Tom Tavaczynski talks about Glossika Mass Sentences and other linguistic topics

Just because a polyglot can use a language system for learning, does that mean an average learner can?

Why is there contention between teachers, linguists, and polyglots?

What are some learning theories, and how can you apply what they say to your own learning?

Why are there so many language learning approaches? What approach does your tool use?

I want to share a video with you by Tom Tabaczynski. He talks about many things I had no idea existed before I started learning Korean. The video touches on Mike Campbells’ Glossika Mass Sentences, Michael Lewis’ “Lexical Approach”, “Present, Practice, Produce” teaching method, the relationship between teachers/polyglots/linguists, the affective filter, behaviorism, Scott Thornbury’s linguistic landscape, English language Teaching (ELT), language emergence models, comprehensible input, LingQ, reading skills, learner autonomy, reading for collocations and expressions, narrow reading, polyglot skills and interest, grammar emergence, and raising awareness (noticing) while reading.


INPUT needs to become INTAKE for learning to take place” – Tom Tavaczynski

Mass Input Approach: Polyglots, Linguistic Theory, and Language Teaching

Tom Tabaczynski of English Cafe online

Below is just some rambling thoughts in reaction to the video.

I am at best an “average” language learner.  I do not have the skills polyglots have.  I haven’t learned them yet.  As a reult, I have to have some things explained to me that perhps polyglots could just leap to understanding from their experience, interest, and knowledge of languages.  I literally have to be shown HOW to use the reading in Korean Digital Academy class.

My tutor and KDA teacher are trying to give me reading skills.  Their approach is to make me an autonomous language learner.  It is an attitude adjustment from the passive student sitting in class waiting to be taught.

I like Glossika Mass Sentences because I believe downloading into my brain many examples of sentences and how to pronounce them as a whole sentence will improve my speaking skill by getting me to the point where I have ready phrases.  I like the efficiency of just getting the sample sentences I will need, rather than having to read a whole lot to cover the same expanse of vocabulary.

I have discovered I have an interest in linguistics, teaching, and languages.  However, it is a big area to discover, and I have lots to learn.  Even if I knew the entire field of linguistics, had a few polyglot friends to pick their brains, and got a teaching certificate, that still doesn’t guarantee I will ever be able to speak and write Korean.  It is wanting to learn Korean that sparks learning about these other fields.

Tom talks about trying to produce language when one has had hardly any input.  I am at that stage.  I know a few hundred vocabulary words, but I hear and read very little.  It is hard to understand the grammar when I have only seen a few sentences that use it.  It is even harder to then take that grammar knowledge and apply it.

It seems like some people can memorize phrases and start putting them to use immediately.  They are brave souls.  Not me.  Essentially, as my attempts to make videos prove, I never get past saying today’s date and hello.  Seriously?  Yep.  Doubt me?  Go look at my three months of Youtube videos saying the day’s date.  I laugh at myself every day.

I read about these learning strategies.  It sounds great that Steve from LingQ can read a lot and save chunks of expressions for later use.  I wish I could apply that kind of learning. What I get is a blank slate when I try to speak.  There is simply nothing to say.  I am a bit better with writing, as long as I have a dictionary handy.  Yet even then, I am the 10 minute per sentence girl.  It is laughable, but it is my truth.

I have a bit of hope with the new study habits Rob is helping me with.  Verb conjugation is slow but possible.  Yet just trying to take that verb and put it in a simple sentence becomes more than my brain can juggle.  I’ve been practicing saying pronoun + verb sentences this week.  2 words sentences.  Even that is such a struggle.

Tom says that the role of the teacher is to train students to learn.  They are to give tasks that raise awareness of the features of the text.  Average learners are misguided.  They are looking for the wrong things when they try to read.  They aren’t looking for lexical elements.

What happens when a polyglot is reading?  It is a mystery to me.  I do not have those reading skills.  Yet I take hope that my teachers are trying to teach me how.  My teachers know.  I must trust their guidance, until I become more experienced in language learning.

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