It’s pretty easy to get started learning a new language. Becoming truly fluent, though, is difficult. I’m often asked for advice by English learners who have been studying the language for years but haven’t improved as much as they would have liked. This is the advice I give them:
Brainscape's collection of language research, tips, and tricks to help you learn languages fast and efficiently, while having fun in the process
Are you bi- (or even multi-) lingual? Good for you! Whether you grew up speaking more than one language or put the effort into learning a tongue other then your native one, you will benefit from your skill in a multitude of ways. Enhanced communicational abilities are only the first – and most obvious – advantage that comes with knowing and learning languages. But there are a host of other benefits you may never have considered before… (more…)
Guest Post from Robert Davies:
You might think that working for a translation agency, I would be a little reluctant to endorse technology that gives you instant translations and answers to foreign language queries. Wrong!
Translation services will always have their place for document translations and interpreting needs, where a professional can use their expert linguistic, cultural and industry-specific knowledge to deliver a translation customised to a client’s wishes and accurate to the finest detail. However, there’s going to be times when we’re out and about abroad and need a quick language fix at the drop of a hat – the sort where convenience is prioritised over meticulous accuracy.
Here’s my pick of some of the best Apple and Android apps out there that are worth taking a look at before you depart for sunnier climbs this August: (more…)
When you devote a considerable amount of your time trying to convincing people why it’s awesome to learn foreign languages, it’s hard not to roll your eyes at some of their standard rebuttals. “Why should I learn [Spanish], there’s a reason I live in America!” “I won’t learn [Spanish], people should just learn English.” Disregarding the blatant lack of ambition all of these statements reflect, it makes you wonder why people have seemingly lost sight of the necessity of acquiring a second, maybe even a third language. It’s the 21st century in a highly globalized, technologically advanced world – the necessity should be obvious, finding the tools and materials has never been easier. (more…)
While it is a known fact that having a parent that speaks more than one language will greatly assist in his/her child fluency in those languages, what has not been considered until recently is the effect a bilingual mother has on her child before they are born, or in utero. Does this too make a difference? We know that infants are sensitive to their mother’s spoken language, and, once born, even show a preference for that language, but what about infants that have bilingual mothers? Do they show a preference for both languages? Can they distinguish between the two languages? (more…)
How about learning another language? We’re always eager to turn you into a polyglot – or at least make you multilingual – so here is the latest attempt at convincing you how necessary it is to learn languages. Or in this case: how much fun it can be.
Education First is an education company with a focus on language training. A large part of their organization is based on educational travel. In promotion of their language programs, in October 2010 the company released a number of beautifully made videos of students and their experiences in various cities around the world. If you had already considered participating in an exchange program to both get to know another culture and learn another language, these clips will definitely increase your longing. If you think that going abroad to learn a language is only an option for students: It’s not! The EF programs target anyone age 16 and above, the length varies anywhere from 2-52 weeks. So go on, go abroad and learn a new language!
And even if it’s not going to be a language course, why not take a vacation to get to know the native language of your travel destination firsthand? But before your leave: Get the matching Brainscape app! There’s no better traveling companion… (more…)
Being bilingual is pretty awesome, in case you didn’t know yet. Some people grow up with two languages; others have to put a lot of time and effort into becoming fluent in another tongue as an adult. I grew up in Germany as a German monolingual, then started learning English in school from age 10. But somehow, no matter how proficient I became, I never considered myself bilingual – until I made the move to New York. Maybe it’s the experience of having lived in an English-speaking country for five months now, or the daily practice I’ve been getting. Whatever the reason, it seems like I have finally, truly become bilingual. And there are some peculiarities that come with speaking – and thinking and writing – in more than one language on a daily basis that I thought worth sharing. (more…)
Did you know that in 1980 Italian was the second most spoken second language in US households after Spanish? Might be a little surprising to those of us who were born in the past two decades! While that is not the case now (Chinese holds the #2 spot now), it is interesting to observe how bilingual households have evolved over time in America. Bilingualism can tell us about the diverse makeup of America, but it is also a topic that interests us at Brainscape for what it reveals about language learning and memory. There are differences in the development of monolingual and bilingual infants, cognitive benefits from knowing multiple languages, as well as differences in creativity between mono- and bilinguals.
BestCollegesOnline.com put together an infographic on Bilingualism Across the U.S.. If there were one chart I wish they had included, it would be the proportion of bilingual households in America over time. That being said, enjoy! (more…)
We are pleased to share a language learning post from one of our favorite learning/language/creativity/memory/science writers: Annie Murphy Paul for Time.com. Read on to learn How to Speak Like a Native.
Can an adult learn to speak a second language with the accent of a native? Not likely, but new research suggests that we would make better progress, and be understood more easily by our conversational partners, if we abandoned a perfect accent as our goal in the language learning process. (more…)
This is the third and last part of this little series. While other modern languages have influenced the English vocabulary, none have left quite as big of a mark on it as German and French. In this installment, we will therefore look towards Latin, a language that, while long dead (i.e. no longer actively spoken), still plays an important role in many different areas of life.
English in particular uses numerous abbreviations that are based on Latin words and phrases. In addition to that, the terminology in different fields has been heavily influenced by the language: Legal and medical terminology has a broad Latin base, universities use many Latin terms in their vocabulary. Not to mention the many phrases and idioms that still circulate in our everyday speech. Few schools or universities in the US teach Latin anymore so we do not always immediately know the origin of some expressions or their literal meaning.
I myself sat through 5 (sometimes more, sometimes less successful) years of Latin in school at the end of which I received my intermediate Latin certificate (‘Kleines Latinum’). To help you make sense of the most popular phrases I scraped together all Latin knowledge, did my research and got a friend with a Latin proficiency certificate to proof-read. So read through the list below and find out how much Latin you know and if you can learn anything new.
Top 25 Words (and Phrases) We Borrowed From Latin (more…)