Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Five Easy Ways Finally to Master a Foreign Language

Years of classroom study of a foreign language may have gotten us to the point where we are able to puzzle out the correct answers to exam questions, hold our own in a face-to-face conversation with a native speaker, and even read a novel.


Still our straight “A” record in the classroom, and years of mastering grammar probably has left us scratching our heads after watching a film or listening in at political rally in a country where our second language is spoken.


This is so because formal language education rarely provides sufficient exposure to idiomatic expression and informal speech patterns.  To understand fully how different ordinary speech patterns can be from the written word or from scripted speech, one need only listen to a radio sports talk show.  The hosts will use one-word sentences, interrupt each other and themselves, and generally speak in a way that few novices in the study of the English language would have any hope of understanding.  Few of us are articulate enough to express anything but a simple thought without constantly changing gears, starting over and rephrasing midway through a thought, using run-on sentences, and trailing off when it seems that a point has been made.


To claim true fluency, one must be able to understand all types of speech, not just flawless speech or speech directed specifically to you as a listener with marginal comprehension.  When we speak to others for whom English is obviously a second language we naturally chose our words carefully and express ourselves in the way most likely to be understood.  Our foreign counterparts do the same, so we may walk away from a successful one-on-one exchange with a feeling of false confidence.


In sharp contrast to the way we learn our native tongue, reading and writing skills in a foreign language are generally mastered far ahead of listening comprehension skills for a number of very good reasons. The most important reason for this is that when we read or write, we do so at our own pace.  We may stop at difficult passages as long as necessary to understand them, whether that is to be accomplished by reference to a dictionary or verb book or through a simple search of our memories.


However, unless we have been fortunate enough to live in a country where our second, third, or fourth language is spoken, it can seem next to impossible to achieve the level of fluency that would allow us to understand a disc jockey, pick up the nuances of a film, join an authentic roundtable discussion, or understand the lyrics of a popular song,

These are skills we must acquire as we acquired our native language as children — by listening a great deal and piecing things together through context.  Here are five easy ways to fit first-rate listening practice into our day without taking time away from our ordinary activities.


Use The Foreign Subtitle Options on Your DVD When Watching Films in English

When watching a rented movie at home, check the language options on the DVD menu.  Often, you will be able to select subtitles in your second language.   This is a great tool, because good subtitles are rarely direct translations of the script.  Instead, a skilled subtitle writer will rephrase the dialogue to match the way in which the same idea would be expressed in the language of the subtitles.  Because of this, foreign subtitles on an American or British film can be a better learning tool than English subtitles on a foreign film.  So while you’re relaxing and watching the latest hot release, you can also painlessly pick up lots of idiomatic expressions and common methods of phrasing that you probably didn’t learn in the classroom.


Make Sound  Recordings of Your Favorite Foreign Films


If you are not yet truly fluent in a foreign language, you will probably need subtitles in order to enjoy films in that language.  While those subtitles provide useful reading practice, they are less helpful when it comes to honing your listening skills.  In fact, they are actually something of a distraction.


On the other hand, once you have watched a favorite foreign film once or more so that you are familiar with the plot and the visuals that go along with it, your memory of those visuals will usually provide enough support when you later listen to the sound recording in your car, to allow you to hear words and phrases that otherwise would have been lost.


Aha, so that’s what they were saying!


Stream  Audio From Foreign Radio Stations While You Work on Other Things


There are now so many options available for streaming foreign broadcasts that we all have the opportunity to set a foreign language as our background noise of choice while we are online.  Rather than listening to instrumental music, or popular songs from your own culture, filling the environment with  constant prattle in a foreign language will allow an increasing level of comfort with the sounds and meter of that language and will increase your familiarity and level of comfort with the language in a way that conscious study cannot.  You will be able to focus in and out as the demands of your primary activity allows, but whether or not you give the broadcast your undivided attention, you will be building skills.


Memorize Song Lyrics to master a foreign language


The lyrics to popular songs from all cultures and in all languages are widely available on line.  In order to find them, you need only learn a few simple search phrases in the language you are learning.  Then comb your music collection for songs you enjoy in another language and listen to them again with lyrics in hand.  Soon you will not need to refer to the lyrics as you sing along.  Moreover, you will own every single word, phrase, contraction, and expression in the lyrics you have learned.


Get Your News From Another Country


News broadcasts from foreign countries are widely available both on cable television and online.  News programming is usually formatted in a predictable way with an introduction to the story followed by reporting from site of the news-making event often coupled with footage of the event itself.


Not only will watching news broadcast from another country improve your language and listening skills, it will give you a new perspective on the way in which global events are viewed outside of your own country and culture.


Just as we never stop learning and improving our language skills in our native tongue, learning a foreign language is an ongoing process that never ceases to be rewarding, especially if we have some fun in the process.

The post Five Easy Ways Finally to Master a Foreign Language appeared first on Spanishscholars.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Learning Spanish at Young Age will Help…

Learning Spanish at a Young Age

Nowadays, you will hear different languages wherever you go. This is because of the diversity in our society where people from various origins travel and live in different places. Most of the time, you will encounter individuals who speak Spanish. This is why it is important to let your kids start learning Spanish at a young age. In doing this, they will be more able to communicate with a wider range of individuals.

In approaching kids with learning or studying, the general guide is that ‘the younger, the better.’ This is because children who are at a younger age have the capacity to grasp new ideas and concepts at a faster rate. This can be seen in learning Spanish where adults have a harder time learning it as compared to kids.

Son and mother hugging

Learning a second language can be advantageous for children when they grow up since they can communicate with a different linguistic group. Another advantage in learning a second language is that it will become easier for kids to learn a third or fourth language in the future. This means that if your child learns Spanish, he can learn German or any other language soon after. The reason learning a new language for a kid becomes easier is that after learning them he can differentiate the use and application of those different languages quickly.

There are tutorial classes and even curriculum classes in private or public schools that offer to teach the Spanish language to children. Some other schools even have immersion programs that let children integrate with other Spanish-speaking kids and require that they also speak the language throughout the day. Furthermore, they teach the lessons in Spanish, pushing the children to understand the language easier.

Learning Spanish is beneficial for your child given the huge number of Spanish-speaking individuals across the globe. The Spanish language is almost as famous as the English language which is why it is essential to choose it as a second language. In learning this language, your child can have this as an advantage to get a job, travel, and communicate with others easily.

In letting your child learn Spanish as a second language, you are giving him an advantage in life. As nowadays, learning a second language is not just a privilege but a necessity that helps your child reap more benefits as he grows older.

Places where kids learning Spanish is encouraged

While Spanish is a now a widely used language around the world, parents may still find it hard to look for places where their children can learn the language. If you are wondering which places are the best options where you can let your child learn Spanish, then look no more! We will guide you through the various venues where you can let your child learn Spanish easily.

  • Meet Up

Meeting up with other Spanish-speaking individuals is one of the best ways to learn Spanish fast. This is why the website meetup.com is a perfect way where you can find different events happening near you which you can join. Furthermore, this site has groups where your child can interact with other bilingual children.

You can even create a new group for your child to invite other kids who have the same interest as him. In this way, he can make new friends online while also learning Spanish.

  • Forums

If your child is a techie and knows how to use computers, you can help log them in online forums for children. He can learn to type and read in Spanish while also interacting with other Spanish-speaking individuals. With the consent of other parents, you can let your child have a pen pal with whom he can write to in Spanish.

  • Online Pen Pals

Nowadays, parents have taken the use of computers and the internet as a way in which their child can also learn. Technology can also be used to look for online pen pals with whom your child can learn together with. You can find a Spanish mom who is willing to teach your child Spanish, while also offering to teach her child English.

In doing this, you are letting your child learn a language while also teaching another one a new language. With online pen pals, you are also promoting your child’s skills in using his second language every time he interacts with his online pen pal.

  • Language Schools

If you are willing to spend some cash to let your child learn Spanish, enrolling him in a language school is a great option. Language schools focus on teaching your child a particular language with all the necessary tips and instructions to do so. Most language schools partner a child with another to let them interact with each other at their pace.

If spending money to learn a language is not on your list, you can ask these language schools if they have special events where your child can join for free. Teachers in these schools are accommodating to children who would like to learn a new language. They would be most willing to let your child join their activities anytime.

These are just four options which you can explore to let your child learn Spanish fast. Try your hand in exploring other venues available in your vicinity, and you will be amazed by the different ways in which your child can learn while having fun.

Your kids will thank you

Learning a second language such as Spanish nowadays can be done by anyone, even toddlers. If your child has a good teacher that can guide him, he can even learn his second language while still learning to speak his mother tongue. The advantage in this is that your child can learn and apply what he is learning to everything that he will hear about in the future. Scientific studies have shown that children can learn faster when they are at a younger age. Furthermore, there is no limit to what they can learn at their young age.

If you are indeed considering the different advantages that your child will have in learning Spanish, then carefully choose the appropriate program for him. For children who are in their toddler years up to their elementary years, finding the best Spanish learning program should cater to his needs for it to be successful.

Here are some tips that you can do to help further your child learn Spanish faster:

  • Use all senses.

When your child is still learning how to read, it is important that you encourage him to use all of his other senses when learning. Make use of his various senses through the use of materials like flash cards. You can also encourage him to touch and smell different objects and use Spanish words to describe these. In doing so, he will be continuously amazed at what he is learning and will be happy to learn more.

  • Use your computers.

While too much exposure to computers can be harmful to children, using them from time to time for educating is not a problem. There are many online tutorials, programs, and applications that you can let your child use to learn Spanish. You will be amazed at the excellent programs that can be done in computers which are both interactive and enjoyable for your child.

  • Speak Spanish too.

When you want your child to learn Spanish, it is important that you are with him in every step of the way. This means that you also have to learn Spanish so you can converse with him anytime. You can use your native language and the Spanish language together when speaking with your child to encourage him all the more in learning. In doing this, he will feel you support while also learning from your example.

With the various advantages your child can get from learning Spanish as a second language, there is no reason why you shouldn’t encourage him to do so. Encouraging them to learn a second language at a young age promotes their cognitive development that can lead to better academic performance through the years. Not only will he be better in his studies, but he can also have a greater advantage in landing a job. Also, he will also become more confident in communicating with other people who also speak Spanish.

With these benefits, there is no reason why you should stop yourself from letting your child learn Spanish as his second language.

The post Learning Spanish at Young Age will Help… appeared first on Spanishscholars.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Best Methods of making kids learn Spanish

The advantage of knowing a second or a third language becomes evident when you have to travel, to look for a job, to meet new people and to find out more about different places in the world. It is also true that you can learn a foreign language much faster when you are comparatively young. Various researchers have proven that learning a foreign language before you are ten years old is much easier than trying to learn the language when you are an adult. Children who know two or more languages find it easier to understand and comprehend overall their native tongue whether it is English or some other language.

Learning a language has to be full of fun especially for children since they try to avoid anything that reminds them of school. When you change the Spanish learning process into a game instead of a process which makes them feel bored, tired and overburdened, you will find that your child enjoys it more. It is easy for kids to pick up the language by repeating over and over again the things they have learned. But this duration should be restricted to not more than half hour sessions at any time.
Smart kid learns spanish


You can follow some of the ideas given below to help your child to learn the Spanish language:

  • Books for children in Spanish

A large number of images and lots of fun-filled stories contained in the books written for children in Spanish can be a great source of learning. The children can increase their low reading skills and comprehension to higher levels and then they can move over to magazines and novels written for young adults.

  • Games for children

Games in Spanish designed for adults can also be used for kids requiring only a small change in the original theme to suit them. These games include ones such as the ‘Memory Concentration’ game in which cards have to be flipped over and matched with a second one.

The ‘Word Matching’ game in which words in a list needs to match up with their corresponding images, and the ‘Plug-and-Play’ game in which blanks in a paragraph have to be filled up with the proper words from a list.

  • Educational video games

Quite a few websites offer video games which you can buy for the children through which they can learn Spanish. You can easily make them agree to play the game and learn with its help if the lesson is in the form of a video game that they love to play. Only ensure that they do not play for too long as staring at the computer or TV screen for long durations can be harmful to their eyes.

  • Online sites, software, and DVDs

Spanish is the best choice when you want your children to learn a foreign language as it has a high demand and is a second language that gets spoken by the largest number of people in the United States of America. Learning any foreign language including Spanish has become comfortable and enjoyable with the advent of the internet.

To make the learning process highly enjoyable, you can help your children to learn online from the cartoons and games available in Spanish on the web. You can also use bedtime stories or songs in Spanish to help your kids to learn the language. If your child is a slow learner, then you should allocate separate sessions during which they can learn the language.

Start teaching the kids who are slow learners, first the phrases in Spanish which they find in their favorite foods and the Spanish names of everyday things that they see around them inside the house. If you find that the kids are still having difficulties in learning the language, then try to make the process easier and more enjoyable instead of scolding them.

Learning Spanish on the internet helps kids to learn the language faster as well as gives a boost to their self-confidence. You can ensure that they learn more Spanish vocabulary by helping them to hook up and play games with the children of Spanish relatives and friends. Keep in mind that you are bound to get success no matter how difficult it is if you choose the correct option for learning Spanish.

The internet has contributed a lot to helping people and their children to learn Spanish or any other language online with the aid of computers. While planning a holiday try to look for places which have provisions for allowing the children and the family to learn Spanish together. You may not believe it, but it can be an enjoyable experience.

  • Pen-pals who speak Spanish

Communicating with newly found friends in their native language can be a faster and easier way to learn the language. There is a difference between reading a textbook to learn a language and reading a letter from friends in that language. The reading ability of your child will improve with the eagerness he shows in trying to find out what has been written in the letter from his pen-pal. The letter will become more exclusive when they understand the actual colloquial use of the language.

  • Exposure to Spanish culture

People who are serious that their children should learn the Spanish language should expose them more to Spanish culture through events and programs shown on TV in Spanish. Tell them about the history and the geography of the countries where Spanish is the native language. You can increase their interest to learn Spanish if you plan to take them to these countries on holidays.

  • Preparing Spanish meals

Dishes prepared from Spanish recipes are appetizing and delicious. Cook Spanish meals with your children and lets them know the recipes and the ingredients that you use. This will help you to form a stronger bond between your child and yourself as well as help your child to learn Spanish in a more relaxed atmosphere which may not be available always.

Needless to say, Spanish is the most preferred second language that every parent wants their children to learn. It has become important to know this language as many employers feel that their employees should have a basic knowledge of Spanish. You can use the options given above to help your children learn Spanish even if you do not have the financial means to send them to a private school.

It is evident that learning Spanish is highly beneficial as an option and there are numerous ways by which your children can effectively learn the language. The requirement for them to learn the Spanish language can be a good reason for you to start learning the language as well.

The post Best Methods of making kids learn Spanish appeared first on Spanishscholars.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Teaching Spanish to Your Kids – Benefits of Being Bilingual

A traditional Uruguayan story for children shows how knowing two languages can be an advantage. The story tells how a hungry cat was failing to entice a mouse out of its hole to catch it. Suddenly a fat cat appeared on the scene and solved the thin cat’s problem by suggesting to the small cat to move away from the hole so that the mouse could not see it. Next, it placed itself out of the mouse’s view and started barking like a dog. Thinking that the cats have been chased away by a dog the mouse thought it safe and came out. The fat cat immediately pounced upon it, ate it up, and explained that this had been possible only because it was bilingual.

As per studies, the world has 66 percent of bilingual children while America has only 17 percent of them who speak English and any other language. America has always supported other languages. Presently foreign languages are taught in very few American schools to few students and that too for short durations.


Mother with Child


It is one of the most essential second language for Americans from the North. Many Americans feel that there should be no language other than English that should be spoken in the United States and fail to understand the real situation existing in the world. Spanish is a language that gets spoken by almost 400 million people living in the North, South and Central parts of the America. It arrived on these shores long before English did at a time when the United States did not exist. The people living in remote New Mexico and Mexican border towns have been speaking Spanish for centuries. Spanish gets spoken by native Puerto Ricans as well as those who live in the United States.


Advantages of knowing Spanish

Teaching your child a second language has its advantages, and its inclusion does not show that you are trying to abandon English but rather benefits your child in the following ways:

  • Getting to know other cultures

The world has become smaller due to the internet interconnectivity and incidents taking place in cities like Brussels, Bogota, and Beijing can equally affect people living in Atlanta, Boston or Detroit in The US. Knowing a foreign language can help you to understand incidents occurring far away beyond physical demarcations.

  • Developing Skills in creative thought

It’s proven that children who are bilingual remain sharper and more active even as they grow older compared to children who are monolingual. Bilingual children are more focused, interactive, can multitask, skip unnecessary information, solve more puzzles and play more games in comparison to others.

  • Getting a job easily after growing up

The 11th largest economy ranked in the world is the Mexican economy. Mexico is US’s second largest import-export partner and third largest country behind Canada and China from where the US sources its goods for import. It is US’s number one partner for trade in agricultural goods, while the US is Mexico’s number one partner for trade in all kinds of products. All the other countries in Latin America where Spanish is the primary language are fast becoming US’s trade partners. Any job seeker will find it extremely useful to be able to communicate with the businessmen from these countries in Spanish.

  • Delaying the symptoms of Alzheimer

Bilinguals have been found to keep away the symptoms of Alzheimer’s much longer than monolinguals.


Methods of introducing Spanish to your children

  • For kids in pre-school stage

Probably the best way that children use to learn any language is by listening to it first, repeating it next and then speaking it. They pick up vocabulary and grammar and start to read in this way. We are genetically designed to create 40 kinds of sounds at birth, and we can associate objects and sounds to ideas and actions. Language gets created from all these capabilities. Every sound has some meaning including the babbling of an infant that changes from ‘ma, ma,’ to ‘mama’ and then to ‘mother.’

The best thing is to introduce your child to a foreign language as early as possible which is ideal if done before the age of 10 or perhaps before 5. Children will feel more comfortable when they grow up with books, songs, videos and objects dealing with a foreign language and its particular cultural background intermixed with their daily life.

Introduce your pre-school children to Spanish via:

  • Nursery Rhymes and Songs

The repetitive and melodious nature of nursery rhymes and songs produce a positive impact on small children even though they are unable to comprehend what gets said. Tunes such as ‘Ten Little Fingers’ and stories like ‘Sesame Street’ expose the children to the sound and rhythm of Spanish when done playfully.

  • Recordings of stories

Find out the stories in Spanish which is your child’s favorite. Read out ‘Dora the Explorer’ or ‘Sesame Street’ which have been translated into Spanish or listen to the CD together. A young girl’s story ‘Sana Sana’ written by Indi Avila that contains colorful pictures has a unique attraction for young children.

  • Cards with pictures and words

A word related to an image is a natural and primary method of learning and remembering vocabulary. Write down the word in Spanish alongside the picture and put them up in different parts of the house so that they are always visible to the children. You can use various words of the language such as ‘bano’ on the bathroom door or ‘jugette’ posted to the toy which your child plays with most. You can play a game inside the house or in the garden where different objects have to be named in Spanish.

  • Hiring tutors and nannies

Hiring a tutor or nanny whose native tongue is Spanish is also a great way of teaching the language. Spanish students living in your area show a higher quality of grammar and may charge nominal fees. Ensure that the Spanish tutor you hire enjoys teaching your children as the learning experience has to be full of fun and not an enforced one.

  • Spanish programs on radio and television

Most kids get bored with the television shows in the United States as they are for grown-ups and knowledgeable viewers. The website ‘TVE a la carte’ can help you find proper TV channels for your child if you are interested in TV for teaching.

  • For Kids in Elementary school

Education experts agree that the proficiency of children in a language is increased if they get exposed to a longer duration of instruction by introducing the second language in the early stages of elementary education. In simple words, your child would become a master in Spanish if he or she is given exposure to the language on a regular basis for a greater duration. Additionally, children have more open minds when they are studying in elementary schools than at a later date, and show more enthusiasm and interest to pick up information regarding other cultural backgrounds. It is mandatory in many countries to learn a foreign language by the time the child is eight years old, while comparatively American students get first exposed to a foreign language only at high school.

You can use a computer, a smart phone or tablet to access the internet which provides many audios, videos, texts, animations in Spanish in case the school your child goes to does not have any foreign language course.

  • Adolescent children

You can give encouragement to your child to join formal classes in foreign languages offered by high schools to learn to speak and reading skills in Spanish as he goes through school. Extracurricular classes are provided by many schools which teach the rich culture and history of Spanish-speaking countries as an additional course.

When in high school, your child can also take advantage of the ‘International Student Exchange Programs’ to improve his or her Spanish speaking skills. Young people can also join the ‘Peace Corps’ voluntarily after college graduation and develop their abilities in Spanish with a 27-month posting to a foreign country. They can also get a waiver for their education loans in this way and can get paid instead for their efforts.



Knowledge of Spanish can enrich you personally, give an idea about other cultures, and can be an advantage for building a good career. If you decide that your child should learn Spanish, then you should keep in mind that it should be an enjoyable experience. Otherwise, they will lose their commitment. You have to acknowledge their smallest achievement with celebrations and provide the necessary encouragement whenever they fail.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Heart For Kids: Native Spanish Speaker Joins Ranks Of Staff Child Protection Worker

WORTHINGTON --  It takes a special type of person to be a social worker in the Nobles County Family Services child protection unit. Empathy, compassion, patience, discipline, a non-judgmental attitude and stamina are all required.

That’s because it’s never too early in the morning or too late at night to help a vulnerable child.

“We take turns, but someone is always on call,” said Krysta Anderson,  the Family and Children’s Social Services supervisor.

“That means nights, weekends and holidays, around the clock.”

With child protection reports averaging nearly one per day (the department fielded 362 child protection reports in the county during 2015 and to date in 2016 has handled 329 reports), Anderson and her staff are engaged in a job that never ends and is sometimes thankless -- but can be rewarding nevertheless.

Each of the dedicated family/children’s social services staff in Nobles County plays an important role, with employees designated to child protection (four), child welfare (one), children’s mental health (four) and case aide (one).

Several of the unit’s employees speak some Spanish, but when Dulce Adame Murillo joined the office as a child protection worker on Aug. 1, she became the first native Spanish-speaker employed in that capacity.

“I was so excited to have Dulce join our team because we work with a really diverse population,” said Anderson. “Being non-judgmental is a hugely important quality in our work, and while we all possess that, having someone from the same culture to serve a client takes it to another degree and enables  communication.”

Author: Jane Moore