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I lived and taught Italian in the USA for the last 20 years but moved to Bellevue (Seattle) 15 months ago and I am still appalled at the lack of interest for Italy and my beautiful language and culture in this part of the Country! I understand we are closer to Asia than Europe  but beside a good 70% of Asian heritage population who obviously are closer to their own heritage and culture, the rest of the population seem even further ... 

When I was studying abroad in Italy, I was primarily studying art history. I went so that I could see the art that I had been enamored with and inspired by in person. I had no experience speaking Italian, though. Part of my requirement was to take Italian. No biggie, right? I figured I'd learn the basics and enjoy my semester going to to museums. And, everyone told me that a lot of English would be spoken. WRONG!  I ended up in an intensive, rigorous Italian class in a city where almost no one spoke English- imagine 5 years of high school language classes crammed into 3 months. The only way I survived was to actually go outside, and practice speaking the things I was learning in class. By the end of the semester I was partially fluent, writing 5-page essays and speaking with the locals at the market I shopped at weekly. On the last day I was there, an Italian tourist approached me and asked me directions to a city landmark. Without thinking, I answered in Italian,... read more

I speak Italian, and sometimes I send messages to friend and family in Italy, using email, Skype, or Facebook.   In Word, there are several ways to insert the accents and symbols used in other languages.  These include using Insert > Symbol, looking up the extended ASCII number for the accented character and typing on the numeric keyboard while holding the Alt key.  However, there is an easier way.     Italian uses grave (à,è ) and acute (á,é) accents, so I'll focus on those.  To insert these accents, locate the accent keys on your keyboard.  On a QWERTY keyboard, the grave accent is right above the tab key, and the acute accent is right before the Enter key.    To insert them into a Microsoft Word document, press the Control key and the appropriate accent key together, followed by the vowel.  That's all there is to it.     This method will also work for the tilde (~) and circumflex (^)... read more

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

Greetings! Today's post is about learning styles. One of the most important things that helps teachers provide better instruction is the knowledge of a student’s learning style. My belief is based upon the teachings of noted educational theorist, Dr. Howard Gardner. Dr. Gardner posits that there are “multiple intelligences,” that define our individual learning styles and complement each other (by working together) through our learning processes. His 1983 book, Frames of Mind, detailed his initial findings in this area. In my educational practice, I attempt to identify my students' learning styles by doing extensive diagnostic testing in the very beginning. In my tutoring classes this may consist of having students to write a paragraph or two in the target language we are studying or work some basic math problems. Diagnostics also include inquiring about student preferences, because students generally do better in the areas that they like. After diagnostics, I set a plan... read more

Greetings! Today's post is about romance languages. I love languages; more specifically, I love the languages in which there is a SVO (subject-verb-object configuration) and I love languages that have a lot of Latin (much of which is derived from Greek) cognates.*In short, I love the languages that were promulgated and dispersed by the many Roman conquests. In many of these languages, the word “bella,” means beautiful and “a, e, i, o and u” are vowels. As a college student, I learned that Latin and/or its derivatives permeate the English language via legal terms, literary references, mottoes and quotes, as well as in taxonomy classifications in the sciences and that having a strong knowledge of Latin root words can elevate one's study skills for the GRE, SAT and ACT exams. The phrase, “romance language,” refers to the following languages which we most frequently think of as Roman Empire-Latin language derivatives: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. The... read more

Is Social Media a new thing or are we just reinventing ourselves? We are living in a new era similar to the Renaissance where ideas, creativity, opinions and news are shared through circles of friends, creating intellectual networks and connecting and sharing with others in distant lands, just a little faster these days. “Just as we create user names for our profiles on Facebook and Twitter and create circles of friends on Google plus, these scholars created nicknames, shared – and commented on – topical ideas, the news of the day, and exchanged poems, plays and music,” said Professor Jane Everson, Principal-investigator in a press statement. “It may have taken a little longer for this to be shared without the Internet, but through the creation of yearbooks and volumes of letters and speeches, they shared the information of the day.” References: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/social-networking-concept-italian-academies_n_1631595.html http://svolgo... read more

I have found reading to be the best way to build vocabulary when learning a foreign language. It amazes me how many words I still remember from all the books I read in Spanish and French when I was in college and grad school. No doubt it's because I learned the words in context and didn't just memorize them from a list. But be careful not to pick a book that's too far above your reading comprehension level. You'll just get bogged down and stop reading. Also, don't worry about looking up every word you don't know. The idea is to keep reading and getting the main ideas. After you've read a book for a while, it begins to get easier to understand. In addition to reading, if you're traveling to the country where your target language is spoken, take a journal with you and jot down words and phrases you hear spoken or see on signs. Then, when you are back in the hotel at night resting, pull them out and study them for a few minutes.

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!

Hi. I'd like to take this first section of this blog to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie, and I've recently joined this site in the past week. I stumbled upon this website job hunting when I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut and I was immediately impressed with the quality and professionalism in finding students to tutor. I've always been good with kids, and as I ponder through what I should be doing with my degree in Chemistry, it occurred to me that maybe I should pursue an education degree, and what better way to get a little bit of experience then through tutoring? I'm hoping through out the time that I continue to enjoy this service and begin my tutoring adventures and helping students of all ages and backgrounds succeed in their education, will give me some inspiration if and when I become a teacher. I'm excited to start on this new path and all the students I hope to meet. You can find a little bit more about me on my profile page... read more

Greeting people is an important part of the Italian culture! Here are a few basic greetings in Italian The way Italians really say it! Ciao come stai? hi how are you (informal) Come va? How is it going? Che cosa fai di bello? what's new? (literally what are you doing that's nice or beautiful) Si tira avanti. (not too bad). Literally: Pushing forward Non c'e male. Not bad Che cosa mi racconti ? What's up? Che bella giornata! What a beautiful day Chi si vede! Looks who's here!

I'd like to say thank you to the WyzAnt family for allowing it to happen, and, at the same time, introduce you to a great student, very much interested in the Italian language and culture. Her name is Faye of New York City, New York. She was particularly interested in the "intricacies of the Italian language", as she put it, for an eventual sojourn in Italy. In fact, Faye is on her way to Italy as I blog. She made it perfectly clear that she had a fascination with Italy ever since childhood and that she would one day live there for an extended period of time---in this case it may be close to a year. She promised she'll keep in touch during it all. Other than short trips and brief stays on her way to other European countries, Faye had never attempted to live in Italy. She was ready now, after many, many years. When we first started working together---over two months ago---she put it bluntly that I was to help her grow the little Italian she already knew and... read more

On June 2, 1989, my life changed forever. A brand new world was brought to my attention. I moved into the main land of the United States. I am Puerto Rican, meaning natural born American, but was raised on the island of Puerto Rico. Don't get me wrong, I have always been more fourtunate than most people with my condition. You see, I have a condition called Spina Bifida. I guess it would make more sense if I explain myself. Normally, during the first month of a pregnancy, the two sides of the spine (or backbone) join together to cover the spinal cord, spinal nerves and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord). Spina bifida refers to any birth defect involving incomplete closure of the spine. Myelomeningocele is the most common type of Spina Bifida. It is a neural tube defect in which the bones of the spine do not completely form, resulting in an incomplete spinal canal. This causes the spinal cord and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord) to stick out... read more

Having met many people who have tried to learn a second language, the one skill they always struggle with is gender designation. As native English speakers, gender designation is unheard of. Things are just that, things. They don't have a gender. (When I try to explain this to my 9-year-old, he bursts out in laughter.) But in many other languages, nouns have a specific gender. Of course, this then affects all other parts of grammar such as verb conjugation and pronouns, but that is a topic for a different blog. I remember starting college and wanting to learn a new language. I have to admit I went down the easy route. As a native Spanish speaker, I knew Italian would be relatively easy. They are both latin-based languages. They have similar words with only a few letters changing (for example, agua in Spanish and aqua in Italian.) After three years, I felt I could take on a third language and I gave myself a challenge: GERMAN! Needless to say, it was a big difference... read more

Greetings! Today´s blog post discusses the issue of learning culture when learning a language. The easy answer is that language is a reflection of culture...but who wants an easy answer? Seriously, language is a reflection of culture, because each culture provides variations to a language based upon its history and its people. For example, in the 1950's, the word "whatever" did not have the connotation of attitude and sheer exasperation that it has when it is said today. The pop culture of the last two decades has inserted many new words into the everyday speech of U.S. citizens, as well as those worldwide. Many of the words we use in general, today, as well as specifically for the study of mathematics, language and other subjects, have their roots in the Greek and Latin languages. As an example, let's look at one of my favorite words--"spa." (I'm especially thinking about the spa today, because I'm cold and I see snow.) The Greek and Roman tradition... read more

Greetings, Today's post deals with a subject that is a quite a controversial subject of discussion among students and their teachers. Generally, students would prefer for teachers to post their Spanish (or any other target language) vocabulary words and then to write the English translations beside them. Unfortunately, according to long-established research by Harvard professor, David Marzano, NLR or non-linguistic representation, in which teachers use pictures, drawings and symbols, as well as gestures and actions, is far more effective. For example, what do you think of when you see the yellow "golden arches?" I can tell you that, when I traveled throughout Europe or Latin America, I never had to see the McDonald's sign to know that I was nearing a place in which I could buy hamburgers. NLR is the same thing, basically! As teachers show photos or act out words with gestures, students learn to associate the Spanish word with a mental picture or a certain... read more

Want to learn Italian? Start learning a few verbs such as : Essere, Fare, Parlare, Andare. To Be, To Do, To Speak, To Go At the present tense and each person. Get the VERBS out of the way before they become a problem :) Then when you are off book learn some nouns that relate to your life (like museums? anything related to art) and you can start making sentences .....

Creating Confidence When Speaking a Foreign Language Studying a foreign language? Feeling tongue-tied, unable to spit out what you're trying to say? You aren't alone. One of the biggest challenges in learning a foreign language is training our tongues (literally) to speak in a way that is rather unnatural. Ever tried to roll an "r" in Spanish? Or (for me) speak a lick of French? It is exhausting, at best. One way to ease your fear of speaking a foreign language is - you guessed it - to SPEAK the language! And I don't mean go out in public and ramble at any random person you meet (although in some scenarios, a version of this may be highly recommendable). Instead, have you ever thought of RECORDING yourself speaking the new language? Listening to our own voices pronounce new words and phrases not only creates confidence in our speaking skills, but it allows us to focus on our pronunciation, and the intonation of our voice. Most computers nowadays... read more

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