Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at
A while back, a friend sent me a link to this YouTube video about an ecovillage that formed in Spain. Evidently there is quite an ecoaldea movement there. I watched the 13-minute video with interest, both for the subject matter and also to see how much of the Spanish I could follow. It turned out to have easy-to-read English subtitles, so I think even people with just a little Spanish could enjoy it.
Here it is:
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at
I’ve just been browsing around a Website which describes itself in this way: “Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community.”
Well, fine, but how do they choose things? While they probably have a variety of criteria, I was reassured when I read the list of people who work on the site. They have impressive credentials. For example, the lead editor is a man named Dan Colman who is the Director of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. Open Culture is not part of Stanford, but still reading this made me confident that things I would find there would be good quality. Click to read more >>>
Friday, April 5th, 2013 at
Livemocha is a remarkable and online learning center for many, many languages… here is a review I did of it back in 2009. Its methods of teaching Spanish and other languages are much like those used by the long-established Rosetta Stone.
So recently the news came out that Click to read more >>>
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at
Learning to speak Spanish means getting your pronunication right, or at least good enough that native Spanish-speakers can have a clue what you are trying to say. YouTube videos offer a lot of good opportunities to practice, but do be sure that the person who made the video has a good accent.
I enjoy Professor Jason, who has made many videos on learning Spanish. Here are a few: Click to read more >>>
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 at
One thing I like about learning Spanish verbs is how so many of them are easy to remember because they are so regular. To review a really basic situation, let’s look at the -ar verbs in the present tense.
I am no expert in Spanish grammar so I went looking for a good article on this, and I found one, from the blog of an online Spanish tutor:
It’s worth checking out the whole article. Here’s a bit from it, how to conjugate hablar, to speak:
El / Ella habla
Ellos / Ellas hablan
These endings work for every regular verb that ends in -ar.
At the same blog, I found another interesting post related to -ar verbs:
What are the ten most common regular -ar verbs in Spanish?
Well, I guessed hablar, of course, since she’d used it as the example, and I correctly guessed comprar, but then I went and looked.
I find that even though at one time I knew my -ar verbs to perfection in every tense, it’s still good to do a bit of review now and then~
Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 at
Do you ever use your sense of the absurd to remember Spanish vocabulary? I recently came across an article:
Nobody forgets being attacked by a kangaroo or kissing Scarlett Johansson, but recalling what we had for lunch last Tuesday is generally much trickier….But one effective way to make these facts more interesting is through the use of mnemonics, or specifically in this case ‘mems’ – a kind of visual memory aid.
From an article on how to learn boring facts
The article uses the example of learning the capitals of the countries of the world, and has a ridiculous picture of a guinea pig smoking a Marlboro. This is to help you remember that the capital of Equatorial Guinea is Malabo. Okay, there is a jump from one M word to another, but it gives you a good handle. There is a link in the article to the course where you can remember capitals too, if you wish to!
But I’m writing about learning Spanish, so I went to the website home and signed up, which was quick and free. You can do the same at Memrise.com. I had a choice of languages I wanted to learn and I chose Spanish, from English. I was surprised at how many free courses came up. Below the name of each course, it tells you how long they expect it to take, from a few minutes to quite a few hours.
But… not all the course have the memory aids, or mems as they call them. It’s very interactive and you can add your own mems, or not. So actually this turned out to be a good place to learn Spanish for free in a non-ridiculous way too! Of the several courses I explored, the one on 350 Spanish sayings DID have some mems added.
Monday, February 18th, 2013 at
I recently came across a blog post on the approach to learning called spaced repetition. The subtitle of that article is How to Learn Anything Quickly and Efficiently, and the fellow is learning the capitals of the countries of the world. Well, I knew those pretty well in school though of course many have changed or taken new names!
But it did remind me that I had written before about the free program he uses, called Anki. When we were living in Mexico and I was far more diligent about my Spanish than I am lately, I used Anki quite a lot. Here is that article: My review of Anki, and there are links from there to other flashcard programs I have reviewed too.
I really love flashcards to remember things.
Monday, January 28th, 2013 at
I recently came across a blog post on how to learn a language in 90 days. Yeah, sure, I thought cynically, remembering how many years I’ve put in on Spanish and French. But as I started reading, I realized that this was written by someone who knows what he’s talking about. He does not mean spending a few minutes a day while going about your ordinary life. Nor does he mean getting good grades in Spanish or another language in school.
Nope, he has something more drastic in mind. Do take a look at the post–I linked to it in the first sentence–and you’ll see he’s suggesting things like not speaking English, getting a private tutor, and moving to another country. Even if you don’t have the time or money for those things, I think you’d be stimulated by reading the guy’s article.
He links from it to an offer to sign up and get more free info. Likely worth doing! And don’t be put off by his use of the word hack… he’s Stanford-educated, and they talk like that there!
Friday, January 11th, 2013 at
I received an email from a reader asking if I knew of any programs that would be good for helping her dyslexic teenage son to learn to spell in Spanish. I didn’t–and still don’t specifically–but I’ve had an interesting time wandering around the internet, and I have found some useful tips. First, I’ll give you some general tips on learning to spell in Spanish, and then I’ll move on to tips about learning Spanish if you have dyslexia. Click to read more >>>
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at
I’ve gotten the email newsletter from the website Notes in Spanish for years. Today I noticed that they have a half-off sale with some bonuses, good till midnight (in Madrid, presumably, that is their home) on January 16. Here is the link if you want to take a look:
Notes in Spanish Special Offer
In some cases, I make a commission if you click through and buy something, but not in this case.