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Moses McCormick’s admirable achievement

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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laoshu505000
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4329 days ago

121 posts - 231 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 49 of 221
24 March 2009 at 7:33pm | IP Logged 
Hello there,

Sorry for the late reply. Well, you don't necessarily HAVE to visit a country in order to learn a language. Not to say that it's not a good thing, I believe going to the country after you have a bit of a strong foundation of the language will solidify your level. I believe one should at least be at the intermediate level by the time they go to the country.

I've just been learning languages for fun. I didn't really plan ahead to visit these countries however; I would really like to go someday. Whenever I want to learn a language I have very strong ambitions and expectations. I've just started this but, I choose 8 languages I would learn for the whole year. After spending the time I would spend on learning these, I would move on to the next ones.

Basically, whatever language I have a strong interest for, I will usually try and learn that language.

Are you planing on learning another foreign language? Tutaonana tena mungu akipeda ndugu yangu.

Moses McCormick




Akipenda Lugha wrote:
Hi Moses, I’m a Canadian mzungu living in London Ontario. I study international development and a couple years ago I got a chance to spend a few months in Kenya working in a pretty small town. Then December 2008 I got to go back to Tanzania for 2 months. When I first went to Kenya I didn’t think too seriously about learning Swahili but by the end of it I had a good grasp of tourist essentials. Since then I’ve self-studied and my return to Tanzania was great fun and great practice. Personally I love the region, people are very friendly, its safe (especially Tanzania), and the pace of life suits me. I want to return either to do a masters thesis, to work, or just to see old friends, so I’m going to keep up the study, though I’ve taken on learning Spanish and upping my French in the mean time.

I’m curious, when do you decide on a language to learn? Being in Kenya, beginning to learn the grammar, and desiring to return became my motivation to continue studying, but if I haven’t visited somewhere and don’t know people who speak the language I don’t think I’d be moved to begin studying the language.

2 persons have voted this message useful



portunhol
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
thelinguistblogger.w
Joined 4765 days ago

198 posts - 299 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: German, Arabic (classical)

 
 Message 50 of 221
24 March 2009 at 10:18pm | IP Logged 
laoshu505000 wrote:
...Well, you don't necessarily HAVE to visit a country in order to learn a language. Not to say that it's not a good thing, I believe going to the country after you have a bit of a strong foundation of the language will solidify your level. I believe one should at least be at the intermediate level by the time they go to the country.


I agree completely. I've met quite a few people who have gone to a country to have a "cultural experience," which includes "picking up a language." They rarely come back being much better than when they left. Why? Because they usually don't have the intermediate level or strong foundation you're talking about. They then become frustrated and just hang out with other people who know their own language (expats, immigrants or educated locals) and don't really learn the local language. I used to think that Americans were the only lazy people who did this but I've since found that it's rather common.

There is nothing magical about going to another country when it comes to language learning. If you don't have the discipline to learn how to at least have normal conversations in your target language before you go, traveling to the country will probably not inspire you very much. In my experience, immersion is great for people who are at an intermediate level and want to get to the advanced level (or advanced and want to achieve near native fluency).

That's not to say that if you know nothing about the local language before you go then you won't or can't learn it. I've just seen a whole lot of people get frustrated when they arrive and are still really struggling after a couple of months. It's better to study up before you go.

Edited by portunhol on 25 March 2009 at 3:10am

1 person has voted this message useful



laoshu505000
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4329 days ago

121 posts - 231 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 51 of 221
25 March 2009 at 2:35am | IP Logged 
Yes, and another thing I realized is that many people are afraid to come out of their comfort zone while studying the language in their own country. Many would just rather wait until they're overseas to get actual practice in real life situations. If one plans to become good at a language while studying in their own country, fear is the first thing they must overcome. It doesn't matter what level you are, you should be trying to find the opportunities to practice what you've learned.

Moses McCormick





portunhol wrote:
laoshu505000 wrote:
...Well, you don't necessarily HAVE to visit a country in order to learn a language. Not to say that it's not a good thing, I believe going to the country after you have a bit of a strong foundation of the language will solidify your level. I believe one should at least be at the intermediate level by the time they go to the country.


I completely agree. I've met quite a few people who have gone to a country to have a "cultural experience," which includes "picking up a language." They rarely come back being much better than when they left. Why? Because they usually don't have the intermediate level or strong foundation you're talking about. They then become frustrated and just hang out with other people who know their own language (expats, immigrants or educated locals) and don't really learn the local language. I used to think that Americans were the only lazy people who did this but I've since found that it's rather common.

There is nothing magical about going to another country when it comes to language learning. If you don't have the discipline to learn how to at least have normal conversations in your target language before you go, traveling to the country will probably not inspire you very much. In my experience, immersion is great for people who are at an intermediate level and want to get to the advanced level (or advanced and want to achieve near native fluency).

That's not to say that if you know nothing about the local language before you go then you won't or can't learn it. I've just seen a whole lot of people get frustrated when they arrive and are still really struggling after a couple of months. It's better to study up before you go.

2 persons have voted this message useful



scootermclean
Diglot
Groupie
United States
scottmclean.net
Joined 4991 days ago

69 posts - 70 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), Basque

 
 Message 52 of 221
25 March 2009 at 7:56pm | IP Logged 
Moses,
What languages have you decided to focus on this year?
Will you be posting more videos on youtube soon?
1 person has voted this message useful



laoshu505000
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4329 days ago

121 posts - 231 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 53 of 221
25 March 2009 at 10:01pm | IP Logged 
Hello friend,

The languages for 09 are: Estonian,Lithuanian,Georgian,Icelandic, Tibetan,Burmese,Cambodian and Uighur.

I have a little bit of experience with Tibetan, Uighur and Icelandic, but I wanted to put more time into those in order to improve my level.

As far as youtube videos, yes, I have a lot more videos coming. The reason I haven't posted any lately is because I've been extremely busy. I believe my next video will be another Turkish video then of course an Estonian video since I start that in April. I also want to make another Georgian video. As far as lessons videos, I will be making a Tagalog video teaching the ''BABAYIN'' script and some other rudiments of the language and possibly a Russian video. I think making videos is a fun thing to do for language so I will continue doing that.

Moses McCormick




scootermclean wrote:
Moses,
What languages have you decided to focus on this year?
Will you be posting more videos on youtube soon?


Edited by laoshu505000 on 25 March 2009 at 10:03pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



flatlandllama
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 5602 days ago

35 posts - 44 votes
Speaks: English*, Vietnamese
Studies: Khmer

 
 Message 54 of 221
29 March 2009 at 7:36am | IP Logged 
Moses,
I can't help you out with the other languages, but I can send you some ideas for Cambodian as its what I am currently studying. The Franklin Huffman Beginning reader is good. I did not learn the script from it, although one could. I found it easier to learn from a sound cd and keep a cheat sheet while I read for awhile. The Intermediate reader by huffman is good too although I don't like the layout of vocabulary for each lesson...It is on the final page of the lesson as opposed to on the part of the lesson where it first appears. Minor but still kind of frustrating. Check the FSI course as I know someone mentioned the site to you. http://www.seasite.niu.edu/khmer/writingsystem/writingsyst_s et.htm - This is the U. of Illinois webpage...there's some good audio on there...Sometimes they speak too slowly or too much into the microphone but it is still useable. Colloquial Cambodian by David Smyth has some good dialogues and monologues as well as easy to read script since it is typed.
For an online dictionary let me recommend this one: http://sealang.net/khmer/dictionary.htm
Finally, once you want to get into the thick of things with some audio/written news, I recommend http://khmer.radioaustralia.net.au/ because the audio and written part on the website match perfectly so its like getting transcripts of the news and you can copy paste into the dictionary I told you. Have fun...
Also on a complete side note, I watched your vietnamese video and I am impressed with your progress in one month. Good job, you outdid me by far when I had studied for one month. Pay special attention to these two things: First, your dau sac (up tone) on the word Kho (difficult). Your still understandable, much more so than alot of Vietnamese learners at this stage (and some later stages =]) but it could help to bring the up tone up stronger. Secondly, the words tieng (language) and toi (I) start with an unaspirated (no breath out) alveolar (on the part of your mouth directly behind your teeth). It sounds like your saying you study thieng Viet rather than tieng Viet. Listen to some Vietnamese say the t in those words, if you learn this sound, it will serve you well ni the study of Cambodian and other languages of Southeast Asia. Good luck with Cambodian and further study of VNese.
1 person has voted this message useful



laoshu505000
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4329 days ago

121 posts - 231 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 55 of 221
31 March 2009 at 7:13pm | IP Logged 
Hey, thanks for the recommendation.I will definitely check that source out once Cambodian time gets here. Take care.

Moses McCormick


flatlandllama wrote:
Moses,
I can't help you out with the other languages, but I can send you some ideas for Cambodian as its what I am currently studying. The Franklin Huffman Beginning reader is good. I did not learn the script from it, although one could. I found it easier to learn from a sound cd and keep a cheat sheet while I read for awhile. The Intermediate reader by huffman is good too although I don't like the layout of vocabulary for each lesson...It is on the final page of the lesson as opposed to on the part of the lesson where it first appears. Minor but still kind of frustrating. Check the FSI course as I know someone mentioned the site to you. http://www.seasite.niu.edu/khmer/writingsystem/writingsyst_s et.htm - This is the U. of Illinois webpage...there's some good audio on there...Sometimes they speak too slowly or too much into the microphone but it is still useable. Colloquial Cambodian by David Smyth has some good dialogues and monologues as well as easy to read script since it is typed.
For an online dictionary let me recommend this one: http://sealang.net/khmer/dictionary.htm
Finally, once you want to get into the thick of things with some audio/written news, I recommend http://khmer.radioaustralia.net.au/ because the audio and written part on the website match perfectly so its like getting transcripts of the news and you can copy paste into the dictionary I told you. Have fun...
Also on a complete side note, I watched your vietnamese video and I am impressed with your progress in one month. Good job, you outdid me by far when I had studied for one month. Pay special attention to these two things: First, your dau sac (up tone) on the word Kho (difficult). Your still understandable, much more so than alot of Vietnamese learners at this stage (and some later stages =]) but it could help to bring the up tone up stronger. Secondly, the words tieng (language) and toi (I) start with an unaspirated (no breath out) alveolar (on the part of your mouth directly behind your teeth). It sounds like your saying you study thieng Viet rather than tieng Viet. Listen to some Vietnamese say the t in those words, if you learn this sound, it will serve you well ni the study of Cambodian and other languages of Southeast Asia. Good luck with Cambodian and further study of VNese.

1 person has voted this message useful



jondesousa
Tetraglot
Senior Member
United States
goo.gl/Zgg3nRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4777 days ago

227 posts - 297 votes 
Speaks: English*, Portuguese, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Latin, Mandarin, Spanish

 
 Message 56 of 221
04 April 2009 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
Hi Moses,

I hope this post finds you well. I appreciate all of the suggestions and help you have been providing for all of us. It is extremely helpful and full of incite into how you personally study languages. If you don't mind, I have some more questions for you and a few of them may be quite time consuming and may require lots of time to discuss. I apologize in advance if this is a hardship for you.

My first question: On your videos of language resources (ie boot camp) you mention that you use phrasebooks, dictionaries, coursebooks, etc. and also that you use many internet resources. Would it be possible for you to share a list of these internet resources by language? I think that resources that you have found to be tried and true may be extremely beneficial for those of us learning specific languages and may save many of us lots of time and effort to find useful resources.

My second question: On the videos where you discuss the languages you have studied and how much time spent in the countries, you mention that you are at high beginner, intermediate, low advanced level, etc. Could you please create a list of the resources you have personally used for each language so that (again) others may not have to repeat so much hard work of looking for useful resources? An example that I could personally give from my experience would be:

Japanese:
Japanese for Busy People I (not so useful)
Japanese for Everyone (extremely helpful to get to lower intermediate)
Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese (great to get to high int/ low adv)
Pimsleur Comprehensive (excellent for initial spoken language practice)
Remembering the Kanji I (very helpful to get a good start at kanji writing / meanings)

Italian:
Pimsleur Comprehesive Italian (helpful for initial spoken language practice)
Assimil Italian with Ease (good first step coursebook to get to lower int)
Easy Italian Reader (good for picking up lots of vocab and grammar structures)

My third question: You mention in your language learning videos that you highly suggest journal writing, chatrooms, forums, and coursebooks. Could you give an approximate percentage of time spent in each area per study session, for example: in a 3 hour session 1 hr. in coursebook, 1 hr. in chatroom, .5 hrs writing in journal, .5 hrs. reviewing journal corrections), etc.

Sorry this is so detail intensive, Moses, but I personally (and many others on the forum I would think) don't have as much time to study as we would like and the more efficient we can become, the quicker we could realize our goals. You heavily suggest a 3 month period to reach lower-intermediate for a language; however, if you already have a refined methodology and resources you can share, maybe we could all become as efficient as you.

I know what I am asking takes much time, so please forgive me for this request. If it is easier, maybe explaining these things on youtube videos would be better. Whatever you decide would be fine and very very helpful.

Best regards and warmest wishes,

Jon


Edited by jondesousa on 06 April 2009 at 10:02pm



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