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Language Learning – Blog

What Are Some Useful Language Tools?

by Brent Jenkins October 9th, 2012 No comments More

Every day, Google gets asked hundreds of thousands of questions about how to study better, what are the best tools to learn a language, what are the short-cuts, what advice do professionals offer, where are the great resources, the list goes on.  We all know it – Learning a language is a very difficult thing.  So why make it harder?  Every single tool that we come upon should be used to the fullest benefit possible.  It has been said that ‘life is a game of inches.’  Here at LearnALanguage.com, we have another tool to help you ‘get those inches.’

The LearnALanguage.com Toolbar can be downloaded and customized for up to 8 languages. Yet another great tool to help us learn quick.

You can find our toolbar all over our site.  Download the bar that has each language (by selecting the image to the left), or you can go to the Learn Spanish page to download the Spanish Toolbar, the Learn Italian page to download the Italian Toolbar and so on.  You get the idea.

This isn’t a ground-shaking, world-changing development, but it is a tool that we can use to remind ourselves to study every single day, or several times a day.  It will make our free language lessons now one-click away.  With learning this easy, why are you still reading this?  www.learnalanguage.com

Learn a Language, Motivation , ,

Self Motivation Quotes

by Jake Beus October 8th, 2012 8 comments More

motivation

It’s not easy to be self-motivated. We realize that learning a language is not an easy task. It takes self-motivation and hard work. In order to help you when you may not feel very motivated, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite self-motivation quotes. Many of the quotes come from the community of Mindbloom.

  •  “One learns the most about writing once their pen is moving.”
  • “You can’t fly if you never jump!”
  • “Your breakthroughs will come when you do what you’ve been afraid to do.”
  • “The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” -Steve Young
  • “If you find yourself getting nervous, stop and relax for three full breaths. Then take one small step, then another. That is how people get to the top of Everest.” -Martha Beck
  • “Today I do what others will not, so tomorrow I do what others cannot.” -Jerry Rice
  • “When faced with mountain-like obstacles, I envision myself already at the top.”
  • “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson
  • “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” -Lou Holtz
  • “If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.” Rabindranath Tagore
  • “Celebrate every small victory!”
  • “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.”
  • “Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.” -Peter T. Mcintyre
  • “I am not my challenges. I am not my illness. I am stronger than my mind. I am stronger than my pain.”

I hope that one of those quotes took you from la-la land in your mind to putting your mind to work. What is your favorite quote? Please comment on this post below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Learn a Language, Motivation , , ,

Learning a Second Language….. and a Third….. and a Fourth…..

by Brent Jenkins October 5th, 2012 4 comments More

Ioannis Ikonomou speaks 32 languages.

Do you know who Ioannis Ikonomou is?  I didn’t either – that is, until I ran across an article about one of the smartest living human beings.  Most of us would consider speaking a second language as a great feat.  A third language? Incredible.  A fourth language?  Impossible.  Not Ioannis Ikonomou.  This 46-year old Greece-born, world-citizen “feels comfortable” speaking and communicating in 32 languages.  That’s not a typo – 32 (as in thirty-two).

As a native Grecian, his mother-tongue is Greek.  He began learning English when he was 6 years old.  After English came German…  Then Russian…  Italian…  Turkish…  Arabic…  And so the story goes.  Ioannis is now employed as the only in-house translator for the European Commission of the United Nations.  He spends about half the year in Beijing, China as a representative of the European Commission.

What does this mean for the rest of us?  Are we to find the story of Ioannis as encouraging or discouraging?  I say that we ought to be encouraged, and here is why:

  • Mr Ikonomou is amazing, but he is still a human being.  If he is capable of learning 32 languages, shouldn’t I be capable of learning at the very least, a second language, and maybe even a third?
  • His second language started when he was 6.  He is now 46.  That means 40 years of dedicated language-learning.  What’s my point?  My point is that this isn’t a race.  You don’t have a deadline for learning that language that you’ve been working on (unless you’re moving to Costa Rica at the end of the month – odds are, you aren’t).
  • “There’s really no hard or easy language to learn,” he says. “Anyone can learn a language if they fall in love with it.”  He goes on through-out the article explaining that his single greatest key to success is falling in love with the language.  That makes sense.  Everything from using it daily, learning the culture, eating the food, watching TV and reading in that language, and eventually dreaming in it.

It’s possible – as long as we fall in love with it.  I completely agree.  I’m bilingual and working on my third – the periods of the greatest success come at times when I’m genuinely interested in the language itself, not just in learning the language.

This blog is hosted by LearnALanguage.com– a site that is dedicated to helping people from all around the world learn languages, all for free.  The learning material is here, but that’s not everything that you need.  My challenge to you, is to dive in and don’t just learn the language, learn about the language.  If you’re learning Russian, do some research on Russia: the weather and seasons, the culture, the food – you can even download a recipe and try it at home.  If you’re learning Spanish, study the several countries where Spanish is spoken and find out about the people who use these languages.

Learning about the language and those who use it will help us to become better learners of the language itself.

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Spanish Speaking Countries

by Jake Beus October 4th, 2012 205 comments More

There are too many people in the world who think that the only Spanish-speaking countries are Spain and Mexico. In addition to that, people often assume that all latinos are Mexicans. This is simply not true. There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world, and here is a list of those countries and their capitals:

  1. Argentina – Buenos Aires
  2. Bolivia – La Paz, Sucre
  3. Chile – Santiago
  4. Colombia – Bogotá
  5. Costa Rica – San José
  6. Cuba – Havana
  7. Dominican Republic – Santo Domingo
  8. Ecuador – Quito
  9. El Salvador – San Salvador
  10. Equatorial Guinea – Malabo
  11. Guatemala – Guatemala City
  12. Honduras – Tegucigalpa
  13. Mexico – Mexico City
  14. Nicaragua – Managua
  15. Panama – Panama City
  16. Paraguay – Asunción
  17. Peru – Lima
  18. Puerto Rico – San Juan
  19. Spain – Madrid
  20. Uruguay – Montevideo
  21. Venezuela – Caracas

There are millions of people in the world who speak Spanish, and now you are familiar with 21 Spanish-speaking countries and their capital cities. We have created a Spanish-speaking countries page and we will be updating it with all kinds of information about each country ranging from culture to travel. Bookmark that page and we’ll do our best to give you the information you want to know about each country.

Learn Spanish

Spanish Love Poems

by Jake Beus October 3rd, 2012 5 comments More

There is something about October that seems to make people fall in love. Here in Utah, the weather starts to cool down for the autumn/fall season and makes all the summertime singles want to settle down with someone for the winter. My grandpa told me that if you can make it through the winter with your favorite gal, then you ought to continue to court her through the spring and marry her in the summer. Good ‘ole grandpa. Maybe it has something to do with Major League Baseball? Either way, it’s time to get romantic on this blog with some Spanish love poems.

I have scoured the internet for some of the best Spanish love poems and Spanish love phrases, and I’ll post my favorite and include some links to some other great ones.

Verdades (Anonymous)
No me preguntes si te amo,
porque esa pregunta me ofende,
si pudiera colocar moneda sobre moneda
para hacer una torre de todo lo que siento,
créeme llegaría hasta el cielo.

Te amo mujer,
amo tu historia,
amo tu vida,
y amo tu paz,
inclusive me gusta verte estornudar,
tu manía de tocarte el cabello,
tu nerviosismo cuando beso tu cuello.

A pesar de que estés lejos,
lo que siento aquí dentro crece y crece,
que a veces me asusta el pensar
donde voy a poner tanto amor,
cuando ya no me quepa en el pecho.

No importa que te mudes a otra galaxia,
tu siempre estas aquí,
y sobra decir que yo vivo en un mundo dentro de ti.

Porque por más lejos que estés,
por más preguntas que hagas,
no importa el lugar donde estés,
donde tu vives es aquí… en mi corazón.

Definiendo el amor
Amor Eterno
Me gustas

 

Learn Spanish ,

French Loanwords

by Taylor Pebley October 2nd, 2012 17 comments More

Did you know that there are around 200 words in the English language that are actually French loanwords? In fact, English shares words with a variety of other languages (and the same goes for many other common languages). This should be encouraging news for anyone considering learning a new language! But first…what are loanwords?

Loanwords are words and phrases that one language (English, in this case) borrows directly from another language (French) in everyday conversation, such as the word cliché. English includes loanwords from many different languages but has gained a significant number directly from Latin-based and Germanic languages. Some of these include French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. Again, this is great news if you want to learn one of these languages.

Can’t think of any examples of French loanwords? See how many you recognize from this list of some of the most common:

Amateur, au jus, avalanche, baguette, ballet, bayonet, bistro, budget, café, carousel, casserole, cigarette, clarinet, corset, croissant, cuisine, cul-de-sac, debris, déjà vu, denim, entrepreneur, expose, faux pas, filet mignon, glacier, hors d’oeuvre, lesson, liaison, lieutenant, limousine, lingerie, maneuver, Mardi Gras, massage, matinee, mayonnaise, naivety, plateau, en pointe, premiere, provost, prude, questionnaire, renaissance, repertoire, sauce, sauté, souvenir, surveillance, tourniquet, vandalism, and village.

Click here for a complete list of French loanwords in English.

Were you surprised at how many you knew? Loanwords are used every day. If learning a new language intimidates you, start with one that has words in common with English, like French! You will find many more French loanwords as you learn.

Learn French , ,

How Will You Spend $350-2,000?

by Jake Beus October 1st, 2012 1 comment More

Have you ever wondered why it costs so much for language-learning software programs? You could pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to learn a language through software, the classroom and/or tutors. For the most part, spending money to educate yourself is a good thing. Realize, however, that the internet can transform the way you learn and how much you pay for your learning experience. I encourage you to take a moment and browse LearnALanguage.com and discover what you can learn for free in 8 languages.

Since you may not need to spend so much money with software and classes anymore, how else would you spend $350-2,000? This could be the difference between you having a good vacation and a GREAT vacation. Use the money to travel to a foreign country and have a true ‘immersion’ experience. Allow yourself to be completely immersed in the new language, new people and the new culture.

Your goal to learn a new language should not change. How you spend your money should change. How are you going to spend the $350-2,000 you will save by not purchasing software, taking classes or paying for tutors? Please answer this by commenting below.

Learn a Language ,

Why You Should Consider Learning a New Language

by Jake Beus September 27th, 2012 16 comments 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.

 

Learn a Language ,

Free Videos

by Taylor Pebley September 26th, 2012 87 comments 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.

Uncategorized , ,

Habit Psychology

by Brent Jenkins September 25th, 2012 30 comments 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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