Thursday, November 30, 2017

English World 2 Unit 12 Review

 (Supplementary Material for Specific Textbooks--English World 2)




Google drive folder HERE
Doraemon PowerPoint Game: drive, slides, pub
Quizlet: drive, docs, pub

J2B Unit 12 Vocabulary
https://quizlet.com/_1ri3zh


J2B Unit 12 Vocabulary
https://quizlet.com/_1ri3zh


J2B Unit 12 Vocabulary

https://quizlet.com/_1ri3zh

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Frankenstein: Paradise Lost - Extra Sci Fi - #5



I've been done with Frankenstein now for a couple weeks, but I'm still digging the Extra Credits videos.

Forms for Peer Evaluation of Student Presentations

(TESOL Worksheets--Speaking)
Google: docs, pub
[I've done forms like this before, but this is a vastly simplified version used for children around 8 to 12 years of age]


Name:__________________

Write down 3 things that you liked about this presenter:
1.


2.


3.

Any mistakes that you noticed?











Name:__________________

Write down 3 things that you liked about this presenter:
1.


2.


3.

Any mistakes that you noticed?









Name:__________________

Write down 3 things that you liked about this presenter:
1.


2.


3.

Any mistakes that you noticed?












Name:__________________

Write down 3 things that you liked about this presenter:
1.


2.


3.


Any mistakes that you noticed?






The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

(Book Review)

Started: November 16, 2017
Finished: November 18, 2017

Why I Read This Book
This was a book that I did for bookclub.

Having slogged our way through alot - of - the - thick classics this past year, the members wanted to reward ourselves by doing something light--something that was still a classic, but a light and fun book.
Various suggestions were thrown out.  Raymond Chandler, P.J. Wodehouse, George Bernard Shaw....but in the end we settled on Agatha Christie.
We had also been talking for some time about reading a play (just to mix things up a bit) so in the end we settled on a famous play by Agatha Christie:  "The Mousetrap".
I had never heard of The Mousetrap before, but apparently it's one of Agatha Christie's most famous plays, and has been playing in London continuously since 1952.  According to Wikipedia:

The Mousetrap opened in London's West End in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. The longest running West End show, it has by far the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012
My History with Agatha Christie 
* My high school put on "The Unexpected Guest" when I was in 11th grade.  I wasn't in the play, but I attended as a member of the audience.
* At some point, around 2004 or so, I rented "Murder on the Orient Express".
* Around 2005 or so (before I started this book review project), I read "And Then There Were None".   (Nobody mention what the original title of this book was!  We're just all going to pretend it was always titled: "And Then There Were None".)

Mini-Review
This little play is so short that I almost feel guilty counting it as a book on this book review project.  But because I read it for bookclub, I'm going to sneak it in.
Everyone in our bookclub read it in 2 sittings.  Partly that's because it's so short.  And partly it's because once you get hooked on the mystery, you want to keep reading until you find out who the killer is.
The length of the play is just about perfect, because you can finish it in a couple of sittings, and you don't have to be in suspense too long.
I can't really talk about much more without spoiling the book.  So, from here on out are spoilers.

*** SPOILERS ***

So, apparently there's a long tradition of people being admonished not to give away the ending of this play.  If you go to see this play in London, at the end of every performance, the actors tell the audience that they are now in on the secret, and they must never tell the ending to anyone else.
People take this tradition so seriously that when Wikipedia included a plot summary of the play (which is just what Wikipedia does), it caused an outcry, and Agatha Christie's family petitioned Wikipedia to remove the spoiler.  (Daily Mail article about the whole controversy HERE).

This makes me slightly nervous about revealing any spoilers.  Will Agatha Christie's estate come after me next?  Is this blog post going to get lots of angry comments?
But I've thought about it, and I've decided that there's no reason to grant this play any special status.  We spoil stuff on the Internet all the time.
The twist ending to this play is mildly surprising, but it's really nothing special for its genre.  (This is, after all, a genre in which the audience expects some sort of twist).  There are a lot of plays, movies and books out there with much better twist endings which regularly get spoiled on the Internet all the time.  So why does this particular play become a sacred cow?  Just because Agatha Christie's estate wants it so?

Plus, when critiquing a murder mystery, you need some sort of space to talk about whether the ending worked for you or not, and it's hard to do that without spoiling things.

If you haven't read/seen the play yet, do yourself a favor and stop reading this review, and read the play.  (It only takes about 3 hours.)  Otherwise I'm going to spoil things from here on out.

(I'm making a big deal of this, but actually at this point, it's 2017 and I'm not revealing any information that isn't already readily available on the Internet anyway.  So hopefully no one gets too upset about this.)

The Plot
So.... I totally saw the twist ending coming.
Mostly because I had already seen The Unexpected Guest in high school (as mentioned above), and The Unexpected Guest employed the same trick ending.  In both plays, it turns out that the person who is investigating the murder turns out to be the murderer themselves.

That being said... admittedly when reading these murder-mysteries, there is a bit of a hindsight bias.  While you're reading the play, you suspect pretty much all the characters at one time or another.  Then, when you get to the ending, you forget about all your wrong suppositions, and only remember how smart you are for guessing the right answer.
So I do admit to having considered all the characters.  But at about the halfway point, I started to realize that none of the other characters could be the killer.  They had either been built up too much, or too little, and none of them would have provided a suitable dramatic pay-off.  And that's when I began to remember the twist ending to The Unexpected Guest, and began to wonder if the same trick might be employed here.
And it turns out I was right. 

Other observations:
There are a lot of coincidences employed in this play.  (According to Wikipedia, the fact that this story over-relied on a number of unbelievable coincidences is one of the oldest criticisms of this play).  The fact that two of the "blind mice"--Molly Ralston and Mrs Boyle--just happen to be both staying in the same house is a huge coincidence that is never explained.  But then when it turns out that Miss Casewell is Sergeant Trotter's long lost sister...well, that's stretching things a bit too far.

Generally in these types of murder-mystery stories, I think the audience is willing to forgive one uncanny coincidence, because you need something to get the plot rolling.  But when several uncanny coincidences start to pile up on each other, that's when I think people have a right to complain.

"In fact," Sabrina said at our book club meeting, "the very fact that so many eccentric personalities just happen to get trapped together in one house is itself an unbelievable coincidence."
But here I disagreed.  A bunch of eccentric personalities trapped in one place is just the genre.  It's what you expect when you open up an Agatha Christie book.

...And actually, speaking of which, this is about the perfect stereo-typical Agatha Christie play.  As I mentioned above, my experience with Agatha Christie is limited, but I'm at least aware of her stereotype's through pop culture.  And this play crams in most of the stereotypes.
A cast of eccentric characters--including such well-worn chestnuts as the old retired colonel from the Indian army, the creepy weird foreigner, and the snooty upper-class woman.
Circumstances which trap them all in one house--in this case a snowstorm.
All the characters in the house are all suspicious in their own way.  Every single one of them has a reason why they could be the murderer.
There's a second murder which occurs halfway through which, although not really scary, is satisfyingly creepy, and lends suspense to the rest of the play.
All in all, I enjoyed it despite its flaws.

Other Notes
* Although we did find out the identity of the murderer, a lot of the other loose ends were never really tied up.  We never really found out what the deal with Christopher Wren and his tragic backstory.  And what's the deal with Paravicini?  He was up to some creepy stuff, but we never really found out what.

* Speaking of Paravicini, he's the classic "creepy weird foreigner" stereotype.
It's probably an unhelpful stereotype, but it's so ingrained in this genre that its pointless to complain about it.  (All these stereotypical Agatha Christie characters are part of what gives this play that nostalgic "classic murder mystery" feel.)
But I am reminded of George Orwell's critique of Boys Weekly Magazines: "The assumption all along is not only that foreigners are comics who are put there for us to laugh at, but that they can be classified in much the same way as insects."

* And speaking of old stereotypes--unless I'm wildly off base, Miss Casewell is supposed to be coded as the lesbian stereotype, right?  I mean, they never say the word "lesbian", because this is 1952, but that's what the play is strongly hinting at, right?
How do people feel about Miss Casewell's depiction. I at times thought that the play was making her look unlikable (and by extension, that all lesbians are unlikable?) But then again, the whole premise of the play is that all of these characters are supposed to be somewhat suspect.
I guess it's no good trying to look for political correctness in a 1952 Agatha Christie play.

Video Review
Video Review HERE and embedded below:



Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky on computers & military, internet & net neutrality

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

Started: Giết Con Chim Nhại bởi Harper Lee (HUỲNH KIM OANH & PHẠM VIÊM PHƯƠNG dịch)



Recently, "To Kill a Mocking Bird" has been undergoing a big surge of popularity in Vietnam.  Everyone is reading it.
It's interesting how some of these old classic books take on separate lives in foreign countries.  When I was in Japan, "The Catcher in the Rye" suddenly became very popular in 2006 because Haruki Murakami  had published a new translation.

I've been asking around to try to find out why "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is so popular now.  My Vietnamese girlfriend told me "To Kill a Mocking Bird" became popular about 2 years ago (which was the same time I came to Vietnam), and she thinks it is because a new translation hit the shelves at that time.  (Update: We consulted the Vietnamese Wikipedia on this (W), It turns out there are two Vietnamese translations of "To Kill a Mocking Bird".  The first one was published in 1973, and the second one in 2008.  It is the 2008 one that is popular nowadays.  My girlfriend is sure that she only really became aware that this book was popular in the last 2 years, so perhaps it was a slow burn before people finally discovered it.  Either that or my girlfriend is out of the loop.)

Anyway, in my case, I've been noticing over the past 2 years that a lot of my Vietnamese colleagues and students have been reading this book.
Eventually, after seeing this book around so many times, I decided that I should try to use this textbook to study Vietnamese.  (For more on my struggles to study Vietnamese, see my previous post: Struggling to Study Vietnamese).

This may or may not be a good study technique, but here's my reasoning.
1) In general, I think language students should try to engage with authentic material as soon as possible.  Most people will never get to 100% fluency in a foreign language, so if you try to wait until you are fluent, you will never get there.  So it's best to try to break into authentic material as soon as possible, rather than delaying it.
Even if you are a beginner student (as I am) you can still get something out of authentic material by going over it very slowly and carefully.
Language students shouldn't engage with authentic material exclusively.  (Graded material and textbooks should still make up 90% of the curriculum).  But it's good to have some contact with authentic material right off the bat.
I was also influenced by Steve Kaufmann's video that the biggest mistake language learners make is that they spend too long with the beginner textbook for too long.  I was aware that I had been spending way too long with the basic beginnign material in Vietnamese, so I wanted to mix it up with some more authentic material.
2) I do feel slightly guilty for studying Vietnamese from a classic American work of literature.  (If I was really trying to get into Vietnamese culture, I'd probably want to find a classic Vietnamese book).  But my experience from reading in Japanese is that it's much easier to make sense out of a book if you're familiar with the subject material already.  All the references to American culture I can easily fit into my mental schemata, which will make decoding this book much easier.
Plus, people always take interest into how their culture is received in other countries.   It will be interesting to see how Vietnamese translators tackle American social issues.

At the moment, because my Vietnamese level is so low, I've been breaking down this book slowly, and using quizlet to help me review the words.
Below are the quizlet materials I've created, plus my explanations.  Each quiz is cumulative--it adds the old words, plus the new words.  This project is still ongoing at this point, so I'll be adding to it as I go.

Quizlet Folder HERE
1-4 To Kill A Mocking Bird--Giết Con Chim Nhại
Quiz 1: Giết--kill, Con--Classifier for animals
Quiz 2: Con Chim--bird
Quiz 3: Nhại--parody, Mocking  (My girlfriend recommended against studying "nhại" as a separate word.  "Con Chim Nhại is just the name of the bird," she said.  "Nhại doesn't have a separate meaning on its own."  But I looked this up in Google translate, and it said that Nhại meant parody.  "Parody" was so close to "mocking" that surely this couldn't just be a coincidence?  My girlfriend said that Nhại could actually mean parody in some situations, but that it was more of a slang word.  I decided that was close enough, and so I put it into my word list.)
Quiz 4: Con Chim Nhại--Mocking Bird
Quiz 5: Giết Con Chim Nhại--To Kill a Mocking Bird
Quiz 6: bởi--by  (The word "bởi" doesn't actually appear on my paperback copy of this book.  Nor, does it appear it's commonly used in Vietnamese.  I Googled this book in Vietnamese, and most of the references on line just mentioned the book name, and the author name, but didn't include the word "bởi".  But I checked with my girlfriend, and she told me that it wouldn't necessarily be strange to include "bởi".  So I decided to add it in for the sake of completeness.)
Quiz 7: Giết Con Chim Nhại bởi Harper Lee
8-12: sụ' cống hiến--Dedication.  The word "dedication" doesn't actually appear in the Vietnamese translation, although it appears in some of the English editions.  I asked my girlfriend, and she said that it wouldn't be strange to include it.  So I decided to include it for the sake of completeness.
Dedication in Vietnamese consists of 3 words: sụ' cống hiến
The girlfriend told me that sụ' is an affix that is used to change a word into a noun.
"So if sụ' cống hiến means dedication, then does cống hiến by itself mean dedicate?" I asked.  "Exactly," answer the girlfriend.  Google translate, however, disagrees, and says that cống hiến by itself still means "dedication" not "dedicate", so I double and triple checked this with my girlfriend.  She is sure that "cống hiến" means dedicate as a verb, and "sụ' cống hiến" means dedication as a noun.  So I'm going to trust her.
"cống" by itself means "drain", which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  But the girlfriend told me that a lot of these old Vietnamese words used to be written in Chinese.  (Before the French came in and changed everything to the Roman alphabet, the Vietnamese used the Chinese writing system).  In countries that use the Chinese writing system, often two pictograms are combined to make a new word for reasons that are not immediately intuitive to modern people--sometimes it is because of ancient etymology, or phonetic reasons, or because of the meaning of the pictogram.  (I'm familiar with this from my days studying Japanese).
hiến by itself means give, and here the connection to "dedication" is of course obvious.
Quiz 8: sụ'--affix used to form a noun
Quiz 9: cống--drain
Quiz 10: hiến--give
Quiz 11: cống hiến--dedicate
Quiz 12: sụ' cống hiến--dedication
13-17: tặng Ông Lee và Alice--For Mr. Lee and Alice
Quiz 13: tặng--give to/ for (Google translate tells me "tặng" means "donate" or "give".  But the English phrase is "For Mr Lee and Alice" so shouldn't it mean "for" here?  I asked my girlfriend about this, and she just rolled her eyes and said, "This is why you can't translate word for word from Vietnamese to English.  We don't always phrase things the same way you do.")
Quiz 14: Ông--Mr.   (The girlfriend told me that there are several words that can be translated as "Mr" depending on the relationship.  "Ông" is on the very formal side, but it can mean "Mr" here.
Quiz 15: Ông Lee--Mr Lee
Quiz 16: và--and
Quiz 17: tặng Ông Lee và Alice--For Mr. Lee and Alice
18-25: vì Tình yêu và sự Trìu mến--In Consideration of Love and Affection
Quiz 18: vì--because/ in consideration of (Google translate gives "vì" as "because", but the original English is "in consideration of".  My girlfriend tells me that this is yet another problem with my taking a literal word-by-word approach to translation.)
19-21: Tình yêu--Love.  yêu by itself is "love" used as a verb, while "Tình yêu" is love as a noun.  Google translate also gives "Tình" by itself as "love", but my girlfriend advised me against studying this word on it's own.  "We don't usually say Tình on its own unless it's a kind of slang," she said.  "So it can be used on its own then?" I said.  "Um... I guess.  In informal situations."  This was good enough for me, so I decided to study it on its own.
Quiz 19: Tình--love (used to make a noun, and sometimes used by itself in informal situations)
Quiz 20: yêu--love (verb)
Quiz 21: Tình yêu--love (noun)
22-24: sự trìu mến--Affection.  mến is a verb meaning "love".  I asked my girlfriend what the difference between "mến" and "yêu" is, and she told me that "mến" is closer to "like".  "Trìu" apparently has no meaning on its own.  My girlfriend advised me against studying this word on its own, because it only has meaning when combined with "mến" .  I didn't fully trust her, so I doubled checked this on Google translate, and there was no definition for "Trìu".  "trìu mến" means "affectionate" as an adjective.  "sự" again here is used as an affix to change a word into a noun--just as it changed "dedicate" into "dedication" above, it also changes "affectionate" into "affection" here.
Quiz 22: mến--like/love (verb)
Quiz 23: trìu mến--affectionate (adjective)
Quiz 24: sự trìu mến--Affection
Quiz 25: vì Tình yêu và sự Trìu mến--in consideration of Love and Affection
Quiz 26: sự cống hiến: tặng Ông Lee và Alice, vì Tình yêu và sự Trìu mến--Dedication: For Mr Lee and Alice, in consideration of Love and Affection
27--? : Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.--Charles Lamb
27-29: Lawyer--luật sư
Quiz 27: luật--the law
Quiz 28: su'--affix added to a word to make it into a person. Or, if used by itself, it means "Monk".   (Google translate translates su' as "monk".  I guess this makes sense--what else is a lawyer if not a monk of the law?  My girlfriend also tells me that su' is used generally to transform any word into a person--the same way we use "er" in English at the end of words.)

Struggling to Study Vietnamese

I'm rather proud of how much Japanese I learnt during my 8 years in Japan.

Although admittedly, I wasn't the best in my circle of friends.  (Several of my expat friends progressed faster and further than me).  But I did alright for myself.
Within about 6 months I was conversational.  By about 2 years I was able to read manga and generally understand it. After about 3 years, I felt like I understood most of what was said at my workplace.
I dated a Japanese girl for 5 years, and as she had very limited English, all the conversations were in Japanese.
I debated Jehovah's Witnesses in Japanese.  I was able to talk history and politics in Japanese.

By contrast, I spent 4 years in Cambodia and can't speak any Cambodian.
And I've so far spent 2.5 years in Vietnam, and can't speak any Vietnamese.

Why the difference?
Well, there are numerous reasons.  Both linguistic, and environmental, and affective.

On the linguistic side:
While the Vietnamese writing system is (thankfully) much easier than the Japanese writing system, the pronunciation and the tones are very difficult for Westerners to pronounce.
Looking back, one of the reasons that I did so well with Japanese is because when I tried to speak Japanese, I was usually understood.  Which encouraged me to speak it more.
When I try to speak Vietnamese, no one understands me.  Which just causes me to give up.

The environment is a factor as well.
Surely no environment is better suited to learning a language than the JET program.  Because I lived in the countryside, I was surrounded by Japanese.  Because I worked in the public schools, I was able to constantly listen to the way the Japanese teachers talked to their students.  Especially on days when I was in the elementary schools, I got exposed to a lot of simple and clear input just by listening to the Japanese teachers scold their children.

In Vietnam, I'm living in Saigon (an international city with lots of other foreigners) and I'm working in a private English school where all my co-workers are other foreigners, or Vietnamese people who speak English.
I don't use any Vietnamese at all in my daily life.

On the affective side, I'm not 23 anymore, and I don't feel like I have all the time in the world to just pour into my language studies.
Because of my experience learning Japanese, I know that learning a foreign language is tons of time and work and becomes of very limited value once you leave the country.
(Even when I was still in Japan, I had a huge drop in motivation around 2005 when I realized that 4 years of studying Japanese was leading to very little tangible benefits--having upper-intermediate level of Japanese was never going to open up any new career paths).

Instead, I want to spend my free time improving myself professionally--reading books about teaching English, studying vocabulary for applied linguistics and developing teaching resources.

...but, therein lies the rub.
Here I am spending all my time trying to read books on linguistics and language learning, and  at the same time I'm not taking any interest in the language of the very country I'm living in!  How ironic is that!

Any language teacher should be a language learner.  There's no excuse.  And so, I guilted myself into studying Vietnamese.  Not because I particularly thought it would be useful for my future, but because it was inexcusable to be studying second language acquisition, and completely ignore the language of the country you're living in.

This, then, is my story:

Struggling to Study Vietnamese

When I first arrived in Vietnam, my plan was to give myself a silent period, where I would just listen to the language before I attempted to read it or speak it.
This was partly based both Krashen's ideas, and partly based on my own experience with Japanese.
Despite my success story mentioned above, I never managed to shed my American accent in Japanese.  I always pronounced the Japanese liquid consonant as a hard American "r" sound, whereas in Japanese it's somewhere between an "r" and an "l".  In retrospect, I think this was a result of learning too much out of the textbook too early on, instead of just listening to the sounds of the language.  Because the textbook wrote Japanese words with an "r", I pronounced it as an "r".  If I had learned the sounds of the language first, instead of the spelling, maybe I would have pronounced it correctly.
My other mistake was trying to produce too early.  Once I started pronouncing Japanese words with an "r" sound, then my mouth got used to that form, and by the time someone brought the mistake to my attention, it had fossilized, and was almost impossible to correct.

So, instead I thought I would just listen to Vietnamese.
And for a while I did.  I found a Youtube channel for studying Vietnamese.  I had a system where I would watch one video a day, and actively pay attention to it.  Then I would put it on a playlist, and play it in the background to get accustomed to the sounds of the language.

Learn Vietnamese



Despite having this on constantly in the background at my apartment, absolutely none of this transferred to my memory.

For months afterwards, I did nothing.
My Vietnamese girlfriend kept encouraging me to study Vietnamese.  "The most important thing is to start," she would say.
I tried to explain to her my silent period methodology, and she begrudgingly accepted this.  For a while we had a system where we placed vocabulary cards on the table.  The cards had English words on them, but my girlfriend would say the Vietnamese word, and I would match her pronunciation to the correct card.
None of these words ever stuck in my memory.  Eventually I just sort of gave up, and for several months was doing absolutely nothing to study Vietnamese.

...and then Duolingo launched its Vietnamese module.
Several of my co-workers were already big fans of Duolingo.  (Co-workers that were a few years younger than me in particular.  Many of them had used Duolingo to help them learn Spanish or French in their student days).
However, several more of my coworkers were skeptical of Duolingo.
Some of them noticed that there were still bugs in the system, and that some of the exercises contained wrong answers.
Even when the answers were correct, the computer was notoriously unflexible, and only accepted one answer as the correct translation, even when several other translations would have been acceptable.
Also, Duolingo was based on Northern Vietnamese.  And we were all living in the South.
The pronunciation was different than where we were living.  And often the vocabulary was completely different from where we were living.  (For example, duolingo uses the Northern word for "umbrella"--cái ô-- which no one in the South says).

Also, because I've been listening to the TEFLology Podcast, I know that duolingo is sometimes looked down upon by linguists.  (It's come up a couple times in some of their interview episodes).  Apparently Duolingo was not designed by linguists trained in second language acquisition, but by computer game people trained in creating addictive apps--with chimes, and points, and levelling up, and all those little built in reward-systems designed to trick the pleasure centers of your brain into becoming addicted.

Despite all of this, however, I eventually decided to start a Duolingo account because I figured that:
1) For all its faults, something was better than nothing.  And currently I was doing nothing to study Vietnamese, and...
2) Duolingo was kind of fun. I liked hearing the chimes every time I got an answer right.  I liked getting points and leveling up.  I liked following my friends and competing for points every week.

Fortunately for beginners, Duolingo does not require you to type the accents in correctly for Vietnamese.  It will let you know everytime you missed an accent, but it will still give you the points for just typing in the plain English letters.
There's also no speaking component for Vietnamese.  (In most other Duolingo programs, you have to pronounce the words correctly into a speaker on your computer or phone).  None of my Duolingo buddies at work know exactly why this is, but the prevailing theory is that the speech-recognition technology is not yet advanced enough to deal with tonal languages, so the speaking had to be scrapped.

My initial plan was to just blitz through all the Duolingo lessons as quickly as possibly, and then see where that got me in terms of actual Vietnamese ability.
But found that after a few lessons, I got stalled very quickly.  The vocabulary was not getting into my long term memory, which meant that I was able to do the initial lessons very quickly, but I got progressively more and more frustrated with the later lessons.
Eventually I decided that well it was certainly fun to get points on Duolingo, by itself, Duolingo was not helping me permanently learn these words.
So I decided to supplement my Duolingo studies with quizlet.
I've been a fan of quizlet for a couple years now--ever since a colleague introduced it to me.  I had previously been using it for my students, but also for myself as a way to study terms from applied linguistics (in my quest for professional development).  I now started using quizlet for Vietnamese words.

Because I've got a certain personality, I worked through it slowly and methodically.  I started out with just 2 words.  Then I went up to 3.  Then 4.  Et cetera.
For the first 25 words, I took all my words from Duolingo.  But then I stumbled upon a Youtube video:
100 most basic Vietnamese words (Part 1) from Learn Vietnamese with Annie



This video was appealing for a few reasons.  1 reason was that I thought it would be useful to learn the 100 most basic Vietnamese words.  (A criticism that many of my co-workers were making of duolingo was that some of the words they taught weren't very useful).
Secondly, "Learn Vietnamese with Annie" was Southern pronunciation, so this would be a useful counterbalance against Duolingo's Northern pronunciation.
So I decided to make a point of listening to the video once per day, and also to put this vocabulary into my quizlet studies.  I started alternating my vocabulary--one new word from Duolingo, one new word from Learn Vietnamese with Annie.
Then I stumbled upon another Youtube video:
Basic Vietnamese Verbs



This second video was actually Northern pronunciation--i.e. not the pronunciation that is most useful to me in my daily life.  But the video still appealed to me for a couple reasons.
1) I got advice once from a polygot that the quickest way to break into any new language is to memorize a bunch of basic verbs, and then you can pretty much communicate anything you need to say if you know the basic verbs, a handful of nouns, and gestures.
2) I liked how each of these verbs are in an example sentence, which made them easier to remember.

So, I put this video together with Annie's video into a short playlist.  I listened to it once a day, and I also plugged these words into my quizlet studies (alternating with duolingo vocabulary).

Study Vietnamese Playlist



For over a year now, I've been listening to this playlist every day. If you can believe that.  (The whole thing is only about 10 minutes in total, so I just put it on in the background in the mornings while I'm getting ready for work.)
You'd think I'd know these words perfectly backwards and forwards by now, right?  But actually, very little of it has gone into my memory.

But at least someone's been learning these words, because my Vietnamese girlfriend (who has the patience of a saint) has gotten so used to hearing these videos over and over and over again that every time I play it, she can say the next word before the video does.
She assumed I was also learning these words, and then was shocked when she realized I wasn't.  Words would come up when we were out, and she would be surprised that I couldn't recognize them.  "Don't you know that word?  You listen to it every day?"

The words in the video that I had caught up to on quizlet, I knew in their written form.  But oddly enough, I couldn't match the written form to the sounds.  Despite hearing them every day.  Instead, I had in my mind, stored the sounds of these words according to their English pronunciation (i.e. what their English pronunciation would be if they were pronounced like the English alphabet) and couldn't recognize them when my girlfriend pronounced them in the authentic Vietnamese.  Despite hearing them every day.
It was an interesting experience in how exposure to the written form can override any aural input. Under the old Audio-lingual approach, this was why learners were never supposed to see the written form until they had first mastered the pronunciation from aural drills, and I'm beginning to see why.  The minute my brain sees the written form, it latches on to that and completely ignores the Vietnamese sounds.  (Krashen, in his critique of the audiolingual approach, said that the amount of frustration it caused learners to not see the written form was not worth the benefits.  But I'm not so sure.)

Speaking of the audiolingual approach... my manager recommended Pimsleur Courses as the ideal way to learn Vietnamese.
Pimsleur is a series of aural drills--pretty much exactly the audio lingual approach.
I couldn't find any copies in Vietnam, but a friend of mine downloaded a few lessons, and shared them with me.
The good point about Pimsleur is that it did succeed in getting my tongue around the language.  After doing a few lessons, I at last felt like a few phrases were ready to roll of my tongue.
The bad part, though, was that it was all Northern Vietnamese.
Not only that, apparently it was a very formal form of Northern Vietnamese that no one uses anymore.  When I tried to use one of the phrases that I learned from Pimsleur on my girlfriend after she dropped me off at work, "Chào Chị, Tôi đi" ("Goodbye younger woman, I go"), she got really embarrassed and told me never to say that again.  Apparently it was just weird and overly formal.  So of course, I used it every day after that, just to tease her.  I may not remember any other Vietnamese, but I can remember  "Chào Chị, Tôi đi".

The Northern/Southern Vietnamese thing is actually a re-occurring issue with most study materials.
Because Hanoi is the political capital, most Vietnamese textbooks, and study materials are based on Hanoi Vietnamese.
But Saigon is much more populous, produces most of the movies, TV and media, and is the commercial capital of Vietnam.  So arguably Southern Vietnamese is more useful, despite the fact that it's very hard to find study materials in Southern Vietnamese.

But more than that, the audio lingual method was just really, really boring.  It was working, kind of, but it was hard to keep up the motivation to do 30 minutes every day.  (Especially on days that I was busy with work).  Eventually I missed a couple days, and then I felt like I had to start back at the beginning again.

Duolingo may not have been very useful for speaking practice, but all the bells and chimes and points gave my brain a real feeling of accomplishment every time I did it.  Audiolingual drills, however, did nothing to reward the pleasure centers of my brain.

Eventually, the guy who was loaning me the audio files got sick of it himself, and stopped after a few lessons just because it was so boring.  And so when he stopped, I had no one to loan me the files, and so I stopped as well.

Last, but not least, I tried conversation practice with my girlfriend.
Because I knew about second language acquisition in theory, I knew enough to know that I was doing it all wrong.
I needed conversational input from a sympathetic interlocutor, like Krashen said.
I needed practice negotiating for meaning, like Mike Long said.

I needed conversational practice.
So, I arranged with the girlfriend to try to speak Vietnamese with her for 10 minutes every day.
She was very willing, but I soon grew to hate it.  I hated not being able to say what I wanted to say.  I hated not being able to understand anything she was saying.  I got frustrated.  I got a headache from trying to make out what she was saying.
Even more frustrating was that I only knew how to ask 2 questions in Vietnamese.  And once both of them was used up, I had nothing more to say for the remaining 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Eventually I just gave up with the conversational practice (although I'm meaning to start it up again).

Quizlet Quizzes
Anyway, for whatever it may or may not be worth, here are my quizlet quizzes for learning Vietnamese.
I started off only doing it receeptively--i.e. quizlet would show me the Vietnamese word, and I would type in the English word.
I did it this way mainly because I just did not want to be bothered with messing about with all the tones and the diacritics in the Vietnamese alphabet.
But after a couple months or so, I decided to just bite the bullet and try to learn the Vietnamese alphabet.
I decided that if I was going to get serious about learning Vietnamese, I would have to learn the Vietnamese alphabet sooner or later.  And so I might as well just do it sooner.  That way I wouldn't have to waste time re-learning words I had already learned.
For a while I kept both lists going--the Vietnamese to English list, and the English to Vietnamese list.  But then eventually I decided it was more efficient to just study one list, so now I'm only doing the English to Vietnamese list here.

English to Vietnamese (These are actually mislabeled, because in this set I see the Vietnamese, and type the English.  But with 120 sets, I'm not going to go through and re-label them now.
2 words ,
3 words ,
4 words ,
5 words ,
6 words ,
7 words ,
8 words ,
9 words ,
10 words ,
11 words ,
12 words ,
13 words ,
14 words ,
15 words ,
16 words ,
17 words ,
18 words ,
19 words ,
20 words ,
21 words ,
22 words ,
23 words ,
24 words ,
25 words ,
26 words ,
27 words ,
28 words ,
29 words ,
30 words ,
31 words ,
32 words ,
33 words ,
34 words ,
35 words ,
36 words ,
37 words ,
38 words ,
39 words ,
40 words ,
41 words ,
42 words ,
43 words ,
44 words ,
45 words ,
46 words ,
47 words ,
48 words ,
49 words ,
50 words ,
51 words ,
52 words ,
53 words ,
54 words ,
55 words ,
56 words ,
57 words ,
58 words ,
59 words ,
60 words ,
61 words ,
62 words ,
63 words ,
64 words ,
65 words ,
66 words ,
67 words ,
68 words ,
69 words ,
70 words ,
71 words ,
72 words ,
73 words ,
74 words ,
75 words ,
76 words ,
77 words ,
78 words ,
79 words ,
80 words ,
81 words ,
82 words ,
83 words ,
84 words ,
85 words ,
86 words ,
87 words ,
121 words ,  

Type Vietnamese. The quizlet folder for these sets is labelled Type Vietnamese.  Which is accurate (Thankfully).  But the individual sets are labelled Vietnamese to English, which is actually a misnomer.  All of these sets are seeing the English, and typing the Vietnamese.  But because I had labelled the first set wrong, and this set was a reverse of the first set, the mislabelling carried over. 
2 words ,
3 words ,
4 words ,
5 words ,
6 words ,
7 words ,
8 words ,
9 words ,
10 words ,
11 words ,
12 words ,
13 words ,
14 words ,
15 words ,
16 words ,
17 words ,
18 words ,
19 words ,
20 words ,
21 words ,
22 words ,
23 words ,
24 words ,
25 words ,
26 words ,
27 words ,
28 words ,
29 words ,
30 words ,
31 words ,
32 words ,
33 words ,
34 words ,
35 words ,
36 words ,
37 words ,
38 words ,
39 words ,
40 words ,
41 words ,
42 words ,
43 words ,
44 words ,
45 words ,
46 words ,
47 words ,
48 words ,
49 words ,
50 words ,
51 words ,
52 words ,
53 words ,
54 words ,
55 words ,
56 words ,
57 words ,
58 words ,
59 words ,
60 words ,
61 words ,
62 words ,
63 words ,
64 words ,
65 words ,
66 words ,
67 words ,
68 words ,
69 words ,
70 words ,
71 words ,
72 words ,
73 words ,
74 words ,
75 words ,
76 words ,
77 words ,
78 words ,
79 words ,
80 words ,
81 words ,
82 words ,
83 words ,
84 words ,
85 words ,
86 words ,
87 words ,
88 words ,
89 words ,
90 words ,
91 words ,
92 words ,
93 words ,
94 words ,
95 words ,
96 words ,
97 words ,
98 words ,
99 words ,
100 words ,
101 words ,
102 words ,
103 words ,
104 words ,
105 words ,
106 words ,
107 words ,
108 words ,
109 words ,
110 words ,
111 words ,
112 words ,
113 words ,
114 words ,
115 words ,
116 words ,
117 words ,
118 words ,
119 words ,
120 words ,
121 words ,
122 words
123 words
124 words
125 words
126 words
127 words
128 words
129 words
130 words
131 words
132 words
133 words
134 words
135 words
136 words
137 words
138 words

English World 5 Unit 6 Vocabulary

(Supplementary Material for Specific Textbooks--English World 5)


Slideshow: slidespub
Quizlet: docspub



English World 5 Unit 6
https://quizlet.com/_3zc7wp


English World 5 Unit 6
https://quizlet.com/_3zc7wp


English World 5 Unit 6

https://quizlet.com/_3zc7wp