Should You Ditch Your Language Learning Apps?
Most language learning tips you’ll find on the internet are all about using technology…
…especially mobile technology. A quick google search and you’ll find a range of tips which encourage visiting websites, downloading apps and online software.
However, not everyone is a computer wizzkid. What if you want to learn a language without having to rely on technology?
You would be forgiven for thinking that isn’t possible, especially given how much technology and online software is advertised on a daily basis.
It might come as surprise for some people to hear that language learning was taking place well before the advent of technology. Perhaps the greatest example of historic language learning is the Rossetta Stone (see references for more information) the person or team of people who translated the texts had to know both Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek – and the advanced technology of the day was a rock and chisel!
So, how do you go about learning a language wifi-free?
How can you get the practice and materials you need without any reliance on technology? Well, here’s a few tips:
Tip #1: For speaking practice, find yourself a learning partner. They don’t have to be any more advanced than you – they just need to be learning the same language.
Apart from the obvious fact that you can help each other in a more general learning sense, a learning partner can really help you with pronunciation.
For example, take some words you’re learning or a text, read it out to your partner who will then be able to tell you if they could understand it or not: if they couldn’t get what you’re saying, then you might be saying it wrong.
Harmer (2007) writes that drilling is an important aspect of language learning: you need to repeat, repeat and repeat vocabulary so you can get your mouth around the sounds of the language.
Tip #2: Use a paper dictionary. Technology has helped language learners come very far in terms of understanding new vocabulary – all you have to do it type the word into wordreference.com and you’ve got your translation!
However, this has potentially made us a little lazy in terms of memorising words – why make the effort when you can just quickly look it up? Of course, that depends completely on having internet access: the second that is gone, you can no longer access Wordreference.
A paper-based dictionary requires a lot more effort and a greater deal of cognitive engagement. However, that is a good thing, because the more you are involved and engaged in your learning, the more likely it is you will remember what you are learning.
Tip #3: A lot of teachers recommend reading articles in the language you are learning. That is sound advice, as it helps you work on your reading skills as well as vocabulary and grammar.
However, instead of just looking up an article online, you could go out and buy a foreign newspaper at a good newsagent and peruse it at your leisure. This would reflect how you read newspapers in your own language and also how foreigners read newspapers in their language – it isn’t just simply a question of looking up one article and reading that: people work their way through newspapers over a coffee.
Also, it is completely internet-free, so even if your connection goes down, you will always have your newspaper or magazine to read.
So, these are just a few ideas we have about learning a language WiFi-free. Do you have any other ideas or recommendations? If you do, please feel free to leave them as a comment below or send us a message.
Harmer, J. (2007) The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Pearson.
Rosetta Stone: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/writing/rosetta.html ):
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A polyglot and international traveller. Anthony speaks 6 languages and loves sharing his passion of language learning through his writing.
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