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German Learning Apps

My favorite website to learn a foreign language is DuoLingo. It is an entertaining way to learn a new language. Completing one skill unlocks other skills, which allow you progress from basic words all the way through various verb tenses and abstract ideas. When you click on a lesson you’ll see a series of tips and common questions.   Another neat app that might be interesting for people who want to learn German is TuneIn radio. It's a radio app with many German radio stations on it. It helps to understand the language better and plays great music. It's probably the cheapest way to hear real examples of Germans talking and singing.

Why is German one of the most important languages today?

Why is German one of the most important languages today? 46 million Americans claim German ancestors, making it the largest heritage group in the United States.  100 million European Union (EU) residents speak German as their native language, making German the most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe. Another 31 percent of EU residents speak German as a second language. Germany has the fourth strongest economy in the world (after the U.S., China and Japan). German exports constitute the largest share of total world trade (even ahead of the U.S.). Germany is the second most important import market in the world, and the third most important import partner of the United States. There are 1,200 German-owned companies in the United States, some of the largest of which are active in the state of Oregon (DaimlerChrysler, Freightliner, Wacker Chemie, Siltronic, Adidas, Reebok and SolarWorld AG). In today’s world, knowing other languages is... read more

Fun Facts from Indo-European: The Ingaevonic Nasal Spirant Law

Here's a hint to remember your English cognates in both Latin and German!   It's called the Ingaevonic Nasal Spirant Law, and it concerns the sequence:   vowel + nasal + fricative   The law states that in the Ingaevonic branch of Germanic Langauges - like English - the nasal in that sequence gets deleted, yeilding:   Proto-Germanic vowel + nasal + fricative --> Ingaevonic vowel + {} + fricative.   Here are some examples!   German uns --> English us (akin to Latin nos, Sanskrit asman (*ns-man))   German mund --> English mouth (th --> d via the Old High German sound shift)   Latin dent- --> English tooth (d-->t and t --> th via Grimm's law)   There are many more examples, post some if you find them in your studies!

Learning a Foreign Language: The Dos and the Don'ts

Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language.  Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?"  Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.  Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.   DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is... read more

Duolingo - Fun, effective resource for foreign language learners

I recently got a tip about this language-learning app from Duolingo and have been test-driving it on my iPhone for a few days in Spanish, a language I've never formally studied. And I like it, quite a bit in fact. As an ESL and German teacher of many years, and someone who has dabbled in a variety of other languages, I put a lot of thought and study into the process of learning language. Duolingo covers many of the important bases by incorporating key principles into its design: Activities for all four facets of language study: writing, reading, listening, and even speaking (you speak into your device's microphone and it judges your pronunciation).  Moving gradually from passive recognition (What does "Adios" mean? - choose from word bank) to active use (What is "Goodbye" in Spanish? - no word bank). Overlapping reviews, incorporating grammar and vocabulary from previous lessons into new lessons. An emphasis... read more

Experiencing German in the Real World

Learning German can be a daunting task, but sometimes it's a good idea to just dive in and experience the language outside of the traditional academic settings. So I'd like to list here a few websites where the German isn't so intimidating. Neon.de is a great website where one can even sign up and post their own blogs in German about life, love, science, education, music and movies. The sky's the limit! Here you'll find posts from Germans ranging from teenagers to businessmen sharing their thoughts and ideas from their own life experiences. Give it a look! The language is natural and you'll often find new words and colloquial phrases used in all sorts of contexts. The content is uncensored, so don't be surprised to stumble upon posts which might offend. The most important thing is to experience the language in a natural setting and communicate with a nation-wide audience. Germans love those who seek to learn their language and they'll often be sneaky and try their best to... read more

Julie's First WyzAnt Blog Post

Well, students, here I am! I am fresh from Wichita, KS and awaiting tutoring opportunities in the Seattle, WA area. Just to get the ball rolling, I will create weekly blogs that include little snippets of knowledge relating to foreign languages. Here's this week's: a good quote in several languages... (Quote form brainyquote.com) "Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm." ~ Hippocrates auf Deutsch: "Machen Sie eine Gewohnheit zu zwei Dingen: zu helfen; oder mindestens keinem Schaden zuzufügen." in Italiano: "Prendere l'abitudine di due cose: aiutare; o almeno di non nuocere." en Español: "Haga un hábito de dos cosas: ayudar; o al menos no hacer daño." en francés: "Faites une habitude de deux choses : aider; ou au moins ne faire aucun mal." Can you see some similarities in the different languages? Let me know and have a great week!

Strategic Business Planning

You can save yourself and your business thousands of dollars by implementing various planning tools to allow your business to be successful. Why plan? What builder sets out to build a house without a plan or just stops and thinks awhile! Supposedly you were to take an extended journey without a road map, unless the route is well known, it is likely that you would loose a lot of time or get lost. The old Adage is true, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will lead you there". Planning is not something you do TODAY for TODAY's benefit ... ... rather it is something you do NOW for the benefit of your business or your life in the FUTURE. Did you know that most businesses and individuals do not plan to fail but fail to plan? According to Dun & Bradstreet, businesses with less than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving 4 years and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years. For every 100 businesses formed each year, only 60 will last... read more

How I teach languages

When I teach languages I basically work on the student’s grammar and pronunciation. Vocabulary is also important, and I encourage my students to use the language as much as they can. This can take the passive form of reading, watching TV, or listening to the radio; or it can take the active form of speaking to others in the language they want to learn and writing in the language. This can take the form of a journal. Languages are like the piano. If you do not practice, you will not be able to speak well. Grammar is the building block of a language. It tells you how to put the words that you know into sentences. Perhaps children can learn a language without knowing grammar, but most adults need grammar to learn a new language. Pronunciation is important. Sometimes it can determine whether the speaker is understood. For some, communication is the chief goal, and having a really good pronunciation is not that important. For others it is important to speak a language well, and... read more

Get the most out of Tutoring

To get the most out of your tutoring experience, I find that in addition to bringing questions to the table, having a regular tutoring schedule greatly enhances learning and effectiveness. That way we can keep up with what you're having trouble with or excelling in and can pick up from week to week. It gives the regular feedback to students and also allows the tutor to hone in on areas and keep you one step ahead. You may want to consider this as you sign up for sessions. WyzAnt even offers a special savings that supports this approach. It saves you money and also optimizes your tutoring experience. A 6-session package already provides savings and can help you get the most out of your tutoring. Then you can decide if you're good or want a little more help :)! from Julia :)

Howard's Blog-Testing and Preparation

Hello! Just a tip or two about test-taking skills. The first rule to remember is that it is only a test. Some measure aptitude SAT), some measure achievement (ACT). Neither are a reflection of who you are, and the end of the day, you will be the same person. So, be positive, regardless of the test. You own the test; the test does not own you. First, they are called standardized tests for a reason. The test you take is the same as the one being taken in Illinois, Utah, or Oregon, and if you wish to look at test-taking as a competitive event, that is your competition, not the people sitting in the the testing center with you. That is why test results come back in percentiles, quartiles, and even quintiles. There may be variations on a theme to prevent cheating, so do not do so. The testing permutations are selected by computer; you as the test-taker do not have a chance, even allowing for the law of probability, of guessing correctly which one you will receive. Second,... read more

Boost your Grade

So School is now well on its way ... You're enjoying your new friends, getting back into the swing of things, but maybe struggling a bit in an area? Maybe starting a new language or picking up with your skills from last year? Do you need a refresher or just a little quick-start to get you to the top of your game and help you to feel comfortable and confident in class? There's nothing like a little extra help to gain the confidence you need. You'll enjoy class more and won't have to struggle so much over your homework ~ it will come naturally & save you time :). Having the extra support of a knowledgeable Tutor will help you reach your goals and will also help you to learn language in a way that will last :) (At least if you go with me ... ;). So if this describes you, please pick up the phone or shoot me an email. I look forward to it! Merci! Julia G.

Why Learn Other Languages

Learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside mind and context of that other culture. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, true access to that culture is barred. Why is this important? In a world where nations and people are ever more dependent upon on another to supply goods and services, solve political disputes, and ensure international security, understanding other cultures is paramount. Lack of intercultural sensitivity can lead to mistrust and misunderstandings, to an inability to cooperate, negotiate and compromise and perhaps even to military confrontation. Intercultural understanding begins with individuals who have language abilities. A person competent in other languages can bridge the gap between cultures, contribute to international diplomacy, promote national security and world peace and successfully engage in international trade.

Native speaker gives German lessons in the Oakland and Berkeley Area

Hi guys! A new German tutor is here for you! Take the change and learn this internationally getting more important language. German is not that difficult as many people say...it's very interesting and even a very funny language to learn. Experience this extraordinary language with me at a a cafe or at your home nearby public transport.

Spanish/German tutor moving to Tallahassee

I am so excited to be moving to Tallahassee in a week or two. I have bought a little house, and will be attending FSU in the fall to pursue a Master's in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I don't know yet exactly when I will be closing, but I will be in Tallahassee no later than July 7. I would love to find some tutoring jobs to get a feel for the local school system, to see what foreign language instruction is like in Florida, and to fill up some of the empty hours I will have during the year (I have been working full time for a very long time, and just being a student, while exciting, will not fill up enough of my days). I will keep you posted on my moving experiences! Susan

Want to Catch up this Summer?

Summer is a great time for lots of fun things! Going swimming, meeting up with friends, taking a trip ... and why not learning a new language? Have you always wanted to learn a language? Summer is a great time to get a headstart. Invite a friend and do it together. Learn a language (German or French :)) by learning as you learned your first language! Immersion - Conversation - Matching images and context to sounds and words -- It's a great way to start your summer and gain a new skill that is fun AND useful! :) Or are you a student who has been taking French or German for school? In that case ... take a little break... & then catch up in summer! Just a few times a week or a regular session throughout the summer can make a big difference! Then you can start out the school year ahead & feel good about being in class and understanding :) Just a few Tips for Summer Fun (& learning :))! Have a great ONE :) JG

Benefits of a Second Language

Why learn a second language? You might not be aware of some of the profound affects that early language exposure can have on the developing brain of a child. How learning a second language affects the young brain It has long been known that there is a strong link between language, music and other developmental skills, such as math and logical thinking. Children who are exposed to music and/or language training show measurable improvements in other cognitive skills. Researchers believe that early language exposure actually increases the size and power of a child's brain! Current Brain Research In some regards an infant's brain is like a blank slate. Exposing your child to a second language at an early age can actually change the way your child's brain is structured by forming connections that otherwise would not be formed. These connections seem to be not only necessary for learning language, but are beneficial in many other academic areas: study after... read more

Everyone Can Learn A Foreign Language

Thinking over my experiences as a German tutor, my undergraduate German studies and the training I have received in teaching foreign languages, I've come to realize that there really is no such person who "can't learn a language" or "doesn't have the brain for it." Everyone has the brain for it, it's merely a question of motivation, and I will explain what I mean by this. If you had grown up in a place where you had to speak two or more languages every day, you would have learned them, used them, and not even thought about "not having a brain for it". In such a situation you have no choice - learn or be excluded from the everyday life of your community. This is why, in language instruction, "immersion" is so highly valued, because you MUST learn, you WILL learn, and though it's a bit unnerving at first, you do learn so quickly that you don't have time to doubt yourself. This is the question of motivation - you are highly motivated... read more

Foreign Language Books for the Holidays!

I just finished reading Harry Potter 3 in Spanish, and boy am I glad to be done! It feels really great to have accomplished this goal, and to be 2/7ths of the way done with my goal of reading each of the 7 books in a different language (I read #1 in English, so that's the other 1/7th I've completed). I think I will move on to #2 in Latin or #4 in German next! My motivation for this project came from an ESL student I once had, who told me she had vastly improved her English and her confidence by reading a long Harry Potter book in English. Reading a whole book in a foreign language is a big undertaking, even for people with quite high levels of proficiency, but it is worthwhile. The sheer amount of linguistic input and repetition of vocabulary you get is wonderful. I feel way more comfortable and familiar with the Spanish past tense and subjunctive after reading that book. Now I just have to put it into use by writing to my friends, going to a Spanish chat, or interacting... read more

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