Monday, February 17, 2020

8 Mistakes People Should Stop Making When Learning a New Language by Aimee Laurence

Learning a new language can be an incredibly tough challenge, but also very rewarding if you keep up with it. Here are some things to avoid doing while learning your target language, as they can affect your motivation and overall performance.

1. Freaking out about mistakes

Many people, when starting to learn a new language, avoid using it because they are afraid of making mistakes, but this approach is not at all beneficial. Making mistakes is all part of the process of learning, and errors are actually an essential part of it.

There is no point in panicking once you make a mistake; you should learn from it as quickly as possible. If you avoid practice because you worry about being perfect, you'll not be able to progress. It's important to relax and acknowledge that you are only at the start of your journey and that these mistakes can only help you gain experience.

2. Getting frustrated about pronunciation

It is very easy to let yourself feel overwhelmed with pronunciation in your target language. There are between 300 and 600 different possible sounds and every language has its own unique phonemic inventory. Not getting it right from the very beginning is no reason to get frustrated or lose confidence.

It is important to identify the rules you have the most trouble with learning and focus on them. At first, you have a bit of work to do to adjust your mouth and tongue to the target language's unique sounds, but with time muscle memory will help you start to pronounce them correctly.

3. Not starting with the way a language sounds

When starting to learn a new language, everybody wants to delve into reading and writing right away, but that is not always the right way to go. Instead, start with the way the language sounds first. Verbal exercises will help you, even if you are only pronouncing a few basic words and phrases.

4. Focusing too much on grammar


Every language has complex grammar rules, and it's easy to get tangled up in them. Many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the grammar they find difficult, which can be discouraging.


It's important to remember that all languages have easy aspects to them as well, and if you feel overwhelmed, you can always just focus on them. Any practice is valuable, even if it seems "too easy".

“[E]ven the hardest features of language have ways in which they can be simplified. By knowing the simplest, core grammar, you will be able to recognize elements from them when they are used in harder structures," says Brian Oliver, an educator at Assignment Service and OXEssays.

5. Focusing on the wrong vocabulary

Contrary to what you might believe, starting with endless lists of vocabulary isn't the way to go when learning a language. Ideally, you should start slowly, with a strong base of words that are useful in day to day life, such as numbers, colours, days of the week, food and family members. By knowing the core phrases and words, you can start practising speaking right away.

“[L]earning vocabulary is more effective when you choose words that are relevant to you and your life. Because of this, starting off with a list of words related to your hobbies, hometown and life will help you be able to speak to people right away about the stuff that is specific to you," says Diana Simpson, a tutor at Australianhelp and BoomEssays.

6. Getting too frustrated listening to natives

As a beginner, one of the most frustrating things when watching a video in your target language is listening to the fast, complex speech of natives and not being able to understand everything. However, simply listening to them can help you improve in many areas such as grammar, pronunciation, and broadening your vocabulary. Even if you may not be able to follow the speech of a native from the start, there are many tools to help you, such as subtitles.

7. Using textbooks instead of immersion

Another common mistake is using textbooks too much instead of other methods of immersion, such as listening to the radio, watching TV, reading articles online, all in your target language. Immersing yourself in the current culture will give you great insight into how people actually use their language, instead of what's "grammatically correct".

8. Not having enough patience

Language learning is a task that involves a lot of time and commitment. Many people tend to be intimidated by this, but it's important to have patience with it. Just like with any other skill, you will only get better with practice, and a lot of trial and error.

Overall, keep in mind that even making these mistakes does not mean you won't be able to learn a language. Everybody learns languages for different reasons, but you can always learn to adapt your behaviour for better results.

Aimee Laurence is a writer and language tutor specialized in topics related to education. She works at BoomEssays and UK Writings, and you can find her work on Essayroo as well.

Monday, February 10, 2020

How And Why To Paraphrase Text By Using Back-Translation by Beatrice Beard

It can be a real chore having to paraphrase a block of text. Reading and paraphrasing text takes a good amount of time and often requires the help of a thesaurus to guide you through the changes.

There are lots of reasons that you might want to paraphrase text and it's becoming an increasingly important job as content development has become more and more important online. There are also more nefarious reasons (like wanting to take someone else's writing) but there are plenty of interesting reasons as to why you need to get the job done. 

Given that it's tedious doing it by hand, how can get it done more easily? Through back-translating. 

Let's take a look at how that works.

The Back Translating Process


The process of back translating involves Google's 'Translate' tool, traditionally used for giving translations into one of the over 100 languages that Google offers. "The process is a three-part one, that is very simple and only takes a matter of seconds initially and will speed up your paraphrasing job", explains Chloe Calhoun, writer at WriteMyx and BritStudent.


Step 1: Take whatever the piece of text is that you want to paraphrase and put it into Google Translate. Make sure that it isn’t too long. Google Translate has a 5000 character limit so make sure that your block of text fits in with that. 

Step 2: Translate the text into a foreign language. Ideally, choose one that is noticeably dissimilar to English. Try languages with non-Roman alphabets, or which are simply very different from English. I find that Korean, Irish and Russian are all quite effective languages.

Step 3: Translate the resulting foreign text back into English. The text you are left with will be similar to the original but have some noticeable differences between individual words and turns of phrase.
There you have it, a nice and convenient way to paraphrase text and come up with something similar but different. The work of only a few minutes.

Why Back-Translate Text?

There can be many different reasons that you might want to perform this process and everyone will have a particular desire for having back-translated paraphrased text.

Having the meaning preserved across lots of subtly different texts can be useful for data scientists who need large swathes of textual data to experiment on. This sort of 'multiplying' effect can be useful for lots of other areas as well but will depend on the individual.

“People do try and use back-translating as a method for plagiarizing work. A word of warning if this is you. If you are using it for anything where that is expressly discouraged, you will almost certainly get caught”, says Laura Park, lingua blogger at 1Day2Write and NextCoursework. It won't fool anyone who is on the lookout for it, so it is not recommended. Furthermore, plagiarizing, in general, isn't recommended. Just write it yourself, it shouldn't be too complex.

Another reason to back-translate is to compare translations and refine the meaning. The way that a back translation will take on synonyms and offer alternative turns of phrase is a really interesting way to look at improving and sharpening translation. You can back translate into different languages or the same language multiple times and you will keep landing on different versions of the same text. It gives you a new way to look at language and translation. You can also compare the translations given to the same piece of English text by different languages which can be useful for anyone involved in linguistics to make interesting judgements about the nature of the different languages that are being tested. This can be a really interesting process that can teach a lot.

Hopefully, this article will help you next time you need to paraphrase text for whatever reason that you might have. It's not in the least bit complicated and we should be grateful that such a useful tool is so readily available to us for our use.

Beatrice is a professional copywriter at OriginWritings and AcademicBrits specializing in academic literature. She is considered a wonderful resource in her work at PhdKingdom, where she advises beginner writers uncovering all the peculiarities of creating content that sells.