The Lexplorers are passionate about exploring the world of language learning and exploring the world by learning languages. We know that learning a new language is hard work, but we also know that it can be a lot of fun. We like to joke that when our friends are binge watching the latest season of a TV show, we often prefer to be binge listening language courses and binge reading grammar books and binge studying vocabulary lists. When we plan a trip to a new place, we relish the opportunity to learn some of the language spoken there so that we can better understand and interact with our hosts. We think that foreign movies in the original language are wonderful and that dubbing movies into another language is a travesty that should not be allowed. We laugh long and hard at jokes such as this:
A Mexican magician told his audience, ‘I will disappear on the count of three.’ He counted down ‘uno….. dos…..’ then he disappeared without a ‘tres.’
The Lexplorers view language learning as an essential and natural part of life in a multilingual world. Learning a new language offers a way to increase our exposure to the diversity of the world. It provides a means for understanding different cultures, different ways of thinking, and different methods for approaching common problems.
We envision the Lexplorers site to be a place where we can share thoughts and conversations about languages and language learning, and, by doing so, meet other Lexplorers who want to share their thoughts and join the conversations. We would like the site to be a place for everybody to feel comfortable discussing their experiences, from first-time language learners to polyglots.
Learning, especially language learning, can be a deeply personal journey. Techniques and strategies and resources that work well for one person may not work at all for another. From our personal experiences (our “Lexperiences”?), we know that language learning can change your life, often in unexpected ways. So we will share our Lexperiences (past, present, and future) in language learning, not because we think we have found any magic formula, but rather because we have not! We will also seek out conversations with people with interesting personal stories about the inextricable threads of their language learning and their path through life. We will explore the wide variety of language learning resources available, from traditional grammar books, dictionaries, and audio courses through digital tools like online courses and other services, digital language repositories, and smartphone apps. In addition, we are interested in results from the language learning research community and will likely sprinkle in interesting research results and ideas as we stumble upon them.
The primary public face of the Lexplorers site will be David. He is a computational linguist and a recreational language learner. Despite growing up in a monolingual environment, David got hooked on language learning at the age of 10, when he accidentally checked out a book called “French for Kids” from the elementary school library and started inserting French translations into his 5th Grade writing journal. Since then his language learning journeys (his Lexpolorations) have wound their way through Spanish, German, and Persian, with visits in Japanese and back in French. He is currently leading the Couch to Korean Challenge, the first major language learning adventure that we are writing about on the Lexplorers site.
While she will stay mostly behind the scenes, Clare will have a hand in almost everything you see and hear on the site. Her Lexpolorations have included Spanish and German, with visits in Russian and Hebrew. Clare has degrees in linguistics and educational technology, and she is also the web developer for the lexplorers.com site.
Also visible (and audible) on the site will be Carlos, who did not at all enjoy Spanish class in High School but later discovered the joy of language learning as an adult. A few years ago he began learning Korean for fun, and the subsequent Lexploration has dramatically changed his life (in a good way)!