Hi! Hoje vem a segunda e última parte da entrevista com Ken Beare, o guia de inglês do ESL About (ouça a primeira parte aqui.) Desta vez, Ken, que é ele próprio um estudante de línguas há anos, comenta a importância da imersão no idioma – não necessariamente por longos períodos de tempo, mas de maneira frequente; e conta sobre o LiveMocha, uma rede social feita sob medida para quem quer aprender inglês ou qualquer outra língua.
A transcrição vem logo abaixo, e você pode também baixar os arquivos MP3 e PDF (clique nas imagens à esquerda), que tem comentários e algumas expressões explicadas.
E aguardem, vem mais entrevista por aí!
Ouça a segunda parte da entrevista aqui mesmo:
(Ana) The Internet is like this almost infinite, ever-growing world of resources of all kinds and… it kind of, it’s relatively easy for an intermediate or advanced level student to find things but sometimes for beginners it can be a little, you know, a little bit challenging… because I get the impression that 99% of it is all in English.
(Ken) Yeah, that’s actually not true anymore, because it is a global phenomenon, but you are right that… there’s sort of a legacy of the Internet… that things tend to be in English most definitely.
And see, for English, I mean, for language learners in general, not only English language learners, but maybe English language learners are favored because so much of the content is in English.
But in any case, the Internet is the greatest boom to English learning there has ever been because… what you, in my opinion, you know, grammar is important and it’s important to focus on some aspects of the language, but you need to “consume content” to really become fluent in a language. You have to be immersed in the language.
I mean, I… you know, becoming an opera singer I studied French, Italian and German for two or three years… especially German because I wanted a scholarship to go off to Germany after I completed Conservatory in America. I was reading Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, and I got to Germany and I had problems ordering a cup of coffee… because I was so nervous about speaking!
Immersion is everything. And so, living in… Often people will say that the best way to learn a language is to go live in a country that uses that as its native language, but that’s not a possibility for everyone. The Internet really (interruption) the next best thing because you can immerse yourself in English language, content, native, you know, authentic materials hours each day if you are so inclined.
(Ana) Yep. That’s connected to my next question, which is, what are your specific tips for English learners, I mean, what can they do? People who go to English school or who have private teachers, or just, you know, are trying to learn by themselves… What can they do on their own to speed up their English acquisition?
(Ken) OK. First of all, just to finish up that last question, because I didn’t really provide any specific advice other than (the Internet) is a great tool. For beginners, I highly recommend a dictionary called Babylon. It is something that lives in your task tray, and if it’s in your task tray anywhere that you click on, in a browser… you can click in different ways, but it’s like control click or something, I can’t remember… But anyway, the definition will pop up in your chosen language, so English-Portuguese.
And there are example sentences and pronunciation, so that as you surf a web page, and you come in… especially if you’re reading jargon or something you can open this… just by clicking on what you don’t understand this program loads and provides you the translation. That’s a great tool. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it.
And a number of sites are actually starting to do that on their own. The New York Times has been experimenting with that, that you can click on a word in an article at the New York Times and a definition will pop up. Obviously that’s English-English but still that’s useful for learning synonyms and that sort of thing.
(Ana) Yeah, that’s great.
(Ken) Right. So tools for improving your English outside of class. One thing that I always try to stress is the need to immerse yourself in a language often as opposed to long periods. What I mean by that is, for example… What I would say to students is, as homework, and unfortunately people often did not do this… is, you know, ten minutes a day listen to the radio in English.
And I’d give them radio stations that were broadcasting in English in the area that I was at in Italy or Germany. And just turn it on, listen to it for ten minutes, turn it off. Do it every day, do it five times a week, make it a habit. And if you don’t understand, who cares?
It’s the repetition, because your brain…the brain is such an incredible…
(Ken) Yeah, we can’t comprehend, I mean it’s just beyond us and the brain will chew on stuff. You know, you’ll be going about your tasks but those ten minutes a day… Your brain will be chewing on that and if you give yourself time, over three months all of a sudden you’re understanding native speakers like never before.
And it’s something that’s passive but it’s so important. And it’s much more valuable than saying, OK today I’m going to work on listening and you get out a DVD of one of your favorite films and you watch it all the way through.
I mean, obviously that’s useful too. However, short, repeated…
(Ken) … really, really helps. And I always like to make an analogy with jogging. I mean, let’s say you’re a little bit out of shape or working out and you say, “Man, I really need to lose some weight, I need to get in shape”. And you get to the gym and you pound out six miles and lift weights for an hour, and then you do not return to them gym for the next two months because it was such a stressful event in your life.
You got to start slow, and you gotta do a little bit, but it has to become a routine. And so I think that’s, you know, really important.
(Ana) Ken, that’s a great tip, thank you.
(Ana) Well, Ken, these are the questions that I had for you. Would you like to add anything else…
(Ken) Yeah, I would…
(Ana) …for the readers of Inglês Online?
(Ken) I would like to add just one thing about… As I’m sure your readers or visitors to your site are aware of, social networks have become very popular. And there are some English language learning social networks, or language learning networks that are really astounding and are absolutely free.
And I’d like to point out just one that I think is the best thing on the Internet I’ve seen in a long time for language learning, and that’s called LiveMocha.com. And just quickly, you go in and you say, OK my native language is Portuguese, for example, and I wanna learn English. And so you get these… And you can choose your level, and there are all sorts of different exercises you can do. You can start really easy.
It’s sort of like Rosetta Stone, which is not necessarily the best way to learn languages as far as I’m concerned, but it’s a good place to get started and learn.
But the great thing about it is, as you go, as you work through the exercises, you know, you may have a little written exercise and you’ll type in your little paragraph or sentence or whatever, and then immediately after that… Let’s say you’re a Portuguese speaker learning English, you’ll get a little request, “Would you like to correct someone’s work?”
Sure, why not. Takes you thirty seconds, a minute. And then you go out to the audio section and you record a little blurb in response to a question of some sort and then it asks you, “Would you like to leave some comments for someone else?” as an audio comment, in English.
And you can refuse to do this. But, I went in there just to play around and to take a loOK at it, and I did Spanish. I received corrections of my work within thirty seconds.
I mean, it’s a really happening place, there’s a lot of activity on it and it’s… and you can meet people, and have… say, you meet friends. You say OK, I’ll do 15 minutes of Portuguese with you and you do 15 minutes of English with me via Skype. It’s a great place to learn with other willing partners.
(Ana) That’s amazing.
(Ken) And it’s got some great tools. So LiveMocha.com, well worth the visit.
(Ana) Wow, thanks for the tip. I’m definitely gonna suggest that website at Inglês Online. Excellent! Well, thank you again, Ken…
(Ken) You bet, my pleasure.
(Ana) OK, this is it everybody. This is Ana Luiza of Inglês Online talking to Kenneth Beare of esl.about.com See you next time!
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