Learn spanish

Why Is It Important For Children To Learn Speaking Spanish

Many parents usually don’t see the need of teaching kids Spanish, reasoning that English remains the most commonly spoken language in the world. That if the children can talk in English, they can basically communicate with the rest of the world. That notion, however, is utterly wrong. Given that there are more English speakers than most languages in the world, limiting the kids to only one language blocks out many opportunities for them. Spanish, in the first place, has become a global language, belonging to the same league as English. So to say that to learn speaking Spanish is useless is very old-fashioned.

Allowing the kids to learn Spanish is not just about being bilingual, although that in itself opens up many opportunities for them. If they know Spanish, they will be able to cross and appreciate other cultures, which they would otherwise have no idea of. Spanish-speaking countries, after all, are historically and culturally rich, whose people gave birth to a wealth of arts and literary masterpieces. Although it is still possible for the kids to appreciate Spanish culture without learning the language, nothing replaces the bliss of having a formidable bridge—the Spanish language—to cross that culture.

Children are very inquisitive. And at an early age, they desire to see a world beyond their own. Spanish language can provide them with this opportunity by giving them the ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking classmates or neighbors. A report shows that a large percentage of Spanish speakers, at least in the US, are children, and if the goal is to allow the English-speaking kids widen their world, wouldn’t it be practical to break the language barrier and let them form friendship with the Spanish-speaking kids?

Early introduction to the Spanish language also improves the children’s critical thinking ability. When learning a new language, mental capacities are challenged and are therefore trained to think more comprehensively. And this will not only help the kids in learning the language but also in their daily mental activities. However, many may argue that teaching kids Spanish may force them to think harder than is necessary. This is wrong. Researches point out that the part of the brain that is active when learning a new language is in fact most responsive at ages 3 to 6. Therefore, learning Spanish at this point is not in any way contradictory to the natural skills of the kids. It actually utilizes the kids’ optimum potential for learning a foreign language.

Now that all efforts are heading toward globalization, it is all the more important for kids to learn Spanish. The times are changing, and it is only necessary to prepare the kids for whatever changes that may arise. To allow the kids to learn speaking Spanish is to allow them to cope with the society and to make them more relevant in the modern times. Although teaching them Spanish is still a matter of choice, there is no inherently wrong in equipping the children to be a useful member of the society.

What You Need To Do To Learn Fluent Spanish

The goal for learning Spanish is to at least understand Spanish or speak intelligible Spanish sentences. For some Spanish learners, this is enough. But for many others, it is not; what they want is to learn fluent Spanish. If you belong to the second group of Spanish learners, you need to really flex your mind and tongue to be able to speak Spanish fluently. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No. But though reality says it will take some time and real hard work for you to speak the language as good as a native speaker, there are practical ways to make it a little easier. Here they are:

1. Be realistic. It is okay to create self-expectations, but you have to make sure they are achievable. For example, if you make a deadline for yourself, find out if your schedule and learning style are parallel with your timeframe. Otherwise, you will get frustrated if you are not able to meet your expectations. Realize as well that learning fluent Spanish is not a work of magic. So welcome the possibilities of learning lags or instances when you can’t understand a lesson at all. Don’t be too tough on yourself. Expect mistakes, accept them when they happen, and learn from them.

2. Make good use of your time. When learning Spanish, every moment is an opportunity for learning. Don’t misinterpret. This doesn’t mean you are expected to spend every hour of every day poring over a book, or listening to your audio lessons, or answering vocabulary activities. A good Spanish learner is someone who, without a learning tool at hand, is committed to practicing the language every chance he gets. He uses his downtime to review the lessons, build his vocabulary, or speak Spanish verbally or otherwise.

3. Master the basics. Learning the basics is fundamental to speaking Spanish fluently. Because how can you construct complex Spanish sentences when you don’t even know the forms of regular and irregular verbs? Also very critical to fluency are numbers, alphabets, pronunciation, common expressions, do and don’t commands, verb tenses, prepositions, conjugations, syntax, and the likes.

4. Choose the best learning tool. Fortunately today, a lot of learning tools are available for Spanish learners. You can choose to have a personal tutor. Or enroll to a language school. Or download lessons from the Internet. Or buy language learning software. All these are effective, but not all are appropriate for you. Remember that each tool is unique and is dedicated to meeting different learning demands. That is why it is very important to take into consideration your own learning style, needs, and schedule when choosing a learning tool.

5. Enjoy the learning experience. Learning a new language is always fun, so take time to appreciate every minute of it. When you are fraught with difficulties and feel like giving up, do find a way to bring the excitement back. If you enjoy playing vocabulary games better than reading, then play more games than you usually do. If you think you can learn fluent Spanish more by watching soaps, go ahead and watch more soaps. The thing is, learning shouldn’t be burdensome; because if it feels that way, learning is coerced and you get less than you intend.

Web Education: Learn Spanish Online

Almost 400 million people worldwide speak Spanish, making it among the most widely-used languages. The reason why there are a lot of people who would like to learn Spanish. Currently, being bilingual means a chance of being promoted, travelling overseas for education and career opportunities, or changing your career path.

Learning a foreign language can be difficult, especially for those who are working full-time or have limited free time in their hands, while others may be constricted by financial limitations. The good news is that online education has become a huge part of learning whether it is for earning college degrees, post-graduate degrees and even language-learning programs.

Online education is suitable for a lot of students because they are less-expensive compared with face-to-face sessions and at the same time, flexible enough to suit the needs and time of the students. But jumping or enrolling into the first online Spanish class you see on the web is not a good idea. There are, of course, some things that should be kept in mind when choosing an online Spanish class.

- Make sure to choose an online Spanish class which will be able to satisfy your needs. Online courses should be able to meet the needs of different levels of learners, whether they are beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.

- Before proceeding with any purchase or enrolment with your credit card or any financial information, make sure that the site is properly secured.

- Customers should be protected whatever purchase they make online. You could check if they have a free trial, this will help you have an idea if the online program would suit your needs as a student. You can ask if their policies would include money- back guarantee.

- The great thing about free-trial is that you would be able to see if they would have enough resources to supplement your learning. You need to ensure that they have enough lessons and exercises. It is important to have enough conversational practice that will allow you to implement what you have learned.

- Online classes employ multi-media methods like audio and video presentations. They should be more interactive. They should be fun for you.

- Although, they are less expensive compared with face-to-face classes, it is still not practical to sign your name in the first class you see. Compare prices. There are programs that are less expensive compared with others but offer the same kind of learning.

- Make sure that your system is suitable for the program. There could be system requirements for your computer. Sometimes, the online center would provide the necessary software needed.

When learning Spanish online, it is important to set realistic goals in the very beginning. Setting realistic goals will help you avoid any frustrations and disappointments. These goals can be set by the online tutors or you could communicate these expectations with them.

Whether it is online or face-to-face classes, your ability to learn Spanish would rely on your consistency and self-discipline. There are some students who would drop out of language-learning because of different conflicts. Motivation would be important to keep you on the top of your game.

The Truths Behind The Importance Of Learning To Speak Spanish

Learning Spanish as a second language is considered important in the modern society. If you want to be relevant today, learn Spanish, the common thinking goes. There are, however, some segments of the population that remain passive and bypass the importance of learning to speak Spanish. And there are also those who continuously put off the desire to learn because of several reasons. Some say they don’t have enough time. Some say it is costly. Others still think it is impractical.

Sadly, this way of thinking results from poor knowledge of the Spanish language and misguided expectations. And to emphasize the importance of learning Spanish, it is only necessary to eliminate the wrong perception of most people and replace it with the following truths.

1. You have ample opportunities to speak Spanish.
Some ask, « Why learn Spanish when you actually won’t be able to use it? » There are millions of Spanish-speaking people walking on the planet, and it is nearly impossible not to have someone you can speak to. In the United States alone, the Hispanic population is growing, making Spanish the second language. So when you walk in school, grocery stores, theaters, or malls, there would always be opportunities for you to use the language in actual conversations. In all likelihood, your own neighborhood might even have Spanish-speaking residents. If, however, you can’t find that opportunity locally, there is always the possibility of going past geographical borders and making friends with Spanish-speaking people, albeit online. The thing is, wherever you are, Spanish will most likely be useful in many occasions.

2. You get to be more competent.
Being bilingual is an immutable competence. If you learn a second language, Spanish in this case, you will be able to learn more than most people can. Remember that Spanish is spoken in different continents—from Africa to Asia—and to have the ability to understand and gain access to many cultures and people means you can explore most of the world. Just imagine the feeling of defying all your limitations. That, in itself, is a reward.

3. You will have fun while learning.
Learning Spanish is hard; it’s a given. In fact, learning any foreign language is not easy. But although it is quite hard, learning Spanish is not without fun. The sense of achievement of pronouncing a word right, or constructing a sentence right, or naming a word right is for many Spanish learners a source of enjoyment. And every time they do good, they get all the more motivated. But if they don’t, they don’t easily give up, because they look forward to their ultimate reward: finally speaking Spanish fluently. If that is your motivation too, you will be able to overlook the troubles and see all the fun in learning.

When you get right down to it, the major purpose for learning to speak Spanish is to be able to communicate better. And if there is only one thing that would qualify the importance of learning the language, it is that purpose.

The Importance Of Learning Spanish

Some few decades back, learning Spanish (or any other language for that matter) was the farthest thought anyone can have. This was before the supersonic air transport, the advent of cell phones, the invention of the Internet and the ubiquitous satellite television.

If somebody needs to know some Spanish, a dictionary or some interpreter can do the job. Except for those living in Spanish communities, nobody needs to know how to speak in Spanish.

Then, the world became smaller, faster, and more personal. A businessman talks to his partners halfway around the world in real time.

Whatever is happening at any part of the world is seen live as it happens. Sending a complicated document, a picture, recorded video or audio takes seconds or at most a minute or so.

Globalization

For a long time, Americans are not obligated to learn another language besides English.
Today, globalization is the biggest reason why people saw the need of communicating with people from other countries.

Today’s trend indicates that Americans are studying Spanish in record numbers. The perceived reason is that so much business opportunities are out there. (NAFTA was cited as one reason why American businessmen chose Spanish as their second language.)

According to Businessweek, MBA students around the world choose to become trilingual, the choices being English, French and Spanish. It also helps that the two of the top ten MBA schools outside the US is located in Spain.

Numbers game

One compelling reason in learning Spanish is the fact that there are about half a billion people who speaks the language. Half of the population in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas) speaks Spanish. This makes it a primary language for as many people as English in this part of the world.

Except in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Spanish is extensively spoken in South and Central America. In the United States, Spanish is the second most-widely spoken language after English.

All over the world, Spanish is the 4th most-spoken language after English, Chinese and Hindi. But Chinese and Hindi are only widely spoken in China and India, respectively.

With Spanish spoken in more than 21 countries worldwide, learning Spanish seems like a must. This is particularly true in the US and Canada which do business with many Latin American countries in the same hemisphere.

Career opportunities

For people fluent in both Spanish and English, opportunities abound and grow everyday due to the rapid expansion of Spanish-speaking populations. Being bi-lingual at these times translates to more and better opportunities in both business and work.

Knowing and understanding a language definitely exposes one to the culturally enriching aspects of that other society. Staying competitive today means learning more about other cultures and being able to interact with them.

Business opportunities

Today, Latin America as a region is expanding their economies, and as such they become more and more important trading partners. Business between the U.S. and these countries are getting more and more upbeat, making the Spanish language an important asset for the American businessman.

In the recent past, people worked to educate themselves to keep up with technology after the post-industrial era. Today, people are now increasingly educating themselves with enough languages (learning Spanish is the top choice) to keep up with the rapidly-expanding business horizon.

Spanish No-Nos: What Not To Do When Learning Spanish Language

It is true that nobody’s perfect. Even in speaking a language, Spanish for instance. In fact, even native speakers commit some mistakes once in a while. This is purely normal particularly for language learners. However, this doesn’t give you, or anyone for that matter, an excuse to commit the same mistakes over and over, especially those that are otherwise easily avoided. To be able to communicate like a smart person, it is very important to take note of the common mistakes when learning Spanish language. Although you are still likely to slip up in some occasions, it is nevertheless helpful to keep them in mind and have them handy during real-life conversations.

Here are some of the Spanish no-nos. Remember them as you converse whether with a fellow learner or with a native speaker.

1. Construct your sentences according to English sentence structure.
Although in many cases, English sentence structure applies to Spanish, there are some instances when doing so makes grammatically unsound sentences. For instance, ending sentences with prepositions is not accepted in Spanish. The preposition should be always followed with the object it refers to.

2. Ignore the articles.
Many Spanish learners usually end up confused with article usage and interchange el, los, la, and las. Although they know the articles by theory, they can’t seem to properly use them in actual conversation. And many think this is forgivable. Yes, it is, and you can in fact still be understood when held up in this situation. But keep in mind that article usage is a basic Spanish lesson, and your lapses may not reflect your interest in Spanish favorably.

3. Overlook the use of right preposition.
Learning Spanish preposition is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of your learning language experience primarily because Spanish prepositions usually have multiple English equivalents. But learning their usage, and learning them expertly, is important to have an effective communication.

4. Mispronounce words.
Spanish pronunciation and accent is generally strong; however, it is easy to master. Because Spanish words are usually pronounced as spelled, there will hardly be any confusion as to how the words should sound. In order to capture the right tone, inflection, stress, and rhythm of Spanish words, try to converse with a native speaker as often as you can or see Spanish movies or soaps.

5. Neglect noun genders.
Remember that when learning to speak Spanish, genders should be one of your focal lessons since mastering genders will enable you to determine which article to use. It is also equally important to find out the words exempted from the gender rule, which by the way are quite numerous.

6. Speak monotonously.
When practicing the language, some Spanish learners often sound like a language rule book, very rigid and compliant to the rules. While there is no inherently wrong about it, this can sometimes yield robotic and monotonous tone. When learning Spanish language, do not entirely concentrate on the rules, but try to integrate the linguistic trend and tone used in daily, conversational Spanish.

Should Your Kid Learn Spanish?

Spanish has about 400 million speakers worldwide. Adults, as well as children and teens, are now beginning to understand the benefits of speaking and learning Spanish. Learning a second language has its benefits. There are different institutions who have established the link of cognitive and personal development to second language learning. In fact, The New York Times reported in 2007 that learning different languages could delay dementia in elderly patients.

But how early can children start learning another language? Before, parents would express concern about introducing another language. Their primary concern is that it could cause confusion and delay in the child’s development. However, recent studies showed that children, even toddlers, were able to develop stronger minds when learning second language.

According to the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab’s (CLAL) research, there are no negative effects on a child if they learn a second language. Bilingual children are more attentive and focused compare with monolingual children. In a study conducted by Ellen Bialystok in 1997, four and five-year-old bilingual children show better understanding of symbolic representation in print than monolingual children. Younger children, according to studies, have greater ability to learn and acquire language. They learn easily compared with adults.

Teens who have knowledge of foreign language show higher mean scores for their college applications according to the College Entrance Examination Board. Those who have knowledge of four or more years of another language would usually get higher scores on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T.). Children also developed better listening skills since it is important when learning proper pronunciation.

With all these benefits, how do you start teaching your child another language? If you are planning to teach your kid Spanish at home, it would be best to talk to the child’s teacher first, if he or she is already going to school. The teacher may be able to recommend methods on how you can proceed with the lessons. They can even provide you some useful resources and materials.

You could start by reading to them. Reading to children will help them get an idea about the new words and associate them with pictures, helping children to grasp the new meanings easily. You could read English and Spanish books alternately during week nights.

Teaching children to speak another language could be boring especially if they would only be doing flashcard exercises and book reading. It could be monotonous and they may lose interest. You could start by making it interesting by playing interactive games. What’s great is that recently, there are children’s shows which enable children to learn languages. There are board and computer games which could cater to every child’s interest.

Learning Spanish would help children become more sensitive to other culture and learn a lot from them. You could do it the other way around. To encourage children to learn Spanish, you could start by introducing them to different Spanish music and dances. You could even have a Spanish themed-meal at home or take them out to dinner and let them order their Spanish food.

Mistakes In Learning Spanish

In learning Spanish (or any language for that matter), beginners tend to make some unnecessary mistakes. Of course, it is natural to make mistakes because that is part of the learning process.

What is embarrassing is that committing them makes one sound less intelligent that one actually is. However, some of them can be avoided. The following are some mistakes that can be sidestepped.

Cognates

These are words that have the same form in both English and Spanish. Since both English and Spanish share many words derived from their Latin roots, it is not uncommon that these look-alike words have the same meaning.

Or not.

There are so many exceptions to this fact, and it should be a good idea to study a list of these false cognates and partial cognates. EMBARAZADA usually means « pregnant » rather than the sound-alike « embarrassed ». The Spanish VIOLADOR usually means a « rapist », and not just somebody who violates some traffic rules (violator).

Pronouns

In English, a sentence (with few exceptions) usually needs a subject.

In Spanish, that would not be altogether true. Where it can be understood by way of the context, the subject of a sentence (which is a pronoun in English) can be omitted. Usually, it IS omitted.

Normally, it is not ungrammatical to include the pronoun. Using it would sometimes make the sentence clunky, and invites attention.

Prepositions

This is tricky because prepositions in Spanish are challenging. Learning the purpose of prepositions is helpful, rather than banking solely on their translations. This can help in avoiding mistakes such as PIENSO ACERCA DE TI in place of PIENSO EN TI (I am thinking of you).

Word orders

Except for placing adjectives after the noun they modify, it is not really bad to follow the English word order.

As you progress in your Spanish lessons, pay attention, however, to the many times where the subject is placed after the verb. You will notice changing the word order do change, however subtly, the meaning of a sentence.

This is the same case when some sentence construction in English where a preposition is sometimes placed at the end of a sentence. This should NOT be imitated in Spanish.

Idioms

All languages have their own idioms which sound perfect in their linguistic contexts. There is great danger in having these idioms translated into another language, whether from English to Spanish or vice-versa.

An example would be EN EL ACTO which means « on the spot ». The word for word translation in Spanish would end up like EN EL SITIO and « in the act » in English, which are both wrong.

Articles

Learn to use the commonly-needed articles (UN, UNA, EL, LA, LOS, LAS) in your sentences. Incorrectly using them will not keep you from being understood, but you will be marked as an awkward speaker.

(If it’s any consolation, this is the same problem of non-English speakers trying to use the articles A, AN and THE in their English sentences.)

Others

There are other mistakes that English speakers have to be aware of (and avoid, if possible) in polishing their Spanish. This would include not learning to use the subjunctive mood and ignoring proper pronunciation.

The biggest mistake, of course, is being afraid of making mistakes. They are part of the learning process, learning Spanish included. Spanish people will appreciate your attempts to speak correctly, and they don’t usually remember your mistakes.

Learning Spanish Tips and Guides

It is noted that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, easier than English in fact. For one thing, Spanish words are generally pronounced as spelled and there are neither short nor long vowels. Communicative grammar, although still needs to intensely touch sentence structure and verb conjugation, is manageable to learn. But though this is the case, many Spanish learners are still having difficulty with learning the language. This is natural, of course, especially considering that fact that the mode of instruction is generally in Spanish. Yet, there are some tips to make learning Spanish a lot easier and more fruitful. Here they are:

1. Train your ear with Spanish music and movies. One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to listen to native speakers through songs, movies, and TV soaps. When you listen to a song or to an actor, focus on the pronunciation, inflection, speed, and rhythm of the language. Similarly, take good note of the sentence structure. To get the best out of this activity, play any Spanish CD or movie or tune in to a Spanish radio station for 10 to 20 minutes and practice speaking whatever you learned.

2. Have a brief but frequent study time. This is much better than having a long but infrequent time for study, a research says. In other words, thirty minutes of study scattered throughout the day works more efficiently than when you study three to four hours in one or two days every week. This is more practical in essence especially because there are a lot of free time you can squeeze study time in. While driving, for example, you can name the objects you pass by in Spanish, or construct Spanish sentences while eating.

3. Craft learning tools. There is no doubt you can learn from books and software, but there is something to be said about personalized learning materials, those that you made yourself and therefore address your needs and strengthen your weak points. For instance, you can make flash cards with Spanish words on one side and the equivalent English word on the other side. You can also make a chart of present, past, and future tenses of verbs. With the purpose of meeting your unique needs, you can make as many, not to mention creative, devices for improving your Spanish language skill.

4. Make extra effort to practice. All the knowledge accumulation is laid waste if not applied in practical situations, so practice speaking the language every chance you get. You will notice that you learn even better when you speak the language than when you just read and study it. Read aloud. Speak to other Spanish learners. Don’t be afraid of committing mistakes. If the only thing that keeps you from conversing in Spanish is your fear, you certainly miss on a lot of things. Remember, speaking in Spanish is a skill, and you can never master it unless you practice and put that skill to a test. So, speak.

5. Learn actively. You cannot learn by simply browsing through books, memorizing the rules, and reading mentally. Learning Spanish requires your active involvement and commitment. Speak. Practice. Hear yourself. Track your improvement. And continuously look for ways to continue progressing.

Learning Spanish and Gender Matters

Like many languages in the world, Spanish has definite distinctions placed on gender. Depending on how you take it, learning Spanish is either hard or easy to master.

Some people think it is an added burden. Some people on the other hand think it helps them learn the language better because seeing a gender-specific attribute to a word automatically tells them the right qualifiers.

Like most Latin-based languages (English included), Spanish makes the maleness or femaleness of man and animals (and some things) an inherent characteristic. This determines the form of the adjectives that describe them.

Consequently, most nouns are classified as either feminine or masculine. However, there are certain things we think as masculine but are actually feminine. This is also true in the case of feminine nouns which are masculine.

Others think the gender attributes in Spanish as simple classifications more than anything else. This is because unlike the other European languages, Spanish has no neuter nouns. Some pronouns are neuter (lo and ello) but used only under limited circumstances.

Basic rule

Ordinarily, all nouns and adjectives ending in -O (and -OS in the plural form of adjectives) are classified as masculine. Nouns and adjectives that end in A (and -AS for the plural adjectives) are feminine.

Following this, all masculine nouns go with masculine adjectives and articles, and feminine nouns have their own feminine adjectives and articles. (The articles in English are the words A, AN and THE.)

If you want a pronoun to describe a masculine noun, it has to be a masculine pronoun as well. This rule also applies to feminine nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.

Articles

However, there are many adjectives in Spanish that do not have separate masculine or feminine forms. And as in all things, there are exceptions to the rules.

One common example is CADA DIA which means « each day ». DIA (day) is a masculine noun while CADA (each) can either be a feminine or masculine.

You can see this in dictionaries where there are notations F or M to indicate gender. This is because sometimes the gender of the nouns cannot be ascertained simply by looking or knowing its meaning.

In most dictionaries, nouns are already accompanied by their articles EL (masculine) and LA (feminine) which both means THE in English.

Samples

The following are examples how a noun’s gender affects the usage of the other words.

the man – el hombre (masculine article EL, masculine noun HOMBRE)
the woman – la mujer (feminine article LA, feminine noun MUJER)
a man – un hombre (masculine article UN, masculine noun HOMBRE)
a woman – una mujer (feminine article and noun)
the men – los hombres (plural form of masculine article and noun)
the women – las mujeres (plural form of feminine article and noun)
the fat man – el hombre gordo (masculine article, adjective GORDO, and noun)
the fat woman – la mujer gorda (feminine article, adjective GORDA, and noun)
some men – unos hombres (masculine determiner and noun)
some women – unas mujeres (feminine determiner and noun)
He is fat – El es gordo. (masculine pronoun EL, masculine adjective)
She is fat – Ella es gorda. (feminine pronoun ELLA, feminine adjective)

These samples clearly show how gender plays a big part in modifying words and make them right together in a sentence. Learning Spanish is a challenge.