Technology and Learning Languages

Technology brings so much table right?  For anything good or bad you can say about it, one thing you can’t deny is that it changes everything.  It changes how we communicate, it changes how we how we learn, it changes how we work and play.  It’s supposed to make things easier, which it often does, but then in its quest for simplicity it often complicates things.

A whole lot of these internet polyglots that we see on youtube have absolutely embraced new technology for learning languages.  Everyone from the older and more life experienced like Steve Kaufman to the younger less experienced like Moses (both who can be found on youtube spreading the ‘polyglottery’ and ‘linguisticity’ to the masses) have found some use in technology for learning languages.  Steve Kaufman has said that the mp3 player has revolutionized language learning all by itself, because of the simple fact that you can carry around your immersion.  He’s right too, my Ipod is my best friend because it connects to so many cultures and ideas.

Sometimes though tech can just get in the way.  I sat and tried to make 3 videos in Polish for my little youtube channel with my cheap little webcam, and I have to say that was a mistake.  If it doesn’t work, or it’s cheap, or you don’t really know how to use it, or you know that you’ll never really know how to use it, it’s best to just leave it behind.  I think of everything else I could have done with that time that those dumb videos took from me, all worthless due to technical problems (and my own problems of being too cheap, I should just buy a camcorder huh?).

Technology is great and I wouldn’t trade living in today’s world for anything, but like anything a smart person know moderation.  I wasn’t really going to learn anything yammering in Polish about what I use to enjoy and learn the language, in fact my video was filled with grammatical errors, I would have become an internet meme in Poland it was so bad!!! 🙂  I would have been better off collecting words on Lingq. 🙂


7 Responses to “Technology and Learning Languages”

  1. 1 Grzegorz Łobiński March 17, 2010 at 8:24 am

    “For anything good or bad you can say about it, one thing you can’t deny is that it changes everything.”
    Sure, I can say a lot about it, but absolutely, I can’t agree that it changes everything. Usually it changes only “how” not “what”. 🙂

    • 2 polymathisthegoal March 17, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      I don’t know. It changes ‘who’ because now you can practice with any number of native speakers, so long as they have skype. It certainly changes how, and I think it does change the ‘what’ to a certain extent. It changes what we can choose from. Before the internet and things like podcasts it would have been very hard to learn a language like Polish from the the US with anything but text books.

  2. 3 Grzegorz Łobiński March 17, 2010 at 8:26 am

    … and one more thing. I’d like to see your Polish video casts.

  3. 4 Grzegorz Łobiński March 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Sure, it also changes ‘who’, but do you believe that someday in the future it will change ‘what’? I mean, do you believe that ‘tomorrow’ technology let us speak in any language without learning the language first? For example we are talking by phone, you speak in English, I speak in Polish and a device translates our talk simultaneously so we can communicate even no one of us speaks in a language in which the other speaks? What do you think? When, if yes, it will be possible?

    • 5 polymathisthegoal March 18, 2010 at 3:02 am

      It may. I stopped thinking about what technology will bring a long time ago though, things like that are too hard to predict and and don’t serve a purpose (unless you’re a science fiction writer). If some day there’s something like automatic translation then that’s fine, I however enjoy the path of language learning…

  4. 6 Grzegorz Łobiński March 18, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I see, a matter-of-fact approach to the matter.

  1. 1 2010 in review « The Word Collector Trackback on January 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

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