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Language Learning Stories
by International Language Learning Department (compiler)

Complete Table of Contents


This book contains a collection of true-life anecdotes told by a number of language learners. Each story illustrates one or more important language learning principle and is linked to the relevant principle in the Language Learning Principles book. These stories are an interesting way to learn about second language acquisition from other people's experiences.

Welcome to the Language Learning story database

Stories by Judi Lynn Anderson

Have your cake and say it too
Collecting firewood
The games people play

Stories by Katharine Barnwell

Props can come in handy
Getting in trouble with a good accent
Word games
The honeymoon's over
Semantic change
Some things you'll never learn in in school
A helping hand
Captive audience
Slow start
Insisting on the hard way out
Street talk

Stories by Elaine Beekman

When you run out of vocabulary
Out the window or from the porch
Yes, we'll do it, but no windows
A convert to the culture

Stories by Karen Chadbourne

Take a trip
Playing the fool
A hint for the shy language learner

Story by Lon Diehl

He can't understand, anyway!

Stories by Louise Diehl

Where are you going?
Dressing for the occasion
A circuit for success
A day at the park

Stories by Steve Echerd

Dinner talk
How do you want that cut?
Turning up the volume
Etched into our neural circuits
Watching the soaps
To talk, or not to talk?
Let the shoes shine
Treasure hunts
Required visitation
Now I can speak to you
Language of choice (the only choice): Tzeltal
The more you speak it, the faster you learn it
What's wrong with our baskets?
Village piano music
Completely surrounded

Stories by Ilene Foote

I've got to be me
Beware of direct translations
Where did all my Spanish go?
Yes, English is my mother tongue (tied)
A cookie for a word

Stories by Lisbeth Fritzell

Monolingual--like it or not!
What time do we go home?
What are you really trying to say?
We'll talk to you, but we won't teach you
Thank you for the story
Filling in the bosses' list
Explaining what they've never seen
Try to say that with a swollen tongue!
You can't say it that way!
Why didn't I ever hear that word before?
Speaking in all the wrong languages
Brain pain

Stories by Laura Gittlen

Text glossing
What did you say?
Family devotions

Stories by George Huttar

Trading languages
Using Dutch to learn Dutch
The good of going to church
Let's go to the zoo!
Ndjuka only, please!
Involvement is a must
What can you tell me about ...
Going solo
Put a picture with that word
Imprinted with a bump
On-site memory

Stories by Mary Huttar

To market, to market!
Radio surfing
One strike, you're out!
Learning it, then saying it
I'm stuck!
The silver lining
A little of this, a little of that

Stories by Ted Jones

Department of Redundancy department
The basket maker
Some things you've just got to memorize
Keeping a stiff upper lip
Learning the wrong thing
The mush mouth factor
Learning by hearing and seeing

Stories by Mildred Larson

Tell us a story!
Telling tales
Am I fluent, or are you accommodating me?
Sorting it out by sight
Time flies
Why does it keep coming out French?

Stories by Erin Lunsford

The words are right but everything's all wrong
Live dictionaries
'Cuz I said so!
You still don't know how to get there?
Living in cupboards
A traveler's phrase book for Russian
She's not giving up. We may as well help her.
Of bakeries and bread stores
Christmas Eve
The unwanted fountain of youth
By hook or by crook--getting language however you can
Was it something I said?
Run that by me again?

Story by Greg Lyons

The Listening approach

Stories by Melinda Lyons

What dialect do you speak?
Getting a head start
Feeling successful
Specialized vocabulary
Long names
Classifying books
Take a trip

Stories by Inga McKendry

Grammatically correct, but not culturally correct
Language and culture

Stories by an unnamed author

Buying meat
Shopping around
My Moore grandmother
The peanut lady

Stories by Mary Morgan

Your tongue doesn't match your face!
No baby talk, please!
Which language should I learn first?
A thing or two I've learned ...
Now, which language did I just use?
Oops, I got derailed!
Do it yourself grammar
The Good Book

Stories by Jennifer Munger

Being asked to complain
Fitting In
Learning from the kids
War stories

Stories by Dave O'Bar

Solving the world's problems
Master of ceremonies
The old folk's home
Throw fire in the bucket
Project bachhaus
Seeing is learning
A time to speak, and a time to be silent

Stories by Carol Orwig

Critical mass
You that man!
I hate mistakes!
When words don't matter
There's always somebody better than you
She doesn't understand
Ship ahoy!
Graduation day
Lazy Lips
Hot and cold food
What's interfering?
Don't they sound funny?
You'll never say these words wrong again!
Brussels lace
Unholy motivation
Pink and blue, mountains and goats
When is paper not paper?
Church in Ombessa
Sticks and stones
Maria la magnifica
Write me a letter
Ewondo kitchens
Language learning is child's play
The ice cream shop
Making dolls
Where there's a will, there's a way
Which way to the train station?
Your tortilla stinks
Snakes and skinned knees
One person, two personas?
Mama Anastasie
What happened to your Spanish?
I'm so glad you speak Italian
I feel stupid
An electrifying experience
The ferry to Finland
The Snoepwinkel
Figure it out!

Stories by Dave Persons

Basketball fiestas and town duty
Respect: How do you show it?
Is grunting better than Spanish?
The town drunks

Stories by Carolyn Rensch

No Spanish!
Speak to me, please
Watch out for that tone
Total immersion
Learning tone from text
Language on my mind
I don't want to insult you
I know those words, but what did you say?

Stories by Gary Simons

A banana by any other name

Stories by Wil Snyder

Break time
It's as simple as watching TV and reading
That's not quite how we say it

Stories by Nancy Sullivan

My first word
Soap operas
Pepper and green pepper
Buying bread and meat
Portuguese churches
A new mother
Counted cross-stitch
Hunting for ribbon
Towels with complications
Moms, maids, and children
How to excel
A conversation on a bus
Signing on the dotted line
Vocabulary building
Verb charts
Pablum or the pope?
I really don't speak Portuguese well!
While riding on a bus one day
Tenth time's a charm
There's got to be a word

Stories by Terry Sullivan

Take time for soccer
What's most important?
Portuguese newspapers

Stories by Jim Wheatley

Becoming like a child
Bits and pieces from Brazil
Nothing better than interaction
A tit for tat
A little kin goes a long way
A private place

Stories by Sandra Wimbish

Night fishing on Kao Bay
Hold this mike, and speak clearly
Choose well your friends and teachers
May I pick Your hair?
Slowly, and not too surely

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 21 March 1999

© 1999 SIL International