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!
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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.”
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!
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!
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: https://proficiencyinlife.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/adventures-in-spanish-conjugating-irregular-verbs-in-the-present-tense/
Anyways! On to the usage!
Location (at the present time)
Emotions and Feelings
Race, gender, occupation, etc.
Anything related to time
I hope this helped! Please tell me your opinions and feedback about my blog in the comments section! Thank you!
Verb conjugation is as essential in Spanish as it is in English! That is why this post will cover the most basic conjugation in Spanish: the present tense.
Now, there are a few irregular verbs when it comes to the present tense, which are fairly tricky to learn at first. But, with practice, they will become second nature. The following are verbs that are commonly used, fully conjugated in the present tense:
There are plenty of languages in the world for one to choose from. I know I have searched (and still do search) questions like, “What are some of the easiest/hardest languages to learn?”, and I’m sure that plenty of others have as well. I have compiled a list of some languages, in order of difficulty for native English speakers. I am in no way an expert on this topic; merely a hobbyist. Some information comes from other sources, all of which are very reliable. Enjoy!
Spanish:Fairly easy grammar and a good amount of parallel vocabulary makes Spanish a good choice for an extra language. Perfect pronunciation comes with time, although one gets the basis of it quickly. A very fun, enjoyable language.
French:Slightly harder than Spanish, in my opinion, but still relatively easy. Again, there is parallel vocabulary, although grammar is a tad more difficult than in Spanish. Pronunciation is also generally more of a challenge, but do not let this deter you in any way; French is a great language to have by your side.
Afrikaans:I have never studied Afrikaans, but from what I understand, it has similarities to Dutch, German, and English. The language seems to be regarded as the easiest for English speakers to learn.
Italian:Another language which I have barely studied. Italian is a beautiful language, with strong ties to Spanish in particular. Grammar seems quite easy, as does vocabulary. Pronunciation shouldn’t be too much of a problem, either, especially for somebody who is learning/has learned Spanish or a similar language in the past.
Dutch:Grammatically, Dutch is less complicated than German, although it has many times to it. It also quite similar to English, and borrowed quite a few words from French. For a speaker of German or the likes, Dutch shouldn’t be too difficult a language to pick up.
Brazilian Portuguese: A language that I have not studied, Portuguese nevertheless seems quite similar to Spanish and Italian (from what I have learned, Portuguese and Spanish have very close ties). A definite must-speak for
anybody who loves languages like Spanish.
Russian:Russian starts off difficult, with an all-new alphabet that many English speakers have never even heard of before. The Cyrillic alphabet is truly a joy to learn. Writing and reading can be difficult, as incorrect intonation can create an entirely new meaning to a phrase, word, or sentence. Pronunciation isn’t too bad, but grammar is tricky (in Slavic languages, grammar is different than that of Romance/Germanic languages). A nice language to have by your side (and plus, you can yell at your friends and sound very intimidating, when you’re really saying, “Good Morning! I hope you have a nice day!”).
German:One of my personal favorites to learn, German has ties to English in both vocabulary and grammar. But, the grammar is one of the factors that makes German a “medium-difficulty” language. Some words are long compounds, and the spelling may be difficult for English speakers. Pronunciation is also fairly difficult to get used to, and noun genders are extraordinarily irritating. Despite the above criticism, German is a very useful language, and one of my lingual preferences.
Sign Languages: Slightly unusual for some at first, but not to difficult whatsoever. Many gestures make sense, although subtle differences in movement can convey a whole other meaning.
Polish:A fun little Slavic language. Many say that it is very, very difficult, but it does not seem that way; I would suggest learning another Slavic language, such as Russian or Ukrainian, beforehand, in order to get used to the grammar.
Chinese:Grammar is surprisingly easy, and writing can be done just fine in Pinyin. Reading and writing in the traditional Chinese writing system, though, are not easy, as each word has a different character. Pronunciation, as well, is taxing, as there are four commonly-used tones that are extremely demanding of an English speaker (one sound makes the difference between “I miss my mother,” and, “I miss my horse.”) Still, a fun language in which I am progressing slowly. Very, very slowly…
Arabic:By far the hardest language I have ever encountered. It comes with difficult pronunciation, a crazy writing system, and insane grammar. I gave up on it the moment I began (but many linguists say that it is actually a very enjoyable language once one gets a feel for it). There are different symbols for the same vowel/letter, depending on whether it goes on the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Again, definitely the most formidable language I have ever encountered.
Japanese:Congratulations! Japanese comes loaded with four new writing systems, and completely different grammar! I love the Japanese language, but it is very difficult when it comes to writing, reading, and using proper grammar. Pronunciation seems OK, but the writing, reading, and grammar make Japanese a very difficult language to learn.
Korean:I have not dabbled in Korean quite yet, but I expect it to be fairly similar to Japanese in terms of grammar and such. The writing system is completely different from the Cyrillic or Latin alphabets, so it’s a completely new experience.
That concludes this list! Please, do not let anything I have said come in between you and learning a language. Some people are more geared towards certain languages than others, and that is natural. Don’t let anything stop you!
(If you feel I have left anything out of this post, or you have suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to comment. Thank you!)
For anybody just starting out in Spanish or Russian, this will certainly be a beneficial post. Personal pronouns (I, You, He, She, etc.) are very commonly used, and are essential in learning a language. Let’s learn!
You (informal): Tú
You (formal): Usted
You all (Used in Spain): Vosotros
You all: Ustedes
They (all male, or mix of male and female): Ellos
They (all female): Ellas
You (informal): Ты
You (formal): Вы*
You all: Вы*
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment!
*In Russian, the use of Вы is generally determined by context.
A big-sized chunk of this blog will be dedicated to foreign languages. Expect posts on languages like German, Spanish, Russian, French, and others. I am currently studying Spanish in school, and am fluent in Russian. All other languages are ones I am learning on my own. This is why, to begin this series of posts, I would like to make a list of all the websites and resources that I often use to learn languages (if anybody has suggestions, or knows of any other good resources, don’t hesitate to comment!)