Posts Tagged ‘learn’

Make Learning Spanish Fun – Mix Up the Learning Experience

Monday, January 6th, 2014

That old adage that variety is the spice of life is absolutely true. When it comes to learning Spanish by mixing up your learning experiences you will have far more fun learning the language and will come into contact with a wide range of Spanish too.

While it is great to enroll in a Spanish course and faithfully attend your lessons, this should not be the total extent of your flirtation with the Spanish language. There are many great resources available to you that will make learning Spanish fun.

If you are taking a Spanish language class, look for classes where the teacher does not just stick to a course book. Spending hours looking at grammar tables in a text book is a sure shot way to kill off motivation to learn. Your teacher should employ a variety of exercises in a lesson that uses both visual and kinesthetic materials as well as auditory work. Classes should also have a strong communication focus, which means you are required to talk. Let’s face it, the teacher already knows how to speak Spanish, they should be talking as little as possible and allowing you to speak and try on the new language.

Social networking is the past time of this generation, so why not do it in Spanish too? There are more than 400 million native Spanish speakers around the world and many of them have Facebook and Hi-5 accounts or use Twitter and Messenger. By hooking up with these people online you can practice your Spanish, learn new vocabulary, slang and see how Spanish is used in the “real world”.

Instead of visiting your favorite websites in English change the screen language on the site to Spanish, or find similar sites that are operational in Spanish. By reading them in Spanish you will be steadily improving your language skills.

Make Youtube your best friend and download music videos and programs in Spanish. Singing along is a wonderful way to improve your pronunciation, intonation and to increase the speed with which you can vocalize Spanish words. You can also get a little listening practice in by visiting Spanish news websites and downloading pod casts to your MP3 player. These are good to listen to while you are commuting or working out at the gym.

If you are inclined to a little light literature, then check out some of the Spanish poetry available on the Internet. It is impossible to read Pablo Neruda and not fall in love with the Spanish language. For something a little less intense, look out for free Spanish e-books on topics that tickle your fancy. Reading is a guaranteed way to help improve your Spanish, especially your vocabulary.

Regardless of how old you are everybody loves a game every now and again. Check out online games such as Scrabble in Spanish or crosswords. You can play them completely free on many websites with the help of a simple Google search. Playing games like this will help to boost your vocabulary and retain new words in your head.

Start a conversation club with some of your fellow class mates or find Spanish speaking groups, there is always one around somewhere. It is very important to practice speaking to develop your fluency and by conversing you will also get much better at listening.

If you do things in the same way all the time, even the world’s most fun activities soon lose their appeal. The secret to staying motivated with your Spanish language learning is to keep trying different things and mix up the learning experience. If you do this, then mastering Spanish is well and truly within your grasp.

How The Internet Can Help You Learn Spanish

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

What would we do without the Internet? It has changed our lives in so many ways, one of which is helping to learn a foreign language. The Internet is flush with millions of Spanish language learning resources that are waiting for you to utilize them. There is no doubt about it, the Internet has drastically changed the way teachers teach languages and how students study.

These days most Spanish classes are more dynamic than in the past, thanks to the Internet. Teachers can get many creative ideas on how to teach a language point in the classroom as well as using fabulous online resources such as Youtube and hardware such as interactive whiteboards. There is no doubt that the Internet has truly changed the face of teaching languages.

In the past it was difficult to find Spanish language resources and they were generally very expensive. To learn a language effectively, one was much more beholden to their Spanish teacher, who stockpiled worksheets and other resources they had either made or found. Students of languages such as Spanish are more autonomous in their language learning nowadays. Thanks to all the Spanish language sites on the Internet, students can really take control of their own learning and complete extra worksheets or grammar points found online to consolidate their learning outside of the classroom.

There are two categories of resources that you can use on the Internet: resources that are designed to teach elements of Spanish and resources that are authentic materials. Both of these can be used effectively by you to further your Spanish study in different ways.

Teaching materials include items like online lessons, grammar tables, online dictionaries, quizzes and worksheets. There are several sites on the Internet where you can get lessons on different aspects of learning Spanish, either for a low price or for free. Generally these lessons will explain a grammar point, give some examples of its usage and then provide some type of study material such as an online quiz or a printable worksheet. Resources such as online dictionaries are also a useful tool when studying at home on the Internet. There are many web newsletters you can sign up for that will send you new phrases or vocabulary everyday into your inbox – a quick and easy way to build your vocabulary.

Authentic materials can also be used to help you learn Spanish. An authentic material is teacher speak for something that a Spanish speaker would actually use in real life. It can be any item that uses Spanish and in a cyber sense would be things like online newspapers, forums, Youtube clips in Spanish, Twitter accounts in Spanish or any other Internet site that uses Spanish as its medium of communication. By engaging with authentic materials you can experience the way that Spanish is used both formally and informally around the world. You can develop a sense for the grammar tenses that are used most frequently and learn slang from informal Spanish sites. On formal sites you can learn how Spanish is used correctly in writing and develop your reading skills.

There is no doubt that the Internet has completely changed the way we learn languages. Teaching of Spanish as a foreign language has become much more interesting and creative and lessons are generally more communicative in their approach. Teachers can find new ideas and resources much more easily than in the past.

For Spanish language learners there are profuse amounts of resources that can aid their learning. There is really no excuse to rest on your laurels when learning Spanish. By utilizing the vast amount of Spanish resources out there in cyber space you can really accelerate your learning and have fun doing it.

Travel Through Latin America and Learn Spanish at the Same Time

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Latin America with its hypnotic rhythms, exotic cuisines, verdant rainforests, ancient civilizations and tropical beaches offers a dizzying concoction of potential travel experiences. From hiking the Inca Trail to penguin spotting in Patagonia, Latin America is an exciting and memorable travel destination.

Spanish dominates Latin America, in fact there are more than 400 million Spanish speakers on the continent, so what better way to learn than to travel throughout Central and South America?

Immersing yourself in the culture and language is a guaranteed path to Spanish fluency. As you travel throughout Latin America you can take Spanish classes and organize home stays with local families before moving onto your next location.

The accent, pronunciation and slang used in different countries throughout Latin America are unique. By splitting your time up between various spots around the continent you will be exposed to a great variety of Spanish and your listening skills and vocabulary will thank you for it.

Peru is often said to have the most pure Spanish in all of Latin America. This is attributed to the fact that it was the headquarters of the vice-royalty in the days of colonialism and hence had a large population of nobility. The Peruvian accent is clear and Peruvians tend not to pepper their speech with as much slang as experienced in countries such as Chile or Mexico. The chief locations for learning Spanish throughout the land of the Incas are Lima or Cuzco. If you want to go off the beaten track Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Arequipa and Mancora are also options for enrolling in language schools.

Moving further south Chile is a stunning country blessed with dramatic mountain ranges and the spectacular beauty of the wine growing regions in the south. Chilean Spanish is considered to be very fast and bedecked with a lot of slang, but there are plenty of language schools in the capital Santiago that can get you used to the rapid pace of Chilean Spanish. While sampling some of the delicious wine in the Viña del Mar region in the south you can also brush up on your Spanish skills.

Argentinean Spanish is known among native speakers for its lyrical accent. The huge numbers of Italian immigrants that came to Argentina in the 18th and 19th centuries have left their mark on the national accent. The main centers for learning Spanish in Argentina are Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Bariloche in Patagonia.

Heading north to Central America, Costa Rica with its white sandy tropical beaches holds a great deal of appeal. Costa Rica has set aside 20 per cent of its territory for national park lands where visitors can experience jungles rich in tropical flora and fauna. There are several Spanish schools set up in San Jose and some of them also run volunteer ecological programs alongside the language classes.

Mexico at the top of Latin America is also home to the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world. Perhaps for this reason it is also one of the widest users of slang in Latin America. Mexico has a ton of language schools for travelers in many different cities and pueblos. Whether you want to hang out in colonial Guadalajara or hang out on the beach in between classes in La Paz, Mazatlan or Puerto Escondido you can find the right combination for you.

Latin America has more than 20 countries with Spanish listed as an official language. If you want to immerse yourself in castellano and become fluent while enjoying some truly spectacular sites, several world heritage sites and even a world wonder or two, then start making plans today. Not only will you arrive home with fluent Spanish, but you’ll bring with you fistfuls of fantastic memories.