Rigorous "silent" period: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I’ve recently stumbled upon a branch of Comprehensible Input theory that may represent its most extreme expression: the AUA Thai program and Automatic Language Growth, its heir (or wanna-be heir, not sure which). Students are asked to pay attention to input, but are not only not required to speak (much) but are enjoined not to (1) try to speak, (2) ask questions, (3) look things up in a dictionary, (4) take notes.

Marvin Brown’s claim was that those, in his program, who did these things–even with the same input–seemed to mis-assemble the language in their minds, and did not attain real fluency. While those who did not, generally attained near-native levels. Experimenting on himself with a language he had not previously touched, he discovered a fifth no-no: accidentally “noticing” major linguistic structures (hard not to do, if you are a trained linguist).

Now, Brown was dealing with a language pretty far from European languages, with maybe more chances to mis-assemble the language in the mind than something closer to “home” (depending on where you live, of course). He was free to push Stephen Krashen’s insights to their logical (?) conclusions in a way that public school teachers are not.


(OK to tell me when you like to start talking, or that, in your opinion, the whole CI think is misguided, or whatever, BUT PLEASE NOTE: THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M ASKING ABOUT. I’M ASKING FOR REFLECTIONS FROM ANYONE WITH SOME FIRST-HAND (OK SECOND-HAND, TOO) EXPERIENCE.)


Sí parece bastante extremo… No he entendido lo de “accidentally “noticing” major linguistic structures”

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Experimentando con si mismo, J Marvin Brown escribe:

"I found out what else could have been causing damage—what else besides the terrible four: speaking, questions, dictionaries, and notes. I avoided the terrible four faithfully, but I still failed. I had discovered the terrible fifth. …

"You see I’m a lifetime linguist. I can’t listen to anyone speak in any language without noticing all kinds of things. After two days I had noticed that Swatow had five tones: rising, falling, high, low, and mid; and syllables ending in a sudden stop (like p, t, k, or a glottal stop) could carry only two: high and low. Then after two weeks I had noticed that all these tones turned upside down in weak position: rising changed to falling and falling to rising, high changed to low and low to high. And, of course, mid stayed mid. That was wild. How could a linguist not notice something as wild as that? …

“Sometimes, to be sure, a happening was so overpowering that it drowned out the language, and whenever this happened, I learned right. But more often I had time to notice and think, and I learned wrong. So I soon had a headful both of things that worked (overpowering happenings that drowned out the language) and things that didn’t (anything I was free to notice and think about).”

Una cosa que (creo que) sé por cierto es: si formas un mapa mental de una sonida, y ese mapa es defectuoso, es MUY difícil de corregirlo. Cuando estes estresado o tengas prisa, reaparecerá el sonido incorrecto. Quizá en el idioma tailandés, y en otros idiomas en que los tonos son importantes, el daño sería mas significativo.

Pero este pertenece a los consuelos (extremos) de no consolidar prematuramente sus mapas mentales, no directamente a formar mapas (correctas?) de la natura de los sonidos, como ese Brown describe arriba.

Me interesa explorar las versiones extremas de una teoría, y las ideas y experiencias de quienes las proponen. Es una manera de tratar de comprenderlas mejor. (Aunque las versiones menos extrema suelen ser más útiles.)