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Learning Other Languages

Australia in the Asian Century: Focus on Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and Hindi

The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper was just released on Sunday, and it contains 25 major goals for Australia, some of which pertain to language learning. Essentially, the paper states that every Australian student (in primary or secondary schools) will have the opportunity to learn one of the four priority Asian languages: Mandarin, […]
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Comparative and Multilingual Books for Learning Languages Simultaneously [UPDATED OCT 2014]

I’ve updated the list of multilingual sites for learning several languages together, but if you’re interested in books (some as PDFs) rather than websites, these are the resources I have: A Comparative Practical Grammar of French, Spanish and Italian by O. W. Heatwole (1949) You may be able to buy it from third-party sellers on […]
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Topic vs. Frequency in Vocabulary Learning

Teachers and learners of languages, I am looking for your input in the topic vs. frequency debate. Almost all textbooks and coursebooks introduce vocabulary in chapter topics or themes such as food, clothing, transportation, etc.  These related words are often used to fill in the slots of functional phrases, which a lot of current books […]
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Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching

Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching by Keith Folse (2004, University of Michigan Press) is a great introduction to the gap between practice and research in vocabulary learning and teaching. I highly recommend the book, but if you’d like a shorter summary, Folse’s article “Myths about Teaching and Learning Second Language Vocabulary: […]
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International Women’s Day and Encouraging Women to Learn Languages

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Improving the lives of women is very important to me, especially since women continue to be oppressed all over the world – including in my own country. I truly believe education is the key to […]
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Native Speaker Teachers and Use of the First Language in the Classroom

Around the world, there is a conventional thought that foreign languages should only be taught by native speakers and that the students’ native language should be banned from the classroom. This is especially commonplace among English as a Second or Foreign Language schools which tend to exclusively employ native speakers of English, even if they […]
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Linguistic Semantics: Language Reflects Ways of Living and Thinking

Anna Wierzbicka is a Polish-Australian linguist who has extensively researched intercultural linguistics, semantics and pragmatics. I have been reading many of her books and articles for my PhD research because she is interested in how language reflects ways of living and thinking, and more specifically, how the lexicon or words of a language can provide […]
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Notes from Symposium on Language Education in the Asia-Pacific Region

I attended a symposium last week at my university on language education in the Asia-Pacific region. It was very interesting and fascinating and left me wanting to learn every Asian language and visit every Asian country. I also attended the new postgraduate student induction and have been finishing up the final revisions on my research […]
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