Turn the Page

Well after about 4.5 months, I’ve lost almost all confidence in my so-called osmosis technique – that is, learning Tibetan just by listening to an hour a day of news in the language.

What I’ve found is that now, 134 days later, as I listen to the audio each day on my ipod – usually while doing something else – my brain pretty much totally tunes out everything as if it were just background noise or classical music.

So it’s not that I’m frustrated by a slow rate of learning. I feel like I’m no longer acquiring any new words. I’m even forgetting some of what I’ve learned! 😡

Of course things might be different if I were to lay down, close my eyes, and really listen hard to the hour of audio each day. I just don’t have the time to do that right now.

And my experience tells me that if I did have the time, I’d get a higher rate of return if I used that hour to instead:
• study a good Tibetan textbook,
• watch Tibetan TV, or
• take a Tibetan Skype lesson with Sonam.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the audio osmosis technique didn’t really work. It seemed too good to be true, and if it was such an easy way to acquire a language, everyone would be doing it.

So my plan is to abandon the daily audio and see what time I can find for the more efficient learning methods mentioned above…

5 thoughts on “Turn the Page”

  1. I’ve found that listening is a great technique if you already have a good understanding of a language as written and want to gain a listening comprehension, but I’ve also found that I almost always learn to read and write a language before I learn to hear and speak it. This is mainly because written (especially typed) words are not ambiguous and are easier to look up and recognize.

  2. I guess my hope was to be able to acquire listening comprehension of a language as a baby does, w/o studying. Maybe it would have worked if I were truly immersed, but an hour a day of audio didn’t seem to be doing the trick. 🙁

    I agree that listening is immensely helpful once you understand a language’s basics. I studied German at university and rarely speak it now but can still understand it well b/c I often listen to the news in German via podcast. 🙂

  3. psst!

    try searching on tibetan on soulseek (www.slsknet.org).

    if your lucky you’ll find what you’re looking for. (i did.)

  4. Listening to the news is not a good way of acquiring “listening comprehension of a language as a baby does, without studying”. Think about how a baby really learns language: He doesn’t _start_ by listening to the news! His parents name simple objects for him, praise him when he repeats, give him very simple 2 word commands etc. They repeat until he understands and responds, then increase the complexity of the language directed at him. If your input were really like what a baby hears and interacts with, your “osmosis” technique would work, I think.

  5. Good point, Leigh. Too bad I can’t rent some Tibetan parents for a few months. 🙂

    Perhaps a better method for someone using the internet to learn a language is to first develop reading comprehension – then at least you have some sort of foundation in place that you can leverage when then beginning to work on listening comprehension.

    Thanks for writing
    -lumi

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