Tools of Language Learning
This segment is about the tools of language learning mostly to get you familiar with the programs we're gonna be using and to getting familiar with, you know, what's the sort of stuff that you should buy what's the stuff you can just kind of get for free. I mean, what's out there. How how can we do this so that you know what? What options do we have? So let's start with books because that's usually what people associate with learning languages are sort of grammar books and dictionaries in this sort of thing. Um, so start remember books. Um, grammar books are wonderful. They kind of get a bad rap in classes get a bad rap because we've all had this experience of going to class and not quite working out for us, but books are an author's attempt to condense the language into a siri's of three hundred pages and come up with a clever order of doing it and showing you example sentences and translating those sentences and explaining things. I mean, it's a goldmine that you have trying to go lo...
ok for that information yourself is so much more work than just having someone else do it for you. Um so I really like, uh, grammar books it's just that there's a wide, wide, wide range of things to choose from, um one of the things that I suggest you avoid are sort of like three categories of books that are kind of problematic one are really wonderful books that are useless for self study these air really these air teacher dependent books you find a book that gives you all of these class notes it gives you all of these you know things in your target language that are not translated gives you all sorts of information and none of the answers gives you tests except with no answer is attached to them. These are books that you are using in a classroom with the teacher did that supplying you all of the answers uh they're not good for self study, so avoid any books that are used on ly in classes if if if it needs to come if you need to have a teacher with it than skip that one, do that in class we can talk later a little bit about classes, but for now this is self study. You want books that are sort of teach yourself spanish, teach yourself french um there is a class of books that I love just from a sort of engineering standpoint. These air detailed grammatical flow charts I have this book in italian I forget the name of it it was in, it was it's entirely in italian and it's the entire italian language in flow chart form like here's every possible congregation and then like the next line is here's the next word that could come after that the next word that come after that it's like the grammar of the language in in mathematical formula it's wonderful to look at it is a real pain to learn from uh what you kind of want but we'll get to things and what you want in a second um the other sorts of books you might want to avoid or things that are just sort of travel guides that it just kind of like here's some words you can use when you travel you want something that really delves into the grammar it really talks to you about here's the pronoun system here's what you use it for here's here's how you change verb so that you can talk about things that happened yesterday happened in the future you want something that really is it covers everything in terms of what to look for what I want. As I said to seventy that covers the basics of grammar I want something that sort of walks through and says here the tenses you know here's how you say things now in the past in the future, you know, hear the pronouns something that really just lays it all out for you you don't have to like that stuff I'll show you how to eventually learn howto like it on learn howto take it in a way that's that's appealing instead of just looking at the clinton charts but you want a book with the dick lantian charts? You want a book that really do actually talks about this stuff? Um and ideally when you want are a lot of example sentences you want if you can translations coming with all those example sentences and you want just stories uh, the main thing we're gonna be using these books for he is a source of stories you want the story about she is a student teaching you about is you want the story of he went to the store teaching you about the past tense. You want all of these sort of scenarios in which grammar is happening and grammar is telling a story. Um, I have a list of resource is that I recommend to this point on my web site this is in the syllabus. You could just click it on the syllabus this is flute forever. Dot com slash language hyphen resource is it will give you recommendations on spanish books on french books on german books it gives you the most common language isn't what I suggest. But if your learning a language that's that's not on that website I don't think I have hindi yet things like that um then these air some guidelines for what you're looking for dictionaries uh, dictionaries are a wonderful set of tools on. There are three basic types that you need should be aware of. Bilingual dictionaries are sort of the standard, you know, spanish english dictionary. You know, I'm gonna look up this word it's going to say, I think it's keep it. Why is it always cat's got the, uh, and you look up this word and I will say, this word means cat and then you go have another section that says, okay, I need the word for cat in spanish. You look up, see? Cat got and great. Now you've you've learned this word. Bilingual dictionaries are handy. Uh, generally, I like to use google translate for this sort of thing. Although goodbye. Lingle dictionary is, we'll give you better results, and we'll give you a lot of good translations. Um, there are online dictionaries that are really wonderful again. These air on my website at the language resource is paige. Generally I recommended by legal dictionary for each each language and we'll talk soon about online dictionaries that I have a system for automatically searching online dictionaries. And so we'll talk about that soon. Frequency dictionaries are you know what we're modeling with dictionaries, monolingual dictionaries is our dictionaries entirely in your target's language. You will look up a this is a dictionary that you are familiar with as a kid you looked up the word for katniss says this is a a feline animal that has paws and chases mice or whatever probably doesn't actually give that example uh, you want this in french you want this in spanish? You want some way of describing your words in you that language because it allows you to get a lot more subtlety in your words, you know, what is the difference between to eat and to devour? They're both eating they're both you know or to dine you know, there's, we have all these words that sort of mean the same thing that sort of look the same, but the dictionaries where you're going to find c'mon, a little dictionary is where you're gonna find all those subtle degradations of what you know, how do you how do you differentiate eating and devouring and dining and lunching? Uh, that's all in there and frequency dictionaries are the ones that no one really knows about thes are wonderful, wonderful tools ah, frequency dictionary picks out the top words in every language, usually the top five thousand uh, which we'll talk about later but are used much more often than everything else, and so these dictionaries will go through and they'll say, ok, here the top the first top thousand words of the language here are two or three example sentences with each word you know hear the definition here is everything you need for this word and it'll go to the next word in the next one the next word uh it is just full of example sentences and usage is they're just wonderful and if you learn them in order which turns out to be fun it doesn't turn out to be pouring uh it's actually a really nice order of learning your words it means that you're always learning really really important words first you're not wasting your time with watermelon because who cares about watermelon less you like watermelon uh you're learning things that are actually important like politics and economy and things like that that are things that we talked about they'd allow youto have real conversations because you're not going to sit there and go to france and have a long conversation about you know the ten fruits that I learned in my grammar book uh so I love frequency dictionaries and I prefer them over frequency lists there are some list that you can get for free online the dictionary is the ones that you actually have to buy are worth every penny so phrase books books are awesome uh generally you confined all sorts of great information your grammar book you confined all sorts of need information on a word by word basis is in a in a dictionary, but you're never going to find like, uh, instructions for getting out of a police station or like, no, I didn't do it in your dictionary like you're not gonna find it there. And so phrase books are great for this they give you all these weird scenario is that you actually encounter in real life, you know what? How do you order? How do you say I have a receipt have a prescription for this? Can you know, do you have any of this painkiller in stock? You're not going to find that under painkiller in your dictionary on dso phrase books are very, very practical tools, and they're also very easy to use with this method because generally I liketo have siri's of translated sentences that I can absorb in the target language. Look, I know I never memorize the translation, but they're really handy to have they're so praise books really handy. We talked a little bit earlier about customizing vocabulary. They're our vocabulary books that lay out all of the vocabulary and not all but let's say five thousand words or ten thousand words in the language by theme and so they say, hear our words about cars, hear our words about medicine here, words about religion, and so you can go through these books and treat them like a shopping trip like you sort of built your language and then you kind of go through and you say, well, I want to know about italian food because, uh, in italian food is wonderful and so you go straight to the food section. I always go straight to the food section in any of these books and I just memorized every single word there because I want to be able to talk food like that's my main interest in most languages is being able to eat and so for me, that's a central thing. But for you, for instance, you're gonna want religious vocabulary, and this is where you gonna find it? Uh, these books are really great for sort of picking out your own personal needs, checking off all the words you need and then absorbing all of them. One more thing. Um, there are pronunciation books. We're going to talk over the next two segments about how to internalize the pronunciation system of your language. There are books that focus exclusively on pronunciation, these air really handy. I'm sort of competing with myself at this point by recommending these because I'm developing a series of pronunciation trainers. Um, you want something? Ah, and right now I'm in the process of developing a siri's of aps that run in donkey that will teach you the whole pronunciation system of language generally, for me, for hungarian, it took me two weeks to get through it, like ten days. Actually, hungarian hungarians relatively kind french is brutal working on french now, uh, I have one hundred sixty spelling rules that I have to teach people, um, but, yes, I'm developing a series of trainers to kind of take care of this for you. If those air not yet done, if those are not yet done in your language, if I'm not planning on doing them, I mean, you know, people have had requests like, can't you do? Ah, your roomba, like I don't have a big enough group of people to do your job. Then there are other resource is that are often available that you may not find a published book in, you know, for your robot saying, you know, pronounce it perfectly in your room? Maybe not, but generally there are resources that are available to teach your pronunciation, uh, for the languages that I have listed on my web site. I have suggestions of the of this type.