Monday, 30 August 2010

film collections a valuable resource

A quick post about a sometimes forgotten reservoir of language practice material (well someone I was speaking to at work hadn't thought of it). I don't collect a lot of films, but sometime I buy them, particularly as these days sometimes buying a DVD is about the same price as renting it. When learning a language you may find that you have immediate access to a number of films with soundtracks and sub-titles in that language. Perhaps if not directly, then via borrowing films (I have a friend who literally has stacks of DVDs taller than me laying around.

Even if you don't like dubbed sound you may have watched a number of films in the past that were dubbed in your mother tongue, so now you can watch them as they were intended :).

I admit this has not helped me hugely for Thai,  although I did have the Eye trilogy which I originally purchased because I like that type of film and  because the soundtracks have some Mandarin (also have lots of Thai). The real reminder for this came from starting German and I came across a number of films with German soundtracks.

Will this help much? Well bizarrely there are those that don't seem to rate listening activities as much use, I find them incredibly useful. Besides if you are just replacing watching a film in your mother tongue with one (or the same one) in your target language what can go wrong (no you won't go blind or lose the power of speech :0). Another advantage with tapping the reservoir is that you may try and enjoy some films that you never thought you would (perhaps one you borrow from a family member).

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sights Sounds and Smells

I am back on track (more about that in a later post). The first language I tried to learn was Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin has a huge advantage over Thai (for the remote learner) in that as I pointed out here: there are a lot of Chinese speakers. It is relatively easy to find them, relatively easy to get access to the language either actively or just to listen to how it is used in real life situations.

Ideally I would like to be able to wander around somewhere like here, listen observe, start getting involved:

There would seem to be a huge advantage to learning a language in the place that it is naturally spoken. Not long ago I was at an English market that had a stall selling home made Asian/Indian foods (run by an English lady). It was a very popular store, I had to queue, at the front of the queue were what appeared to be an older Thai lady and her daughter, the daughter acting as interpreter and dealing with the things the elder lady wanted. I wasn't close enough to hear much but at one point the elder lady inhaled deeply and clearly said "hom" and indeed the food did smell wonderful. Imagine if the whole market was full of this, สนุกดีใช่ไหม?

A while ago I was working with a contractor who had developed a passion for Thailand, he started learning Thai in the early 1970's, at one point he traveled to London just to get hold of some recordings of Thai speech, until that point he had never heard Thai, everything he knew was in books (not very helpful books at that), how things have changed, I guess I shouldn't complain.