Language Acquisition

Spanish read and listen material: Obras de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Obras de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer - Tomo Primero is a collection of stories in Spanish available with recording and text (both plan and PDF). It was produced by Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse that has a lot more audio/text stories in English in its Lit2Go project. MP3 recordings can be downloaded individually, but nice iTunes interface is also available from the home page of the project.

Story of Human Language – great introductory audio course on linguistics

As part of doing a PhD in Computational Linguistics, I need to understand both computers and linguistics. I am fine with computers, but linguistics is not my strong point. Unfortunately, many of the linguistics books and resources are quite dry. So, I was really happy to discover an audio course Story of Human Languagefrom The Teaching Company taught by John McWhorter. It is quite long a covers a lot of material, but - apart from some overly long parts on universal language - it is really interesting and Professor McWhorter is a great presenter.

3 new language-learning websites

These are new style language-learning websites that are trying to leverage community and/or new capabilities allowed by the internet: SpanishSense - they have podcasts, PDFs, daily emails and a lot more. This site has been done by the same people who have been doing really successful ChinesePod for several years now. It looks very slick. LiveMocha - they are doing social network style language learning. Others have done it before them, but LiveMocha seems to be a bit stronger on multiple modes of learning than other similar sites.

Learning english prepositions – the smart way

In my review of WordChamp and LingQ I mentioned that an ideal language learning system would have deep support for the specifics of the learner’s target language. I was asked to clarify what I mean by that. I have now found an example of what could be a step in the right direction. It is an online research system called WERTi from the Computational Linguistics and Language Technology group at The Ohio State University.

Review of WordChamp, LingQ and their mashup

WordChamp and LingQ are competing online language learning services that use learner driven approach and try to support multiple languages. WordChamp is a (recently) free service. LingQ is free during the current beta stage, as it is a rewrite of the existing paid English-only service The Linguist. Because both services try to be language-agnostic, they use methods that are largely independent of the target language. LingQ’s methodology (from my understanding) is based around repeated reading and listening to the target language material with the learning process based around finding new words, recording them down with their real-world usage and identifying known and new words in the texts.