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如何足不出户便学到纯正外语
更新:2011-10-27 20:46 作者:ihome 来源:未知 点击:1 次  

THE best way to learn a foreign language may be to surround yourself with native speakers. But if you can’t manage a trip abroad the Internet and a broadband computer connection may do the job, too, bringing native speakers within electronic reach for hours of practice.

Web-based services now on the market let people download a daily lesson in French or Hindi, pop on their headsets, and then use Internet telephone service and the power of social networks to try their conversational skills with tutors or language partners from around the world.

For those who want to polish their high-school German before a vacation, or to master snippets of well-intoned Mandarin Chinese to charm a future business host in Shanghai, these sites offer alternatives to more traditional tools like textbooks and CD-ROMs. LiveMocha (livemocha.com), for example, is a free site where members can tackle 160 hours of beginning or intermediate lessons in French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Hindi or English. There is no charge for tutoring; instead, members tutor one another, drawing on their expertise in their own native language.

Members chat online by typing messages, by talking or, if they have a Webcam, by video, in exchanges with others who want to tutor or be tutored. English speakers learning Spanish, for example, can write or speak descriptions of a vacation and receive feedback on their grammar and choice of idioms from native Spanish speakers on the network. A Spanish speaker, in turn, may seek advice from the English speaker about English assignments.

LiveMocha introduced its Web site in late September 2007, said Shirish Nadkarni, chief executive of the company, which is based in Bellevue, Wash. Since then, he said, about 200,000 users from more than 200 countries have joined.

“It’s a community of like-minded learners who can leverage their native language proficiency to help one another,” he said. The name “LiveMocha” is meant to evoke the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop.

The site is still in beta, or testing, phase, Mr. Nadkarni said. Advertising will soon be added, as well as charges for some premium content and services.

Paul Aoki, director of the language learning center at the University of Washington, Seattle, signed up at LiveMocha primarily to see if his students might benefit. He says he thinks the site’s social networking component makes it useful. “It seems to be a pretty powerful opportunity for people around the world to connect with language partners,” he said.

He also likes the chat capability. “Doing voice and text chat simultaneously is very useful,” he said. “If you don’t understand something your language partner is saying,” he said, even when people at the other end speak slowly, “they can type it out and you can read it.”

Curtis J. Bonk, a professor of education at Indiana University in Bloomington, is specializing in ways to integrate online technologies into teaching. He says LiveMocha is part of an explosion of educational resources for language learning on the Web.

“You no longer have to learn language as an individual in a silo somewhere, using a canned program on a CD-ROM,” he said. “Instead, you have thousands of tutors to pick from — if the first one doesn’t work out, you can choose another.”

Another electronic-based language learning program takes a different approach: podcasting. Praxis Language, based in Shanghai, offers free lessons in Mandarin Chinese (ChinesePod.com) or Spanish (SpanishPod.com) as podcasts.

Many lessons include business-based vocabulary on topics like how to hire a courier in China, said Ken Carroll, a co-founder of Praxis. While the podcasts are free, transcripts, exercises and other services typically cost $9 to $30 a month, he said. For $200 a month, members can receive daily tutoring from professional, native-speaking teachers by way of Skype, the Internet-based telephone service.

Mr. Carroll says has more than 270,000 visitors a month, several thousand of them paying about $240 a year for a combination of premium services. Most of the paying customers live in the United States, he said.

“They tend to be thirty-somethings, slightly mature, with some kind of business connection to China,” he said.

Mike Kuiack, an investment banker in Vancouver, British Columbia, who often travels to China, was an off-and-on student of Chinese for eight and a half years before he signed on to ChinesePod. He has since been studying diligently for a year and a half, paying about $240 a year for premium services.

Since he started using the service, he said, his vocabulary has grown as much as it did in all of the previous years of study combined.

“Speaking and listening skills were what I needed,” he said. “The podcasts have been very useful for this. Part of the reason I’ve made so much progress is that they are so enjoyable.”

He works on lessons whenever he has a moment. “I listen when I’m stuck in traffic,” he said, “and also at my PC, where I can listen and read at the same time.”

The studying is starting to pay off at work.

“I don’t try to conduct negotiations in Chinese,” he said, “but now at least I can listen to what’s going on in meetings.”

 

 

 


学习外语的最佳方式可能就是进入到母语使用者环境当中。如果无法去国外,那么利用因特网和宽带连接也是可以实现的,这样可以实现和电子连接内的母语使用者进行若干小时的交流。

目前市场上的基于Web的服务给人们提供了法语或印地语每日教程的下载,插上耳机,利用网络电话服务和社会网络力量来和辅导教师或世界各地的语言学习伙伴交谈,从而使会话技能得以运用。

对于想要在一个假期之前巩固他们的高中德语的那些人,或者想要掌握一些零碎的发音标准的普通话来迷住上海的未来企业主的那些人,这些站点提供了象课本和CD-ROM这类更加传统的工具让他们选择。例如,免费站点LiveMocha (livemocha.com),在这里,成员能够获得160小时的用法语、德语、汉语、西班牙语、印地语或英语讲授的初级或中级教程。辅导不收费;,而是成员间互相辅导,充分运用他们自己在母语上的专业知识。

成员通过键入信息,谈话,或者有摄像头的,通过视频等方式进行在线聊天,与想要辅导或被辅导的人进行交流。例如,以英语为母语的人学习西班牙语可以用写或说的方式描述一个假期,然后在网上便可以从以西班牙语为母语的人那儿收到有关语法及熟语的选择方面的反馈信息。反过来,以西班牙语为母语的人可以从以英语为母语的人那儿寻求有关英语的建议。

公司的首席执行官Shirish Nadkarni说,总部在华盛顿 Bellevue市的LiveMocha是在2007年9月下旬推出它的网站的,从那以后,大约已有来自200多个国家的200,000名使用者加入了。

他说:“这是一个志趣相投的学习者们的社团。在这里,他们利用自己在母语上的能力互相帮助。而用LiveMocha这个名字的用意是唤起一种如咖啡店里那样的轻松氛围。”

他还说,该网站现在仍处于试用或者说测试阶段。不久将会添加广告,同时对一些优质的内容和服务进行收费。

在西雅图的华盛顿大学语言中心主任Paul Aoki与LiveMocha签约主要是为了看学生们是否能从中受益。他说他认为该网站的社会网络这一部分很有用。“它给世界各地的人与语言学习伙伴联系提供了很大的机会。”

他也喜欢聊天功能。“同时进行声音和文本聊天非常有用,”他说,如果另一方说得慢的话,“如果你不明白你的语言学习伙伴所说的话,他们可以打出来供你阅读。”

美国布卢明顿市印第安纳大学的教育学教授Curtis J. Bonk专门从事将网络技术融入教育中的研究。他说LiveMocha是网上语言学习教育资源大爆炸的一部分。

“你不必再在待在某处一个人使用CD学习语言了,”他说,“相反,有成千的辅导供你挑选——如果第一个不能解决问题,你可以另选一个。”

另一个以电子为基础的语言学习计划采用不同的方法:播客。总部在上海的Praxis Language语言学习公司,以播客的方式提供免费的中国普通话 (ChinesePod.com) 和西班牙(SpanishPod.com)课程。

Praxis的合伙人之一,Ken Carroll说,许多课程都包括商业词汇,比如怎样在中国雇佣快递人员。他还说,虽然播客是免费的,但抄本,练习及其它服务通常要每月花9到30美元。对于一月200美元的成员可以通过Skype这一网络电话服务,接收每天由专业的、以英语为母语的教师们的辅导。

Mr. Carroll 说ChinesePod每月有超过270,000名游客,其中有几千人花240美元一年获得组合增值服务。大部分的付费用户生活在美国,他说。

“他们往往是30多岁,稍成熟,与中国有着某种商业联系,”他说。

Mike Kuiack,不列颠哥伦比亚省温哥华的一位投资银行家,他经常到中国,在签约受雇于ChinesePod之前,他已经断断续续的学习中文八年半了。签约后,他已经又坚持学习了一年半,为增值服务支付约240美元一年。

他说,自从他开始使用这项服务,他的词汇量增加了,相当于以前几年学习的总和。

“口语与听力能力是我所需的,”他说,“播客在这方面十分有益,我取得这么大进步的部分原因是它们是令人享受的。”

一有时间,他就学习,“当堵车时,我就听,而且在电脑上我能同时听和读,”他说。

学习的成效在工作中逐渐体现。

“我不会用中文进行谈判,”他说,“但至少现在我能清楚会议的内容。”

 

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