The importance of audio

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metrodorus
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The importance of audio

Post by metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:55 am

I am always banging on about Latin audio and how important it is for learning the language - but then, I would, wouldn't I? One reason I have put so much energy into audio Latin, is I think that this is incredibly important if high levels of fluency are to be reached quickly. I don't deny this can be reached by other means - but the path is possibly a much longer one - and, I think, a more impoverished one. The 19th century grammar-translation method is certainly is not suited to the vast majority of people, which is why traditional Latin programs, in my humble opinion, have such a high drop-out rate.

A language researcher in NZ has recently published some research, that stresses the importance of listening to the target language - even if you don't actually understand what you are listening to - because your brain is still picking up the grammatical patterns, and forming neural networks based on them, irrespective of meaning. He is not the first to come to this conclusion, there is a long history of similar research that reaches very similar conclusions, but what he has to say is interesting nevertheless.

Here is a copy of his press release:

Published 27 January 2009

The teaching of languages could influenced by research by Victoria University PhD graduate Paul Sulzberger.

Dr Sulzberger has found that the best way to learn a language is through frequent exposure to its sound patterns—even if you haven't a clue what it all means.

"However crazy it might sound, just listening to the language, even though you don't understand it, is critical. A lot of language teachers may not accept that," he says.

"Our ability to learn new words is directly related to how often we have been exposed to the particular combinations of the sounds which make up the words. If you want to learn Spanish, for example, frequently listening to a Spanish language radio station on the internet will dramatically boost your ability to pick up the language and learn new words."

Dr Sulzberger's research challenges existing language learning theory. His main hypothesis is that simply listening to a new language sets up the structures in the brain required to learn the words.

"Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language—which is how babies learn their first language," Dr Sulzberger says.

He was prompted to undertake the research after spending seven years teaching Russian to New Zealand students and observing drop-out patterns.

"I was very conscious of the huge difficulties students have when they tackle another language, especially at the beginning. Many drop out because they feel they are not making progress."

Dr Sulzberger says he was interested in what makes it so difficult to learn foreign words when we are constantly learning new ones in our native language. He found the answer in the way the brain develops neural structures when hearing new combinations of sounds.

"When we are trying to learn new foreign words we are faced with sounds for which we may have absolutely no neural representation. A student trying to learn a foreign language may have few pre-existing neural structures to build on in order to remember the words."

Dr Sulzberger looked for ways people could develop these structures to make the learning process easier. His finding was simple: extensive exposure to the language, something made easier by globalisation and new technology.

"It is easier to learn languages these days because they are so accessible now. You can go home and watch the news in French on the internet."

He says people trying to learn a foreign language in their home country are at a disadvantage compared to those who travel to another country and immerse themselves in its sounds and culture. For the same reason, he says, we need to rethink the way languages are taught.

"Teachers should recognise the importance of extensive aural exposure to a language. One hour a day of studying French text in a classroom is not enough—but an extra hour listening to it on the iPod would make a huge difference," Dr Sulzberger says.

"Language is a skill, it's not like learning a fact. If you want to be a weight lifter, you've got to develop the muscle - you can't learn weightlifting from a book. To learn a language you have to grow the appropriate brain tissue, and you do this by lots of listening—songs and movies are great!"
metrodorus
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I run http://latinum.org.uk which provides the Adler Audio Latin Course, other audio materials, and additional free materials on YouTube.

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:30 pm

Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can say "that is incredibly important if high levels of fluency are to be reached quickly". Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can repeat what is obvious in the words of others, and piggy-bag on titles. Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can call themselves "a simple member" (passing over ironies). It is a matter of whose audio voice you choose to listen to. Some can't discriminate and waste their time by following the loudest, self-advertising voice.

Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, potest dicere hoc: "si volubilitatem linguae quàm celerrimè adsequaris, hoc maximi momenti est." Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, potest repetare titulis modo specioso stratis verba aliorum quae omnibus clara sunt. Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, sodalem purum se vocare potest, ironias ignorans. Res spectat cuius vocem disseminatam deligas ut eam auscultes. Sunt qui discriminare nequeunt et vocem sonorissimam et autopromulgantem optant, quod effusum est.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.

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Lex
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Re: The importance of audio

Post by Lex » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:12 pm

Wow, Adrianus. It seems to me like you are slamming Metrodorus in an intentionally not very well veiled fashion. If that is truly the case, why not just come out with it, and tell us what you don't like about Metrodorus' recordings? Or have I misinterpreted you?
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:54 pm

Adriane,
It would be wonderful if there were a plethora of Latin audio out there to listen to, using restored classical pronunciation - but, there isn't. Alatius keeps a list, which is useful. I encourage people to listen to lots of voices.....and on Latinum, I have more voices than my own. I keep trying to get people who have some skill with oral Latin to produce audio and post it online.

And yes, I have put hundreds and hundreds of hours into my oral Latin materials - and of course I promote them, quite successfully. I don't make money from it - I barely cover my costs in terms of raw materials....if you include the time input - forget it. However, adult learners across the world now have access to audio Latin courses, and some 4 000 regular students have downloaded all 600 episodes of Adler. I don't pretend to be a maker of original material - any less than an actor is a playwright. What I do, is take existing material, and make it accessible.

I accept, my earlier recordings were not brilliant - but, after three years of daily recording, and checking my pronunciation against Allen and Sturtevant, and helpful crit from interested parties, I am now quite pleased with my pronunciation - which, although not perfect ( any rendition of classical Latin must necessarily have an element of artistic interpretation to it), is fit for purpose.

As things stand at present, what other extensive audio is there? As far as I am concerned, if Robert Sonkowsky is happy with my audio, then I am happy with it. You probably don't like Sonkowsky either. There is no pleasing everyone.

I'm not going to get into a fight with you. Its a free world - but it does not seem too long since you last had a kick at me. If that makes you feel good, go ahead, kick, as hard as you like. Its a free world. I'm not going to bother kicking you back.

However, what I will say is this - take care not to wreck the friendly atmosphere on this forum. People don't like the sniff of brimstone.
I run http://latinum.org.uk which provides the Adler Audio Latin Course, other audio materials, and additional free materials on YouTube.

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:20 pm

Metrodorus is free to publicize himself; I am free to respond, Lex. Some praise Metrodorus's web stuff; I don't. And elsewhere in this forum, I've criticized the materials he's published. Anyone can track back. I just think it remiss, when I see self-advertising that may be misleading, not to sound a cautionary note.

Libenter, Lex, Metrodorus se promulgare potest; libenter ego respondam. Sunt aliqui opera Metrodori interretialia laudantes. Non sum eiscum, et alibi in hoc foro ea quae ille vir emissa est compellavi (ut facilè verificetur). Cum sui promulgationem video quae decipere potest , aptum et, mihi sententià, necesse est ut discordiae notam sonem.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:32 pm

Metrodorus wrote:You probably don't like Sonkowsky either. There is no pleasing everyone.
I think Sonkowsky's recordings are wonderful. I think they're real, and by a good latinist.
Impressiones sonituum de Sonkowsky valdè amo. Eas puras esse habeo et a bonâ latinistâ factas.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.

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Lex
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Re: The importance of audio

Post by Lex » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:05 pm

adrianus wrote:Metrodorus is free to publicize himself; I am free to respond, Lex.
Sure. I'm not saying you shouldn't criticize others if you truly think that's called for. God knows I do it all the time. What I'm saying is that if you're going to take a shot at somebody's character, then you should do it forthrightly, instead of shooting him in the back with weaselly, passive-aggressive innuendo like "Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low". Know what I mean?
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:14 pm

Adriane,

If you have any specific crit of my pronunciation, then please give specific examples from my more recent recordings, where you think I am off the mark, and where there is no suport in the academic literature for the choices I have made.

I think, after your public attack on my pronunciation, I have a right to demand specific critique of consistent errors in my pronunciation, and by specific, I mean words, cited examples, etc specific recordings, with references from my more recent recordings. There is no point giving crit on my older recordings, as I have been adjusting my pronunciation by slight degrees as time goes on.
I run http://latinum.org.uk which provides the Adler Audio Latin Course, other audio materials, and additional free materials on YouTube.

metrodorus
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Re: The importance of audio

Post by metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:39 pm

Re promotion of Latinum - here is some more unashamed promotion.

Latinum is popular, because people enjoy using it. No-one forces anyone to use it. I know a number of Latin teachers who use it, in order to give themselves access to Corderius, and the like. I regularly speak with some of these teachers in Latin face to face using the video chatroom on Schola.

A quick look at the stats for visitors to Latinum over the last few months will show some surprising things - increasing numbers of users in China and the former Soviet Union, and quite large clusters of users in Iran, of all places. I have been tracking the spread of users across the former USSR - this is obviously being driven by chat rooms/discussion fora within those countries. The same goes for South America, users within the Americas must be coming to the site from notices in Spanish and Portuguese on various discussion boards that I don't contribute to, as of modern languages, I only know English, French and Hebrew. If someone produced a good Chinese Latin course, they would, it seems to me, be onto a winner.

http://eclassics.ning.com/profiles/blog ... m-update-1
I run http://latinum.org.uk which provides the Adler Audio Latin Course, other audio materials, and additional free materials on YouTube.

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Re: The importance of audio

Post by adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:33 pm

I checked back in Textkit. I've criticized Metrodorus's promotion of his recordings because they were published in a way that risked misleading the unsuspecting about his skills as a Latinist. I criticized his advertising about their suitability for achieving quick and easy fluency. I criticized the quality of the teaching materials he had authored. I criticized him for sloppy referencing. I criticized his site design. I criticized him for gathering information on his website for dating purposes (as he himself said). I criticized his promoting highly dubious (and that's putting it mildly) images in Textkit and arguing they were suitable for schoolchildren. Here is Metrodorus's own assessment of his character: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). And if Metrodorus ever did things better as a result of those criticisms, that has to be good. Funny enough, even though I don't like them, I don't think I've ever publicly criticized Metrodorus for the quality of his recordings. But I would rather listen to someone speaking who has got good latin!

Verificavi in hoc foro. Promulgationem impressionum sonituum Metrodori incusavi quae incuriosis clarè eius habilitatem humilem non declamaverunt. Assertiones seu praeconia etiam invitavi, quae de linguae volubilitate celere facileque dicunt. Qualitatem libellorum docendi quos scripsisti momordi. Et eius systematem negligens ad annotationem referendi. Et deformationem sitûs. Et collectionem datorum ad constituta romantica facienda (ut dixit Metrodorus). Et promulgationem imaginum eroticarum (et deteriùs) in hoc foro et apologiam discipulis unûs. Ecce quod dicit Metrodorus de personâ suâ: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). Si aliquod meliùs eveniit eâ ratione argumentorum illorum, bonus est eventus, nonné? At, nisi fallor, nunquam heic contra qualitatem impressionum sonituum arqui. Quod iocosum est quià, verum dicere, eam saepè non amo, et aliquem bonum latinistam auscultare malo.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.

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