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Thread: Some thoughts on learning languages and learning morse

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Posted: 2018-04-04 08:39
I am an interpreter and linguist by training and have found that some of the techniques I used to acquire languages seem quite effective for learning morse. I thought I would share some of them. I suspect some will be self-evident, hopefully others will be new and helpful. The key elements are:

1. Daily practice (at least one hour/day, preferably more)

2. Short practice sessions (15-20mns / session or until performance declines) take a break and start again.

3. Train in the morning, just after waking up and then listen to 10 mns of code at as high a speed as one can still follow just before going to sleep.

4. Listen at the beginning of every day to the totality of the code at whatever speed one is training for.

5. Listen carefully and repeatedly to the letters one confuses (i.e. "s" and "h", etc)

6. Stretch the envelope as much as possible: if one is comfortable at 25wpm, as suggested by chairphone, increase to 26, 27 until one start making mistakes and practice at that speed. Unfortunately, "No pain, no gain" is true.

7. One thing I noticed many times when acquiring languages is that speaking, hearing and writing are totally different skills and must be trained separately and independently. It was very helpful when learning a given language to just listen for hours on end to recordings in the language or on shortwave, without understanding anything or very little, as it enables the brain to parse words and facilitates word acquisition later on. The same seems true for morse: I have found listening in short sessions of 10-20 mns/ day to text at 30wpm is extremely helpful, even if I cannot catch more than 30%.

8. I have found it very helpful to:

a. train in the most common 2 and 3 letter consonant and vowel clusters for a given language. Character cluster frequency tables are used in cryptography and are available for English, French, Russian, etc (in English "th" is the most frequent 2-letter cluster followed by "he', "an", "in", "er", "nd", etc)

b. Train in the most difficult clusters (e.g. "sh" or "ie" in morse)

Finally, language acquisition is a painful process which takes a long time. If one is convinced of the benefits and keeps at it, eventually one reaches whatever level one is able to reach. More than that is probably not on offer.

Posted: 2018-04-04 11:09
Many thanks for sharing your experiences and insights.

It will be helpfull when you publish your personal progress,
You are here exercising for 2 and a half year, I see when I click on your ID,

Some comments and additions:
1. Morse code is not a language but a monoalphabetic substitution. I explain:
When I exercise in my mothers tongue, as I do on a daily basis, and become proficient in reading words and sentences, it turns out that when I switch to English Morse text, I do not have to start all over again, but I can just read it with the same speed, without further exercising.

General accepted advice is 15 minutes each and every day. When you ask guys/galls that are proficient, they agree. Only top performers, competing with each other will probably take much more time.

Often you hear that being musical is very helpful. I am an example of being absolutely not musical, and still being without much effort/suffering above average proficient in Morse code.

Some people are active in the morning, other late at night. When I exercise Morse code early in the morning, : very bad. Let we say 70%, Best time of the day, that the code just flows in like Gods word in a Shaker, is around noon. Everybody has to find out what the best time of day is for him/her.

That aquiring Morse code is a painfull proces, I agree fully. I often read that people want instant satisfaction and everything must be fun. Especially in the USA I believe, but I may be wrong of course. Look at the graphs of this website, and you see a very high number of starters that vanish after a few lessons. Wasted time. No instant satisfaction, no fun, no deal.

It is not so that increasing the exposure with time to Morse code in the long term increases proficiency. Certainly not linear and there is obviously a saturation limit.
That limit is personal, and how hard people try to pass that, it want happen.
I saw that happening at rufzxp.net

There is no need for separate training often happening clusters of characters, because they are often occuring.

Posted: 2018-04-04 15:51
[deleted] I was just here to check my lsst scores were still reachable, and yes. Succeeded.

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