Blogs are great. I love indulging myself in someone else’s witty, charismatic life for just a mere 10 minutes and then, eventually and gradually regaining myself back to reality. And what more could an avid language learner and fanatic of blogs and vlogs ask for when there’s an indefinite, pleasant merge of the two for the benefit of learning something practical and useful, rather than splurging on tabloid like and all things gossip, blogs that are cultivated each and everyday to promote a certain brand, product or just self promoting. If the option is there, I personally would implore you to, indeed, merge your interest of study/lifestyle/passtime into a blog so that you can share your attained knowledge or passion for the greater good of others with a similar interest. Be it mathematical sciences, beekeeping, skydiving or for this instance, language learning. The opportunities are endless.
Here are a few blogs and language learning websites that I looked at that attainted my devoted attention!
Oui, c’est ça!
This blog is fun, exciting and rejuvenates the French language of the aspect of learning and I found it quite useful as it explores a broad audience ranging from absolute beginners to advanced. Personally, what seems to lose my interest when it comes to learning is dreary, long, small printed text with lack of supporting images or animations which this blog has executed perfectly! From the very moment one lays eyes on this blog homepage, you are somewhat, at first, overwhelmed but then, almost, instantly entertained by the array of colours and various blog titles, at a glimpse, there is surely something there to entertain everyone. This blog definitely encouraged me to read on and I really loved how the blog explores songs, explains tenses ( the dreaded subjonctif and passé simple to name a few!) and most importantly improved my language skills! What more could one simply ask for? If you are reading this and are thinking about picking up your Leaving Cert French again, I would consider clicking onto this link to help you to reconnect with your inner Parisian side while eating fresh baguettes, wearing a beret and a striped black and white t-shirt. http://ouicestca.com/how-to-say-in-french/
Duolingo was my favourite out of all! It’s easily accessible, fun and light-hearted. Incorporating learning into something that we thoroughly enjoy doing everyday ( burying our heads in our mobile phones and laptops, that is!) is the smartest means of brainwash if you ask me, but hey, if that brainwash makes me fluent in Portuguese, I’m not complaining! Duolingo explores this notion and allows for anyone, literally anyone, to enjoy language learning and to learn a new language, all from the medium of your phone! I personally find this application very useful as I’m currently 4% fluent in Italian ( as I am told by this app anyways!) But let’s just think for a second of the importance of this application and what it enables me to do and let’s take this away from the equation and ask ourselves; Would we learn languages as easily and freely as we do without technology? The answer is simply no! 15 million users and counting. I highly doubt that those 15 million people could have learned a language without this application because we can’t all leave everything behind and move to Italy and learn the language through immersion, although, I wish we simply could!
The only disadvantage to this application that I found, which is more of an inconvenience to say the least, is that there is no option to opt out for section of the lesson when you must listen and rewrite what you hear because while I am trying to learn Italian on my phone in the middle of an Irish lecture, it can prove challenging to multi-task to this degree where I must participate orally and aurally! However, it does give me the option to put my app mute to oral interaction whilst participating in lessons although not aurally, which I found somewhat peculiar! So, if you, or someone you know is affiliated with Duolingo and are reading this blog post ( yet some how I doubt that very much so!) it may be an idea to check that out so that you can facilitate my Italian language learning in lectures that have lost my devoted attention! There are 23 languages to choose from, Irish included, and it’s completely free, so, what are you doing still reading this and download the app right away! Why not learn a language or two, while on the loo?
My Spanish Adventure
When one wishes to learn a language, there are many more practicalities than just simply learning the language. One must know where to get the best coffee that that country offers, how to get to know locals, how to immerse yourself culturally, how to act like a local and how to get local fares such as taxis, restaurants etc because as a traveller, my pasty, lightly freckled skin, ginger locks and pale blue eyes endangers me to be left as a victim of extortionate and ridiculous prices, which no body wants! For instance, the dialect in which you speak in a region can determine if you shall be granted the local rate or tourist rate as my host father from Meolo near Venice, Italy told me last summer. Will Peach, a young man who uprooted from his London home to chase a dream of obtaining fluency in Spanish and get to know the ins-and-outs of the beautiful country, explores the tourist syndrome and although he indulges more in the cultural side of Spanish than language learning, it is a crucial part of language learning that must be experienced if one really wants to become fluent in a language. Peach’s blog post that I found interesting and explored the notion that one”sticks out like a sore thumb as the traditional tourist.” is in a link below for those of you who may like a look at it. Peach is some what a travel blogger/language blogger/lifestyle blogger which is a very happy medium to attain readers interest in language learning. I really liked his informal style and I am looking forward to following his cultural journey in the near future, wherever he shall end up in the World!
Although, this isn’t a blog, it is a vlog which explores a more interesting take on the Irish language. I have followed this YouTuber Clisare for years now as I find her witty persona very entertaining and I love her informal, laid back approach to vlogging, because that is essentially what blogging is, transferring an opinion or information in an informal manner and anyone who does so in a formal way is breaking all the rules that make up blogging, you are merely doing yourself and others an injustice if you write formally in a blog! Clisare offers many interesting videos in Irish. Due to the fact that Irish is of course, a minority language, the quality of a her content is remarkable, considering her target audience is quite substantially low compared to French, Spanish written blogs or vlogs etc. When one incorporates fun and exciting notions or themes of a language ( for example; slang or swear words) it captivates a wider audience than a grammar lesson on the past tense! I find vlogs way easier to follow as the incorporate visuals and listening. Other Youtubers which I enjoy are TusaTube who have recently started their very own show on TG4 because of their vlogs in Irish on Youtube!
When we speak of a blog, we need to develop this notion to a wider community of blogs such as vlogs, podcasts or vlogging on social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. We cannot limit ourselves with the word blog and constrict it’s meaning to a written text informing a target audience on one’s life etc. This is outdated if you limit a blog to this one meaning. With the growth of the internet and it’s community, we need to grow and adapt the meaning as the internet does. I intend to blog my experience of Co-Op in Argentina through Instagram because this is where I obtain a larger audience than on Youtube or on WordPress. I can simply support my mini-blog with a supporting picture and hey, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, don’t they?