Using TPRS/CI for self study

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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bob » 18 Jan 2011, 02:21

Yup, It's one of those ideas toy think about for years and then when you do you wodern why it took you so long. It is quite a bit of work but you feel like you are getting something out of it through the whole process. I a really glad I started on this, Up to about 60 sentences now.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bababa » 18 Jan 2011, 04:12

Hi. I would appreciate the opinions of members more experienced in the use of CI than I am. I want to learn a language that doesn't really have a written form (Igbo), or at least no one seems to agree on what the written form should be, the people I know who speak it are almost all illiterate, and there is nothing to read in it anyway. Usually when I learn a language I use flashcards, but this doesn't seem useful here.

So this is what I was planning to do: I will record my husband and his friends having a normal conversation in Igbo. Then I will break the audio up into sentences (using the program mentioned on the first page, maybe), get my husband to tell me what each sentence means in English, and make audio flashcards - Igbo/English/Igbo. If each 'flashcard' is an mp3 file, they can go on my Ipod, and 'shuffle' will get me flashcards.

Do you think this will work? I've already learned basic stuff by rote memorization. Now I just want to be able to understand what people are saying.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby ironlady » 18 Jan 2011, 04:44

It will definitely work IF you can get enough bits recorded and "interpreted" to make your flashcards. This is how I am working on Mohawk right now, but I am hindered in that I cannot get new material recorded. If your husband will cooperate, the sky is the limit.

(You wouldn't want an Igbo study-buddy, would you? It sounds like fun, and I haven't done any languages of that family yet. :D )
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bababa » 18 Jan 2011, 05:54

ironlady wrote:(You wouldn't want an Igbo study-buddy, would you? It sounds like fun, and I haven't done any languages of that family yet. :D )

I'd love an Igbo study-buddy! Let's see if we can work something out.
Igbo's a tonal language, by the way.
Only problem I can see is that husband gets impatient when I don't 'get' something right away.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby ironlady » 18 Jan 2011, 07:49

If he's willing, and his English is good, you could even give him guided sentences, or teach him how to teach using CI. Since you're motivated, you don't need him to really grasp the whole entertaining-while-making-it-look-easy thing; just to circle competently and keep repeating things. If he's impatient, as you say, that might be an issue, though...

Anyway, it would be really interesting to have some basic comprehensible Igbo stuff.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bismarck » 19 Jan 2011, 15:54

Taffy wrote:
bismarck wrote:I'm going to see if I can download an audio program to help me do that. :thumbsup:

Try Audacity. It's free, and I use it to make my own audio flashcards.

Eish! I'm currently trying to figure out how to use the program. I hope it doesn't take more time than learning how to speak Chinese! :roflmao:
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bob » 19 Jan 2011, 17:42

bababa wrote:Hi. I would appreciate the opinions of members more experienced in the use of CI than I am. I want to learn a language that doesn't really have a written form (Igbo), or at least no one seems to agree on what the written form should be, the people I know who speak it are almost all illiterate, and there is nothing to read in it anyway. Usually when I learn a language I use flashcards, but this doesn't seem useful here.

So this is what I was planning to do: I will record my husband and his friends having a normal conversation in Igbo. Then I will break the audio up into sentences (using the program mentioned on the first page, maybe), get my husband to tell me what each sentence means in English, and make audio flashcards - Igbo/English/Igbo. If each 'flashcard' is an mp3 file, they can go on my Ipod, and 'shuffle' will get me flashcards.

Do you think this will work? I've already learned basic stuff by rote memorization. Now I just want to be able to understand what people are saying.


What a fascinating question. Here is what I would do...

Learn the phrases:

1) What does _____ mean?
2) How do you say ______ ?
One more time please.
More slowly please.
One more time please.
More slowy PLEASE I am trying to learn/write this down.
What tone is it?

Then I'd go out and listen to people talk, alot. I'd watch as they lived their lives. When I thought I had heard the same thing before I'd ask what it meant. I'd sandwhich tape that with a native speaker doing the Igbo. If you can get them to restate in question, negative, past, present form I'd do that too. Just the usual transformations. I'd make a lot of examples with one substitution if thepattern is common. I'm going to the store/library etc .

I'd decide on a phonetic, whether it was an official one or one I made up. I'd start scribbling things down almost right away but not before I had heard the vocab. quite few times and taken a stab at saying it.

I'd start thinking about stuff I wanted to say and ask question two.

I'd tape record all that too, sandwhich style, as well as with some kind soul correcting MY pronunciation. In daily life I would spit out each memorized expression till my tongue knew the way without a bit of referance to any thinking at all. I would connect to the music of the the thing and learn it like that so that the meaning was connected to the phrase more as a musical phrase of sorts than as any kind of grammatical construct.

On the computer I'd make a alphabetical list of every word, with example sentences that I actually hear or want to use in daily life. I'd try to include other words from the list in the example sentences where that worked out. IF and when my pronunciation improved I'd start tape recording it.

Since I was living the thing new words and expressions would pop up all the time and get added to the list and tape recorded.

If I could find a grammar guide that was any good I'd refer to it so that I could glom what the words were about.

I would keep making new tapes and put them in the corner for future referance and as a document of my "progress" and for review. Hopefully you could get lots of people on the tapes, people you like. I think that is important.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bababa » 20 Jan 2011, 04:20

Thanks, Bob. I appreciate your suggestions.
bob wrote:
Learn the phrases:

1) What does _____ mean?
2) How do you say ______ ?
One more time please.
More slowly please.
One more time please.
More slowy PLEASE I am trying to learn/write this down.
What tone is it?

Then I'd go out and listen to people talk, alot. I'd watch as they lived their lives. When I thought I had heard the same thing before I'd ask what it meant.

One of the first words I learned just from hearing it a lot was /wanum/ (my brother). But when I asked people what it meant, no one knew what word I was referring to. Finally my hubby caught on and told me the meaning. Same thing happened with an Australian woman also trying to learn Igbo. She'd heard /wanum/ many times and had asked what it meant, but no one could figure out what word she was talking about. I was the one who told her what it was. I got from this that Igbo is so different phonetically from English that we're going to have a hard time.
If I could find a grammar guide that was any good I'd refer to it so that I could glom what the words were about.
I did find one phrase book, with such phrases as: Are there land mines near the village? Has the bridge been bombed? Where is the nearest refugee camp?
Unfortunately, useful in context.
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bob » 20 Jan 2011, 19:01

bababa wrote: I did find one phrase book, with such phrases as: Are there land mines near the village? Has the bridge been bombed? Where is the nearest refugee camp?
Unfortunately, useful in context.


:eek:

Wow, where the heck are you? I hope that is OK to ask. You sure do seem to find yourself in a lot of adventures.

If I could suggest something again (this probably a bit of a rehash) I'd do this:

Find somebody who speaks English pretty well. Sit down with him and tape record a conversation where you ask "How do you say_____?" "One more time" etc and have him correct your pronunciation (pronunciation classes make for GREAT listening material if you are really motivated which if you are there i bet you are). Whatever stuff you really need, if it's landmines, well there you go. I was thinking more like: yes, no, I dunno, I wanna, you wanna, sorry my Igbo is crap, do you speak English? no I can't speak Igbo etc...

Then go give it a whirl and see if anybody understands you. If it is a tonal language emphasize the hell out of the tones with BIG body movements when youre practicing, latch a meaning to them as per ironladie's advice. Qiang2Zhuang4 (strong) for me has "big strong man" showing off his muscles moving his arms up then down and clenching like what...? I dunno. You'd have to see it I guess. Di4ping2xian4 has a hand making a perfectly vertical line in front of the face down, up, then down again to reflect the 424 tone contour. You then have to turn it horizontal or you will have a vertical horizon... Stupid stuff like that I think that is easier to remember in part because what people remember best is things they CREATE themselves, or especially, with each other.

I think the immersion thing will be a bit counter intuitive. If you don't understand anything AT ALL it is good to listen to start picking up the sounds. I'd close my eyes and listen a lot. When you start to understand stuff it gets trickier because you start hearing bala blah blah blah HELLO blah blah THANKS blah blah etc where immersion becomes water torture (credit ironlady) and you will want to start really limiting what you hear to what you really understand, in part because if you don't you might start attaching incorrect meanings, and in part because you want to start getting the meaningful exposure up in the hundreds or thousands with each item.

Anyway, something like that. I've used essentially that system now with a few languages and it seems to work OK, though I should admit that beyond the phrase book thing I've never really tried anything else.
bob
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Re: Using TPRS/CI for self study

Postby bob » 20 Jan 2011, 19:22

bababa wrote: I did find one phrase book, with such phrases as: Are there land mines near the village? Has the bridge been bombed? Where is the nearest refugee camp?
Unfortunately, useful in context.


:eek:

Wow, where the heck are you? I hope that is OK to ask. You sure do seem to find yourself in a lot of adventures.

If I could suggest something again (this probably a bit of a rehash) I'd do this:

Find somebody who speaks English and Igbo pretty well. Sit down with him and tape record a conversation where you ask "How do you say_____?" "One more time" etc and have him correct your pronunciation (pronunciation classes make for GREAT listening material if you are really motivated which if you are there i bet you are). Whatever stuff you really need, if it's landmines, well there you go. I was thinking more like: yes, no, I dunno, I wanna, you wanna, sorry my Igbo is crap, do you speak English? no I can't speak Igbo etc...

Then go give it a whirl and see if anybody understands you. If it is a tonal language emphasize the hell out of the tones with BIG body movements when youre practicing, latch a meaning to them as per ironladie's advice. Qiang2Zhuang4 (strong) for me has "big strong man" showing off his muscles moving his arms up (2) then down (4) and clenching like what...? I dunno. You'd have to see it I guess. Di4ping2xian4 has a hand making a perfectly vertical line in front of the face down, up, then down again to reflect the 424 tone contour. You then have to turn it horizontal or you will have a vertical horizon... Stupid stuff like that I think that is easier to remember in part because what people remember best is things they CREATE themselves, or especially, with each other.

I think the immersion thing will be a bit counter intuitive. If you don't understand anything AT ALL it is good to listen to start picking up the sounds. I'd close my eyes and listen a lot. When you start to understand stuff it gets trickier because you start hearing bala blah blah blah HELLO blah blah THANKS blah blah etc where immersion becomes a bit like water boarding (credit ironlady) and you will want to start really limiting what you hear to what you really understand, in part because if you don't you might start attaching incorrect meanings, and in part because you want to start getting the meaningful exposure up in the hundreds or thousands with each item.

That kind of contradicts what I said earlier about listening and watching people live I guess. It is better to guess things in context "if" you can, I think partly because it lends a certain poignancy to the endevour and also because it co-operates with the minds own language learning mechanisms. It's a big IF there though.

Anyway, something like that. I've used essentially that system now with a few languages and it seems to work OK, though I should admit that beyond this and the phrase book thing I've never really tried anything else. What fascinates me with your situation where there is so little language learning material available you essentially HAVE TO create your own.

It is all is way cool and I hope you come by a lot with stories about how that is working out. What an incredible challenge. You can't fall back on the old "they all speak some English" routine that so many expats get by on because you may very likely need to know what is going on when they are not talking to you directly. That perhaps raises the issue of whether or not you could profitably look at it as entirely a listening skill and leave the speaking for waaay later. I bet there are good arguments for that too, though I couldn't do it myself I don't think.
bob
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