Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi, everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about…
Peter: Do You Record Yourself Speaking Your Target Language?
Chigusa: And you’ll learn
Peter: One: How to Practice Input, Output &Improve Your Recall…
Chigusa: And Two: How to Apply This Tactic
Peter: ...All so you can master your target language and reach your goals.
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned about the power of knowing what you want from the language…
Chigusa: …and how being super specific with your goals helps you learn faster.
Peter: And this applies not only to languages but to any goal you’d want in life.
Chigusa: And Peter, last time, you set a goal for 12 minutes of Hindi conversation, right?
Peter: That’s right, and just barely scraped by. Super close.
Chigusa: Alright! So just 2 months left… and the goal is 15 minutes for the year.
Peter: Once upon a time, It was 30 minutes. But, knowing how to adjust goals into the reality of your life. That’s quite an important tactic. So, I'm going to take the 15 minutes.
Chigusa: Yeah, we had some setbacks this year.
Peter: I like how you said we, Chigusa.
Chigusa: Well, we’re in this together. I hold you accountable.
Peter: Actually a language coach is a very good idea. You’re like my language coach — yes, go go go. And I learn the languages and try to reach the goals. You coach. I learn.
Chigusa: I root for you Peter, always. I’d call that a team effort! So, how did you reach this goal? Did you do anything new?
Peter: Well, let me answer it this way… we talk a lot about learning tactics, and we introduce new ones every month, right?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So, the tactics are important, but when we talk about the reasons for reaching goals… I think it’s my routine and consistency, more than anything, that has allowed me to reach these goals. The routine is the backbone.
Chigusa: Yeah, as long as you’re putting the time in some way, you will see some results with whatever tactic you’re using.
Peter: Exactly. That being said, there IS something I’ve been doing for quite a while … that we haven’t talked much about … and that’s… recording yourself speaking the language.
Chigusa: Recording yourself…
Peter: And that’s the topic of today’s Inner Circle. So, let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part one: How to Practice Input, Output &Improve Your Recall.
Peter: And Chigusa, believe it or not, recording myself is one of the ways I learned Japanese many years back.
Chigusa: Really? That’s an interesting approach. This is an idea you got from somewhere?
Peter: I did. So, long story short, I used to teach English in Japan, and I had one very high-level student. Now, most high-level speakers, maybe 9 out of 10 or 8 out of 10, have lived overseas, or at least in my experience.
Chigusa: And that’s where they picked up English.
Peter: Well, maybe not. I’d say they refined it there. They had the base studying in school but then going overseas really turbocharged their English. But this one student never left Japan. And I asked him, “How’d you get so good?” Well, he told me his secret. Basically, he spoke to the TV and to himself. Again, he would have a conversation with the TV, he would listen to what the actors were saying and he’d answer them. He responded to them as if he was having a conversation with them. And when he was talking to himself, he’d describe everything he was doing that day in English.
Chigusa: Ah, so he spoke out loud to himself.
Peter: Exactly, and because it worked for him, I wanted to try it with my Japanese. But I went a step above and actually recorded myself speaking.
Chigusa: What made you want to record yourself?
Peter: Well, the short answer is… I wanted to get feedback back then. Many years ago, maybe even a tape recorder. I wanted to have some type of feedback, not like now with an iPhone or any phone you could just instantly record a memo, an audio memo, which is so powerful.
Chigusa: Yeah, when you’re doing it yourself, you don’t know what mistakes you’re making.
Peter: Very very well said. You know, looking back at now, there were other benefits too… speaking out loud and recording yourself…
Chigusa: You’re practicing speaking - output.
Peter: Exactly. First I would listen, input, and then I would speak, output. And then again, input because I’d listen to my own lessons. So, input, output, input.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So I was practicing 2 skills at once, speaking and listening. Now, I couldn’t really judge myself, they didn’t have this speech recognition software, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to listen to what I said.
Chigusa: Yeah, I think you can't judge the pronunciation, but you can always tell if your speaking is choppy…
Peter: Oh no, no, you can judge the pronunciation. Even I could tell my pronunciation wasn’t very good when I first started. But it made me pay more attention to it. And the choppiness also was very good to identify… made me work on the fluency and made me aspire to speak like a native speaker. So that’s the second benefit. I became aware of my speaking style and I actually put more effort into trying to speak better.
Chigusa: Kind of like realizing you say a lot of “umm” and “uhh” in English.
Peter: Like, it’s like. Exactly. Now, the third benefit I realized later on was… the studies show this… speaking out loud… and hearing your own voice actually improves your memory.
Chigusa: Really? So, when you said you listened to your recordings, I wondered if that would be actually useful. It’s kind of hard to hear your own voice, you know?
Peter: I never forgot the first time I heard my own voice. It sounded like somebody else. I did not receive it very very well. In short, it’s hard to listen to yourself there. So, I agree. Chigusa, have you heard your own voice?
Chigusa: Yeah, when I was small, I used to use a tape recorder and I taped myself singing. And I was so shocked.
Peter: Can we put a bit of that into this recording? That would be nice. But now, it's not fair, you have the best voice ever. The reason why listening to yourself improves your memory is because you yourself are saying it.
Chigusa: So, it’s personally relevant.
Peter: That’s what the studies says. At least, that’s why the studies say it works, how it works — it’s you saying it, not someone else, so it’s personally relevant, and it sticks better. And so it’s kind of a double whammy. Saying things out loud helps you remember… and listening to yourself also helps you remember. So, I actually ended up learning the words and phrases much better when I relistened to my own audio recordings. Also, it might be too that when you hear your own voice, you’re a little nervous and it puts you on high alert, so you’re more receptive too. But whatever it is, it really helps you learn faster.
Chigusa: Peter, now, how did you do this when you were learning Japanese?
Peter: Well, this is now maybe, 25 years ago? So, I was using one of those old-school handheld recorders - tape recorders, so some people may not be familiar with what that is. Google that, tape recorder. And I would get out of bed and I’d say, “Okay, I woke up, I’m getting out of bed, I’m standing up, I’m stretching, and so on - just talking about my day. Explaining my routine. And I went through this for a bit. And once I got used to talking about my day, I eventually evolved that routine into talking about sports and other topics that I was interested in … that would help me communicate and increase the speaking time with people I would come into contact every day. So I’d talk about things I'm interested in but I also learned what they were interested in. Spent time and effort learning about that.
Chigusa: So, just talking about your day. And then you’d listen to your recordings?
Peter: Actually a few times. I’d listen again and again … until… I had the chance to get feedback, which wasn’t always easy back then. Sometimes, I had to bribe my native-speaking friends to listen to the audio, then actually record the proper way to say it.
Chigusa: Oh, so your friends helped. That's really nice of them.
Peter: Well, there was an incentive or a bribe involved, too, Chigusa. But that too made it fun. They would get to know my routine and everything helps to build relationships.
Chigusa: I think the friendly bribing helps! It’s a give and take.
Peter: Yes, that could be a good definition of fluency when you no longer have to pay for language materials. But getting feedback wasn’t always easy. Nowadays, thankfully, it’s way easier to record yourself with your phone and get feedback.
Chigusa: But getting regular feedback still seems like a hassle, right? Because you can't have a teacher around you all the time… or always ask friends.
Peter: And that’s why we have our Premium PLUS plan which includes a teacher. So, with my Hindi, I pass recordings sometimes several times a day to my Hindi teacher, send them over and I get feedback within 24 hours or so.
Chigusa: Ah, right. Now how’s it going with Hindi? Are you doing the same thing - talking about your day?
Peter: Well, this is actually an interesting new advantage I have and it’s the voice recognition. So, before I even send my teacher a recording, I’d try to record with the voice recognition to see if the actual characters appear. And if they don’t appear then I know I'm way off. So it’s actually helping me refine. First I'll say something and try have the voice recognition recognize it and if I can't get it in three tries, I'll send it over and ask for help. But it really helps me progress faster so it’s like a hack. But you need that human element feedback because it's so important to have that feedback on how you’re doing from a human. At least I feel that way. So, again, what I’ve been doing over this past year, I’ll kind of touch on that. But in the first month or two, I’d talk about my day out loud… what I’m doing… and send that to the teacher. And again, before sending it, I would listen to myself.
Chigusa: What did the process look like exactly? Just so the listeners know… or have something to copy.
Peter: So, I’d send 3 recordings a day… on 2 or 3 days out of the week. One recording in the morning. One in the afternoon. And then, one in the evening. So in the morning, for example, I’d say: I woke up, I ate breakfast, I brushed my teeth, I will go to work. Just quick lines like that… and again, I would try to play around with the tenses sometimes, depending on what time I recorded. First, I’ll only do the future because it's easy or the present tense. But then I’ll try to work on the past tense and practice that again and again. Then in the afternoon: I ate lunch, or I am eating lunch. I'm resting. It is lunchtime. And evening: I am at home. I worked. I am with my family. I will watch TV.
Chigusa: Does this take long to do?
Peter: At the start, it takes quite a little bit of time to do, researching everything you say, so it took a little bit of time to get the initial script. That took some time, I did it, then my teacher corrected it. Then though, once you go through it one time, you have the whole script, then it becomes super fast. So initially it took me about 15-30 minutes to set everything up. But once I got used to it, now it takes me about a minute or two minutes to do everything. Again, because now… it’s just like repetition, singing a song over and over. Now I know what I’m saying.
Chigusa: Oh, that’s not bad at all. How about nowadays?
Peter: So once I got the basics down… Nowadays, I focus on coming up with sentences for the grammar I learned in the lesson, or with my teacher. And then I practice by using that grammar so that the teacher feels like I’m really applying myself. So a few times a week, actually a few times a month, I have to update the scripts. Updating the scripts takes about 15-30 minutes, to do research, get it verified. But once the script is set, it’s just a few minutes.
Chigusa: Got it. So the process is… you record, you listen to your recording, and you send it off to the teacher for feedback…
Peter: And I adjust with the feedback and repeat that process until the teacher says it’s ok. But now, with the voice recognition, doing the preparation, it’s pretty good, I usually get it right.
Chigusa: Would you suggest that the listeners do this whole process? Like, record 3 times a day.
Peter: Well, again that’s what worked for me. But you don’t have to do it this way. There are a few ways you can apply this whole speaking, recording, and listening tactic with our system. So let's get into part 2.
Peter: Let's get into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Apply This Tactic
Peter: So listeners, if you want to practice speaking, listening….and improve your recall…
Chigusa: You should try speaking out loud to yourself, recording yourself…
Peter: …listening to that recording.
Chigusa: …and of course, getting feedback if you can.
Peter: This allows you to practice speaking even when you don’t have access to a teacher or a native speaker.
Chigusa: And even if you do have a teacher, you’ll only be with them for 30 minutes or an hour per session. So you’re still limited.
Peter: So, this allows you to maximize your speaking practice time… on your own time.
Chigusa: At the most basic level, all you have to do is… pull out your smartphone, open the voice recording app, and record yourself saying some lines in your target language.
Peter: But doing it once won't be enough. You need to make it part of your routine.
Chigusa: So, since you’re learning with our system and already have that routine going… Here’s what you can do:
Peter: One: Use the voice recorder tool inside of our lessons
Chigusa: You'll find this study tool inside the dialogue section of every lesson. Just click on the microphone icon next to each line.
Peter: The goal is to hear the native speaker say a line, repeat what they say into the voice recorder, and then compare yourself against them.
Chigusa:...and do that for the entire lesson dialog.
Peter: You’ll be able to practice speaking, listening and sharpen your pronunciation as well.
Chigusa: Listeners, if you're already taking our lessons, this will be an easy tactic to add to your routine because the voice recorder is in every lesson. So be sure to do this with every lesson.
Peter: Two: Take the Hand-Graded Assessments
Chigusa: These Premium PLUS assessments test you on writing and speaking… they’re graded by real teachers….
Peter …And you'll find them peppered throughout your recommended learning pathway.
Chigusa: The way they work is, you'll be asked to record a quick dialogue or speech as a way to test your speaking skills…
Peter: …and then our teachers will grade it and give it back to you.
Chigusa: So this is a great way to practice speaking and get corrected at your own pace… without having to find a teacher.
Peter: You can also retake the assessments for more practice… or to try and get a better grade.
Chigusa: Three - Second > Send recordings of yourself speaking to your Premium PLUS teacher for feedback
Peter: And you can do this with the Premium PLUS messenger on the site or on the App.
Chigusa: Your approach here is up to you, but I think the learners that get the best results with this are the ones that create routines for themselves.
Peter: For example, we have learners who recite the lesson conversation out loud… for every lesson they do and pass that to their teacher.
Chigusa: You also can send 3 recordings a day, like we talked about earlier
Peter: One in the morning, one during the day, and one during the evening… just talking about your day. Which is what I did.
Chigusa: Then, we have learners who send recordings of their example sentences from the grammar rules they learn.
Peter: If you’re not a Premium PLUS member, you can use your smartphone to record yourself… and ask a native speaker for feedback.
Chigusa: But also, whichever tactic you apply, be sure to listen to your own recordings as well.
Peter: This will help you remember the words, phrases, and grammar rules…
Chigusa: And even if you can’t judge your pronunciation, you can always tell if your speaking is choppy or a little slow.
Peter: And this will help you improve your speaking overall.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter. Let’s talk goals. What’s your small, monthly, measurable goal for next month?
Peter: Last time was 12 minutes, so this time I’ll go for 15 minutes. Now this is actually the end of the year goal. I figure I’ll try to push myself a little harder this month. That way, if I reach it, I can up my goal next month and if not, I have a fallback to finish the original goal. So this month, took a look at the schedule and I have a little more leeway so I’ll try to push myself a little harder.
Chigusa: Great. Deadline?
Peter: November 30th.
Chigusa: And listeners, let us know what your goals are for the month.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.