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r Presenting a revolutionary method of acquiring new
languages
r Completely interactive, a virtual community where people
from diverse nations and language backgrounds can meet,
learn languages from others, and teach others their own
language in a fun, multi-layered environment
r Not just another language software package, but a 100%
online, virtual WORLD where the primary objective is the
sharing of information and exploring a new language
r A virtual world which, based on a solid basic framework, will
grow bigger by the day on the recommendations of users,
through updates, and even possibly through users adding to
the framework itself
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r §n today·s increasingly global community, the importance of
communication cannot be overstated, especially between
speakers of different languages
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r People do not only learn foreign languages for
business purposes, but also for such reasons as:
½ Communicating with friends, in-laws, or family members
½ Communicating with members of a religious organization
½ Diplomatic or political communications
½ Personal enjoyment and the satisfaction of learning a new, useful skill
½ Making new friends and interacting with people of different nationalities or cultures
½ Academic or scholastic purposes, such as studying a work of literature in the original
language or understanding the subtle nuances of a poem in another language
½ Employment purposes
½ Communicating with customers or clients
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r Although English is in some ways becoming a sort of ´international languageµ
which among professionals and corporations is often the lingua franca of
international business, many other languages are still as important, or
sometimes more, depending on the situation

Therefore, it is more and more necessary for people to speak more than one language
§n order to be understood. However, with over 6000 languages and dialects in the
world today, how can a person ever find the means to communicate?
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r There are several methods available to learners of foreign
languages. The first is to enroll in courses in one of the more
commonly-spoken languages at a language institute,
community center, or embassy.

Although effective and often taught


by native speakers of the target
language, courses can be costly,
require travel to another location,
and for busy people, finding time to
fit them in one·s schedule can be
difficult.
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r The alternative to travelling to another location for language
classes, language software can often be effective and useful in
language acquisition

Although there are many and they differ in many regards, what they all hold in common
is that they offer the student both the basic building blocks of learning a language
(vocabulary, grammar, phrases, sentence structure) along with interactive methods
of building knowledge and proficiency in using those elements.


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r One thing that §·ve found personally from my own experiences with language
software (and from many language classes § have taken) is that they lack
one fundamental necessity: the opportunity for the learner to use the new
language in real-life situations and with real people. Vocabulary, grammar,
sentence structure, memorized phrases ² all the building blocks are there,
but not the means to use them and the practical situations for the student
to build their ability to use them confidently.

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r Perhaps the ultimate way to acquire a new language is by travelling to the
country where that language is most commonly spoken. For example, if Mr.
Smith would like to learn Japanese, he might consider travelling to Tokyo in
order to learn it.
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r Will it really work? Obviously, it·s going to cost a lot of time (which he may or may not have) and
even more money.
r While he is there, he will be immersed in the language, but will there be real, genuine
opportunities to study the language?
r People will be speaking the target language all around him, but it will be at a very fast pace with
a lot of vocabulary, grammatical functions, and idioms Mr. Smith is not aware of.
r Therefore, unless he is at a rather advanced level already before he arrives in Tokyo, most of
the Japanese he sees and hears on the street will be, quite frankly, useless to him and not
particularly helpful in learning Japanese.
r Finally, just as he would in his home country, he will have to enroll in time-consuming,
expensive language classes in Tokyo in order to really make any progress in learning the
language.
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r There are various situations in which a student of
a second language can interact and use the target
language ² by finding a pen pal or online language
study partner to communicate with, by watching
television in the target language, by listening to
CD·s or videos, etc.
r However, the idea § am about to show you in a few
minutes will combine the best of all methods, into
a truly comprehensive, 100% interactive learning
style that is fun, engaging, and effective.

 
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r From my years of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) both at home in Canada and in South
Korea, § saw and used several methods in an attempt to most effectively help my students learn the
fundamentals of language acquisition and to become confident in using English.
r Some methodology favors rote learning and repetition of vocabulary, grammar, and structure with the
overall goal of trying to give students enough ´building blocksµ that they will be able to have the
mental resources to use the target language when needed.
r Other methods focus solely on practice of the language, such as group conversation classes, role
playing, theme classes, etc. The purpose here is for students to use the language (that hopefully they
have picked up elsewhere) in a practical setting and to develop confidence in using the language.
r There are numerous other methods as well, such as whole-body methodology (where the student is
immersed in physical activity while learning the language), complete immersion (where the student·s
first language is not allowed to be spoken at all, only the target language) and many others.
r So which method is the best when it comes down to actually learning and being able to use a new
language?
r The answer, § believe from years of both teaching my own language and learning other languages, is a
combination of both productive, inductive, and deductive forms of learning.
r §n other words, the best way to teach is for the student to acquire the building blocks of a language
and then putting those building blocks together into real, usable, practical language that the student
will become more and more confident and skillful in using.
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r A metaphor for this would be a carpenter or team of tradespersons building a house.
r Most fundamental in building is the materials and tools they need to build the house,
such as hammers, nails, wood, drywall, screws, flooring material, etc.

r The linguistic equivalent of these is the vocabulary, grammar, rules, and structure of a
language ² the tools necessary to read, write, listen to, speak, and understand a
language.
r Just like as a carpenter doesn·t just find these lying at the jobsite, but must go to a
building store to purchase them, a language student must be provided with the linguistic
tools to learn a language, through an expert teacher who knows how to use them.


 
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r However, just having the materials is not enough to build a house. A
carpenter must spend many years acquiring the skills and abilities to be
able to use these tools and supplies. There must be someone who knows
how to put down flooring, another who knows how to lay a concrete
foundation, another who knows how to put up drywall, etc.
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r We have a brand-new house for people to live
in.
  
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r Just as when building a house a carpenter not only requires tools and materials, but also
specific skills acquired through years of practice, learning a language requires using the target
language in practical, real-world situations.
r These skills cannot be learned overnight or by rote repetition, but can only be acquired and
perfected by using them.
r §n the same way, when learning a language specific skills may include more obvious tools such
as being able to purchase milk at a grocery store (in Finnish, Greek, Burmese, etc.), being able
to hold a basic conversation in another language, or being able to explain to a customer what
the daily special at a restaurant is and how much it costs.
r Other less-obvious skills may include understanding what a native speaker really means when
they use a certain idiomatic expression or colloquial term, understanding the different subtle
inflections of vocal tone and volume that add meaning to an expression, or even understanding
the body language that goes along with most forms of verbal expression.
 
   
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r The idea that § came up with includes elements from other language
learning methods and even from other sources, such as role-playing games;
however, it differs from them in the way that they are combined to form
something completely new, completely revolutionary, and a completely
interactive method of language learning.
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r After attending numerous language classes, using various textbooks
and workbooks, trying every language software pack available, and
using every other method § could think of to learn new languages, §
thought to myself, ´Wouldn·t it be great if there was some sort of
online community, a kind of ¶virtual city· where students could both
learn the skills necessary to speak a language, and then meet
speakers of that language and practice it, all without leaving their
desktop computer?µ
r § had in mind as a basic framework something § had seen in online
role-playing games«
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The Sims

Sim City

Everquest
 
  
r All of which immerse the player in an interactive world, where
they can choose their character, explore that world, and most
importantly, interact with other players just as they would
interact with other people in real life.

  

r This software will allow the user to create their own character, but they will be able to meet people
from other countries who speak the language they are trying to learn, and they will be able to teach
their own language.
r We may start with a virtual city for each language, such as a virtual Chinatown for learning Chinese, or
a virtual Paris for learning French, but later we may expand and incorporate data from satellite images
and Google Earth to create a veritable virtual world, accurate to the detail with the real world.
r Since the primary purpose of this project is language learning, the online ´worldµ will have built-in
features that allow the user to learn a language while exploring the world.
r For example, simply by clicking on objects, the user may learn the names of those objects in another
language.
r Also, there will be virtual classrooms where people may sign up at certain times for classes (with real
or computerized instructors) to learn the fine details of the target language, from beginner to
advanced.
r As we expand, we may add features that are specific to the goals of the student learning a language,
such as a Kids· Zone area, or an interactive business tower in a virtual downtown core where
businesspeople may learn the fine art of business etiquette ² of another country and in another
language.
r Teachers will be both built into the software as virtual instructors and real people under the guise of a
3D avatar.
r There will be fun incentives for learning languages and for reaching certain goals, such as game
points or special activities.
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r But, as stated before, the primary objective is language learning, so our main focus
will be first on developing educational materials, interactive games and activities,
quizzes and tests, etc. that provide plentiful material for learning the basic tools of a
language.
r There will be ample opportunity to practice the languages learned, since a person
from, say, New York who speaks English may meet an avatar of a person from
Shanghai who speaks Chinese and the two may converse in this virtual world in
English or Chinese, using what they have learned.
r As the community grows and grows, users may input their ideas for expansion,
provide positive and negative feedback through surveys, and even design their own
locations in the virtual world or activities to be used by other members.
r Monitors (perhaps under the avatar of a police man or woman or security guard) will
monitor language used in order for basic guidelines of clean language, respect, and
courtesy to be used, as well as to ensure that users do not use this for advertising
their business interests online.
r As well, source code will be built into the system to disallow violent, course, or
insulting language to be used.

  

r Overall, § think with cooperation from users and an aspiration to grow,


expand, and improve, this virtual world will grow to become something quite
useful.
r Not only will people have the means and resources to learn a new language
in a fun and interactive way, but they will have endless opportunities to
practice it with speakers of the chosen language.
r §n other words, it will grow and improve simply because everyone who uses it
will have the same objective, to increase their opportunities to learn a new
language in a fun, exciting way.
r The cost for users will be lower than most language software and courses,
and much lower than the cost of travelling or living in another country.
r As a rough estimate, a user may subscribe to the service for around $15 per
month and be able to use all the features in it. Certain basic features may
be accessible for free.
r Profits generated from user fees will go towards expanding the system and
making refinements.
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r Other features such as virtual landmarks and cultural events will be
incorporated to make for a more genuine experience.
r The point is to learn a language, but all the while having so much fun that it
doesn·t really seem like work for the student.
r Any other input would be appreciated and taken into consideration.