Monday, January 29, 2007

Thai Word of the Week

A couple of the language blogs I follow have recently posted about "overlearning" (see AJ's post and Jeremy's posts). "Overlearning", as I understand it, is reviewing material beyond the point where it is understood, in order to acquire it at a much deeper level. I had not heard of this previously, but it sounds like a good idea.

I want to experiment with posting a weekly vocabulary word to this blog. I'll also post an audio clip and transcript of a sentence from a news broadcast that uses the word. This gives me the chance to overlearn the word by listening intensively to a native speaker saying the word in context. As part of my Thai study for the week, I'll spend at least a cumulative half-hour repeatedly listening to the clip.

By the way, if you have any other references on overlearning itself, I'd be interested to read them.


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huma79 said...

Interesting.. i found this link as well about overlearning

Peter said...

Thanks, Scott, for those links about overlearning.

I've been using overlearning with my teacher for two years now. Here is one example of how we do it:

I use the Audacity software you show in your blog links. My teacher reads and records my current lesson into an Audacity file. He speaks slowly, a phrase at a time: 2-4 words.

After he's recorded the lesson, I go back into Audacity and use copy & paste. In the visual editor, it is easy to see each phrase segment. I'll copy each segment, then paste it five (5) times. And I'll add enough silence between each phrase so that I can repeat it myself. That way I hear him say the same phrase five times. And I repeat it five times. (You could easily do the same with recorded radio broadcasts by first importing them into Audacity.)

Then I take that entire track and export it into an MP3 file. Can listen on my MP3 player while on the treadmill at the gym or out walking around the park.

Using Audacity and MP3 to make recordings of repeating phrases, has been a useful format for overlearning practice.

Overlearning seems to work well. Now Bangkok taxi drivers understand when I say where I want to go. So I'm eager for more ideas about overlearning. If you have other techniques, I hope you'll post about them.

-- Peter
-- Bangkok

Scott Imig said...

Thanks for the ideas and the link!

That Orville Jenkins site has some interesting thoughts on learning tonal languages, in addition to the overlearning article.

Glad to get your update and information about your study techniques, Peter. Sounds like it's going well.

Jeremy said...

Good luck with using Overlearning. It takes a lot of dedication as overlearning takes a long time for each bit you want to learn but it's worth it.

Scott Imig said...

Thanks, Jeremy, for your posts on overlearning. I'm looking forward to reading more about this on your blog.