This is pretty amazing, I think.
I now have a 2-year streak on Duolingo; plus I worked my way through the entire Lingvist French sequence.
I’m also 2000 words into a Memrise French vocabulary list and have done a few of the regular French lessons.
I can now read this tweet efficiently, without looking anything up:
For a while now, I’ve been studying both French and Spanish every day, so we’ll see how that goes. (Spanish is the language I studied when I was young — don’t want to “lose” it while I’m studying French…)
Nearly all of my progress comes from language apps. I’ve done a bit of reading: two graphic novels and some Twitter posts.
I’ve also, at times, delved into grammar explanations, primarily on French Today and Lawless French.
But basically I owe my progress to Duolingo & Memrise, both of which use “forced-choice” information-integration learning.
3/17/2020 UPDATE: No! They don’t compete! They cooperate! They are “dissociable,” but they don’t compete. more t/k
I’m putting this here so I won’t lose it again:
Dual-system models of visual category learning posit the existence of an explicit, hypothesis-testing reflective system, as well as an implicit, procedural-based reflexive system. The reflective and reflexive learning systems are competitive and neurally dissociable.
Chandrasekaran, B. et al. “Dual-learning systems during speech category learning.” Psychonomic Bulletin Review, 2014 Apr 21, pp. 488-495.
re: 2 kinds of learning inside the brain
“Compete,” as I understand the term, means that when one system is on, the other is off. Each system can suppress the other.
That’s the meaning I glean from the various studies I’ve read.
“Dissociable” is an important term in cognitive science: it means that the two systems actually are two separate systems, not just two different aspects of the same fundamental process. The breakthrough study of “dual-system theory” in category learning was Smith et al’s study showing that when you experimentally disable one learning system, the other still functions.
The two systems can be “dissociated,” and are therefore two separate and dissociable systems, not one.
So I gather.
In France this summer, I had an illustrative experience re: “information-integration learning.”
Succinct and on the money:
Big chunks of grammar are rule-based learning, at least at the level of what distinguishes academic writing from casual conversation. The rules are articulated in grammar handbooks and can be consciously applied.
Grammar at the level of what sentences one can use in casual conversation is much more “information integration”, as it takes skilled linguists substantial effort to express the grammatical constraints in rules, and fairly complicated rule systems are needed for even crude approximations to grammaticality
That’s exactly right.
The principles Katharine and I teach in our curriculum can be learned–quickly learned–via rule-based learning:
- End focus: put the most important information in the sentence last
- Known-new contract: start with information the reader already knows, proceed to new information he or she doesn’t know (or hasn’t heard you say yet)
- Cohesive topic chains: many if not most of your sentences in a paragraph should have the same or closely-related grammatical subject (I think the most effective percentage in a fairly long paragraph is around 75%)
The most important research on learning I’ve read
Someone has posted it on line, so here it is !
Deferred Feedback Sharply Dissociates Implicit and Explicit Category Learning
J. David Smith, Joseph Boomer, Alexandria C. Zakrzewski, Jessica L. Roeder, Barbara A. Church, and F. Gregory Ashby Psychological Science 2014, Vol. 25(2) 447-457
I’ve been mulling this article since the summer of 2014, when it was published. It’s life altering.
In case you’re wondering, I heard “Laurel.”
Then I walked across the room and heard Yanny.
Which reminds me: I need to spend some time at Phonetique. I haven’t done so because, unfortunately, they’ve got their exercises set up wrong for implicit learning.
Implicit learning (“information integration” learning) requires immediate feedback. You can’t do 10 items then find out which ones you got wrong. You have to do one at a time and get the answer before you move on.
Speaking of immediate feedback, this is the most important research on learning I’ve ever read.