I’ve heard many times that starting a journal or blog in your target language is a good way to keep up the practice in the language you are learning. Many people even post videos of themselves speaking in their target languages on a variety of topics. A little over a year ago I decided to start a blog where I write a few essays and posted a couple 10 minute videos of me speaking in Italian, but only got through a few posts before I got busy doing other things.
Recently, while talking with a new language partner about remodeling a room in my house I had to explain what drywall was because she had never heard of such a thing (she is Italian, and in fact they do have “cartongesso”, it just must not be very common in her region) and when I said that there was an entire aisle in our hardware store devoted to these premade panels of plaster she said she really wanted to see that, which gave me a good idea:
Why not create videos about things you do and explain your culture in your target language while doing them or visiting culturally significant parts of your home city? I decided to make a video tour of a Home Depot in Italian for her, and then of a Best Buy. This last weekend at my “weekend vacation campground” I made a video on how to make smores. I plan on doing a Walmart soon.
I find this type of video making very different from just sitting and staring at a webcam because you are forced to interact somewhat with the environment while you are speaking, which makes it very fun. I think my Italian may suffer somewhat because I have to improvise a lot especially when something unexpected happens (like my dog knocking over a chair) but its great practice and I find it extremely liberating to interact with something while speaking and I’m sure its also more interesting for any native speakers watching the videos than just a talking head for a quarter hour.
In case you want to see what I am talking about or happen to be Italian I have posted them at my blog here: http://odierno.wordpress.com
Is anyone else doing this? If so can you let me know your experiences and perhaps suggest some ideas for videos to do in the future?