Blogging – is it working for me

Now with the beginning of week 10 there is time for a short review on how blogging worked for me.

I’m still finding it difficult to reflect deeply on what I have learned in the past weeks. When writing a blog, I normally recap what we have done in the tutorials and write a bit about what I have learned.  The problem with blogging and me is that I do not like writing and publishing things on the internet. Writing an essay and handing it in is one thing. You write something and you are going to get graded for it, so you put work in it, but knowing that maybe one or two people will read it. When writing a blog you have to sit down every week, think of something you could write about, publish it and let it be read by not only one or two people but by potentially thousands of people. Even though I am anonymous when writing and publishing I still do not like it.

If I had not to do it, I would not write a blog, because I am still seeing it as a kind of diary you share with the world and I like my privacy. I do not want to share everything with everyone

Writing down what you have learned is a good idea. It helps you learn better, but you can as well do it for yourself instead of sharing it with the world.

Irish English

Before I came to Ireland I had learned a few different styles of English. In school we learned at first the good old Oxford English. Later we had a look on American English.

When I started studying I could choose between British and American English to focus on. This meant basically that I could choose to do my phonetics class and my pronunciation class either in British or American English. I decided to do British English, because I did not and still do not like the chewing gum sound of American English. However I failed my phonetics class for British English in the first attempt so I gave it another try with American English this time. It was kind of mixed up, but I used to stick to British English.

Until I came to Ireland. Irish English is so different from British English. Intonation, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc. There are so many differences. It was quite hard to understand the Irish accent when I first came here, because I was not really used to it. I was used to hearing different kinds of Englishes, as I study Translation we have a lot of English native speakers(Scottish, British, American, etc.), but not a single Irish English native. The only experience I had made with Irish English before I came here was in the form of an Irish movie. I actually liked the accent they had in that film. It was quite pleasant. And I still find the Irish English very pleasant. They do speak fast and they have a lot of colloquial expressions you do not learn at university in Germany, but they don’t mind repeating what they have just said, because they know they are fast speakers.

After more than two months in Limerick now I got really used to the way the Irish speak and do not have that great difficulties to understand them any more.

LI4113 Blog No.6 Corpora and concordancing (again)

Blog 6

In this week’s tutorial we concentrated again on the concordancer AntConc. We learned about a few new functions, e.g the wildcard function which enables you to find not only a certain verb, but all forms of this verb. You just have to add a * at the end of the word you are searching.

We were also given information about our corpora and concordancing essay in which we are supposed to write about a certain problem while learning our target language and how corpora and concordancer could help with that. I’m thinking about writing about a problem I have when learning/writing Dutch, i.e. the definite articles, but the problem with that is, that I have to find a Dutch corpus and my search was until no without success. If I do not find any Dutch corpus I’ll have to think of a problem while learning/speaking/writing English. I know I have problems with vocabulary and preposition. I have to see to what degree corpora and concordancers could help me with that.

LI4113 – Corpora and Concordancing

In this weeks tutorial we dealt with a new topic: Corpora and Concordancing.

What is that?

Corpora is the plural of Corpus which is the Latin word for body. A corpus is a body of texts in machine readable form.

With a concordancer you can find out how often a certain word was used in a corpus. This you can use to determine which word is the right one in this particular context. This would be helpful not only for writing academic or journalistic essays, but also for translators.

In order to get to know corpora and concordancers we were given a CD-Rom with a corpora in different languages and in different topics. We used our target languages to find out more about certain words in the concordancer. As a concordancer we used AntConc. AntConc can produce a frequency list for you and you can examine words you are interested in. You can also look for certain words in the whole corpus.

I think this is a very handy software and very useful for me as a translator. As a language learner I still have to find out how useful it can be.

 

PLEs Personal learning environment and games for the purpose of language learning

In this weeks tutorial we dealt with PLEs.

For that we had to choose one from a list. I decided to explore iGoogle, which I really liked. On the iGoogle page you can add a lot of widgets, which can help you with language learning. I decided on taking news widgets in my languages German, English and Dutch, in order to learn new vocabulary when reading texts on the same topic in different languages. Also I added a dict.cc widget, for looking up vocabulary. And just for a bit of fun, and actually also for vocabulary purposes I added the widget “Dutch word of the day”, where you get the Dutch word and the English translation of it and also the word in context and also translated into English. I found this quite interesting, because English and Dutch are both foreign languages for me and sometimes I could not find the German pendant in my head, even though I knew what it meant.

 

Another topic of this weeks tutorial were games for the purpose of language learning.

I chose this website: http://www.digitaldialects.com/Dutch_advanced.htm

There were simple, but nice games, which mainly focused on matching and vocabulary, but there were also some on spelling and articles. These are the things I still have to practise in Dutch, so the website was quite useful for me.

learning type, interactivity and personalisation

what kind of learning type am I?

To answer this question we did an online test in last weeks tutorial. Here is the link http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

These were my results:

ACT X REF

11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11

<– –>

 

SEN X INT

11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11

<– –>

 

VIS X VRB

11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11

<– –>

 

SEQ X GLO

11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11

<– –>

ACTIVE AND REFLECTIVE LEARNERS 5 Reflective

Reflective learners prefer to think about it quietly first. That applies for me.

“Let’s try it out and see how it works” is an active learner’s phrase. I can agree with that

“Let’s think it through first” is the reflective learner’s response. It depends on how difficult the task is. When it is an easy task, I don’t think long.

Active learners tend to like group work more than reflective learners, who prefer working alone. I can agree to that.

SENSING AND INTUITIVE LEARNERS 7 Sensing

Sensing learners tend to like learning facts. yes, kind of,

intuitive learners often prefer discovering possibilities and relationships. I also like that.

Sensors often like solving problems by well-established methods and dislike complications and surprises. yes, definitely;

Sensors tend to be patient with details and good at memorizing facts and doing hands-on (laboratory) work. Yes, that applies for me.

Intuitors may be better at grasping new concepts and are often more comfortable than sensors with abstractions and mathematical formulations. I’m not good at maths, so that’s possibly right for me.

Sensors tend to be more practical and careful than intuitors; Applies for me.

intuitors tend to work faster and to be more innovative than sensors. I also can work fast.

Sensors don’t like courses that have no apparent connection to the real world. yes;

VISUAL AND VERBAL LEARNERS 3 verbal

Verbal learners get more out of words–written and spoken explanations. Everyone learns more when information is presented both visually and verbally. That applies for me

SEQUENTIAL AND GLOBAL LEARNERS 1 global

  • Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in linear steps, with each step following logically from the previous one. Global learners tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly “getting it.” Both, I like learning in steps, because then everything is clear and understandable. Jumping from one point to another can lead to chaos.
  • Sequential learners tend to follow logical stepwise paths in finding solutions; global learners may be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it. Yes, I can solve complex problems quickly, because I leave out several steps, which are not necessary for my understanding

All in all I can say, that I am both a reflective and active learner, but sensing and more a verbal than a visual learner. And I am both a sequential and global learner.

interactivity and personalisation –  1) How/Why would I personalise my language learning?

2) How personal do I want my language learning to be?

3) What are the advantages/disadvantages of personalising?

in last weeks tutorial we also dealt with interactivity and personalisation. For that purpose we had to find assessment activities for language learning online and try to identify which learning style they catered for. I found an interactive website for writing a film review, which was really good for sequential learners, because all the important points were listed one afte the other. I actually use this website for writing my film review for another module, but the result was not too good, so I had to rewrite it.

1) I would personalise my language learning only to a certain extend, because for most parts general learning assignments are helpful enough.  I take learning Dutch as an example. I started learning it in school and took it for my last three years in school, then I started studying it at university, where I am now in my third year and have finished all my Dutch classes. When learning Dutch on my own (which will be the case from now on) I would focus on the articles, spelling and vocabulary, because I still struggle a bit with these points. That would eb a point when personalisation would come in for me. I would look for online tools helping me with these things.

2) I would want to do tasks on aspects I still struggle with. That’s it. I wouldn’t want any more personalisation.

3) An advantage of personalisation would be that you can focus on the things you really have to practise. On the other hand, especially as a beginner you could loose yourself in tasks and don’t make any progress when you don’t have a teacher to help.

 

LI4113 aspects of language learning, multimedia CALL package

Blog No.3

What is the most important aspect of language learning?

I think the most important aspect shifts the further you get while learning a language. In the beginning it is most important to learn the Grammar properly, to learn vocabulary and to extend you vocabulary in the foreign language. Pronunciation is also an important aspect, when learning a language, but not at the very beginning.

When you are an advanced learner you should try to get involved with people who are native speakers of the language you are learning. Studying abroad or living abroad for a while can be a great help.

Task 3 – read the following article and note your reactions http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11263559http

A nice, well written article, introducing the subject with the topic of London cab drivers, who have to pass a test on the London streets, to actually become drivers. But there is the development of sat-nav, which would make the learning of street names unnecessary.

Article continues with the opinion of Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. He says that the internet, Google and all kinds of supporting software alter the way our brain works and that that does not have to be a good thing.

I agree with Mr. Carr, because I think (and already thought before reading the article) that technological help can be useful, but also has kind of a dark side, because it makes us lazy. I can see that on myself, when I have translation homework. I do have a lot of printed dictionaries, but I prefer using websites like dict.cc, because it is faster to just type in the word and hit enter.

Another example would be the simple use of a calculator; If you have a calculator at hand, e.g. integrated into your mobile, you do not bother to calculate in your head, by yourself. And without doing this, you become lazy, and after a while, should there be a situation where you don’t have a calculator at hand or no online dictionaries, you don’t know how to solve the problem, because you are used to a machine solving it for you, or helping you a lot to solve it.

In my opinion, you have to be very careful with the use of technology and I think this article is a good way to make people aware of it.

Task 1 – Evaluation of GramEx

Gramex English is a package for learning the English grammar. Mainly you have to fit in correct verb forms.

There are a lot of options to choose from, you can practice tenses, conditionals, etc. Basically you can work on the whole English grammar and you can choose, which one you want to work on. If you want to know more you can use the InfoGram button.

It is mainly a reading and writing software, which is good for learners who learn the best by reading and writing, but it does not cater for all types of learners.

The software makes optimal use of the writing medium.

You practice new language, before you can create your own.

Target language context is created, but only to a certain extent.

The software is free of cultural stereotypes and very objective.

It is a free software and very plain, like a simple programmed software. There are only the most important things. If you get the answer right, the area with the question in it is highlighted green. If the answer is wrong it is highlighted red. A very simple minimalistic programme for grammar practice, which I find very good, because it is limited down to the important things and does not distract you. The instructions for the learner are very clear. It is an quite easy software to use as an autonomous leaner.

If you are visiting a grammar class, it would be a useful addition to the learning in class, but it would not be very practical inside the classroom, because you cannot work together on the same sentences.

GramEx is based on “A practical English grammar” by A.J. Thomson and A.V. Martinet, a grammar a my grammar lecturer at my home university recommended.

Unfortunately the software does not include suitable language learning activities and it does not offer scope for additional activities away from the computer.

Task 2 – My wish list for Multimedia CALL packages

Addition to class content

Provoke and maintain my interest.

Little games

Recommendation of books in the foreign language