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Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

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Are teaching methods that stress speaking better than traditional methods?

speaking methods are best
6
43%
there are advantages to both approaches
5
36%
traditional methods are best
3
21%
both approaches are mistaken
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 14

Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby daivid » Fri May 03, 2013 7:38 pm

It seems odd that here speaking methods seem to have universal support
while in the wider world traditional methods still rule.
I thought it would be interesting to check whether we are really as unanimous as we seem to be
Last edited by daivid on Fri May 03, 2013 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby Scribo » Fri May 03, 2013 7:52 pm

Depends on the type of language and your goal really. I've never heard anybody advocate for spoken Akkadian...
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri May 03, 2013 8:40 pm

David

the subject has been discussed for a long time on b-greek. Not that it isn't worth discussing but after listening to second language advocates for a decade and a half, it does get old. The topic has now probably surpassed verb aspect which was previously the undisputed winner of the over discussed topics award. Verb aspect was very 1990s, but it never seems to stop being talked about.

I am NOT trying to shut down this thread. I don't like it when other come along and say "thats a boring question why ask it?" have had that happen to me more times than I can count. It should be pretty obvious that there are lots of people interested in talking about this.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby daivid » Fri May 03, 2013 8:45 pm

Scribo wrote:Depends on the type of language and your goal really. I've never heard anybody advocate for spoken Akkadian...

I probably should have specified that this was for ancient Greek.
Not know much about the extent of Akkadian literature, I am curious as to why it goes without saying that speaking Akkadian would not be a useful way of leaning the language.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby daivid » Fri May 03, 2013 8:55 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:the subject has been discussed Ad nauseam on b-greek. Not that it isn't worth discussing but after listening to second language advocates for a decade and a half, it does get old. The topic has now probably surpassed verb aspect which was previously the undisputed winner of the over discussed topics award. Verb aspect was very 1990s, but it never seems to stop being talked about.


The very reason that I created this poll because I had a suspicion that reason that debates on the issue are so one sided is not because everyone agrees but because those who disagree find the topic uninspiring. Of course they may just ignore the poll but clicking a button demands less than getting involved in a full debate.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri May 03, 2013 9:16 pm

daivid wrote: I had a suspicion that reason that debates on the issue are so one sided is not because everyone agrees but because those who disagree find the topic uninspiring.


David,

Actually it would be great to have a language community who spoke the Greek of Aeschylus or Sophocles. But there doesn't seem to be two scholars that say the words the same way. When I was auditing Elizabeth Vandiver's excellent courses on Attic Tragedy I noticed her Greek had an accent. Something that people who grew up in the Pacific North West (PNW) notice because we don't have an accent[1]. The biggest shock listening to Elizabeth Vandiver was her rendering of CHI which sounded kind of like a rough aspiration with no hard sounds, just air. Phonology is not my strong suit. I stay away from it like I did calculus in college.

[1] as accents are measured in USA — American English, PNW is about as close to neutral as you are going to find. It isn't totally neutral but in comparison to the John F. Kennedy's rendering of Clam Chowder which would be nearly unintelligible, would draw blank stares from a waitress if you were ordering soup at Ivar's on the Seattle Waterfront, the Ch sound in Chowder the way we say it is similar to the sound of greek CHI but that is probably wrong assuming that Elizabeth Vandiver knows what she is talking about.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby Scribo » Fri May 03, 2013 9:23 pm

I got that you meant Greek (hence why its in learning Greek) I was just being facetious. I don't think I've ever heard Assyrologists have this debate whereas it comes up quite a bit on the internet for Greek. I personally have never joined for varying reasons though I always find other people's opinions on this interesting. Though I can never remember the consensus.

I DO find it interesting how often this debate is confined to Greek though as per my own earlier (unfunny? :( :cry: ) joke whereas, e.g, Indologists tend to force themselves to learn Sanskrit communicatively or else not be considered proficient and Latin seems to occupy a midway point.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby daivid » Fri May 03, 2013 10:41 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Actually it would be great to have a language community who spoke the Greek of Aeschylus or Sophocles. But there doesn't seem to be two scholars that say the words the same way. When I was auditing Elizabeth Vandiver's excellent courses on Attic Tragedy I noticed her Greek had an accent. Something that people who grew up in the Pacific North West (PNW) notice because we don't have an accent[1]. The biggest shock listening to Elizabeth Vandiver was her rendering of CHI which sounded kind of like a rough aspiration with no hard sounds, just air. Phonology is not my strong suit. I stay away from it like I did calculus in college..


A few weeks a ago I spent a day with a guy from Paris and when I met him his English accent was so bad (or so I thought) that I could not understand him. By lunchtime I no longer had problems understanding him. By the evening - "accent? what accent?"

If we are talking about regular classes then I don't see this as a problem though it might be for random skype encounters. Nonetheless, am right in assuming that consider trad methods even if mainly from practical considerations? If so, why not vote? - if you don't it will look too like an old style Stalinist election.:-)
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best?

Postby daivid » Fri May 03, 2013 10:45 pm

Scribo wrote:
I DO find it interesting how often this debate is confined to Greek though as per my own earlier (unfunny? :( :cry: ) joke whereas, e.g, Indologists tend to force themselves to learn Sanskrit communicatively or else not be considered proficient and Latin seems to occupy a midway point.


I do tend to take jokes literally even face to face - on the internet the problem is much worse.:oops:
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby pster » Sat May 04, 2013 1:55 pm

Among people who improvise music (ie those who actually compose in real time) there is unanimity about the importance of singing every note you play on your instrument. You read that right. There is nobody who disagrees. Some folks admit they are lazy and don't do it as much as they should. Moreover, many rank it as the single most important thing. By singing the notes, one learns to hear them ahead of time in one's head. And keep in mind that is for people who (for the most part) don't actually utter the notes when it comes time to actually perform.

Anybody claiming that speaking methods are not the best for a language needs to explain why language is so different from music despite its possessing most of the properties of music, such as rhythm, pitch, similar phrase lengths, etc, and an overlapping history in poetry.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby daivid » Sat May 04, 2013 4:41 pm

pster wrote:Among people who improvise music (ie those who actually compose in real time) there is unanimity about the importance of singing every note you play on your instrument. You read that right. There is nobody who disagrees. Some folks admit they are lazy and don't do it as much as they should. Moreover, many rank it as the single most important thing. By singing the notes, one learns to hear them ahead of time in one's head.


When I check for Ancient Greek courses in London I can only find traditional text book orientated courses. Your post suggests to the reason why. Watching Christophe Rico on youtube it is clear that he is above all else a performer who lacks any fear of looking foolish. It is not something everyone can pull off.
By contrast, taking a class through a text book is something everyone can do. So much so that I find it hard to see what those kind of courses offer that I can't do myself at home with a text book.

I have started following Σαῦλος' advice to read aloud with exaggerated emphasis. It is hard work - you have to pay much more attention to how much each individual word contributes to the meaning - not simply the meaning of each sentence as a whole. On the basis that it is hard because you are using more of your brain it ought to be more effective - at least I hope so - time will tell.

But the other half of Christophe Rico's method is that it is communicative and that I suggest is as important as the rhythm-pitch aspect. In his classes people speak and as a result others respond by taking action. Given that any individual is speaking only a small part of the time that must be as important a part of his method.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby Scribo » Sat May 04, 2013 4:51 pm

pster wrote:Among people who improvise music (ie those who actually compose in real time) there is unanimity about the importance of singing every note you play on your instrument. You read that right. There is nobody who disagrees. Some folks admit they are lazy and don't do it as much as they should. Moreover, many rank it as the single most important thing. By singing the notes, one learns to hear them ahead of time in one's head. And keep in mind that is for people who (for the most part) don't actually utter the notes when it comes time to actually perform.


First I misread that as sort of...singing what you play and imagined trying to sing some of the more complex jazz solos or death metal pieces and laughed. I've never heard that btw, despite going through rigorous classical training when younger and having met several such musicians before absconding to the dark side. You know, where they can actually play as in improvise and compose not just sight read. That being jazz, metal etc. I mean we're expected some familiarity with sung notes within a few registers but in order for me to reproduce every sound on a guitar I'd have to be a decent singer. Pianists tend to be, sure. But not I. Anyway interesting thanks.

Anybody claiming that speaking methods are not the best for a language needs to explain why language is so different from music despite its possessing most of the properties of music, such as rhythm, pitch, similar phrase lengths, etc, and an overlapping history in poetry.


Again, interesting, but I think you're mixing up things here. Obviously value is placed on vocalising and so on, whether reading along to prose or metre, but the question is one of whether a communicative approach is worth while. Which actually has a lot of its own problems and questions.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby pster » Sat May 04, 2013 5:50 pm

@ Scribo.

Yes, I'm talking about the guys and gals who actually need to fully understand Western harmony to do what they do, which basically means jazz musicians and classical composers. Your typical classical music student and your typical metal guy will confess that they have a rather limited understanding. When you send junior off for violin lessons, the vast majority of the effort is put into teaching him the technique required to produce a good tone and then teaching him how to reproduce the the notes he sees on the page. One could even say that junior doesn't really know the meaning of what he is playing. If you ask him to identify the subdominant minor features of what he is playing, he will likely give you a blank stare. Professional jazz musicians operate at a much much higer level. If the soloist decides to send the tune in a Dorian direction, then the other musicians will hear that and respond with suitable backing immediately. It's in that interchange that one finds the greatest analogy to language use. Dialogue as opposed to monologue.

Yes, I may be confusing things. I am not sure exactly what the rival methods are since they weren't described at the outset of the thread. But my point was rich enough that I figured it would probably sway the balance almost no matter how the methods are described. :lol:
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby Scribo » Sat May 04, 2013 6:40 pm

Oh no I definitely get that, as I said I absconded from my original classical background into genres like Jazz because of that. I did get a rigorous training in theory but probably learnt more just playing around with Jazz musicians. I would say that I didn't always understand what the hell I was playing, it just...happened. I jokingly call this stuff the dark side simply because how...phenomenal it is. Actually its even kind of helpful to me academically when dealing with musical fragments or parallel stuff from ethnomusicology and so on even though I've forgotten most.

Its certainly not you that's confusing things, its everyone really. Which is what I allude to when I talk about the problems with stuff, there are too many variables and too many problems.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby cristianovalois » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:44 pm

Yes, there is this book called Pólis: Parler le Grec Ancien comme une langue vivante, whose author, Christophe Rico, is an Ancient Greek professor in Tel Aviv. The book is accompanied by an audio CD and intends to be the first in a series aimed at teaching Greek with the methods used in teaching modern tongues, instead of the traditional material, focused on Grammar. I remind you that Grammars were used in the ancient world as pedagogical means for teaching a language to foreign studies, of course this approach is outdated, since they rely on the repetition of unrealistic phrases, say "The wife od Titus is going for a promenade with her two happy servants". As far as I know, you can find translations of M. Rico's manual in Italian and German. But pay heed: the Greek variant chosen by the author is the Koinè, though this does not detract from its utility, since anyone who knows Attic will point to the fact that the Koinè is a later universalized form of Attic, it is basically the same, take my word, the differences you can easily learn by yourself, such as pronunciation, which follows the rule that written Greek is litteral Attic and then suffers changes into the hellenistic variant.
Other interesting book is Johannides' Sprechen Sie Attisch?, a sort of travel guide containing everyday phrases in Ancient Greek. It dates back to the 19th century, so it is public domain, and you can find on Internet several independent translations into English.
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Re: Are teaching methods that stress speaking best? (Poll)

Postby daivid » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:10 am

cristianovalois wrote: But pay heed: the Greek variant chosen by the author is the Koinè, though this does not detract from its utility, since anyone who knows Attic will point to the fact that the Koinè is a later universalized form of Attic, it is basically the same, take my word, the differences you can easily learn by yourself, such as pronunciation, which follows the rule that written Greek is litteral Attic and then suffers changes into the hellenistic variant.

Rico decided to make the pronunciation Attic on the grounds that the Koine spelling does not reflect the pronunciation changes and to have a pronunciation at odds with the spelling would life difficult for learners.
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