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Wall Street Journal covers Advanced French for iPad

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Innovative Language is back in the news! This time, it’s our French that is put to the test.

A Wall Street Journal article, Brushing Up on Your Japanese on a Small Screen, reviews a number of mobile apps for language learning and includes our own FrenchPod101’s “Advanced French for iPad” App.

Here’s an excerpt:

 

“An app that included basic French grammar was Advanced French for iPad, described as an “audio e-book.” The course consists of 25 audio blogs, each less than two minutes long. They included blogs from a French narrator, who goes by just by [sic] the name Christophe, on his country’s health-care system, rappers, telethons and foods.

The content is breezy and fun, though the brief, au courant English introductions from a young American woman in Paris can be silly. We liked the function that let us hear just one line at a time, allowing for pauses for speaking practice and to go over vocabulary lists and sample sentences.”

There are over 690 Innovative Language Learning apps like “Advanced French for iPad,” and they span over 40 languages and cover every level from Beginner to Advanced. Each app is designed to bring practical, fun, and real-world style language lessons as well as their relevant vocabulary and grammar, to smartphones and tablets.

We’re happy to have been included in this review and will continue improving our mobile apps to teach language in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way.

Click Here To Read The Article!

Click Here to Get the App!

 

 

 

 

How To Take Over The World: Learn 6 More Languages!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

In case you thought we were kidding about world language domination, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  After months of hard work, we’re proud to announce the launch of AustralianPod101.com for all of you Down Under lovers!

Just kidding. Though, we are giving this idea serious consideration.

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Coming this July to a laptop screen right in front of you, we will be introducing 6 new exciting languages to the Innovative Language Learning family.  Dutch, Hungarian, and Swedish are just the first additions to our language family on track to be released July 5th.  We’d love to tell you about the other 3 but it’s a big secret – you’ll have to wait another 2 weeks!

Now, the Dutch, Hungarian and Swedish languages aren’t the most sought after languages and as a result, there aren’t many places to learn them. But that’s exactly why we’ve chosen to teach them and make them available to you anywhere you are.

Why learn with Innovative Language Learning? These new language sites will follow our signature fun and effective lesson format using our free and premium learning tools such as online flashcards, line-by-line audio, video lessons, and mobile apps. Not to mention the fact that you can learn the language from anywhere in the world! For the 6 new languages, the first 101 listeners to sign up for the Founding Fathers Club will get a lifetime 50% off discount, and to celebrate the addition of these new languages, we’ll also be having a Summer Celebration Sale where listeners can save on the site they’re already subscribed to.

So, why should you learn Dutch, Swedish or Hungarian?
With over 23 million Dutch speakers, 16 million Hungarian speakers, and 10 Million Swedish, you’ll learn all about their rich cultures and traditions. Or if you’re hungry like us, do it for their food!  In fact, by knowing English, you already have a head start on Dutch which is said to be a mixture of English and German. Feel free to crash the next World Cup and yell alongside your fellow Dutchmen.

In addition to being the national language of Sweden (duh!), Swedish is spoken in parts of Finland and is mutually intelligible with Norwegian. Knowing Swedish grants you access to the Nordic part of Europe (except Iceland – but we’ll get them too!) But if Vikings aren’t your thing, why not try Hungarian? It’s the most prevalent non-Indo-European language in Europe and would be quite handy if you’re interested in their history or cuisine, or choose to explore Hungary’s passionate spa culture.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the final 3 languages and more details to come on how to get in on the discounts!

What do you think the next 3 languages are? Which new European language are you most excited about? Leave a comment today!

Linguistics - Syntax

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

All languages do have rules which are called grammar. These rules are necessary to enable those who are learning the language to be able to continue to grow their vocabulary and speak in long sentences throughout their lifetime.

If rules did not exist in language acquisition, the student would find it a huge effort to learn a new language because then they would have to learn each sentence separately. The rules define how sentences should be constructed and what is right from what is the wrong way to put a sentence together. Using those rules helps the student to know how and when to use certain words, verbs, nouns and phrases in a sentence.

With those rules in place, the student will feel more confident in combining words into sentences and can create myriads of sentences on their own while administering these rules of language. The person who has knowledge of the syntax will see the sentence as more meaningful to them. Syntax is very important in constructing sentences and once the rules are learned, it comes quite naturally to the speaker.

In terms of language acquisition, Syntax is the study pertaining to the sentence construction rules and principles in a native language. It goes to the reference of the rules governing the structure of sentences in any language. There are some generic rules that apply to all languages as it relates to its syntax.

The rules include things such as how words are put together, how the word ending changes as it relates to the context of the sentence and how the parts of speech are connected.

In language acquisition, syntax in sentences is exemplified by a few methods below:

“The girl caught the ball”

Here is how you would describe the syntax rule of any sentence (noun or subject is followed by verb and then verb is followed by object or noun): In the above sentence, the subject is the girl and that is followed by the verb caught and then another noun which is the ball.

Conclusion

It does not matter how complex the sentence is because words can be embedded into the existing sentence to make the rules of syntax still work and still meaningful.

Language Learning Method - Suggestopedia (Lozanov)

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Suggestopedia is an approach to language acquisition that is communicative. Baroque music is used to set its atmosphere. Pre-session, Session and post session are the three stages of the lesson.

Georgi Lozanov is a psychotherapist from Bulgaria who developed this method of learning a new language. Suggestology is what he based this study on and this exact method of teaching has been used in learning different foreign language. This is an unconventional method of teaching new language that Lozanov claim to be much faster for students to learn than other methods.

The idea of this method that Lozanov wanted to get across is to lower the affective filter that learners use to adapt to new language.

Lozanov claims that his Suggestopedia method liberates the student from anything negatively connected to the language learning process and the influence of the society that they lived in. Students using this method do not feel the pressures associated with learning a second language. Their intelligence is not restricted and they use spontaneity to acquire the knowledge, skills and habits of learning.

The suggestopedia method is implemented by focusing on the student’s conscious level of thinking as well as the subconscious, which is the reservoir of the mind. The subconscious mind is unlimited in its capacity to learn and so suggestopedia uses this proven scenario to learn a second language in less amount of time it would take to learn it with other conventional methods.

The student is at their best when they combine the three phases that include elaborating, deciphering and memorizing.

1. The deciphering stage is when the teacher initiates grammar and content.

2. The elaborating stage is the practice phase where the student shows what they have learned through song, drama and games. The teacher reads the text with music and sometimes along with the student in the memorizing phase.

3. The memorizing phase is usually called the concert session because it is associated with music.

Conclusion

To learn a second language using this method of suggestopedia requires an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxing. The student learns best when techniques are added to the learning process such as art and music. Suggestopedia is indicative of how the brain works in the scope of learning.

Language Learning - Submersion

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Submersion is the sink or swim method to learning a second language. Students who have acquired the language naturally and those learning the same language are put in the same learning environment and required to learn as much as they possibly can.

This approach does not provide any structural support to learning a second language. The student is pretty much on their own. An assumption is made that students will either fail or pass the learning acquisition model.

Only one type of language is used in the classroom or environment where students learn. Students, however, are provided with examples of the language, but are not given any kind of individual instruction in the language. They have to figure it out on their own. The student’s native language is not included and teachers are not able to familiarize themselves with the student’s culture and language.

There are some disadvantages to this approach as students may feel inferior intellectually from their peers. They may also be less motivated and have low self esteem as well as frustration and anxiety.

An example of “submersion,” or “sink or swim,” method of learning a new language in a classroom setting is when the teacher uses English as the main language and not being aware that a Spanish student is in the class. The Spanish student is left to fend on their own and either quickly learn the language or fail the class.

There are a few public schools in the United States that host submersion programs as a way to get students who speak a different language to learn English faster.

The submersion program offers students little or no help with the expectation that these students who speak a different language will use their language acquisition skills in a native language to learn a new language if they are placed into that environment.

Conclusion

In actuality, there are only a few schools that participate in programs like this because they realize that if you put a native Spanish speaking student into a classroom with English speaking students and expect them to learn the material without any assistance, it just would not work. The sink or swim method is not suggested by many linguist as being the best method for second language acquisition.

Language Learning - Silent Way (Gattegno)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The Silent Way was created by Caleb Gattegno and is the instructive approach to teaching a foreign language. The primary objective is for students to work independently as learners of a new language.

It allows students to develop their own theoretical models of learning a second language. Students are encouraged to use their mental abilities to decipher the meaning of a new language.  Expression of thought and feelings are created in the classroom among fellow students. The student trades their time for experience.

The student’s native language gives them leverage in learning a new language and they are given room to learn how to speak in the new language. It is the nonverbal aspect of their native language which includes sounds, gestures and writing that helps the student to identifying with a new language.

Gattegno used his model on certain observations and he thought that students did not learn because teachers did not teach. Instead, teachers need to do a study of how students learn and to do that experiment on themselves.

Gattegno used himself as an example and even though he was a teacher, he wanted to know how students learned so he became a learner and that is when he realized that awareness is the only thing that teachers can educate when it comes to humans.

His learning model claimed to be more approachable to teaching a second language because it was based more on awareness than on offering knowledge to the student. For every learner that Gattegno studied, no matter what age they were, he found one common principle and that is students were gifted and intelligent. They brought a strong will to learn, a lifetime of experiences of managing challenges and they were also independent.

Most of the methods of teaching using the Silent Way came from understanding how students learned. Included in this approach was the style of how the teacher corrected the student and how the teacher used silence to validate the student. The teacher wouldn’t give any answers that the student could not find out on their own.

A lot of people think that communication is the only tool to learning a new language. However, Gattegno does not seem to think that communication is the only key ingredient. He observed that communication called for the person communicating to convey their ideas and the student listening must be willing to submit to the message before giving a response.

Conclusion

Learning a second language is expressing thoughts and feelings, ideas, perceptions and opinions and student can do this effectively with their teacher. They will be able to develop criteria for right and wrong by exploration of the two boundaries.

Therefore, it will require making mistakes, which is a part of the learning process. If teachers can study the art of learning and realize that mistakes are good for the learning process, they will appreciate when students do make mistakes.

Immersion Programs - Language Learning

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

During the 1960s, Canada experimented with the French Immersion Program to allow students to understand their French culture, tradition and its language; both French and English.

Immersion programs can be either a full or partial instruction of a second language. A full immersion is more effective because of the intensive curriculum. The second language is the medium used to teach students and more time is spent on this especially in the early years of a student’s schooling. This includes both reading and the language arts.

Partial immersion cuts the time spent in half learning a second language. Language arts and reading are partially taught in English and the other half in the second language.

Teachers that use these immersion programs expect to accomplish one or all of the items listed below on a long term basis:

1.    To develop the student’s level of proficiency
2.    To create a positive attitude toward the native language speakers and their cultures
3.    Develop the student’s English Language skills dependent on their age and expected abilities.
4.    Acquiring skills and content knowledge according to the curriculum and the objectives of the school board

The success of an immersion program has to do with how much administrative support is offered. The support of the community and parents are also helpful. Teachers have to be qualified and must have the right teaching materials for the second language. Developmental staff training and time given to teachers for preparation of instructional materials are very important.

Total immersion programs give the students more exposure to the language to make them more proficient. Some students may find it too much and so teachers will make recommendations to move students to a less intense program. It is not easy to find a total immersion teacher and so schools will usually promote the partial immersion classes. Some parents don’t think that students can learn a second language just as well as their own.

Partial immersion programs does not need as much special teachers. Schools can utilize the services of one teacher for two partial immersion programs for two half-days. In some cases, it makes the parents feel more at ease that their children are not spending all day learning a curriculum in a second language other than English. The proficiency level, however, of part time immersion students is far less than those for students in the total immersion programs.

Conclusion

In an immersion program, the second language is not the subject matter, but only a tool used to teach students how to become proficient in another language other than their own.

Language Learning - The Culture Adaptation and Culture Shock Cycle

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

The Culture Adaptation and Culture Shock Cycle affect individuals who have come from another foreign country and are being introduced to a new cultural experience with the intention of returning to their own home culture. This means that they have to adapt to new language, new culture and new people.

These individuals have to go through seven different phases altogether with both the cultural adaptation and culture shock cycle combined. This will include:

1.    Pre-departure anxiety
2.    Honeymoon arrival
3.    Initial culture shock
4.    Adjustment period
5.    Mentally isolated
6.    Return anxiety
7.    Re-entry shock

There are some that will go through an acceptance phase where they feel welcomed and possibly will like some of the country’s customs and activities.

In the honeymoon arrival phase, there is some excitement of being in a new country, but also some anxiety and trepidation resulting from their pre-department anxiety and uncertainty.

If they are not satisfied with the culture of the new country, they will inherently reach a crisis period where the initial culture shock sets in. They are disappointed and feel mentally isolated. They may be experiencing problems with the adaptation process and start getting irritated, angry and sometimes outright rude.

If they are in a position to get their problems solved or feel like making the best of a bad situation, they will go into the adjustment phase and try to get rid of the negative thinking by accepting what they cannot change.

The time may come for them to return to their home country. Some will go through the return anxiety phase and the fear of what will happen once they get back home.

The re-entry shock phase follows as they return home to their country. In this phase, readjustment may be difficult and they may feel unaccepted.

Culture Shock

The five specific stages of culture shock are:

1.    Excitement at first
2.    Crisis
3.    Adjustment
4.    Acceptance and Adjustment
5.    Re-entry shock

There is limited communication for individuals that have to experience these five phases. This is why it is important for them to accept, adjust and adapt to their new surroundings.

Things that natives take for granted are very difficult for these individuals. Such things would include, meeting a new person on the street, shopping, or accepting an invitation to go somewhere.

A lot of them rely on facial expressions and gestures, which can be quite frustrating.

The different phases last as much time as the individual adapts to their new surroundings.

For example:

Honeymoon phase – will last about two weeks and up to six months
The crisis stage may last for up to three months

Conclusion

Some of the symptoms which individuals use or display as their coping mechanisms could be drinking, homesickness, crying, anger, anxious, impatient, over eating, or disgust. Making the best of an unusual situation in unfamiliar territory can be quite a challenge for most people.

Language Learning - Comprehensible Input 2 of 2

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Research shows that students learn better when they are afforded the opportunity to practice the language that they are trying to learn. They also have to practice at the level that they are comfortable with. This is referred to as Comprehensible Output.

However, Comprehensible Input is much more complex. It has to do with how students hear and understand instructions that are above the level of language that they are learning.

Here is an example:

Someone who may be learning English as a second language could be told to “Pass the book to Emily,” and be able to understand quite alright.

If the teacher would change the sentence to reflect a slight variation such as “Open the book for Emily,” then this new information would be added to the student’s comprehension of the language.

The teacher would have to give the student the new material that will utilize any previous knowledge that the student had.

As long as the student understands the message, the teacher would have accomplished the task of equipping the student with what is needed to learn the new language.

Comprehensible Input, formerly known as the Input Hypothesis, was initiated by Stephen Krashen, who was a linguist and instructor. Krashen uses the equation i+1 to explain how people move from one point of understanding language to the next.

The “i” in the equation would refer to previous language competence and the additional knowledge of the language that we have that depends on situations and experiences. The “1” in the equation would be representative of newly acquired knowledge.

There are two levels of learning new language using the Comprehensible Input method. One is the beginning level and the other is the intermediate level.

In the beginning level, most of the time in class is used for verbal input that is comprehensible. Teachers have to make sure that their speech is modified so students can understand. Teachers should not force the student to speak at this level. Emphasis on grammar is only initiated for students who go to high school or are adults learning a new language.

In the intermediate level, it is more confined to mostly academic subjects for comprehensible input. More of the focus is on the meaning of the subject than the form of the subject.

Conclusion

Comprehensible input is a not based on the natural order of teacher, but students will be able to comprehend the natural order by receiving the input.

Language Learning - Mnemonic Devices

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Mnemonic devices are powerful tools for learning a foreign language. A mnemonic device is a word or sequence of words or images used as an aid to memory. The idea behind mnemonics is that meaningful information is easier to remember than arbitrary data. Words in a foreign language actually are not arbitrary, as they follow rules that are unique to that language. However, they can seem arbitrary to someone who is unfamiliar with the language system.
Word linking is one common mnemonic. This involves connecting words in your own language to words in the foreign language you are learning. For example, you could remember the Latin noun mensa, which means “table”, by picturing a table with a lot of men sitting around it. Or the Latin verb pugnare, which means “to fight”, could be associated with an image of a fighter with a pug nose in the boxing ring.

One ancient technique for remembering information is called The Roman Room. To use this mnemonic, imagine a room you know. Associate objects you visualize in the room with the information you want to remember. For example, to remember the French word for “boat”, bateau, associate bateau with a baseball bat learning in the corner of your room. To recall lumiere, the French noun meaning “light”, you could picture a weaver’s loom next to the lamp, beside the bat. Then you could imagine an elegantly dressed chap wearing a hat sitting at a table by the lamp to help you remember chapeau, the French word for “hat”.
Often the sounds of words you are learning can themselves remind you of similar words in English. These related words are called derivatives. Using derivatives as a mnemonic can be so easy, it almost feels like you are cheating! Illustrating with the same words from the example of the Roman Room technique, you could remember lumiere by thinking of the moon, shining with a luminous, golden light. And a chapeau is just a cap with a few extra letters added.

The practice of using of mnemonics is not without criticism. One drawback to mnemonics is that, if you can’t remember the device itself, it is useless. However, it is widely accepted that mnemonics are helpful tools for learning, because of the fact that mnemonics are not arbitrary data but are, instead, meaningful information.

When it comes to mnemonics, use whatever works for you! Any mental image you can conjure to help you remember a new word is fine, as long as it is vivid in your mind’s eye. The better you can visualize it, the easier it will be to remember.