Introducing Langscript

I have recently created a simple browser-based synchronized audio-text reader for language learning purposes. I have checked out some other synchronized audio-text readers available on the web, but none of them seems to have sentence-level synchronization and at the same time support multiple translations. Out of frustration, I wrote my own. LangScript synchronizes the audio […]

Conversation Summary: Russian #5

A new year has begun (and half a month is already gone). This year, I have made a resolution to simply speak more. For one thing, I am going to do more conversations with online tutors. I also think it would be a good idea to write a mini-summary after each conversation, if possible. So […]

The Importance of Understanding

Without understanding what the other person says, what you say does not matter. There is no conversation. Most people would agree on this point. But yet some people will still think that you should try to converse in a foreign language as early as possible. What they fail to realize, I believe, is that it […]

Speaking Too Early is a Waste of Time

The result (or “interim result” as some might put it) of Keith‘s now-famous “TV Method” experiment has recently sparked numerous discussions and fierce debates in the online language learning communities. Some people are even taking this as a proof to proclaim that “silent period” is a waste of time. In my opinion, the experiment is […]

Speaking Practice Amongst Learners

Today, I had a chance to speak over Skype with Milan, the die-hard Cantonese learner. It must have been more than 3 years since we last talked. Back then we spoke in English and Cantonese. This time our conversation was purely in French and it lasted for more than an hour! When Milan proposed this […]

Speaking Tips

Speak when you are ready, not when you ‘think’ you are ready. You are probably more ready to speak than you think you are. Yes, please honour the “silent period” and focus on input activities. But if you have already put in a lot of hours listening and reading, but feel uncomfortable moving on to […]

Paid Language Tutoring

In the past few months, I have been focusing on a lot speaking activities. During the summer, I paid for some conversation practices in Spanish. I tried three different tutors online, and ended up picking one to continue with throughout the summer. In the past year or so, my Spanish learning activities consist of listening, […]

Speak Only When Ready – But When Will You be Ready?

There was an interesting exchange between Steve the Linguist and Benny the Irish Polyglot. I downloaded the podcast more than a week ago but only managed to get through it on a red-eye flight back from Seattle yesterday. In brief, Steve thinks that we should first immerse ourselves into a lot of input activities and […]

No More Skypecast

Over the weekend, another free on-line service was gone, not only the “free” part, but also the service itself. Skypecast was launched in 2006 to host public conference calls up to 100 people at a time. It was since being established as a meeting place for many to get to know others and talk about […]

Shadowing Alone

I recently came across a language forum post. A person taught some Japanese students English by playing recordings of native speakers and asking the students to repeat them again and again. The teacher did not give more details, so I assume this was the only method he used. He posted a recording of one of […]

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