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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Language in Real Life

As part of my New Years Resolution #1, I've created a new website dedicated to langauge learning called Language in Real Life.

Right now I'm focusing on Chinese since that's what I'm studying, but eventually I would like to expand the site to other languages as well. That might mean traveling to other countries to collect realia or turning the site into a wiki so that other people can contribute...

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The idea at Language in Real Life is to use real-life examples of language (or “realia”, as we say in the biz), like the one pictured here, as a basis for a lesson. To help keep myself on task, I aim to post a new lesson every day.

Each lesson starts with a photo of a road sign, billboard, restaurant menu, magazine ad, or any other realia available. I include the Chinese characters, the pinyin transcription, a vocabulary list, & a translation of the text into English, along with occasional cultural notes.

Lastly, there is a writing assignment to complete that uses the vocabulary from the realia, which people can answer in the comments below the lesson. I'm also posting my own answer to the writing assignment on Lang-8, a really cool language learning community which I've posted about before.

Of course the Language in Real Life site sprang from my own language learning project, as a way to motivate myself to stick to studying, but I'm hoping that other people will use the site too. If you or someone you know is studying Chinese, or if you've always wanted to pick it up but never got a round to it, take a look, see what you think, & let me know your thoughts.


scott said...

"realia"?? Folks in the biz?? You made that up!! :-)

Love the idea and wish you well on it! I'll try to sample. :)

Nancy Lewis said...

Realia - I know, right? Totally sounds made-up! It's legit, though :)