Lifelearner Network Rotating Header Image

How to Get the Most Out of your Langua-culture Explorations

Language and Culture are so closely intertwined that you can’t really learn one in isolation from the other. It you don’t understand the frame of reference of the new culture, you will try to fit your experience into your own cultural framework, where it won’t completely fit. This may confuse you.

Also, people use language to express their culture, and the sooner you can learn the language and can discuss cultural themes with people in their own language, the better you will understand the way they think.

These lessons give suggestions for how to learn language as you do your cultural explorations. Beginning and Intermediate learners probably need one or more Language Helpers (LH) – members of the community who set aside time to work more intensively with the learners to help them learn about the language and culture. Later on you will interview lots of people and learn from them, but you may still want to have some time every week with a LH to do more structured language learning.

In this guide there are suggestions for language learning lessons associated with each cultural exploration topic. There are two levels of lessons: one for Beginning learners and one for Intermediate learners. There are also some suggestions for how to continue as more Advanced learners.

In general:

  1. Go out and do Participant Observation, and take pictures, if possible, of things you want to learn to talk about. You will be observing the culture, but also getting ideas for language learning.
  2. Go home and work with a Language Helper to learn the names of new objects and activities. Beginners will be learning to recognize and say words referring to objects and actions, as well as learning some basic Useful Phrases. Intermediate learners will be learning more words, but also engaging in more dialogues and working on understanding descriptions and people talking about activities of daily life. Advanced learners will be doing extensive interviews and listening to people talking in more detail about their lives.
  3. At the end of each session with your LH, or at the end of each section of the session, you should record a summary of what you have learned, using a digital audio recorder. If possible get one with a USB connection, so you can transfer the recording to a computer or other device. Listen to your recordings, once you make them!

See: Introduction for Beginning Language Learners  and Introduction for Intermediate Language Learners for more details about these levels and the kinds of activities appropriate for these stages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

404 Not Found

404 Not Found