This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Please vote for the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs of 2012…
Each year the Top 100 Language Learning international competition put on by bab.la and Lexiophiles has gradually gotten tougher. But this year the quality of the sites have taken a noticeable leap, meaning it’s a win win for anyone interested in learning languages. It also means that you have even less excuses for not learning a second or even a third language. Yeah, I’m bad.
No doubt, competing in the Top 100 Language Learning Blog competition has improved WLT immensely. It’s also taught me that qualifying for the competition isn’t about making pretty right before the event, but working on improvements throughout the year.
In the early days I concentrated on tweaking WLT’s design, creating posts and series useful to students of Thai, and adding knowledgeable guest authors (megga thanks go especially to Hugh, Tod(d), Rikker, and Luke).
Something must have worked because WLT is now listed as a go-to resource for learning Thai on BBC – Languages – A Guide to Thai.
When I first entered the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs competition, I took Lexio’s suggestions on what makes a good language blog to heart. In 2009, competing against more popular languages such as English, Chinese, French and German, WLT came in 85th place. Sweet. In 2010 I kept up with the improvements, and even though I mostly quit blogging about learning Thai during the Red Shirt protests (it was too heartbreaking), WLT came in 54th place. Not too shabby (especially as I didn’t expect to place at all).
Last year was a shocker when WLT came 10th in Top 25 Language Learning Blogs 2011 and 19th in the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011. Understandably, I was surprised and totally chuffed at the leap.
Shortly after the competition a tweet came through stating that placing where it did, WLT was representing Thailand. It was then that I realised that the Language Learning Blog competition was not just about the language learning community. It was about my responsibility to Thailand as well.
Seriously, it was a sobering thought. And with sobriety comes much responsibility.
No doubt, I have fun researching and writing posts for WLT. And I also enjoy being in the position to give back to Thailand (reason why I donate all proceeds from WLT to the SET Foundation). But ever since that tweet the idea of taking WLT to another level has been a concern.
After months of going through options to improve WLT I decided to focus on two main projects. One, started after the competition last year, will take more time to complete (and I’ll need even more of your help). But the other, already three years in the making, will launch following this post.
Project 1: Top 100 Thai vocabulary…
Since starting WLT I’ve learned that it’s not unusual for students to fizzle out soon after embarking on their Thai language adventure. And while it’s clearly a worry, I wasn’t quite sure what I could do about it.
From what I’m seeing the problems with learning any new language are: memory, available time, and sustained motivation. But confidence is also high on the list (especially for a tonal language such as Thai).
If you remember, last September I reviewed The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. The resources mentioned lead me to an idea that just might work as a mini Thai course.
The idea is simple. Start out by learning your way around the 100 most useful words in your target language. This includes using those mere 100 words to learn basic grammar. And if you make it through to the end, and still have an interest, work out from there. And if you don’t, you won’t have wasted too much time. Correct?
Choosing the top 100 Thai words was an adventure. These days I’m staying busy creating workable phrases (words on their own are just words) but I continue to tweak the list.
To see how the method operates I purchased several top 100 courses, but in Italian. Seems they all fudge on what they are calling 100 words (some shamefully) so back to square one I went. But whoever said that necessity is the mother of invention has it soooo very right because getting around the hurdles made me very creative indeed. And in the coming mini-course I’ll only cheat a little. Promise.
Disclaimer: In no way can you communicate fully by learning 100 words and choice phrases. But, with the right 100 words one can get a taste of a language. My hope is that a taste will tantalise students enough to push them over the quitting hump and into the excitement of learning more Thai.
People learn in different ways so I’ll be using a combo of resources (most free): BYKI, Learning with Texts and Brainscape. Scott came to my rescue with LWT so it’ll be implemented first. Ta Scott 🙂
Even though I’ve been working on this project since last year, more time and collaboration is needed. That’s right. I’m in the need for guinea pigs. And if you want to pig out on Thai, please contact me.
Project 2: Successful Thai Language Learners Compilation series…
In 2009 I started the Successful Thai Language Learners series. One, two, three years have now gone by, with over 50 talented students and former students of the Thai language being interviewed.
Some of their replies were surprising, some quirky, and all were totally interesting. Well into the series a suggestion was made to tally the results, so I did. Wanting to share what I found, a compilation series was put together.
The compilation series will start next week. I seriously hope you enjoy reading the results as much as I have.
Oh. And btw. After sending out a zillion emails for the Successful Thai Language Learners series, I was able to interview 47 men and 3 women. So, as it turns out, I chose an appropriate tongue-in-cheek name after all. True?
Now back to voting for your favourite Top 100 Language blogs…
There are four categories to vote for. Please note that you are allowed just one vote for each section.
Other Thai blogs to vote for…
As before, there are other Thai blogs entered in the contest (three). Would I love your vote? Absolutely. But please check them out (if you haven’t already).
- Let’s Talk Thai (formerly Learning Thai)
- Thai Language Hut
- Learn Thai from a White Guy
Before I sign off I’d like to thank the teams at bab.la and Lexiophiles. As I mentioned before, it’s clear that without their yearly competition and advice, WLT wouldn’t be the site it is today.
23 thoughts on “Please Vote: Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2012”
The votes are in:
Top 25 Language Learning Blogs 2012
Top 100 Language Lovers 2012
Whew! There will be a post tomorrow.
A heads-up, the promised series is live: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners
(please let me know what you think…)
Thank you Bert! I will do my best (right now I’m polishing up the coming compilation series).
I voted for you. Thanks for your site, and keep up the good work 🙂
Thank you for your vote Bernard – and your kind words. With everyone’s support I just might place this year 🙂
Hello Catherine. Just went to vote for you last week. Your site is such a great place to visit for anyone who is interested by the Thai language, culture and way of live. Thanks for every things. I still discover in some pages, posts what I did not read yet. Nice projects for the future too.
Excellent. There are many interesting learning methods out there and I can’t seem to stop at just one! Have you heard of Earworms? It’s got to be the most fun out of all the language learning methods. I was having a hard time pushing myself away from their Italian course. It’s that good. Well, it is for me anyway.
I have the time and the interest.
Somewhat inspired by posts on your site, I have become more interested of late in the science of learning, especially in the areas of context and emotion.
Batting around a new set of words and sentences to create an interesting list (as opposed to trying to grimly learn them by rote) will push many of the right buttons (this is related to the Goldlist concept).
In particular, the idea of learning without consciously trying to learn (Goldlist again) seems to me to have great possibilities — when we engage our rational ‘learning’ mode, I think it’s possible that we cut off access to a more natural and effort-less assimilation process.
Or maybe a combination of the two is desirable; more likely, every individual has to find their own way to learn.
At least, by the time I have researched and abandoned a few dozen learning processes, I should have learnt something ….
As they say: “If you want to learn, teach.”
Rick, pity the frequency list isn’t spoken Thai… I might be tempted to go with 125 words (never say never though). When I get further along with the project I’d like to send my results your way (if you have the time and interest).
I’m having a blast putting sentences together using a bare bones list and it’s blown me away just how many I’ve been able to come up with. There is a trick (or two) to it… but I’ll wait until later to explain.
Maritza, ta for the vote 🙂
The 100 words project is interesting, as the frequency of the use of words in languages follows a power law.
So, working from a list of the 5000 most common Thai words (and the frequency they appear in written text), we find that the most common 125 words in Thai take up a full 50% of the words in a large corpus of written Thai. (Word #125 is เดิน, out of interest).
Following on gives this table:
Words Total %age Word#
125 50% เดิน
250 60% ซื้อ
500 71% เรือ
1000 81% คะแนน
Almost perfect power law behaviour.
It still doesn’t help you understand written Thai, since the uncommon words are often the keys to comprehension.
But interesting, nonetheless (to a certain sort of mind).
This seems really big! Count me in as one of your voters.
If you haven’t read it yet, here’s my new interview on Chicky Net: Expat women interview with Catherine from Women Learning Thai
lol… Talen, you are so cute 😀
Btw: The contest runs until May 28th, 23:59 hours German time. I’ll create another post next week to keep everyone informed.
Cat I voted for that Benny guy, he’s funny 😛 You know I voted for you and only you. You deserve a win my dear.
Thank you Reiner 🙂 I absolutely love reaching and writing for WLT. It’s like a never ending passion with me!
Thanks Josh! We Thais have to stick together, yes? 🙂
Voted for you, Cat! And thank you for including me as a blog to vote for. You are the best!
Catherine, you have a wonderful website. Everyone with whom I spoke about Thai language, knew your website. I hope that your tireless effort results in a good vote.
Done and Done
Thank you Martyn. I take this competition rather seriously (I guess it shows). And there’s a ways to go yet… stressful.
Best of luck Catherine. So far you’re doing well, nicely inside the top ten. Hopefully all your hard work will pay off and you’ll achieve your best ever result.