I'm new to Fluent Forever. I started reading the book maybe two weeks ago and am excited to learn about the upcoming app. Seems my timing was perfect! Although, I gotta say I swore to myself to never support a crowdfunding campaign ever again. From the 7 campaigns I supported, 6 of them never saw the light of day or were broken on arrival. You would be shocked to learn about how much misconduct a project can get away with and how little rights you have as private person supporting a crowdfunding project. But! I broke my own principles and supported Fluent Forever anyway! So here I am!
So I installed this app and am now learning Spanish. Not my first choice, but, well, fine!
I love learning languages, and in fact I have optimized my process over the years as well. Not too different from what we read in the book, just much, much, much less successful! By reading the book, I'm really excited to learn what I did right, and what I did wrong in the past. The first thing that caught my eye was the usage of pictures, instead of words, when making e.g. translation cards. I found this cumbersome, when I read about it in the book, and now I gotta use it in the app, and I found it even more cumbersome!
Now that I should repeat the words, I have this one picture, and a word associated with it, but I don't know what it means. Was it up? Or high? Or maybe even something like tower or stairs? I think my trouble to accept this way of learning right now can be boiled down to three points:
- How do you know what a picture means? Am I putting too much importance on this? A picture is worth thousand words. But how can I express my ideas when I can only speak in a tongue, where my words have thousand meanings?
- How do you represent abstract words in pictures? Like courtesy? Quantum entanglement? Tuesday? Psychoanalysis? Past Tense? Luck? Destiny? Or how do I distinguish between formal and informal ways of saying something?
- Is it actually efficient? The way I learn right now is the following: I look at the picture try to figure out what the English word is for that picture, and then go from there. There's an additional step involved here, that might be fun to do, but it's not efficient.
... just some random thoughts I had. I would be very interested to hear what other fellow learners think about this!
I follow the book method, so I'm not sure how accurate this will be with the new app. But I'll do my best to answer your questions.
1) You know what a picture means because you picked the picture. You looked through all the pictures of arriba (up) and picked the one you wanted. The process of creating your own flashcards is very personal, which makes them more memorable. The lack of translation is Fluent Forever's way of mimicking immersion. You have to think in your target language.
2) You learn abstract words in context. "Economy" is hard to learn with a picture alone, but "The ___ has had a great affect on our finances" makes it much easier. Still, there will be words that will be hard to learn in context, like "honesty." Eventually, you will be know enough of your target language that you will be able to write definitions for words you're learning.
He was an ___ person.
(you don't lie, cheat, or steal)
You will even be able to learn synonyms this way.
It was an ___ mistake.
(not intending to cause harm)
Fluent Forever is about learning as much as you can without translations and skipping stuff you can't learn without translations until later. Eventually you will know enough of your language to be able to understand a monolingual dictionary and put definitions on your flashcards. At this point there will be no limit to what you can learn.
3) With the Fluent Forever method you eventually stop thinking what the English word is for the picture you're seeing. You will see perro and not think "oh, that means dog." Your brain will think about previous dogs you've owned; that dogs drool, bark, are friendly, and make you happy. It's all about thinking in your new language.
One more thing about forgetting cards. Sometimes I still forget what a picture means even though I made it the day before. In that case, I just look at the translation again. Usually this is enough to make me remember it in the future. I wonder if they are adding a "I forgot what this word means, show me the English translation again please" button in the app.
Thank you for the reply! I appreciate your input!
I, too, try to follow the book a 100 %, at this point. I understand that you have to think in the language you learn. But with all the languages I ever learned, and all the different methods I used, I never did translate it in my mind (except in the first days, sure, but not for long). I might do that if I have a sentence that I don't quite understand, even after reading it three or four times. Then I start to translate it, to see if I can make sense of it. So I get the immersion argument, but I fail to see why there are no English words allowed to achieve this.
I understand that you can describe things in the target language and then also learn words that are not easily represented with pictures. But is it really efficient? Is the guiding principle "Fluent Forever is about learning as much as you can without translations" really helpful at the end of the day? While I don't see it now, your third point could make the difference in the end. Once you are over some threshold, it might become really efficient...
You see, I'm not a believer yet, but I'm willing to accept it as a method that is different from mine, and that is more efficient in the long run. To implement this in my own flashcards will be a lot of work, but the app can do this very efficiently. It's not working well for me at this point. For example I always have to add the same words. But I'm sure this will improve in no time. I, too, would appreciate the "I forgot" button. I hope the guiding principle will not be interpreted too strict, for such a button.