Today's post comes from Lindsay Williams, one of the organisers of “Women in Language” which is an online language conference, that features some of the many amazing and talented female language learners and experts from around the world.
Take it away Lindsay! -Kris
Oh hey! Lindsay here from Lindsay Does Languages. Kris has let me take over his blog for this post to share with you some benefits of attending an online language event like Women in Language.
I’ve been working online since 2014 and in 2018, I co-hosted the first Women in Language. This is an online event to celebrate, champion and amplify female voices in language industries.
I thought it would be fun to showcase what females are doing with languages for International Women’s Day and when I brought my co-hosts Kerstin Cable and Shannon Kennedy on board, the event became a reality. On the 7th-10th March 2019, we’ll be live for the second ever Women in Language and can’t wait to do it all again!
But I get it.
It may seem at first that an online language event isn’t quite the same as a real life language event.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing language events that take place in “real life” offline. However, in this post, I want to share some of the benefits of attending an online language event.
You don’t need to get on a plane
There’s a whole range of amazing language events going on around the world every year, from the Polyglot Gathering to the Polyglot Conference, from LangFest to more specific events such as retreats and academic conferences.
It would be amazing to spend a whole year travelling the world and visiting as many of these events as possible but for most of us this just isn’t possible. Plus, jetlag? No, thanks.
With an online event, you don’t need to worry about driving to the airport at 4am and remembering to pack your toothbrush.
Very helpful if you’re not a fan of long haul travel. Even more helpful if you can’t jet off for a weekend away.
Women in Language lasts 4 days and has presentations at various times from 10am to 10pm GMT across the event. So you can join in from anywhere live for at least some presentations without pesky jetlag getting in the way.
You can catch up on all talks right away
One thing that always amazes me about any language event is the choice of presentations. I’ve learnt so much about languages and topics I previously knew nothing about as a result of attending talks at language events.
But there’s always at least one time slot when there’s at least two presentations that both sound incredible at the same time. How do you choose?!
With an online event like Women in Language, you don’t have to choose.
We have one track of live presentations running and if you miss any due to other commitments or, you know, sleep because timezones, then you can catch up.
All attendees get recordings instantly of all presentations so even if you can’t join live, you can still watch later. It’s basically Netflix for language learners.
You get to chat before, during and after the presentations
But we haven’t forgotten about one of the other great advantages of an offline event – the chance to meet people who speak a whole ton of languages from all over the place.
For Women in Language, we host a Facebook Group before, during and after the event to allow all attendees, hosts, and even some speakers to join the conversation. So if you do miss something live, you can still share your thoughts after your catch up with the recordings.
One thing I wasn’t expecting from Women in Language in 2018 was the community that quickly formed around the event. It was incredible to feel like people were making friends and lasting connections with people they otherwise wouldn’t have met.
This year, we’re even introducing a time slot for Lightning Talks, so all attendees have a chance to present at the event.
It saves you some serious cash
As much as travel can be great, one of the clear downsides is the cost. There’s the flights to think about, accommodation, transport, food, insurance, sometimes visas and more. Phew.
Women in Language is open to all and we want to make it as easy for everyone to attend by offering tickets for the lowest price we can. Tickets for Women in Language (including access to all recordings) are just $29.
And if that’s not possible for you right now, this year for the first time we’re offering the chance to apply for a donated ticket.
When you get your ticket to Women in Language, you have the option to donate towards a ticket for someone else who would like to attend but can’t due to the cost. To learn more about this, check out our website.
You can join in your pyjamas!
There’s nothing wrong with getting dressed. It’s probably a good thing we don’t wander around naked or head to the supermarket in our dressing gowns.
But there is something quite comforting about the fact that you could join an online language event in your pyjamas. No one has to know!
Only the speakers and hosts will be on camera so you get to show up wherever you are, however you want, no judgement.
Notebook and favourite drink recommended. Pyjamas optional.
Come Along to Women in Language!
If you’re feeling pretty excited to come to an online language event after reading this post, then you’re welcome at Women in Language. We’d love to have you join us!
By the way, the ‘women’ in Women in Language refers to the speakers only. Everyone is welcome to attend the event. We can all learn a lot from the line up of incredible speakers we’ve got for 2019.
Grammar Hero is a series of grammar courses, helping you to learn the most tricky grammar of 6 different languages in the context of interesting and entertaining short-stories.
In each Grammar Hero you undertake a mission to ‘defeat' a series of challenges (grammar points) particular to the language you're learning. If you succeed and master each point you're officially a Grammar Hero!
There are 6 languages currently available for Grammar Hero:
Who is it for?
While Grammar Hero is useful for a wide range of learners, you will get most out of the courses once you have a solid foundation and are approaching the lower intermediate stages of the language.
To use the common European framework somewhere around A2-B2 would probably be ideal. Learners may find Grammar Hero highly useful well into the advanced levels in case there are some grammar points still causing trouble.
How the course is built up
Each Grammar Hero course follows the same structure. For each short story (there are 15 in total) you have the following 4 learning activities.
From the French Grammar Hero: The 4 steps in action
Although the names might be self-explanatory for some, I'll just quickly explain what each of these activities actually do.
Step 1 – Discover
In this step you simply consume the short story so you understand it completely. The relevant grammar points are underlined, all you have to do in this stage is just to notice them and their place in the story.
Step 2 – Learn
In this step, there are briefing notes on the grammar point in question, succinctly teaching you exactly what you need to know.
From Grammar Hero French: Grammar Explanation #1
Don't worry about memorising each rule completely, as long as you understand how they work you can move on to step 3.
You will probably refer back to these continuously as you work through the materials.
Step 3 – Internalise
Read/Listen to the story again, paying particular attention to the underlined grammar points.
To help you internalise the concepts (hence the name of this step) there are grammar notes attached to the margin, pointing at each underlined word.
These notes help you fully understand any of the uses, that were not completely clear before.
Step 4 – Activate
Through 5 exercises you are tested on your newly acquired knowledge. The exercises go from very simple (fill in the blanks) to long-form writing.
Grammar Exercises from the French version
What you learn with each language
Since grammar differs between languages, each Grammar Hero comes with its own unique set of grammar points to master the tricky parts of your focus language only. You won't waste time learning grammar rules you won't need.
In the below section you will find all the grammar points taught in each language.
Grammar Hero French
The French version of Grammar hero contains 15 short stories, like the rest of the languages available.
Here's the journey you will go through as you complete the course.
Here's the map of what you'll discover on your way to Russian grammar mastery
And as a list again:
Verb Aspects – Perfective vs Imperfective
Verbs of Motion – идти/ходить
Verbs of Motion – ехать/ездить
Verbs of Motion – лететь/летать – плыть/плавать – бежать/бегать
Verbs of Motion – вести/водить – нести/носить – везти/возить
Verbal Prefixes – в-, вы-,при-,у-
Verbal Prefixes – за-, об-, до-, с-, раз-,
Verbal Prefixes – под-, от-, про-, пере-,
Cases and the Prefixes they Trigger
*Note: As a Russian learner I have struggled and still struggle with all of these points. They are perfectly aligned with what I found difficult about Russian Grammar. Very exciting to see them packaged up here.
Here are the different grammar points you'll master:
And in list form:
The Portuguese Prepositions A & EM
Por & Para
Key Verbs and the Prepositions they Trigger
Direct Object Pronouns
Indirect Object Pronouns
Ser vs Estar
The Subjunctive Mood
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Grammar Hero
Immersive Grammar in context – forget tables and memorising rules!
Solves the common grammar problems learners face
Beautifully designed and presented, everything is printable for convenience
Insane amount of materials that will keep you busy for a long time
Disadvantages of Grammar Hero
It's not cheap – definitely a significant investment.
Requires independent studying, there is no hand-holding in Grammar Hero. You have to do the work yourself.
Grammar Hero is a new and exciting way of teaching the complex grammar of languages, without the old-fashioned grammar tables, and boring, endless memorisation.
Not only that, but it also teaches the difficult and relevant grammar for each language, instead of wasting time going over every single grammar rule and point of a language (most of them you probably know already!)
I cannot see a better way for the upper beginner or intermediate learner to solidify and master grammar than Grammar Hero today.
The only downside is the price, it's definitely not cheap. But, if you can look past that you're getting a truly great product for your learning.
What does Grammar Hero cost?
Grammar Hero has a simple pricing of $197 per language. Lifetime access, and a 30 day no-questions-asked refund policy.
*AF Bonus: If you enrol in any Grammar Hero using my referral link (at no extra cost) I'll give you complimentary access to my premium course: Language Motivation Mastery ($97 value)
Just use any link on this page, and send the receipt to me by emailing kris[at]actualfluency.com
At the point of writing this grammar hero review I'm not aware of any courses or products that expose you to the grammar of a language in context like Grammar Hero does, so I have a hard time suggesting anything else.
Your only bet might be to try language-specific grammar courses, but in my opinion these are often boring and theoretical, which makes it hard to adapt to your own language learning skills.
This concludes my my Grammar Hero review. I hope you found it useful.