Language Study Motivation and Repetition Q&A
There's all kinds of research that shows that, you know, trying to block, learn something to nail something down, to listen to it over and over again, to read the same thing again, all of this is not very effective. Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here again. Today, I'm going to talk a little more about repetition and I'm going to do things a little differently because I'm going to answer some of the questions that people have given me here on my YouTube., Which I often don't have the time to answer individually. Remember if you enjoy these podcasts, please subscribe, click on the bell for notifications. And if you follow these podcasts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or any other podcast network, please make sure you leave a review. All right. So, because there was a fair discussion about this issue of the importance of repetition and some questions about it, I was going to answer them. And then I thought, you know, maybe people would appreciate having the answers to these questions, uh, in a video. So, uh, I get a lot of very kind comments thanking me for my videos and I get greetings from different places. I won't necessarily respond to those, although I do appreciate them, but where there are questions that I think would be of general interest then I will respond to them.
So, and here are my fancy clickable glasses again. So, excellent contents so forth and so on. Here...he goes on to say, I agree with you. Uh, so anyway... like he goes back and listens again to the same episodes and, uh...so his vocabulary and his, uh, pronunciation have improved... so he kind of gets the habits and the intonation of the native speaker. So yeah, repetition works. How much you repeat is up to you. And I have said that there is this diminishing returns.
You can't just keep on repeating, you know, listening to the same thing over and over and over again, you have to go ahead in my opinion, at least and in my experience, go ahead and, you know, looking for that new, remember the sort of repetition and novelty. So go for it. Uh, find new things, interesting things, fresh things, but then go back to the old things again.
And in that way, I think the repetition is really effective. However, there are people, and I mentioned the example of this Chinese immigrant to Canada, who claimed that he listened to the same CD a thousand times and he had excellent pronunciation. So it is a function of our willingness to tolerate, tolerate sort of boredom.
All right. So then, uh, okay, so here it's extremely boring to listen to limited information a hundred times, it contradicts the main idea of having fun, fun while learning. Yes, absolutely. Uh, not only does it contradict the idea of having fun in my experience, depending on what you're doing it for. If you're doing it for pronunciation, maybe if you're doing it to, you know, get a better grasp on vocabulary or structure.
There's all kinds of research that shows that, you know, trying to block learn something, to nail something down, to listen to it over and over again, to read the same thing again, all of this is not very effective. And we are better off grazing, going off to something else and then coming back again and going away again and coming back again.
And that way we notice more things, we may forget certain things. We come back and we notice them again. We're more likely to retain them. So don't assume that repetition means, has to mean just sitting there and repeatedly listening to the same thing. You may do some of that. And I think it's very important that we are in charge of our own learning.
So do what you think is worthwhile. Uh, do what seems to work for you, what you enjoy doing, and you'll be more successful. So, uh, he has neglected his listening comprehension. That's very common. A lot of people neglect listening comprehension. Uh, are there any strategies you have while listening? Well, the one strategy is so, someone asked perhaps on my Twitter, you know, if you don't understand something, but you really like the voice and you read it the whole mood of the thing grabs you, is it still worthwhile listening? Yes, it is. So that can be one strategy. Uh, I listened to these Chinese... and I really didn't understand more than 40 or 50%, but it was captivating just by the rhythm and the voices.
It was like melody. I listened to in Japan, I listened to a show on the history of Japan, the Showa era. And again, I didn't understand more than 40 50%, but the voice, the excitement, these were nude, nude: news broadcasts from, you know, whatever Olympic games in 1960 or whatever it might be. And so again, there is value in that and there can be value in listening to, uh, as I say, repetitive listening. I find that if you don't understand, or if you don't have the means to eventually understand, that's less effective.
So I will always want to have my transcripts. So in some cases, that means that I go to, uh, automatic transcription service, uh, and, and get that transcript, which may only be 90% accurate, but at least it gives me a chance. Otherwise, this there's always the same things that I don't understand. So, um, you know, I do some mini stories, which is a lot of repetition and at the same time, I go for more difficult material, but I try to always get the transcript.
But I didn't have the transcript for the... in Chinese, 50 years ago. And I didn't have the transcript for... in Japan, say 40 years ago and I still enjoyed learning them. And I think they helped me with my pronunciation. They help moving me forward in the language, but I, it's not like I understood zero.
I understood half let's say. So another thing he says, he gets frustrated. Okay. Here's a strategy for listening. Don't get frustrated. Okay. Learn to deal with uncertainty, vagueness, fog, you don't fully understand. If you're understanding even 30, 40% that 30, 40% is washing over your brain, it's helping you.
And meanwhile, you're alert to try and at least hear the other words that you don't know. Again, ideally, if you can get the transcript, you can then go in and look up those words. But again, even after having looked these words up and then when you listen again, good chance, you still want to understand, so learn to accept that that is part of the process. But then six months later, you will look back and you'll realize that you'll now understand so much more than you did six months earlier. Okay. So he also loses himself and he says... So yeah. When we're listening, we're not going to, there's no way we can be concentrating the whole time. Uh, we don't understand it all, at times we're focused, uh, even the second or third time we listened, we focus on certain structures maybe. Uh, but then we, the mind wanders and that's perfectly all right, because for the period of time that you are focused, for the period of time that you under, understanding things for the period of time that this sound in another language is meaning for you, meaningful communication in the language.
You are learning, you are getting the brain used to the language. So frustration, it's a similar comment to the other person. Frustration is a bad thing. Avoid frustration, accept what the process is. If you understood everything, you wouldn't need to learn the language. Now. So, so synaptic solder adheres many things.
I mean, obviously this is this idea that the, uh, what, uh, you know, the neurons firing together. Uh, but I, I do insist that we also need to have some things that are interesting. You can overdo, uh, the repetition. Uh, you've got to kind of mix in both. Uh, so, and these are things that we have to explore on our own.
We have to be in charge. I think if we are in charge, it's easier to focus. It's easier to be motivated. Uh, it's not like something is being pushed at you, so it's not like you should feel helpless or frustrated because you don't understand. You chose to listen to that. Uh, you can choose to listen to easier stuff.
You can choose to listen to more difficult stuff where maybe you like the voice, but you don't understand as much. It's, it's, I think it's very important that in all of this, for any of these strategies, You've got to feel that you chose this strategy, you try different strategies, you found the one that works for you.
You can listen to what I have to say, you can listen to what other people have to say, you choose a strategy that works for you. Believe in it. Stay the course and you will improve. Maybe I'll just leave it there and next time maybe I will organize these so I don't have to go through exactly picking out the questions that I should answer.
And let me, let me know if you think this is useful, I could go back down through a longer list of questions and answer them here via video, rather than answering them by individually, um, you know, answering them in the comments section. Anyway uh, thank you for listening. I'll leave a few videos that might be relevant to this discussion.
Bye for now.