Using technology to up your language game

It’s always a good idea to work smarter not harder as then you are rewarded for your efforts without you having to struggle so much. Therefore using the resources that are available and around you means maximum effect from minimum work. To this end I have started using Blinkist and Audible in addition to Amazon to be able to create an immersive environment to further my language learning.

As I’m introverted and autistic I’m not too fond of talking to people. This becomes apparent quite quickly if you have previously come across any of my work. As you may expect this presents certain problems. With the fact that I don’t like to mingle with others; my communication skill development has to take a different path. As I’m good at mimicking I can learn pronunciation from repeating the correct sounds made by others. As an integrative approach is best here, I need to look at a diverse range of options to get a broad spectrum. As accents vary from country, region, age, male/female etc I need to incorporate as much material as possible.

I have previously been using YouTube for music and educational purposes (Tedx) but the gap between the 2 is too vast. A lack of “Comprehensible Material” meaning it’s not currently the right level for me. When watching YouTube videos there is frequently no subtitles to assist me so this cuts down there usefulness. I have tried Sky Arts but there is not enough foreign language material. I have also looked into foreign films (World cinema) but again there is a lack of material or maybe access to the material as I’ve never found any. Netflix also seems to come up short when looking for Greek material.

My new idea is based on the fact that was used by a famous polyglot from the past to progress his linguistic merits. That is, read the same book in many languages since then you can learn grammar, syntax and semantics while enjoying a story that you already know well. This is a style favoured by Hungarian polyglot Kato Lomb and is also mentioned by other noted polyglots such as Canadian Steve Kaufmann and Italian Luca Lampariello.

Since the best way to learn a second language is to repeat the way you learnt your first language that is what I’m attempting to do here. It’s a lot easier for children to gain language skills than it is for adults as we try to intellectualise it too much. Basically we think too much about the underpinnings of a language looking to gain an understanding of the structure before attempting to ‘build a house’. Children just go forth and practice.

However the problem comes when the way I learnt is through my mother reading to me constantly. This meant that I could read by 18 months but was unable to talk for a further 4 months. My mum doesn’t know any foreign languages and is dyslexic just like my husband so that counts that option out. This means I have no practice partner. I have tried recording my voice and uploading to YouTube but I haven’t had any luck with that because I can be quite quiet and indistinct.

My solution to this problem is to get Blinkist and Audible to read to me but Greek books are few and far between. Getting a physical book to look at is very difficult online. As your brain reacts differently to an ebook than to a physical book this means that the real copy is much better for this purpose. An ebook could have a narrative attached to it to make it better as a real book wouldn’t have this capability. Getting a physical, audio and ebook of the same title in Greek is next to impossible. Dual language books are equally as difficult to find.

This 3 tier attack is easier in Italian, Spanish and even Russian but in Greek they just don’t seem to exist. I have done extensive research and monitored this over many years. While the situation has improved slightly, I don’t hold out much hope for a sudden burgeoning in the market.

Below is a link to my published work and to my previous blog posts where I have talked about many of the issues I have mentioned above.

My published books

Series links

Best wishes

Angela

Sky Arts programs

These are another fantastic resource to use to learn languages with. There are many European programs where the people being interviewed do not speak English but subtitles are provided for your benefit. This can range from a program about the influence font (sizing, spacing, arrangement, case, style and colour of letters) has on us. The show travels from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal to French Canada, the USA and finally the UK to give a wide variety of signs throughout history with a knowledgeable local in each location.

Another program I have watched was set in France and it demonstrated all of the sketches that the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent did during his working career including his cartoon sketches that he did when he needed a break. They interviewed those closest to him and the majority of the program was in French with subtitles.

The most recent program I have been watching is Sky Arts Master of Photography. I believe this is set in Italy as that’s where the challenges take place. Some of the contestants are Italian so you get to hear them interacting with locals during the course of their day. It’s very European as you get contestants from Germany, UK, Switzerland etc. There are subtitles for the Italian but to stop any more linguistic confusion the main content is in English.

Is there any other bilingual programs that you like to watch and would recommend me to check out?

Best wishes

Angela

Netflix

This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.

If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.

Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?

Best wishes

Angela

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM


— Read on sparkonit.com/2019/06/16/researchers-break-memory-wall-conundrum-create-worlds-fastest-ram/

This is simply astonishing.

Best wishes

Angela

Oh Brother Where art thou?

These are lines from one of George Seferis poems about the Odyssey.

O Brother Where Art Thou is a Coen brothers movie that has taken Homer’s Odyssey and translated it into 1930’s America. Initially the idea that George Clooney escapes from a prison chain gang doesn’t sound too interesting but it’s much better than that. It’s an exploration of what life was like in those times.

Best wishes

Angela

Pavlos Santorinis

Pavlos Santorinis

https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/
— Read on greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/

This man has achieved so much that his work deserves to be promoted more.

He is the first part of my Famous Greeks series.

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

An essay on the role of education in the future

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-much-can-we-afford-to-forget-if-we-train-machines-to-remember

As we are getting more into the 21st century the need to change our educational style is increasing.

  • No longer do we need so many of the facts that were crammed into our heads as children. We now have Google for that.
  • For the bibliographic details of our friends we have a phone.
  • To find our way from A to B we now have Sat Nav’s.
  • Calculators have replaced the need for mental arithmetic
  • Email has mostly replaced letter writing.
  • Smart watches are replacing our diaries.
  • Fit bits are monitoring our health.
  • Handsfree devices allow us to talk when we cannot use our phones.
  • Hive thermostats can control the heating in our homes.
  • Alexa can control your lighting.
  • Google assistant can control your music collection.
  • Amazon tabs can order your favourite items.
  • Siri knows far more about you than anyone else does (as does Facebook).
  • E readers are possibly replacing books.
  • Netflix are replacing the television stations.
  • Air B and B is changing travel accommodation.
  • Uber is revolutionizing travel transportation.
  • Just Eat is controlling where we get our takeaways from.
  • Cars no longer need keys for the ignition.
  • I)What else are we able to do without in order to increase the time available to ourselves for creative interests?
  • II)Are you scared by how much technology exists in our lives, it’s ability to learn and possibly to go rogue at some point?
  • III)Are we turning into mindless robots being programmed by exposure to so much media and our subsequent consumption of it?
  • IV)What does it mean to be human nowadays as we are relying more and more on technology for our every need?
  • Best wishes
  • Angela