Drilling with Shadow Loops

I have a love-hate relationship with drilling.

On the one hand, it is an extremely useful way to improve your understanding and productive abilities in another language. On the other hand, it can be extremely boring.

*has nightmarish flashback to high school Spanish class*

The horror.

It can help to think of one verb conjugation as being, say, one rep at the gym. Maybe one sit-up, one push-up, etc. You have to do a lot of them before you become able to do a lot of them quickly without getting tired.

Luckily, I've found one way to be faithful in my verb drilling: Audio Loops (or as I somewhat nerdily like to call them, Shadow Loops).

This has done wonders for my understanding of Korean verb conjugations, for example.

I'll show what I mean. Here are the conjugation patterns for the plain volitional form, which we saw a few lectures ago:




Just reading those a few times, you probably won't memorize them. Unless you have a better memory than I do, that is.

However, remembering these conjugation patterns is much easier if we hear them over and over again. 

Instead of just reading that list of conjugations a couple of times, you could listen to each of them repeated on your way to work or school every day for a week, listen to a playlist of tracks like this:



Doing this becomes more effective when we study different conjugations patterns for the same set of verbs. The reason it becomes more effective is that we always have the verbs in the same order. By having the verbs in the same order every time, it is possible for us to drill ourselves while we listen.

So when you hear 買おう (かおう // let's buy), you can focus on the pronunciation, try to mimic the native speaker and whatnot. Furthermore, though, you can start thinking, "What's the plain volitional form of 行く (いく // to go)?" because you know that this verb will come after the verb 買う (かう // to buy).



When that second audio loop track comes on, and you hear 行こう (いこう // let's go), you can confirm that you did or did not guess the correct conjugation, practice your pronunciation a bit, and then prepare for the next verb, because after doing audio loops for a while, you now know that 書く (かく // to write) always comes after 行く (いく // to go).



Even if you forget what the next verb is going to be, which is likely to happen the first few times you go through sets of these audio loops, you can instead just focus on memorizing the track that is playing. You can mimic the sounds of the native speaker, training the muscles of your mouth to make Japanese sounds — something that shouldn't take brain power but will, initially.



Listening to audio loops like this every afternoon during a one-hour walk,  I was able to learn the majority of Korean verb conjugation in the span of about two weeks. It was still difficult for me to conjugate verbs on the fly, but understanding the tense/form of verbs I encountered in my studies became much, much easier. And my listening and pronunciation improved a lot, too.

I'm not saying that you should shoot for two weeks for these verb conjugations. I'm just pointing out that this is a very effective method for learning conjugations. A little boring, yeah. But powerful!

So maybe give these audio loops a shot? Being able to understand conjugations will make your life MUCH easier.

Here is the entire set of conjugation audio loops:
We've already explained about half of the verb sets you'll encounter in these audio loops. We're also introducing a number of other forms, however, which will be explained in this section. Before diving into audio loops, you might want to read the following handful of lectures.

Let's keep at it, yo...



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