Quote:Thanks for the update and the info. Even with 50+ weeks of study, getting 3/3 has got to be a rare situation.
3/3's are rare, but they are becoming less rare. One of my good buddies in my class also got a 3/3 yesterday (He got a 2+/2+ the first time). However, there's a big difference between my 3/3 and his, and that is it's been over 6 months since I studied anything provided by the DLI, so my ability covers a much, much broader area of the language. (For instance, we watched a DBZ episode while we were waiting for his Wife the other day and his comprehension was horrible.)
Anyway, I'm scheduled for the advanced test on Monday and Tuesday, I'll let you know how it goes..
Quote:So, anything more to add on how the DLI or other students reacted to your learning methods? Any advice to offer about learning languages now based on what you've experienced?
I got interested in learning languages after reading ajatt.com, I'd always thought I could never learn a language, and the advice he gave sounded so interesting that I just had to try it myself to see if it would work. Then I heard about the DLI and the opportunity to get paid to learn a language... too perfect to pass up.
So, I came into the program here already knowing exactly what I was going to do, and I wasn't going to be dissuaded by anyone, because more than half of my motivation was simply wanting to test out this guy's crazy theories.
Basically, on the language side of it, it worked like a charm. Except for one of my classmates who grew up in Taiwan, I was always the best student in class in every respect - vocabulary, listening, reading, writing, and even in all speaking aspects (grammar, accent, flow, tones, etc..) (it took me about 3 months to get better at listening than the guy who was raised in Taiwan, 6-7 for speaking). Right now, I am confident that out of all of the students to ever come through the DLI with 0 Chinese knowledge beforehand, I have the best listening, reading and writing.
On the military side of it, I had a ton of problems. Teachers weren't letting me listen to real Chinese in class, told me my methods wouldn't work, instead of answering questions that I had about words or sentences for my Anki deck, they'd tell me why I should instead just study the textbooks provided, I needed to study grammar, etc... etc... It got really bad and lead to me getting yelled at a lot by my unit. I hung in there though and eventually, once my first DLPT came through and I was already at a 3/3 level they started to work with me. About 4 months ago they actually moved me out of class and into an empty desk in a teacher's office where I did whatever Chinese related activities I wanted to all day long - as far as I, and the Department Chair who's been at the DLI for over 20 years know, this has never happened here before. (Not trying to puff myself up, just saying that these methods are so much more effective than commonly used methods that comparisons are unfair.)
The students reactions ran the spectrum from telling me that I was going to burn out a few months in and not be able to study anymore to asking me to tutor them. Most people just thought I was a little crazy and had no life.
You need to take what ajatt.com espouses and tweak it to fit yourself, but the basics are there - if you want to get very good at a language very fast, you can't beat full audio immersion and SRS.
I'm a little torn on speaking... I was forced to speak Chinese from day one, and pretty much spoke Chinese exclusively with the teachers from very early on, so in this regard the experiment was ruined, but it would not surprise me if you could attain the same speaking level in the same amount of time with 1/100 of the speaking. I do encourage people to speak and I don't believe it can hurt.
With hanzi/kanji, I think people get hung up a little bit, and maybe RTK people a little more than usual. Get RTK out of the way ASAP and get into real language. Writing is important, but no matter what you do, you're going to forget characters... the office that I worked in, there were two PHD's from mainland China that regularly forgot how to write rare-ish characters. Also, I've seen in the last year in a half many dozens of students that could read newspapers with little to no effort, but couldn't write simple things like 想要. So, unless writing itself is your goal, skip RTK.. get a basic grounding in radicals and move on - context and repetition will take care of the rest. If writing is your goal, however, RTK will give you the tools you need.