An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Learner autonomy and production.

Postby Stephen Hughes » March 5th, 2014, 5:47 pm

Philip Tollinga wrote:I had not originally picked up that you were toying with the idea of the learner constructing the English sentences himself. I would tend to think of that as a bit time consuming for the amount of vocab gained. But it certainly is enjoyable to read the fruits of someone else's labor!

Productive learning strategies are possible with even complete beginners. A good number of adult learners are noticably uncomfortable when they find that being constrained to only using the target language they find themselves unable to say or write anything at all. In Greek, being told the prospect that they will never be able to be productive in the language can have a debilitating effect on their learning.

The method allows students to create and share their own sentences leading to (a perception at least of) learner autonomy. If a learner were to come across the words δρέπανον and ἀξίνη, they could create meaningful "sentences" - if you can really call these linguistic hybrids "sentences" such as:
  • The farmer chopped up the ὕλη with his ἀξίνη.
  • The farmer used an ἀξίνη to chop down a δένδρον.
  • The farmer mowed the field with a δρέπανον.
  • A δρέπανον has a long curved ἀκμή and is used with a sweeping motion.
That would be a productive way of learning that could suit some learner styles.

Obviously, a teacher as an "unequal peer" in the learning process could contribute educational sounding phrases like:
    ξύλον is to ὕλη, as λίθος is to πέτρα
but because the sentence doesn't supply much meaningful context, the beginning learners wouldn't necessarily get much from it.

Of course, once those four words had already been "learnt" it is a good way to consolidate one's understanding and avoid confusing them. Diagrammatically, the extentions to ξύλινος and λίθινος could be illustrated too (sorry about the non-professional image quality).

Image

But that is a different type of presentation and would suit an analytical learner at a different stage of their learning, rather than another type of learner in the early stages.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 9th, 2014, 11:08 am

Stephen,
This is a wonderful way to pick up, or solidify vocabulary. There is the problem of whether or not to use the grammatically correct form.

I like the first "stream of consciousness" sort of composition better than the disconnected sentences used for εχειν.

The J. Tauber video someone posted a link to is very interesting. He talks about software he has developed that could be a great help in creating graded readers, or in developing mixed language texts.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 206
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

You are standing in a dark room NOT.

Postby Stephen Hughes » March 10th, 2014, 12:06 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:This is a wonderful way to pick up, or solidify vocabulary. ... I like the first "stream of consciousness" sort of composition

The main point of the approach is that the ego of the teacher has to be put aside. The current approach of, "You are standing in a completely dark room with no points of reference." and "I your teacher are going lead and guide you and show you, and give meaning and light" should be gotten over and moved on from. Power structures in adult education have changed and consequently so have the approaches to teaching and learning that are suitable for adult classroom. The need for any of the fake mystery that is used to confirm the position of teacher has gone and needs to be gotten rid of. I think for adult learners it is important to let them teach themselves from their own background knowldege as much as possible.

Compare the following 4 sentences:
  1. ῥαφίς is a popular word for βελόνη.
  2. I want to buy a ῥαφίς. / I want to purchase a βελόνη.
  3. I man wanted to mend his tunic but had nothing to pull the thread to sew the patch to his tunic. His wife told him to go to the market and buy a new ῥαφίς to replace the one that he had lost. When he got to the market he found a ῥαφίς that he would like to buy. He pointed at it and said, "I would like to purchase that βελόνη, if you don't mind."
  4. A man looked into his βελονοθήκη and found he had no ῥαφίς. We went to the market and found a stall with the sign that said, "βελόνη". Then he bought a ῥαφίς from the βελονοπώλης.

What are the teacher assumptions and expected learner reactions to those ways of presenting?
  1. It assumes that students will notice the difference in register (formal / informal) between the two words, and perhaps assumes the student knows one of the words already. Learner responses would range from bewilderment for their own ignorance to awe at the teacher's knowledge.
  2. Agin, it assumes that students will notice the difference in register (formal / informal) between the two words "buy" and "purchase", and assumes students know both of the words already. Learner responses would range from from missing the point, to bewilderment for their own ignorance, to awe at the teacher's knowledge.
  3. No knowledge is assumed. Studnets would probably be able to correctly assume the meaning and nuance of the two words.
  4. There is a whole lot of derivational morphology assumed here, which would suit an intermediate student. Students would aquire not only the target words, but may also aquire some related words.

Due to the limitation of my knowledge of Greek, I don't know if there is any indication that the material used to make the two was different, but that is possible. Concept checking questions could include material specific questions like, "What is the ῥαφίς made of?" (Expected answer: Fish bone, bronze). "How would the eye be put into the ῥαφίς?" (Expected answers: Drilling for bone. Stamping for bronze.) or they could be avoided to avoid teacher's ignorance.

The way that I've heard ἀποθήκη as being being related to the word Boutique is misleading in many ways. Boutique is a public place and is a shop. Both of those elements of meaning are not in words ending in -θήκη, which have have the sense of private, personal use, at home use, and generally the things that can be put in them are put into it (or onto it) by hand.

Paul-Nitz wrote:There is the problem of whether or not to use the grammatically correct form. [I don't so much like] the disconnected sentences used for εχειν.

The way that English has borrowed the majority of its loan-words would be to not use any grammaticisation at all. I've used full Greek words because ultimately my aim is not to further enrich the English vocabulary, but rather to learn Greek dictionary items.

I haven't thought through the presentation of grammar to the same extent as the presentation of vocabulary, as you can see. Honestly speaking, even after all these years if someone asked me an in-what-circumstances-do-we-use-the-tense question, I wouldn't be able to give an exhaustive answer.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 10th, 2014, 10:12 am

Greenglish Stories for Vocabulary Review
το τέλος are often the very last words in a book or a film. You read the very last sentence of τοῦ βιβλίου and you see on a separate line in big letters, “τὸ τέλος.” I often say “τὸ τέλος ἐστιν” when I am done telling a story to my students in Greek.

The word διατελεῖν is very different from το τέλος. You can see that the words are related. δια is added to give the idea “carrying through” to the το τέλος. When I am telling τὸ διήγημα to my students in Greek, I often pause to ask questions. When I start again, I often say “now διατελῶ.” Sometimes when I’m on a journey, my little son might want to stop. He’ll say, “Please, Daddy, παυσώμεθα.” But I tell him that we should not stop or even pause. Instead of stopping we διατελοῦμεν.

I’m not sure if you are καταλαμβάνεις what I am trying to say here with this mix of languages. Maybe it is too confusing and you are not καταλαμβάνεις. Is it good for me διατελεῖν, or is it good for me παύεσθαι? You tell me. If you don’t want to hear more, go ahead and shout out παύσαι! If you are dying to hear more, then shout out διατέλει!
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 206
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

It has been suggested that we need 6 exposures to a lexical

Postby Stephen Hughes » March 10th, 2014, 11:24 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:Greenglish Stories for Vocabulary Review
τὸ τέλος ... τοῦ βιβλίου ... διατελεῖν ... τὸ διήγημα ... παυσώμεθα ... διατελῶ ... διατελοῦμεν ... καταλαμβάνεις ... παύεσθαι ... διατέλει!
Those seem to be the words that you are constructing your text around. According to various child literacy scholars, even this method of text-embedded vocabulary acquisition still requires about 6 exposures to any particular lexical unit. Other childhood vocabulary acquisition literature suggests that words per day is a desirable rate of acquisition.

What I have done is to adapt that text-embedded vocabulary acquisition strategy for adult foreign language learners. It seems to me that L1 text with embedded L2 target vocabulary would be an effective an not too onerous way for a complete beginner to be exposed to 20 lexical units in 6 different contexts each over the course of the week, with the expectation that about 3 would be learnt each day on average. I think it would be necessary to put an IPA (or other) transliteration of the Greek words next to them or in footnotes for a while - reason being that then the sounds of Greek words could be at a comparable speed to the English - rather than slowing them down by requiring mastery of the alphabet.

To reach that target of 6, let me give another few contexts to your words.

    Sam was a happy boy. He was well-loved by his parents and well thought of by his teachers. When he was 5 years old, Sam's grandmother gave him a very special 500 page βιβλίον, which he could read a little of every day. Before Sam went to sleep at night, his mother read him a διήγημα from τοῦ βιβλίου. Sam was often so tired, that he fell asleep before his mother reached τὸ τέλος of that διηγήματος.

    Last Tuesday, Sam was playing with his friends at school. One of his friends, Jude wanted to play musical chairs. He explained the rules to Sam all in a rush. Sam's eyes opened wide and and stood silently. Jude asked Sam, "καταλαμβάνεις?". Sam shook his head and said, "I don't." "Okay, let me say that again slowly so you can καταλαμβάνειν.", said Jude.

    At τὸ τέλος τοῦ διηγήματος of the rules for musical chairs, Sam thought for a moment and said, "Jude, we don't have any chairs and we don't have any music." "You are very clever, Sam", said Jude, "Don't worry about those things. We can use stones on the ground, and we won't have to sit down, just to stand on a stone. For the music, when I say διατελεῖ! people can start to walk around in circle, and when I say παῦε! people will need to find a stone to stand on. Sam and Jude called all their φίλους to play the game. The children all enjoyed the game, and at τὸ τέλος of the game, the two boys went home very happy.

    Sam's mother noticed his happiness, and asked him what had happened. Sam told her the διήγημα of his day, and she was very glad to hear about the game. Sam wanted to διατελεῖν telling his διήγημα, but she said it was 9 o'clock already and that he needed to παύεσθαι telling his διήγημα and to go to sleep.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Learning 3 words per day.

Postby Stephen Hughes » March 10th, 2014, 5:00 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Other childhood vocabulary acquisition literature suggests that words per day is a desirable rate of acquisition.
I'm sorry, that should be:
Other childhood vocabulary acquisition literature suggests that three words per day is a desirable rate of acquisition.

Sorry, I realise these articles are not of direct relevence to Greek, but the figure of 6 exposures comes from The Journal of Educational Research and the figure of 3 (or 4 per day) comes from Reading Psychology

The foundations of literacy are built up in the 2nd and 3rd grade, text-embedded (or book-embedded) vocabulary acquisition is one of the writing technique used for creating the graded reading primers that children are encouraged to read to build up their reading skills and vocbulary. The NT is ungraded adult language - different authours have different literacy levels and have mastered different vocabulary - and was not written as a language teaching supplimentary text. To read it effectively, we need a teenage reading level. I'm exploring ways to get to that level of vocabulary mastery.

Children need to be given contexts in which to learn vocabulary (actually language in general) whereas we as adults have a wealth of experiences already that can be used to help vocabulary acquisition and retention.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Harry Diakoff » March 12th, 2014, 5:46 am

The so-called "diglot weave" technique for learning vocabulary by substituting an increasing percentage of L2 words in L1 sentences, never raising the percentage of new words to much above five, does indeed seem to work quite well for the majority of people. The Mormons appear to have the best statistics on this approach, which allows very high rates of rapid acquisition. However, it clearly works best when the languages are syntactically similar. Previous familiarity with the L1 text also seems to help. When we were creating the Alpheios tools for reading Greek, our first implementation showed interlinear translations, but our friends in the SLA research world,and many classicists, objected so strenuously that we made the default behavior of the app require the user to deliberately click on a word he wanted to see defined. There is some research to suggest that there is such a thing as making the L2 meaning too conveniently available, so that the user subconsciously begins to focus on the L2. We are currently experimenting with different parallel text formats in print and have some positive feedback on one in which the two languages appear in parallel columns on the same page, but the L2 is larger and much easier to read. Optimal convenience and optimal effectiveness may be difficult to reconcile and there is no reason to believe that the same solution would be optimal for all students.
Harry Diakoff
 
Posts: 4
Joined: March 10th, 2014, 9:02 pm

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Peter Pankonin » March 12th, 2014, 12:52 pm

Harry Diakoff wrote:We are currently experimenting with different parallel text formats in print and have some positive feedback on one in which the two languages appear in parallel columns on the same page, but the L2 is larger and much easier to read. Optimal convenience and optimal effectiveness may be difficult to reconcile and there is no reason to believe that the same solution would be optimal for all students.


At this point in my knowledge of Greek, I prefer the two-column approach. I am using the Biblearc app on my iPad and have two columns set up. A wider Greek column on the left and a narrower English on the right. Making the L1 smaller and therefore harder to read is not an important factor (I actually find smaller fonts easier to read). However, the two columns are not synced and so looking up the L1 translation requires extra steps (inconvenient).
--
Πέτρος Πανκώνιν
"There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't"
Peter Pankonin
 
Posts: 21
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 11:18 am
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, CANADA

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 14th, 2014, 9:03 am

Truth be told, I think vocabulary learning drills are a waste of time. I'm far more interested in teaching / learning STRUCTURE and letting vocabulary grow through reading. But other people disagree so ardently and I'll happily admit I don't learn the same way as everyone. If we must do vocabulary drills, this "diglot weave" seems like a really good way.

Here's a crazy twist... Check out the Spritz speed reading tool at SPRITZ
Now imagine those words flashing by at breakneck speed but Greek words thrown in here and there.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 206
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

Re: An "unsound" way to learn vocabulary

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 14th, 2014, 9:36 am

I just found a tool nearly identical to Spritz, and immediately accessible.
www.spreeder.com

Paste text into the box, adjust the settings, and hit play.

I just pasted in Stephen's first offering (first post in this thread) and tried it out at 200 words per minute. Interesting. I wonder if this could actually be a worthwhile vocabulary drill. Hmmm...
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 206
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

PreviousNext

Return to Teaching Methods

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest