LTL REFLECTION: making word cards work 2

LTL Reflection: making word cards work

Don’t just make the word cards – make the word cards work for you as well

Read about Making the cards HERELater, I will post about Making connections with meaning & Making progress

Making the word sounds

I find it difficult to hear many of the sounds in new or unfamiliar languages. I pick up clues from the written word much, much more quickly. The Arabic script is easy if you already know it, but I don’t. I think I will get too distracted from my main goal of learning vocabulary if I start to look at reading and writing. At this very beginner stage, I think it is more important to build up a massive bank of words than it is to practise calligraphy.

People say you can practise your word cards on the bus. I suppose you could, but I like to say the words out loud and repeat them with different intonations, like ‘disbelief’ and ‘outrage’ and ‘final offer’. I wouldn’t want to be doing that on the bus.

Sympathetic listeners can try and understand your mispronunciations, but it is surprisingly easy to misunderstand other accents even when the sound difference is very small.The staff at the small town discount grocery shop I would go to when I first moved to Korea used to call me ‘Bapman’ because of the way I mispronounced the Korean word for rice (it was even the wrong word. I was repeatedly asking for cooked rice instead of the raw grains). They were amused enough to give me a ride home with my shopping, though, and I did get my ‘rice’ in the end.

I don’t live in an Arabic-speaking region, but Arabic is a high prestige language here and a lot of people know at least some Arabic (or say they do). During the weekends in the city I can talk to Arabic speakers, but during the working week up country it’s all English, Malay and Chinese.

I try to use Google translate to get the sound of the words. Unfortunately I can only get the Arabic script, not the Romanised version, so it is a bit hit and miss as to how I actually ‘hear’ the word. My pronunciation is a bit hit and miss too, but if I practice with my tutor (Mr Lechiya – the beard) he says my pronunciation is not too bad. I started off trying to out-Arab the Arabs and made lots of guttural noises and I-kill-your-mother type hand gestures. It sounded ridiculous, apparently. So now I just say the words and concentrate on where to put the stress, rather than trying to sound like al-assassin (Hey! There’s another cognate!).

I’m going to need to find some other audio sites to help me. I also want to find a decent dictionary site that gives me a Romanised spelling of the Arabic words as well. I still find that repeating back what another person is saying in real life the best way for me to get the sound of the word. I’m looking forward to hearing words that I recognise next time I’m around Arabic-speaking people.

Any suggestions for audio sites?

This blogger, foXnoMad, is using italki. Is anybody else? Read about foXnoMad’s quest to learn Arabic HERE

Read about making your own word cards HERE

Memorising the meaning and the sound together (coming soon)




One thought on “LTL REFLECTION: making word cards work 2

  1. Pingback: LTL REFLECTION: MAKING WORD CARDS WORK 1 | Language teaching & learning

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