The place where course books fear to tread

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The place where course books fear to tread

Сообщение Мэттью »

I'd like to ask some questions regarding the Method, so for people who have experience with using it themselves, whether such experience is deep and far-reaching, or rather is just beginning to samba and swing to the music, please feel free to reply and let me (and others who happen to wander on by) know what you think, in English, if you don't mind.

1) How does your daily usage of the Method compare with what you did in the past in your quest for English mastery?

What I mean is the actual experience of listening to dialogues, perhaps also reading book after book (when you're at that point), and doing all other aspects, as necessary, in comparison with the standard English learner's path of going after work two or three nights a week to a language school, opening up that magical course book, listening to the preacher, er, uh, I mean the "teacher" who's droning on and on from one page to the next, all the while you're doing your best to keep awake and stay focused...Perhaps frequent coffee injections?

Please tell me about your results using the Method. Are they significantly better than what you had before? And should we limit the benefits to language results alone? Perhaps some of the greatest benefits are to be found in the experience of learning by oneself, savoring it as a true pleasure, with the power for such learning being placed back in your own hands, where it always was, where true learning always is. Along this avenue, how have you enjoyed (or suffered through) each approach? Are there pluses and minuses for each?

2) Do you feel that the dialogues impart something special that you can't explain? Is this beyond the grammatical and lexical benefits? Maybe you've felt something go "click" within your brain, after which things have never been the same...

This is not to be confused with the cerebral click that can transpire after sitting through grammar lectures in school or university; in this often-times sad case, the mental light switch frequently gets shoved to the down position.

But let's not think about that - it's Friday, a day to celebrate, so let's focus on the positive: tell me how you feel about the dialogues, whether they're the bee's knees or otherwise, and if so, why.

3) How are you producing? This is *not* a question for factory workers.

What I mean is this: by listening and reading, even via the most optimal methods, you're becoming more and more enriched as the days go by; yet still, the circle isn't complete until you make it a regular practice to "produce," to create sentences and paragraphs and stories with your words, whether that's through the atmosphere, when speaking to others, or on paper (or the screen) when writing. How do you yourself do this? Do you find that the Method has enhanced the productive aspects of language learning for you? If so, how?

That's all for now. And if anyone has any questions for me, just ask.
Сергей Кевлар

Сообщение Сергей Кевлар »

I will tell you about myself and “my life inside the method” later because of Saturday, as you’ve said before. Right now I give you the scientific confirmation of the method.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/ ... 55ca3b974f
If you need (or want) to know some more, just click “Full Text (PDF)” and read it.
Мэттью

Сообщение Мэттью »

This is a really interesting article. Thanks for posting the link here. I look forward to anything else you can share. And, yes, it's the weekend, and a cloudy one at that...
Сергей Кевлар

Сообщение Сергей Кевлар »

I suppose there are some answers to you questions there.
viewtopic.php?t=1258&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
Have a look at the bottom of the page and the next page too.
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It's quite hard to collect all my thoughts upon this subject, as long as the topic is so interesting, so I'll try to express the main ideas about the method.

Actually, somehow I had managed to bring my English to the "sufficient" level before I met the book. Reading about the method was extremely exciting, and I had nearly decided to polish my English up and correct the problems I still have, when.. suddenly I felt a burning desire to learn Japanese, so now I am learning it by matrix from nothing. A sheer test.) My experience isn't that big, it's been lasting for only two months. But thanks to matrix, the pronunciation is already much better than English one. Yes, when I try to say something in English, I still feel quite uneasy. The thing is, our schools are considered to teach us classical British English, but in fact from my first English lesson I heard the speech of teacher and his explanations how to pronounce English sounds. And very occasionally - listened to some cassette with natives. As a result.. but should I enlarge upon the results? To be honest, my last school was not so bad regarding languages. There was a talking club, we watched films in English, and even had an American teacher from New York. She was a very nice and cheerful person, but I was completely stupefied by the speed of her speech... So this aspect of my mastering English needs a lot to work at.

To tell nothing about expressing thoughts. I have a firm belief that no learning grammar rules by heart help in this aspect. It's high time to stop this practice as it is only learning grammar for grammar's sake. And nothing more. Can anyone here touch-type? How many time it takes to remember how are the buttons arranged? I think a day or two. And to type with a good speed 400 symbols a minute? For me, it took more than two months... There is a great difference between Knowledge and Skill. In the second case, we have completely other processes in our mind working. In fact all the language - mother tongue as well as foreign language - is one big skill itself. You don't really "learn" it - you get accustomed to it.
I don't know why and I still don't fully understand how it works, but now I'll try to explain the way we speak... I never believed in the models I could create during my lessons, according to grammar rules only. I didn't feel the language logic and the correctness of what I say. But when I started reading a book and met a quantity of speaking models given by the writer - I remembered lots of them without any effort, for they were coloured with emotions. I've read about a French linguist with rare kind of memory, who learned big German dictionary by heart and all German grammar, but when in Germany, he never could understand a German, neither he could buy his ticket at the station, poor man. Words are dead until they are used in some situation.

There is also an example given by another linguist. You say: Here is the table. What does it mean? Nothing. Only the context can make the sense clear. When there's the carpenter who's just repaired your table and he says: Here is the table! - the meaning is: Where is my money? When you look to the neighbours' garden and see their table, you say: Why, here is the table! The sense is: I didn't expect them to have a dinner outside )) And so on. Without the sense, without intuition, where and how words are used, you will have a load of stones instead of a good warm cozy house.

I won't tell about other approaches and call names, there are lots of them.. The 25th frame... the method of hypnosis... communicative method... in my opinion the matrix method is the best, complex approach. It's fundamental, it includes all the aspects of learning a language - reading, speaking, understanding. It also takes into account the way our brain works, - if you wish to open your mouth and express yourself right now, not thinking about tenses and gerunds, - you need to have language models and turns of speech automatically imprinted inside you. And films and books - an amount of living language you meet and analyse - is the best way to do it. For what I like N.F. and his method most - he allowed his book to be downloaded for free, otherwise I could have never met it. (Compare with the great amount of coloured advertisement: “Our and only our course will teach you foreign languages, just buy it for…” (and here is quite a large sum called)). One of the main ideas of the book is that you, and only you, can teach yourself a language. If you are thinking that you go pay some money and get all the language skills without any hard work, you are only lying to yourself…

May be communicative approach that is so popular abroad is not bad. I once contacted some Egyptian fellows, who came to our country to study, - they speak English as fast as they chatter in their Arabian gobbledegook. :D With strong accent, however. And their vocabulary is so poor... They know the word "pharmacy", but they don't know about "drug-store" being the same, and their reaction to this word was something between laughing and shock. :lol: So I am not envious - the way they learn languages is also incomplete.

Later I will tell about my senses about the matrix and describe my feelings about all the ways I ever learned languages, and for now it's enough. When writing in English, I enjoy the process very much, but at the same time go crazy because of the great lack of vocabulary...
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My learning languages began from my early childhood. I remember a program on TV about English, there were king, queen and princess, and a Muzzy who "likes" clocks (i.e. finds them a good snack)... something like that. Also there was another program on learning German, but whereas my parents explained me English words, they couldn't understand anything in German, so I coudln't also. One time there was a theatre play based on a fairytale by Grimm brothers, and it was scary.)

At the age of seven I began to study English. It wasn't very productive, but on mature reflection I can tell that it wasn't harmful also. We didn't learn grammar, just words, expressions and basic questions and their translation. Games were the most pleasant part. You had to describe appearance of someone in the class and others guessed who it was, or you choose one card and remember it, and the others should guess about its color, etc. It was nice. But when I was reading the coursebook with explanations about opened and closed syllables, I didn't understand anything there, fortunately, no one cared...
We also used a linguaphone course for children. There were Uncle Michael and Funny Honey, who were Russians, but listening to their talking about toys, balloons, cats and dogs was not bad. I sometimes did it at home.

Had I natives' speech that time, it may have done me a good turn. But where should we get it? Internet didn't exist yet. Only in my last years in school we managed to find one very PR-ed linguaphone course, it contained nothing but phrases and its translations, so it wasn't very interesting to listen to.

In the middle classes I moved to another school and here the nightmare began. My vocabulary was so poor, and that children might have learned the language more intensively before. First lesson - "We shall speak"... what speaking are you talking about? I know only a few phrases and about fifty words... When the teacher read to us some text about cat and mice, and we were to retell it in a sheet of paper - I didn't understand anything, a single phrase, so my sheet stayed clear. It was awful. If your children ever need to change the school, be ready to help them to catch up, otherwise it won't result in anything good. History, maths, etc. weren't easy also, I just didn't understand what they want from me...

So I moved to another school again. Here it was "easier". The teachers didn't speak English, they were too bad for that, so we focused on grammar and I forgot what speaking was. Grammar was also hard, I couldn't understand what asking questions was based upon, and whether you should add "isn't it" in the end or not.. But later I became a little better. However, I absolutely ceased to love English and began to think that only a genius can master it.

In the 9th form we started learning by one of Oxford courses. It was absolutely different. Grammar was also the main part of lessons, but at least topics were interesting and I began to enjoy expressing my thoughts. Audition was the most difficult part, it was - fortunately or not? - quite seldom. At least our teacher loved her subject. When we were thinking too long, she began to say: Well, well, well... :D and I think she's already been to an English-speaking country.

My last years were most productive. In the talking club we were all Russians, except for Donnelle DiLorenzo, our guest from New York. Her talking was right a normal talking of an American, that is, twice faster than Russians usually speak. In her lessons we had crosswords, discussions and homeworks like writing a short story. I still spoke very slow but that was the first time, when I began to feel how English phrases should be constructed.

I also have to mention my main headache that I still feel, but more and more rarely. It's tenses, articles and prepositions. We were explained about Present Perfect like this: "It's used when the action has something to do with present". But any action has something to do with present, am I wrong? When we had to choose what tense to use - I made mistakes very often. Table of articles... oh, it was huge. I believed that if I learned it by heart I would be able to use articles correctly, but learning this by heart is in no way easier than learning by heart table of logarithms...
But little by little I began to feel the logic of English. In the university I was still a poor speaker, but once I just took a book and began to read it, and it gave me very much. Now I understand that if you don't want to learn a language no one will help you...

A few words about university. Our lessons were not as interesting as Oxford lessons were. It was more like study by Soviet coursebooks. Main part was work with texts about software and hardware, CPU, RAM, etc. But sometimes we were entertained by films in original. What was good, we had a lot of practice. Translating practice, English-Russian and the other way round, and speaking practice. I believe it was very helpful to me. Also we had some lectures about the history of English, I had guessed about this before, but got an "official confirmation": it has very, very simple grammar). After its grammar, Spanish grammar seemed to me like that of Russian.

I forgot to tell about French. In school I had a year of French. We had a French coursebook will all the explanations in this language - quite a funny coursebook, but our studies were no more intensive than in case of English. What embarrassed me - our teacher didn't give attention to pronunciation. Whether we tried to pronounce French words as they are to be pronounced, or talked like rednecks, she didn't say anything. She was only a young girl, after all.)

Once English had become quite familiar to me, I felt a hot longing to learn many other languages, but I didn't know where to begin... I've worked over a German coursebook - not bad coursebook, really, - I listened to Spanish linguaphone course, I found some lessons on Portuguese grammar and was happy, etc, etc. I also was glad to read any book on language learning. That's how I found the book about matrixes. Reading it was very exciting. It was like feeling that I've finally found what I needed. First time I didn't feel like listening to the same for 2 weeks! - I thought that the author had possibly been mistaken. But after reading the forum I understood that nothing in the book was written without reason, and followed and the instructions and I don't regret it.

Feelings from the work with matrix are not easy to describe. It's like the feeling that you do everything correctly, and you are sure in what you do. You also feel that the new language instantly comes to your mind and tries to settle down. But there are also different feelings depending on the time of day, i.e. after a good dinner I don't feel like listening, not talking about reading, and when I still (or already) want to sleep, also. The best time is around 10am and 5pm. It's good to divide your studies into few, e.g. 1.5 hours in the morning, and the rest in the evening. Between these studies your head has a rest that helps it to analyze further information. And what is really the best - no one will examine what you know and whether you bad girl know present perfect. You have all the freedom to learn about this perfect only at the stage of reading books, and it won't do you any harm.

That is the difference between the matrix method and traditional methods, how I see it. Suppose I don't write too long and it wasn't so boring)
Последний раз редактировалось Пушистая няшечка2 04 фев 2010, 11:41, всего редактировалось 1 раз.
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Сообщение Пушистая няшечка2 »

Criteria for matrix dialogues in detail:

- At least average quality of sound, without cracklings, voice distortion, etc.
- Read by native speakers.
- Often used grammar and words.
- Complete and logically ended plot.
- Speed should be absolutely normal, not intentionally slowed down for novices.
- Language should be natural, living and not poor. Here is an example of the worst possible dialogue: "Have you eaten the apples? - I have eaten the apples. - What am I doing? - You are sitting". If your language is very little-known, for example Indonesian, even this will be a treasure, but in case of well-known languages - choise is surely wide enough to find something else.
- Positive, emotional, humoristic content if possible, or neutral if you haven't found anything else. Never allow negative content.
- If you are a total novice, it's better to begin with 20-30 seconds and simple phrases like "Hi, how are you?", then make the grammar more complex and time longer. If you have some knowledge of the language you may begin with complex grammar if you wish. Maximum time is 60-70 seconds, not more, otherwise your brain will have difficulties in analyzing all the dialogue.
- Taking radio report or news for your dialogue may result in extreme difficulty while trying to repeat it. People don't speak in so long phrases in real life.
- No background sounds like dog barking and street noise. When you loop the dialogue and listen it for 10,20,30 min..., first time it's funny, but later becomes a real torture.
- If your language is not so popular, you may use an audiobook as a last resort. However narrative intonation is not like that in the speech, if you don't have any choice, that will do.


I also want to put here some ideas from the book in short.

- Train your pronunciation as well as possible.

Heavy accent can make your speech very hard to understand. Both articulation and intonation are important here, because intonation takes part in the meaning of the sentence also. In most cases an adult can't get rid of accent at all and it's normal. Just do you best to reduce your accent as it is possible, that will be fine. It is good if you can consult some specialist who can estimate your speech at this point.


- Don't think that the effectivity of a language course depends on its cost, and never believe that you can learn a language in "3 months" or "one minute a day".

Learning a language is a hard work, unless you are a genius having unusual abilities, but in this case you needn't to read any instructions... And a general person can learn a language in a year, it's minimum, and for a hieroglyphic language or, say, Russian or Hungarian, with their complex grammar, it will take even longer. So don't give your money to any frauds who promise you easy life.


- Never believe that once you go to the country, you will learn its language in some magical way.

Moving to another country to LIVE there is a very big stress, and learning the language will be the last thing you care. If you are a tourist, magic also won't work here. To learn a language you have to immerse, and immersion is quite a painful process, there are many examples of Russians abroad who don't speak the language and know only basic words to buy something, ask "how can I get to...", etc. Learn the language at home, in comfort, while you have this possibility, and then go abroad to practice.


- Never think that you can learn a language by songs.

Let's take an example in quite good English, in my opinion:

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Or this one:

Nothing here remains,
No future and no past.
No one could foresee
The end that came so fast.
Hear the prophet make his guess
That paradise lies to the west,
So join his quest for the sun.
Shades of death are all I see -
Fragments of what used to be...

However good it sounds when accompanied by music, you won't speak this English in real life, will you? Rhythm, intonation, etc. - are quite different. I won't speak of RnB, gangsta rap, techno... - their language is either unnatural or very specific, in the best case. So songs may be a catalyst that warms up your interest to the language, and nothing more.


- Don't be afraid if you can't understand some words when reading.

Language is not mathematics. You can't assimilate information in the same way - first this word and this grammatic rule, then next... This is how our mind "is made", he just grabs what he finds interesting, and not in one day, what on earth made you think so? HE needs time to analyze that. So read your book and if you don't understand what is "jabberwocky" - is it really this important? You understand the main plot, and you can guess about often-used words, so seldom-used ones will also, little by little, join your vocabulary. There are polyglots who recommend reading without dictionary at all, but not all people can stand it. Once you guessed what does a word or expression stand for, looking for it in the dictionary to confirm your knowledge won't do any harm.

- Read only big novels (I believe I have explained why) and only interesting to you.

Language is not an end-in-itself, it's only means for getting and exchanging information. If you meet something exciting that makes you forget that the language is foreign, results will be wonderful. But if you read some "very intelligent" classical book that you will never read in your first language, you may feel a desire to quit pretty soon. However, it's not a dogma that you should read only easy fiction. If you are fond of reading classical books - please enjoy them. And if you are interested in special literature on physics, politics, marketing, etc. - read it in foreign language, why not?

- Never mix your first language and the language you study.

Especially if you read a book and want to use its finished translation. Your goal is not understanding this very book, but "grafting" the second language into your Ego. If you want to translate a word very much - use dictionary, no one prohibits this. But if the translation is always around, you'll all the time look at it, unable to resist temptation. Will you learn something in this case? What about your language intuition? developing of thinking in the foreign language?.. they may feel free to go to sleep, as soon as the master has chosen an easy way. I won't tell that artistic translation is often unlike the original in phrases and constructions.
Note: all the aforesaid doesn't concern hieroglyphic languages. Here you can do whatever you like, for learning hieroglyphs is very difficult, and parallel texts may be a good help.

- Don't think that natives should explain you grammar of their language.

Only a philologist or a teacher is able to do it, and a general native uses all the grammatic rules intuitively. Of course do talk to them, it's very useful, sometimes you may ask them about idioms (what does it mean - "butterflies in the stomach"?). But if you want to get explanations, use grammar guide or etymological dictionary please. Don't make people feel embarrassed asking them about things they don't know and mustn't. By the way:

- Don't learn grammar rules, unless you need to pass tests or get some other formal confirmation of knowing language.

It's really very useful to read grammar guides, especially at the stage of matrix. But if you want to operate phrases and constructions automatically, thinking in foreign language will be enough. This goal can be achieved by books and films - kind of immersion, then by talking to natives or someone who knows language, etc. If you learn the table of first, second and third form of irregular verbs - you'll know this table, but when using it in real life you'll at least think a lot. If you feel such a wish to "learn" something - let it be finished phrases and turns of speech. Retelling your book may also be useful, if you like this business.


- Don't use subtitles while watching films (except for hieroglyphic languages).

It's clear, I suppose. Your purpose is not understanding this film but teaching yourself to understand the speech you hear. But if you've seen one film several times and there are some unintelligible places that you want to clear - watch the whole film with titles after this, or the difficult places only.

- Don't mix two languages belonging to one group.

If you learn Spanish and French, many similar words will mix into your mind and it'll be quite difficult to separate them, and if it's Spanish and Italian, or Spanish and Portuguese, the interference will be really awful. If you want to learn two languages at once, choose languages from different groups (e.g. German and French) and alternate them like this: three months first one - three months second one. But note that if your native language is relative to the one you study, they will mix also. Based on this, we can conclude the next rule:

- Try to contact to your native language as little as possible.

Films, songs, talk-shows... you can do without them and it's not very difficult. Only communication and reading when needed. It can do you a good turn. If you don't get any entertainment in your own language, you'll be very glad to get in in foreign one, and here, please, as many books and films as you wish.

I believe that's enough for today))
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Сообщение Н.Ф. »

Oh my, oh my, oh my! The Fuzzy One is finally unleashed! I bow before the Master...
Сергей Кевлар

Сообщение Сергей Кевлар »

Н.Ф. писал(а):Oh my, oh my, oh my! The Fuzzy One is finally unleashed! I bow before the Master...
you have a translator, I suppose
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Н.Ф. писал(а):Oh my, oh my, oh my! The Fuzzy One is finally unleashed! I bow before the Master...
Yes, I'm fuzzy and warm... and like chatting, just as a general woman is supposed to do. :lol: I wonder if it's good or bad?
Сергей Кевлар писал(а):you have a translator, I suppose
I believe that the translator is to be a native speaker of English or very close to that... It would be interesting to try to translate some easy passages, for example the beginning chapters, but when it comes to Harry Potter and obscene-sounding surnames, - here I quit in advance)))
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Сообщение Н.Ф. »

Пушистая няшечка писал(а):
Н.Ф. писал(а):Oh my, oh my, oh my! The Fuzzy One is finally unleashed! I bow before the Master...
Yes, I'm fuzzy and warm... and like chatting, just as a general woman is supposed to do. :lol: I wonder if it's good or bad?
Сергей Кевлар писал(а):you have a translator, I suppose
I believe that the translator is to be a native speaker of English or very close to that... It would be interesting to try to translate some easy passages, for example the beginning chapters, but when it comes to Harry Potter and obscene-sounding surnames, - here I quit in advance)))
It's good. It's very, very good. It's so good that...
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Well, yesterday I placed here a very long opus, that was my retelling of most important moments from FAQ. But now I see that my message is lost, as well as others'... I suppose this rollback was the Sign from Heaven :D Now I won't write anything in the English section and give a word to others, until they write as much as I did. ;) Thanks for attention.
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Сообщение Н.Ф. »

Пушистая няшечка писал(а):Well, yesterday I placed here a very long opus, that was my retelling of most important moments from FAQ. But now I see that my message is lost, as well as others'... I suppose this rollback was the Sign from Heaven :D Now I won't write anything in the English section and give a word to others, until they write as much as I did. ;) Thanks for attention.
We're moving to a new hosting and the move began yesterday. Probably it's the reason the messages disappear. I don't think it would be a good idea to post anything long for a couple of days. I'm sorry.
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Сообщение Кая З »

Пушистая няшечка писал(а):Well, yesterday I placed here a very long opus, that was my retelling of most important moments from FAQ. But now I see that my message is lost, as well as others'... I suppose this rollback was the Sign from Heaven :D Now I won't write anything in the English section and give a word to others, until they write as much as I did. ;) Thanks for attention.
It's very bad idea. You shall write more the good posts. I don't like read long ones but not yours. I read your posts carefully and not one time. Yesterday, I have some troubles with my pots. After НФ's explanations it's clear now. I think you must return this long opus. The Fuzzy Majesty is the beam of light from the sky and I shall lay myself beneath her feet.
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Сообщение Пушистая няшечка2 »

Н.Ф. писал(а):We're moving to a new hosting and the move began yesterday. Probably it's the reason the messages disappear. I don't think it would be a good idea to post anything long for a couple of days. I'm sorry.
By the way, NF, thank you very much for the paper book. It was a very nice surprise)) :D And when you said new hosting - did you really mean it? :shock: The site will have another address?
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