New blog entry here: http://haisell.net/2016/03/07/french-week-9-leverage-and-the-desert-planet/
Week 9 target: 8279 known words.
Week 9 result: 8482 known words.
Something that seems so important to me in learning a language, is this little thing called leverage. Using knowledge or skill in one field to increase your ability in another. And the more you get into learning a language the more you notice this at work. Reading massively increases your vocabulary and passive knowledge of phrases which improves your listening powers. Then you can use these abilities to leverage up to being able to write and then speak in the language. You also leverage your knowledge of similar languages to understand your target language – knowing Spanish and English are powerful tools for learning to read French. In a similar way you leverage context to figure out unknown words.
And of course you also leverage your knowledge of the subjects and content, making educated guesses about meaning in your new language. I think this is why adults can potentially learn a language quicker than children: we just have so much more knowledge to use as a tool to crack the code of a new language.
Which brings me to the Desert Planet. There are very few books that I re-read. But one book I never seem to tire of is Frank Herbert’s Dune. I’ve read in twice in English, once in Spanish and last week I started reading it in French on LingQ. Reading in LingQ provides its own form of leverage, because of the inbuilt dictionaries and the ability to clearly see the new words, and the phrases you’ve already noticed. But I am also leveraging the fact I know this novel inside out in two other languages, so that there is no chance of me getting lost, even though it is stuffed with French words I don’t know. This is why it is not reasonable to determine what level a learner should be reading based purely on the amount of new or unknown words on a page or in a text. A learner is always bringing to the party so much more than their knowledge of the target language. Their tolerance of noise in text, their knowledge of similar languages, the tools they’re using (in this case LingQ), their knowledge of the text etc.
Week 10 target: 9182 known words.