Online Class Notes (Ally)[R]


article: 文章
ie. We read an interesting article together today.

linguistic : language
ie. Ally took an linguistic class at college.

bilingual: (adj) fluent in 2 languages
ie. Ally is bilingual; she’s fluent in Chinese and English.

accessible: able to access; convenient
ie. Technology makes language learning more accessible.

edible: 适宜食用的; (无毒而) 可以吃的  Opposite: unedible
ie. The food she cooked was unedible.

virtual: xu ni de
ie. Siri is a virtual assistant.

cash in: take advantage of something, turn something into value 利用; 从…中牟利; 从…中捞好处;
ie. The businessmen wanted to cash in on the market demand.
ie. You said you’d take me to Japan this year! I’m going to cash in on your promise.

commit: (v) serious about something, want to go long-term about something
ie. My boyfriend is finally going to commit to our relationship; he asked me to move in with him!
ie. Could you commit to your marriage (noun)?

committed: (adj)尽心尽力的; 坚信的; 坚定的 专注的
ie. The man is very committed to his job; he works 12 hours a day.

wrap/get (my) head round something:  懂、理解
ie. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that my best friend is getting married.
ie. I can’t wrap my head round the idea that… 我无法相信


not interesting things = nothing interesting

do you have a preference? = do you like one more than the other?
– No (you like them the same, it doesn’t matter)
– Yes, I like … better

She has a lot of commitments = she’s busy.
– commitments: things we have to do, such as school, work, side job, teaching your kids… your responsibilities


Smartphone vs the classroom

We know it’s good to learn another language. It opens doors, makes you more employable, helps you make new friends, and it’s fun too. But to improve our linguistic skills, many of us have to endure hours of school lessons or evening classes, with our heads buried in textbooks. It’s no wonder then that technology appears to be providing a better and more accessible way of learning.

There is certainly a huge demand for language learning, and having a smartphone means you can have a virtual teacher with you wherever you go. Many app developers are keen to cash in on the demand, and there are numerous learning apps available – including our own, free, BBC Learning English app! One of many popular apps, Duolingo, offers 91 courses in 30 languages and has more than 300 million users.

Some educational apps offer languages not popular enough to be taught at evening classes, or at most universities. And others offer ‘invented’ language courses in Esperanto, Elvish and Star Trek’s Klingon – lessons you might not find in a traditional classroom. Whatever you want to learn, apps allow you to go at your own pace and fit learning around other commitments. But they’re not perfect – you might not get your head round the grammar and will lack the peer support you could get in a classroom environment.

So, does technology spell the end of traditional classrooms and teachers? Guy Baron, head of modern languages at Aberystwyth University, thinks not. He told the BBC that apps should be used alongside classroom methods, not to the exclusion of traditional teaching. And he adds: “The apps are very conversational… they’re not designed for degrees, but they could be additional resources.”

Certainly technology is going to help in and outside the classroom. But attending a real lesson, facing a real teacher, probably forces you to be more committed.

Motivation can be a problem when using an app. But if you have a genuine and practical reason to learn another language, you will no doubt stick with it.