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Suggestions for a new language podcast?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
DavidMansaray
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United Kingdom
davidmansaray.com/ab
Joined 2712 days ago

15 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Japanese, Italian

 
 Message 1 of 11
15 December 2013 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
Hello all! My name’s David Mansaray and some of you may have heard a few of the interviews I’ve recorded with
polyglots online.

I’m starting a new podcast in January which will be called “Language is Culture” and I’d love to get some input
from all of you bright people :))

My goal is to record interviews with people from different backgrounds relating to language, as opposed to my
other interviews which were mostly with polyglots.

My thinking is this: most people have no idea what a polyglot is and are only interested in learning one or two
languages. I want this podcast to cover everything one needs to know about language learning, but without an
emphasis on learning multiple languages. This is an attempt to reach a wider audience and encourage more
people to learn languages, and learning language in general, without feeling intimidated by “polyglots”

I plan to interview polyglots, linguists, teachers, expats, successful students, interpreters, lexicographers, etc..

I also want the podcast to discuss culture and how this ties in with successful language study. My goal is not only
talk about “how” to learn a language but also about the “why”.

I understand most people here are language enthusiasts and don’t feel intimidated by the idea of becoming
multilingual, but I know many people who are intimidated by this idea. I think it would be helpful to take the
knowledge from this community, and others, and present it in a less intimidating way to those who are not
enthusiastic about language.

I hope I’m making myself clear….If not, please say and I'll try my best to clarify.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for making this a success then I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Thanks all for your time :)

David

P.s This podcast will be available on iTunes and http://www.languageisculture.com when it launches in January.


Edited by DavidMansaray on 15 December 2013 at 5:14pm

6 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
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Joined 2147 days ago

5310 posts - 4079 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 2 of 11
15 December 2013 at 5:37pm | IP Logged 
What information exactly do you need from us, David? I'm more than willing to help (I,
for example, don't have any formal language schooling beyond some evening classes in
French and Russian and my school languages), but I could talk at length about growing
up speaking English next to my Dutch (despite that being my home language). Or why it
is important to learn a foreign language for other purposes than polyglotism.

But your open letter doesn't make any concrete request for particular information,
simply that you would like the podcast to broaden outside of polyglots, but people who
needed to learn languages for reasons besides their love of languages. I suggest you
try interviewing foreign football players who have succesfully learned a foreign
language to adapt in their new country (or for athletes in general). Athletes often
have to go abroad for their work, and especially in professional sports, learning a
foreign language is common. You could consider foreign astronauts who had to learn
Russian to work at the ISS (Russian and English are used as lingua franca if I remember
correctly).

But in general, if you want to talk about the why, you need to show examples of
situations where learning a language is a crucial element of someone's personal
development, and show the difference between with and without. As you well know, many
expats don't bother with the local language - you need to show how knowing it is an
enriching experience.

Also keep in mind what your audience is because some people you can never reach, and
the people you want to address are the 60% of people who are on the fence who need that
little kick. It's them who need your carrot, a polyglot already knows what he's doing.
4 persons have voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4143 days ago

9083 posts - 7730 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 3 of 11
16 December 2013 at 2:39am | IP Logged 
When you write "language is culture" I can't disagree - I certainly feel more at home in countries whose language(s) I can understand, and I feel that I contribute to the diversity of cultures by learning several languages, including some that are spoken by fairly small communities. But then I have already given a good reason for learning more than one language, and you asked for advice you can pass to to people who don't want to do that. That's already one problem - giving advice with the implicit presumption that the people you speak to never will learn more than one foreign language is like telling young school kids that they never will get high notes or reach the university. Why not tell them that any learner must start somewhere, but the subject is so interesting that some take the bait and go on to learn more than one language?

The actual learning tips for absolute beginners are another topic where I may be ad odds with some of my fellow-HTLALians. I do think that a combination of 'field work' and hardcore study is the right way to go even for beginners. The tendency in commercials for text books and courses is to tell possible costumers that language learning is fast, work- and painless - no grammar, no memorizing and just 24 easy lessons before Christmas. That may sell more books and courses, but it results in a lot of beginners who hit a rock and drop out of their studies at an early stage. Maybe it is better not to try to attract people who aren't willing to do an effort to reach a goal and instead focus on those who don't get scared when you tell them what learning learning costs in time and effort (and maybe even money)..


Edited by Iversen on 16 December 2013 at 2:47am



montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2268 days ago

2371 posts - 1320 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 4 of 11
16 December 2013 at 3:46am | IP Logged 
Wow...I hadn't read this thread when I made a sort of thinking-outloud suggestion that
we had (if it were possible to get it going) an HTLAL series of interviews /
conversations between people who were skilled in more than one language (not necessary
polyglots), and I was specifically thinking more of (audio) podcasts, than videos...

....and here you are actually doing it! I look forward to it.

My suggestion in my earlier post (sorry, link not to hand...I'll edit it in later I
hope), was for interviews or conversations between such people, actually not
specifically about language, but choose a subject for discussion that could be of
general interest, and maybe bringing language into it indirectly.

Could be literature (specific book or author, science, environment, almost anything
(except religion and politics, probably...!).

My idea was of a conversation between two or more people (but not too many, say 4 max):
one could be speaking his or her native language, and the others would be speaking it
as a second language....that kind of thing. I think it would help to have a native
speaker there, "setting the standard", as it were, and I think that would encourage the
non-native speakers to "level up" instead of everyone "levelling down" to the level of
the lowest....as it were.   Well, those were just thoughts...


1 person has voted this message useful



iguanamon
Tetraglot
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Virgin Islands
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 Message 5 of 11
16 December 2013 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
...My suggestion in my earlier post (sorry, link not to hand...I'll edit it in later hope), was for interviews or conversations between such people, actually not specifically about language, but choose a subject for discussion that could be of general interest, and maybe bringing language into it indirectly. ...


I admire the achievements of those who have learned many languages to a high level, as many do. I know it takes a lot of effort, but this goes back to the "end vs means" argument.

A: "So, you speak ten languages. What are they?"
B: "EN, SP, IT, FR, PT, DE, NL, SW, RU and JP."
A: "What do you do with your languages?"
B: "I practice kanji in the morning for 15 minutes. Then I read an article in Russian for 10 minutes. Next I listen to a short chapter in an audiobook in French, etc...
Audience: "Yawn."

I don't think the average Joe Public, who just wants to learn a language wants to listen to someone describe his/her techniques for learning multiple languages without the context of what they can do with those languages. It's much more interesting to hear someone talk about how learning a language has actually benefited his/her life in a way that's inspiring and motivating to people, rather than hear someone primarily talk about the physics of learning the language.

Talk about how learning, say, Spanish, opened up a whole new world. Tell us why telenovelas can be much more vibrant and enjoyable than American soap operas. How knowing Spanish made the experience of traveling in Latin America so much more fun and satisfying. Discuss the impact of discovering new literature, music and film. Talk about the new friends and social life that Spanish has given you. Talk about the pride of achievement and how it is totally possible to learn a language without classes, on your own and for very little money without getting bogged down in the minutiae of discussing the particular advantages and disadvantages of specific techniques. That's a winner. Those interested in learning can be pointed here and elsewhere for help.

Edited by iguanamon on 16 December 2013 at 1:35pm

5 persons have voted this message useful



DavidMansaray
Newbie
United Kingdom
davidmansaray.com/ab
Joined 2712 days ago

15 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Japanese, Italian

 
 Message 6 of 11
16 December 2013 at 2:21pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
What information exactly do you need from us, David?


I'm looking for suggestions about ways to approach such a podcast for the average language learner. There are
countless podcasts about how to learn specific languages, however there aren't any podcasts I've found about
language in general. Think of this as a radio show about language with the goal of inspiring people to learn
language while also giving solid advice and dispelling myths.

iguanamon wrote:
I don't think the average Joe Public, who just wants to learn a language wants to listen to
someone describe his/her techniques for learning multiple languages without the context of what they can do
with those languages. It's much more interesting to hear someone talk about how learning a language has
actually benefited his/her life in a way that's inspiring and motivating to people, rather than hear someone
primarily talk about the physics of learning the language.


I agree 100%! Talking only about techniques in my opinion is too abstract and doesn't get at WHY we
learn language. I'm hoping the cultural aspects of the show will hook people into wanting to try out new
techniques so they to can explore the wonderful world of language :)




Edited by DavidMansaray on 16 December 2013 at 2:22pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Ezy Ryder
Diglot
Senior Member
Poland
youtube.com/user/Kat
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 Message 7 of 11
16 December 2013 at 3:33pm | IP Logged 
Definitely an interesting idea. Here are a few topics (hopefully not only) I'd like to hear about:
Getting to proficiency as opposed to fluency. I think that acquiring fluency is such a popular
topic because of the more colloquial meaning of the word, that is, proficiency. I don't know if I'm
the only one like this, but instead of a "fluent in 3 months" challenge I'd be more interested in
"proficient in a year or two". Of course it's all nice getting to a stage where you can handle a
brief and simple conversation for the first time; but that level seems useful only if you're going to
the country on your holiday or something. While if you want to read books (both fiction and
not), watch TV (and understand more than just 90%), and be able to make a friend with whom
you'd spend hours talking (rather than just 10 minutes...), requires a much higher level.
I always can't help but notice the popularity of courses. A curriculum in language learning might
be good for teaching diplomats, but isn't very practical for regular learners. Parts of vocabulary
we all'll need are only so big, and it's the rest that makes one proficient. Yet I rarely hear of
people, or find logs of here, who learn vocabulary, sort of, as they need it. That is, find
something interesting, and learn all the new and useful vocabulary. Only two logs come to my
mind right now: "Capish" and "100 days of Cien Años" (sorry if written them wrognly).

PS.: Also, I wonder, why is "why to learn a language" such a popular topic. I could understand
if it was nation-wide radio or TV, but it's the internet. Most of the people who'll find it, are the
people who've typed in "language" one way or the other. And it just seems to me that they
already know why they want to learn one, since that's probably why they've typed it...

Anyway, good luck!
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2147 days ago

5310 posts - 4079 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 8 of 11
16 December 2013 at 6:03pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
I'm looking for suggestions about ways to approach such a podcast for the
average language learner. There are countless podcasts about how to learn specific
languages, however there aren't any podcasts I've found about language in general.
Think of this as a radio show about language with the goal of inspiring people to learn
language while also giving solid advice and dispelling myths.


This is not an attempt to shoot down your idea, but an honest question - do you think
that there is a demand for a type of podcast like this? In its basic elements, most of
the things that apply to learning other skills like golf or figure skating or paintball
techniques also apply to language learning. I am afraid if you make it this general,
you're either going to focus on methodological techniques that are common to all
languages (textbooks, translations, vocabulary retention programs, basics of accent
formation and so on), or conclude with banalities like "don't give up, you have to work
hard", etc.

Sorry to push you this hard, but if you want to make it about solid language learning
advice and inspiration, what you need, besides explaining the principles that you
always need (motivation, the drive for self-improvement and elegance, the ability to
withstand criticism and so on), is to provide concrete examples of how this influences
people. Most people will take your word that motivation is important, but push comes to
shove and they aren't motivated. They still don't have a carrot hanging in front of
them at the end of the day.

These general principles are important, but what inspires people is seeing a genuine
example of someone who shows how their blood, sweat and tears combine into tangible
results. Because there is no general why, but a myriad of reasons why people start (and
give up), what you need is to show, with concrete anecdotes, how language learning is
enriching. And you need to pick exactly THOSE examples that aren't a polyglot babbling
in 30 languages, because it isn't representative of most people's situation. I admire
Richard and Luca very much as learners, but they don't compare to Yevgeny Sokolov who
only ever has had to learn rudimentary English, works in IT and suddenly has to deal
with an influx of foreign clients. Can you influence Yevgeniy Sokolov with this
podcast? Can you show HIM an example of what he needs to do?

Polyglots intimidate people a bit, someone who moved abroad and had to go through hell
to learn Hungarian to talk with their wife's family is a better example. Find examples
from daily life of successful language learners (who aren't just polyglots in disguise,
or without the focus on the topic of polyglotism) and let them talk about how they
learned and succeeded. You can use those people to dispel myths, because if you take a
polyglot, then it's "but ur special!!! I can't do it like you!!!"




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