Language-learning apps 用語言學習應用軟件學外語

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有些人覺得學習另一種語言既有用又有趣。智能手機應用程序的興起讓學習語言變得更容易、更方便。慣來對語言學習熱情不高的英國人似乎也充分利用了這種學習方法,開始學習外語。本文討論為什麼在英國有越來越多的人使用手機應用軟件學外語。

詞彙:learning 學習

Are you learning another language? Maybe you’re trying to get to grips with it for work or study, or maybe you’re trying to master it just for the fun of it? Language learning is nothing new, of course, but technology has made it easier than ever to grasp.

The popularity of language-learning apps in particular has boomed around the world, especially as more people are working or studying at home. They are usually easy and convenient to use because you can access them on your smartphone. And apps can offer languages not popular enough to be taught at evening classes or schools or universities.

Many of us are aiming to be bilingual to enable us to communicate with people around the world. But, maybe surprisingly, it’s the British, who are not renowned for their enthusiasm for language learning, who are leading the way in the growth of these apps. US firm Duolingo told the BBC that in 2020 new user numbers globally were up 67% compared with 2019, while in the UK they shot up by 132%, almost double the worldwide average. And London-based Busuu, saw a similar trend for learners based in the UK.

But for anyone trying their hand at a new language, what motivates them to carry on learning when there isn’t a teacher around to manage their progress? Colin Watkins from Duolingo told the BBC that for UK learners at least, 「people are learning because of culture, brain training, family, and relationships, along with school and travel. We want a positive use of our time, and to do something productive on our phones.」 The recent lockdowns have given us more time to do this. Certainly, becoming bilingual or a polyglot is a good thing, and it helps us to bring the world a little closer together.

詞彙表

get to grips with something 認真理解並學習
master 掌握,精通
grasp 理解,掌握
convenient 方便的,省事的
access 使用,訪問
smartphone 智能手機
evening class 夜校課程
bilingual 能用兩種語言的
communicate 交流
enthusiasm 熱情,熱忱
shoot up 猛增,暴漲
double 兩倍的
try one’s hand 試試手,嘗試
motivate 激發…的積極性
progress 進度
brain training 頭腦訓練,智力開發
productive 富有成效的
polyglot 通曉多種語言的人

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What has helped to make learning a language easier?

2. Why might we be surprised that the British are leading the rise in the use of language-learning apps?

3. True or false? Duolingo found that last year there were almost double the number of new users on their app from the UK, compared with the average for the rest of the world.

4. According to Colin Watkins from Duolingo, is learning a language a good use of our smartphone time?

5. Compared with traditional learning, what might you not get from learning via an app?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. I can’t _______ with this new laptop – it doesn’t work the same way as my old one.

getting to grips               get to grips                       get to gripping                     grip

2. The _______ chef has opened a new restaurant close to my home, so I might try it out.

boomed                          motivate                           renowned                            renewed

3. I’m making good _______ at school, but I need to work harder on my English grammar.

progress                         productive                        brain training                       grasp

4. I’m not a great cook, but I’m going to _______ at making a chocolate cake.

try your hand                  try my hand                      try my handing                     try hand

5. Having a lesson at 1.30 is not very _______ – I’m going to miss my lunch break.

convenient                      renowned                         access                                 boomed

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. What has helped to make learning a language easier?
Technology – and specifically apps – has made learning a language easier.

2. Why might we be surprised that the British are leading the rise in the use of language-learning apps?
Because the British are not renowned for their enthusiasm for language learning.

3. True or false? Duolingo found that last year, there were almost double the number of new users on their app from the UK, compared with the average for the rest of the world.
True. US firm Duolingo told the BBC that in 2020 new user numbers globally were up 67% compared with 2019, while in the UK they shot up by 132%, almost double the worldwide average.

4. According to Colin Watkins from Duolingo, is learning a language a good use of our smartphone time?
Yes. He says it’s a positive use of our time and is something productive to do on our phones.

5. Compared with traditional learning, what might you not get from learning via an app?
There isn’t a teacher around to manage your progress.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. I can’t get to grips with this new laptop – it doesn’t work the same way as my old one.

2. The renowned chef has opened a new restaurant close to my home, so I might try it out.

3. I’m making good progress at school, but I need to work harder on my English grammar.

4. I’m not a great cook, but I’m going to try my hand at making a chocolate cake.

5. Having a lesson at 1.30 is not very convenient – I’m going to miss my lunch break.