Most language learning resources focus on the process of what YOU can do to learn a language.
But what I'm interested in is how a language is an organic, living, naturally occurring phenomenon, like rivers, trees, and humans, and what that has to do with efficient language learning, as well as what it has to do with the nature of life/God/the universe (as a bonus).
The mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci used a set of numbers (Fibonacci numbers) to describe how rabbit populations expand. The numbers are 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... (each number is the sum of the previous two numbers). This "golden" ratio also describes flowers, trees, rivers, seashells, galaxies, and the human face.
Language also grows this way in your mind -- particularly if you're a child. My goal is that it grow that way also in the mind of the adult.
The way it looks is that for every language you grew up speaking there are a number of situations you've experienced in...
There are a few teaching strategies I've come up with - not invented, but rather discovered - in my time as a tutor that seem to keep the student both interested and focused. Of course, these may not work for other subjects. I teach language, a beautiful art in and of itself!
One strategy is to start with the building blocks of language- the atom, or proton, or electron, or quark (I suppose this is now the smallest accepted particle of matter): vocabulary, both nouns and verbs, with pictures. Then sentence structure, and finally grammar.
With the student, I build the language with them as one would build a model airplane. The key is to keep them involved. Language instruction in any kind of lecture format simply does not work.
The other strategy is something I use with more advanced students, or even ones with some basic foundation of a language. Starting with a text in Spanish - be it Unamuno or Cervantes, we start reading together. Throughout, we stop at vocab...
Are you interested in learning Spanish but need a more structured course to help you get started? I have a great beginning Spanish curriculum that is ideal for the school-age or adult learner. The focus of the curriculum is to learn the basics to actually communicate in the language. Lessons are fun and are infused with language and culture. Contact me for more information on the classes I offer and how I can cater to your individual learning needs.
I suppose I should dedicate this space to an introduction, to give you an idea of what I offer, moreso than just the basic profile.
I am very passionate about education. I suppose I always have been--something my mother instilled in me--but in the last few years I have begun working in that realm. I have been an in home tutor, substitute teacher, and worked with non profits as a teacher and tutor. Maybe a bit off of the beaten path, but I feel that going a non traditional route has given me more hands on, real world, practical knowledge.
I am adept at working with limited English speakers, which I feel gives me an edge. I have worked with children and adults alike in this area, and am always looking to do more work with refugees, especially.
I also have a lot of customer service experience, which at first glance may not seem important. To me, it is a very important and influential part of how I handle teaching. Rather than "customers"...
Rosetta Stone Totale is a pretty cool program. I've been using it to learn some basics - Hebrew and Italian - and its actually been a lot of fun. How much you like Rosetta Stone Totale will depend on what type of learner you are. I was never an exemplary language learner, my talents are more mathematical and analytic, but Rosetta Stone Totale is very much changing that for me currently. It helps that I can have the computer repeat itself as much as I please.
Interestingly, I've skipped over spelling and voicing because these parts are not great to do with a computer. You basically find out if what you did is right or wrong, not what part of what you did is right or wrong and how you can improve. This means that my focus is almost entirely on vocabulary, which has its own sections in the Rosetta Stone Menu.
The program is unique in that you spend a lot of time looking at pictures and coming up with stories for them as if they were cards. Your short term...
I was asked once by a Japanese ELL (English Language Learner) how she could improve her speaking. I told her that if you want to improve then you need to speak! Talk to everyone. Don't worry if you screw up or if your pronunciation isn't perfect. The only way to become better at speaking a language, and to gain confidence, is to practice.
How does an ELL improve their speaking when they are living in a peripherary country? A country where the language is not spoken as an official language?
That can be a bit more tricky, but immersion is not a guarantee that an ELL will gain proficiency in a language either. I recommend finding an app or make an online friend that will give you opportunities to practice speaking.
I myself am a language learner. I would like to go back to Japan and teach, but I would like to improve my speaking skills before I go. I like using an app called Mango Languages. ...
Structure is necessary, it keeps things organized but unplanned topics can also present great learning opportunities. If the student is excited about something, we talk about it! There are always chances to learn new vocabulary words and even hit up some practice with grammar. After all, conversation is just that, going with the flow and seeing where things go. Be spontaneous amidst the structure.
Another aspect that is helpful and fun is to center lessons around my students. It's their life and their experience they'll want to share, so we work around that.
Kids games are fun even for adults! It's okay to play "Ispy" (Yo veo) when we are learning colors or talking about specific vocabulary. We even play scrabble for those who really want a challenge. It's a wonderful opportunity to see how many words you already know and learn new ones when I play words you don't recognize. Jeopardy is also another great game I like to include. If...
I know this can be confusing for more advanced students, here is a simple tip to differentiate both:
We say :
-"se rappeler quelque chose" and
- "se souvenir DE quelque chose ou DE quelqu'un".
There is no such thing as "se rappeler de" in French...
- je me rappelle mon voyage en France
- je me souviens de ce village
I hope this can be useful to some of you in their practice!
Look for the Latin roots in Spanish and French words that may also be found English. This helps one remember vocabulary and appreciate the connection between languages!
Here are some examples!
1. Aprender is 'to learn' in Spanish (apprendre in French), which corresponds to the English word 'apprentice.'
2. Escribir is to write in Spanish (écrire in French), which corresponds to the English word 'scribe'
(escribe = he writes).
3. Dormir means 'to sleep' in Spanish (dormir in French as well), which corresponds to the English words 'dormitory' and 'dormant'.
4. Abrazar is 'to hug/embrace' in Spanish (embrasser in French), which corresponds to the English word 'embrace'. Keep in mind that in French it means a "kissing embrace" versus a "hugging embrace".
And there are many more! Please add to the list!
It is important to note that the Latin...
To make learning fun, I use tools that enable your memory to retain the learned information. I use the individuals most enjoyable activities, to teach with either flash cards, video, audio and personal favorits, such as hobbies and learn around those vocabularies. The interactive game comes in to play, when we use the verbs that go with this subjects, to fill in grammar, in self formed sentences.
Every one of us was taught grammar in grade school. We learned the rules of writing, how to construct sentences properly, when to use commas, how to avoid run-on sentences, proper diction and word choice and tons of other rules regarding how the English language "properly" works. But there's one thing we weren't really taught. In fact, most of us unquestioningly accepted these rules, rules like you should use "fewer" for countable items and "less" for things you can't count. We know how to use these rules, and by virtue of being able to speak the language, we also know how to use the grammar. But these two concepts of grammar are not the same. This raises so many questions. Where did these rules come from? What is grammar, really, and how do we define it from a linguistic point of view? Is there some kind of supreme authority on the English language that imposes these rules on all its speakers?
In a Tarantino-esque fashion, we'll...
der Schnee (noun), depending on context = snow, nose candy [coll.] /
Schneeflocke = snowflake, not really a flake, rather a hexagonal prism, see Johannes Kepler, German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer, 1611 in „Über die sechseckige Schneeflocke“
Schneewittchen = Snow White, ate the poisoned apple and was rescued by some prince's love at first sight,
– magic mirror: „Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?“
Eischnee = beaten egg whites, component from a recipe
– „Den Eischnee dann auf den fertig gebackenen Kuchen geben und noch ca. 10 Min. (Sichtkontrolle) weiterbacken.“
Be wary of so-called:
Schnee von gestern (idiom) = that is yesterday's news and/or water under the bridge,
Neuschnee = fresh snow,
– Erster Schnee, poem by Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914)
Aus silbergrauen Gründen tritt
I have been involved education as long as I can remember. My parents were educators. They helped start a school, were on the board of another, and were founding board members of the North Dakota Home School Association. I started teaching at the age of thirteen, as a volunteer. I have taught professionally, for over fourteen years. I have coached soccer. I co-founded a school and taught a wide array of subjects there for three years, including Latin, Rhetoric, General Science, and History. For nearly twelve years, I have been an education consultant, tutor, and mentor.
I am prepared to tutor students in all subjects through high school, and I am well-versed in ACT and SAT preparation. I also do some college-level tutoring, particularly in English, Writing, Study Skills, and other humanities-related subjects. Feel free to ask for more details. I tutor adult students in a variety of subjects, and I have also had success in the past working with students who have a variety of...
Duden: a (the) decisive dictionary of the German language, if you choose „Textprüfung“ Duden corrects your writings (max. 800 characters)---I use it regularily and I love it!
Duolingo: a free language-learning platform, great for beginning up to intermediate level, not only German, I tested French and it's great
Linguee: Translation search with lots of example sentences from human translators.
'Deutsche Welle': news (spoken slowly), articles, even a 'Telenovela' with German subtitles (which is great for learning the language)!
About education: some dual-language reading selections (German-English)
Goethe Institut : online game, I never played it, but it looks nice :)
der Geist (noun), depending on context = ghost, spirit, essence, mind, wit, an alcoholic drink /
der Heilige Geist = the Holy Spirit---one of three parts;
Mephistopheles = version of Satan ---„Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint!“ (Goethe: Faust);
„Weltseele zu Pferde“ = Napoléon Bonaparte, French military and political leader---Embodies and exemplifies Hegels concept of the world spirit. (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher) /
geistreich, geistreicher, am geistreichsten = ingenious, more ingenious, most ingenious /
Be wary of so-called:
Himbeergeist = type of German Schnaps;
Kartoffeln mit Geist = unknown ;) ;
Zeitgeist = spirit of the age;
„Etwas Bornierteres als den Zeitgeist gibt es nicht. Wer nur die Gegenwart kennt, muß verblöden.“ (Hans Magnus Enzensberger)
Five major tips to making learning a foreign language fun:
1. Make it applicable to your life. Learn stuff that you think is important to you, things that you'll use the most often, and things that will stick.
2. Integrate the culture. Learning a language is more than just learning how to speak. You want to learn how to understand other people, and how they think.
3. Make it a part of your routine. Try to do something that you normally do in English in your target language, though you should keep it simple in the beginning. Read a short story in Italian, instead of a novel in English. Follow a recipe for a simple cake in French instead of a recipe for a cake with fondant decorations in English.
4. Get your friends in on the fun. Learning a language is undeniably a social activity. There's nothing more entertaining than trying to learn a language with your friends, and messing up while you do it...
I'm sure everyone has seen a commercial or heard a discussion on raising kids from a very young age to be bilingual. While many of these DVD and CD sets are marketing and capitalizing on our desire for our kids to be the shining star of their school, they really do have validity. Our brains are wired to best absorb language before the age of 5 and still ready to take on language up until the age of 8. Yet of course we don't start learning a second language until our brains have closed the doors on language absorption! So it's not your fault that you have to hire tutors like me to help with your Spanish classes...it's really the school's fault for not introducing language sooner! More and more families and school systems are finally coming on board though and creating bilingual schools, or at least exposing youngsters to a second language, and I couldn't be happier! Until I end up jobless because all our children have become linguistic geniuses...uh oh.
One of my favorite French resources is an app called Duolingo. Duolingo is free and it provides an easy way to track your progress and set goals for yourself. It's set up like a game and you win points for correct answers, and you can 'compete' with your friends at different levels. It also requires that you "strengthen your skills", which keeps your memory fresh and up to date by having you repeat certain parts of a lesson that you haven't encountered within a certain period of time. Duolingo is a great supplementary resource to go alongside formal classes, tutoring, or self-instructed study, and it's really fun and even addicting! Even as a fairly fluent French-speaker, I enjoy the vocabulary and grammar games because they help keep me engaged in learning and remind me of vocabulary words that I don't often use. I've also used it to start developing a basic vocabulary in German, Spanish, and Italian. Duolingo is available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese...
A tip I often give my students who are studying Spanish is to watch English-language DVDs with the Spanish subtitles on. It's probably best to start with a movie or show you have seen before and with which you are familiar with the basic plot and dialogue. As you watch the movie or show (in English), read the subtitles as you go. Stop the DVD or go back and take notes about the way the English dialogue is rendered into the language you are studying. You will find that you pick up many new idiomatic expressions this way, as well as getting to review the grammar of the language you're learning in action!
Take notes about any phrases or forms that strike you s particularly creative and also phrases or forms with which you are unfamiliar. Bring a list of new phrases to your tutor, along with the English dialogue being translated. You'll be surprised at how creative subtitle writers can be!
Speaking a foreign language is most frustrating when you know exactly what you want to say in your first language, but you either don't know how to say anything similar in the foreign language or anything that captures the exact nuance.
The process if less frustrating if you accept that you should not think in your first language and that you may never be able to capture the exact subtlety. It's absolutely okay that you cannot express yourself as eloquently and exactly at times. There are certain times when you need the exact word or exact phrase because of a nuance, but there are other situations where a generic phrase will do.
This post is focusing on idioms and phrases that are useful to know and that can be used in many situations: they will be adequate, even if you could have picked a more colorful phrase in your native language.
Think of learning Spanish phrases this way: every time you learn a phrase, you add it to your bank of knowledge...