Language Tools Conversations

level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

Note: here are all the languages we have in work. These can all be found in the Reading Tool. 


Swahili – 135 conversation (complete)

Cantonese – 100 conversations (complete)

South African English - 10 conversations (complete)

Tagalog – 110 conversations (complete)

Russian - 100 conversations (complete)

Spanish - 100 conversations (complete)

Mandarin - 100 conversations (complete)

French - 101 (complete)

Thai - 100 (complete)

German - 50 (stopped work)

Cebuano - 28 (stopped work)

Italian - 20 (in work)

English - 5 (in work)

Japanese - 1 (stopped work)


You may have heard me say from time to time that if your highest priority is conversing in your L2, then conversation should be your most valued source for learning. I’m not saying it should be the only source, but pound per pound I believe it’s the best source.


To be fair, I think it does depend on what stage you’re in. Beginners may not have the skills required to do what I’m suggesting. Also, this stage goes by quickly and seems to be handled nicely by the wealth of beginner learning material out there. Advanced learners may already be very good communicators and everyday conversation might not tax them enough. In addition, they are much more likely to use native material to improve. The remainder is the period I’m talking about – the long intermediate slog. That’s when I suggest learners should really focus on conversation.


Here’s an example of what I’m recommending: taking notes during a conversation, writing down items your partner says that you don’t understand, writing down things you didn’t know how to say, and memorizing/reviewing these items before your next conversation. I’ve found this to be my single most effective exercise to improve my vocabulary and grammar in actual conversations. 


But what about reading and listening? It probably doesn’t surprise you that I recommend reading transcripts of and listening to actual conversations. I think it’s more effective for improving your conversation than reading and listening to non-conversation items (news, books, TV scripts, text messages, etc). Don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for reading and listening to those things and they are very helpful. I’m not going to get into the other items here; read and listen to everything but let the core of your method be conversations if your main goal is to improve your conversation. 


The problem is – where do you get these conversations? You could have your personal conversations transcribed and recorded so that you could read and listen to them. That’s a good start, but it’s a pretty time-consuming task. Also, vocab/grammar would be limited compared to a conversation between two native speakers, so it may be better suited to the beginner period. And as I said above, the beginner period is handled pretty well with existing beginner materials.


That’s why we’ve created LT Conversations. These are conversations between two native speakers. We use a mixture of female-male, female-female and male-male for variety, but each conversation is between two native speakers and about six minutes long. We make 100 of these for each language selected, which gives you about 10 hours of reading and listening to actual conversations. I hope this will be enough to prepare the learner for real native material. To be clear, I’m not saying I expect the learner to understand native material completely after finishing LT conversations; my goal is that they will have the base needed to start to dig into native material designed by natives for natives. In theory, “learning” material should no longer be required.  


While creating these, I had a hard time trying to figure out whether they were intermediate or advanced. I settled on intermediate mainly because it’s pretty much impossible to get people to talk to each other normally while covering the things I want them to cover, not talk on top of each other, not use loanwords and speak clearly without some reduction in difficulty. The voice actors tend to create some sort of script to satisfy all of my requirements, even though I’ve asked them not to. I could probably work with teams more closely and intensively to get a more advance product, but that would be more expensive and time consuming, so they are what they are. Good intermediate conversations.


Now I should mention that one of the sweetest things about these conversations is that they’re located in our reading tool already to go. Put your cursor over a word and a definition will pop up; click it and it will change state and color and you can add new definitions. This makes reading much more accessible. As I hinted above, this reading/listening is meant to be just a component of your learning method. I recommend that if you’re going to be memorizing and reviewing vocabulary and grammar you should get them from your personal conversations. But that’s not to say you can’t do it with these conversations - you can go into your own vocabulary database in the reading tool, manicure it, export it to anki etc, if that’s what you want to do. But I personally prefer to let the mouseover definitions and shading do the work for me, read as seamlessly as possible without too many interruptions, and put my memorizing and reviewing efforts into my personal conversations. 

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Edited 
2
#1
level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

Feel free to suggest languages. I can't guarantee that we'll select them, but we'll consider each suggestion. Voting summary:

French - 1

Swedish - 1

English - 1

Spanish - 1

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Edited 
1
#2
level
10
Posts115Likes86Joined18/6/2019LocationSan Jose Del Monte / PH
Native
English
Learning Afrikaans, Cebuano, Chinese - Mandarin, Danish, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Spanish, Tagalog

Hey Léo! How about English and Spanish. English is in huge demand globally, and so is Spanish. I know from being a long time fan your Spanish is quite advanced, and you're a native English speaker. I think the community could benefit from having some big languages to further enrich LT.io 

Find me on Discord:

https://discord.gg/R4zepcA

Posted 
0
#3
level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

Clayton.Henderson wrote:
Hey Léo! How about English and Spanish. English is in huge demand globally, and so is Spanish. I know from being a long time fan your Spanish is quite advanced, and you're a native English speaker. I think the community could benefit from having some big languages to further enrich LT.io

Thanks, added. I'm considering adding complete English translations to all of them, but that's a bit expensive.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Edited 
1
#4
level
5
Posts5Likes5Joined26/11/2018LocationCaracas / VE
Native
Spanish
Learning English

¡Saludos Leo! Sin duda, la ORALIDAD es uno de los rasgos fundamentales de toda conversación (aunque se podría pensar que chatear a través de internet es otra manera de conversar), lo que no quiere decir que siempre que nos comuniquemos oralmente estemos conversando. Para que esto suceda deben existir otros condicionantes, sobre todo, un intercambio entre hablantes que provoque una INTERACCIÓN O DIÁLOGO, que es lo que diferencia la conversación de otros intercambios comunicativos orales como, por ejemplo, un monólogo o el discurso de un político. Para acotar mejor el término tenemos que fijarnos en otros rasgos como la categoría de los interlocutores y sus objetivos sociales, donde, además, no se establece NINGUNA RELACIÓN JERÁRQUICA ENTRE LOS HABLANTES ya que nadie se reserva el derecho de arrebatar la palabra a otro, como sucede en los debates. Por último, la conversación tiene como fin “DESARROLLAR Y MANTENER UNA RELACIÓN SOCIAL”, lo que la diferencia de otros intercambios orales en los que se produce algún tipo de transacción como sucede en las entrevistas, en las interacciones compra-venta y otros muchos otros intercambios comunicativos orales. Estas definiciones nos ayudan a delimitar con mucha mayor precisión cuáles deben ser nuestros objetivos en una de conversación. Sin embargo, aunque queda claro que una presentación o un debate no son propiamente una conversación, por lo que es importante tomar en cuenta, que debemos situar la conversación en un contexto determinado, no aislado y abstracto como en el análisis estructural, sino que también debemos tomar en cuenta los diferentes elementos paralingüísticos, culturales y pragmáticos que forman parte consustancial de toda conversación. Si caminamos en este sentido, descubriremos que la conversación se realiza a través del propio sistema de la lengua (sea este gramatical, léxico o fónico) y de una serie de códigos culturales y temáticos compartidos que la ayudan a situarse en un contexto determinado, ya que gran parte de los problemas que nuestros alumnos encuentran a la hora de conversar con nativos son debidos, por ejemplo, a los patrones culturales que rigen las despedidas o al valor del silencio establecido en cada cultura. La conversación tiene un fin social y, justamente por ello, los conocimientos sociolingüísticos se hacen absolutamente necesarios, como las normas de CORTESÍA, diferencias en el REGISTRO y EXPRESIONES de sabiduría popular como posibles rasgos de este tipo de conocimientos a los que cabría añadir, por ejemplo, la COMUNICACIÓN NO VERBAL. Para poder desarrollar una auténtica competencia conversaciones, el hablante necesita ORGANIZAR EL TEXTO de la manera más adecuada posible siguiendo los principios básicos de coherencia y cohesión. También podemos encontrar en la conversación RITUALES como los saludos o las despedidas que el alumno deba conocer. Aunque las clases de conversación se presenten opuestas a las de gramática, es obvio que los estudiantes deberán manejar algún tipo de conocimiento gramatical para llegar a conversar. El conocimiento del VOCABULARIO así como el FONOLÓGICO resulta indispensable para mantener una conversación.

La conversación se trata de un intercambio comunicativo que resulta imposible de planificar y que en la vida real se produce de una manera espontánea y sin un propósito determinado, los “géneros discursivos y productos textuales” encontraremos sin embargo que los géneros de transmisión oral incluyen conversaciones cara a cara y telefónicas (formales e informales) así como anécdotas.

Es importante destacar que desde el principio del aprendizaje debemos dar al alumno la oportunidad de expresarse con libertad, (aunque sea básicamente) y de simular conversaciones reales con nativos. 

Sería interesante añadirle una actividad de análisis realizando "Preguntas sobre el texto" para un nivel avanzado.

Excelente sugerencia Leo…







Mariseny Barrios

Posted 
1
#5
level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

Hi Mariseny, thanks for your detailed post. Regarding "questions about the text", the student can hit the "add comment" button at the bottom of each passage, which takes them to a discussion about the passage. There they can ask questions about the text or discuss anything pertaining to it.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Posted 
1
#6
level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

On the advice of one of our members, I decided to add some of the big languages first to increase the user base. We've got Russian, Spanish, Mandarin and French in work. I tried to do English and wasn't getting any bites so I accepted a team from South Africa. There were some communication issues so we stopped after only 10. We'll try to get (North American) English done again later. Tagalog has finally started up again after a long corona-induced pause. Swahili has been topped off at 135, since I had some budget left over on that contract.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Posted 
3
#7
level
2
Posts1Likes2Joined19/5/2020LocationGB
Native
English
Learning French, Turkish

Hello, this is good, your South African English conversations would be very useful. I'm happy to see you are working on French. I would like to request Turkish for the future too. 

Thanks,

Paul

Posted 
2
#8
level
3
Posts5Likes6Joined20/5/2020LocationFlorida / US
Native
English
Learning German

Deutsch bitte!  

Posted 
1
#9
level
38
Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

I'm pleased to announce that we have completed 4 more languages (Tagalog, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian), have 3 more in work (French, Cebuano, Thai) and one in recruiting (German). Shout out to the teams for all their hard work!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Posted 
1
#10
    Feedback