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Archive for September, 2012

Why You Should Consider Learning a New Language

by Jake Beus September 27th, 2012 More

As I have stated in a recent post, there are millions of people in the world who have a desire to learn a new language, yet do nothing to fulfill that desire. I would like to take a moment and address the question, ‘Why Should I consider learning a new language?’. I recently posted links on the new LearnALanguage.com Facebook and Twitter accounts to articles that address this question. I encourage you to ‘Like’ the new Facebook page and follow @learntalk on Twitter to stay up to date on blog posts, news and anything related to language-learning.

I discovered the first article from the ACTFL Smartbrief Newsletter. It’s entitled “Madison Schools reaching overseas for bilingual teachers”. That school district is putting more effort and focus on its dual-language immersion program. They had a shortage of bilingual teachers so they looked overseas for help. This is just one example of an increasing number of jobs that require multilingualism. Many employers will increase your pay if you know another language as well. In a global economy, there continue and likely will always be more opportunities for those who know more than one language than for those who don’t.

The second article, entitled “In praise of multilingualism“,  talks more specifically about why you should consider learning a new language. I encourage you to read the full article, but these are some of the main points of it:

  • It helps you appreciate and improve your native tongue
  • It’s a gateway to cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • It opens you up to growth and new experience
  • It helps develop habits of critical thinking
  • It helps you become more of a global citizen

Those are just a few of the reasons to consider learning a new language. What are some more? Please give us your ideas and thoughts by commenting below.

 

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Free Videos

by Taylor Pebley September 26th, 2012 More

Another great way to learn a language fast is with video. We’re excited to announce that LearnALanguage.com now has free videos! We have begun posting videos of our free lessons in the “Learn Spanish” section and will continue adding new videos daily. Also, we are currently creating videos for every lesson in every language and will be posting them as soon as they’re finished. The best part is… they’re all free! Try them out by going to our Spanish Numbers page where you can learn up to 1 billion numbers in Spanish.

Let us know which lessons you would like videos for by commenting below, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

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Habit Psychology

by Brent Jenkins September 25th, 2012 More

We’ve all heard it before: 21 days to make a habit.  21 days.  It sounds easy.  It sounds short.  It sounds simple.

But is it?

21 Days.  3 Weeks.  504 Hours.  30,240 Minutes.  1,814,400 Seconds.

It turns out that 21 days really is a long time, but we can get around that.  Believe it or not, we are constantly going through the full 21 day-cycle to start new habits – The only problem is that these habits aren’t always the ones that we want to be starting.  It seems that bad habits are easy to start and easy to feed, but the good habits are hard to grow (just like flowers & vegetables take a herculean effort and grandmotherly patience, but weeds grow for free…).

After scouring the web for legitimate advice on growing the good habits (the flowers) and plucking up the bad ones (the weeds), it’s easy to see that there’s a lot of great stuff out there, especially related to learning a foreign language.  The following keys will help you become a more successful habit-maker:

  1. Remember that when we remove a bad habit from our life, there is a void – an empty, blank space.  This could be an emotional space, or simply a free time-slot.  Think of it as the dirt that is now available once you’ve plucked a weed.  To ensure that another weed doesn’t pop up in its place, you have to plant a flower.  Example:  Every day after work, Bob goes home, plops down on the couch and numbs his mind with TV for the next several hours.  FIX: As soon as Bob get home, he laces up the ol’ running shoes and goes for a 20-30 minute jog.  Your goal is to replace one bad habit with one good habit.
  2. Use a system to remind yourself of habits that you’ve started and ongoing goals that need some attention.  A perfect example is Mindbloom.  This is a free website that helps you be a better you – It keeps track of goals and habits with reminders, motivation and rewards.  You can join a community who is as ambitious as you are (or as ambitious as you’d like to be).   Everyone here at LearnALanguage.com uses Mindbloom on a daily basis and is encouraged to be creative, motivated and ambitious.
  3. Good habits are hard to keep, even after the 21-Day creation period.  The truth is, in order to keep your good habits, you must have your motivation behind them.  The motivation is different for each person, and that’s how it should be.  Decide for yourself why you are going to learn a foreign language, lose 10 pounds, read 1 book per month, comb your hair, be on time, Facebook less, smile more and be happier.  Once you know the why, it will be easier to keep it up, even after Day 21.

This is only a small taste of the Psychology of Habit-Making.  The rest is up to you.

 

My industry is all about foreign language learning, so it makes sense that I extend an invitation to you: Begin Learning Today.  Start with a habit that will bring countless benefits for years to come, all for free.  As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

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Why You Aren’t Learning a New Language

by Jake Beus September 24th, 2012 More

Learning a new language is definitely an admirable goal just like many other goals that you might have in your life. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading about goals and motivation as it relates to language-learning. There are millions of people everyday who do nothing to feed their desire to learn a new language. I found the following reasons:

Lack of time. Everyone is busy. No matter the stage of life you find yourself in, there are many great and noble things you can do to fill your time. One thing I have learned in life is that if you really want to do something, then you will usually make time for it. You don’t need to spend hours each day learning your new language of choice. Start with 10 minutes each day.

Lack of motivation. Don’t you wish there was a magic pill you could take to help you stay motivated after you have your ‘moment of inspiration’? I promise you that 5-hour Energy is not that magic pill. Why is learning a new language important to you? Once you have answered that question, think about ways that you can stay motivated. I would encourage you to list your goal on 43things.com and join a group of people with that same goal. If you have other websites/apps that are helpful, please comment on this post.

Can’t afford classes/software. No longer is it necessary for you to enroll in a college class or even pay hundreds of dollars for language-learning software. We are working hard to provide you with as many free resources as we can right here. There are numerous other ways that you can learn for cheap or even free. We don’t believe that there is a perfect solution for everyone, unless everyone could afford to move to a foreign country and be completely immersed in a new language.

Little success with boring learning methods. As I previously stated, we are working feverishly to give you the best resources to keep you motivated and learning at the same time. Language learning doesn’t have to be as boring as your most boring professor you had in college. We can do better. I believe that learning needs to be convenient as well. What are the best mobile apps and websites for learning a new language?

If you have a different excuse for not learning a new language, please make a comment and let me know what your excuse is.

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How to Improve Your Memory

by Taylor Pebley September 20th, 2012 More

When learning a new language it’s helpful to know how to improve your memory. Memorization is an important part of learning. I am currently learning Spanish and have found some helpful tips on how to improve memorization skills:

Get enough sleep. Your mind is like a muscle: it won’t perform its best if it is too tired. It’s also important not to get too much sleep, which can make you feel lethargic and foggy. So how much sleep is enough for you?  Try keeping a regular sleep schedule and adjust according to how you feel. You will eventually find the right number for you. Continue paying attention to your body and mind and adjust that number as needed.

Exercise regularly. Exercise does wonders for the mind, such as raising oxygen, delivering endorphins, and increasing self-discipline. Try learning and memorizing within an hour or so of your exercise. Your body and mind will still be in high performance mode from your workout.

Use mnemonic devices (click link for some great examples). Like a mind bridge, mnemonic devices connect something you already know to what you are learning. For example, I was trying to memorize the Spanish word for horse, which is “el caballo“, pronounced kah-bah-yo. I associated that word with the English word “cowboy” because they sound alike. Every time I heard the word “caballo” I pictured a cowboy sitting on a horse.

Be stress free. Stress takes a tole on the mind and body. Make sure you feel relaxed before trying to learn. If you feel stressed before learning, try some simple stress release exercises. If all else fails, have a good laugh and consciously put away your troubles long enough to be relaxed and stress-free. Then jump into your learning and memorization with an open mind and smiling face.

Increase your brain power. Lastly, strengthen your brain by solving puzzles and brain teasers. Even better, find brain teasers that require memory exercises! If you start to feel frustrated while trying to memorize new words or phrases, take a break and find a few memory exercises that are fun and interesting to you. Try doing one per day for a week and see how much your memory improves.

Try these tips to help improve your memory in the language you are learning. Not learning a language yet? Guess what, learning a new language happens to be a great way to increase your brain power. Comment with your thoughts and suggestions. I am learning another language myself and could use all the help I can get!

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