Sunday, November 17, 2013

My First Love: Livemocha

Roses are red, violets are blue
Livemocha rocks, and so do you

Really, though, you do rock ;) you rock SO MUCH that I'm going to share my first true love. No, not a story about that crush I had in fourth grade, but my first language love.

When I was first intrigued to learn French, I didn't know where to start. There were programs like Rosetta Stone (don't mention that name to me--it's forbidden on my site!) that cost a lot of money, which wasn't an option for me since I didn't work. During my search, I found a website called Livemocha.

Now, after finally using something other than Internet Explorer, I can use it again--yay!

This website is really nice for beginners to get on their feet with a new language, especially if you don't have people who speak the language around you. You can make friends, chat, and provide advice for people learning languages you speak.

Here, I am going to show you some screenshots from my attempt at Swedish with Livemocha. There are four stages that you go through per lesson, which we will go further into depth.

1) Learn--probably the most required for the lesson, this part focuses on introducing you to the new vocabulary/phrases, the pronunciation, and the meanings.
As you go through the sentences, you will hear the pronunciation as well as the sentence in the chosen language. To see the English translation, you hit <Translate> under the photos on the left hand side. To see tips on the sentence, you can view them on the left hand side of the screen.

After you finish going through the lesson, you will be able to create a flashcard set, which can be a plus if you plan on printing them out and taking them with you somewhere. I have used this part of the website and it is nice to be able to have the set of flashcards, but I prefer using sites like Quizlet or Memrise for memorization.

2) Review--you will be "quizzed" on your newly-learned vocabulary with reading and listening exercises. You will have to match a photo with the description/phrase, or re-create the sentence. Both of these ways are to help you remember the phrases and (hopefully) place them into long-term memory. (IMO) it's a really fun way to recognize and remember the new information, and it is simple.

3) Write--this can be a bit complicated at first, but the meaning of the exercise is to allow you to understand how to use your new vocabulary. When you hit <Submit>, others will be able to make corrections for you and/or tell you how well you did.

4) Speak--ah, the fun part! During this exercise, I've noticed that they'll give you words that you haven't yet learned. While that's okay, it may be frustrating since you may not know how to pronounce them. Once you add audio, you can submit it, where it will be reviewed by another speaker. Some speakers are kind enough to make a recording of their own voice so that you can hear the pronunciation better, which rocks!

And, you're done! All set to go onto the next lesson! If you want extra practice, you can hit one of the three tabs under <Skill Builder Exercises> on the bottom right hand corner.

The thing that always amazes me about the site is how much content they allow people to learn for free. There are courses which you can buy, called Active Courses, and from my personal experience they work really well if you are dedicated to learning the language. Those courses offer more insight and grammar lessons, and allow you to participate in "role plays" with your voice recording. They also have quizzes and tests, which makes me jump for joy (sadly). I completed three of the four Active French courses and I really did enjoy them, but the free courses are great as well!

If you have any questions at all about the program, feel free to ask away! What I would recommend, from personal experience, is to get a notebook for the specific language and write your notes/new vocabulary in there, as well as grammar explanations that you find difficult. That way, you can find all of your progress in one spot.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My First Trip Abroad

This past week was filled with major stress for me! My school is in the process of testing, which means that I actually have to study (teehee), and yesterday I completed a 3-hour French placement exam for college (which starts in a couple of months). Let me tell you, my headache is still with me after all the worrying I did about it, so today I'm trying to relax as much as possible.

Since we're still on a "acquaintance" level here (let's be honest now), I thought I'd share with you photos from some of my past vacation. This past summer I traveled to England and France to do some sightseeing and practice my French with the natives.

What follows is a dandy slideshow of photos from my trip. If you're interested in what anything is, please feel free to ask and I'll tell you.


Several hours after we landed in England (at the deadly 6 A.M.), we went straight to the city to start the sightseeing! I was working off of about 30-ish hours of no sleep, so the first day I was super tired, but there were only good memories here ^^

Oh look! It's that double decker bus everyone talks about!

The ceiling was incredible to look at, as well as the structuring of the cathedral (this trip made me really into these types of buildings).

There's the glass shard! (right side)




I felt like this was right out of a movie, it was so cool!

This was at a market we went to nearing the last day of our visit. What they do is they core (is that right?) the pineapples/melons, blend the two fruits together, and then put them back in the fruits' shells/outer somethingorother. It tasted really good too, which is always a plus (IMO).
Onto France:

This was the first view we had, which was also where I first had the urge to find a bathroom (which took us 20 mins because they don't have any near here that are free).

This photo mind blows me EVERY TIME because this was right after I had seen the Eiffel Tower for the first time, and it made me realize that I was ACTUALLY in France (rahrah!). This is probably my favorite memory of France.

Gosh, just--my goodness. This place was wicked.

I would have gone to the upper level, but being that there was a line (and my feet were not used to this extreme walking), we decided that we'd leave it for our next trip ;)


Thanks for looking through my photos! If you want to use any of them, please give me credit and there'll be no problem (or else...)

See you soon!


P.S. I started a tumblr for this blog! If you'd like to go see that as well (since it should be updated more than once a week), I'll give you the link here: