More on Livemocha

So far I am very, very impressed with Livemocha. People are really taking this seriously and I'm getting email and chat requests from complete strangers wanting to practice their language skills and mine. One lady from Cameroon just emailed me and told me, in English, about her day today and asked me to tell her, in French, about mine. I replied, in part:

Aujourd'hui, j'ai essayé d'apprendre le français mieux. C'est très difficile pour moi, mais, j'adore la langue et je voudrais parler couramment. Je suis allé au magasin pour acheter des livres et maintenant je veux lire un peux plus français.

I struggled with some of the words and I know it's ridiculously simple, but it's lots of fun connecting with people all over the world and practicing. Because you can record some lessons with your computer's microphone, people can hear you speak. One native French speaker even said that I sounded Parisian (my last girlfriend -- she is French -- would have laughed at that thought and she would be right -- my accent isn't that good). I'm now pretty handy at typing all of those funny characters on my Mac. As an added bonus, because I got tired of Firefox telling me I was misspelling all of those French words, I've installed a French language pack and switched to French. Now Firefox is telling me I'm misspelling all of my English words.

LiveMocha is really making language fun for me. The only annoying bit is how lazy people seem to be in their writing. Often when I'm trying to give feedback on people's English, I see stuff like this:

the man is at the store he is not at home he is going to school she does not want the cabbage

So, that's probably four grammatically correct sentences, but it's very hard to read. I usually mark stuff like that as high on spelling and grammar, but low on quality and I add a note about spelling and punctuation. I suspect that our Internet culture is harming people's communication skills.

Update: the lady from Cameroon has gotten back to me. Apparently it's not "j'ai essayé d'apprendre le français mieux", but "j'ai essayé de mieux apprendre le français." I've been corrected on this before. I should remember it.

  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
I signed up today and I'm loving it for the same reasons you've outlined here, but I was just about to write an LJ post on how I'm feeling frustrated in that I want to help those who are trying to learn English as a way of giving back to the site, but trying to adopt a constructive, critical approach to some of the writing exercises that have been submitted is hard and that I'd like some guidance on how to teach English as a foreign language. :/

I don't know if you know, but there's a French bookshop in South Kensington which I've been told is pretty good, and I'd welcome the company if you want to tag along one weekend afternoon to explore it.

Hey, that sounds great. I'd love to hit that bookshop with you. Hopefully it has books for beginners :)

What I'm doing when I correct them is take a submission like this:

she are going to walk the dgo.

And reply with this:

Good job. Just need a bit of work on your spelling and grammar.

She are is going to walk the dgo dog.

I think the feedback is pretty clear, but you're right, sometimes it's tough to be positive, particularly when it's a spoken assignment and I can barely understand their accent.

I've joined up (although I opted for FR 202), and will be exploring it more this evening after my errands are done. Thanks for the suggestion!
That seems really awesome. I'd like to work up my spanish (since I can't seem remember how to say much more than "I want to go to ____" or really rudimentary sentences), might be a good resource for that. :)
Re: Achievements
I've no idea how strong the other languages are, but they do ask for people to help with translation.
Re: Achievements
I'm studying Finnish on Livemocha. There are a few errors in the system that some native speakers have pointed out to me, but for the most part it's very good. Most of the work creating the programs are done by native speakers (if you press a certain button you can see who did the most work for each language program) so in theory it's pretty good.
Well you've convinced me. I was just at Pike Place Market looking at a stack of German magazines and once again wishing I could read more than a few words.
Now Firefox is telling me I'm misspelling all of my English words.
With firefox you should use "quick locale switcher 1.6.8"
I agree with your marking principles, knowing a language is not just about writing simple sentences, it's about expressing thoughts in more complex ways. I've been having ielts preparation for almost two years, I've passed the simple sentence stage a long time ago. Practice is my secret.