Posts Tagged ‘language learning’

denied access

May 3, 2010

No, this post is not how my guide dog and I were denied access at a restaurant and made some type of scene before threatening to get the Civil Rights commission involved.
It is about the web!
Ok, have I said — “I’m unemployed?”
Anyway, I have always been a supporter of volunteering. In fact, until I made my big move on the first of March, I tried to volunteer wherever I could.
I feel that it is my responsibility:
both commanded by God to serve the community and
it does appeal to my social sensibilities.
Oh, wait, I have blogged about that before.
Now, I am in a larger city and it is taking me a while to become acclimated with public transportation.
So, volunteering is not readily accessible.
But, it seems that “nothing is.”
I continue to use my computer to make a positive contribution, however, it is getting more challenging.
I have been constantly looking for a language learning website.
I have blogged about this before, also and if I knew how, I would post the link
[here]
But, I am not technically savvy, yet.
Needless to say, the “learning language,” department is rarely accessible, either and the sites (for the most part) are filled with people who might have
honorable intentions, but little else.
So, I decided to try and learn Urdu, as well as critique the English exercises of others on livemocha. The site came highly recommended. .
Now, the
www.livemocha.com
website is not very accessible. I can’t drag and drop, identify or click on the picture or “connect” anything.
I can, however, view or make flashcards. I can quiz myself on these flashcards. I can also make an attempt (all be it pathetic) to submit a writing exercise.
My computer is not new or fast enough for me to listen to and/or record speaking exercises. So, I content myself with reviewing written work and writing
my own.
that is until now!
Now Livemocha has decided that no reviewer can post a review to someone’s work unless they rate the work. I can’t find the rating buttons.
I have given many people constructive criticism on their work. But, now I can’t even do that because I can’t find the “rating button.” Sighted people can
push the “rating button,” and write a trite “Good job,” or “needs work.” But, my three lined critique (and you know how much I write, so three lines is
an under statement) is not accepted.
You get “Mocha points,” and a “teacher score,” for reviewing the work of others. Of course, none of these “points,” result in real “money — (what a shame) .” But, it was something that I could do. It was a way for me to use my native language to assist others. And, I would often give examples as well as my livemocha email
if they had further questions concerning the exercise.
No more!
That volunteering opportunity has gone down the tubes until either:
1. they make the website more accessible
or
2. I get a new computer.
And, did I mention that my Urdu learning has stopped as well?
Well, a big “thumbs down,” for Livemocha.
Businesses should employ disabled people to review their websites and give them a summary of their accessibility status. And, if ever a business or **anyone
wants to “update,” their site, they should employ a disabled person to advise them on the propper way to do this so that the disabled population (and,
when I say disabled, I mean someone who is using alternative software such as a screenreader and who can’t read the print on the screen) is not left out
in the dark — literally and not so literally.
Note: I don’t just say “Blind,” because there are those with dyslexia who also need the assistance of a screenreader, however, those who are dyslexic and actually need&use
a screenreader are far less in number than the blind population.

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language learning on the net

January 17, 2010

I am still learning Urdu.
It is hard because Imran is only sometimes available and even though he speaks Urdu and English quite well, he still can’t explain “why” something is the way it is and how to help me remember it.
I do ask for his help, but have found that he should not be my main source of learning Urdu.
He does not have the time, patience or inclination.
While he applauds my efforts and results, he can’t be the one to teach me.
So, I have looked for a teacher.
Now, remember
1. my computer is slow
2. I live in a very small town (for the moment)
3. I have web accessibility issues
I have tried:
http://www.mylanguageexchange.com (a waste of money — which I am embarrassed that I paid) [Gladly, Imran does not read my blog and I will never tell him of this horrid mistake]. (smile)
http://www.phrasebase.com
http://www.couchsurfing.com (not a language learning site, but has many from different parts of the world)
and many others.
http://www.livemocha.com
seems to be the most helpful.
I still have web accessibility issues and can not do many of the exercises.
But, I can create flashcards and then take tests on my flashcards.
I can also help others with their English.
Steadily, I am getting quite a number of people to ask me to help them with their English. They are not committed and most often want me to help them with business letters.
One guy even wanted me to write his entire paper (twice). I could not understand how on earth he was studying in the USA. He must have bribed someone to help him pass the toefl.
I am not kidding. I did help with one paper, but never again.
In any case, after reading
Gori Girl’s blogs on language and finding Live mocha,
I decided to renew my efforts.
So, I am making flashcards.
If anyone has any lessons or tips, I’d love to have them.
Oh, http://www.urduword.com is another great website.
Someone did give me a wonderful Urdu/English dictionary and that is when I first noticed that
… … the letters were not in order.
I had to resist the urge to alphabetize it acording to the english alphabet. (smile)

You should check out Gori Girl’s blog about language. I concur, but don’t have the energy to A. reproduce it and B. summarize it. I have a journal entry on my computer about learning the language of your partner, but I will have to dig it out from somewhere.