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Congratulations! You made it through Week 3! How did it go? We hope you were able to stay motivated all week long! Did you do at least a little bit each day for yourself and/or your child(ren)?
Did you go to the Language Page(s) or Multilingual Living Forum and make contact with other families? Here is your chance to find others who are just as excited as you and your family are with language learning.
How’s Your Speech Perception?
How did your pronunciation practice go this week? Did you give it some extra attention? Listening and repeating, listening and repeating is the key. Even if you think you sound horrible at first, don’t worry! Just keep practicing.
When I took German language classes at the Christian Albrecht Universitat in Kiel, Germany many years ago, one of the classes that I had to take was one where all we did was practice pronunciation. A whole class just for this!
Each day a triad of teachers would work with us, moving our mouths into different positions and giving us tips on how to position our tongues. It felt like a mild form of torture at the time but looking back at it now, I am so glad that I took that class for as long as I did. My accent isn’t near that of a native speaker, but that class made a big difference.
At the beginning of the class, the teacher would say different letters but they all sounded exactly the same to me! An o-umlaut versus a u-umlaut was identical to my ears. Or, at the very least, there was no way I could make them come out of my mouth properly. They sounded like regular u’s and o’s. But over time (what felt like a long time) things started to change and I did start to hear differences. And I even started to be able to pronounce things correctly!
Of course, had I learned the language as a child, I would most likely be speaking German with a native or near-native accent. For us adult learners, on the other hand, it takes a lot of work (and we will most likely still have a thick accent). However, the goal need not be to lose our accent altogether. Instead, it should be to make ourselves as understandable as possible in the target language.
Focus on enunciation, rhythm and fluidity over and over again. Practice will make perfect! And remember, we all enjoy a lovely accent!
Getting Past the Saddle
Many of you (and your children) have been learning languages for a long time. You have reached a level of language mastery that feels very comfortable and is infused with a sense of relative confidence. However, you know that you still make lots of mistakes and you aren’t always sure that you will understand (or be understood) in all situations. When you try and work on the language, you don’t seem to know where to start or how to improve. What to do? What to do?
Aaron Myers from The Everyday Language Learner has written us a wonderful post about our situation and what to do about it. There are ways to move past this plateau. There really are. Aaron will show you how.
Today’s Check-In Activity
Note: You can only enter this week’s giveaway if you are (1) signed up for Language Challenge 180 and (2) completed the week’s check-in below
- Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, tell us why you/your children are focusing on the target language(s).
Maybe you are passing on your native language? Maybe you are learning a language that you have always wanted to learn? Maybe you are focusing on a language that you learned a long time ago but then forgot about? Or maybe you helping your child learn a language that he/she as requested to learn it?
- Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to today’s giveaway and enter! You are now qualified!
Don’t forget to visit the Multilingual Living Forum to ask a question, start a discussion or give someone else some support. You do NOT have to log in to post there. We encourage you to check out the Language Challenge 180 section as well as the other sections.
Keep an eye out for your next email which will arrive on Monday!