Monday, February 23, 2009

Blogging for language learning

This post is part of my Chinese learning experiences series but is not tagged as such, it is something I can pull out and link to so that my next post on the first three months is not too long.

Almost immediately after starting to learn Chinese I started blogging about it, that was deliberate, there are many reasons for and styles of blogging, this one was part of my objective to learn a language primarily from the Internet, also a loose record of my thoughts and discoveries, on the whole it has been a success. I think that blogging about language learning can be very helpful and an aid to the process, reading and commenting on blogs of other language learners is also very useful particularly if you don't have time to blog yourself.

This blog doesn't attract enough comments to be a really useful place to test new ideas and engage in heated discussion or to refine/test beliefs (some are though, but I only average around 30 visits a day which isn't quite enough) but there have been some surprising side benefits, many people have approached me with resources and ideas via email and two Chinese speakers local enough for local language exchange have approached me resulting in some very helpful exchanges :). Besides that some of the comments I have had have been very useful. I had to engage moderation recently though as there were a number of thinly disguised adverts.

Looking back, I can see how much I have missed out, see how rushed many posts were, but I don't regret that, I am time poor, I need to leave some time for learning Chinese (although there is nothing stopping me from listening to Chinese whilst I blog :))

Blogging has made connections attracted help and helped me organize my thoughts. On occasion blogging has represented a statement of commitment that may have helped me through sticky patches.

A blog is a commitment of time, but the connections, feedback and reflection received have more than payed me back, I am convinced that I would have not have progressed as far with my learning without it and like an iceberg much of what I have gained has not been visible on the surface. A long time ago I was even interviewed by the Financial Times(I was that 39 year old programmer) although I was slightly misquoted and they missed out some key points (I am told that is par for the course though)

Reflection is useful, I have tidied up a few old posts that had duplicated first paragraphs and realized I need to make a blog roll of other learners blogs.


Keith said...

I think you would get more comments and visitors if you post more often. You've been very busy, so I'm not blaming you. It sounds like the blog has benefited you. I'll have to read that interview. Looking forward to more posts.

Keith said...

My first visit to and it says I've already "viewed your 30 days allowance of 3 free articles." I think you should copy it and paste it into a blog post so I can read it. That would be much appreciated.

Chris said...

Freaky I never have issues with FT site maybe it is because I am in the UK, I will investigate. There isn't much in it though it was an article about CPOD. 30 mins telephone interview and they didn't use much.

Edwin said...

I think you have made the right choice of giving language learning a higher priority than blogging.
To me, blogging is time-consuming, unless you can live with low-quality posts. Lately, I even find reading blogs time-consuming, unless they are written in your target language :)

Chris said...

Good point Edwin, target language blogs are a whole different story, reading and interacting with them can help a lot.

This protracted write up and review of my Chinese learning to date (which will take many more posts and weeks ) is a kind of consolidation and tidy up, coinciding with tidying up a lot of things prior to and while starting a new job.

Basically though when time has been short blogging falls off, and or I brain dump. Because I can speed type it is easy to put up a blog post quickly, the quality and clarity is not so good, however at least I know what I meant ;).

Aji said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.