Have you ever wondered what your Chinese birth year sign is? Well first of all, what are these signs? You’ve probably seen these signs, also known as Chinese zodiac or astrology signs, when you go to a Chinese restaurant. A printed sheet of paper, used as a place mat, shows twelve animals and has a brief explanation of each. You are assigned an animal depending on which year you were born in. This is about the extent most of us look into these signs. Oh man, was I surprised when I looked into my own sign a little more…
My zodiac sign is the Tiger. I’m not convinced these signs are a real predictor, but I was blown away when I read a complete description of those born in the year of the tiger! Each sign comes with brief summaries in personality, health, career, relationships and some others depending on the source. It was almost spot-on for me in every area it described! How I am with people, at work, almost everything it said seemed to be describing me personally.
Why can’t learning be fun? When I look back at my K-12 and college days, I think about a lot of sleepy, boring classes. At the same time, I think about some of the great things that I have learned and creative ways in which they have been taught. There have been plenty of fun games that have reinforced lessons learned.
I’m not saying that education is going to be a party all the time. Sometimes it’s going to be boring and you have to power through and do the best you can. Here at LearnALanguage.com we aim to keep you awake, alert, having fun and learning as much as possible. We don’t want you to be saying ‘how boring’ in Italian out loud when you are learning Italian. The Learning Lounge, Memory Machine and Lingo Dingo are fun games (we hope you think so too) that reinforce vocabulary and phrases you are learning.
If you don’t have a fun game to help you review what you are learning, give yourself fun rewards for being awesome to help motivate you to power through the learning process. In our office, some of my co-workers and I set goals to arrive to work at certain times of the day. Whoever arrived late the most this week had to listen to the Hannah Montana Pandora station for 1 hour at work and share it on their personal Facebook and Twitter pages. That lucky person was me.
The best way to learn a foreign language is to live where that language is spoken so that you are completely immersed in the language. That means that you speak and listen to your new language all day everyday. There is NO better way. When a language website or company tells you that they have the best way, understand that they’re saying that it’s the best way other than complete immersion.
Most people do not have the opportunity to be completely immersed in a new language by living in a foreign country. The good news is that there are other ways you can learn. Before I tell you about a few of those other ways, I’d like to tell you something important: For MOST people, language acquisition does not come easy, it requires hard work and consistency. With that in mind, here are some other ways that you can learn a new language besides complete immersion:
Audio-based programs. There are a number of audio-based language programs out there and these can be convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle. Simply make sure that the foreign language you are listening to is from a native speaker. You want to avoid the ‘foreigner’ accent as much as possible.
Reading material. If you know how to read in the foreign language, it can be very helpful to read as much as possible to amplify your vocabulary. For me, reading aloud was very helpful in improving my pronunciation and flow.
Writing exercises. Reading and writing exercises will help you improve your grammar and flow.
Speaking. Speak in the foreign language as often as you can. Read aloud. Video chat with native speakers of the foreign language you are studying. As much as possible, have face-to-face conversations. Your efforts will be appreciated, and often you will be able to help the other person work on English.
I recommend adding all of these learning components into your language-learning method; however, focus on speaking. Involve as many senses as possible in the learning process. If you can hear it, say it, feel it and write it, then you will likely remember it. What’s your favorite way to learn a new language? Please answer by commenting below.
Have you ever gotten really excited about a goal or project, such as speaking a new language, just to realize a few weeks or even only a few days later that your excitement and motivation have failed? I have. It’s always such a bummer…and it’s frustrating. We’re ambitious people! We want to be successful and progressive! We should be able to accomplish these extremely reachable goals! Well, one of the best ways I’ve found to overcome this tendency to burn out like a shooting star is to frequently read/say motivational quotes and then do something right away to implement those quotes.
There are thousands of motivational quotes out there. My suggestion is to start with a simple search on Google. I have collected a few over the years, and here are some of my favorites:
“I will do today what others will not do, so tomorrow I can do what others cannot do.” – Randy Gage
“Nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do.” – Russell Kirsch, invented the first computer
“Just do it.” – Popularized by Nike
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
“Build upon strengths, and weaknesses will gradually take care of themselves.” – Joyce C. Lock
“Above all, challenge yourself. You may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have, what you can accomplish.” – Cecile Springer
“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” – Robert Anthony
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland
“There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” – Henry Ford
I hope you’ve found one or more of these to add to your collection. Regardless of what goal you are working on or weakness you are trying to overcome, a positive attitude can make all the difference. Use motivational quotes to help you succeed. Comment and share your own favorite quotes!
It’s Monday, and that means we need to take a look back and try to get a grasp of what happened over the weekend. We do our best to stay updated with what’s going on around the world, and here is some of the notable world news of this past weekend.
UCI agrees to strip Armstrong of his 7 Tour titles, via Fox News. As far as cycling’s governing body is concerned, Lance Armstrong is out of the record books. Once considered the greatest rider in tour history, the American was cast out Monday by his sport.
BMW to build plant in Brazil, via Fox News. Officials say German automaker BMW AG will build a factory in southern Brazil. BMW will invest approximately $500 million to build the plant.
Please tweet @learntalk and let us know what other stories we should include and link to.
Every organization needs to have a mission. This is the purpose, the overriding goal behind everything that we do. We here at LearnALanguage.com had a very long, intense discussion over what our mission would be. We think that you’ll be excited about this:
Our Mission: To make language-learning a convenient and social habit through modern technology.
Pretty simple, right? Let’s break it down together, just to see exactly why we’re here and what we’re doing.
Language-learning: We operate based on the assumption that everyone is interested in learning a second, third or fourth language (or ought to be so). The benefits are enormous and let’s face it – no one will ever regret learning another language. We all have our own reasons, and that’s good enough for us.
Convenient: We know that convenience is a major factor in how and when people are going to focus on learning. A big part of that is money. If you buy a language course (RosettaStone, Pimsleur, RocketSpanish, etc.), you’re going to be out about $300 (give or take). If you go with LearnALanguage.com instead, you’re going to spend……. $0 – doesn’t that feel good? We’re here when you need us, for free. We have a huge variety of topics and learning methods.
Social: When we say “social”, we mean that we want you to be excited enough about learning a language that you invite your friends and family. We’re making it easy to share these free lessons via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and many other ways. It just makes sense. If you like something, you share it. If you find yourself at a great party with free food, you call your friends so that they can enjoy the happiness too. Sharing is a great idea.
Making Learning a Habit: Let’s be honest: the only way to truly learn over a lifetime is to make learning a habit. We’re making it easy to come back on a regular basis. It doesn’t cost you anything, you’re actually learning, great games and activities to review – what’s not to love?
Modern Technology: LearnALanguage.com uses cutting-edge technology to make sure that we offer you the best learning experience possible. Our future plans are enormous and we’re excited to unveil them soon. We know that our fans are going to be happy with all of the new things that we will soon be offering, all for free. We believe that we all benefit and learn most effectively by harnessing modern technology.
We love our fans, and we’re excited to introduce you to the future of language-learning.
This past weekend, some of you were able to witness a historic moment as Felix Baumgartner leaped more than 120,000 feet above Roswell, New Mexico. He broke the free-fall record set by Air Force test pilot Joe Kittinger in 1960. I think it’s great that it was sponsored by Red Bull and a few other companies. I have a slight obsession/addiction to Red Bull, and it’s great to see that some of the money I spend to keep me caffeinated has been going to science and education. This jump was seen live via webcast by millions across the world in a few different languages. So, my props go to the fine folks at Red Bull for making that happen. Enjoy this short video of the live jump:
When I first began learning Spanish, it was important for me to consistently review and reinforce what I was learning. In fact, that is still very important today and will be forever. I reviewed reading, computer and audio materials and would take notes of a few concepts I was learning and glance at them throughout the day. Before smartphones, I used index cards for review. Now I do virtually everything on my PC or my iPhone.
I recently had a need for a flash cards app and away I went to the app store. In my research, one particular website about flashcards apps was very useful. I suggest you visit flashcardapps.info to view information about 167 flashcard apps for the iPhone and iPad.
That website owner gives a few features you need to consider when trying to find the best flash card app for you:
Ability to download ready-made cards from Quizlet, Study Stack, Flashcard Exchange or the ProVoc library
Ability to share stacks over wi-fi, bluetooth or email
Import and export spreadsheets and textfiles
Ability to track and change your flash card stacks
Sync across multiple devices
Sounds, images, text-to-speech
After looking over many of them, these are 3 of my favorites (the links will open in iTunes):
The word “fail” is one of the most popular search words in Google and YouTube. For some reason, human beings find enjoyment in watching the slip-ups and trip-ups of their fellow earth-dwellers. America’s Funniest Home Videos, a TV show based solely on people falling over, is one of the most popular, family-centered TV shows of all time. There’s nothing wrong with that (mostly), but here is the question: How do you make sure that you are the one watching these ‘fails’, not the one performing?
WAY TO UP: Don’t be whoever wrote this sign…
I can’t tell you how to ride a bike properly, or how NOT to jump into a swimming pool, but I can give you some help with the language blunders that happen so often. We’ve all heard the horror stories, and some of us have been unfortunate enough to tell those stories in the first-person. I vividly remember asking a sweet family if I could ‘eat their giant’ on my first trip to Cambodia. I was so embarrassed, but now (years later), I find it as hilarious as if it had happened to someone else.
What’s the strategy to not be that person? Be prepared. Plain and simple, the best way to avoid the small-time, quick-fix mistakes is to do your homework, study intensely and frequently, and love what you’re doing (or trying to do). We here at LearnALanguage.com pride ourselves on bringing you the best content out there – all for free – so that you no longer have any excuses to procrastinate your preparations.
Are you tired of saying happy birthday in just one language? Add a little spice to the birthday party by being able to say happy birthday in multiple languages. You could even have a happy birthday multi-language party! Here is a video to help you: