Another day another dolla’

Hey guys,

Sorry it’s been a little while since my last post, have plenty of midterms coming up so I have been doing nothing but studying grammar for the last few days. Which infact made me start to think that there must be a simpler way of learning grammar, and when I say learning it I mean understanding it, to me there is a major difference between learning and understanding when it comes to language learning. When I study any part of a language I at first just think I am doing very well, I am remembering all my verb endings and all the different conjugations, I feel happy going in and sitting the exam. Unfortunately, once I go in and sit the exam it’s a different story. I realise that I may know the verb endings and the irregular verbs but I am completely unsure how to apply it in every day context, which in lies the difference between learning and understanding, I have realised I can learn a lot of things ‘off by heart’ but I lack understanding, so I wish to tackle this to further my language learning. I have set about finding tools to not help ones learning but to help ones understanding, I have taken it upon myself to find such a tool and my journey with that, starts today. Wish me luck. I will be reporting back, very promptly with my findings, whether good or bad.

Speak soon,

Claire.

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Music the Language Learning way.

Hi Guys,

So today, while in Spanish class ideas were buzzing around the class on what maybe we could put in our blogs this week, and one of the girls mentioned the use of different languages in songs, unfortunately the example used wasn’t the most helpful song to use as a language learning tool but this whole idea made me think of how listening to music or even an audio book can help tune in your ear to your chosen language.

For example, my brother is trying to teach himself french, he has done little things to improve his knowledge of the language on an everyday basis, without having to sit at a computer or in front of a book studying grammar or verb conjugations for 12 hours a day. He’s put his computer into French which automatically improves his vocabulary, he is also a HUGE music fan and spends every minute of his day listening to music, so inturn he decided to turn something he loves doing into a learning aid and now mostly listens to French music on a regular basis. This has improved his pronounciation and his ability to understand the language greatly. I have since began to listen to more and more Spanish music in order to achieve the same thing, and seeing as we live under the same roof, his avid listening to French music, subliminally helps me, even though I am not studying French in my degree, I am very interested in learning it so his methods of teaching himself also help me.

It’s so easy to improve your chosen language, and it also seems possible to enjoy it will your at it, who knew. Just some food for thought.

Talk soon guys,

Claire.

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The software that will guarantee you an A.

Hi All,

My initial plan for this blog post was to do something in relation to language learning and gaming seeing as it was the topic we covered this week in labs and in the lecture, but then coming across  something yesterday changed my mind! My brother was helping me formulate a study plan for this semester to keep me on track of all my assignments and allow time for study as well, while in the middle of this he said ‘Have you ever used this learning software Claire? It’s guaranteed to get you an A in anything you!’ Of course, my initial reaction was, why have you never told me about this before! Which I suppose is a fairly reasonable response! Anyway this particular piece of software is free to download and is called ‘Anki’, I wouldn’t specifically say this is for language learning but it can be certainly used for any topic you would like. 

The main objective of this software is to allow you to create your own online flashcards for any topic you would like, for example Spanish pronouns. There is a list of different layouts and you can add, take away and change cards in your deck at any time and make as many decks as you would like on any topic at all. The layout is very basic and easy to use which is definitely one thing I love about this particular language. You can also formulate the flashcards in any way want, to suit your specific learning needs. I have only been using this software a day and have already formulated a whole deck on a specific topic which I can test myself on as many times as I want during the way, and mark the level of difficulty of the questions and how long it took me to come up with the answer, I am already finding this tool useful as well as interactive and easy to learn.

So, if you looking to learn something about anything, whether it be French verbs or how to cook a lasange, give ‘Anki’ a try and see how you learn things without even realising!

Until next time lads,

Claire.

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Irish, the language of a minority.

Hey guys,

Surprisingly I have managed to make time to do yet another blog post this week, today I actually wanted to discuss the concept of online dictionairies  and thesaurus that can often help or sometimes disimprove langauge learning. I have come across a very good online dictionary by the name of http://translation.babylon.com/. For some reason I find reaming through pages and pages of words in dictionaries quite tiring and tedious, especially when you can just type it into your search engine and it’ll just come up. Does anybody else find themselves not liking the concept of the average paper back dictionary and would just prefer to type into your search engine and bobs you uncle a few hundred different meaning and ways of using one word, or is that just me? I especially like this ‘translator’ for French or even Spanish, unfortunately I have not yet found a decent online dictionary or thesaurus that caters for Irish, which for me is some what disappointing when it comes to improving my Irish. I am taking Irish as my advanced language and hope to do my work experience in the next few months in this field, to improve my Irish. I find it quite difficult to actually find any online resources to help with Irish let alone good ones, I came across one the other day by the name of www.ranganna.ie which seemed to have simple exercises for improving Irish grammar, when I say simple I mean the software was basic and if I’m honest not very well put together, the layout was difficult to use and I often found myself struggling to navigate back to where I wanted to be. I would not recommend this website really for any language learner, Irish wise. As it didn’t help significantly and was just difficult to use. Another site which was often recommended to me by any teacher or lecturer was a website by the name of focal.ie which can be found at the web address www.focal.ie . To be very honest this website is probably the most useful, it is an online dictionary. The only problem I would have with it is the fact that if isn’t very up-to-date and often doesn’t provide popular common and modern words that I now might want to use in any Irish essay in order to improve standard an offer a higher quality. In respect to layout, it’s very basic but so simple to use that I don’t think anyone would have any major difficulties with it, but sure go on an have a try for yourself!

Anyway I best be off, have plenty more language learning type things to do! Talk Soon!

Hasta Luego,

Claire.

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Better late than never..

Hey there guys,

Sorry about the terrible delay with a new blog post, but, you’ll be happy to know that I have not been sitting around all day doing nothing with my time, in fact I have been looking into different so called aspects of technology that can assist my language learning. During this time I have come across a particular software that I find very useful, it’s called ‘Duolingo’. It’s just so easy to use and so easily accessible, for instance I have it as an app on my phone and as far as I am aware if is readily available to download on all smart phones, so that’s right lads and lassies, try and convince the ‘rents’ to buy you a new phone as now it can be used as a learning tool!! Seems legit right?

Back to the point at hand, ‘Duolingo’ is a simple app where  you can pick and choose the language you wish to improve or even learn. I for example use it for French, which I am not studying in university but I do have a keen interest in it, I also use it for Spanish which is a language I am studying. So for me, this app needed to do two things. 1) Help me to grasp the basics of French (or another language) and 2) Further help me with my progression in Spanish. It deals with different levels so you can vary what you are learning, it can vary from easy basics to more difficult sentence structure and vocab. The part of it that I particularly love is the pronunciation aspect, at different parts of the lesson you are given words or sentences to repeat into your phone and it tells if you are wrong or right, this to me is a key element in mastering a language, if you can’t get the pronunciation or accent right, even when the grammar and structures are all correct it just never sounds as good! Am I right?

That’s just such a simple tool for anyone to use and it personally really helps me to learn even a few more words or phrases to add to more vocabulary whether it be Spanish or French or even German. I can this particular software developing even further in the next few months where we will see more languages being offered and I can’t wait for the day I see Irish as an option on it, I’m determined to improve my Irish and am willing to do anything to makes this happen so ‘Duolingo’ introducing Irish as an option would be so helpful for me and anyone else out there interested in learning the Irish language.

Everybody go check this app out it’s so helpful and really works if you’re an interactive learner! Best go and do a bit more research for ye guys!

Talk soon,

Claire.

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Language websites that can help or hinder. Your choice.

Hi guys,

Unlike my last post this one will take the form of an evaluation or critical analysis on 3 to 4 language learning websites and/or blogs from other language enthusiasts.  If I’m honest  it was a difficult task to figure out what websites would be useless to me because I often find things like that difficult to navigate, but luckily I did find or or two that helped me.

This website which was recommended to my brother who is currently learning Chinese, Irish and French and is  very avid learner of languages in general even though he is studying psychology in university.  Its called ‘All Japanese all the Time’ and can be found at the following link; http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/get-nutshell . I found this website/ blog to be very easy to use and in fact quite useful. As I type this blog I decided to undertake a kind of experiment with my friend Chloe who is texting away on her phone as I type this very sentence, she studies Industrial Biochemistry so has no real interest in languages so I decided to ask her to look at this website herself, to me this would really determine if this website could help or hinder an advanced language learner or even a beginner. In my opinion  the language acquisition method of this website, is constantly condensed and constantly updated. I found it to be very up to date and in keeping with easy language learning.  This website/blog in particular helps with all types of language learning, not just Japanese which can be easily mislead by the title of said blog. I found this blog particularly useful in the way that it taught you how to go about learning many languages, it had the best approach in managing the concept of learning multiple languages at one time. It was always well organised in the way of the layout as it was easy to use and to understand. It also had other links to other similar blogs and websites which of course were either beneficial or not but I will talk about those other sites in my next post.

This blog in particular allowed me take a light- hearted approach to language learning and gave me some good ideas that will help me in the future, where it did not necessarily go into varied detail on vocab or grammar in a chosen langauges which can be mentioned as a possible criticism, this did not effect me as this was not what I was looking for at this particular time, I wanted to learn ‘how to learn a language’ before I went about going into the language and uncovering the hidden aspects of complicated grammar and unique vocabulary. For me and maybe a few others out there, I need to ‘learn’ how to do something before I can committ fully to it, to become the best I need to understand the concept of language learning as an enterity and not just the hidden workings of one language, language learning is about much more than grammar and interesting vocabulary but it is also about understanding how you can the learn the language most efficiently and to the best of your abilities. In my humble opinion.

I hope this some what higgedly piggedly analysis of the website will help, or like my title suggests possibly hinders your language learning, which of course I hope doesn’t happen. Remember langauge learning is all about determination and belief, so stay determined and keep the faith.

Until next time,

Claire

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That dreaded and awkward first post..

It was around mid-August when I first came in contact with the concept of ‘Language Technology’ and when I say ‘came in contact’ I mean I saw the code on LI4113 on my timetable and promptly had a quick look into this new module that I’d be studying this year. I soon began to understand that it was all to do with the concept of technology and how it can improve your language learning.I was amazed that my love of technology and even social media could some how improve my language learning and put me one step closer to my degree. Personally, I do little things in regards  technology to improve my language learning on a regular basis, for example, my phones language is set to Irish and both my Facebook and Twitter are in Spanish, this in itself helps me greatly in learning those new key buzz words that are clogging up our minds these days, such as tweet, poke, text or wall-post. It might be a small help, but it helps.

I am mostly interested in analyzing he concept of how technology can improve language learning or maybe in some cases dis-improve. I often wonder, years ago, we never had Facebook or Twitter let alone the option of using them in a language different to our own, and surely peoples ability to learn a language back then was no better or worse now? I often question the concept of technology in learning anything, when years ago, technology was never used as way to learn or enhance and yet the standard of competency in any foreign language was still at a high level.

Even in saying this, I personally, heavily rely on technology to enhance my language learning. I often use online dictionary’s and thesaurus to improve my vocabulary in my chosen language, in my case Spanish and Gaeilge, I find learning vocabulary to be a key part of any language. I also find the concept of grammar very interesting, but often find it hard to use any websites or blogs to assist me here, and often rely on books. Grammar for me is absolutely key in language learning if you want to build any level of proficiency, grammar has to be the main focal point for any language learner if they want to be the best. Grammar is king.

 Who am I you might ask? In regards to Language learning? Well, I myself am a second year languages student so I am always open to new ways of learning languages in the most interesting and often easiest way possible with still giving me a high level of competency in my languages, so my main aim for this blog is to find out and share with you different ways of easy and manageable ways to learn a language without compromising quality. Even before I go do any research, I know doing little things like changing your Facebook from your native language to the language you are trying to learn can even help. How great is that? Something we spend half our lives on can now maybe help us even learn a little, even if its a little, believe me, it counts. Surprisingly enough I have no major interest to go on and teach languages in the traditional sense but the concept of unique and individual ways of language learning really interests me.  So hopefully through the course my blogging career, you can help me, help you,

This blog is mostly for the attention of any language learner that is interested and keen in learning new ways of learning a language, whether it be for my own personal learning, my fellow students, to the benefits of my lecturers even or just some other language learners out there in the world, my aim is to just share what I find and while helping myself hopefully help someone else along the way.

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