The language learning curve
I've seen a learning photography curve that has inspired me to create a "Learning a New Language" curve on my own.
It's the general idea, it doesn't take into account the "plateau" phases, the doubts you may have etc. So, what do you think? Where are you on that curve?
Note: here is the link to the enlarged pic: http://i.imgur.com/hx6GhYH.jpg
I think the reality is much more nuanced than this graph. I believe that how good you are at a language is directly related to how much exposure you have had to it, because being 'good' at any language is an excercise in mimicry more than anything else.
I can read all five of the languages I have duo flags for, I would never have been able to progress so easily throught the tree if I couldn't, and reading is often cited as the easiest skill to develop - this makes sense becase I can slow down to make sense of things, and no one is waiting for me to respond. My hearing comprehension is in second place, I can recognise so many words in so many different languages, that watching any news program reporting on a different country makes my brain fight between the interpreter and the person being interviewed, like trying to listen to two people at once. I started being exposed to French when I was 5 years old, and I learned it naturally because it was the thing to do, and I decided to study German at around 25 years old on a whim, and while I still find it frustratingly difficult to add much to a conversation, I understand at least 75 percent of what is said. I'm not going to win any debates on politics or religion anywhere in the world, but you could drop me anywhere in western europe with nothing but a bag of clothes, and not only would I survive, I would enjoy the experience immensely - I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
What I don't have, is any sense of focus. Languages to me offer the 'tyranny of choice'. I have no idea which one will serve me best in my life, so I try and devote time to as many as I think I can swallow. It doesn't always work out for the best, but there isn't a language I have tried that I don't like - to put that in perspective, before I tried to actually understand German, if I am honest, no, I didn't really like it, superficially because of the harsh and monotone sound of it to my ears. But when I sincerely tried, I found a world that was deeper than my expectations.
Anyway the point I am trying to make to counterbalance your wonderfully simple infographic, is that I don't think anyone actually struggles to learn languages. I think people just fall in love with them, and that how good they are at them is a simple function of how long they have been in love. I think that would make a much nicer graph.
thanks :-) in fact, I think I might be going back and forth on that confidence thing... One second I'm "My Spanish is so freakin' good, I understand everything" and the next one (usually watching a movie or eavesdropping...) I'm "I suck. I suck, I suck, I suck and I'll never be able to understand everything." :-)
Where did the chart come from? It's very fun!
I'm in that second phase. But, I'm also practicing a lot less these days. (I used to do 500pts a day. Now i'm getting a little above or below 100.) Time for me to spend more time practicing! :D
PS The graph is very visually pleasing to me, with the low stim colors and the rounded wave-like curves. I might save a copy just to look at while I'm going through the morning 40, in case any notifications set me particularly on edge. :)
I think the graph is probably an accurate representation for many people, but I too watched tv/(tried to) read books before I ever attempted conservation. But that may just be lack of people to practice language with and my overall low-language confidence level.
(I am a 'from scratch' learner - pre-duolingo, I hadn't even taken a Spanish lesson, ever)
It's just general, don't take it too specifically. It just depends on what you practice. For example my Spanish and French background knowledge is pretty solid, so I read a lot of books in those languages and it's not too hard, but when I meet actual speakers I find it difficult to talk with them. It just depends on the skills you practice.
Wow, this is cool! Thanks! :) As for me, with Italian I think I'm over the "first movie/book" part, and my self-confidence has been recovering since.
As for my other language, Japanese, I'm afraid my green curve has reached the minimum, where the two lines meet for the first time...
I'm way past the first movie and the first book in Spanish, and my confidence had recovered; but then I downloaded some Spanish comedies, with people using a lot of slang (I guess, I don't understand everything, but they say "Joder" and "Ostia" a lot) and my self-confidence started drowning again.
When i started learning another language it was with the intention that i wanted to experience other books/films in their native language.
After being a 'beginner' for some time now, i can say i still have no real idea about another language, but im far enough to know i have a long hard slog ahead! The 'experience' element in Duolingo helps break down the journey somewhat. But to be honest, now i get an idea of how far i need to progress to even enjoy a 'young adults' book in another lnguage. Im thinking maybe m time is best spent elsewhere.
If you think your time could be spent better elsewhere, you have to ask yourself both how much time you are spending on study and what else you could be spending it on. It might take you five years to become comfortable with a language, but you can do it spending only 10 minutes a day. You can waste that much time on facebook, or on youtube skating videos, or on folding all your underwear, or on making posts on the internet like I am doing right now ;)
The point of duolingo is to make the minimum amount of study necessary accessible to everyone. If you spend 10 minutes in a taxi or a bus every day, or if you read the paper while trying to sleep, that’s time that can be diverted to opening up a whole new world for you. You don't have to go completely native, it is just adding to the parts of the world you understand. You also shouldn't underestimate the achievement of being able to read a young adults' book, because it is 90% of the vocabulary you will ever need to know, it is just lacking the nuance of scientific, mathematical and historical vocabulary etc, which becomes self evident in context anyway,
I understand what you mean, as I sometimes find myself thinking "this is pointless! I'll never achieve native speaker level (Spanish) / fluency (German) !"
But then, I agree with chilvence: isn't it a much better way to spend your time? You may not become fluent in a month, it may take you 5 years, but what will you take from watching videos on youtube for 5 years? Nothing; you are indeed far better off playing with the owl 10 minutes or 30 minutes a day than wasting time on facebook or Candy Crush.
But then, if this is time you could spend doing some sports, hanging out with friends, playing an instrument or whatever else, yes, it might not be the best use of your time if you aren't really motivated and don't really care, in the end, whether you learn the language or not.
This is fun. I don't think you have quite as many cross over points as you need though. I am regularly finding myself out thinking that I am better than I am.
It might be fun to put a graphic at the crossover points, something like a hand slapping a forehead :), just to catch the emotion of it.