23 min

A Better Way to Learn New Languages The Inventivity Pod

    • Science

Despite the plethora of language learning tools, learning a new language is still very difficult for many people. What if it was much easier and much more fun? Dr. Sara Smith, a finalist for the 2020 Cade Prize, Oxford and Harvard educated Assistant Professor at USF, and CEO of MARVL shares how her patented augmented reality app can change how we learn languages.
 
TRANSCRIPT:
 
Intro: 0:01
Inventors and their inventions. Welcome to Radio Cade the podcast from the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Florida, the museum is named after James Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. My name is Richard Miles. We'll introduce you to inventors and the things that motivate them, we'll learn about their personal stories, how their inventions work and how their ideas get from the laboratory to the marketplace.
James Di Virgilio: 0:38
Welcome to Radio Cade . I'm your host, James Di Virgilio. And today we're going to tackle a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Why is it so hard to learn a new language? And is there a way that we can improve how we or I, or you learn a new language? Joining me today is Dr. Sara Smith. She is the CEO of MARVL, also an Assistant Professor of English to speakers of other languages and foreign language education at the University of South Florida and Doctorate from Oxford time at Harvard. Very, very smart, Sara, welcome to the show. I can't wait to figure out how you can help me and our listeners improve in learning languages.
Dr. Sara Smith: 1:15
Well, thank you so much for having me and thank you for the very flattering introduction.
James Di Virgilio: 1:19
You're most welcome. Now, tell me, let's just jump right into the question of why is it so hard for a three-year-old or myself to learn a new language?
Dr. Sara Smith: 1:28
It's a good question. It's a question, people ask me a lot, you know, learning a new language requires learning thousands and thousands of words, a kindergartner knows about 5,000 words. That's a lot of words and learning a new word is harder than you think you have to be exposed to that word over and over and over before you remember it. So one of the reasons why learning a new language is hard is because you have to build up that bank of words. You need to get all those vocabulary words, and that takes time and that takes effort.
James Di Virgilio: 1:54
And so when I'm traveling around France and I'm seeing words during my vacation, and I can learn a few of them, the ones I typically will learn the most are the ones I engage with the most. If I see this word 15, 20, 30 times, it sticks in my mind that sortie means an exit or whatever the case may be. But if I don't get exposed to these other vocabulary words, then I don't have enough words to draw on to begin to speak the language.
Dr. Sara Smith: 2:17
Yeah. And I love that you use as an example, you traveling around France because that's actually an even better way to learn. New words is when you're having experiences. One of the things that makes learning a language when you're either trying to teach yourself at home with your own materials, or even in a classroom setting, is that you're not having varied experiences and exposures to those words, right? You're only encountering them in these sort of flat interactions where it's just there in front of you in print. Maybe it comes with a definition, but if you're traveling around France, you're having experiences, you're having emotions. You're encountering that word in an authentic setting,

Despite the plethora of language learning tools, learning a new language is still very difficult for many people. What if it was much easier and much more fun? Dr. Sara Smith, a finalist for the 2020 Cade Prize, Oxford and Harvard educated Assistant Professor at USF, and CEO of MARVL shares how her patented augmented reality app can change how we learn languages.
 
TRANSCRIPT:
 
Intro: 0:01
Inventors and their inventions. Welcome to Radio Cade the podcast from the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Florida, the museum is named after James Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. My name is Richard Miles. We'll introduce you to inventors and the things that motivate them, we'll learn about their personal stories, how their inventions work and how their ideas get from the laboratory to the marketplace.
James Di Virgilio: 0:38
Welcome to Radio Cade . I'm your host, James Di Virgilio. And today we're going to tackle a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Why is it so hard to learn a new language? And is there a way that we can improve how we or I, or you learn a new language? Joining me today is Dr. Sara Smith. She is the CEO of MARVL, also an Assistant Professor of English to speakers of other languages and foreign language education at the University of South Florida and Doctorate from Oxford time at Harvard. Very, very smart, Sara, welcome to the show. I can't wait to figure out how you can help me and our listeners improve in learning languages.
Dr. Sara Smith: 1:15
Well, thank you so much for having me and thank you for the very flattering introduction.
James Di Virgilio: 1:19
You're most welcome. Now, tell me, let's just jump right into the question of why is it so hard for a three-year-old or myself to learn a new language?
Dr. Sara Smith: 1:28
It's a good question. It's a question, people ask me a lot, you know, learning a new language requires learning thousands and thousands of words, a kindergartner knows about 5,000 words. That's a lot of words and learning a new word is harder than you think you have to be exposed to that word over and over and over before you remember it. So one of the reasons why learning a new language is hard is because you have to build up that bank of words. You need to get all those vocabulary words, and that takes time and that takes effort.
James Di Virgilio: 1:54
And so when I'm traveling around France and I'm seeing words during my vacation, and I can learn a few of them, the ones I typically will learn the most are the ones I engage with the most. If I see this word 15, 20, 30 times, it sticks in my mind that sortie means an exit or whatever the case may be. But if I don't get exposed to these other vocabulary words, then I don't have enough words to draw on to begin to speak the language.
Dr. Sara Smith: 2:17
Yeah. And I love that you use as an example, you traveling around France because that's actually an even better way to learn. New words is when you're having experiences. One of the things that makes learning a language when you're either trying to teach yourself at home with your own materials, or even in a classroom setting, is that you're not having varied experiences and exposures to those words, right? You're only encountering them in these sort of flat interactions where it's just there in front of you in print. Maybe it comes with a definition, but if you're traveling around France, you're having experiences, you're having emotions. You're encountering that word in an authentic setting,

23 min

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