That blog thing – how did that go for ya?

So the time has come. We’re all backing our bags for our year abroad and submitting our last assignments in UL for another year and so comes to an close my language technology blog. Without reflection, we may never know what we have learned, so now that I’ve written my summative essay on my experience, I’ve decided to write a little note here as well.

I can’t deny that I’ve enjoyed writing this blog and may even consider continuing it. As other students have written on their blogs, there is something oddly nice about sitting down to write about yourself and your thoughts once a week.

I know I strayed from the lab tasks almost as often as I dealt directly with them throughout the semester but I think I struck a good balance between the lab tasks that interested me and other elements of language learning online that I thought could be useful for a reader. I hope that anyone who read my blog found something useful among my smatterings of opinions and experiences. I know I, for one, found many tips and tricks for language learning which I’ll take with me into the future.

À bientôt.

Is ICC a feature of fluency?

ICC is described as intercultural communicative competence which I understand to mean the ability to communicate effectively with somebody of another culture. Basically, to get your point across without offending anyone or sticking out as an obvious foreigner who hasn’t a clue.

Having reflected on this while writing my essay on this topic, I have concluded that a high level of ICC is most definitely a feature of fluency. While it’s a decent start, it is not enough to know vocabulary and verb endings and pronouns, you must know when and where to use them in conversation. Not in terms of how you would use them in English, put in terms of your target language. For example, some languages may be more polite than others and some more straight forward but if you mix them up, you could come across all wrong to a native speaker and there could be a break down in communication.

It’s these little things that take a language learner a little bit closer to that glory land – fluency.

Bloggers, Vloggers, Instagrammers and….language learning?


Youtubers are the new celebrities and beauty Vloggers and bloggers are among the most popular. Everyone knows the British youtuber Zoella, right? Since I have to admit to following far too many of these internet celebrities, I decided to set myself a challenge to find some similar content creators in my target languages, Irish and French.




For French I discovered Enjoy Phoenix (aka Marie) who is a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger and youtuber and she seems to be the most popular one in France from my research. Another is Safia Vendome, a french blogger who lives in Barcelona. Another is Safia’s friend Beaute Active (aka Caroline) who focuses more on fashion and is so far my personal favourite. All of these bloggers/vloggers put out the same type of videos and blog posts as their British and American counterparts just in a different language. Some, such as Horia actually use a fair bit of English, presumably drawing inspiration from the more successful English speakers and maybe hoping to draw in some English viewers as well. That particular blog/youtube channel is extremely similar to many of the channels of the younger Americans youtubers and so would be perfect to introduce to secondary school students.




Irish was significantly more difficult but I managed to find one blog and instagram account called Gaeilge le Glam. It was started by four friends from Galway earlier this year and is a nice follow for introducing some Gaeilge to your instagram feed.

For anyone who would already have read fashion and beauty blogs or watched the youtube videos in English anyway, then it’s definitely worth considering following similar people in your target languages. While reading the fashion blogs, I found I revised quite a lot of clothing terminology which definitely needed to be dusted off at the back of my brain. The topics covered in general tend to be universal and the casual nature of the spoken language can only be helpful in understanding the language outside of the classroom.


Some fun words I learned in French include:

Youtubeuse/Blogeuse = Youtuber, Blogger (feminine)

Un tuto = short for ‘tutorial’

Une tenue = an outfit, but more specifically a put-together outfit or ‘look’ that has been planned and thought out.

Se mettre en tenue = to dress up

Chelou = This is verlan for ‘louche’, which means sketchy and shady but one of the bloggers used it as ‘je suis chelou’ and explained unusual, bizarre and particular habits and facts about herself.

Une essayage = a trial. Similiarly, salon d’essayage is a fitting room.

Cocooning = a word borrowed from English which they seem to use for relaxing and chilling out at home.




Music – the language we all understand

Music is easily my favourite way to ‘study’ languages, and even though it can look and feel like procrastination or a distraction from real learning, it genuinely does train your ear. I don’t know how I’d learn languages without music and I don’t know how I’d find music in other languages without technology.

Here’s some of my fave French songs for people who don’t know what to listen to (shout out @ Laura)

First up, good ol’ Stromae of ‘Alors On Danse’ fame. Here’s one of his other famous songs which will get stuck in your head

This one puts me right back in 5th year when our whole class were obsessed with the easy listening pop music of Tal. A catchy and easy to understand one for beginners but Tal also has others I like such as ‘Sans un regard’ and ‘le passé’.

Another similar enough artist is Indila. This is her most famous song but there are other ones such as ‘Tourner dans le vide’ and ‘comme un bateau’ if you’re looking for more.

Moving on from the ones we studied at school, probably my favourite French artists at the minute are Fréro Delavega. This is my favourite song from them. I also really like ‘mon héroine ‘ and ‘il y a’.

Finally, the winner of The Voice from this year is worth looking at. His music has a country feel, he’s easy to understand and the songs are fairly catchy.



Other recommendations are anything by M.Pokora, ‘Toi + Moi’ by Gregoire, ‘Jour 1’ by Louane, something from Zaz for a more jazz feel or if rap is your thing then Maitre Gims and Black M have a decent selection of songs on offer. However, I prefer to stick to simpler songs just because it’s easier to understand the words and repeated listening allows you to understand the lyrics without even looking them up.

My personal favourites are probably Stromae and Fréro Delavega but I would encourage any language learner to listen to whatever type of music they enjoy in their target language.

What can I learn from concordancing?



Concordancing allows the user to view and analyse the words directly before and directly after a particular word. For example, today we researched the words ‘make’ and ‘do’ to investigate what words are used most frequently alongside these common verbs. It was useful in seeing how to differentiate between the two which could potentially be tricky for a language learner. The verb ‘faire’ encompasses both meanings in French so I can easily imagine the problems French learners of English may have.



Why no Gaeilge keyboard Apple?

Now, I know Irish is a ‘minority’ language (that is NOT a euphemism for dying by the way), but is it too much to ask that everything I type is not auto-corrected to English?

Being part of an Irish speaking group chat and trying not to reply to a message with some random English word that your phone auto-corrected which makes the sentence lose all meaning stuck in the middle of it is quite the struggle.

Every ‘ansin’ is corrected to ‘and in’ and every ‘ann’ is changed to ‘Ann’. This becomes quite funny when instead of saying ‘I’ll be there’ you end up saying ‘I’ll be Ann’.

Some other funny ones I’ve encountered recently include ‘Íosa Criost’ being corrected to ‘Iowa Cruise’ and ‘Nails are Claire’ instead of the name of our capital city.

I know I could just turn off auto-correct all together but my English may suffer. To make matters worse, I have a French keyboard as well which is similar to the English one but with some letters rearranged. So sometimes my English is auto-corrected to French or I type a random ‘w’ thinking I’ve gone onto the emoji keyboard.

Surely there’s a better way? Maybe I should just take more time when I’m typing…

Anyway, enough #firstworldproblems for one post.

There’s no ‘i’ in team (or ‘we’ either)

While exploring the corpus of English Journalistic writing on sport, I came across something interesting. While you often hear supporters referring to their team as ‘we’ or ‘us’, it appears journalists remain detached, even when they are writing in the Irish Independent or Irish Examiner about the Irish team. All of the results for the concordance of ‘we’ were quotes from management and players and not just general description or a match or analysis. Take a look for yourself.


Just something interesting I noted in my use of AntConc to analyse this corpus.