Debriefing the Bedroom Exercise

Did you do the morning Bedroom session, followed up in the evening with the Quizlet deck in “Learn”? If you did, what did you think? Did you find your weaknesses? Were they gender related? Spelling? Accent mark placement? Word order? Connectors?

Could this routine become part of your slow-growth language learning program? If you were to schedule your weekly language reviews in advance, would this be part of it? What else would be part of it? Listening and translating podcasts on a scheduled basis? Are you documenting or logging the words you miss or look-up, with an end of week review? Are you reading articles in French, and following the news?

As self-learners, we don’t have the luxury of having native speakers working with us, around the clock, like children do. Our minds don’t automatically link an action or object with a sound, and bind them for life. We already have these complex associations set in our minds. Our native language dictates the order of our thoughts, steers us towards certain sentence constructions, and gets in the way of our language learning efforts.

What we do have is the Internet, with its wide array of tools, that provides us with vocabulary lists, dictionaries, grammar tips, and audio/video files. I’m using websites to provide me with standard sentences, and the essay correcting website:

lang-8.com

to make sure that my constructed sentences are grammatically correct. I’ve got:

quizlet.com

to generate speech for my sentences, and provide me with a half-dozen ways in which I interact with my material. There are many ways to use the audio, and Quizlet supports 18 languages with Audio.

https://quizlet.com/help/how-does-audio-work-on-quizlet

I can use my Chrome browser to read any French site, and right-click an immediate revelation of French words and phrases I didn’t understand. When I want to test my listening comprehension, I head to

http://podclub.ch/

and listen to either the L’avis de Marie:

http://podclub.ch/sendungen/l-avis-de-marie-f

or Balades podcasts:

http://podclub.ch/sendungen/balades-f

With their text highlighting, following the spoken script, I could not ask for a better study tool.

There was really no way that I could have learned French, at my age, working full time, without these tools. When people say they’d like to learn a language….but….what they are saying is that they wish they had a plan, or they simply don’t have the needed dedication. That’s why there are programs that promise “fluency” in three months. These marketeers are preying on the average person’s lack of dedication, confidence, and long term vision. People believe that since they paid money, what they paid for will somehow do the work for them.

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