Progression is good.

July 13, 2006 at 3:43 pm | Posted in Language Study, Podcasts, Random | Leave a comment

I’ve been pondering what to do with my “languages” page and as this blog is meant to be, in part, a reflection of my motivation I thought it best to, after completing a unit in my textbook, to do a recap possibly with vocab and grammar notes. If I don’t I imagine I’ll keep coming up with excuses not to study. Therefore I’ll be building that up over the week. Unless something shiny distracts me.

Also I recently listened to Josh in Japan and his very interesting pod-cast of, well, a guy called Josh living in Japan. He’ll soon be heading back to the US to complete studies, fortunately he’ll be continuing his JiJ pod-cast and possibly future endeavours. Download episode 40 for the details. I’ve enjoyed the pod-casts, it was great to listen to them while bored at work and gave me incentive to travel to Japan! Best of luck to you and your family and hope to hear more, whether it’s Japan related or not.

Random – despite updating all my software and hardware my fancy (relatively) new Dell Media PC occasionally will not restart/load from standby mode leaving me no choice but to pull out the plug and put back in again thus losing all active data and probably doing some other damage. I’m not sure if I should blame Microsoft (such an easy target) or Dell. Though as a gripe it’s not so bad.

Learning by pod

July 12, 2006 at 1:58 pm | Posted in French Lessons, Japanese lessons, Language Study, Mandarin Lessons, Podcasts | 3 Comments

I recently got a search hit for Japanese Pod 101 and I thought it would be a good idea to go into more detail with my language learning experiences through the medium of pod-casting instead of the one sentence aside I had previously.

Besides JP101 I also use Chinese Pod. I think they may be jointly owned; although they have different sponsors the similarity in their site design is remarkable. Though that’s just mild speculation on my part and has nothing to do with their product.

The great benefit of both is the ability to download lessons on a variety of topics and abilities in a fun, up to date setting that is by far an improvement over my previous audio systems – language CDs. However, just like those CDs I’d often get distracted or start pondering something or other while commuting. The easiest time to listen. As a result I’ve tended to not absorb or learn as much as I could or should. 

One of the features on JP101 (not sure about CP) is a feature providing sub titles on ipod and some other mp3 players. My Imate doesn’t appear to have this function but for everyone else it’s great!

Both as a language learning tool and a money earner (they definitely deserve it) the hosts (who are fantastic) recommend visiting the site to download a plethora of other materials. It’s these additional materials and helpful community on their forums that put both pods above the rest. They have 7-day free trials that should help if you’re undecided as well as basic and premium packages.

The audio is an important part of the learning process and the added materials help to round everything out although it’s important to note, generally, and for me to acknowledge that without dedication all of these wonderful tools will not lead to growth.

This blog is part of developing that dedication. If you have the motivation take a look at the pod-casts.

I would have liked to tell you about a French pod-cast but sadly there is no French equivalent that I’ve found of equal value. If you have a suggestion please let me know.

Not so Japan -easy

July 5, 2006 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Language Study, Podcasts | 1 Comment

I went to Berlitz last night for a complimentary beginner’s Japanese class. Overall I wasn’t satisfied with the class. While I see the advantage of a small class if everyone’s not up to speed it can bring everything down. I felt bad for one of the students who had clearly not studied at all and the teacher tried to explain the concepts but it was not sinking in. One of the other students was obviously frustrated and kind of an ass about it, the final student seemed decent. The teacher was ok and while I understood her unhappiness with the weak student I didn’t appreciate the comments she made when he was out of the room. Professionalism please! On the flip side (that’d be my puerile side) the teacher had long curly hair, occasionally she’d run her hand through it leaving a big swath of it, up and over the left to the right side. I had to stifle my laughter – I must have been bored or tired – I had had 3 coffees and a coke that day!

While I want to speak the language I also want to be able to read and write. Assuming (big assumption) I do study when I plan to I can see myself getting bored pretty quickly in class, personally I don’t need to drill the same forms relentlessly. I’d rather do it for a bit, study at home to be reviewed the next week and then move onto more content. Though, that’s just me.

Apparently Berlitz classes basically only do verbal work. They do offer private and semi-private classes but there are only two Japanese teachers, as I’ve mentioned already I’m not thrilled with the teacher I had and having to spend 10, 1 on 1 classes would be a trial. Unfortunately the other teacher comes in on a day I can’t come in.

Regardless of where I study or whether it’s self-study using tools like Japaneses Pod 101 or not will require me to actually study and make an effort. Without that it’s all pointless.

I shall make an effort as my abilities increase to write small pieces in other languages.

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