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Russian language: no more bullshit
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ElFlaco Away
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Post: #408
RE: Russian language: no more bullshit
(05-28-2016 09:18 AM)marty Wrote:  
(05-27-2016 06:25 PM)ElFlaco Wrote:  Unless you're already able to hold you own in a conversation (with mistakes and gaps, certainly)[/b], you're probably not ready for a diet of all 'authentic' materials. Once you can understand about 90% of what you hear or read, then you're able to fill in the meaning of the missing pieces based on the context. That's where learning really take off.
That's a bit vague. What kind of conversation are we talking about? You should be able to express yourself and understand what your partner is saying in a simple conversation after a few months (and by simple I don't mean something like "What's your name?", "Where are you from?", etc. but talking about your interests and somewhat more complex topics, albeit in a simple manner). Of course the actual time depends on the language.

The proficiency level I have in mind is B1 (lower intermediate). Here is what a B1 language user can do (source: Common European Framework of Reference, Council of Europe):
  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

If an adult learner can't do these things already, then they're going to advance very slowly if they're relying entirely on authentic materials (i.e., materials not prepared or selected for learners). It's frustrating to listen to input you can't follow. Eventually you give up. That's human nature. Even at B2 (upper intermediate), there's a role for continuing to use materials that have been designed for learners at that level, alongside authentic materials that aren't specifically for learners. That helps you focus more directly and quickly on where you need work. For example, an intermediate student of English could watch and understand movies and television in English for years without ever noticing that we can say 'I started to speak' but we don't say 'I finished to speak'. This kind of blindness is especially common with false cognates (in many Romance languages, 'actual' means 'current', not 'real'). Materials for students emphasize that kind of point, either indirectly (with constructed dialogues that multiple instances of the target structure) or directly, via highlighted examples or explanations.

(05-28-2016 09:18 AM)marty Wrote:  And you'll never learn a language well unless you make the transition into native media instead of trying to learn from dumbed-down material aimed at foreign language learners. You can start by reading children's books, comics or short stories, then work your way up.

Certainly a lot of the language found in traditional learning materials is boring, irrelevant and disconnected from reality. But that's an issue of the quality of the material, not its authenticity or artificiality per se. As for children's book, the problem is that they don't really capture the interest of adults. Also, the sources you list are all reading material. If you want to improve your oral skills, what you need to be doing is listening. And that's where authentic materials can be challenging for intermediates. To make listening more productive, do repeated listenings (without subtitles), picking up more each time. Also, video is better than pure audio because you can connect what you see with what you hear. That helps you determine the meaning of new words and expressions, because they are used in a context you understand.
05-29-2016 02:52 PM
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Russian language: no more bullshit - Roosh - 04-14-2013, 06:51 PM
RE: Russian language: no more bullshit - ElFlaco - 05-29-2016 02:52 PM

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