Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ALG Crosstalk

Crosstalk is where two languages are used to communicate. Each person uses his own native language so that only perfect model language is heard. Non-verbal methods are utilized to facilitate communication as well. This Crosstalk method allows for longer discussions because each person can fully participate. If one person had to use a second language that they were limited in, then that person wouldn't be able to say as much and the conversation might be over sooner.

Crosstalk was further developed by AUA to allow it to be used in lower level classes. They also recommend students to use Crosstalk outside of the class. In Part 6, David Long explains crosstalk. And there is a video of crosstalk in action for you to see what it is like and how well it works.

I think this video demo showing people communicating but speaking only their own native language illustrates the fact that you CAN continue to think in your own language even though you are engaged in a conversation where another language is being used. And that is why I said in a previous post that just listening to conversations in Japanese is not going to help me to start thinking in Japanese. It is totally not necessary to think in the language you are hearing to understand what you are hearing, and yet you are not translating either. They are just two separate skills.

While crosstalk is a good way to get input in your target language before you are ready to speak it, it will not turn you into a speaker of your target language. Nor will you learn to think in the target language. But with it, you can show the other person or people that you do understand what they are saying. I've had many experiences where I was spoken to in Japanese and since I thought it was pointless to speak English, I couldn't respond very well in Japanese and so of course the other person doubted how well I could understand them. That was a 4 or 5 years ago, so today I can respond quite well.

Normally, if you respond to someone in English they won't be able to understand you and even if they do, they will think you don't understand Japanese. 99 percent of people are not going to speak to you in their language if you are approaching them with English, so I think you have to set it up first. I think that crosstalk might work best in your own country. If you are in the US, for example, you might find a speaker of the language and ask them to speak to you in their language and let you respond in English. But you should tell them not to translate anything for you. Translating is really the lazy way out. What you want is for them to explain things to you in their language. When someone explains something, they use the most basic words and concepts in their language. Hearing those explanations is really good practice for you.

I was speaking with an acquaintance of mine in Japanese on Skype a couple of weeks ago and at the end she ask that next time I speak English and she will just speak Japanese. At first I laughed, but actually I have thought of that before so I was quite open to it. If she ever comes back online on Skype, we'll see how it goes. We'll see if she really sticks to speaking Japanese while I am speaking English or if she tries to practice speaking English.

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