Why Everybody Can, and Should, Learn a New Language

There are few excuses for not being able to learn a new language.

With the Internet being as accessible as it is to many, there are countless ways to learn almost any language.  I, for example, chant praises for Duolingo; despite offering a fairly small, yet expanding, selection of languages, it is the most effective language-learning resource out there.  Memrise is also a wonderful website, geared towards learning vocabulary in particular.  Best of all?  Both are absolutely free!

You are never too old or too young to begin speaking a new tongue.  In fact, it seems to me that learning a language supports memory and numerous cognitive functions; plus, it provides enjoyment and a fun way to pass the time on a rainy day.  Never say never; if you put your mind to it, you can do it.

You do not have to travel anywhere or buy expensive software!  As I previously mentioned, there are more than plenty of amazing resources out there that cost absolutely nothing.  Rosetta Stone, perhaps the most recognizable name in language learning, has been acknowledged as ineffective and, quite frankly, a waste of money by many.  Also, why travel when you have Skype?  You can practice a language with native speakers that want to help you and learn your language?  It doesn’t get easier than that.  To find conversational partners, I recommend italki.com.  Professionals are also available for a fee.

But why should you learn a new language?  For one thing, it makes you feel accomplished!  Wouldn’t it feel great to be able to walk up to a group of friends and say, “Well, I am now fluent in Mandarin Chinese! (or French, or Pig Latin, or whatever language you decided to learn)?  On top of that, you can communicate with native speakers (obviously).  This comes in handy, especially when living in a big city with large ethnical diversity.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Why else should you learn a language?  That’s for you to discover.

Why are you learning a language?  What language are you learning?  Don’t forget to leave a comment!  Thank you!

This could be YOU!

10 Common French Verbs

I have, as of October 21, 2014, been learning French for slightly over a month.  The following are ten of the most common verbs which I have encountered and their conjugations in the Present Indicative.  Enjoy!  Don’t forget to comment, follow, and rate!

Aimer – To Like

J’aime – I like

Tu aimes – You like

Il/Elle aime – He/she likes

Nous aimons – We like

Vous aimez – You (formal or plural) like

Ils/Elles aiment – They (masculine or feminine) like

Manger – To Eat

Je mange – I eat

Tu manges – You eat

Il/Elle mange – He/she eats

Nous mangeons – We eat

Vous mangez – You (formal or plural) eat

Ils/Elles mangent – They (masculine or feminine) eat

Acheter – To Buy

J’achète – I buy

Tu achètes – You buy

Il/Elle achète – He/she buys

Nous achetons – We buy

Vous achetez – You (formal or plural) buy

Ils/Elles achètent – They (masculine or feminine) buy

Vendre – To Sell

Je vends – I sell

Tu vends – You sell

Il/Elle vend – He/she sells

Nous vendons – We sell

Vous vendez – You (formal or plural) sell

Ils/Elles vendent – They (masculine or feminine) sell

Souhaiter – To Wish

Je souhaite – I wish

Tu souhaites – You wish

Il/Elle souhaite – He/she wishes

Nous souhaitons – We wish

Vous souhaitez – You (formal or plural) wish

Ils/Elles souhaitent – They (masculine or feminine) wish

Attendre – To Wait

J’attends – I wait

Tu attends – You wait

Il/Elle attend – He/she waits

Nous attendons – We wait

Vous attendez – You (formal or plural) wait

Ils/Elles attendent – They (masculine or feminine) wait

Être – To Be

Je suis – I am

Tu es – You are

Il/Elle est – He/she is

Nous sommes – We are

Vous êtes – You (formal or plural) are

Ils/Elles sont – They (masculine or feminine) are

Avoir – To Have

J’ai – I have

Tu as – You have

Il/Elle a – He/she has

Nous avons – We have

Vous avez – You (formal or plural) have

Ils/Elles ont – They (masculine or feminine) have

Marcher – To Walk

Je marche – I walk

Tu marches – You walk

Il/Elle marche – He/she walks

Nous marchons – We walk

Vous marchez – You (formal or plural) walk

Ils/Elles marchent – They (masculine or feminine) walk

Dormir – To Sleep

Je dors – I sleep

Tu dors – You sleep

Il/Elle dort – He/she sleeps

Nous dormons – We sleep

Vous dormez – You (formal or plural) sleep

Ils/Elles dorment – They (masculine or feminine) sleep

All the above verbs and conjugations can be used with “I am;” e.g. “I am eating” can be “Je mange.”

How I Am Learning French

Recently, I have taken up a new language.  Due to slow progress in learning German, I decided to take a break and try French.  Over the past month or so, I have made tremendous progress in perhaps five or ten minutes each day, every day.

This is how I am doing it.

First, as a go-to resource, I use Duolingo.  It currently provides a wonderful platform for learning a language that, I’ve heard, boosts one up to an Intermediate level in reading and writing a language.  Currently, English speakers can learn Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, and French (Dutch, Irish, and Danish are in Beta).  Duolingo essentially creates a tree for the target language, being French in this case, and the tree is to be followed.  There are certain lessons to complete; once all lessons in a category are completed, a new branch on the tree is unlocked.  Lingots are awarded for multiple language-learning endeavors (see https://www.duolingo.com/show_store for more information); they are basically a form of currency that can be redeemed for “power-ups” and other interesting objects.  Best of all, Duolingo is fun, addicting, and COMPLETELY FREE!  Sign up and try it today!

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An excerpt from my French Tree.

As a vocabulary supplement to Duolingo, I absolutely adore Memrise.  It is also free (I never pay for anything), and contains hundreds of user-created courses for a very large number of languages.  If you’d like a post as to what courses to use for French vocabulary, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!  You also receive points for answer questions correctly; these allow you to move up in the rankings, all the way to the prestigious title of Overlord (I believe that’s correct!).  A brilliant, effective supplement to language learning; for the purpose of learning foreign tongues, I highly recommend it over Quizlet (which is wonderful for other things… it just depends on what).

Finally, there should always be a speaking aspect involved in languages.  And of course, the first thing that comes to mind is Skype (apart from face-to-face conversation in reality, which is even better!).  In order to find fellow language-learners to chat with, YOU MUST USE  italki.com.  It is very effective, especially for those learning a language such as French, Chinese, German, Russian, etc., as there are so many people out there who want to learn English, but need a partner to practice with.  Ask them for help with their your target language, while you help them with theirs!  It’s a system made in paradise.

As always, don’t forget to leave a comment with feedback and suggestions; if you enjoy the blog, give it a like!  All compliments and criticism are greatly appreciated!

https://www.duolingo.com/

http://www.memrise.com/home/

http://www.italki.com/dashboard

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Duo the Owl eagerly awaits your arrival to Duolingo!

Adventures in Spanish: The Difference Between “Estar” and “Ser”

Hello!

 

This post will cover the usage of the Spanish verbs “estar” and “ser.”  Both mean “To be,” but cannot be used interchangeably.  If you missed my post on the conjugation of these verbs in the present, please visit: http://proficiencyinlife.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/adventures-in-spanish-conjugating-irregular-verbs-in-the-present-tense/

 

Anyways!  On to the usage!

 

Estar:

Location (at the present time)

Emotions and Feelings

Physical State

 

Ser:

Physical Description

Nationality

Characteristics

Race, gender, occupation, etc.

Anything related to time

Possession

 

I hope this helped!   Please tell me your opinions and feedback about my blog in the comments section!  Thank you!

A Typical Day: Tuesday

The second installation of my “Typical Day” series.  Remember to keep reflecting upon what this all might mean; in the end, everything should (hopefully!) make sense!  Enjoy, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments!

 

Tuesday:

7:00 am: Wake up and get ready for school

7:40 am: Arrive at school

2:25 pm-6 pm: Tennis match (usually)

6 pm-6:30 pm: Eat dinner

6:30 pm-9:30 pm: Homework

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed; read

11:00 pm: Sleeping time!

 

This leaves approximately 30 minutes of free time, depending on the amount of homework I have.  Where is the “Me-Time” I am supposed to find?  If anybody has seen it, please notify me immediately.  Thank you!

A Typical Day

Hello!

 

This will be a new, brief series highlighting my typical day.  The point is really to show that, in the end, society has created an impossible, imaginary set of rules and guidelines.

 

We are encouraged to challenge ourselves in academics and work, and take the most difficult courses possible at our skill level.  We are encouraged to be completely dedicated to our job.  Yet, we are told that we should save time for ourselves, and participate in plenty of extracurriculars.  At the end, there is little spare time left, especially for the adults who must cook, clean, and take care of the household in addition to being employed.

 

What are your thoughts?  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

 

Monday:

7:00 am: Wake up and get ready for school

7:25-7:30 am: Leave for school

7:40 am: Arrive at school (any later, and it’s a “tardy.”  Three “tardies” is a detention)

2:25-4:00 pm: Tennis practice or match

3:45-5:30 pm: Tennis practice (occasionally)

4:30 pm: Arrive home

4:30-5:45 pm: Eat dinner, start homework, and practice piano

5:45 pm: Leave for piano lessons

7:30 pm: Return home from piano lessons.  Eat.  Do homework.

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed/read

11:00 pm: Sleep

 

Notice how there is very little time left for “me-activities.”  Just a thought.