Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,
Ovid
publius_ovidius

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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.

Tags: language, personal, technology
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