Spanish isn’t always the easiest language for English speakers to hear. That’s because it is actually a faster language, with more syllables spoken per second than English. If you aren’t familiar with the common phonemes and high frequency vocabulary in the dialect you are learning, you may have trouble parsing speech. This is when you can hear where one word stops and the next one starts. Not being able to hear the words makes it awfully hard to understand what you’re listening to and poor Spanish listening comprehension leads to difficulty getting by in a foreign country and doing well on standardized exams. It also means you’re missing out on the ability to learn new vocabulary from spoken input. Try these tips to train your ears and boost your skills in no time.
Aside from ordering coffee in Italian and impressing your travel companion on your next trip to Europe, why should you learn a foreign language? There are plenty of reasons: studying a difficult language can help you get into a good school, earn a promotion at work, live abroad and/or meet the supermodel of your dreams. But there are some lesser known health and well-being benefits too. Read more
If you find your conversation partner looking at you with a furrowed brow or asking you to repeat yourself, this is a sign that you may need to work on your pronunciation in English. Having good pronunciation is important so others can understand you when you speak. This is even more so the case given the amount of people who speak English as a second language. Less fluent speakers are likely to struggle with listening, particularly if your pronunciation isn’t clear. Pronunciation is also important for reading. If you have poor pronunciation you may misread words and have trouble with comprehension.
What’s black and white and read all over? Why a newspaper of course. This English riddle works better when you say it out loud because it illustrates the absurdity of English spelling. The past tense of the verb to read is pronounced in the same way as the color red, not to mention the present and past tense of read are spelled the same way but said differently! But there’s much more that an ESL teacher can do with a newspaper than make paper airplanes and tell jokes in the classroom.
There are so many benefits to teaching second language learners, whether your students are studying English as a second language or are English speakers learning a foreign tongue. That’s because teachers have a chance to explore culture in the classroom, along with vocabulary and grammar. Moreover, instead of being the know-it-all who stands at the front of the room, the language teacher is a facilitator who helps students use new language and creates the kinds of engaging situations students will find in a target language environment.
While not everyone is interested in reading, particularly if their goal is to develop spoken fluency in English, improving your reading skills is one of the most important things you can do. Why is this? Because it is through reading that you learn most of your vocabulary. It’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with standardized grammar, as language is easier to analyze when you read. Moreover, you will be expected to have strong reading skills if you plan to work or study in English speaking countries, and they are particularly important if you are taking standardized exams. Lastly, reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing skills.
Spain is famous for its cuisine. And if you like to eat, there’s no better activity for the “foodie” language learner than heading out to sample the regional delicacies at the restaurant of your choice. While you can bring your dictionary and subtly look up the dishes and their ingredients, walking into a restaurant requires more than just decoding the menu. As any seasoned traveller will tell you, you’re likely to do better when it comes to food if you can ask for it in the local language. Simply put, you need words and phrases to get your food and drink. This means you should know your way around the most common Spanish words used for placing your order, proceeding through the various courses of a meal, and picking up the check at the end.
You may speak English fluently, but how are you on the telephone? English language learners need to know what to say when answering a call, as well as common closings for hanging up. The good thing is that language used for the telephone is easy to learn and almost universally applicable, no matter who is on the other end of the line. Whether you are making a business phone call to England or are trying to speak English like an American for your call center job, there are plenty of vocabulary and phrases you can learn to improve your English phone skills.
Whether you study French in Paris or learn Spanish in Mexico, a study abroad program offers an invaluable experience for anyone looking to explore a new culture. When you can see, hear and feel your target language all around you, you learn pretty quickly thanks to repeat exposure to new vocabulary in context. Immersion is not only a great way to learn a language but essential for creating rich experiences and lasting memories, which often provide the motivation needed to inspire lifelong learning.
Las manzanas no son como las naranjas. Apples and oranges are not alike. Sure they’re both fruit but they differ in color, size and taste (among other things). To express this in Spanish you need to be able to make a comparison between two nouns. You can say things are alike via comparisons of equality or that they are not alike via comparisons of inequality. If the latter is the case, you can specify how they differ. For example, apples are sweeter than oranges las manzanas son más dulces que las naranjas and oranges are smaller than apples las naranjas son más pequeñas que las manzanas.