my first blog

12 Sep

(1) http://thelanguagelearningblog.com/

The title of  blog number one caught my attention instantly. I was eager to discover what these 25 tips for language learning were and if they could be of any help to me at all.

I found most of these tips quite useful. The blog advises that you think in terms of phrases rather than words. I remember our German teacher always advised us to learn fancy phrases so we could ‘bump up’ our German in the letter section on the Leaving Cert paper. I often find it is more easy to sing off a certain phrase you have learned rather than memorizing a single word.

This blog also recommends you use time for your language that is usually wasted such as standing in a queue.  This idea of using wasted time really stuck with me. It kills me when I think of all the hours I spent queueing in airports and post offices or in the waiting rooms at the doctor’s or dentist’s. How much better could my German and Spanish have been today if I had used all of that lost time? I also think of all the times I sat on a bus traveling to and from places. Why didn’t I ever bring a German or Spanish book to look at? I  remember sitting beside a girl on the tram one day and I noticed she had the exact same German book  that  I had. I remember I peered over her shoulder and saw that she was studying the exact same grammar I had done in class that year. And then I remembered thinking “oh God I can’t remember any of that now.” I should have been beside her with my own book out and open on the same page..

Tip number 7. Listen to internet radio broadcasts and podcasts as much as possible. And tip number 8. Likewise, watch videos. (http://youtube.com/)

As for podcasts..I listen to my ipod everyday. So why have I never even thought of downloading some German or Spanish on to it? Again it’s all to do with wasted time. I totally agree with tip number 8 because as a language learner, I find watching videos helps enormously. I often watch TONITOFRITO on youtube to learn Spanish. In my opinion it is always easier to listen and learn than to sit down and read text books and in this way you can also improve your pronunciation.

(2) http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/learn-foreign-language/

This blog is also clear and easy to read as each new point/tip is divided into a separate paragraph.

Tip number 1. SPEND THE TIME. This would have seemed obvious to me before until I realized how much time I haven’t been spending on the languages I want to learn.

Blog no. 2. is in sharp contrast with blog no.1. as it recommends that you learn words first and then notice how they come together as phrases. I would be more inclined to learn different phrases before words but then I suppose it depends on the learner. Everyone is different.

Another tip given here is that you take responsibility for your own learning. I don’t like how this is listed as a different point as I think it could have easily went under ‘Spend the time!’ The time you spend learning on your own is your own responsibility! What you put in is what you get out.

I learned from this blog that it is important to read daily in the language you are learning but to be careful that you choose topics you are actually interested in. I remember forcing myself to read an economic article written in German one day just to make myself feel like I had done some work. Of course I had no interest in this whatsoever and realized I probably would have struggled to read it in English never mind trying to read it in German! From now on I will make sure I read on topics I like as I would definitely benefit more from this.

The last tip here is probably the best one. It says that you should relax and have fun learning the language. I think this is very important. Some people worry too much about making mistakes when learning a language (me included), while it is probably better to make these mistakes so we can learn from them.

(3) http://lingualift.com/blog/lolcats-teach-learning-language/

The title is very interesting. Images and words together can help us learn a language more easily and definitely makes it more interesting.

This blog suggests watching movies in your target language is one of the best ways to learn. I must admit I have not watched many movies in different languages and it is quite a shame as the language resource area here in UL is absolutely brilliant.  I went to Germany this summer and spoke with many Germans the same age as me. I asked them how did they all speak English so well and they all told me they watched films in English over and over again! I will make it my goal to watch movies in both German and Spanish this year.

“..brag about your progress to everyone around you, and teach them what you’ve learned!” This is now the second time I have heard this. I also met a student from Trinity College Dublin in Germany over the summer and he was studying Law and German and could speak German fluently. I told him that I was studying German too and I was hopeless. He told me that there was only one way to learn a language and that was to be a show off. He said when you are having a conversation in your target language and you think of a nice phrase you know, throw it in, use everything you know just because you know it. If you’re wrong people will correct you but keep using what you know or what you think you know because this is how you will learn. I think this is unusual but helpful advice.

(4) http://blog.babbel.com/annes-tips/

I think the first point here is very significant. Annie proposes the idea that you make a plan for how much time you want to spend learning the language. I want to make a timetable this year so I can balance my time effectively between my work, study and sports.

Annie, like in blog no. 1. advises that you should give yourself time  to just listen to the language before speaking and that it will suddenly just come to you. I agree only with this during the early stages of language learning because I personally think the best way to learn is to keep speaking a language.

Annie recommends you develop and learn your own learning style right now. This is a very important factor in learning a language because you don’t want to waste your time on something that doesn’t work for you. Personally I like to see a language written in words as well as listening to it because then I can learn how to spell the word and how to pronounce it at the same time. For this reason I feel watching more movies in the LRA would benefit me, as soon as I schedule time for it on my timetable which is yet to be drawn up.

Like all blogs, this blog tells us to sing in the target language. I must get some German and Spanish songs on my iPod right away!!!

Overall I found all of these blogs very useful as I gained something from all of them. But I think the first blog was my favourite because I felt I could really relate to it as it made me think back on my own experiences of language learning especially on wasted time.This was a real wake up call for me. It didn’t take me too long to read the blog either as the tips were listed in bullet points which made the information clear and concise and easy to remember unlike most text books which contain huge chunks of information that you are expected to recall.

 

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