choosing "Show" (the procedure may differ in your Excel version).

Prof. Arguelles, I am sure that your charts have been useful and instructional to everyone who requested to see them. Personally, I had already been keeping a rather similar chart, but I did make a new one for 2008 that is more similar to the one you shared with us. My old chart had weekly and monthly averages, but after seeing your chart I realized that having a longer time frame better emphasizes long-term progress and devotion.

(Update: I was sent a PNG image file of the chart that has the "hidden" rows visible. See my earlier message for a link to it.)

Edited by gidler on 04 January 2008 at 4:20am

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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 22 of 40
03 January 2008 at 6:28pm | IP Logged 
Thanks a lot, that made everything clear. Now it is time for me to enter some values for the past three days.
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Russianbear
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 Message 23 of 40
04 January 2008 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
ProfArguelles wrote:
Having been prevailed upon by many voices to share my personal charts with the world, I must say that I am rather disappointed that they have generated so few expressions of deeper commitment to serious study. As Mr. Iversen commented, if these charts show anything, they show how much systematic hard work is required to achieve the kinds of goals that bring us together here. In 48 hours, it will be a New Year, and that is a very good ritual time to resolve to instill better habits in oneself. I really do hope that more of those who indicated that they wished to see my charts will indicate that they intend to adapt them for their own use! If you manifest your dedication, you can learn more than you can now imagine.

ProfArguelles, the chart you've shared is amazing and inspiring. I would say its inspirational value is not limited to the study of languages, but can be projected onto any hobby or field or career one deems worthy.

Edited by Russianbear on 04 January 2008 at 12:39pm

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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 24 of 40
06 January 2008 at 5:40pm | IP Logged 
Mr. Lindquist,

I do not listen to and read texts simultaneously, but even if I did, I certainly would not give myself 2 hours of credit for 1 hour of narrative activity! Most of my narrative time is spent simply reading on my own, but listening to someone else read is just as effective a way to imbibe a text, and so I include this (which I generally only do for 1 hour a day while going for a run each morning, 2 on Sunday mornings, thus 8 hours/week) in the same category. If you do more than this or you do it in a different fashion, then it certainly makes sense to divide a single “narrative” column into separate “reading” and “listening” columns.

I am sorry that I submitted a chart with “hidden” columns. I did not do this intentionally. I simply provided the version of my working chart as I myself last looked at it. I “hid” the “identification only” languages because I do not work on them with any regularity and it is easier to update the chart daily if they are not there. By the way, by this category, I mean those languages that I do not know and have no plans to learn, but for which I possess materials, particularly audio ones, and which I would at very least like to be able to identify upon overhearing.



Thank you also for the comment about this chart being of general inspirational value. Indeed, I have been told before that what I teach and the way I teach it can be transferred to other fields of mastery as well. In that context, those who find this kind of thing interesting might like to read the following article from the business/sports arena:

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/ 10/30/8391794/index.htm

I think it is going much too far to say that talent is irrelevant to success, but I do concur that systematic hard work is clearly much more important.



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