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Everything posted by TheJamal

  1. What's always been frustrating about online courses for language learning is you don't get that interaction with a teacher that you would in a classroom. And for language learning, having a native speaker who you can get immediate feedback from is very important to good understanding. I've tried both routes of buying an online course/guide and going to a physical class several times a week, and I had a much better experience in the physical class than I did on my own. Other than that, everyone else's recommendations are excellent. Immerse him in as much English learning opportunities as possible and just be there to help him along as another resource.
  2. The big issue I've found with trying to watch T.V. shows though is I often can't keep up with what's being said in the program. So while I do think watching shows can help reinforce some vocabulary and you might pick up a few more words here and there, you need to have a decent base understanding of the language to really get a lot out of it. The best learning tool for me is reading children's books. Sentences are not very long and the vocabulary is very simple. Often times as well, the writing is very straight-forward and nothing confusing going on with the stories.
  3. I have two main reasons for studying Spanish. For starters, my mother's side of the family are all basically fluent in Spanish and I would love to be able to interact with them in that way. My brother and I weren't raised in that culture and it would be great to be able to talk with them on another level. The other is there are very few jobs out there that couldn't use a bilingual employee anymore. With the world becoming heck of a lot smaller and the U.S becoming vastly more diverse, having the ability to speak another language is a very important skill. Especially for my hopeful future job (journalism), the ability to speak Spanish is something that is coveted from reporters.
  4. In English, my reading comprehension has always been very strong, since I started school essentially. I was a book worm when I was younger and always had books with me pretty much everywhere I went. So those sort of tests in high school and some college classes have always been pretty easy for me and I never have had to study for them. In Spanish though, which I'm currently studying, I'm absolutely atrocious. I take forever to get through any passage as I'm not confident in my translations at all. Reading is probably my biggest weakness with learning a new language.
  5. It depends on how well I know the person. If it's just a stranger, I'll just smile and try and communicate that I can't understand the person at all. But if it's a teacher, I be sure to let him/her know that I have no clue what's going. Learning a foreign language is not something you can afford to bs; you either know or you don't. So being proactive with teachers/family members who might be helping you learn the language is important to not fall behind because it's just a large snowball if you fall behind.
  6. I know some private schools have foreign language classes taught at younger grades, but do you think we should be teaching foreign language in all schools? And should it be started earlier than high school into primary education? I think as the world grows smaller with technology and how much communications happens around the world, that knowing a 2nd language has become increasingly important.
  7. The first thing I'd do is contact my Spanish family and be able to speak with them in Spanish! I'd think they'd be pretty happy to see that I learned to speak Spanish. Other than that, I'd be quick to point out that I'm bilingual on every job application I send in. I see it being as such a huge benefit to getting a job, especially with me being in California, which has a large Latino community.
  8. I agree with the OP. There's no replacement for real-world experience when learning a language and ideally, we'd be immersed in a Spanish culture where the language was spoken all the time around us. I know for me, when I visit my family on my mom's side who are all Spanish and speak "Spanglish" a lot of the time, I pick up all kind of words and phrases from them. More often than I not, I feel I learn more in a week from visiting them than I do in a semester in school. Unfortunately though, getting that level of immersion just isn't possible for most people, so we have to make do with our teachers and online programs and try to learn that way.
  9. Creative writing is also a subjective subject matter, so it can be difficult to reach students to get them to understand what exactly you expect from them. It's not like 1+1=2 in math where there are no other answers. With creative writing, students could each approach a different topic from an entirely different perspective from each other. So I would stay open minded with what answers you expect and not just have "one right answer" in your mind when grading their work. That might help your expectations of the class a little more.
  10. While yes, these sort of phrases are overly dramatic and using words improperly, it's part of what makes the English Language interesting! Imagine how boring conversations would get if we didn't exaggerate once in awhile. I use these all the time when talking with friends and think they're fine to use in informal settings.
  11. Sometimes, but it depends on the reviewer. I often don't look for book reviews before buying it, but I'll certainly take recommendations from family/friends/teacher on what some good reads would be. I know what I like and generally the back of the book description will give me enough to know if I'll like the book or not. I do end up reading some bad books or ones I didn't enjoy, but I still like reading and I hopefully still learned something out of the reading as well. Very few times has a book been, "Wow, I got nothing out of that book" for me.
  12. I was going to say this as well! I love this series for the clever writing and story that goes with each book. It's creative and was one of the first big series that I ever read. Along with A series of unfortunate events, I'd say Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia were two other series that greatly inspired me as a young reader and encouraged me to cultivate a love of reading. I don't think I would have ever pursued a career as a journalist and writer without reading these series when I was growing up.
  13. For her line of work as an actress, I couldn't think of many other degress that would be more beneficial for furthering her career as an actress and possibly a future writer or director. For everyone else though, a degree in English literature means you're going the academia route and/or going to become an English teacher at some level. Other than that, there's just not many jobs in the field that relate to the degree. It stinks that college prices dictate what your major often is to justify the cost rather than study what the person would like to do.
  14. I think a few for me revolve around being a more viable employee on the job market by being bilingual. Pretty much any company has use for bilingual employees, so that keeps me going and motivated to learn as much Spanish as I possibly can. Another big motivator is I'd like to be able to travel one day and not just be a lost American tourist when I travel. While I wouldn't know all of the language, I think the travel experience would be so much more enjoyable if I had at least a simple understanding of the language in the country.
  15. Unfortunately, not yet. Mainly because I'm still trying to figure out what's being said and not just reacting to the funny moment. A lot of humor is reacting to the moment, and if you don't know what's being said, you sort of miss the humor. I'd like to think I'm starting to get closer though with my comprehension.
  16. Agreed. I hated reading comprehension questions when I was younger and throughout high school, but I'm a lot more thankful for them now. No matter what job you're in, reading comprehension will apply in some format to that line of work. Being able to take a set of instructions or passage and understand what it is going on is something that we have to do on a daily basis. Now, the questions that try and trick you and you have to determine the hidden meaning of a literature passage don't have NEAR the same level of worth.
  17. I've never encountered this sort of question and I'd need to know the context in what they were actually looking for, but I would just work through the sentences and order them with regards to the level of importance. So finding the topic sentence that would set up the rest of the paragraph would be your first look and then order the sentences in a way that supports that topic sentence. Kind of strange question overall though as it seems like a really subjective notion as to what order the sentences should be in.
  18. I'd say reading books and novels is a great way to expand your vocab in a non-awkward way. Those "word of the day" sort of apps make adding those words awkward into your phraseology. Of course, reading is not necessarily a quick way to improve one's vocab, but I see it as the best way to do so.
  19. Find a way to interact with a native Spanish speaker/teacher. Books and online tutorials can give you a decent base of knowledge and understanding of the language, but it's sort of learning a different form of language of Spanish. Sort of the same way that English is taught differently, but actually spoken in an entirely different way. Also, a neat trick is to read through and find some children's books. Very good way to pick some easy words and phrases.
  20. All you definitions seem correct to me. Although, enable isn't 100% a positive connotation in my eyes. For instance, you can be an "enabler" to allowing someone to drink or do drugs. Abet isn't a word I really use in my every day diction or writing, but I also think that your idea of how to use it is the right one though.
  21. Online tutorials can be an effective learning tool, but it shouldn't be the end all be all to your learning process. I don't think anything is as good as interacting with a native speaker and learning the intricacies of a certain language. An online tutorial can give you a good base of knowledge, but you should make it a point to use that knowledge in a real-world setting.
  22. I'd like to learn Spanish because I see it as an important part of the business world as the market becomes an increasingly global market. Virtually any job that you do in today's day and age can have some use for a bilingual speaker. Also, being in California, there's a tremendous amount of Spanish speakers throughout the State. So anywhere I go, it'll be a valuable skill to have.
  23. I feel like you have to have a crazy good work ethic to learn multiple languages. Undertaking that sort of project is YEARS worth of dedication. Heck, I think really understanding one language takes a long time to truly process and understand. As far the benefits go, being bilingual or multilingual can only be a tremendous benefit in the workplace for virtually any job. Especially with the world becoming a global economy, having someone on staff who can speak multiple languages is a huge benefit for that business.
  24. I agree with this 100%. It's easy as a native speaker to think how easy it should be to learn English. But when you really start to think about the language and all the little secrets and different meanings to the same word and pronunciation, it can be a real nightmare for someone learning English as a 2nd language. English does have the most exposure, especially online, for people to learn the language though.
  25. Some of the best ways I've found learning and memorizing new words quickly is to sing them in a little melody you make up and to incorporate the word into your every day speech without sounding too ridiculous. For me, music associations really help me memorize overall and making up fun melodies is a good way to not just have to sit and regurgitate the word 1000 times before it sticks. Incorporating the new word into every day speech is pretty important as well. If you're trying to memorize the new word, then you should make a point to try and use the word in your every day speech!
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