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Miriam
Language learning portfolio or language learning log

Do you use a languae learning portfolio like the European Language Portfolio (ELP) (http://www.coe.int/en/web/portfolio) or your own creation of portfolio or do you write a language learning log as a blog or on websites like http://forum.language-learners.org/?

I am thinking about getting more structure in my language learning and documenting it and therefore I'd like to know, what kind of experiences other language learners had with these tools.

Actually I think that a language log would be a great feature for italki.

Sep 4, 2016 6:02 PM
Comments · 9
I went through a phase where I documented what I was doing at the time. I think most polyglots do this at one time or another, but few stick with it. Imo, the reason for dropping it is because the learner realizes there are many more useful ways to spend their time. But this is something everyone seems to need to learn for themselves.
September 4, 2016

@Alan

Yeah, the fact, that the language logs have to be written in English on the language learners forum, prevented me from opening an account there. Because I don't want to work on my English, but other languages. But if someone wants to improve his/her English then why not write a log in English? Using your native tongue to write a log seems quite futile to me.

Over a decade ago, I wrote a travel blog in English and I enjoyed it very much. Recently I thought I could go back to blogging and open a blog in Chinese, but I am worried that I might be too busy to keep up a regular blog about a specific topic, so I thought I could combine blogging and language learning and therefore write a language log. Yeah, I think I somehow got he wrong idea about the log.

One idea of the log, was also to help me maintain my "stronger" languages like Chinese and Japanese. My Japanese was once as good as my English, but I failed to maintain it, because I focused solely on Chinese for a long time. This year I started to learn other languages because I need them for certain purposes and I thought, if I write in my stronger languages, about my progress and interesting findings of my new languages, then I could use the little time I have for language studying more effectively.

About the Chinese podcasts. I listen to http://www.sbs.com.au/podcasts/. I am using LingQ and there they have podcasts from Chinese SBS with transcripts (but I hardly read the transcripts, I mostly listen, because I can do this while I do other things). Currently I also listen to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and enjoy it very much. I think I should listen more to audio books.    

September 6, 2016

Aegis and Phil interpret LL as detailed notes about your progress, some kind of study of your study, written not in your target language but in your native language. I just read a LL in the blog you provided which was basically a diary in English about learning French. Clearly the writer enjoys herself writing the entries, and if it keeps her motivated, good for her. But it's hardly rigorous language practice, of course.

What you're describing sounds quite different. I  don't think anyone could argue that integrating your listening and writing is a waste of time. Incidentally, what Chinese podcasts are you into?

September 5, 2016

Thanks, Aegis and Phil for your input. I guess I have a totally wrong idea about, what a language log is. I wouldn't use it to document every little language learning activity, but only things that I consider noteworthy. For instance, I am listening to Chinese podcasts while commuting and I'd like to write a short summary about those podcasts (in Chinese of course). This way, I documented that I listened to the podcast, but also reinforced new vocabulary. I could also tell my husband about the podcast and this way, it would be a speaking exercise, but I wouldn't have learnt new Chinese characters.

I also thought, that a language log doesn't necessarily have to be a written log only.  I wouldn't need to always write an entry, but could also record myself speaking. That would also be documenting it, because a few months later, I could compare this with newer recording and see, if I made any progress.

My main drive to learn languages is, that I am interested in them from a linguistic point of view (even though I am not a linguist). I like to compare different languages, read about the etymology of words and characters, learn about variations and I am also interested in didactics, teaching methods and learning strategies, so from that point of view I think it might be interesting for me to write about the learning process and document "interesting findings" for myself.

You both seem to agree, that writing isn't such an important skill. I think, I am just a different type of learner. I learn most by writing and that's the very reason, why I joined italki, so I can make myself write regularly in my target languages. I would say, that writing is my weakest skill in Chinese, because I write like I speak, but I would like to be able to write more sophisticated texts.

September 5, 2016
Sure, but how good of a writer of Chinese do you want to become? Personally, I don't even write essays anymore because even short ones are very time consuming (off topic, but I do a 15min/day writing exercise which is little more than copying phrases, so there's no need for correction, just to keep that part of my brain working). What you're talking about would take hours per day, if you're going to be as "compete" as I was when I kept a learning log.
September 5, 2016
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Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)