Sunday, January 29, 2006
I talked about the Rosetta Stone program the other day and I love it but I don't think they have it in MP3 format. Pimsleur on the other hand have converted their lessons to MP3 format and they sell it along with an MP3 player. As I said before, I love both, but I prefer the mobility of the MP3 format.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, Berlitz and anything you can get your hands on in the initial stages of learning is great. I love all of it. I have been working on my Farsi and Dari for the past year and a half and I have used the Farsi curriculum from all the above and the results were amazing. But I am a linguist and a language teacher. I know how to motivate and guide myself and how to avoid the trappings of frustration when you're stuck. Online learning is a great idea but giving our soldiers and language learners in the armed forces the Rosetta Stone without any further instruction or interaction is not sufficient and will not produce the desired results. RS needs to be supplemented with classroom instruction and the human touch. Maybe the military is doing this already, I don't know because I don't have access. But what I know is that commercial grade language materials should be supplemented by things like online conferencing, Podcasting and voice enabled instant messaging. If you have some good feedback on the subject I would love to hear from you.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I still haven't had time to look at the text of the initiative, but for those of you who have the time to look here is this link and this link to the fact sheet.
I also found a good discussion of the initiative on this link. The writer has a unique idea but I am not sure he is familiar with the needs of the military and other agencies as far as languages are concerned. The military language student is a unique individual with extremely unique needs. Following a strict academic and scholastic approach to language teaching and learning with military and security students DOES NOT work. Following the strict academic and scholastic approach is slowing down the production of capable military intelligence students. I have proven that point several times. Most recently I did a 53 weeks project for the US Navy where we managed to get the students to graduate in 46 weeks (down from 72 currently at other institutions). I hae developed my methods now to where it can be done in 36 weeks. I also managed to raise the scores of a refresher class by one full point into the 2+ and 3 territory in 15 days. I will not go into the technical details of that but it is sufficient for me to say that things like that are doable by NOT following the academic approach.
The language trainer that is needed for projects like that is a unique breed and I doubt that they are bred in the
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Not only has a serious shortage of linguists resulted, but some experts contend it poses national security issues in the wake of 9/11.
The Bush administration is seeking $114 million to boost foreign language study in fiscal 2007. Although this isn't a lot of money by federal standards, it is a step in the right direction, one that also should include granting more visas for foreign students to attend American schools.
Different countries of the world, particularly those that don't agree on very much, need to learn more about what makes each other tick. Language skills and rubbing shoulders with one another can only improve the channels of communication."
School Officials Propose Adding Arabic and Chinese - News - Arlington Connection - Connection Newspapers
The school staff is recommending the two languages be taught in a countywide after-school program, to be held at a Northern Virginia Community College facility in Arlington and conducted by the college’s professors. "
This is a really unfortunate piece of news. I think the content of the magazine as well as the name 'Hi' should be changed. Hi is a word used by people who are considered the aristocracy and is looked down on by the people we really need to be changing. Give the magazine a stronger name, give it more daring and thought provoking content and you got a winner.
"Huang You Yi, vice-president of the Chinese Translators Association, stressed that the greatest need was not for more English-speaking, but for more Spanish-proficient Chinese, due to the rapidly expanding trade ties with South America. For the same reason, he added, Arabic language skill would soon become equally important. The national television organisation CCTV has recently complemented its established English-speaking channel with a new one operating in French and Spanish. In 2004 German joined English, Japanese and Korean as a specialisation at the huge college where I taught. French, in particular, is likely to gain a strong following since France and China have just shared a Year of Cultural Friendship and signed an extensive economic and trade agreement."