Rough Draft – Can I learn a Language?

To me, foreign languages are not only one of my favorite subjects; they are a genuine interest that I spend my free time on. While many kids feel the same as I do, others find no interest or dislike studying foreign languages. Some go as far as to say they don’t think they can, or that it’s too difficult to learn. Here in Washington State, kids to take two years of a language as a requirement in high school. I thought this would be a new subject which I could make a vox populi style track for. As a bonus, I was able to interview a teacher of the Japanese language here at WSU.
I wanted to make it seem like an opinion or more personal, so I decided to keep each of their names at the beginning. Additionally, this helped discern voices. The most significant design element is repetition, which helps add a sense of flow to the audio. All of the clips were recording on my smartphone, and then I made liberal use of the razor tool to get what I was looking for. The biggest technical difficulty I found was editing the people who spoke faster, using some fading effects and by leaving myself with some white noise before a response, I was able to get it to sound decent. One trick worth mentioning for outdoor interviews is noise prints. By capturing a noise print of white noise, you can remove some of it by using the sound print noise reduction under effects. This was helpful for a particular interview which had people talking and cheering in the background.
To me, this project is very important to my topic. 60% of all people interviewed said they felt bad or incapable of learning a language, and 40% of the students interviewed said their lack of ability ruined their enjoyment of learning a language. My goal for this blog is to help show the less intimidating side of languages, and this is a worry I hear so often when discussing languages. Of course it can be challenging, but it’s not that you’re incapable. Everyone can learn a language, if they want to and are willing to put in the effort to. And even then, once the majority of people started answering that way, I feel like people may be too hard on themselves with this topic. When I asked the students who were still learning a language why they continued it, all of them answered that being able to communicate with new people and the moment when the hard work pays off and something begins to make sense for you made the work worth it, even the ones who said they weren’t good at it. I hope that maybe this can help show someone who thinks they are unable to learn a language that it’s not about can or can’t, and that everyone struggles with the subject
Only one non-original content was used, which was La ville aux ponts suspendus by Komiku. I love this track, it’s so soothing yet engaging. I feel it not only helped mask the noise but also displayed the laid back tone I tried to have in the interviews. The song is public domain, and can be found on FMA:

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Komiku/A_Monplaisir_Best-Of__Lets_hear_that_crap/Komiku_-_A_Monplaisir_Best-of__Lets_here_that_crap_-_14_La_ville_aux_ponts_suspendus

All interview clips were recorded and used with recorded permission of the people.

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4 thoughts on “Rough Draft – Can I learn a Language?

  1. I found your audio story very well done and interesting to listen to. As someone who also finds foreign languages interesting, I really enjoyed your interviews. I thought the background music was a great touch, although I think the audio from the music and the voices could differ slightly more just to maintain the ability to clearly hear the interviews. But for the most part, I could hear the voices well, I just felt at times it was difficult to hear. I enjoyed how you introduced everyone you were interviewing in the very beginning all at once in a list form. I kept it interesting and made me want to keep listening. There is plenty of information given in the video so it is able to attain the listeners’ attention which is another positive attribute I would give your project. Overall I really enjoyed your audio and think the final draft will be even better.

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  2. I ran into the time limit fast for this project. I meant to originally have a voice clip of my own which would explain the audio story a little better, but it was cut due to time restraints, luckily, I feel like the story is self-explanatory enough anyways. Looking at feedback, I will take another look at the audio levels between the voice clips and the music. I wasn’t working on my personal computer like I normally do, so I can imagine I might have screwed up with the audio at a few places. Some additions I hope to make are clearing up some of the lower quality audio clips along with maybe swapping out one or two of the interviews with more clips from the remaining or maybe a voice clip from myself.

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  3. I really liked your audio and the fact that you added music to the background it wasn’t too loud or too quiet to hear. I really liked your interview style while it was a wide variety of people and a lot of different answers that felt very authentic. The best part also was that it didn’t feel forced the people seemed like they had fun with the interview as well. My only suggestion would be to cut off some of the beginning so that it wouldn’t have the random noises in the beginning.

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  4. You’ve got a really great start to your project Chase. I love how you utilized so many different voices across the campus to add depth to your interview process and really give the listener a chance to hear the different perspectives on what Washington State University students think about foreign language. From what I heard, there isn’t a ton of improvement to be made however you might consider a couple different things. First of all, you could add a short introductory at the beginning of your audio story explaining how you are going to interview people on what they think about foreign language and whether or not they are taking language courses at the university. I also noticed that in some of the audio clips there was a little bit of muffling and background noise. You might try looking up how to reduce that. Other than those couple of notes, I think your story sounds great!

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