Don?t Take The Romaji Short-Cut When Learning Japanese
This is an issue many Japanese learners come up against, particularly if they live outside Japan. After all, If you are not in the country, it seems difficult to justify the huge amount of time that learning Japanese characters seems to require.
About the Author
This article is © Stephen Munday 2005. Permission is given to reproduce this article in whole with the URLs correctly hyperlinked.
Learning a Foreign Language: Learn from the Blind
In a previous article, you read that to establih your own lists was the best way to learn vocabulary as fast as possible. Let's study what an effective list looks like.Among prejudices about languages, there is the following: you need to establish huge lists in order to acquire as many words as possible.WRONG !The most effective list contains 5 to 6 words at a time. Yes! Your larger list contains 6 words. Are you still afraid of the task? I'm sure you can deal with 6 words at a time. If you could draw your memory, you would draw a two room flat. The first room, your instant memory, is large enough for 6 items. Your deep memory, the second room, has no limit, but it can receive no more than 6 items at a time and wants you to confirm your order. What happens when you fight against Nature?If you go on solliciting your instant memory and try to add a new item when there is no room left, it will make room for this new item (your memory is obedient, from a certain point of view) by pushing out something else. The newcomer is not added, it replaces the older in the queue. If you are lucky, the previous 6 items in your deep memory had been stored when you tried to add one and the pushed-out word enters your deep memory. More often, as you have experienced, it disappears. That's the reason why the memory seems a bit temperamental as long as you don't know how it works.
English Language Sputtering Online Like an Old Ford!
Sad, but true. Just about everywhere you look online, the English language is suffering a fate worse than death. The problem, in reality, is so widespread that it has begun to affect all aspects of the language. "But, what on Earth does this have to do with Internet marketing?" you may be asking. Well, my fellow netpreneur...Everything!
Teaching Reading to English Language Learners
There is an increasing amount of English language learners represented in our schools for whom a unique approach to developing literacy is necessary. The development of literacy by English language learners (ELLs) includes all of the challenges implicit for English speaking children literacy attainments, and is additionally compounded by a diversity of linguistic, cognitive and academic variables.
Bridging the Language Gap Using Bilingual Picture Books
There are more than 39 million Hispanics live in the United States making it the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. It is estimated that within five years, only Mexico will have more Spanish-speakers than the U.S. Schools are offering bilingual courses and fully integrated bilingual curriculum. In some areas of the country , Spanish even exceeds English as the first language of the residents. Families are integrating languages into their neighborhoods regularly.
Aphasia: The Cruelest Language Barrier
Imagine the following scenario: You wake up one morning and instead of speaking English, everyone around you--including your family and friends--is speaking Hungarian. This is a problem because you don't speak Hungarian and you don't have a clue what they're saying. You become frustrated. The people around you become frustrated, too, but instead of switching back to English, they speak Hungarian more loudly.
Teaching English in Greece - What Do You Need to Know?
The employment situation can be quite uncertain for newcomers to Greece and therefore many people choose to try teaching English as a foreign language, on a full or part-time basis. It can bring in a good income whether it is your preferred career choice, or you wish to do it short-term until another career choice pans out. Qualifications and Experience There are many language schools or frontistiria in Athens and all over Greece, to which you could apply for work. In order to get a job in one of these schools, it is still not strictly necessary to have a formal teaching qualification such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Often all that is required is a university degree (in any subject) from a UK or US university. That said, if you are uncertain about your ability to teach English and want to ensure that you start off in this line of work with the necessary skills, a course would be useful. It would provide you with some teaching theory, knowledge of English grammar (let's face it, many of us have never formally studied English grammar in any great depth, even though we speak and write English everyday) and give you some valuable experience of teaching in a classroom, since this is included in most courses. When applying for jobs, you will find vacancies that specify that previous teaching experience is required and others for which no experience is necessary. It does not matter if you do not speak a lot of Greek. Native English speakers are often valued for other reasons such as having what is seen as a "proper" accent. Many people also swear by the approach of not speaking your students' language, so that they hear only English being spoken for the duration of the lesson. You will find ways to make yourself understood. In my experience of language teaching, it can even be counter-productive if your students know that you speak their language well, because they may be too easily tempted to speak to you in Greek when they find it hard going. Finding work Teaching English as a foreign language jobs are widely advertised in newspapers and on the Internet all year round and most often from August to October. As well as applying before in Greece, you can also go to door-to-door around the frontistiria with your CV, again in the August to October period. If you are visiting them in person, it is not recommended that you spend time doing this any earlier than August because the schools often do not consider their recruitment needs much before the beginning of the academic year. Pay and working conditions Pay and conditions offered by language schools will vary enormously, so it is important to check these out in detail first before accepting a contract. If time is on your side, it may be worth speaking to several schools rather than taking the first job you are offered. Also, if you work in a frontistirio it is quite likely that you will be working mainly in the afternoons and evenings, since this is when children and adults are free to take their lessons. Making some extra money Many people who teach English as a foreign language in a school, also do private English on the side and this can become a lucrative activity in itself. Working in a language school for a few months is a good way to meet students and advertise the fact that you do private English lessons, on a one-to-one basis. It can be difficult to get the first few, but then through word of mouth, you'll get more if you do a good job ? that great social network of mums and dads on the school run can work wonders! The University of Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) exam system seems to be the most widely known and respected in Greece, many people who want to be taught privately are preparing to sit a Cambridge exam or some other type of test. It is worth familiarising yourself with the system ? there is an enormous amount of free information on the Internet, including lesson plans, tips, exam practice etc. The exams which are most commonly sat by students are the "First Certificate in English" (which many people still refer to by its old name: "Lower"), "Certificate of Proficiency in English" (known as "Proficiency"), and "Certificate in Advanced English" (commonly referred to as "Advanced"). More information is available from the Cambridge ESOL web site (www.cambridgeesol.org). What private students will want from you varies a great deal. Some may just want a conversation class, others may just be starting on the Cambridge examinations path and there will be some who are already at a very high level and may need detailed coaching on specific grammar points or on vocabulary for a particular purpose e.g. business English. And given these differences, the amount of preparation required on your part and the fee per hour you are able to charge will probably vary too. I will finish with a word on advertising. My experience has been that I have paid out money for two newspaper ads, which got back zero replies! What has worked well for me is local advertising - you need to use your imagination. I put a card in local shops and a small notice in the back window of my car and you can see people reading it at every traffic light! Just beware of getting calls on your mobile phone while you're driving - not good! As I said before, word of mouth should kick in too once you have your first couple of lessons.
English Slang For Perplexed Tourists
I watched the British version of 'Big Brother' recently. That's the television show which is a human hamster cage. Viewers go 'ooh' and 'aah' over the one they like or dislike, and vote to decide who leaves the house. In the interim, the contestants do tricks for the amusement of the public. The last man in gets £100,000. The production company makes millions. All contestants lose any shred of dignity and anonymity.
Don?t Take The Romaji Short-Cut When Learning Japanese
This is an issue many Japanese learners come up against, particularly if they live outside Japan. After all, If you are not in the country, it seems difficult to justify the huge amount of time that learning Japanese characters seems to require.So what are the problems in using Romaji (Roman letters, like the characters you are reading right now) for studying Japanese:1. Mother-Tongue ConflictThe associations your brain will create between Japanese words written in Romaji and English words (or those of your mother tongue) greatly increases the risk of mispronunciation. Japanese symbols will have none of these associations for you. The very fact that they are completely alien helps you to start your language learning experience from a blank sheet. Your chances of being able to gain the correct pronunciation soar.2. Show Me The RomajiYour textbook may be in Romaji, but you will be very hard-pressed to find any real examples in Japan. Of course, you can see a fair amount of reasonably understandable English, but not Romaji. And watch what happens when write some Japanese in Romaji and show it to your native speaker friend: They have a really hard time deciphering it, because Japanese people just don't it.3. Today's Crutch Becomes Tomorrow's BurdenIf you decide to continue your studies in Japanese, you will eventually need to start to grapple with the characters themselves anyway. In my opinion, it is harder to leave the crutch of Romaji behind than it is to bite the character bullet at the beginning of your studies.As you can see, there are serious problems with using Romaji when you start to learn Japanese. So what is my advice to learners? Well, it really depends on your motivation and needs:1. The Serious StudentThis could be a person who is going to be living in Japan for a period of time, whether as a teacher or a businessperson, or someone who travels regularly to Japan for meetings.If you are in this group, you should first master hiragana and katakana before you even start with any other aspect of the language. Then, when you do begin, you can dive right into a "proper" Japanese textbook.Hiragana and katakana are not at all difficult to learn. I learned them part-time in a couple of weeks. Even kanji can be learned fairly rapidly by a motivated and well-organized student with the right tools.2. The HobbyistPerhaps you don't have a burning need to learn Japanese. You are doing it for pleasure, or because you are planning on visiting Japan.If this is you, then your options are more varied. However, even in your situation, I would not suggest starting with a Romaji textbook. Instead, I would recommend you begin with the spoken language. If you are wondering how you can do this if you are not in Japan, check out the Pimsleur method. Sure, it is a little expensive even second-hand. The point is that you will be able to speak and understand enough for a short trip. Once you have completed the course, you can then decide whether you wish to stop there, or continue studying in a more serious manner - in which case you then follow the Serious Student method I mentioned before.Learning to speak and listen will keep your language-learning fun, whilst not undermining any future serious study by getting you used to the Romaji crutch.So whatever your motivations are and whatever your needs, if you can avoid the Romaji crutch, you will pick up the language better and be well-placed to make rapid progress in the future.
Learn Italian in Your Hometown
Are you interested in learning the Italian language right in your own hometown? There are several options that you can explore to find the Italian classes that are just perfect for you! First, you should consider whether you would you enjoy the interaction that takes place among students in group classes, or if you would prefer the one-on-one attention of a private instructor.
Mexican Living: Todays Obsession
I would like to talk about one of my many obsessions: learning Spanish. I have been thinking about this lately mostly because I am under the impression that, though I've lived in Mexico for two years, my Spanish sucks in a major way.
Learning a Foreign Language: the Psychological Factor
When it comes about learning a foreign language, many people wonder if they will be able to memorize enough vocabulary. But this question never occurs about their mother tongue. And yet, it was a foreign language; nevertheless, among all the questions that new parents ask, no doctor has ever heard: "Will my baby be able to learn my language?" Be honest. Do you know all the words of your mother tongue? The answer is: "no". New words, and new ways of using old words, appear every day. Twenty years ago, who would have been able to understand such a sentence: "Click here to download your digital book"? Nobody. You never stop acquiring new vocabulary and you never know how long you will be needing it. Do you still use "tomagotchi"?
Speaking Spanish To Increase Mind Power
Our "mind power" is largely in the way we use our words, and limited by our vocabulary. Words, and the concepts they express, are different in each language, and there are differing common expressions. That's why when you learn a new language, you learn new ways to think.
What Does an Interpreter Do?
Many people get confused as to the difference between an interpreter and a translator. There is a common tendency to think translators interpreter, or that interpreters translate. In fact, the two are very separate jobs requiring different skills. To explain who and/or what an interpreter as opposed to a translator we set out the main differences between interpreting and translation.
Second Language Competence Beneficial but often Misunderstood
Second language learning has associated with it many types of benefits. Among them include: social, economic, intellectual and linguistic. Children who engage in second language learning typically outperform their peers in the area of vocabulary development as well as intellectual development. As important as learning a second language is, learners can be viewed as experiencing difficulties with language development when in reality they are displaying linguistic differences.
Learn Italian for Free
Italian is one of the most widespread languages in the world, and speaking it can give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment, an edge in your career, and even a stronger bond with your ancestors if you are of Italian descent. There are many ways you can learn Italian, including textbooks, tapes, CDs, software, group classes or private lessons, but there are also ways you can begin or continue your studies of the Italian language entirely for FREE!
Teaching English in Mexico: A Decent Living?
What's more disappointing than a person who makes a promise he can't keep? A person who makes a promise that is a lie. Many promises to make a "decent living" teaching English in Mexico are just that-a lie.
Learn Italian in Italy
You can combine your love of the Italian language with an unforgettable experience in the country where the language is spoken by studying Italian in Italy! Hands-down, the best way to learn a foreign language is to live, work, or study in a native speaking environment. Studying Italian in Italy is the best possible experience you can have to learn the language.
Learning French in Paris
Nothing can be more frustrating than to be in France and not been able to speak their language. For, I remember the days when I was among people chanting around in a language totally alien to me, and me, trying to bring a smile in my face while shaking my head from north to south doing as if I am getting everything what they are speaking about, and waiting impatiently for my French wife to do the translation - and I can't deny, that that was not the most comfortable period of my life.
Learn Korean: Part 1 - Asian Languages and Language Families
So, you have always been fascinated by Asian culture have you? Maybe you are someone who loves the martial arts; kung fu, tae-kwon-do, or karate. Perhaps you are interested in the cool oriental stores and like to buy many things from them to decorate your house. Maybe you like the peaceful society you see depicted in some Asian films. Or maybe you are just incredibly in love with the Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Whats In A Word? More Than You Realize
What's in a word?Apparently more than we might want.
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