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Pesto

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Everything posted by Pesto

  1. I like both the Ginger app for Android and NoteTab Lite. I never really considered how both could be helpful for English learners, but I'll certain keep that in my mind for my TESOL classes and future teaching.
  2. I have difficulty with rolling Rs, too. Any time I attempt it, I sound as if I'm trying to swallow something that is stuck in my throat. I've never made any of my attempts while I was looking in a mirror, but I know that watching your own mouth formation while producing tricky sounds actually is helpful.
  3. Something else interesting to note about a sizable of people who were born deaf and have communicated solely by means of ASL is that some of them have difficulty writing sentences with standard English syntax. ASL actually has a different sentence structure than typical English, and I imagine that writing skills isn't something that is touched upon as much in Deaf classrooms. Some of the beliefs in the Deaf (note the capital D) community in the U.S. (and I suppose in some other nations) are, well, a bit perplexing to me, to be honest.
  4. In high school, my public school system had a couple of different tracks, one being known as the "foreign language track." Those who opted for this track, including myself, were required to take Spanish I and II or French I and II, each level being a school year apiece. If you desired, you could have taken a language for three or even all four years of high school. (And you also could have even tried to take some of the other language offered!) I took Spanish for all four of my years in high school. Quite frankly, the instruction was sub-par, and I didn't realize just how it was until I had started taking my TESOL classes for my MA. We had no exposure to authentic texts, just textbooks and worksheets, and we never heard a peep from any native language users. Our textbooks were old--I went to high school from 1999 to 2003, and the books still talked about playing records. Those who have the opportunity to learn additional languages at a very young age are fortunate, and I wished I had that chance. We actually have an optional immersion program for Mandarin for Kindergarten and first graders in the areas public schools. The program is in its second year. The county originally intended for the program to last only a year, but the parents of the participating children were so impressed with the program that they demanded it to be continued.
  5. Holy moly, you have no clue how tricky it was to find a decent chart regarding language families... I've linked to a large map that shows the distribution of language families across the Earth's continents. As you can see, the number of families present is vast. So many other charts I came across were very Euro-centric and ignored families that were based in the Americas, Oceania, and Africa. I wish I could find a decent flow chart that shows from which origin languages these originated. As for knowing how languages are related, basically tons of comparison between different lexical features is how it's done. Really, any description that I state of this process would not be any good considering that I lack the sort terminology that I could use to properly describe the process without too much jargon.
  6. I almost didn't introduce myself because I'm not always so mindful about introductions! Anyway, I'm currently earning a Master's in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Considering how I've always done well with English in my classes and daily life, and that I have been told that I have a knack for teacher others, I think my degree is a decent fit. While I've traveled a little bit outside of the U.S., my native country, I'm hoping to do a lot more traveling. I've always enjoyed learning about other cultures and going to other locations. I know a bit of Spanish, but I'm hoping to improve upon it some day. I also am open to learning other languages more extensively--I seem to pick up little random bits of languages here and there, but none of it amounts to any level of proficiency.
  7. When translating any form of media, you have to consider the audience's familiarity with culture from which the media originates and its purpose. You can choose to be more literal if you expect your audience to be fairly knowledgeable about the originating culture, but you have to do a lot substitution if otherwise or else the meaning might be entirely misunderstood. Also, considering that languages do not have complete one-to-one correspondence to each other due to differences in lexicon and grammar, it's impossible to have a perfect translation of anything.
  8. If I'm remembering properly, learning any sign language involves different learning capabilities than learning a conventional language. Learning sign languages relates more to kinesthetic abilities and intellect, whereas other language learning invokes different intellect. While I seem to work well enough with conventional languages, I seem to do very poorly with picking up and utilizing sign languages.
  9. The feeling of failure certainly plays a role in why my Spanish skills aren't anywhere near as developed as I would like. It's a pretty silly feeling considering that I seem to have an easier time picking up on pronunciations, word origins, syntax, and such than a lot of people. And it's also silly feeling considering that we all learn languages for different purposes, that different mental processes are involved in learning an additional language than a first language (especially if you are an adult learner), and that it's impossible to know a language to its entirety (especially if it is a living language).
  10. I think the concept of accents in languages in general is such an interesting concept. I think people often don't realize how accents can vary so much over even the tiniest bit of area. I also am amazed at how a lot of people seem to have difficulty with understanding speakers of other accents but same languages. Then again, I think receptiveness and openness play a huge role in this. I would say that I prefer British English accents to those of other English dialects, but I can't say I am as familiar with the variety of accents as I would like to be. What I mean is that Americans have a nasty habit of lumping most British English accents together, and are pretty ignorant of the differences in general--I've suffered a bit in this regard myself.
  11. While I think it could be a useful tool, I question how helpful it is with acquiring fluency. You can have people do well with exercises, but then be at a loss to using language authentically in real-life situations. Also, I imagine that there's not much involvement in regards to writing, which I often think is neglected when learning new languages (that is if the languages even have written components).
  12. Pesto

    Muzzy!

    I remember this learning program being advertized Nickelodeon when I was a child, too. I wondered how on Earth those children in the commercial even understood what that green creature was saying--what he said sounded nothing like what that young actress repeated back!
  13. Where I live, I think my generation was the last to learn cursive in the public school system. We learned to write in cursive at the start of third grade. Up until my undergraduate career, I actually preferred to write in cursive as opposed to manuscript. I'm really not certain why I stopped writing in cursive once I had started my college courses considering that both forms of my writing as just as (il)legible. I suppose I can see this from both sides of the issue. While I can see how impractical learning cursive is compared to many other skills, it's not as if everything we learn and do is for practicality's sake. I agree that there's a certain aestheticism to it that printing lacks. I guess if I were to complain about schools cutting anything, it would be with how some systems axe the arts, but I guess that's just me...
  14. I think a huge component of it is that whatever topics or prompts students are given to work with are not relevant to them in some form. It's already a tricky enough of a task to write creatively on your own volition or regarding a topic that you like; it's tedious and down-right difficult when you don't care about the topic at hand. I also think that there isn't enough emphasis on writing for enjoyment's sake and socialization. A lot of people don't seem to quite understand that writing can be used as an emotional release and can as validly communicate concepts as speaking. Having students keep journals is often a suggestion that has been made in my classes that I'm taking for my MA in TESOL. Though, I do agree that some people simply aren't creative. I mean, I think it's like athleticism in that a lot of people can develop it, but some people seem to struggle no matter what help or accommodations are made. I'll admit that lacking creativity is hard for me to get because I've never had problems with this, but, seriously, I can empathize with anyone who is terrible at sports!
  15. Considering that I live in the U.S., I wish I knew more about free English learning opportunities in other countries. If you have any colleges or universities near where you live, perhaps you could contact them to see if there are any students who are earning English teaching degrees because they often need to interact with English learners for their classes or if they have any other resources for English learners. Or if any of those places have exchange programs with students from countries that speak English natively, maybe some of the students would be willing to become a conversation partner with him. Also, have him watch programs and movies with English audio. He can watch the shows with subtitles to help out. And if he likes to read, see if you can find any books written in English that he might like and are of a good level of difficulty. It doesn't have to be fine literature--anything of interest or use to him is good. Comics, magazines, cookbooks, newspapers, and whatever else are good. People often neglect writing in their language studies, but writing is helpful, too. Keeping a journal or a blog can help him practice his skills. Really, practice, practice, practice is what it boils down to in the end. Of course, seeing that you both want to earn your CDLs, make certain that he learns what will be beneficial for this line of work. He may even feel more at ease focusing on this at first, too--it's certainly best for him not to over-extend himself. I'm actually earning an MA in TESOL, so while I'm definitely still learning about teaching others English, I'm hoping I can be of some help.
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