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    Learning spanish part 9 learning spanish through cultural immersion

     

    In my last article I talked a little bit about the benefits of learning about Spanish / Latin American culture and how it can help you with your Spanish language studies. I then went on to talk about my early experiences of trying to communicate in Spanish to the locals of Tijuana in Mexico. It was at this point that I realised that learning Spanish was probably going to take a lot longer and require more effort than I had previously anticipated! In this article I want to talk about the benefits of learning Spanish through direct exposure with native Spanish speaking people. If you had to, you could probably learn the Spanish language without ever picking up a Spanish textbook! It might take a very very long time but eventually through direct contact and social interaction with other people who already speak the language it could be done. The basic human desire to communicate would prevail. Learning Spanish through mimicking how someone else speaks the language will mean that you end up speaking Spanish in exactly the same way as they do! On the whole this might not be a bad thing but you don’t want to pick up any bad language habits or speak in an incomprehensible accent. On the other hand you do want, to be able to understand what native Spanish speaking people are saying and you also want them, to be able to understand what you are saying! In this sense a little bit of mimicking is probably a good thing. Not being understood is a common frustration that many students suffer when trying to communicate with native speakers of Spanish. A lot of the time the Spanish spoken may be 100% grammatically correct and yet people still do not seem to understand it. This may be because the Spanish is spoken in an accent that is completely foreign! Trying to communicate to a native speaker of Spanish, wherever it might be in the world makes you realise just how important pronunciation is! Not only do you need to know new Spanish words, you must also make sure that you know how to pronounce them correctly. I mentioned in one of my early articles how important it is to routinely do this early on in your studies. Of course if you are in another country and people don’t understand you, this will force you, and therefore train you, to speak clearly and correctly right from the start! As I travelled through Mexico I really tried to speak to as many locals as I possibly could. Don’t shy away from communication in Spanish just because you know it is going to be a struggle. The more practical experience you can gain from both speaking and listening the better. My early conversations with people were only very basic ones. Mainly because if I attempted to show someone that my level of Spanish was better then it really was then I knew I would be shooting myself in the foot. If people think you can communicate well, then they are far less likely to make an effort to speak slowly and clearly. In the beginning this is exactly what you need people to do! Typical conversations that I would have with people were mostly about asking for things in a shop or restaurant, asking for directions to a place I wanted to visit or talking about journeys. Immersing myself in the country I was in meant I had to talk about these things just to survive. They were also the types of conversations that were short and not very complicated! I would prepare myself for the entire experience before hand. I knew exactly what I was going to say before saying it and I knew what types of answers I was likely to get from people. A lot of the time I would deliberately ask people questions that I already knew the answers to, just to see if they would understand what I was saying and whether or not they would give me the answer that I was expecting. I would also ask the same question to lots of different people to see if they would reply in the same way. Then I would try and get the same information out of other people but I asking the same question in a slightly different way. The great thing about asking different types of questions is that you only have to alter them slightly to be able to adapt them to another completely different type of situation. A lot of the time I didn’t understand the answers to many of my questions but at least this gave me the opportunity to ask the person I was speaking to, to repeat what they had said. Even if I had understood what someone had said I would sometimes deliberately ask him or her to repeat it just for practice! This type of practical exposure is a great way of getting yourself started. It not only gives you first hand practical speaking and listening experience but it also builds your confidence in preparation for more complicated conversations that you will have as time progresses. Exposing yourself to native Spanish speakers is also great because it shows you that the Spanish you are learning actually works. You can use it and people understand it. This acts as a great confidence booster and gives you added incentive to improve and better yourself. In total I spent about a month in Mexico and after a while I was able to have very basic conversations with people. A lot of what I said to people was in broken Spanish however. At this point I wasn’t really able to structure my sentences properly and I knew that I was saying things that were grammatically incorrect. One of my biggest problems was that I was trying to structure sentences in the same way that I would have structured them in English and a lot of the time it simply didn’t work! It was at this point that I decided it was time to get back to some serious studying. I needed to learn more about Spanish grammar. Being able to communicate in broken Spanish was a good start but I wanted to do much better! In my next article I want to talk about some of my experiences at a Spanish language school I went to in Antigua, Guatemala.

         
    Learning spanish part 10 the benefits of attending spanish classes instead of self study

     

    There is no reason why anybody shouldn’t be able to learn Spanish by themselves without having to attend language classes or take private lessons. There are certainly ample learning resources in the form of textbooks or online material that can guide you through the entire learning experience. The question is which method of learning works best for you! In this article I explain why I decided to attend classes at a Spanish school in Guatemala even though I had previously studied most of the material they were about to cover via some form of self-study! After spending about a month or so in Mexico I decided it was time to head further South into Guatemala via Belize. Mexico was my first experience of being in a Spanish speaking country and trying to communicate using the Spanish I had learnt from a text book back in the UK. Not only was the Spanish I learnt in Mexico invaluable but the entire experience taught me a lot about different learning methods and in particular the benefits of learning via cultural immersion. Although I had done some previous self-study in the UK one of the biggest problems I encountered when trying to communicate in Spanish in Mexico was not knowing enough vocabulary and not being able to structure my sentences properly. I was putting words together but in the wrong order or I was using verbs in the completely wrong tense, or just using a verb in its infinitive form because I didn’t know any better! These are some of the reasons why I decided that I needed to do some repeat studying. I basically felt that I had forgotten a lot of the things I had previously studied! This type of problem is of course a very common one. Nobody can be expected to learn and retain absolutely everything they have studied. To forget things is completely normal! There are many reasons why we might forget the things we learn. Many of these reasons stem from bad learning techniques. I talked about some of these things in more detail in an earlier article, but generally speaking using a variety of techniques (written, oral and listening), and using different types of quizzes and exercises generally works better than just reading from a textbook. One of the things I could have done was to spend more time each day by myself with my head in a book going over Spanish grammar and trying to learn and remember more Spanish words. Even though I could have used a number of different techniques to best achieve this, the idea still wasn’t very appealing! Something that was much more appealing and logical, especially as I was already immersing myself in Latin American culture was to attend classes at a Spanish school run by local Spanish speaking teachers. I am not suggesting that attending language classes will work better than self-study. As I said before this really depends on the individual! There are however some real benefits of having someone teach you Spanish face to face rather than trying to learn entirely by yourself. The obvious advantage of being taught by a real person is that a person can talk back to you and answer your questions if you don’t understand something. A real teacher can explain things in more than one way or in a way that makes you understand better. Textbooks cannot change the way they explain things based on who it is that is reading the book! Another great advantage of being taught by a real person is that you can put what you have learnt, into practice immediately. You can get instant feedback on whether or not you have understood something correctly. Although it is not essential, being taught by a teacher that is a native speaker of Spanish can also be an advantage! This isn’t because they will necessarily know more, or be better teachers. Actually it is often the opposite! Native speakers of Spanish might know less. They can tell you how the language should be spoken without thinking about it but they might not be able to explain to you why it is spoken in the way that it is! This is because they don’t need to understand the grammar that underpins the language. They just speak it naturally! Of course any good Spanish teacher whether a native speaker or not should be able to teach you Spanish grammar. Being taught by a native Spanish speaking teacher means you can practice listening to how the language is actually spoken! Listening is a very important part of the entire study process and the more accustomed you get to hearing real Spanish the better. The Spanish language school I decided to go to was situated in Antigua, Guatemala. My choice of school was dictated by location more than anything. It was the obvious choice after leaving Mexico! I had read that not only was Antigua a good place to study Spanish but it also offered a rich colonial history and was surrounded by several volcanoes, one of which (Pacaya), was continually active and could be visited via a guided tour. Antigua is home to a number of different well-established Spanish schools that are geared towards teaching Spanish to foreigners. The specific school that I chose in the end was larger than some of the others and was able to provide accommodation and different guided tours as part of the entire study package.

         
    Learning spanish part 12 conversational spanish lessons

     

    In my last article I wrote about the elements of Spanish grammar that my personal tutor and I went over during the Spanish lessons I took whilst in Antigua, Guatemala. In this article I want to talk about the conversational lessons that I attended at the same school. During my two weeks at the school I spent Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 12.00pm studying Spanish grammar on a one to one basis with my tutor. The afternoons were devoted to different kinds of conversational lessons. These included talking in Spanish with various different tutors on a one to one basis, participating in group conversations and playing different types of word games. Conversational lessons benefit the student in a number of different ways. In my case having conversational lessons each afternoon gave me the opportunity to put into practice the Spanish grammar that I had learnt during that morning. It is always a good thing to try and practice any new Spanish you have learnt, straight away while it is still fresh in your head. You might want to think about constructing certain types of typical sentences that help you remember different aspects of Spanish grammar better. Speaking, listening and becoming accustomed to spoken Spanish is an essential part of the learning process and of course, having a conversation with someone allows you to do all of these things at the same time. When you first start to have conversations with people in Spanish you will probably find the whole experience quite gruelling, especially if your vocabulary is limited! This is completely normal. Don’t forget that you are used to speaking in your first language every single day without even thinking about it and to suddenly change this habitual action is no easy task! The thing is that you have to keep practicing. It is like anything, the more you practice the better you become. One of the great benefits of having conversational lessons is that you can take as long as is required to have the actual conversation, plus, your teacher can make sure you are speaking correctly. In real life situations this is often very difficult if not impossible to achieve. Often people will not have the patience to wait while you try to get your words out or not bother to correct you if you say something that isn’t quite grammatically correct. The types of conversations that you can have in order to practice your Spanish are endless, which means you can practice using all aspects of Spanish grammar and a full range of vocabulary. To practice different verb tenses for example you can talk about things in the present, past and future or you could practice describing what certain objects look like if you just want to focus on specific vocabulary. You can talk about yourself, you can talk about events in your life, you can practice describing things, asking and responding to different types of questions, you can talk about different experiences you have had, about things you would like to do, about the things you do and don’t like. The list really is endless! When I was attending conversational classes in Guatemala I did however, sometimes get a little board and frustrated. I think this was mainly because I couldn’t speak quickly enough, didn’t know enough vocabulary and always had to think about what I was going to say before saying it. Also I was having the same types of conversations over and over again and couldn’t really talk about anything in great detail. In order to prevent or lessen these types of annoyances the school provided group conversational lessons and encouraged the students to play different types of word games such as ‘hang man’ or ‘what am I’. There is no point in doing any kind of study if you are not enjoying it or if you start becoming board. Varying the different types of learning activities is a good way of preventing this from happening. Playing word games are also a good way of breaking up your study routine but in a way that still allows you to practice your Spanish. Group conversations can help build your speaking confidence and listening to other students speaking Spanish can be quite reassuring. You realise that other people are in the same boat as you and you can also use the experience to test whether you think someone has said something correctly or not. Making the learning experience an enjoyable one is important and to help achieve this the school I went to in Guatemala arranged different group activities after lessons. Some of these included visiting a local coffee plantation, going on a bike ride and going out for a meal. Getting involved in social activities is not only fun but it also allows you to practice your Spanish in less formal and natural environments. In my next article I intend to write about ‘home stays’. When I was studying at a school in Antigua, Guatemala the school arranged for me to live with a local family for two weeks. I will discuss in what ways this type of culture immersion helped me to learn more Spanish and practice the Spanish I already knew.

         
    Learning spanish part 13 the homestay experience living with a local family

     

    Often when travellers or students visit countries within Central and South America with the intention of learning Spanish, they will often immerse themselves in the language and local culture by living with a local family whilst taking lessons at a Spanish school. This is what is known as a ‘homestay’. ‘Homestays’ can be very beneficial for students. They give the student the opportunity to interact and communicate with native Spanish speaking people in a completely natural environment. It provides a continuous forum in which to practice speaking Spanish and to practice listening to it. Not only this but it gives the student great insight into local culture and ways of life. From my own experiences I would highly recommend ‘homestays’. I stayed with a local family in Antigua, Guatemala for two weeks whilst studying at a local school. I had my own room and was made to feel like one of the family for my entire stay. One of the best things for me was that nobody in the family could speak a word of English. I was forced into speaking Spanish all the time. Back then my level of Spanish wasn’t great but I still managed to communicate well enough. Being forced into a situation where you have to communicate in only Spanish can act as a stimulus to the entire learning process. The desire to be understood encourages learning! The family I stayed with were very accommodating and were more than happy to converse with me and include me in the normal family activities of the normal day. I would sit down with the family at breakfast, lunch and dinner and would often sit around the table in the evening talking or simply watching TV. One of the benefits of combining Spanish classes with a ‘homestay’ is that you can practice or test out the things you might have learnt during that day with the family you are staying with. I would deliberately try to include new words, or specific bits of Spanish grammar into conversations I was having with the family. Often they would correct me or suggest other ways of saying what I was trying to get across to them. Living with a native Spanish speaking family gives the student great exposure to the Spanish language as it is spoken in that particular region of the world. I have said many times before in previous articles that the more listening practice that the student can get the better. The act of listening intently for long periods of time can actually be quite gruelling but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Your brain will slowly but surely become accustomed to hearing and interpreting Spanish sounds. I talk much more about listening techniques in a later lesson. Being in a family environment also gives the student exposure that is completely natural. Conversations that are had around the breakfast table for example are those that any family might have and are therefore completely relevant. The conversations you might have in any one typical day could probably fill an entire textbook of made up role-play exercises. The day will be crammed with continual practice and the best thing is that it wont even feel like studying! The size of the family you decide to live with will also dictate to some extent the types of conversations you might have. It is a good idea to immerse yourself in a larger family unit if possible and one that has children. The more people you can talk to the better. I remember one afternoon sitting down with the 9 year old daughter of the family I stayed with watching ‘Scooby Doo’ on the TV in Spanish. I had a lengthy conversation as best as I could with her about cartoons and which ones were my favourites and why. It isn’t often you would get to talk about something like that! Because my ‘homestay’ family included me in pretty much everything they did they also invited me on a night out. It was the mother’s birthday and we celebrated it by first having a traditional meal at home and then going to some bars and finally a club. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. Although I didn’t really think about it at the time it was another example of a completely natural situation where I could practice speaking Spanish. After the two weeks were up I really felt that I had bonded with my family and I know I my Spanish benefited from it enormously. I felt more confident when speaking to people from then on and the combination of lessons and family living really helped to improve my overall level of Spanish. It really was a great adventure and an entirely worthy experience in every way. If you are looking for a complete cultural immersion experience then I would highly recommend a ‘homestay’. In this article I have said how important it is to practice listening to spoken Spanish. The more listening you do the better. Joining a ‘homestay’ program is certainly one way in which you can achieve this. In my next article I discuss in more detail different listening techniques and how you can benefit from them.

         
    Learning spanish and the verb gustar

     

    If there’s one verb that gave me a lot of trouble when I first started learning Spanish grammar that verb was “gustar.” Many of the Spanish lessons and Spanish classes that I took in order to learn Spanish only confused me even more about the use of “gustar.” “Gustar” means “to be pleasing to” or “to find pleasant.” But in many instances, Spanish speakers use it the same way that we use the verb “to like.” For example, in Spanish you don’t literally say: “I like the dog.” In Spanish you would say: “Me gusta el perro”. That literally means “the dog is pleasing to me.” Actually, it means “it pleases me the dog.” It may sound strange to your English-hearing ears. But you will get used to it. Let’s try it. I like the house. Me gusta la casa. I don’t like the car. No me gusta el carro. You like the table. Te gusta la mesa. He likes the screen/monitor. Le gusta la pantalla. We like the bridge. Nos gusta el puente. They like to lie. Les gusta mentir. If you want to say “I like the dogs,” a couple of changes have to take place. Can you guess what those changes are? Of course dog (“perro”) must now become plural (“perros”). But the article (“el”) must also become plural (“los”). And the verb must change from third person singular (“gusta”) to third person plural (“gustan”). Let’s try it: I like the dogs. Me gustan los perros. You like the lakes Te gustan los lagos. She likes the streams Le gustan los arroyos. We like the rivers. Nos gustan los rнos. They like the waterfalls. Les gustan las cataratas. The following is the manner that we add clarity or emphasis, or mention the name of the person or persons that the object is pleasing to. A Carlos le gusta nadar. Carlos likes to swim. A mн me gusta la playa. I like the beach. A ti te gusta la orilla del mar. You like the seashore. The boys like the forest. A los chicos les gusta el bosque. They like the pool. A ellos les gusta la piscina. There are quite a few verbs in Spanish that follow the same construction as the verb “gustar.” Here are just a few. Importar (to be important to) Interesar (to be interesting to) Faltar (to be lacking to) Molestar (to bother or to annoy – note that this word does not mean to “molest”) Encantar (to like) I have also been confused about when to use “gustar.” Despite what the textbooks say, you can use “gustar” to indicate that you like someone as in “being physically attractive to someone.” For example, Tъ me gustas. I like you. Me gusta Carmen. I like Carmen. But if you want to say that you like someone as in “I get along well with (name),” there’s a different way to say it. Me cae bien Carmen. I like Carmen or I get along well with Carmen. Literally, it means “Carmen falls well on me.” No me cae bien Marнa. I don’t like Marнa or I don’t get along well with Marнa. No me caes bien tъ, Or, Tъ no me caes bien. I don’t get along well with you. Let’s do a few exercises with “gustar.” Translate the following sentences adding emphasis on the person or persons that the object is pleasing to. The answers appear below. 1. I like the cats. 2. You like the wedding. (Add emphasis to “you” using the familiar form of “you.”) 3. Joseph likes the building. 4. We like the shirts. 5. All of you like the insects. (Add emphasis to “all of you”) Answers: 1. A mн me gustan los gatos. 2. A ti te gusta la boda. 3. A Josй le gusta el edificio. 4. A nosotros nos gustan las camisas. 5. A ustedes les gustan los insectos.

         
    Learning spanish the benefits of multilingualism

     

    So you’ve decided to learn a language – good for you! This is a great hobby that gives real results that you can use in your everyday life, whether you are planning a vacation, or want to add diversity to your resume. And with over three hundred and fifty million people in the world speaking Spanish, what better language could there be to learn? With twenty-five countries in the world speaking the language as their official or primary language, learning Spanish makes sense. While acquiring any language as a second one has many benefits, such as improving memory and problem-solving abilities, enhancing one’s ability in any mother tongue and improving self-esteem, choosing a language that has huge practical applications increases the value of the study involved. With the US being the third largest Spanish speaking country in the world, and this language second only to English in the frequency it is spoken in homes, learning Spanish is a wise choice. Whether Spanish is learned as part of a school curriculum or taken up in later life, the benefits of gaining an understanding of this language in particular are manifold. A knowledge of Spanish can afford an important edge in today’s competitive job markets, particularly as an increasing number of corporations are opening offices in South America. The NAFTA treaty signed by the USA, Canada and Mexico has also increased trade and communications between these three nations, making an understanding of the Spanish language more useful than ever in the work place. Studying Spanish is also valuable in providing enrichment at a personal level, as the countries in which the language is spoken offer a multi-layered cultural heritage that can be best explored through its native tongue. Many literary masterpieces were written by Spanish authors, and can be enjoyed to their full extent in their original language. An understanding of the Spanish language also cultivates the desire to travel to foreign lands, opening up new and fascinating worlds to the student. Learning Spanish can open up so many avenues of exploration, from those in the business world to more personal paths of discovery. Enhance your understanding of the world around you by learning about the linguistic heritage of another culture, and see the world you live in as never before.

         
    Learning styles and their effect on language learning

     

    Note: This article makes special reference to the effect of learning syles in the learning of Spanish but the principles are valid for all language learning. ЎLEER ES PODER! ЎLearning Spanish! How can you best learn Spanish? It depends on your particular approach to learning. Take a look at the following approaches to learning Spanish. But if you already know where you are, you can skip the following reflections and go back to see what is available for your level ( beginning, intermediate, or advanced ) in Spanish, to sort and search for your specific needs, as well as to read reviews and summaries of the books that strike your interest. DIFFERENT STYLES Non-Virgins: Those who studied another language should use the skills they acquired with that language. They know what a conjugation is. They know that verbs are different from nouns. Their previous study gives them some mental hooks to help with their Spanish. They should not throw away their advantage by working on Spanish in a completely conversational manner. They should try to get an overview of some commonplaces in the language. They should get an "old fashioned" grammar and lean heavily on the tables to organize their thought. This type of learner should "invent" Spanish on the basis of what they know of the other language. They will remember a little of the structure of the other language. For example, what is the relation between adverbs and adjectives in Spanish? What is the most common way to express what happened yesterday (past tense)? If the other language is a Western language, they should observe the possible similarities. If the other language is non-Western, the very differences can be their starting point to learn the counterparts in Spanish. In short, they should study "the wrong way". This is not for everyone. The learner should know his or herself. Brains: These folks will operate much like the Non-Virgins. They will progress better by concentrating on the little points that intrigue them such as the difference in usage between the prepositions "por" and "para" and the verbs "ser" and "estar". To master one or two of these elements so characteristic of Spanish will help the learn build on their conquests to go on to master other things. This analytical approach will be of great utility to the persons with the cerebral learning style. Motor Mouths: The persons who are not afraid to try out their Spanish will progress very rapidly. These folks probably have a little genetic edge over the rest of us. However, we all should try to put together the pieces as we learn them. If there is no opportunity to talk with someone else, then we can tape our attempts. There are two parts to this early talking practice: confidence and pronunciation. The most important thing is to gain confidence or to be thick-skinned enough to speak your piece, knowing that the exercise will pay dividends. However, we should not put off working on our pronunciation until it is too late and we have given up on acquiring a valid accent. There are too many people who after living years in a Spanish speaking country are perfect in their grammar but who have a typical or even stereotypical English accent. There is no need for that. Spanish is perfectly regular in its phonetics. Motor mouths should also work on their accent! People People: Anyone who likes being with people and who has a need to communicate will progress quickly in learning a language. Many outgoing, friendly people learn language in the "motor mouth" mode. However, other people without the gifts of the motor mouths can gain valuable exposure to the language by just following their social instincts. These folks, however, should not overlook the need to speak correctly. Although they are not interested in traditional grammar in the same way the "brains" are, they must work at speaking correctly. We all know people who learned English years ago, but still say things like, "I am interested to go with you". You don't want to spend your life in Spanish with a similar easily corrected error. Learn it right as soon as you can. The people people have to stay curious about the language. Learn-while-doing People: I was told once that the only way to learn French was to sleep with a French woman. The idea behind this is that we learn the expressions and words for the activities we are interested in. People who learn like this try to get their Spanish-speaking friends to accompany them as they cook or fix their car. They find that they learn better when their whole body is involved in learning the new words and phrases. For example, the person who learns the word "serrucho" while sawing a board will remember it better than the person (see the "word collector") who just learns the vocabulary from a list. Word Collectors: This person may be great at crossword puzzles (Crucigramas) in Spanish but rarely gets to speak it. If you find yourself learning words and not getting any further, break out of it! We once had a houseguest, a young man from Spain who came to learn English. There were times when our family would be talking Spanish, and he would echo all the Spanish words with their English equivalents. He had a great vocabulary but never got around to talking English. This kind of learner should alway make sure that they make up sentences to practice using the new words they learn. They can combine their ability with vocabulary with the "divide and conquer" tactic. They should not only invent sentences to use the new words; they should run through diferent grammatical constructions as the setting for their vocabulary. Divide and Conquer People: Every learner of a foreign language has to learn to incorporate the learning style of dividing and conquering into their own style. If they are "brains" they should concentrate on one grammatical turn of phrase, such as conditions contrary to fact, (If my grandfather hadn't died, he'd be alive today!) until they can handle it. The people people should repeat in the same conversation the new expression that they just heard. The same goes for all the others. The only way to learn a language is by following the "swiss cheese" method, nibble away at the things you don't know, and master them until they are all gone. Lost Latinos: This person should try to remember the nursery rhymes that they might have learned in Spanish. They should run over the names of their cousins and uncles. All of this will loosen up their rusty language skills. They should listen to how others speak "spanglish" and try to figure out the proper way to say things. They should make a game of trying to spot the influence of English in the Spanish they hear at home or in the barrio. This detective work will make them more aware of correcting whatever bad habits they have picked up. However, don't think that these persons have all the advantages. The person learning from scratch will probably spell Spanish words better than those who know a little Spanish. I'm not sure why. What works for EVERYONE... There are two activities that will help everyone, no matter what their learning style, move forward rapidly: They are: 1. Passive Listening, and 2. Pattern Response Drills. 1. Passive Listening. Everyone should keep the Spanish radio on as much as possible. Keep the radio or TV on while you doing other things. It has to be the sea of sound that you swim in while you are beginning your study of Spanish. You don't have to concentrate on it; you are not listening to try to understand. After a while you won't hear it but it will be affecting you. Little by little you will begin to anticipate the rhythm of the language, even before you understand everything. You will also begin to recognize certain words. You will begin to hear "beyond" the differences in pronunciation of different people and recognize the underlying word. Once you clearly hear a word or phrase, you can look it up and progressively expand your vocabulary. 2. Pattern Response Drills. You have to run through all the permutations of the new expressions that you learn. For example, suppose you just learned to say. "Pedro tiene cuatro aсos" rather than translating from the English incorrectly, "Pedro es cuatro". Now to make this new element of the language stick with you, you should go on substituting different ages and the names of different people. You have to be able to say comfortably, "Marнa tiene cuatro aсos." "Juan tiene ocho aсos." "Yo tengo treinta aсos." "їCuбntos aсos tienes tъ?" "Nosotros tenemos cuarenta aсos." This type of drill is necessary for all the different learning styles. Do you want to return to look at beginning ; intermediate , or advanced books? Or you can check out other Books ON Spanish at: bookslibros/spanishbooks. php to help you out. Or do you want to see our books IN Spanish? You will find books on health, the family, self help, literature, etc. and the possibility to search for any other topic. Check out bookslibros/LibrosEnEspanol. php Kids Can Learn Spanish! Take a look at: bookslibros/SpanishForNinos. htm

         
    Learning the arabic language

     

    The Arabic language is an ancient tongue that dates back to earlier than the 6th century. It is a language steeped in history, and shrouded in mystery. Today, the Arabic language is the 5th most spoken language on the planet, and it is the official language in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. If you are interested in the study of ancient Near Eastern history, modern Middle Eastern history, religion, or foreign language, learning the Arabic language will help you in your academic pursuits. There are several ways you can go about learning how to read, write, and speak Arabic. If you feel that you should learn the Arabic language for academic reasons, you have options. You can attend a college or University, and earn your degree in Arabic. You could also choose to minor in the language, which will supplement your education if you earn a degree in religion, history, archaeology, or even art history. A degree or a minor in Arabic will help you to translate ancient documents and literature, which will give you wonderful research capabilities. If you do receive your degree in Arabic, you will be highly knowledgeable in a very formal dialect of the language, both written and conversationally. Also, if you have military aspirations, knowing how to communicate in Arabic would be useful, given today's military climate. If you have plans to travel extensively to an Arabic speaking country such as Egypt or Morocco, consider taking accelerated foreign language courses online before you go. By learning the basics of a foreign language, you show that you are culturally sensitive and genuinely interested in the country by learning to communicate with locals in their native tongue. You won't look “touristy” by carrying a book or stumbling through questions to local residents, and you will have a greater appreciation for the culture you are experiencing on your travels. Your travels will be more enjoyable, exciting, and educational. There are several advantages to learning how to read and speak the Arabic language through an online accelerated course. You will find that doing so via the Internet is very convenient. And your studies won't interfere with your work and personal commitments. Often, courses are completed at your own pace, with no set class times. You can study Arabic from the comforts of home. All of your work is submitted online, and you will find many opportunities to interact with qualified instructors if you have questions. You will find that the fees for enrolling in an online Arabic language course are reasonable as well. Whether you are a student of ancient history, religion, or archaeology and you feel that learning the Arabic language will give you a leg up in carrying out your research, or you are making plans to travel to an Arabic speaking country like Egypt or Morocco in the near future and want to be able to ask where the bathroom is or order dinner from the menu in their language, you have options as to how to learn the language. By studying Arabic at a college or University, you will gain a complete knowledge of reading formal Arabic, which will undoubtedly assist you in your academic research. By taking an online course in Arabic, you will be able to quickly and conveniently learn the basics of the language, which will make your travels abroad less stressful, and more enjoyable. Taking the time to learn the Arabic language will allow you to immerse yourself into an interesting new culture, perhaps help to change a few stereotypes, enhance your travels, and supplement your academic pursuits.

         
    Learning the russian language

     

    : The Russian language is the most commonly spoken language in Europe. It is a Slavic language whose roots can be traced to Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. Though not as internationally prominent as its days as the official language of the former Soviet Union, it is still the official language of such countries as Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Russian is a language of dignity, but can seem intimidating to learn. If you have considered learning a second language, the Russian language will prove to be a challenging yet rewarding achievement. As a student of the Russian language, you have several alternatives by which you can learn it. If you choose to study Russian at the college level, and receive your degree in it, you will acquire an expertise in the language that can provide you with several career opportunities. With a degree in Russian, one career option for you is as a foreign language translator. Foreign language translation firms employ people who are fluent in many different languages, including Russian. Coupled with knowledge in another field (such as law or medicine), you would have the opportunity to work to bridge the gap between English-speaking and Russian-speaking business contacts by translating websites and documents for them. Another career opportunity would be as a teacher of English as a second language in a Russian-speaking country. After receiving your teaching certification, you could work for a language school in Russia teaching students how to speak, read, and write English. With a solid knowledge of Russian, you would be able to work and live alongside native Russian speakers with ease. If you are interested in learning the Russian language for travel purposes, you can opt to enroll in an accelerated course online. You can learn basic Russian at your own pace, and you will feel more comfortable when you travel to Russian speaking countries if you know how to communicate you basic needs (such as asking for directions) to Russian residents. If you have the time and the financial resources, another option is to learn the Russian language by enrolling in an immersion program in Russia. An immersion program lasts anywhere from two to six weeks. By doing this, you will not only learn the Russian language, but you will also experience the Russian way of life. You will become part of the life and culture, and you will learn the language quickly, despite your uncertainties. Through intensive group and individual training, you will learn the conversational and colloquial styles of Russian. You will interact on a daily basis with people who are native speakers of the Russian language, and you will have no choice but to communicate with them in their native tongue. You will be captivated by the everyday life of Moscow or St. Petersburg. You will grow to understand and appreciate the Russian culture: the history, the art, the culture (the ballet!), the architecture, the food, and the people. You will attend courses in which you will learn the Russian alphabet, and learn how to read and write in Russian as well. Learning the Russian language in an immersion program is an exciting way to broaden you horizons and vacation all at the same time. By learning to speak, read, and write the Russian language, you have the potential to one day embark on a career as a foreign language translator, providing an invaluable service to global corporations. You can live abroad and teach English to Russian students, while experiencing a new culture. Learning Russian will make you a more sophisticated traveler as well. You will be able to show more appreciation, and enjoy the Russian culture more when you can communicate with the residents. By learning the Russian language, you have the knowledge of another language, another history, another culture, and your scope of the world will be broadened just a little bit more. Russian Language

         
    Learning the russian language today

     

    The Russian language is the most commonly spoken language in Europe. It is a Slavic language whose roots can be traced to Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. Though not as internationally prominent as its days as the official language of the former Soviet Union, it is still the official language of such countries as Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Russian is a language of dignity, but can seem intimidating to learn. If you have considered learning a second language, the Russian language will prove to be a challenging yet rewarding achievement. As a student of the Russian language, you have several alternatives by which you can learn it. If you choose to study Russian at the college level, and receive your degree in it, you will acquire an expertise in the language that can provide you with several career opportunities. With a degree in Russian, one career option for you is as a foreign language translator. Foreign language translation firms employ people who are fluent in many different languages, including Russian. Coupled with knowledge in another field (such as law or medicine), you would have the opportunity to work to bridge the gap between English-speaking and Russian-speaking business contacts by translating websites and documents for them. Another career opportunity would be as a teacher of English as a second language in a Russian-speaking country. After receiving your teaching certification, you could work for a language school in Russia teaching students how to speak, read, and write English. With a solid knowledge of Russian, you would be able to work and live alongside native Russian speakers with ease. If you are interested in learning the Russian language for travel purposes, you can opt to enroll in an accelerated course online. You can learn basic Russian at your own pace, and you will feel more comfortable when you travel to Russian speaking countries if you know how to communicate you basic needs (such as asking for directions) to Russian residents. If you have the time and the financial resources, another option is to learn the Russian language by enrolling in an immersion program in Russia. An immersion program lasts anywhere from two to six weeks. By doing this, you will not only learn the Russian language, but you will also experience the Russian way of life. You will become part of the life and culture, and you will learn the language quickly, despite your uncertainties. Through intensive group and individual training, you will learn the conversational and colloquial styles of Russian. You will interact on a daily basis with people who are native speakers of the Russian language, and you will have no choice but to communicate with them in their native tongue. You will be captivated by the everyday life of Moscow or St. Petersburg. You will grow to understand and appreciate the Russian culture: the history, the art, the culture (the ballet!), the architecture, the food, and the people. You will attend courses in which you will learn the Russian alphabet, and learn how to read and write in Russian as well. Learning the Russian language in an immersion program is an exciting way to broaden you horizons and vacation all at the same time. By learning to speak, read, and write the Russian language, you have the potential to one day embark on a career as a foreign language translator, providing an invaluable service to global corporations. You can live abroad and teach English to Russian students, while experiencing a new culture. Learning Russian will make you a more sophisticated traveler as well. You will be able to show more appreciation, and enjoy the Russian culture more when you can communicate with the residents. By learning the Russian language, you have the knowledge of another language, another history, another culture, and your scope of the world will be broadened just a little bit more.

         
    Make english friends

     

    Try to locate a person in your school or area that is a fluent speaker of English, and ask that individual to meet with you on a regular basis in order to practice your English. You will have the chance to ask this native speaker questions about English grammar and pronunciation, while speaking about issues that both of you have an interest in. Bring a pen and a note pad with you so that you can write down any words that are unfamiliar to you. When you return home you can use your English dictionary to look up the meaning of these words, if your English language buddy has not already helped you to understand the meaning of these words. It is a good idea to make the person that you are practicing with someone who does not speak your native language. I know that it is quite tempting to practice English with a person who speaks your language, but this is not the best thing because you want to learn to think in English. It will be harder for you, but also better for you to pick someone who must help you in English only because they do not speak your native language. If your English speaking friend does not speak your native language, you can help them to learn it also. I am sure they will really appreciate this assistance from you as much as you appreciate you appreciate their help. If you do not know where to go with your new English friend, you can try the grocery store. No matter where you are from, you must eat. In your country going to the grocery store may not be an exciting activity, but in a new country it can be quite fun. You should ask you English speaking friend to let you practice your English by asking for things in English. For example, you can ask the grocery store employees where the meat is, which aisle the soda is in or other other food related questions. Before you go to the store itself you should have a written list of items that you will need. This is something that your friend can help you with in advance. After you have bought the things that you need from the grocery store you can invite your friend to dinner. You should both be very hungry at this point. Much Continued ESL Success, The creator of ESL Free Lesson

         
    Memory techniques to boost your foreign language learning

     

    Using Mnemonics in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning So how much vocabulary do you actually need to know before you can "get by" and actually converse in a foreign language? That depends on who you ask, as that tends to vary somewhat. In his book, "Using Your Memory", author Tony Buzan says that a mere 100 words comprise nearly 50% of the vocabulary used in every day conversational speech in most languages. Learning the equivalent of these words in a foreign language can help you to quickly develop essential vocabulary for everyday conversational use. But is this really enough? Link Word Technique Generally, you can function at the most basic level in a foreign language with a core vocabulary of around 1000 words according to Dr. Michael Gruneberg who formalized the "LinkWord" technique. He claims that, using this technique of linking a word in your own language to a word in the new language, you can acquire a core vocabulary in a foreign language in as little as 10 hours. The LOCI Method According to Cicero, the LOCI Method or Roman Room System is said to have originated in ancient Greece circa 500 B. C. When the building he was in collapsed, crushing all of the people inside beyond recognition, the only survivor, poet Simonides of Ceos identified the victims by name solely based on where they had been sitting at the dinner table. The technique was commonly used for centuries by Greek and Roman orators to give speeches without using notes. The Pimsleur Method The Pimsleur Method folks check in at 2,500 words as a minimum core vocabulary to communicate fluently in a foreign language. This is much closer to what I've actually found in real-world practice to be an effective depth of vocabulary. Personally, I advocate a minimum core vocabulary in the range of 1500 to 2000 words. Sure you can "communicate" with much fewer words, as few as 500 depending on the context, but you could often sound "strained", "artificial" or even "childish" in your speech constructions while trying to get your point across. In addition, if you're working in a skilled trade, vocation or profession, the minimum core vocabulary count could ramp up as much as another 300 to 500 words. So any time spent acquiring needed foreign language vocabulary is definitely time well spent. In the next article of this series we'll consider a simple method you can use to start learning key vocabulary right away.

         
    Middle school teacher finds key to making reading fun

     

    Most teachers have found that getting their students interested in reading is no easy task. But one teacher in Queens Village, N. Y., has found an innovative way to keep students in her sixth-grade class focused and entertained while improving their reading skills. Bertha Cuascut, a literacy coach at The Jean Nuzzi School, a public middle school, agreed to take part in a pilot program called Read-A-Movie. The program was created by SFK Media Specially for Kids Corp. and is part of the company's suite of courses that aim to improve reading-readiness and skills. The program revolves around SFK Media's Reading Movies, which combine reading with entertaining movies in a technique the company says can help teach vocabulary and improve comprehension. The movies use Action Captions, a patented technology that displays the dialogue on the screen as text, in real-time, without interrupting the flow of the movie. Researchers and educators indicate that these Action Captions activate the cognitive elements of the brain so that the development of both reading and spoken language skills takes place naturally. "My students had no problem recalling the facts and explaining concepts and details," Cuascut said. "On tests, projects and other work, students exhibited greater comprehension, improved vocabulary and an increased hunger to learn more." The movies are available in such classics as "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," "Tales of Gulliver's Travels" and "The Trojan Horse," and come as interactive DVDs that include vocabulary practice, quizzes and other activities. Cuascut said her students seemed to be able to identify with the child actors in the films, which she said further sparked their interest and held their attention. "It struck me that even those students who normally would be fidgety and distracting others were instead paying close attention to what was going on in the movie," she said.

         
    Movies the natural way to learn a language

     

    Have you ever wondered how it is possible that you can speak your native language so easily? When you want to express something, correct phrases and sentences just come to you. Most of this process is unconscious. Stephen Krashen, a professor at the University of Southern California and a linguistics expert, has developed a hypothesis to explain how this is possible. He used his Input Hypothesis to design what he calls a "natural approach" to learning a language. Krashen uses "input" in this context to describe the words and sentences that you read and listen to. If you understand these sentences, they are stored in your brain. More specifically, they are stored in the part of your brain that is responsible for language. Krashen uses his hypothesis to explain how a child learns his or her native language. The child listens to his or her parents and other people. As the child's brain collects these words and sentences, he or she gets better and better at producing sentences on his or her own. By age 5, the child can already speak quite fluently. According to Krashen's theory, the way to learn and improve is to feed your brain with a lot of input - correct and understandable sentences, written or spoken. Some cognitive scientists say that watching movies is one of the most natural methods of improving your language skills at any age. Learning English by watching movies is an example of "learning by input." ReadEnt Reading Movies from SFK Media Specially For Kids Corp. apply this natural method of learning with an innovative tool called "Action Captions." As a child or adult watches the movie, each spoken word appears on the screen as text directly from the person's mouth as it is spoken. "From the point of view of children and adults learning to read English fluently, especially if it's not their native language, these movies feed the brain with a lot of input," said Len Anthony Smith, chief executive officer of SFK Media. "They learn how to say these words and sentences naturally and, therefore, improve their pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and comprehension quickly and easily." ReadEnt's Reading Movies are available as interactive DVD programs for use on the TV, computer, video-game console or portable DVD player. They include such classics as "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," "Tales of Gulliver's Travels" and "The Trojan Horse." They also come with interactive quizzes and games to make the learning experience even more enjoyable for children from kindergarten through eighth grade.

         
    No smaller is better

     

    Which would be easier for you to memorize? 1.) The entire New York telephone book 2.) A small nursery rhyme If you picked #1, please go away! Scientific studies have shown that we learn best by absorbing small morsels of information, applying them in a practical manner, then building on what we know. As we add more chunks of information our minds correlate, collate, and link everything, referring back to previously learned facts to form a comprehensive sphere of knowledge. What does this mean to you? Don't tackle a huge book of foreign language grammar or prose as an early learning project. Begin with smaller projects. For example, you could start with a few paragraphs of a novel - memorizing the vocabulary - and proceeding to the next few paragraphs. Why not choose the most widely published book in the world? Even if you're not a Christian, the Bible can be an invaluable tool for learning the foreign language of your choice. It is published in more languages than any other book, and there is a plethora of internet resources with complete texts available for FREE download. Many foreign language Bible sites have FREE audio clips as well. 'But the Bible is full of 'thees' and 'thous' and outdated language that nobody uses any longer.' You're right! The King James version would NOT be a good learning tool for anyone trying to learn English. However, there are many translations in modern English - and that is also the case with foreign languages. Use your favorite search engine to do searches like 'modern Bible translation French', 'modern Bible translation German', or 'modern Bible translation Spanish'. Do your research and find out what is available for the language you are learning. Start with some of the smaller chapters and work up to the larger ones. Make up a vocabulary list and memorize a few words at a time. If you need help with some difficult phrases, find an online foreign language forum and post a question. Most forums are full of helpful native speakers who will do their utmost to help you understand subtle nuances and connotations. Download the audio clips, save them to your hard drive, and listen to them repeatedly - either on your computer's sound system or a portable audio player. Repeat the words softly as you listen, paying meticulous attention to pronunciation. Progress slowly to speaking in a normal voice along with the narrator. A good method is to start with the Psalms and Proverbs. Each chapter is a standalone piece of prose. Begin with the smallest and work through to the larger pieces. There is a link at the end of this article to a page that has the chapters of both books listed in order - from smallest to largest. The same page also points to a couple of Bible servers on the internet, as well as a Wiki page with information and background on translations in several languages. The second link is to a useful search engine page that has several search engines listed. Remember: baby steps first - and repetition - repetition - repetition. That's the way babies learn. As adults it's still the best way for us to learn. Good luck with your foreign language education. It can be as much fun as you want to make it!

         
     
         
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