Nee's Language Blog Yearbook 2011
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Nee's Language Blog Yearbook 2011

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This edition comprises articles written by Nee's Language Blog's owner in 2011.

This edition comprises articles written by Nee's Language Blog's owner in 2011.

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  • 1. Yearbook 2011
  • 2. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 1 Table of Contents Happy New Year 2011............................................................................................................................................. 2 Playing Around with Languages.............................................................................................................................. 2 Book Collection ....................................................................................................................................................... 2 Use It Now! ............................................................................................................................................................. 3 Learning by Doing ................................................................................................................................................... 3 The Polyglot Project Interviews .............................................................................................................................. 4 First, Forget About Grammar! ................................................................................................................................ 4 Watching Cartoon................................................................................................................................................... 5 Steve Kaufmann's Secrets....................................................................................................................................... 5 Reading Chinese Text.............................................................................................................................................. 6 Is Writing Better Than Typing? ............................................................................................................................... 6 Is Memorizing Effective?......................................................................................................................................... 7 Translate Back and Forth between Languages....................................................................................................... 7 Google Translate..................................................................................................................................................... 7 Online Language Learning....................................................................................................................................... 8 About the Writer..................................................................................................................................................... 9 Further Reading ...................................................................................................................................................... 9
  • 3. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 2 Happy New Year 2011 Saturday, January 1, 2011 I hope that everything will be better in this New Year. "歐趴" or "All Pass" to all my classmates in the final exam next week.  Happy New Year  Selamat Tahun Baru  新年快樂  新年快乐  sen lin fai lo  laimīgu Jauno gadu  새해 복 많이 받으세요  unyaka lomusha lomuhle Playing Around with Languages Sunday, January 2, 2011 Studying in the international program has let me experience the feeling of being in an international society, where students come from more than 60 countries around the world. The international program benefits me a lot in terms of language. I have learned that some countries in the northern Africa have Arabic or French as the official language, there are 11 official languages in South Africa, and Afrikaans is similar to Dutch as Swazi to Zulu or Xhosa. I have also learned that people in Haiti speak Haitian Creole, which is similar to French as well as learning about Pidgins, Creole, languages of countries in the Pacific Ocean, and many more things that are interesting. There is interesting information that I found from Wikipedia. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages. Of the 63 languages analyzed, the five most difficult languages to reach proficiency in speaking and proficiency in reading (for native English speakers who already know other languages), requiring 88 weeks, are "Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean". The Foreign Service Institute considers Japanese to be the most difficult of this group." (Read more) The official languages of the United Nations are the six languages that are used in UN meetings, and in which all official UN documents are written when budget allows. In alphabetical order, they are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish (Read more) Book Collection Sunday, January 9, 2011 Apart from playing guitar, another hobby what I have is collecting foreign-language books. Does it sound interesting? I have 11 languages so far, besides English, Chinese, and Indonesian. I got
  • 4. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 3 some of the books by exchanging with friends and some are free. I am glad to have kind friends that helped me in collecting books. I am certainly looking forward for more books. The 11 languages are listed in the following: 1. Latvian 2. Kurdish 3. Gilbertese 4. Vietnamese 5. Mongolian 6. Korean 7. Dutch 8. Spanish 9. Russian 10. German 11. Swedish Use It Now! Tuesday, February 8, 2011 I have been wondering about how the best way to start language learning is. Then, I did a small research by watching videos, browsing online, going to the library and I finally found out the way. Language teaching method at schools usually requires students to memorize words repeatedly. I find this way less interesting and less effective because students will tend to forget them quicker, instead of remembering them. The other problem is, there is no guarantee that those words are used in daily conversation or in any situation where the students might likely to encounter. If the learning material contains daily conversations, it is fine. However, how would it be if the learning material were poems or storybooks? For instance, let me pick up "lavatory" as an example. How many times does the word "lavatory" appear in the poem or storybook, comparing to travelers' pocket language book? In fact, "lavatory" is one of many important words that you need to know when learning a foreign language. Key Phrases From my language learning experience, I come up with the idea of learning few phrases that can be applied in daily conversation directly. At least, it can help you to deal with some basic matters. The phrases are as the following:  Where, Why, Who, When, and How questions  Name of places, such as lavatory, restaurant, bank, etc.  Excuse me, Thank you, Sorry. These three are "magic" words.  You may need to know how to say thing related yourself, for instance your origin, occupation, family, etc. Learning by Doing Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Language learning requires practice, practice, and practice. Continuous practice helps to improve your language ability rapidly and learning by doing is one of many good language learning methods. You may use the word or phrase that you have just learned in writing. And you may realize that you will need new words or phrases to complete the
  • 5. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 4 writing. Hence, there are two things that you can learn simultaneously — able to form sentences and to learn new word or phrase. The goal of language learning is to be capable of conveying your message in the language. My method in language learning is to write as much as possible. If necessary, I can also find some friends to review my writing. Dictionaries and other language learning references may be very useful in the beginning of your writing. Mistake = Learn Do not be afraid to make mistakes because learning is also from mistakes. Note that writing in a foreign language cannot always be done by literal translate. If you do not know the meaning, you may translate it to the closest meaning as possible. But make sure someone will correct it later. Making mistakes that will be corrected later, is the solution to your language problem. The reader can still understand what you mean from the context. Besides writing, living in the country of your target language also gives you benefits. You can learn directly from the native speakers and you get the opportunity to explore the culture. The Polyglot Project Interviews Thursday, February 17, 2011 "The Polyglot Project", a collection of story about language learning was published in 2010. It comprises personal experiences, from learning methods to learning advice, of language enthusiasts and polyglots around the world. All of them gathered and contributed their time and efforts for this remarkable book. Interviews David Mansaray conducted interviews with ten amazing contributors of the book. They are listed as the following: Episode 1 : Moses McCormick Episode 2 : Dr. Peter Brown Episode 3 : Kathleen Hearons Episode 4 : Susanna Zaraysky Episode 5 : Robert Bigler Episode 6 : Richard Simcott Episode 7 : Luca Lampariello Episode 8 : Michael Erard Episode 9 : Vladimir Skultety Episode 10: Alex Rawlings First, Forget About Grammar! Sunday, February 20, 2011 You may have heard an advice not to learn grammar in the beginning or not to focus too much on grammar. This is obviously true because learning grammar may not keep you motivated.
  • 6. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 5 Moreover, grammar may cause boredom because of its abundant rules. It does not mean that grammar is not important. In fact, grammar is the foundation to build a perfect structure of sentences. You will learn about the grammar as you are learning to construct sentences. It will not be fun to spend too much time with grammar, instead of the cultural aspect of the language. You should be able to find a way to make your language learning fun. This will keep on motivating you in the progress. Good luck! Watching Cartoon Monday, February 21, 2011 I have just realized one little but important method, watching cartoons. Watching cartoons can be an effective way in language learning. Cartoons are targeted for kids, although there are a few cartoons for the grownups. Apart from cartoons, you can also choose kids TV programs. They usually have lighter topics; hence, they use simpler language in order to let the under-age viewers enjoy. Advantage Many popular American and Japanese cartoons can be found in several countries with dubbed speech or subtitle. This is one advantage for language learners to practice listening and reading. Mandarin TV shows, include cartoons, in Taiwan always have the subtitles not in any foreign language, but in Mandarin. Steve Kaufmann's Secrets Tuesday, February 22, 2011 You can find Internet almost wherever you go nowadays. It becomes the part of our lives. Internet is a great tool that you can utilize in your language learning process. You can find audio and video about language learning online and keep in your computer or any media devices. YouTube is one of many websites that play a great role in learning language. There are so many videos that have been uploaded about learning language, from tips and trick to the multilingual speakers (polyglot). The Seven Secrets to Successful Language Learning I have just come across one YouTube member under the name of lingosteve. He is known to be a speaker of 11 languages and the founder of learning language website, Lingq. In his YouTube channel, he has made seven strategies to language learning, which you can find on the following: 1. Spend the time 2. Do what you like to do 3. Learn to notice 4. Words over grammar 5. Be patient 6. Get the tools 7. Become an Independent Language Learner
  • 7. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 6 Reading Chinese Text Saturday, February 26, 2011 When I was searching about learning Mandarin on the Internet, I found a very brilliant tip in reading Chinese text. This technique can be applied only by those who know Traditional Chinese phonetics (注 音 zhuyin) So, here is the technique: 1. Go to Wazu site to find several Chinese font types. 2. Scroll down and download.  HanWangKaiMediumChuIn (wp010-08.ttf)  HanWangMingMediumChuIn (wp010-05.ttf) You can see the phonetics in these font types. 3. Copy or Cut and Paste to C://Windows/Fonts 4. You can use the font in your document now. You may use this method to read interesting Mandarin articles on the Internet. Simply copy and paste the article in Microsoft Word and change the font type to one of those you have just installed. Is Writing Better Than Typing? Sunday, March 6, 2011 I just realized about the importance of writing when I was practicing Chinese characters writing as part of an assignment from my language teacher. I always type the Chinese characters rather than writing them. Then, I realize that even though I can type the Chinese characters, I am lacking of writing ability. Written Chinese characters do not give you a clue about the pronunciation in Chinese. You put the phonetics and choose the correct Chinese character when you type. On the other hand, when you write a Chinese character, you write the character without any phonetic. Typing vs Writing In the technology-developed era nowadays, more and more people rely on technology devices, such as computer and smartphones, on a daily basis. Hence, your typing ability is important because of this reason. On the contrary, writing helps you with
  • 8. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 7 non-technology-related case. For example, writing a simple note asking about direction, taking a written Chinese exam, being in a situation where you do not have any technology devices, etc. Both writing and typing are important depends on your situation. Is Memorizing Effective? Saturday, April 2, 2011 In the middle of my chat with a friend yesterday, she told me that she is struggling to memorize a list of English words. It came up to my mind about the effectiveness of memorizing as a way of language learning. Honestly, I did that before when I was at school. There was a joke of people memorizing the words are only when they are facing the exam. They will forget what they have memorized after the exam. Forgetful Brain As far as I have known, it is true that you will forget easily. Our brain is forgetful. Hence, memorizing is not effective if you want to be fluent in the language. If you really like this method, you still can do it but keep only a list of words or phrases that you will frequently use. Do not overload your brain. As long as you spend much time with the language, I am sure you will remember it. Translate Back and Forth between Languages Sunday, April 10, 2011 You may translate a text from a foreign language into your native language in order to understand the meaning. If the translation is good, you may get the meaning. Otherwise, it will give you confusion. This is caused by the differences in grammar, including sentence structure, terminologies, and the cultural aspects behind the foreign language. Before translating back and forth between languages, you need to have the knowledge about those languages. Translating to your native language may be easier; however, you need to use the proper grammatical rule and word when you translate into a foreign language. Some languages share the same word for different meaning. You should be aware of the confusion that may exist from those languages. Google Translate Thursday, May 5, 2011 I just found an interesting article from Yearlyglot about language learning, which is using Google Translate. I know that Google Translate cannot always be reliable, but at least it helps in some circumstances. So, the idea works in this way: You will first need to make friends with the native speaker or people who are fluent in the language
  • 9. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 8 that you are learning. Write a composition in your language and translate it using Google Translate into the language you are learning. Then, you will learn from the corrections given by your native speaker friends. Online Language Learning Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Fortunately, Internet exists today and it helps a lot in our daily activities. The internet is also a tool to learn language nowadays. There are several language learning websites or forums, for instance Busuu, iTalki, Livemocha, and LingQ. Language learning has become so much easier and more efficient with the existence of the internet and websites, as well as forums. You just need to register to the website and start to find a language partner or take language lessons. You can chat or talk on Skype. You even can submit your writing composition or audio assignment to be corrected by native speakers. It is so easy to find native speakers or people who are learning the same language with you.
  • 10. Nee’s Language Blog — www.neeslanguageblog.com 9 About the Writer Hi! My name is Teddy, or also known as Teddy Nee. I’m currently living in Taiwan. When I’m not studying or working, I like to read books in various languages. Connect with me! Speak with me in Hokkien Medan, Indonesian, English, Chinese, Spanish, or Esperanto. @tdnee +teddynee Further Reading Find out more about language learning at Nee’s Language blog www.neeslanguageblog.com www.facebook.com/neeslanguageblog info@neeslanguageblog.com