The Interaction Pattern (Part 1- Introduction)

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The main purpose of my blog is to test out a specific language learning strategy. The crux of this approach is using “Interaction Patterns.”

Basically this is taking pieces of the language you are learning and intentionally creating patterns in ways that prompt you for a response – using the new the language. In other words purposely creating and engaging in an interaction between you and the new language.

When we speak in our native language it’s usually to take part in some sort of conversation. Conversation isn’t repetition. Conversation isn’t reciting a memorized list of words. Conversation isn’t translation. Conversation is interaction. You interact by responding to prompts given by other people who then respond to yours. In a normal conversation the interaction is automatic. It’s like a reflex that happens without too much thinking.

The idea is to gain the ability to make a reflex response in the new language. By learning how to create interaction patterns, you can take any materials from any resources you find and easily transform them into understandable, useful interactions that you can practice.

WHAT exactly does interaction pattern look like?

Generally it consists of one main sentence or phrase that repeatedly prompts you for a response using slight variations. Let me show you an example.

There is

a computer

here.

There is

a bag

here.

a desk

a TV

a chair

a book

The main sentence is “There is a _________ here.” The slight variation is whatever item fills in the blank. This sentences are then practiced in a way that prompts you for a response. This is most easily demonstrated on flashcards.

Side 1

Side 2

a computer

There is a computer here.

a bag

There is a bag here.

a desk

There is a desk here.

The idea is to look at the prompt on Side 1 and speak the answer on Side 2 before you flip the card over to check your answer.

IMPORTANT: I’m using English on these patterns only as an example to show you how it’s done. However, when you create these patterns, they should be made in the new language, NOT in English.

I used the interaction pattern above in Swedish in my second post called Swedish From Nothing in 13 minutes.

Here is another example:

Pattern

Side 1

Side 2

Did you go to

the store

?

the store

Did you go to the store?

the bank

the bank

Did you go to the bank?

the restaurant

the restaurant

Did you go to the restaurant?

the office

the office

Did you go to the office?

the movies

the movies

Did you go to the movies?

the bookstore

the bookstore

Did you go to the bookstore?

TYPES of interaction patterns

Substitution patterns are what I used in the 2 examples above. This when a word in a phrase is substituted for another, or a group of words for another group of words.

There are several other kinds of patterns you can make.

Question/Answer patterns. Can you guess what this is? Yep, this is when you answer a question. In these kind of patterns the prompt is given as an extra hint with the question. The hint helps you know how to answer. Let’s use the first example from above and turn it into a Q/A pattern.

Question / hint

Answer

Is there a computer here? / Yes

Yes, there is a computer here.

Is there a bag here? / Yes

Yes, there is a bag here.

Is there a desk here? / Yes

Yes, there is a desk here.

Is there a TV here? / No

No, there isn’t a TV here.

Is there a chair here? / No

No, there isn’t a chair here.

Transformation patterns. This is when you transform a part of the phrase into something else. This works well with verb tenses. To practice the past tense, you can create a pattern in the present tense that you have to transform into the past.

Original (present)

Transformed (past)

I’m going to the store.

I went to the store.

I’m going to the bank.

I went to the bank.

I’m going to the restaurant.

I went to the restaurant.

I’m going to the the office.

I went to the office.

I’m going to the store.

I went to the store.

Combination patterns. This is when you combine two simple sentences into one big one. In the example below, the two simple sentences “I like tea,” and “I really don’t like coffee,” are combined into one big sentence.

Prompt

Combination

Tea / Coffee

I like tea but I really don’t like coffee.

Translation patterns. This is when you translate a phrase from one language into another. This is the most popular form of flashcard making. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen people making any other kind of flashcards. They only seem to associate flashcards with translation.

Here’s the funny thing. I DO NOT RECOMMEND MAKING TRANSLATION PATTERNS!

AVOID make these unless you absolutely have to. This is because the whole point is to respond automatically as a reflex in the new language. If you are constantly translating inside your head, your response will not be automatic and your conversation will be very slow, difficult, and tiresome.

English

Swedish

There is a bus here.

Det finns en buss har.

(without special characters)

 

There are others, but these are the main ones and are quite versatile for building interactions for all kinds scenarios.

That is a quick introduction of what an interaction pattern is and the different types you can create. In the next post I will explain the purpose of these patterns and show you the benefit it has to accelerating your language learning.

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