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Which foreign language should I learn?
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I am quite unhappy with the current quiz - see all the questions I flagged. I guess this one is good enough if you're only deciding between French and Spanish (though even there there's not much to go on), but for aspiring polyglots it's very unsatisfying. May I create a better quiz for polyglots, which takes into account subjective beauty, grammar, usefulness as related to the participant's place of residence, feelings about places and so on?
Posted at: 4:32AM on May 19, 2009. [ permalink ]
Just trained the questions... no wonder this was giving poor results! Somebody managed to get even the most obvious questions wrong, e. g. listing Tagalog, Icelandic, Indonesian and Vietnamese among languages with a different alphabet...
I trained them correctly now. Wondering if it will be weighted in or just replace the incorrect answers...
Even with these improvements, I would still prefer to create my own detailed quiz on the subject though, because I don't agree with a lot of the questions or at least their phrasing or answer possibilities.
Updated at: 8:40AM on May 19, 2009. [ permalink ]
Your new training will take effect immediately (well, maybe after a several minute delay while the system updates itself).
Instead of creating a new topic, I'd suggest you add the questions you think are missing to this existing topic. Hopefully that way we can have one good language topic instead of several competing ones.
Posted at: 10:14AM on May 19, 2009. [ permalink ]
Jon and I just don't see eye-to-eye on the questions, and I don't want to take this from him. For example, he gave "Which of the following is your strongest language besides English?" high weight, while I consider it totally irrelevant to the result. Just because I'm a native German, or because I had to learn Spanish at school, doesn't mean that I shouldn't be learning Chinese if that's what interests me.
A lot of the questions I'd just do differently, and these I can't add to the mix because they'd be almost-duplicates and annoy people. For example, instead of "Do you want a language with a pretty system of writing?" I'd give visual examples of different writing systems, because everybody has a different idea of beauty.
Instead of all those negative questions like "Do you want to focus on a language with pronunciations that are easier for native English speakers? * Yes * No, I'm up for the challenge", which only give the choice between "easy" and "don't care", I'd give people the opportunity to say "I would love to try something exotic/hard", so that language lovers like me actually have a chance of drawing one of the lesser-studied languages. Because right now these languages only acquire negative and neutral points, it's as if they weren't in the results at all...
Posted at: 10:32AM on May 19, 2009. [ permalink ]
Junesun - It sounds like you know a lot more about this than any of us including Jon, so if you want to change things please feel free, and if we can help please feel free to tell us what to do to help. Our goal is to let people like you who are experts on topics take charge.
Posted at: 11:57PM on May 19, 2009. [ permalink ]
I created www.hunch.com/foreign-languages-to-study/ the way I'd expect this topic to work. The title is "What should my next foreign language be?", so it will hopefully attract aspiring polyglots more than monoglots.
Right now this covers 24 languages:
- Romance: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Latin
- Other European: Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Russian, Swedish
- Middle-Eastern: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian (Farsi)
- Asian: Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese
- Other: Esperanto, Maori, Swahili
If you have studied another language, especially an Eastern European, African or Native American one, please add it. Otherwise I will continue to add languages as time permits. For these languages I will have to do some additional research because I haven't tasted them yet. I'm careful about how I answer the questions for each language, because I see this topic very much as a precision tool, e. g. if you want to find out what language most Middle Eastern literature is in...
If you notice that there's trouble distinguishing preference between some languages, please let me know and I'll think of a question to help disambiguate. I already foresee eventually having to add a "What part of Africa are you interested in?" once there are more African choices, because the indigenous languages are similar in features (and in lack of big populations, literature, movie industry...) so the location makes all the difference between wanting to learn e. g. Swahili, Hausa or Yoruba.
I would only show this question to people who have expressed interest in Africa and in small languages of course. For this reason: where I can find the advanced question options such as weight and conditional showing? I've seen them before but can't find them right now...
Updated at: 3:30PM on May 20, 2009. [ permalink ]
The advanced question options you are after are kept within the edit question screen, but they can be missed.
1. Go to your question
2. Hit the Edit button in the top right corner of the question's box
3. Hit Train at the bottom of the question box
4. Here you can train the responses to specific results in the topic OR just click "I'm tired of training, just skip to the end"
5. Hit this skip to end button
6. Now, here you should see the advanced question properties down at the bottom of the screen.
Let us know if you have any questions.
Posted at: 3:26PM on May 20, 2009. [ permalink ]
Thanks, that worked. Why you make it so hard to find is still beyond me...
Today I added the topic "Should I learn Esperanto?" (www.hunch.com/learn-esperanto) and I'm glad it was promoted out of the workshop almost instantly after I was done. My topic "How can I learn a foreign language?" (www.hunch.com/how-learn-language/) is still in the workshop though, can you tell me what I need to change to make it acceptable?
And I think it's really weird that to find my workshop topics I have to click away from "Your Workshops" and on the more general "Topics", because "Your Workshop" shows all topics except mine... Would be nice to have a listing of only my topics somewhere so I can keep an eye on them.
Posted at: 9:03AM on May 21, 2009. [ permalink ]
We've been promoting topics manually, so we must have just missed your foreign language topic on our last pass. We too have to navigate the various tabs of the workshop to spot them and pluck them for promotion to the rest of Hunch. Totally not about your topic being unacceptable.
Moving topics you created into the Your Workshop area makes a lot of sense. Alternatively, you can go to your profile's Contributions area and see all your total contributions you've made to Hunch with links to go direct to them.
As for the advanced question settings, we want to be certain that people who change those settings really understand what they are doing. More serious contributors like yourself should be willing to seek them out, as you will quickly recognize that they can be key to making topics work as desired. Hopefully, those who don't know what these settings do will be less likely to mess with them and ruin a great topic.
Posted at: 10:01AM on May 21, 2009. [ permalink ]
@"Which of the following is your strongest language besides English?"
The question seems to be relevant because if you speak italian, you can learn spanish very quick, while if you speak japanese you aren´t as well prepared for spanish.
@"doesn't mean that I shouldn't be learning Chinese if that's what interests me."
You are right, but it seems the question is "Which foreign language should I learn?", not "Which language will be most interesting to learn for me?", so the aim of the question seems to be more technical than based o taste and interest. Like if one would ask "What sport should i do?" If i´m interested in sailing, but i can´t swim than maybe that´s technically not the best choice, because the answer would be to learn swimming first if i want to do a sport in the water. On the other hand if i´m a experienced surfer sailing might come more natural to me because i already know how to read wind and water and how their forces will apply on the sail. Same is with languages and their relations. I surely can learn Chinese with more ease when i already speak Japanese and so on.
Posted at: 9:07AM on May 23, 2009. [ permalink ]
Darwin, I would not recommend Spanish to somebody who already knows Italian. I tried to learn Spanish, which should have been dead easy for me since I know Latin, Esperanto, French and Italian, but instead I found that the Spanish language was slipping through my fingers like wind. I understood all the explanations and the texts, but just couldn't find something to sink my teeth into and make me remember. Similar experience with Dutch (German is my native language). Chinese was a LOT easier.
Besides, shouldn't it up to each person if his prime criteria is a) easiness b) complexity c) foreignness d) being related to an interesting culture e) being the language of their ancestors... The topic presumes to tell people.
Plus, what if they could answer Yes to several of these?
Updated at: 8:47PM on May 31, 2009. [ permalink ]