A Conglomeration of Topics

Back in January I posted my New Year’s Resolutions.  I thought you’d all enjoy a quick update on the things I’ve been doing since then.

1. I am studying Russian with a lady friend of mine once a week.  This is greatly improving my conversational and grammar and vocabulary skills.  I also get to drink чай (tea) with her, which is a fun way to learn new words and phrases.

2. I have added a new post once every 2 weeks pretty consistently–though I did miss a few weeks in February/March.

3. I journal (or write a friend) regularly now, which is nice.  I’m sure someday it will be nice to go back and read what I was thinking about at this time of my life.

4. I had forgotten this was on my list.  ooops!  I better get a start on those 2 new alphabets. :p  (probably Karen and Arabic)

5. Nope, haven’t done that yet either. (learning how to read the base clef)

6. I learned my first and middle name in Arabic, but I have not memorized Arabic numbers (1-10) yet.

7. Every day (usually once in the morning and once in the evening) I’ve been weight lifting.  It’s fun, mostly, and I am stronger.  At least, my arms are. 😀

8. Although I really like the idea of starting a Book Passing Club, I have not made it a reality yet.

9. I really enjoy reviewing submissions of English students on livemocha. 🙂

10. Every time I think I have read everything there is to read and know everything there is to know in the Bible I find so much more!  Verses that I have read over and over again suddenly have new meaning to me.  It’s been amazing!  I’ve especially grown in Romans, Colossians, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs.

11. I can’t say I have a strong relationship with all of my siblings, but I have talked for hours with and become much closer to one of my sisters.

12. For my studies, I have read The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce, several parts of books relating to Catholicism(one was: Roman Catholicism), some books about Islam (including: Secrets of the Koran by Don RichardsonUnveiling Islam by Ergun and Emir Caner,and Escape from Islam by Hass Strong), and some missionary stories that talk about suffering (If I Perish by Esther Ahn KimThey Would Not Be Silent by Harvey YoderGod’s Secret Agent by Sammy TippitThe Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, and Iran: Desperate for God).  I realize I did not have Catholicism on my list, but it’s become one of my newer study topics.

13. I’ve had the chance to read one (or two ?) friends’ partial books, but I have not finished reading them and they have not yet finished writing them.

14. I play piano almost every day, and sometimes more than once a day.  I have started to learn 2 new songs.  (1/3 of my 6 new song goal)

Now that you are caught up on my goals, I want to add a few more things that I hadn’t planned on at the beginning of the year.

First off, I’ve been sick (Sunday @ 6:40am – Monday @ ?) with the flu.  By God’s grace I was able to attend two (2) different baptism services (at two friends’ churches).  It was wonderful being able to sing, listen to a sermon, watch the baptisms, and talk with old friends who I hadn’t seen in years.  I came home, slept for three (3) hours, and then was sick four (4) more times before my stomach calmed down and allowed me to drink some energy stuff (around 22:30).  I rested all day and was able to listen to a lot of music, read e-mail, write this post, and go to my sisters violin concert (you did great, sis’!). 🙂  I had to miss Russian classes, but I practiced a bit of verb conjugation on my own.

Secondly, I now have a Russian teacher!!!!  I know I mentioned it above, but I am so thankful to have a real live, in person, teacher! 🙂  Thank you Lord!!  She’s an answer to prayer.

Thirdly, I got my restricted drivers license!  🙂  I am an official driver.  I cannot drive anyone outside of my family without a licensed driver, but I can drive my siblings and myself (of course) anywhere.

Fourthly, on Saturday I am taking the SAT.  My nerves are trying to get the best of me.  I am continuing to take practice tests until Friday.

Fifthly (and lastly), I’ve been blessed to be able to attend an afternoon church service that is in both English and Russian.  My favorite part of the service is singing the worship songs I know in English, in Russian.  It’s exciting to be learning songs in my new foreign language.

I’ll leave you all with that.  How have you been??  What’s new??  Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are they coming along?  🙂

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A Lagoon for Linguistic Lovers

I’ve spent the time between this post and the last one debating on what to write about…  This morning I discovered a “new” (new to this blog) subject upon which to tell you about.  🙂

Drum roll please….  the subject of this post is… Livemocha.com!  🙂

In June of 2011, a good friend of mine introduced me to this site.  She told me that she knew of a useful language site, and sent me the link.  Being an avid studier of languages and enjoying interactions with people of many cultures, I checked it out and made an account.  Then I began looking around.

My journey started under their “Courses” section.  Under “Enroll in a course” I was struck by the sheer number of languages they offered.  Over 38! (including English)  Sure, most of what was offered is only the basics, but still, to someone who has a passion for every language she can get her hands on this is a wonderful treasure!  I immediately signed up for their free beginners courses in Russian and German.

After enrolling I started the first Russian lesson.  Each language they offer (the free ones) are split into groups of ____ 101 , ___ 102, ____ 201, and ___ 202.  Within each group (let’s take Russian 101 as an example) you have 3 Units.  Within each unit you have 5 to 6 lessons.  Each lesson is comprised of an audio/visual lesson which teaches you 40 new words/phrases, a quiz, an optional writing exercise, and an optional speaking exercise.  It is not dissimilar to the Rosetta Stone form of language study.  You see a picture, hear the word spoken in the foreign language, read it in that language, and read the translation in your own language.

My favorite part of the lessons are the exercises.  In a speaking exercise it gives you some sentences (or a paragraph) with words you just studied in the lesson and asks you to record yourself saying it.  Then, once you have submitted it, other members of the site who are native to that language (or are friends of yours on the site) may grade you and write reviews of your submission.  The writing exercise is similar, but this time they give you a topic to write about (example shown below):

Some members of the site are better reviewers than others, but you can learn over time who gives the best reviews and ask them specifically to review each exercise you submit.

On a side note, the site encourages people to review by giving the reviewer 20-30 tokens for each review (depending if your review is the first or not).  Tokens are used for different things on the website, such as buying downloads of each lesson.  You may also purchase tokens.

Another bonus of this website is the section “Flashcards”.  In this area you can make your own flashcards with pictures, writing, and even sound if you choose.  At the end of every lesson it gives you the option to save the new words and phrases you learned into a new set of flashcards, the added bonus of doing this is that you get a picture, the words, AND sound which is much harder to come up when making your own set.

As mentioned above, you have the option of adding friends who you meet on this site.  For your profile you can put whatever information you wish, from almost no info to your city/town, age, fav. music, and many other details.  Anyone can view your profile.  As a member you have the option of adding cultural pictures or stories about where you live, so that other members can view/read about your homeland.

The last thing I’d like to inform you of is the option to chat.  When this function works (and it frequently chooses not to on my computer) it is quite nice, and even equips you with a translator on the right hand side of the chat room, so that you can quickly understand everything your friend is saying.  Many members use Skype to communicate, since it is more reliable.  Skype is optional though, and not everyone uses it or gives out their username to people over livemocha.

One warning to you, the only downside I have found to this site is what you will find on any social networking site.  Some people out there are simply looking for a quick relationship and are not there to study languages at all.  If you have no interest in a short-term relationship with someone you don’t know over the internet I’d strongly counsel you to put “Not looking for a girlfriend/boyfriend” or something along those lines.

After this I’ll be quiet…  If you decide to join the site and would like to add me as a friend post a comment below with your username.  I’m very happy and willing to help anyone who wants to learn English, however I am NOT looking for a boyfriend, so don’t even ask!  Thanks!

~Myrh

Yes, yes, I know… I said I would stop talking… but I forgot one small thing!  On livemocha.com you have a sort of e-mail service, for sending messages between members online.  This can be a helpful tool in asking language teachers questions.