All posts tagged: Language

Studying French: Language Interference 

Another day, another blogging-in-a-train-station experience as I am once again too early to go through security. I had every intention of studying French yesterday. I really did. But then it somehow devolved into daydreaming in the foreign language section of my brain. I packed up my French textbook, my study packets, my flashcards, my notebooks–everything–and I went a few blocks down the street from my hotel in London to find a cafe that was suitable enough for studying at. (The struggle is so real in Europe to find a place that isn’t solely for drinking espresso, and it continues to be one of my biggest areas of culture shock). Obviously I also brought a book and my baking idea notebook, because what if I finished studying and had nothing left to do? So I ordered some juice, laid all my belongings out on the table in front of me….And then just stared at them for about five minutes. French is hard. When I finally made myself start working, I only got through about one exercise …

The Multilingual Book Project

Being trapped in the frozen tundra of monolingual English speakers while in between travels to non-English speaking countries is hell to an avid language learner such as myself. So as self-given homework (I know, I know, I couldn’t be a bigger nerd) I have developed what I am calling the Multilingual Book Project. This sort of began back in May when I was in France (as you may remember) but it has escalated dramatically since I returned from South Korea. While I was in Korea I picked up a few more books to help me round out the projects I wanted to carry through with the scaffolding I needed. From my previous posts or if any of you reading are linguistics/teaching ESL majors out there you may be familiar with how vital it is for language learners to have support when they are reading. In a classroom and as a younger person, the teacher hopefully blends this scaffolding seamlessly into the lesson, so that as the student reads they have the tools they need without needing …

한국어 공부 aka Korean Cram Session After a Two-Week-Before-Leaving Panic Attack

I like to tell people that I self-study Korean when I have the time. That is the socially acceptable, resume approved version of what I actually do–which is half-assedly belt the (sometimes correct) lyrics to Korean music as I drive alone in my car, and about once a month binge on Korean TV shows as I avoid doing the things that are actually on my To-Do List. So for months as I planned to go to Korea I thought more about the clothes I would bring and which movies I would watch on the airplane, tricking myself into thinking that since I study Korean when I have the time my language level was up to snuff. Then suddenly about two weeks ago–perfectly timed with my rush to move out of my apartment, host a friend visiting the US for the first time, and planning to leave for Korea–it dawned on me. Holy Mother of God, I haven’t really spoken Korean to a Korean person (much less anyone else) in basically a year, and I haven’t …

Vocabulary Acquisition: Creating Scaffolding with French Books

Learning any language can be tough, particularly when you are trying to do it entirely on your own or at least enhance your learning outside the classroom without guidance. There are many ways to help make this easier and go smoother for a person, but the thing I want to focus on today is building your vocabulary through reading. When I was in Japan, I knew that I wanted to build my vocabulary and I knew it would be a good idea to do so through reading, but I didn’t really know where to begin, so I bought and read books aimlessly–which did not help my language acquisition as much as it could have. Because of that I want to share my experiences and knowledge, and hopefully help others in their language learning journey–as well as receive feedback on my own language learning journey. One thing that a teacher does in a language classroom is create scaffolding. No, not actual physical scaffolding like what is used when building a building, but imaginary scaffolding that works …

Second Language Interference

So far the hardest part about being in France is the language, though not in the way you might expect. Yes, it is frustrating staring at people blankly, not understanding what they are saying, and yes, it is frustrating understanding what other people are saying but not having the vocabulary to respond. Or if I zone out and don’t have the ability to passively pay attention to what is being said. These are all challenges, but they are things I expected in coming to France and not being fluent or even conversational in the language. No, the thing that is the hardest is my second language interference. Now, I have to jump in here and say that after (five minutes of) Googling second language interference, every topic that came up was related to L1 or mother language interference in a second language that is being learned. Having worked with ESL students before, I was familiar with this topic. For example, it is hard for me as a native speaker of English to remember and use …

Learning French in France

So, obviously, I’m in France now. It has only been a few days, but when you move abroad the first few days feel like a lifetime–and you are typically most aware of nuances and differences around you in these moments because every part of you is on hyper alert. Before I came to France, I was studying French at Alliance Francaise in Minneapolis. It was a pretty good set up; two hours two days a week with another student and our teacher. It seemed like plenty of time and energy put into learning the language. I mean, four hours a week? In a semi-private tutoring situation? I mean, four hours a week is what you typically get in a university setting, and the smallest class I ever had for languages was 9 people. So thats a great amount of learning in a week right? Now that I am studying at IFALPES, I have four hours a day. 5 days a week. Plus time talking/interacting with my host family and any interactions I have when I …