Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Basics of learning a language

I have been working on the presentation embedded below for quite a while now and had in fact forgotten about it for a while. I began working on it as a means to try and help make our Year 7 language students more aware of how best to learn a language. For many students it is their first experience in learning a language and once the year starts it is pretty full on; they learn French for the entire Year as well as a Semester each of German and Japanese. Personally, I would like them to complete an Introductory Unit on 'Learning Languages', that shows them the importance of language learning itself and introduces tips and techniques on how best to do it. But ... time is an issue; those assessments are always getting in our way. So, rather than an entire Unit, I began working on this short presentation to use as a quick introduction. I am not convinced that it is complete, so if you have any tips of your own that would be suitable for younger language learners, please add them in the comments section.

Launch your own SlideRocket presentation!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

How about some music to inspire your Japanese learning

I learnt a lot of Japanese, in particular kanji and an ability to read the scripts more fluently, as a result of spending too much time singing karaoke. My excuse, if you'll allow me to go off on a small tangent, was the fact that my host father in Japan owned a Sake shop and we spent many evenings delivering goods to local "Snack bars" (a very mini version of the local pub). My host family lived in what was then the urban fringe and there were very few 'foreigners' around, so during the course of these deliveries I was of great interest to the locals and often called upon to sing; consequently I have no desire to sing "My Way" or "Yesterday" ever again. However, I do quite enjoy a bit of a sing and I began to look for and sing Japanese songs that appealed to me. This was great for my vocabulary and kanji. I would then rent CDs from the rental CD shop (at the time I was amazed that you could actually rent CDs) and study the lyrics. I still do this in a manner of sorts, only now I head to the internet rather than the shop.

So I guess the point I am trying to make is that if you like music, then it is a fabulous means to further engage and connect with a language. As a result, I occasionally throw songs out to my students, with the lyrics, hoping that some of them will like what they hear and explore the language further through song. Although all students will not relate to this I do know that many have and have also gone on to look for more. On top of that, many of them know more of the latest in J-Pop through their interest in Anime, Japanese TV dramas and video games. All in all, listening to music in any language that you are learning is going to help with motivation as well as vocabulary and even grammar. The best videos to find on You Tube are those that have the lyrics as subtitles, something that happens a bit on TV in Japan.

The following are either songs that I have shown to the class and used to help teach a certain phrase or topic or songs that I have recently discovered and plan to somehow weave into a Japanese lesson somewhere down the line...

For time:

For weather and seasons:

Just found this one; will perhaps use it to look at the Japanese syllabry:

And for a little bit of "family" topic related fun, you can't go past this one:

  • Do you use music when learning Japanese?
  • What Japanese songs do you know that could help with vocabulary, grammar or kanji?
  • Please add any in the comments below.

Posted via web from Js Nihongo