Shadowing

  • This is a new technique that I have learnt that helps to address what is usually lacking in your language studies if your an introvert like me and really dislike talking to people.
    1. You need to get hold of some clear audio (an audiobook) that is at your current level.
      You also next to get hold of the corresponding text (e and physical is the most beneficial but you choose which is the best for you).
      Next you need a recording device, there is one on your phone.
  • When choosing your text make sure that the subject matter is interesting to you otherwise it will not be as useful to you and you will be wasting your time.

      Have the text in front of you and listen to the audio at the same time.
  • If you are someone like me this is quite difficult because I absorb information at light speed. I’m not really reading but seem to pick up the gist as quickly as a sponge sucks up water. (Most of the time)

    1. In this example though we are going for pronunciation practice here. So we’re trying to assimilate as much of the sound in terms of its physical qualities. By that I mean it’s intonation, spacing, pitch, rhythm, accent, emotion etc as possible. All of the different components are important here to get an authentic sound which is what we are aiming for.This is so that we can repeat it into the recorder as accurately as possible. This round is on a phrase by phrase basis.
      Then we try to repeat as much of it as possible listening to the audio recording from the beginning again. This is so that we can get a flow to the whole piece rather than isolating each sentence.
      Next we are going to compare our recorded speech with that of the prerecorded speech to check for differences.
      Finally we repeat the process until we cannot distinguish our own speech from that of the recording. (This maybe optimism as you may get bored if this doesn’t happen quickly).

    Again if you are like me, your reluctant to listen to your own voice recordings because what you hear doesn’t sound anything like you think you sound. It’s sounds pretty awful as it’s weak, pathetic and indistinct a bit like a newborn mewling kitten.

    This is the link if you wish to learn Russian from Max its creator Shadowing.

    If you have been following my blog you will know that this approach is next to impossible to apply in Greek. I have recently found audio books on YouTube but I have had to separately purchase the e and physical books from Amazon. It took quite some time to arrive as even though they were on Amazon UK, it had to be shipped from Germany.

    I have started to follow a lady on WordPress un petite bibliophile (this platform unless your reading this on my fb page) who reviews Greek children’s books in Greek. However, without access to the texts themselves; they are of limited use to me for this particular technique. They are simple children’s books but they can still teach valuable concepts. I like to use them for grammar and reading practice. It helps my comprehension and understanding having her texts there to consult.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Using technology to up your language game

    It’s always a good idea to work smarter not harder as then you are rewarded for your efforts without you having to struggle so much. Therefore using the resources that are available and around you means maximum effect from minimum work. To this end I have started using Blinkist and Audible in addition to Amazon to be able to create an immersive environment to further my language learning.

    As I’m introverted and autistic I’m not too fond of talking to people. This becomes apparent quite quickly if you have previously come across any of my work. As you may expect this presents certain problems. With the fact that I don’t like to mingle with others; my communication skill development has to take a different path. As I’m good at mimicking I can learn pronunciation from repeating the correct sounds made by others. As an integrative approach is best here, I need to look at a diverse range of options to get a broad spectrum. As accents vary from country, region, age, male/female etc I need to incorporate as much material as possible.

    I have previously been using YouTube for music and educational purposes (Tedx) but the gap between the 2 is too vast. A lack of “Comprehensible Material” meaning it’s not currently the right level for me. When watching YouTube videos there is frequently no subtitles to assist me so this cuts down there usefulness. I have tried Sky Arts but there is not enough foreign language material. I have also looked into foreign films (World cinema) but again there is a lack of material or maybe access to the material as I’ve never found any. Netflix also seems to come up short when looking for Greek material.

    My new idea is based on the fact that was used by a famous polyglot from the past to progress his linguistic merits. That is, read the same book in many languages since then you can learn grammar, syntax and semantics while enjoying a story that you already know well. This is a style favoured by Hungarian polyglot Kato Lomb and is also mentioned by other noted polyglots such as Canadian Steve Kaufmann and Italian Luca Lampariello.

    Since the best way to learn a second language is to repeat the way you learnt your first language that is what I’m attempting to do here. It’s a lot easier for children to gain language skills than it is for adults as we try to intellectualise it too much. Basically we think too much about the underpinnings of a language looking to gain an understanding of the structure before attempting to ‘build a house’. Children just go forth and practice.

    However the problem comes when the way I learnt is through my mother reading to me constantly. This meant that I could read by 18 months but was unable to talk for a further 4 months. My mum doesn’t know any foreign languages and is dyslexic just like my husband so that counts that option out. This means I have no practice partner. I have tried recording my voice and uploading to YouTube but I haven’t had any luck with that because I can be quite quiet and indistinct.

    My solution to this problem is to get Blinkist and Audible to read to me but Greek books are few and far between. Getting a physical book to look at is very difficult online. As your brain reacts differently to an ebook than to a physical book this means that the real copy is much better for this purpose. An ebook could have a narrative attached to it to make it better as a real book wouldn’t have this capability. Getting a physical, audio and ebook of the same title in Greek is next to impossible. Dual language books are equally as difficult to find.

    This 3 tier attack is easier in Italian, Spanish and even Russian but in Greek they just don’t seem to exist. I have done extensive research and monitored this over many years. While the situation has improved slightly, I don’t hold out much hope for a sudden burgeoning in the market.

    Below is a link to my published work and to my previous blog posts where I have talked about many of the issues I have mentioned above.

    My published books

    Series links

    Best wishes

    Angela

    100 common phrases in Athenian Greek

    This lady is very easy to understand, she explains herself well and there is the written examples of the phrases she is teaching you in English and Greek.

    Compare this to my version How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases and you will notice differences because island Greek is simpler and abbreviated. It’s also not as correct but still gets the message across. The main things I can think of is that sit down καθίστε η κάτσε κάτω and I don’t know δεν ξέρω (the Lefkas version doesn’t emphasis the separate words and blends them together) are said differently.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Krashen’s Hypothesis (on language acquisition) and what I think is it’s relationship to the difficulties present in Autism

    This is in fact a group of 5 hypothesis (sorry about that), that were formulated by Stephen Krashen in the 1970’s and 80’s. These are to do with Second Language Acquisition and Educational Psychology. This is rather in depth and technical at times so your going to have to bear with me on this one. It’s an important theory that I have just come across due to it being promoted by Luca Lampariello. He is a Italian polyglot and teaches languages for a living.

    The 5 hypothesis are as follows,

    • The Input hypothesis
    • The Acquisition Learning hypothesis
    • The Monitor hypothesis
    • The Natural Order hypothesis
    • The Affective Filter hypothesis
  • Input hypothesis

  • This says that you learn best when the language you are exposed to is slightly above your current level so you can understand it but it requires growth to properly comprehend it. You therefore need what is termed Comprehensible Input.
  • There are some corollaries or additions to this which I will now explain.
    1. Only practising talking, means that while you will be able to communicate, you will not necessarily be able to write as it is writing that encodes language into our brains far stronger than any other message. Hence when we need to remember something we write it down.
      When you have enough reading material of an appropriate level or Comprehensible Input you will learn grammar far better than through direct grammar teaching. This has been proven by the famous Hungarian polyglot Kato Lund but also by the Canadian Ling Q founder (language app) and noted polyglot Steve Kaufman.
      The way you are taught in a classroom is quite often different to how you learn naturally so a gap becomes apparent which results in lopsided learning that isn’t particularly useful. Any one who remembers there high school french classes can probably attest to learning innumerable things to pass tests but nothing useful that you could actually use in a real life situation.
  • Acquisition Learning hypothesis

  • It says that in the Acquisition Phase you acquire language simply by being around others that are practising a language. This is a subconscious process so you are not aware you are actually learning anything. If the language you are absorbing is above what you are currently able to comprehend ie it’s not Comprehensible Input; it will sit there until you have sufficient knowledge to be able to use it. Also see the explanation of Natural Order Hypothesis 2 headings below.
  • The Learning Phase is conscious awareness of learning and it’s when you are taught in a formal manner. It is the learning of rules and the framework that enables you to construct language in an appropriate way. It can seem quite abstract initially with just an outline. This is essential however as we will see in the next paragraph.
  • The difference between the 2 is important because the Acquisition Phase is much easier and more natural as it’s how you learned your first language. However when we get older we tend to use the Learning Phase for Second Language Acquisition. So this means, we struggle to gain adequate knowledge in order to make our wants and needs known. This discourages us from learning; as we feel we have regressed to an early stage of childhood. When we had to cry to get attention since we didn’t have the linguistic means to say anything.
  • It also showcases the fact that if you learn through Acquisition you will speak like those around you which may not be grammatically correct and could include a lot of slang. This will make it harder for you to learn other languages as you are unaware of the underpinnings of your own language. If you Learn it’s more likely to be grammatically correct and without slang but you will most likely sound very unnatural and robotic. This grounding however will make it easier to learn other languages as you already have a linguistic structure in place.
  • Monitor hypothesis

  • This says we use our existing language base to correct ourselves hence we say something incorrectly “….” and then realise what we were supposed to say and say this “….” is what we actually meant. This means that in theory adults are better than children as they have built up more of a base but it also explains why children are happy making mistakes. They are generally unaware they are doing so.
  • The difficulties inherent in using the Monitor will now be explained.
    • As the Monitor (think of a computer scanning your speech before you say it), requires you to analyse form (grammar and syntax) and meaning (semantics) at the same time; this can result in conversation slowing to a crawl or even completely stopping while the conversation is digested. I’m certainly one of these people. I think a lot of autistics are also prone to it. This is perhaps why autistics talk in such a strange way. We understand the grammatical rules but not the meaning because that often morphs to fit the situation. This affects not only our first language but any others we may learn. This is how you can come across people who while having been born and bred in the UK; prefer and sometimes even move to where they can speak French (Daniel Tamnet autistic polyglot with Savant syndrome), Greek (occasionally myself), or any other language including made up ones like Klingon or Elvish (many introverted geeky people).
      When Writing you often have all of the time in the world, so you can utilise your vocabulary to its full extent. This ability is enabled as you have no outside influences competing for your attention. This shows itself frequently in that autistics often prefer to communicate in written form as opposed to verbally like the rest of the world. This can be electronically in the form of instant messaging, email, blogging see an example here – How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases or in older times writing letters, poetry, or even a book! See examples here My author page.
      As a result of this, while we (Autistics) may Know the Rules; we don’t don’t have sufficient processing time in conversations. We will therefore resort to talking about topics we know about without us requiring to consciously think about them. We don’t want to slow you down but we simply cannot listen and reply at the rate you do.Language variation.
  • From what I’ve seen of Neurotypical (anyone who doesn’t have Autism) conversations; it involves lots of talking, not a lot of listening and a lot of forgetting so you can say the same things repeatedly and nobody minds as they were never paying attention on any of the previous occasions anyway. So inefficient and illogical as it wastes so much time and effort.

    • We are more than linguistically capable of holding a conversation. Maybe even more so than yourselves, as you’ve never needed to prove yourself. As we struggle for the correct words to respond appropriately, we appear immature and tend to get treated as children with patronising and condescending comments. We (I) have very good hearing as these are usually whispered or muttered under the breath in an attempt to discreetly “badmouth” us. These are also delivered in tones that while are acceptable when you are still a chronological child, become infuriating when you get older both chronologically and mentally. The problem is the more you stay with people your comfortable with (because they induce less panic and anxiety), the more they want you to stay the same so you don’t grow. This is why we leave our parents. Otherwise we probably never would.
      Since so much of communication can’t be learned from a book, Autistics struggle greatly with this. Which is why you will frequently see us talking with our hands when we can’t get the words out quick enough. If Italians, Greeks etc can get away with it, why not other cultures like English too?
  • Natural Order hypothesis

  • This says that while we all learn at more or less the same speed; the time it takes for us to be able show this knowledge in an adequate scenario varies greatly so it seems that others learn much quicker.
  • Affective Filter hypothesis

  • This says that the learner receives too much negative impact from their environment and this impedes their ability to communicate. Their emotions and mood interfere with their processing capabilities. This is brought on by anxiety, low self esteem or boredom due to lack of interest. Carrying on from the Monitor hypothesis this sounds like Autism 101 or a basic introduction to Autism in case your unfamiliar with that terminology. Our affective filters or “emotional states” are always up if we are distressed and nothing gets through them as there like the most impenetrable firewalls you have ever come across. For an example of this in action see here Brain, Mouth and Me.
  • According to Krashen the filter/(force field etc) struggles to come down
    1. If your expected to speak too soon therefore not allowing enough silence for information gathering and processing (all the time in pretty much every conversation ever) and
      Your corrected too soon (yes this is me totally with so much baggage from my childhood it’s unreal).
  • Reading about all of these hypothesis makes total sense to me as I have been struggling a lot with my language skills recently. I have also been wondering why I cannot perform when I have the necessary prerequisites to do so. Hopefully the blocks have now been removed since they have been discovered.

  • Additions and Critique

    Additions

    According to Wolfgang Butzkamm (linguistics professor) and John A Caldwell (2009), while you need comprehensible input to understand the language around you, you also require dual comprehension. This means that you need to understand what something literally translates to as well as what they are actually asking you. This happens so often to me in English, Greek etc and I’m pretty sure this is another facet of Autism. We get the words but not the meaning hence our literal sense of humour. It’s witty and intelligent as it involves wordplay but deviate from the established standards and were lost.

    Critique

    The above hypothesis are critiqued by some (but Wikipedia is unable to say who Grrr) for saying that there is a gap between acquisition and learning – the acquisition learning hypothesis but as this not an area that can be proven it is left in the air so to speak. I know there is this gap because I can acquire language but it does not necessarily mean I have learnt it. It’s like saying memorisation and learning are the same thing. Just because you can repeat something does not mean you can use or make use of it.

    Conclusion

    I like the idea that language learning is heavily dependent on the mood of the learner and other factors like intelligence, memory etc are nowhere near as important. If a learner is under some kind of stress than the learning will be impaired just like if they are unwilling to learn in the first place. This shows that the environment that a learner is placed in, subject to and how it affects them is more important than any other factor when it comes to language learning.

    How to talk to Autistics

    How to educate Autistics

    How to learn Greek

    How to improve your Greek

    How to learn any language

    Greek life

    A Life of Halcyon Days

    Best wishes

    Angela

    How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases

    Υα! Hi

    Φίλε μου male friend

    Φίλοι μου friends mixed

    Φίλη female friend

    Τι κανείς? How are you? literally what are you doing?

    Τι κανείς μωρε? What are you doing mate?(jokily)

    Εισας καλά? Are you alright?(jokily)

    Που πάμε? Where have you been/what have you been doing? (Depends on context)

    Πάμε! Let’s go!

    Τι νέο? What’s new?

    Έλα ρε! Come on now mate!

    Έλα τωρα! Come on now!

    Τι κριμα! What a pity!

    Να ´στε καλά Be well!

    Υιασυς Bye

    Shop talk

    Μπορεί να βοηθεια σας? Can I help you?

    Ορίσετε Welcome (to our shop etc), here you are (give money for item etc)

    Τι θελις? What do you want?(an alternative to how can I help you or in addition)

    Ποσό κάνει How much?

    Έχετε …. Do you have ….

    Δεν έχει We don’t have (whatever you asked for)

    Θέλω ένα …. I want ….

    Ναι yes (can be polite in acknowledging you said something but still carry on with job and otherwise ignore you)

    Ναι, ναι, ναι, Yes, Yes, Yes (Much more likely for them to do whatever you just asked)

    Μάλιστα formal yes like employee to boss or meaning indeed

    Restaurant talk

    Έτοιμες Ready? (Asking If you have decided on what you want to drink/eat)

    Πολύ νόστιμο Very tasty!

    Κάλι ορίζει! Good appetite!

    Άμεσος! Immediately (never happens and is more of a joke with English people)

    Γριγορο Quickly (another joke)

    Βειβαιους! of course (can be a joke)

    Σίγουρα. Sure (not a certainty again)

    Ακριβώς! exactly!

    Κάτσε κάτω sit down

    Φεύγω! Leave! (What you say when your bothered by animals, sellers slightly rude)

    Being direct is not rude in Greece like it is in the UK. Hence you wouldn’t normally say I would like in Greece. They don’t stand on ceremony as the saying goes meaning they are quite informal when shopping. They do however like to chat which is why the tasks are completed with as few words as possible leaving space, time and energy for conversation in order to revitalise them throughout the working day. It’s very hot right now so conservation is key.

    These posts are very useful to remind me how much I have learnt, improve my confidence and spelling. It’s also to try to anchor this into my brain so I use it in conversation in daily life. Also it’s because I can’t sleep and prep work for my next conversation which failed last time.

  • My books to help you speak Greek
  • My posts to assist you in speaking Greek

    Best wishes

    Angela