Reading aloud for better memorisation and improved pronunciation

I have started reading aloud - i.e. pausing and repeating recorded content for new material (often numerous times until my pronunciation begins to approximate the native speaker) and am finding this is helping me a lot with improving pronunciation and fluency (ability to string many words together without stumbling). Another effect is that trying to say the word really helps me “notice” the sounds contained in the word.

Although lingq is primarily a passive platform it is also ideal for “active” vocalisation of language. There are a number of studies that found a “production effect” on memorisation both short term and longer term - words are better remembered if enunciated.

Does anyone use this method - have insights about it?

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Yes, this is a tried and true way of learning a language. Assimil, and similar programs are pretty much built around this.

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Unfortunately Assimil doesn’t have more advanced courses for Arabic which is what I am focussing on at the moment.

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I didn’t know this. But I naturally tried to read everything in french a loud so I get familiar with the pronunciation and the details of the languaje. So far is going well, and without doubt is better than just read the content in my mind.

I have thought about doing this myself when I want to focus more on production instead of just input. My idea was to listen to a sentence or a few sentences and then repeat them back with correct grammar. I’ll be interested to see how well this works for you. Also, could you recommend any good Arabic sites for beginners to download material? I’ve used the lessons from Aljazeera but haven’t done a ton of searching otherwise. I plan on hitting Arabic a little harder once I get my other languages a little further along.

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t_harangi,
Did you learn German grammar through completing the Assimil course? Was it really beneficial in this regard?

I read aloud much of the time. Less so as I’ve progressed, unless it’s a new word that’s difficult to pronounce, that I want to attempt to say aloud.

Not too much insight on it. It just seemed to be the right thing to do to try and mimic what I hear out of the audio material. I’ve always thought it made sense to do to get pronunciation correct.

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Finding good material for Arabic can be a bit of a struggle. Before I found lingq I used an online course called Madina Arabic. It is heavily focussed on understanding grammar, but introduces a limited basic vocabulary stepped up very gradually. Book 1 in particular is good in this way. It is entirely about learning to read the Qur’an as an end goal but starts with simple sentences and every day samples. It has free course books and online videos and audio accompanying the text. LQ Toronto - Learn the language of the Qur'an Madina Arabic - Book 1 - DVD 01 - Part A1 - YouTube A delightful gentleman by the name of Dr Asif teaches it with quirky dad jokes humour. Completing book 1 gives a good grasp of key grammar principles which Dr Asif drills you on as well as a basic vocab. It takes time and while I don’t remember all of the grammar, it has stood me in good stead and gives me an instinct about what I am reading. Something entirely different are graded readers and videos for children “The rabbit jumped etc” is good for beginners - and a new set of vocabulary. alefbata.com (it is not free but not terribly expensive) and takes you from kindergarten to about age 8 - which is more advanced than it sounds. You can do a few lessons for free. Neither of these are practical to import into lingq, I think. Again another religious source is the Bible - it has both text in Arabic plus hundreds of languages and audio recordings - which are available for download at MP3 Downloads - Faith Comes By Hearing The easy to read versions of the Bible, are probably about intermediate 1 to advanced 1 on lingq - these can be matched with easy to read versions on sites like biblegateway. Of course no modern vocabulary. However this has been the main content I’ve used to improve my arabic - it works - and at least some diversity in topics if you choose different chapters. I have tried searching for books on amazon - if you include “Arabic edition” in the search you can get a list of books available in arabic and you usually get the first chapter of a work as a sample at no cost. No recording though. e.g. Harry Potter series. I bought one of them but unfortunately you can only copy a few chapters for import into lingq before you reach the copy limit. arabcast.org has many many books some with audio recordings (e.g. works by Kahlil Gibran), but not practical to import - probably more an advanced site - it can be joined for free. Depending on your Arabic level there is historical drama series on Haroun Al Rashid - a combination of Days of our Lives and Game of Thrones - the scripting is a little unimaginative - which is good for language learning - a lot of repeated vocab and I am finding it a bit easier than other videos. Modern standard arabic with english subs. Harun Al Rashid Episode 1 with English subtitle - YouTube If anyone knows others, I’m keen to find new material.

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Thank you very much for the detailed response! I’ve bookmarked these recommendations for a later time when I start really digging into Arabic.

Yes, I did complete both Assimil books doing reading out loud and shadowing etc. which I found to be very useful. And part of what’s good about Assimil is the grammar explanations, but he thing with me and German grammar, or any grammar for that matter, is that I have a really hard time “learning it” so I don’t actually try. Especially with German with all the different word tense tables, I get supper bored very fast with that stuff. I end up just trying to grasp the main point and then try to absorb through input. But then again, I don’t have to take tests on it. All I have to do is understand it well enough to read and watch movies unassisted, and speak it well enough to feel comfortable. I can do both so the rest I just have to feel out over time.

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Yes this is called shadowing or the echo method. Extremely useful for intermediate or higher level learners. Beginners not so much, because they can’t even hear all the sounds correctly, let along produce them.

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glad to see this thread. I have been wondering about this. I am an older (much much older) student learning Greek. so far I am up to about mini story 25, after doing about 6 months of sentences and vocabulary on Duo Lingo. I have been doing all of my mini story reading out loud. How about other people? When to switch to silent reading? Am I slowing myself down reading out loud. I would like to hear others experiences.

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I usually read in my head so I didn’t think of it until a tutor told me my speaking had got worse (this was after 4 months of lingq). I knew my reading/comprehension had improved out of sight - so had to do something. I agree about hearing the sounds. I am noticing sounds now that I didn’t even hear before. Particularly vowels.

Exactly. That’s why I will start shadowing once I hit the 3000h mark in my listening in German which I am planning to do by the end of this year. Hence, I am just focusing on getting used to the language through listening to audiobooks and following along with its corresponding text. Additionally, watching dubbed TV shows. One more observation I have noticed is that once I cross the 2100h mark in listening my subconscious mind is already “perceiving” long words in German as they are simple English words. And, already pronouncing German numbers like they are simply written in English. All of this is happening due to the massive amount of listening I have done over the course of 16 months. No forced speaking practice as of yet. No shadowing. I buy into Matt vs Japan’s philosophy when he said that without any forced practice he was able to speak sentences fluently in Japanese with just focusing on accumulating a lot of input for 2 years. 6-8 hours every day.

Hmmm. Why wait? You are likely not going to produce them correctly if you wait until intermediate or higher. It takes practice. One might suggest that if one starts trying to pronounce things earlier that they will learn an incorrect pronunciation. I don’t agree. It will be incorrect at first, but as one listens and practices more they will start to notice the differences between the proper pronunciation.

I’ve noticed this for myself. I read aloud most of the time early on. No doubt I wasn’t pronouncing things correctly, but as time has progressed I do much better. Certain sounds in German I have noticed and changed how I say them. Certain sounds are still very difficult to do for me (can’t roll an R for example), but I do hear it and notice the difference between what I’m doing and a native.

That isn’t to say you can’t wait, but I see no reason to deliberately wait and I think it probably is more beneficial the earlier you start, as you can start to notice these things earlier.

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I agree with Eric, I find that doing repetition and shadowing at the very beginning is more beneficial for many reasons:
– With Assimil and similar courses, the earlier lessons are kinda timed and built to make for better repetition exercises.
– The early lessons allow you to practice the most common, “Hi how are you – my name is – I would like a…” etc etc. phrases that are good get used to saying.
– It allows you cement the language early and get speaking earlier

But as you progress, the lessons get longer and more complicated, and reading them out loud becomes more of a “chore.” I still did it with the advanced Assimil books, but reading out an advanced lesson from the second half of the “Using” series is like delivering a Ted talk – of course it’s useful, but it gets exhausting. You don’t deliver Ted talks in normal everyday conversations.

The third phase is when it actually gets less useful for me : Reading books. If you try to read “regular” books out loud you’ll notice that you’re loosing a grasp on meaning / story as you concentrate more on reproduction, turning a fun passive activity into an exhausting work session.

Again, to be clear, reading anything out loud is VERY USEFUL if you want to get really good at speaking. So reading a book out lout is of course a useful activity and you’d get very good at the language if you read an entire book out loud to yourself – it’s just that for me, in a practical sense, I would rather just enjoy reading and listening to books as a passive thing and then practice speaking separately.

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I was wondering how you keep track of your hours? I spend 2 hours listening while driving 5 days a week, listening to audio books while in the pool a few times a week, daily videos, 2-3 30 mintues of working with a tutor daily, plus lingq and tv. I have no way of keeping track of what I listen to.

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t_harangi, I am thinking about shadowing a television show that I have already seen. In that sense, I am not gunning for understanding. If it carries subtitles in TL, then I can see the written transcript while listening to it at the same time and then reproducing it. Do you agree with this idea?

If that’s what you really wanna do, I’m sure it will help, but it will be a chore. There are a lot of things you can do with TV material like that, such as using the 15 sec rewind button on Netflix and similar platform to repeat stuff, but I myself always found that using this type of material for anything else other than just watching TV ends up being too much hassle – again, for me personally. I find books and with audio are just a lot more suitable for things like this. But if that’s what you want to do, by all means do it.

Another point: when it comes to advanced reproduction, I feel that these types of exercises don’t accomplish what we think they do. What really helps is actual conversations – hearing someone express something a certain way, having someone correct you when you express something wrongly, etc. Listening to passive material and repeating it doesn’t do quite the same thing.

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Let’s assume - I am currently at 2100h and I need to reach the 3000h mark by the end of the year. So I did a simple calculation ok at max I need to listen 6 hours a day to reach it.
I print out a calendar online. Put it up on the wall. Once I hit 6-hour mark in a day, I tick off a day with a pen (takes only a couple of seconds) and by the end of the year, I will know how many hours I have listened.
Everything you listen to has a recorded time be it audiobooks, videos, conversations etc. You can calculate the total hours of listening in a day and record it somewhere before going to sleep. Hardly takes a few minutes. Maybe create an excel sheet. It is true that I have done most of my listening on a laptop and iPhone which I have in my room. I do not listen to anything in German while going to a toilet, going to a grocery store, or taking a walk.
Fortunately, as you can see that it is possible to track your listening hours. My learning style is different than yours. I do not do 30 minutes 4 sessions spreading over a day. My activity is either watching 4 episodes in one go or listen to an audiobook for 4 hours. I am not dealing with a tutor at the moment. I am not writing anything. As for reading I only do my reading at LingQ. Thus, they are being tracked automatically.
It is a simple calculation at the end of the day nothing complex about it.

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