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10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

So you want to learn the Arabic Language? Take it from an experienced Arabic Teacher & Native speaker of the language!   Be careful to NOT learn the "dialect" version of this language. Here is why you need to focus on learning the proper Arabic that is recognized by the U.N and 99% of the Arab League:   MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) is the standardized and literary variety of Arabic used in writing, and in most formal speech. i.e. as seen in Arabic newspapers, TV Anchors, Radio, Magazines, etc. ? Modern Standard Arabic is the literary standard across the Middle East, North Africa, Horn of Africa and one of the official six languages of the United Nations. o Most printed matter in the Arab League—including most books, newspapers, magazines, official documents, and reading primers for small children—is written in MSA. "Colloquial" Arabic refers to the many regional dialects and varieties derived from Arabic... read more

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. ... read more

As children, we were surrounded by a word-rich environment full of sounds. Sometimes we heard the voices of our parents, the radio, or TV; other times we heard the cadences of song, where rhythm and instruments met sounds and syllables. As a language learner, it can help to think of yourself as an infant again, creating a word-rich environment for yourself that includes songs.   I encourage language students to listen to songs because:   1) It's fun. You've got to be motivated to learn!   2) You learn slang words because the language comes from a real-world source, not a textbook-manufactured source.   3) You will implicitly learn about the source culture as you absorb the meaning of the song and who the artist is.   4) It's a great way to learn new vocabulary, which you can often deduce from context clues.   5) And perhaps the best reason: you will learn how to differentiate between the various sounds (phonemes)... read more

1. Twitter ( )- a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. You can ask students to post 100 characters on twitter. Connect the language with life. 2. Online dictionary- look for new words or terms 3. flickr ( )- a web to share photos with classmates 4. listen to this ( )-copy or type an article, it will read the content in either male voice or female voice. 5. Voki ( )- Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. 6. Voice Thread ( )- A Web-based digital-storytelling application that enables you to share your stories or slideshows through audio, images, videos, or text with others online. 7... read more

Definitions: der Schnee (noun), depending on context = snow, nose candy [coll.] /   Famous ones: 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 ein... read more

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... read more

There are many arguments schools give for having Latin as a language course: Its being the basis for a host of other romance languages; its use in the legal or medical fields; and even (which is a bit far-fetched in my mind) for forming the mind to function more logically. Students who are obliged to take Latin will inevitably question reasons such as these or any reason a teacher or headmaster might give for studying Latin... and rightly so. If students are not satisfied with the answers teachers give, new answers should be sought, answers that get to the heart of the matter of “why Latin?” Anyone who speaks a handful of different languages can tell you that when they speak those languages they can sometimes take on a very different character. When I am with a group of Italian friends my way of communicating becomes much more ebullient, my need for personal space is instantly shed and an exaggerated intonation is applied to every word I say. Moreover, my facial features are... read more

Definitions: der Geist (noun), depending on context = ghost, spirit, essence, mind, wit, an alcoholic drink / Famous ones: 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) /   Be:   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... read more

If you are stuck in the US, Spanish is the easiest and most useful foreign language to learn.  There are Spanish speakers everywhere, as well as radio and TV programs, signs and publications--many opportunities.  There are also materials in abundance.  My favorites are Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur, but anything you like will bring results.  Focus on what's fun and you will make great progress.  The most important thing is to, whenever possible, spend some time EVERY DAY, working on it.  The second most important is to use what you learn.  Try to read things you come across written in Spanish.  Listen to radio or TV and conversations by Spanish speakers.  Converse with others in Spanish on whatever level you can.  If you can't find native speakers, converse with other learners or just talk to yourself out loud!  You may need to occasionally use some methods you don't like as much to master some concepts.  This will stretch... read more

Duolingo is a free website and mobile app for language learning. Lessons include translating sentences, identifying objects, repeating words and much more. It is a useful tool that I have been having a lot of fun with lately. I recommend to check it out if you are studying English as a second language, foreign languages, or you enjoy learning in your free time. 

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...

On this website you can find books and texts in different languages with their literal translations into English and brief linguistic comments, These texts are structured on the basis of a special method, by Ilya Frank. Its main principle is that a text is divided into excerpts that you can read twice: the first time – with the English translation inserted into it in brackets and afterward – with no translation.  It's a great source. I've tried it for other languages and it really works. Here is a link for Russian language: (List of languages is on the left side).    BBC Languages ~~ Basics. A Guide to Russian: Facts, key phrases and the alphabet in Russian. No grammar.    BBC Russian service provided by the BBC Website in Russian. Great website. Explanation of Russian grammar, Forum - where... read more

The Importance of Learning Critical Languages   Make yourself unique in whatever subject matter you pursue. Today, we will talk about languages that will land you a job much faster than you think.   The Problem: Americans need to clearly recognize that there is a deficiency of critical spoken languages in the U.S. The United States government has acknowledged that it seeks efforts to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Solution: In order to considerably diminish this debilitating problem, Americans need a strong network of critical language communicators that can quickly and efficiently bring defined segments of the nation up to speed in speaking critical languages. Approach: Americans should take the initiative to study, learn and master such languages using educational institutions, live human-interactive and intensive critical language instruction via the internet... read more

When addressing general learning - especially in K-6 - we must keep in mind that subjects cannot be separated from one another. An obvious example is science, which requires mathematics, writing, and usually reading. Mathematics word problems, of course, require skill in reading and logic. If we consider social studies, we quickly realize that reading, writing, science, and math concepts are usually necessary for appropriate learning experiences. The common element in all our learning is, of course, language, which we began learning before we were even born. As we grew and learned, we imitated our parents' oral language and learned to associate words with things we observed in our environment. Eventually, we began learning to read, which is simply associating written symbols with oral language. Reading opened us up to a variety of learning, but we had to practice reading on its own, for its own sake, as well as in the other subject areas. This is why schools nowadays often treat social... read more

I discovered my passion for the Spanish language on a church trip to the Dominican Republic ten years ago while serving a group of amazing people there. At the time I was a junior at Western Michigan University and was majoring in Creative Writing. I had only taken a few years of Spanish in high school and was very shaky with speaking. However, something amazing happened while I was there! I found myself being able to communicate and slowly understand. A little boy named Jorge was sitting with my friend and I one night and slowly repeating  "estrella" when it suddenly clicked. I have little Jorge to thank for igniting that passion in me. I went on to double major in Spanish and Creative Writing, then continue to get my Master's degree in Spanish literature. Through the years I have lived in Santander, Spain; Queretaro, Mexico, and finally Barcelona, Spain for the past five years. My husband (who is Spanish) and I just moved back to Michigan and are starting a new... read more

I used to be a quiet person who didn't like to talk in front of a group of people for fear of making a mistake and having them laugh at me.  Luckily, I learned from my high school basketball coach that making mistakes is a good thing, and nothing to be ashamed about.  "How can it be a good thing?" I wondered.     She told me that my fear of making mistakes was paralyzing me, so much so that I was not allowing myself to try new things and new approaches.     Many of my international students come to me with the same fears.  They are too ashamed of their limited spoken English, preferring to sit and listen, rather than try new situations and challenge themselves.  My goal with any new student is to help them understand, the same way my basketball coach helped me to understand, that they are free to make as many mistakes as they can when they are with me. Together, with my guidance, they will learn from their mistakes and... read more

It can be tasking and tedious trying to learn a foreign language.   Students often ask the question, "Why do I need to learn a second language?"  "What purpose does this serve in my life in a primarily English speaking world?"  For those that are motivated to learn a second language, the answer to these questions seem obvious.  For those that are not, this is harder to grasp.   I believe that we need to stop focusing so much on what the PURPOSE of second language is, and what productive function it will have in our lives.  Rather, if we focus on what excites us about that culture, and seek information about the language for the sake of learning, the purpose and function of second language skills will become more apparent.   We live in a world with a wealth of information at our fingertips.  Even if you don't have the privilege of going to a country where the target language is spoken, I encourage you to use... read more

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