Learning A New Language Makes The World Seem Smaller

November 26th, 2009

The Internet is becoming a massive force in the lives of many people around the world. It is used to connect to the world at large, to communicate for the purposes of business, family, and friendships, as well as to find entertainment. The Internet is quickly replacing the television as the preferred medium of entertainment around the world as well as opening doors to new cultures, ideas, and beliefs as well as new opportunities.

As a result of this, we’ve seen an abundance of people interested in learning new languages as they meet friends and build relationships across the cultural and language barriers that once seemed so much larger than they are today. With the global community literally at your fingertips it is great to know that you can get free language lessons online or that you can easily find courses and books to help you skill up in a foreign language, regardless of its popularity across the Globe. You’d be amazed to find out how many sites offer such great services for free. Not only are these lessons free, but you can also find programs that offer fun matching games, flash cards, and word game worksheets to help you build your skills.

Not only will you learn the basic vocabulary of other languages, but also how to improve your existing vocabulary skills in your own language. You will study language arts activities, pronouns, adjectives, and common slang terms of the language you are studying. You will be able to travel with the ease of a native without the worry of needing translations of road signs and simple instructions thanks to flash cards, and free language lessons online.

When used alone, the results of this will be slow and not provide a comprehensive learning experience, but when you combine the power of such an interactive site with your other language courses, you will be amazed at how quickly your progress and even advance in your studies. Play games designed to improve vocabulary while receiving a top-notch foreign language education. In fact, you have the ability to teach yourself at your own pace and learn far more than you would ever learn in a traditional classroom. It is well known that learning through entertainment is the easiest and most effective way of dealing with any given subject, even more so with a foreign language, since it requires a lot of assimilation to be done.

After completing your lessons you should be able to speak your new language like a native while having a better understanding of how your own language works. Perhaps what you learn about yourself and the language you know already is worth just as much if not more than the priceless gift of learning a new language and opening a window to the world.

Michael Gabrikow

The Importance of Learning a Second Language

November 19th, 2009


     Learning a second language can be difficult: it takes much time, patience and practicing. Knowing a second language can create a better understanding of different cultures, open job opportunities; help with academic success, make traveling easier, and help people communicate throughout the world. A foreign language can take the learner out of the comfort zone and allow them to experience different cultures; also it has been reported that learning a second language gives the brain more stimulation (BBC News, 2004).  

     In the United States only 30 states have said that English is the official language (Wikipedia, 2007). In Miami, Florida residents who do not speak Spanish have difficulty interacting with the large population of Latin Americans; making conducting business harder for business owners. The Associated Press reported in 2008 that 58.5% of the population speaks Spanish as their primary language in Miami, Florida. If any one wanted to take a vacation to Miami it would be wise to have knowledge of the Spanish language. Learning any second language can help people travel better. Allowing the traveler to interact with the locals and enjoy their time, instead of becoming frustrated because they have no way to ask questions, ask for directions, and especially dining. Not only is learning a second language better for traveling, but also for the mind.

     BBC News (2004) reported that the University of London conducted a study in which 105 students, 80 of which was bilingual; the study reflects that the bilingual students had more of a “brain boost”. There was more evidence of advanced learning and stimulation of the brain. These scientists believe that language learning helps improve the brain power and creates advancements in learning. One study said that learning a second language can help delay dementia (Hyltenstam & Viberg, 1993).  . By learning a second language it is possible to keep the brain functioning better longer. A Second language can also provide the learner or speaker with many different job opportunities.

     All around the world there are jobs that need foreign language speakers. Interpreters for the Armed Forces and other government agencies are good professions that require speaking a second language. These jobs come with benefits, good pay, and the chance to travel around the world. A foreign language speaker has broader choices when it comes to career paths. Even if the speaker is looking for a job in Human Services, they will be very helpful in communities or countries where English is not the primary language. Speaking a foreign language will help expand peoples’ outlook on the world, and help disprove cultural misconceptions.



      Music in a second language is a form of art, knowing the language helps better appreciate the music. The academic study of foreign language is also considered an art. Learning a foreign language will allow students to participate in new studies, do good research, and will not limit the learner by only English language research. Foreign Language Studies start early now, in most high schools around the United States it is required that students participate in a Foreign Language class (this does not mean four years of foreign language). If all colleges and universities made a language study required it would not only benefit the student but also the university. Having diversity in studies makes the university more interesting and shows the university, promotes cultural awareness. One poll conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and the Ohio University said that 14% of the adult American population has taken four years of foreign language courses, and only 17% of people with a college degree did not take any foreign language studies. This poll shows a larger population of college graduates has taken a foreign language course (Hargrove, T., & G.H. Stempel III, 2007).

     Learning a foreign language may be difficult but with time and practice a student can become very efficient. Mastering the skill is the hardest part, using it is easy. Not too many Americans speak a foreign language fluently because they just do not have the time to learn. They fail to realize that they can truly benefit from speaking a second language. First it stimulates the brain; then can open up job opportunities, and help in academic success. Most importantly the learner becomes aware of the different cultures around us everyday. Our country is a melting pot; it is very important to be aware of the cultural differences around us.



Hargrove, T., & H. Stempel III, G. (2007, Summer). Americans wistful of foreign language in highschools. Scripps Howard News Services. Abstract retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://newspolls.org/story.php?story_id=65


Hyltenstam, K., & Viberg, A. (1993). Introduction. In K. Hyltenstam & A. Viberg, Progression and Regression in Languages (pp. 1-3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://books.google.com/books?id=D5vMWphwQr8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0


In Miami, Spanish becoming Primary Language. (2008, May 29). The Associated Press. Abstract retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24871558/


Languages of the United States. (2007). wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_United_States


Learning languages “boosts brain”. (2004). BBC News. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3739690.stm



Learning A New Language To Create A Bilingual Household

November 16th, 2009

Learning a new language as a family can be a wonderful and rewarding thing to do, especially if you have small children at home. For them, learning at smaller ages will be much easier than learning later in life. It will also be more rewarding for you, as a family to be able to have that extra cultural exposure that another language makes available to you. Most children will grow up learning both languages naturally, at the same time if they are used constantly near him. However, if you want to speed up the process or make it more effective, there are several techniques that you can try out.

For example, there are many online programs that can assist you with learning a new language for yourself as well as making the process fun through the use of games for the entire family. In addition to the ability or need to memorize words, you will find that these online programs will actually teach you to analyze and choose the correct words in the first place. This is done through the use of flash cards, matching games, word scrambles, and tons of other games that make the learning process seem much less like learning and much more like fun.

If you are having fun learning something, chances are that your children will wish to learn as well. Keep reminding them how fun it will be to travel to the land of the language and speak like a native or go out to dinner in a new town and pretend to be foreign by only speaking to each other in the language you’ve learned. Not to mention the fun they will have on the school bus when no one else really understands what they are saying.

Raising a bilingual family in today’s world has many benefits that go far beyond knowing a second language. In addition to the languages learned you are increasing their ability to learn more languages, as each subsequent language is easier to learn. While at a young age, children may have a tendency to mix languages or switch back and forth that is something that will occur less frequently in time.

The process of creating a bilingual household also requires a considerable amount more effort on the part of the parents. Not only are you learning a new language and committing to learning it well enough to teach to your children and speak on a regular basis, but you are also committing your child to another language as well. This can be confusing to him or her at times and overwhelming at others. Be careful that you don’t overload them, which may cause them to stop speaking all together and that you are patient with them offering support and kind words when needed. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children and they will understand that in time.

Michael Gabrikow

Want to Make Language Learning Easier? Rhymes to the Rescue!

November 4th, 2009

Learning a foreign language can be enjoyable – but exasperating. Anything you can do to accelerate learning or make language acquisition more enjoyable is a valuable weapon in your learning arsenal. Kathy Steinemann shares a helpful and unique approach to this challenge.

Take a look at the following two sections of text:

Version 1

The sky is blue today. I’m sitting on the beach. A bully kicks sand in my face. Too bad for him! Here come my bodyguards!

Version 2

One, two, a sky so blue. Three, four, a sandy shore. Five, six, a bully kicks. Seven, eight, he’s sealed his fate. Nine, ten, here come my gunmen!

Now go back and re-read the verses.

Did you notice that you have already started to anticipate what comes next in the second version?

Conclusion: It is easier to memorize rhyming poetry than to memorize prose.

So what implication does this have for learning a foreign language?

If you memorize well-written modern foreign language poetry, you can accelerate your learning curve. (Notice the keyword ‘modern’.)

Poetry written in the 18th Century may have deep cultural and educational significance. However, words penned to page over 300 years ago will utilize obsolete vocabulary, spelling, and grammar formations.

As an example: consider the popular King James Version of the Bible. If you started using ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ in your daily speech, people would understand you – but they would treat you like an alien in a time warp.

You can search the internet for poetry written by contemporary authors. Try searches like:

  • parallel translation poetry

  • parallel translation poems

  • parallel translation poems German English

  • parallel translation poems French English

  • parallel translation poetry Italian English

  • parallel translation poetry Spanish English

Substitute search terms as necessary with the name of the specific language you are studying. Review the webpages you find with a tutor, professor, or knowledgeable person to determine grammar and vocabulary suitability.

Attempt to have the poetry dictated and recorded by a native language speaker. Softly recite the poetry while you listen to the recordings. This will improve your verbalization skills. With luck, you may find online audio for some of the poetry.

Are you a budding poet? Try creating foreign language poems yourself.

No poetic talent? Attempt the following simple approach. If you are learning german, for example, you might produce a ‘poem’ like this:

the dog – der Hund

the mouth – der Mund

the air – die Luft

the scent – der Duft

to buzz – summen

to growl – brummen

little – klein

clean – rein

to brood – grübeln

to iron – bügeln

You don’t have to worry about grammar – just definitions, pronunciations, gender, and spelling. Alcor (alcor.com.au) has several rhyming dictionaries that can assist you with this process.

If you have an audio dictionary on your computer, listen carefully to the pronunciation of each word. There are also excellent online dictionaries with audio.

Now produce your own poetry recording using audio capture software.

  • First, dictate each English word or phrase and save as an individual file.

  • Next, save foreign language audio clips from your dictionary or from the internet.

  • Now load your audio capture software and play the files in the correct order. Try to create short productions of a minute or two in duration.

  • Edit if necessary to eliminate excessive pauses or add definite articles.

  • Finally, convert to MP3 or WMA. Now you can use your iPod or portable media player for something besides music.

The 21st Century is a wonderful time to be learning a foreign language!

©Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author’s note below (with active links) are included.

Kathy Steinemann