Category Archives: #learnspanish

10 Ways to Learn a New Language Faster

I learned a new language at the age of 50, and here are some strategies from language experts that have helped me speak Spanish with hundreds of native speakers in various countries.

1. Learn a new language the same way you learned your first language:

  • Listen to native speakers often and for long periods of time.
  • Watch how they communicate.
  • Imitate what they say and how they say it, which may require using your face muscles, mouth and tongue in new ways to produce some new sounds so that you can be better understood.

2. Listen to content that is interesting and at your level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced).

3. Be happy, relaxed, and curious while learning, and be comfortable not understanding everything that you hear. Focus on understanding the general meaning of what is said, and not so much on understanding every word.

4. You should spend time every day learning if you want to learn fast, even if it is for only 15 minutes. If you go for days or weeks without contacting the language, your progress will slow to a crawl.

5. Ask native speakers for help, and in particular you should know how to say in your new language:

  • “Excuse me …”
  • “How could I (find/do/go to, etc.) …?”
  • “What is this?”
  • “How do you say …?”
  • “I don’t understand.”

6. Learn the 100 most common words in the language, then the 500 most common words, and by the time you learn the 1000 most common words you’ll understand 75% of daily conversations.

7. Speak from the first day you start learning a new language, and be willing to make many mistakes every day for the rest of your life communicating in your new language. Be creative and say things any way that you can, because having to say things in a roundabout way is both normal and essential.

8. Use all of your senses to learn the language by connecting words with sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. Have fun learning a new language!

9. In order to move from beginner to intermediate and then to an advanced level, you must develop the ability to speak using expressions of time and mood – past, present, future, and conditional verb tenses, and in some languages the subjunctive mood.

  • Beginners speak in the present tense, and learn to speak about the past and the future as they progress.
  • Intermediate speakers are much more comfortable speaking about the past, present, and future. They also learn to speak using conditional phrases that any native speaker uses commonly, for example: “I would keep doing things the way they have always been done, but I have an idea …” Another example: “If I were you, I would learn a new language because …”
  • Advanced speakers use various expressions of time and mood, and when they can do this like a native speaker, they speak like a native speaker speaks. The word “fluent” is hard to define, and I choose to believe that I have been speaking “fluently” since I reached intermediate level (which many people can reach in 3-6 months, but which took me a few years).

10. Find language coaches and teachers who (1) work at understanding you, (2) don’t correct every mistake you make, (3) demonstrate how to say things correctly, and (4) use words you understand or can learn.

It’s never too late to learn a new language, and not only is it good exercise for the mind, but it will enable you to discover and enjoy more places and people.

IMPORTANT! Chris Lonsdale’s insightful TEDx video is the inspiration behind much of this content, together with strategies that I have gleaned from various other sources as well as from my own experience teaching English as a second language. Watch the video of Chris at https://youtu.be/d0yGdNEWdn0

Also posted in #EFL, #ESL, #español, #learnenglish, #Spanish, #teachESL, #TEFL, #TESOL

Consejos para una Vida Éxitosa

Cada persona cambia significamente durante la vida, y hoy día desde tengo casi 56 años, nada es más importante que vivir con propósito y el deseo de crear un mundo mejor. Por eso, tengo unas ideas que quiero compartir con ustedes acerca de los hábitos y actitudes que son muy importante en mi opinion.

SEAN PRESENTE. Desde que vivimos completemente en el momento presente, cada vez más me siento obligado a centrarme en el aquí y ahora. Nuestras mentes van para tantas direcciones – por lo menos sé que mi mente funciona como así – y nuestras mentes están constantemente llenas de charla, y perdimos demasiado tiempo pensando en el pasado o preocupandonos por el futuro. No estoy tratadando de decir que no podemos o no debemos aprender del pasado, tampoco significa que no debemos preparar y ahorrar para el futuro. Sólo significa que el momento presente es donde vivimos, y es muy importante enfocar en la ahora … en el presente. Nada más. Apaguen la mente. Olan las flores. Disfruten la vida. Den gracias. Respiren conscientemente. Animen a otras personas. Sean esperanza!

HABLEN MENOS Y ESCUCHEN MÁS. Sean personas que dice muy poco. Tengan en cuenta que muchas personas hablan demasiado, y ellos dicen muchas cosas que son críticos y sin amor. Cuando otras personas están hablando, escuchen con atención. Cuando hablen, digan muchas cosas que son útiles y amorosas. Las palabras pueden manifestar los milagros, así que a través del poder que está ubicado dentro de ustedes, les sugiero que manifiesten algunos milagros hoy con sus palabras.

SEAN AMABLE y NO SEAN SIEMPRE CORRECTO. Es muy importante dejar todo juicio y permitir a la gente ser y hacer lo que quiere. Es tan fácil de encontrar defectos en otras personas, de ridiculizar a los demás, de presentarnos superior a los demás. Pero ¿Piensan que esta aptitude es un servicio a los demás? Claro, hay momentos en que es importante hablar en contra de las injusticias en el mundo, pero la mayoría de las veces que pasamos tiempo discutiendo y criticando y juzgando a otras personas, no es más que nuestra necesidad de tener razón en nuestros propios ojos en lugar de ser amable. Cada uno de nosotros es dada oportunidades todos los días para elegir entre ser amable y ser correcto, y parece que la elección de ser amable es siempre la mejor opción.

DEN. Podría ser un poco o podría ser mucho … pero de cualquier forma pueden verla, el dar es una buena manera de vivir. Den a alguien una sonrisa. Den a alguien el benefício de la duda. Den a alguien una flor. Den dinero a los pobres. Den tiempo para ayudar a otros. Den el regalo del perdón.
Wayne W. Dyer en su libro que se llama, “El Gran Cambio,” dice esto:

“Apoyo incondicional. La cuarta virtud cardinal nos informa que estamos eternamente apoyados en el proceso de vivir de forma auténtica. Abandonamos la ambición impuesta por el ego y nos relajamos en el verdadero significado qu apoya nuestra vida particular. El apoyo incondicional se manifiesta como un servicio a los demás sin expectativas de recompensas, ni siquiera que nos den las gracias; es el componente más importante para sentir que nuestra vida tiene un propósito. Es la forma más segura de aprender a pensar como Dios piensa.” “Cuando nos vemos como expresiones divinas individualizadas de Dios, nos sentimos más inclinados a desear comprender la forma en que opera la fuerza creativa.”

VIVAN CON PASIÓN. Sólo tenemos una oportunidad de vivir esta vida, así que si hay algo que quieren hacer que han estado posponiendo innecesariamente, les invito a dejar de posponerlo … y en lugar de eso, busquen sus suenos! Este es un asunto que a veces es difícil de proponer porque vivir con pasión puede aparecer egoísta, especialmente para aquellos que piensan que pueden ganar el favor del cielo en negarse lo que disfrutan. También es difícil imaginar los más pobres, los que viven en la pobreza extrema y que buscan sólo para sobrevivir hoy día, es difícil imaginar que ellos pueden pensar en una lista de deseos; para ellos, vivir con pasión significa la intención de mantener su vida como es … parece que ellos solo pueden preocuparse en sobrevivir . ¿Cómo puedo justificar mantenando mi lista de deseos y mi intención de vivir con pasión cuando hay tantas personas que necesitan tantas cosas necesarias en el mundo? Una forma de hacerlo es a través de organizer su lista en una manera que da beneficio no sólo a sí mismo, sino también a la humanidad. Enfoquen en ganar un millón de dólares para que pueden dar la mitad a causas necesitadas. Vayan en un viaje en un crucero y durante su parada en cada puerto enfoquen en buscar y encontrar a los pobres que se sostienen con la venta de artesanías hechas a mano, y compren sus cosas. Aprendan un nuevo idioma para que puedan usar este talento para ayudar a la gente a aprender inglés, porque con este entendimiento de inglés la gente puede mejorar su vida. Completen un maratón de corriendo para que puedan ser más saludable, y para que peudan ser menos de una carga para sus seres queridos y en el sistema de atención de salud – haganlo para que ustedes tendrán más energía para ayudar a otros. Tomen una clase de baile para que puedan aprender más sobre una otra cultura. Tomen una clase de arte para que puedan pintar un cuadro bonito para colgar en el refugio para personas sin casa. Hay una gran variedad de formas en que podemos vivir con pasión que beneficia tanto a nosotros como a nuestros vecinos en el mundo.

Obra Citada: Dyer, Wayne W. El Gran Cambio, p. 105 Hay House, Inc. 2010.

Also posted in #empowerment, #español, #personalgrowth, #Spanish, Blog de Español

Five Secrets to Becoming Fluent in Spanish

I started learning Spanish at the age of 48, and 4 years later I passed the B1 intermediate level DELE exam administered by the Cervantes Institute of Spain. (The DELE exam is a standardized test of Spanish language proficiency that is taken in 900 certified examination centers in more than 100 countries around the world). Now I am at the high intermediate level, and when I pass the C1 exam I will be considered an advanced learner of Spanish. Today I would like to share with you my “Five Secrets to Becoming Fluent in Spanish.”

First, there is no secret to becoming fluent in any language. Granted, some methods work faster than others, however it still takes an estimated 3 hours of study and practice every day for 10 years to go from absolute beginner to near native fluency.

Not everyone wants to invest the time it takes to become completely fluent, so my second tip is to get clear in your mind what level of Spanish you’d like to reach, and then set specific and achievable goals for reaching that level of Spanish.

Thirdkeep it fun! Many people burn out quickly because learning a language becomes all work and no fun. Watch Spanish videos. Listen to Spanish music. Read Spanish news that interests you. Build your Spanish vocabulary in a way that is fun for you.

The fourth key is the importance of using the language from the very beginning. If you only know 100 Spanish words and a few verbs in the present tense, start speaking Spanish to everyone in order to make many mistakes … that’s how we learned our first language, and that’s how we learn a new language.

Fifth, check out the following list of programs and websites that I think are the most helpful for learning Spanish … they are listed in no particular order. Some are free, and some can be very expensive, so proceed as you wish. Also, be sure to go to my Spanish Words and Resources page to take advantage of the FREE resources there.

www.newsinslowspanish.com/latino – My favorite Spanish podcast. This link is to the Latino Spanish site, but you can also listen to the Spain Spanish program. You can get portions of these podcasts in iTunes for free to try them out, but if you want the entire audio program it is $14 per month. For $23 per month you get full access to the audios, PDF files, grammar exercises, etc.

www.spanishobsessed.com – This podcast is very well done, it is a British guy and his Colombian wife; you can listen to podcasts free, or pay a fee to get greater access.

www.lightspeedspanish.co.uk – This program is similar to the program above in that it was created by a British guy whose partner is a native Spanish speaker … they have some nice free audio and other resources, however the Spain Spanish accent is not the most commonly used throughout the world.

www.memrise.com – A good site for improving vocab, and there is a phone app that you can use.

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/spe/index.html – A very helpful site, free videos in Spanish for various levels (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced), and the videos are accompanied by a text translation. I have downloaded many of their videos to my iTunes and iPod/iPhone.

http://www.learner.org/series/destinos  – Destinos Spanish educational telenovela, it is a bit dated but very helpful and free to everyone; go to this site and click on “Watch” at the top.

http://conjuguemos.com – Lots of people (especially youngsters) use this sites for the vocabulary quizzes and verb drills.

http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/VERBLIST.HTm – In my opinion, hands down the best site for finding all of the conjugations of all the Spanish verbs, plus there is plenty of additional information on this site that is very helpful.

www.yabla.com – Hundreds of videos organized by learner level and Spanish country accent, this is a nice site that costs $10 per month to use.

www.veintemundos.com – The name of this site refers to the 20 Spanish speaking countries, it is a free site with audio and text that highlights cultural activities.

http://noticias.univision.com/america-latina – Univision is the most trusted news source in the Latino community, and this link goes to the latest news stories for Latin America; listening to the news in Spanish is a great way to improve your ability to hear Spanish.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/temas/america_latina – BBC is very similar to NPR in the United States (and unfortunately NPR does not have a Spanish language version), and this link takes you to the latest news stores for Latin America.

www.duolingo.com – Another free site that asks you to contribute to the cause by reviewing other submissions … this site contains many helpful exercises.

www.fluentin3months.com – Benny is pretty well-known in the polyglot community and he emphasizes “speak from day one,” and he encourages you to work on becoming “fluent” in a language in as little as 3 months; he has written a few books, but the real value of this site is the language community as well as the email newsletter that includes many language learning links.

www.pimsleur.com – Pimsleur was my favorite program for a long time, however it became less useful to me when I reached intermediate level (which is about as far as Pimsleur will take you). Pimsleur is great at teaching you to speak Spanish, and since it is all audio and there are no books, you can use it anywhere (such as while exercising, driving down the road, etc.) In early 2015 Pimsleur released a level 5 Spanish program, and I purchased the download of the MP3 files for only $120 (the CDs are much more expensive). Sometimes you can borrow Pimsleur from your local library, so I encourage you to check it out.

www.rosettastone.com – Everybody knows about Rosetta Stone, one of the world’s most popular language learning programs. Most people believe that extensive marketing makes it so popular, but I believe it is popular because it makes building your vocabulary fun. (I completed all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish).

www.fluenz.com – This little company fearlessly claims to be better than Rosetta Stone, and the program is equally as pricey. I own the two highest levels of Fluenz, and it has some of the best writing drills that I have ever found. Also, in Fluenz there is an English speaking instructor that clarifies grammar, vocabulary, etc., in contrast to the Rosetta Stone total immersion system where nothing is explained in English.

https://newsela.com – A very nice news site made for language learners that I recently discovered; to learn Spanish, go into the menu and click on Spanish Text Sets

Julioandgringo.com – My friend Julio and I created this site to provide entertaining and informative audiobooks, podcasts, and other products that help native English speakers learn Spanish.

Fotopala.com – Last but not least, our very own Fotopala.com site where you can find numerous resources that will help you learn English, teach ESL (English as a Second Language), learn Spanish, and be Empowered.

Also posted in #empowerment, #fluent, #personalgrowth, #Spanish Tagged |

Spanish Resources – Recursos en Español

Here are links to several files that I hope are helpful to you … feel free to download them, and please remember to tell people that you found them on Fotopala.com — Thank you!

Aquí hay enlaces a varios archivos que espero que sean de utilidad para ti … no dudes en descargarlos, y por favor no olvides decir a la gente que has encontrado en Fotopala.com — ¡Gracias!

SPANISH WORDS

Listing of more than 3000 Spanish Words including those on Fotopala
Colors and Clothes Vocabulary
Ser and Estar Explained
Por and Para Explained
Por and Para Idiomatic Expressions
Accent Rules for Spanish Words
Keyboard Shortcuts for Spanish Accents

VERBS AND TENSES

The 15 Spanish Tenses of the Indicative and Subjunctive
Imperfect Tense Explained
Preterite Tense Explained
Present Perfect Tense Explained
Conditional Tense Explained
The 17 Most Important Spanish Verbs
Over 500 Spanish Verbs
Hundreds of Spanish Sentences in Various Tenses
Scenarios that Help Transition to the Subjunctive

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Spanish Programs and Resources on the Market
Links to Spanish Radio and TV
Languages Spoken in the USA 2010 Census

Also posted in #español, #Spanish

Make a Better World – Crear un Mundo Mejor

El español está por debajo.

I know that I can learn something from every person that I meet, and that I can share something with every person that I meet. So I am looking for people who want to learn from other people, and who want to share with other people opportunities, education, cooperation, and service.

I am a U.S.citizen by birth and I am proud of my country, and I admit that my country has taken too much from our neighbors to the South, so I feel it is time for my country to give more to Central and South America than is received.

I have no interest in building an organization that feels superior to the people that are helped. This is about people helping people, and it is an open project with endless possibilities.

I am an English Teacher and a Spanish Learner that loves to travel, and I have business and marketing experience that I would like to apply for the benefit of my neighbors to the South, especially for the benefit of the people who are not part of the richest 20% that control 90% of the wealth. Here is a link to my “Offer of Talent,” https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhBGSjKYBtmEdFoyT21fMnBSOVJteFZhaTh2ZHRYbEE&usp=sharing, and I invite you to add your offer to this document which anyone on the internet can edit and support through an offer.

The organization that I am building is not currently funded, and so we cannot employ people or pay organizations to help us. All that we have to offer right now is time, talent, tourism, and a willingness to make a better world.

Keith

Sé que puedo aprender algo de cada persona que me encuentro, y que puedo compartir algo con cada persona que me encuentro. Así que estoy buscando para las personas que quieran aprender de otras personas, y que quieran compartir con otras personas oportunidades, educación, cooperación, y servicio.

Yo soy un ciudadano de los EE. UU. por nacimiento y estoy orgulloso de mi país, y tengo que admitir que mi país ha tomado mucho de nuestros vecinos del sur, por lo tanto siento que es el momento para que mi país peuda dar más a América Central y América del Sur de lo que se recibe.

No tengo ningún interés en la creación de una organización que se siente superior a las personas que reciben ayuda. Esto es acerca de la gente ayudando a la gente, y es un proyecto abierto con un sinfín de posibilidades.

Soy profesor de inglés y un estudiante de español y me encanta viajar, y tengo experiencia en los negocios y de mercadeo que me gustaría aplicar para el beneficio de mis vecinos del sur, sobre todo para el beneficio de las personas que no son parte de la 20% más rico que controlan el 90% de la riqueza . Aquí hay un enlace a mi “Oferta de Talento,” https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhBGSjKYBtmEdFoyT21fMnBSOVJteFZhaTh2ZHRYbEE&usp=sharing, y le invito a usted agregue su oferta a este documento que cualquier persona puede editar y apoyar a través de una oferta.

La organización que estoy creando no se financia en la actualidad, por lo tanto no se puede emplear a personas ni pagar organizaciones para ayudarnos. Todos lo que podemos ofrecer ahora mismo son tiempo, talento, turismo, y la voluntad de crear un mundo mejor.

Keith

Also posted in #teachenglish, Blog de Español