The Technology of Language Learning

Yesterday’s Western Mail describes the fairly astonishing progress of this new Web site for Welsh learners. 3,800 registered users so far. Some of the tributes from all over the world:
“Since I’m from Germany, I did not have a very good access to courses etc – up until now!
Yesterday, I tried the first lesson of the course and I can only say: WOW. This is MUCH more fun and effective than any textual explanations.
Now I always listen to it on my way to school and back, while I’m on my bike.
Thank you very much for making this course: you can be assured that I will recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Welsh!”
Deniz Tahtakin, Wildeshausen, Germany
are impressive:
“I have learned to speak more Welsh in 15 days than 50 years – brilliant!!
Janet Aldridge, Flint”
I love the statement at the end:
“If you like the sound of that, and would like to give it a go, you can have a free 30-day trial.
No, sorry, you can’t, we’re just pulling your leg.
The whole course is free…:-)”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    looks pretty impressive – one thing which is probably needed but could in time be added is a strucure to the contacts bewteen learners so that they could maximise the benefit.

    When it comes to how to do (minority/endagered) languages then your boyz are clearly the world leaders – and are the example that Ireland should follow where possible.

  • Well I would like to second Sammy McNally’s amazing suggestion as I too feel that learners, rather students of Welsh if get a chance to communicate with each other can retain more and even learn some new words and phrases from other users.

  • Dewi

    Within the site there are discussion forums for learners to interact (in writing admittedly). What will be interesting is how they will be doing in say 6 months. I’ll monitor.

  • Archie P

    It will be great for Wales when all those registrants become proficient…..it will enable Welsh speakers to communicate with business people in China, India etc and should be good for future generations of World leaders of industry…to succeed in businsess you should always learn one of the major languages of the world.

  • Tochais SiΒ­oraiΒ­

    So is it Mandarin or Cantonese you’re studying at the minute, Archie?

  • Seimi

    I think, with the help of an online Welsh dictionary, I have found the correct term for Archie P

    Teclyn

    πŸ™‚

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seimi,

    The problem with Archie’s point is that is does have to be addressed – if there is no ‘sympathy’ for a language be it Welsh or Irish how are the unsympathetic majority enticed into learning it?

    There is considerable amount of research that ‘shows’ the benefits of bi-lingualism for learning and other languages in particular – but dealing with the ‘dead language’ arguement of Archie’s is a major challenge – although perhaps less so in Wales than in Ireland where the battle for survival of the language is beginning to turn into a battle for parity.

  • Seimi

    Sammy, Archie’s ‘point’ was just to have a go at another language. Everyone knows that Welsh is not the international language of commerce, so why the sarcasm of his post? It’s just an excuse to have a dig at the language. I find it very hard to put up with narrow-mindedness like this.

    Also, I am hoping that he takes the time to access an online Welsh dictionary and look the word up. I’m helping him to broaden his mind πŸ™‚

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seimi,

    I dont agree with his point or his (unsympathetic)delivery but just that the ‘dead language’ arguement or the ‘what fecking good is it arguement’ which is implicit in it, whether we like it or not is a very strong one and needs to be confronted.

  • Seimi

    Sammy, I agree with you, it’s just that I get wound up by blinkered views like that.

    What difference does it make to Archie, or anyone else here, how many websites there are out there that teach Welsh, or Irish, or French or whatever. Especially when they are, like this one free. If it had ANY effect on Archie personally, through extra taxation for example, then he would have every right to complain and argue about it. But it doesn’t, so this is just him complaining just for the sake of complaining. Maybe I’m at fault here for allowing him to wind me up.

    Submit word – reaction. Deadly πŸ™‚

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seimi,

    as Archie has done a runner – I will speculate that the reson he may not ‘like’ Welsh (which is perhaps the exact opposite of the reason I do like it) is that the same arguements on both sides apply in the case of Irish where not only MIGHT there be tax implications but also an increase in the cultural Irish-ification of Norn Iron.

    Archie have I got that rather obvious observation right?

  • Seimi

    I can see that as well Sammy, and it was one of the reasons I reacted in the first place. I’m expecting some form of rebuttal from him at some stage. I’ll go stick the kettle on…

    Meanwhile, don’t forget to watch Rang 71 tonight on BBC2 πŸ™‚

  • Seimi

    On topic – I might give this site a try. A friend of mine gave me a Welsh learners CD and book, and I keep dipping in to it, but so far with little success. I might try combining the two.

    Submit word – problems. πŸ™‚

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seimi,

    yes thanks will record that now. A pint of tea is yer only man times like these. I believe it to be the case that although we have let our native tongue go to wreck and ruin we are the still leading nation for tea drinking.

    Not sure if there is any great differnce in Prod and Fenian tea-drinking habits in Norn Iron, though I do think the Prods have a lead in the related area of tea-towel production as it is a suitable device to record snappy political slogans as it is perhaps a spin-off industry from the marching season where as I understand it, tea is NOT the most popular beverage and the much unfairly maligned Ulster Scots seems to be have a corrsesponding increase in use as alternative beverages are downed. Archie can you confirm?

  • Seimi

    Sure didn’t the Lord himself, up on the cross, stop for a nice cup of tea? πŸ™‚

    Personally speaking, I can’t stand the stuff πŸ™‚

  • ersehole

    I spent some time on this site and found it very interesting. In my own experience of teaching spoken Irish, I find that the translating and repeating of small phrases, directly after they have been spoken correctly, is the most effective.
    In other words, you think in English, and then speak in Irish.

    Reading and writing is a distraction to this process,as Aran (he of Cymuned fame?) states.

    What is clear is that learning a language is getting easier and cheaper. iPods, the interweb, and darwinian methods are combining to put language learning within the grasp of millions.

    On the written front, this is a first cut that will cause one or two to think…
    http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=www.newsletter.co.uk&sl=en&tl=ga&history;_state0=

  • Dewi

    “Aran (he of Cymuned fame?)”

    Yep

  • ersehole

    Care to share your view on Cymuned, Dewi?

  • Well, Google has an awesome tool for translation.