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Arekkusu’s TAC 2012 Team ne nur

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g-bod
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 Message 153 of 407
02 August 2011 at 7:25pm | IP Logged 
Apologies if I have missed something obvious, but what exactly is your 5 year goal out of interest?



Arekkusu
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 Message 154 of 407
02 August 2011 at 8:04pm | IP Logged 
g-bod wrote:
Apologies if I have missed something obvious, but what exactly is your 5 year goal out of interest?

When I began studying Japanese, my initial goal was to reach, within a 5-year period, a high enough level of proficiency so as to be able to translate professionally from Japanese (I'm already an English-French translator).

It's probably not a very realistic goal, but it's kept me motivated until now.



g-bod
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 Message 155 of 407
02 August 2011 at 8:27pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
g-bod wrote:
Apologies if I have missed something obvious, but what exactly is your 5 year goal out of interest?

When I began studying Japanese, my initial goal was to reach, within a 5-year period, a high enough level of proficiency so as to be able to translate professionally from Japanese (I'm already an English-French translator).

It's probably not a very realistic goal, but it's kept me motivated until now.


That's a pretty good goal. When I began studying Japanese my initial goal was to be "fluent" in 18 months. Since then I've learned a lot about realistic goals!

Do you think that translating from Japanese would be more challenging than translating from English? I have a terrible time trying to turn any Japanese text into good English, even if I can understand it.



Arekkusu
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 Message 156 of 407
02 August 2011 at 8:41pm | IP Logged 
g-bod wrote:
Do you think that translating from Japanese would be more challenging than translating from English? I have a terrible time trying to turn any Japanese text into good English, even if I can understand it.

Maybe. English and French cultures, at least in Canada, are not so foreign that cultural concepts are impossible to translate. Things are definitely different with Japanese.



Arekkusu
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 Message 157 of 407
08 August 2011 at 4:20pm | IP Logged 
I suggested this oral exercise to a student, and I thought I'd post it here in case it might help someone else. This is a great exercise to use with a language partner, but it's also very efficient to boost speaking ability, pronunciation and fluency, even when you have no partner available. It should help you turn time spent on input, whether reading, watching or listening, into effective speaking practice.

If you try it, let me know how it went.

Oral exercise – Self-Talk
This exercise is designed to help you gain confidence when speaking. Do it anywhere you can and as often as you can, even if you can’t find a partner or tutor to assist you.

1. Choose a story. Pick a story you want to tell. It can be a newspaper article, a TV show, a book chapter, a movie, etc., or even something that happened in your life. Make sure your story contains sufficient details.

2. Understand the story. Read the story or watch the video. Look up important words and write down the ones you think you might use. You might want to take notes of the events in the story as they unfold; this will later help you remember what you need to talk about.

3. Use self-talk to tell the story in your own words. (Self-talk is the most important part of the exercise and you must do it orally only – do not write anything down!) It’s now time to tell your story! Pretend you are talking to a friend or an audience and make sure you speak clearly. It’s preferable to do this out loud, but you can also do it in a low voice or even in silence, although it’s best if you actually move your lips to form the sounds. Don’t hesitate to make more complex sentences if you can. You can use the dictionary all you want to look up words you need to express yourself, or even grammar books, if needed, and try to use that information in your story. Pretend to be a native speaker and use expressions and intonations you’ve heard native speakers use. Don’t worry about making mistakes unknowingly; this exercise is about improving fluency and confidence.

4. Polish your pronunciation. Whenever you hesitate, stop or pause as you tell your story, finish your phrase or sentence and start again from the beginning. Repeat it over and over, however many times you need, until the entire sentence feels relatively comfortable and you are happy with the results. The goal is to improve both fluency and pronunciation, so do this until you are satisfied. This part of the exercise is essential because repeating this way is impossible in real life and can only be done when you are alone. Make sure you look up any pronunciation you are unsure about in a dictionary or online, or else ask a native speaker, and integrate that new information when you repeat.

5. Tell the story to a live audience. If you have a language partner or tutor, telling them your story in person is the most powerful conclusion to this exercise. Allow yourself to repeat a part or a sentence you weren’t satisfied with. If your partner looks unsure, take the lead and explain yourself again with different words, or say things in different ways and ask them which they prefer. Let them also ask you questions about your story. Be sure to tell them that you want their corrections, and rebuild your sentences integrating any correction you receive. Repeat words whose pronunciation was corrected. Pay close attention to how your partner rephrases what you say: this will help you find more natural language to express yourself. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes; you can’t correct them unless you make them.

Edited by Arekkusu on 09 August 2011 at 4:34pm

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Arekkusu
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 Message 158 of 407
10 August 2011 at 3:48pm | IP Logged 
Japanese

I didn't meet my language partner this week, but I've been watching quite a few dramas, such as Hotaru no hikari (ホタルの光) and Kita no kuni kara (北の国から). Will be watching Mr. Brain later in the week.

Tomorrow, I'll be meeting many Japanese people as many of us will be attending the Japanese pavilion at a local folklore festival. A friend and I created a Facebook group page to help all Japanese people and Japanophiles in the city connect; we hope to meet and attract new members tomorrow!

Teaching

I've been teaching English pronunciation to a Korean student for a few weeks now. She's making good progress and is periodically very excited by some of the advances she's making; she can even correct Korean classmates on mistakes she used to make herself, something that makes her proud of her achievements thus far. Rightly so. She is now recognizing all kinds of small details in her pronunciation that she'd never paid attention to before. In other words, teaching a student about phonetics and pointing out mistakes and differences in pronunciation between L1 and L2 DOES (or can) help a student eventually self-correct.

I've also really been pushing her to speak more, including with the exercice I presented in the previous post, and consequently, the class is turning more and more into a "speaking class" rather than a "pronunciation class". And that's a good thing.

I've come to think that pronunciation is an important part of one's speaking skills, but that pronunciation alone is difficult to teach without encouraging a fair deal of natural output. In other words, after all the basic principles have been covered, the student needs to express herself freely in order for her recurring mistakes to be identified and corrected. Still, the theory I taught her in the beginning was definitely not wasted and she can even write new words in IPA now, marking stress and all on her own. That's the kind of autonomy and independence I was hoping that this knowledge would give her.

Speaking is the weakest skill in (nearly?) ALL of the learners I've met. This isn't true of everyone, I know, but while most students readily understand that they need input from reading and listening, very few have any idea how to increase their speaking abilities. And this is discouraging for most. They basically hope -- and perhaps some teachers have reinforced this too -- that as they read and listen, their speaking skills will naturally improve. However, everything I'm witnessing is pointing to the opposite strategy being the most efficient, namely that the more you speak, the better you understand natural speech.

This student has an oral presentation this week and following my advice, she's been preparing for it entirely orally (she does have Powerpoint slides to guide her through). A classmate was telling her "no, that's wrong, you have to write it down and memorize it", but while she would have believed it before, she is now realizing that's not the best way to go. From what I can see, she'll do great.

Edited by Arekkusu on 10 August 2011 at 9:46pm



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
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Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
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 Message 159 of 407
15 August 2011 at 4:10pm | IP Logged 
Update on my Korean student's oral presentation: she said she did great and her teacher told her it was excellent -- something she apparently didn't tell anyone else. Mission accomplished.

I was thinking about it later and realized how much trust she had put in me. Here I am telling her to completely change the way she's always done oral presentations, and she put all her faith in me and jumped in. In a way, I was relieved it worked out!

Language Exchange Group

Yesterday, I participated in a Japanese/English language exchange group. It was my first time participating in such a large group, as my language partner experiences have always been one-on-one. At a more advanced level, there is something to learn from listening to many people talking and participating in the discussion, but it's probably not as effective as more intense one-on-one meetings. Still, I will participate again and do all I can to get people to come and keep the group going. But I will also continue meeting with my other language partner.

This also helped me better understand where I stand among other learners. For instance, there was another gentleman who'd lived in Japan many years and had studied even longer -- many times longer than me -- and although he was without a doubt very comfortable conversing, and very probably had a fuller vocabulary than I, I believe my grammar and pronunciation were more advanced. This reinforces the idea that if you pay attention to these two elements, it does show. Some of the Japanese students commented on how natural my Japanese sounded, which of course was very flattering :)
1 person has voted this message useful



The Real CZ
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Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 160 of 407
17 August 2011 at 4:09pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu, I'm so glad that you've posted those outlines to improve speaking. While I may not be able to do step 5 for the time being, the first 4 steps will be much better than just listening and hoping to get better. I've also fallen into the trap of believing that a lot of listening would magically make me fluent in speaking down the road.


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