Language Challenge 180: Week 14

by Corey · 8 comments

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Welcome to Week 14 !

If you missed the activities these last few weeks, go to the Weekly Activity Page and click on the activities you missed. (Remember: if you aren’t yet signed up, then do so at the link at the top of this page!)

Did you remember to check in on Friday? If not, go to the check in page to check in and then make sure to go check out our current giveaway! Everyone can enter this giveaway, so tell your friends, family and children’s teachers!

And don’t forget to keep sharing resources, support and suggestions at the Language Challenge 180 language pages! The more information you can add there, the better!

What Are You Afraid Of?

It is never to late to learn a language. Never!

Studies show that children who learn more than one language will have a good chance of picking up a native accent in all of their languages. But even with that, there are many adults who have learned a language later in life and have barely any accent (if at all).

The main reason that I believe we should learn a language when we are young is because we don’t know that we are “learning” anything. We didn’t know that we ware “learning” a language when we were little, just as we didn’t know that we were “learning” to walk as we tried it out over and over and over again.

Adults are usually very self-conscious about practicing their new-found language skills in front of others (myself included). Sure, I can play around and have a great time but deep down I hope that I am saying things at least relatively accurately. I say this from experience… here am I attempting to speak in French (which is one language I have been slowly working on during Language Challenge 180) and stumble right from the beginning:

Children don’t know that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to say things so they don’t get self conscious about the things that we adults do. They have a purpose when they say something: “I want that apple!” “I have a wet diaper!” “I’m hungry!”

If our children get the desired response and/or thing, then they are happy and will most likely say the same thing again – this is how they learn language. It doesn’t matter to them whether what they said was grammatically correct, what matters is that the desired things happen when they say certain things. As they get older, they start to realize the power that language has in expressing feelings, thoughts and so much more!

An important step in our language learning journey is that we do the best we can to get past our fear of speaking in front of others in our new language(s). An excellent way to do this is by video taping ourselves.

I know, I know. The taping part is fine. It’s the playback that is excruciatingly painful! Here I am last year while doing Language Refresh 101 (I am still working on my German during Language Challenge 180!) and I squirm while watching it as well as my attempt at French above:

But I highly encourage you to video tape yourself! Mainly because once you have done it (and then posted it on your YouTube page) you will feel a big weight of anxiety lift off your shoulders. You will have done it! Your greatest fear will have been been overcome!

This Week’s Activity

  • Individuals: Video tape yourself speaking in your target language. Then watch it. Show it to your spouse, friends, family and pets. Video tape yourself talking about different things. You can read something out loud if you aren’t very familiar with the target language.If you have a YouTube account, then upload it and share it with us! Or, contact me and we can work out a way for you to send it to me so that I can post it on our Multilingual Living YouTube page!
  • Parents: Video tape your children speaking in the target language (which may or may not be your native language).  Show your children the videos you make of them speaking! Most likely they will be fascinated and want you to make more videos (even if they were hesitant the first time you took one).Share your video(s) with us so that we can be inspired by what you are doing! Upload them to your own YouTube page or contact me and we’ll find a way for you to email them to me so that I can add them to the Multilingual Living YouTube page!

As some inspiration… here are my children this past Christmas decorating their gingerbread house (notice how they switch back and forth between English and German, I love it!):

Tip: If you have a device that can record your children speaking, give it to them and let them do their own recordings of each other. Just let them know that you want some videos of them speaking in their target language! It is amazing how much fun kids will have when they are video taping themselves!

Stay tuned for the Friday check-in email and new giveaway!

1 Mary Kay June 4, 2012 at 2:31 am

I’ll do my best, and let you know how we do. Usually when I speak to her in anything other than English she responds with “Stop it!” So, that may be all you get. 🙂 Wish us luck.

2 Adina B June 4, 2012 at 5:59 am

Corey, I really liked you speaking French, I think you’re doing good, your accent is not bad at all!! Keep up the good work!
We’re learning French too, my daughter and I. We’ve started less than 2 months ago and she’s already way ahead of me (although I studied French for quite a few years in school, too). My daughter is 3.5 y old, already bilingual in English and Romanian, and very interested to learn French too. She’s actually trying to already speak in sentences, actually challenges me to keep up with her.
I did video tape her, speaking either English or French, and she loved watching herself speak! And keeps asking to video tape her some more!
Thanks for all your great ideas!

3 MamaInArabic June 4, 2012 at 6:11 am

Thanks for sharing your videos! It is really inspiring! i sometimes video myself practicing, but this encourages me to do more of it, as well as recording my daughter.

4 Jennifer June 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

that is a great idea to have them record themselves….does anyone know if there are there any kid-friendly (that a 4 year old won’t break?) video recorders out there?

5 Alex June 4, 2012 at 7:25 am

This sounds potentially embarrassing , but also very very fun! I can’t wait to get started.

6 Alex June 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Okay, I did about five videos. Wow. It is hard to watch. I feel better without hearing myself! But, it was nice to see what I sounded like.

7 Susan June 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

Oh my!! Your videos were wonderfully inspirational. I watched your German video from last year first. And I LOVED being able to understand ALL of your presentation! It is often a bit easier to follow a non-native speaker – native speakers on German TV can be just a bit too fast and so I can give up too early. But with your video I know that my German is still working 🙂 (I also loved the link you shared a while ago to Migros Language School, having the speaker’s text also in a written format to follow along was exactly at my level.)
But even more helpful for my courage, was your French video where you spoke at about the level as much as I do when speaking French with my students who are often in France or Switzerland. It can be frustrating because I can read so much better than I speak and it was so heartening to see you pull your way through what you wanted to say – it is VERY familiar. Bravo!
So! I applaud your courage to do this and to post it too! During this time, my son and I have been focusing on reading out loud in German and it has been just perfect for our homeschool lessons, but this idea of taping? Phew. I can see just how great it is to just TALK, complete with Fehler, especially our personal weak point of Die, Der, Dass (we love to say that we just can just use “D.” pronounced “DEE” which can cover everything 🙂 … But anyway) I am not sure if we will post our videos but I think this is a really perfect idea for trying.
So thank you for all of your efforts! They are very well appreciated – and they are implemented too 🙂
with gratitude!

8 Tracey June 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Plan to do this during this week as there never seems to be time. With the girls will probably just video them playing (will be Spanish for sure) then ask them questions in English. I have actually done this various times during the past 7 years as part of videoing my work as a Pastor/Missionary. I notice all my errors and it makes me more aware of what I need to correct. But interesting see the progress we’ve made.
As for my little girls – according to their first school report in Spanish Prekinder (3 & 4 year olds): The older one 4y8m – ‘expresses her ideas and knowledge’ – she is the sociable one; the younger one 4y2m – ‘expresses her ideas, feelings and needs, and comunicates with her companions’ but apparently her ‘oral language is not very adequate’ she is way less sociable. I intend to question what they expect of a bilingual 4 year old tomorrow?!

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