Resources to help with learning.
The reality of corporate language training is that the classes are often once or twice per week. When the lessons are conversation-oriented, for less advanced levels, these classes are often the only opportunities the learner has to practice.
But several tools can be used outside of class to continue with the exposure to the target language and thus help with the acquisition.
For English classes:
- The TED Talk website. This site is excellent for learners for the following reasons:
The topics are varied. The learner can choose exciting topics and thus, the acquisition is easier since there is an affinity with what is explained.
The language level is excellent. To be a presenter, you must be fluent in the language and speak neutral and international English, unless the presentation is on a topic that requires another level of language.
There is closed captioning. If you are learning English, we recommend that you use English subtitles, not your native language. The goal of these activities outside of class is to keep you immersed in your target language. You need to be immersed as much as possible.
Is the speed too fast for you? The video allows you to adjust the speed and you can slow it down so that you have more time to capture what is being said.
Pronunciation: There are several accents. If you are at the stage of exposing yourself to different ways of speaking English, you will be surprised at how English is spoken in India, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
- Online dictionaries. One of the best ways to acquire new vocabulary is to consult a dictionary and take the time to read the definitions of different words. Several dictionaries offer audio to help with pronunciation. Here are some options:
- We have created a group on Facebook to help with the acquisition of new structures. Since it is not always easy to know what to look for when learning a new language, we publish daily (Monday to Friday) words, idioms, phrases, and some short videos on various points of English grammar. Visit: Facebook.com/groups/English.practice.group.for.you and register. It is free.
For French, here are some resources to supplement your classes:
- Radio Canada's ICI Tou.TV site offers a fine selection of free and paid programs that will appeal to all audiences. Personally, the "Découverte" series with Charles Tisseyre is my favorite. There is the possibility of having the subtitles by pressing "C", you can easily advance (by pressing "l") or go back (by pressing "j") the program, but it cannot be slowed down, as can be done for TED conferences. Here is the link.
In this channel, you will find several types of French; but generally, international French is used.
The topics are varied. There are even more choices on the main site, Radio-Canada.
Generally, the content is free.
There is closed captioning available. As for English, use it in French if you are learning French.
- Another interesting resource is that of the National Film Board of Canada.
- For "Québécois" French, here are some websites that give interesting videos, but without the subtitles:
- For online dictionaries, here are some options:
For the "Québécois" vocabulary, you have: dictionary-quebecois.com
With these tools, any learner can improve the acquisition of their French or English by maintaining a certain activity outside of class time.
But what about practice? The resources we have listed above are all good tools to improve comprehension but help with practice is also key.
Langage d'ici is working on conversation workshops. These workshops would be facilitated and they would supplement lessons. They would be additional opportunities to practice with other learners from various companies or self-employed professionals. Conversation topics would be proposed, and three levels of language proficiency would be offered: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The number of participants would be small (up to 8) to allow everyone time to speak. We welcome your opinion on this service. If you would like to participate in the survey, here is the link: surveymonkey.com.
In addition to our courses, with the personalized lesson plans and extra work offered by our teachers, the resources described here and the conversation workshops, each learner puts all the chances on their side to improve their acquisition of the target language.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.