In this episode of the Radio Lingua Club we’re continuing our interview with Jessica who has been using a blog to help her document her language-learning. This content is available to members of the Radio Lingua Club only. Find out more how you can become a member here and access our regular learning tips and discount codes.
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RLN Club 09: Learner Interview – Jessica (part 2)[audio:https://radiolingua.com/thevault/rlnclub/lal/week09/langtips-09.mp3]
Mark: So we’re back today with Jessica. Jessica, how are you?
Jessica: I’m great Mark, thanks. How are you?
Mark: Very well indeed. Thanks so much for joining us again and sharing some of your thoughts about language learning.
Jessica: Not a problem. I’m glad to be here.
Mark: Now Jessica, last week you told us you have a blog which helps you with your language learning and that blog’s called “Ich estudio langues”. So a little bit of German, Spanish and French in there. Now can you tell me why you felt having a blog would help you with your language learning?
Jessica: Well, at the very least, I thought it would a place for me to sort of log my process in learning languages, since learning a few languages at the same time is a bit difficult and I noticed there were some other language learning blogs out there and there was sort of neat little language learning community and I thought, well, I’m learning languages and I really enjoy it so I’ll just write a blog about it and I’ll see where it takes me.
Mark: OK. And have you had lots of visitors to your blog?
Jessica: Ah yeah actually. I didn’t think I’d have any, but, I’m not sure exactly how many I’ve had – a few thousand, which is very surprising. I didn’t know if anyone would find it.
Mark: And in what ways do you promote your blog? For example, do you use other social networking and so on?
Jessica: Yes. I have a Twitter account. Well, what else do I do? The first thing I started to do was to leave comments on other peoples’ language blogs and say that I had added them to my blogroll as I was already following a few language blogs when I started my own so I added them to my blogroll, so my favourite blogs. And I left comments saying I had added them to my blogroll at my new language blog. So I guess people started clicking on these links and discovering the blog. I think there was a little word-of-mouth and I think I also had it in my signature at a few language-learning forums. So lots of little things added to my blog traffic.
Mark: Obviously you are interested in getting blog traffic, but I would assume you are also perhaps even more interested in developing your language learning through your blog. So in what way do you feel having a blog is useful to a language learner?
Jessica: The first thing I thought it would be most useful for would be just writing down where I am in my language learning; what I’m doing; what resources I’ve been using; if I’d been attending a class, how it’d been going. It was also a good place to organise any online resources I’d been using; making lists of them and sharing them in blog posts. So I think that’s the main thing blogs can do for a language learner. Another thing is that these blogs post about learning techniques. Sort of like the Radio Lingua Club, which I think is very important, to learn how to learn a language, or else you’re just sort of lost in all the resources and options. So learn how to learn a language!
Mark: Absolutely! You mentioned Radio Lingua there. Have you listened to any of the Radio Lingua podcasts, by any chance?
Jessica: Yes I have. I’ve listened to most of Show Time Spanish. I think last week, I felt like learning a little Japanese just for fun, so I listened to One Minute Japanese. And I’ve listened to a bit of Coffee Break Spanish and one of the German ones.
Mark: So Jessica, you have a blog. I hope you don’t think me rude asking this. Would you describe yourself as a bit of a “tech-geek?”
Jessica: I suppose I could be considered a bit of a “blog-tech-geek” or whatever.
Mark: If someone is new to the whole idea of blogging, do they need to be a “tech-geek” in order to do that?
Jessica: No you definitely do not need to be a ‘tech-geek” to do that. I was not at all. Even just a few months ago, I just signed up at WordPress and it’s very easy to start. Pick a name, and a new entry and it’s very easy – just start writing.
Mark: OK. A couple of other questions for you. What would you say your three top tips are for language learners?
Jessica: Three top tips? I think the first one would be that you really need to balance everything that you’re doing to learn a language. You definitely need to do listening, reading, speaking and writing. And also a mix of input from the language that you’re learning, like studying grammar and the fun part, you should find a balance between. Second tip would be find something that you like doing in the language you’re learning. For example, the other day I noticed that I’ve been playing this video game that I like in German for about 20 hours. And it’s a video game that’s very dialogue-heavy so I guess that would count as 20 hours of studying German! So it’s definitely important to find things you like doing in the language; video games, reading, movies, TV shows or whatever. And my third tip would be to somehow catalogue or organise your language learning. Like keeping a notebook, whether it be keeping a paper notebook or blog: to have something you can look back on after a few weeks or a few months and say wow, I’ve really made some progress in this language.
Mark: I think that’s one of the really important tips because you only realise the progress you are making when you’ve got a note of where you came from and I think that’s one thing learners can really feel the benefit of because they are developing all the time and when you go back and see a word that maybe at the time caused you some difficulty, but now you look at it and it’s second nature to you to understand that immediately.
Jessica: Exactly! Especially when you get to an intermediate level, you start to feel like you’re not making so much progress. But if you have something to look back on, you can see, “wow, I really have made a lot of progress!”
Mark: Absolutely! One final question and that is have you ever got into any kind of trouble or difficulty with your language learning? Maybe has anything ever happened that is a funny, little story about your language learning?
Jessica: The only thing I can think of is when I was in Spain, I was going to meet up with a friend of mine for an intercambio. So my friend was learning English and I was learning Spanish and we had plans to meet up for that day, but she wasn’t feeling so well. She had a cold. So she sent me a message. She said lo siento pero estoy constipada. And I didn’t really understand what she meant. I thought , “oh, she’s giving me a bit too much information here!” But then, of course I looked it up and found out it was one was of saying “I have a cold”.
Mark: Absolutely! It’s always useful to check things before using them yourself!
Mark: Now Jessica, before we finish can you tell everybody your blog address please?
Jessica: Yes. My blog is ichestudiolangues.com which sounds a bit complicated so I’ll break it down. i-c-h-e-s-t-u-d-i-o-l-a-n-g-u-e-s.com
Mark: So ich as in the German for “I”, estudio being the Spanish word…
Jessica: for “study” or “learn”
Mark: And the final part is …
Jessica: langues. So “languages” in French
Mark: OK. Well brilliant. Thank you very much. I hope everyone goes and checks out your blog.
Jessica: Thank you. And I look forward to receiving some new visitors from the Radio Lingua club.
Mark: And do please post a comment if you go to Jessica’s blog. Jessica I’d like to thank you again for the time that you’ve spent sharing your language-learning ideas and tips with our listeners.
Jessica: Thank you for having me. It was fun to be on the Radio Lingua Club.
Mark: And we wish you all the very best with your continued language-learning.
Jessica: Vielen Dank und auf Wiedersehen.
Mark: So once again a huge thank you to Jessica for giving up her time and sharing her language learning tips and ideas here with us on the RadioLingua Club. Now if you would like to share your language learning story with us, then get in touch. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you may find yourself on the RadioLingua Club at some point in the future. We’ll be back soon with some more tips and ideas to help you maximise your language learning potential. Until then, thanks for listening.
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