Learning languages through song

I worked in Munich during the Summer, while I was working I enjoyed listening to the German radio. When I returned back to Ireland I found this website which features the radio station I listened to.  http://www.energy.de/muenchen/ I like listening to the tunes of the song but sometimes I find the lyrics difficult to understand so I look them up in my spare time. This is purely so I can sing along to the song, but it benefits me greatly as I am learning the language at the same time. My favorite type of music has to be Mexican music. I love the Mexican culture and I love singing and dancing along to the songs. This makes language learning a lot more enjoyable and fun!

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Lab week 6.

This week we discovered another way to upload files onto Antconc.

1. Click on FILE

2. Click on OPEN DIRECTORY

This method enabled us to upload a large number of files in one go. Again we were able to examine the multiple occurrences of specific words in different contexts.

We also learned how to make use of patterns to uncover the meaning of a word in it’s different terms by using a ‘wildcard’. The ‘wildcard function can be used by using the search term and by using an asterix after the word that you wish to  find patterns for. For example, we used the verb  ’to consist’ in class. We then learned how to sort the data in order to make the patterns more visible.

Finally, we learned how to save these patterns as text files on our computers/laptops,it was extremely useful to learn this because now we can print them of and keep them in our folders and use them in the future or even part of our coop when teaching the classes English.

We examined the pattern of the irregular Spanish verb ‘Tener’ (to have) which can have various uses in Spanish. I noticed that  ’Hay que tener….’ appeared frequently and I incidentally learned which is also called serendipitous learning, that HAY QUE + INFINITIVE is used to express the idea of ‘one must do something’ or ‘it is necessary to do something’ in Spanish (http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/tenque.htm.) E.g. ‘hay que tener en cuenta…’- it must be taken into account. And TENER QUE + INFINITIVE is used to express obligation or necessity. E.g  ’…tener que disputar el partido este jueves..’- having to play the game this Thursday.

However, I did not discover the uses of Tener until I changed my search  term to Tengo*. I then learned that ‘Tener’ can be used to with certain conditions. E.g. “Tengo mucho sed” – (I am thirsty), with age ”Tengo 21 años” – (I am 21 years old) and to indicate possession “tengo una buena plantilla..” – (I have a good squad.)

Using Antconc

Today I learned how to download and use the freeware concordance program ‘Antonc’. Antconc is useful corpus tool which can be used to examine a corpus for language learning purposes.  You start by importing text files onto Antconc. You can then create frequency word lists! Today I imported Spanish texts on the topic of current affairs. I looked through the frequency list and found a number of words that I usually have difficulty with. Most of these were irregular verbs which have different endings depending on the tense. I carefully analysed the concordances of these verbs. In my opinion Antconc is a significant tool which can enable language learning. Also Antconc is a very easy tool to use. We carried out a task in class today which required the non native speakers to look at a concordance of  the word ‘dead’ and to try and find the different uses and meanings of the word. The native speakers had to correct their answers. They discovered that the adjective dead i.e not alive, can also be used as an adverb  e.g. ‘she’s dead right’. It was very interesting to observe how the non natives speakers were able to determine the meaning of the word by seeing examples of its use in different contexts. I think Antconc is very useful and will help me to do the same thing in my target languages i.e Spanish and German.

TELL packages.

TELL stands for: Technology Enhanced Language Learning. My favorite TELL package is Grimm Grammar. I like it because I found that it really helped me with my grammar and vocabulary. The layout of the TELL package is fun and colorful. It’s based on Disney characters and it caters for a lot of language needs e.g grammar. First of all the TELL package explains the grammar then you have to complete an exercise where you must answer all of of the questions however when you get a wrong answer it is automatically corrected at the end. I found this TELL package to be very useful when learning out of a book gets boring.

Also I love Disney characters! 🙂

Facebook through a different language

For the last couple of days I have changed the language settings on my Facebook. I changed the language to German. I found this to be very useful as I am constantly on Facebook everyday. I found the words easy to learn as I already memorized what the English version was from my over-use on Facebook! For example: log-out = Abmelden. I wouldn’t have known this word only for I changed the language settings on my page.

I think its a brilliant idea, and I will continue to use and learn from it.

It’s more fun than reading a book anyway! 🙂

Language learning

As it is the 21st century, technology has obviously  grown hugely. Stephanie, my lab lecturer, has shared some new ideas about how technology has helped me improve my language learning. I didn’t even think about changing the language settings on my Facebook page to try and help me learn some new vocabulary.

I personally think technology is vital in language learning. Since speaking with Stephanie, I have have tried to incorporate new sites and applications in order to boost my language skills. I will speak about these in the upcoming weeks.

Until then,

Maria Molony 🙂