Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thing 41: Going Native with Live Mocha

The hardest part of this exercise for me was deciding on what language I was going to explore. As a student I studied French, but I wanted an all together different experience. I narrowed it down to Japanese and Mandarin Chinese and had a tough time deciding at that point. There are aspects of both cultures that I enjoy but when it comes to purely speaking the language, the tones of Chinese sound like flowing musical notes to me, circular like a Tai Chi form. Japanese seems stacatto and linear. Like a katana strike. So I decided to step out into the unknown wilderness of Mandarin Chinese.

Creating an account on Live Mocha was simple, pick your language and add a little information about what you are looking for in a language buddy. You can post what country you are from if you like. In less than an hour I had four people send me friend requests to want to be a language buddy. There is no pressure to begin speaking with a buddy. You can start when you are ready.

You can really go at your own pace with Live Mocha. You start with learning the pronunciation and Live Mocha shows you a slide and the Pin yin words to start with. There is space below to write what you think it means. Since many others have taken the beginning part of the course, the answers had already been filled in. I'll be repeating things for a while to get used to the tones. For some sounds there is no English equivalent and I feel like I'm speaking from the back of my throat. You then proceed to reading, listening, magnet (match the words to the corresponding box), writing, and speaking. You get points along the way and are shown your progress at all times to keep you motivated. Overall Live Mocha was a fun experience and not intimidating. Take your time and enjoy the exploration. Before you know it you'll start to feel comfortable with your new language adventures. I'm sure that I'll take Japanese as well just to compare the experiences.

For our library this is a great tool to offer as a referral if our foreign language materials are checked out and the patron can't fit a CPCC or Crossroads Cafe language course into their schedule or book a time at the International House. We just lost our subscription to Rosetta Stone and at the first of year, 2009, we'll lose Netlibrary--which means no more Pimsleur Language Learning digital audiobooks either. Our new digital media provider, Overdrive, has some foreign language materials but not extensive. So Live Mocha will fill many language learning needs and fit any schedule.

Xie_Xie/Arigato Live Mocha!



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