Bosley, the Language Bear

Why Should You Learn a Foreign Language?

By Kathy Steinemann

In today’s modern world, we are becoming more connected. Electronic gadgets and software are being developed to accommodate a growing number of people learning foreign languages. So – why would YOU want to learn a new language?

In today’s modern world, we are becoming more connected. Electronic gadgets, websites, software and media are being developed to accommodate a growing number of people learning foreign languages. Why all the excitement? Why would YOU want to learn a new language?

The Employment Advantage

Many government departments and corporations give preference to bilingual or multilingual job candidates. Sometimes a second language is required.

Travel to a Foreign Country

Many North Americans expect that English will be spoken no matter where they travel in the world. Although this may be true in large cities, smaller towns and villages may have few English-speaking residents (or none at all). Enjoy the trip – learn at least a few key words and phrases.

Family and Relatives

Form closer relationships with your relatives who are not native English speakers. Imagine how proud Great Grandma will be when you talk to her in her birth language!

Genealogy Investigation

Old genealogical records are often recorded in a foreign language. If you are tracing your family tree, the job will become easier with at least some basic language training.

Understanding your Native Language

A famous German novelist, poet, playwright, and scientist – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – said: ‘Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.’ Translated to English, this means: ‘Those who don’t know foreign languages know nothing of their own.’ How true! When you embrace a foreign language, you must refamiliarize yourself with the grammar and vocabulary of your native language.

Challenge and Stimulation

If you are looking for stimulation and challenge – what better than learning a new language!

Appreciation of Opera, Literary Works, and Foreign Films

When a work is translated from a foreign language to English, it looses a lot of its flavor. Subtle sounds, meanings, and expressions do not survive the translation process. This is especially true with rhyming poetry. If rhyme is preserved in the translation, the meaning is often dramatically different from the original poet’s work.

And wouldn’t it be fantastic to view a foreign film without reading the subtitles?

Appreciation of Culture

Understanding a country’s language leads inevitably to a much deeper appreciation of its culture and traditions. Where exactly did the term ‘blitzkrieg’ come from? What about ‘faux pas’ or ‘glasnost’?

Stimulate the Intellect

Studies show that seniors exhibit improved brain function over a period of time as they learn a foreign language. College students who learn a foreign language as children score better on exams and perform complex tasks better.

Learning Teaches Learning

The studying techniques and disciplines developed during a foreign language course teach us how to learn. We can employ these skills in many other areas of our lives.

Studying Abroad

You will require excellent language proficiency if you plan to attend an educational institution in another country. This an unequalled opportunity to grow, develop, and challenge your intellect.

Meet New Friends Online

With online chat, video conferencing, e-mail, and forums, it is very easy to make new friends from all over the world if you understand their language(s).

Make Points with a Date

Your bilingual or multilingual date will be impressed by any efforts you make to learn his or her language. And a date who speaks only English will be awed and wooed by hearing some intimate phrases spoken in one of the romance languages.

So why the delay? Roll those sleeves up and start learning!

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

About the Author:

Kathy Steinemann is a busy webmaster and author who enjoys writing German-English stories in parallel translation. She works behind the scenes at several websites, including A-Language-Guide dot com. Article Source: A Language Guide

An Easy Way to Increase your Foreign Language Vocabulary

By Kathy Steinemann

If you are stagnating in your foreign language education, read on! Find out how to jumpstart your intellectual juices and get back on the road. This vocabulary expansion method is so easy you will wonder why you did not think of it yourself.

If you have reached a point in your foreign language education where you feel like you are spinning your wheels, read on! Find out how to jumpstart your intellectual juices and get back on the road. It is so easy that you will wonder why you did not think of it yourself.

Where and when are you most likely to need communication skills? The answer is simple: in your daily activities. Map out yesterday in your mind. With whom did you have conversations? What were the topics you discussed? Could you have conducted those conversations in the foreign language you are attempting to learn?

Why not? The answer to this question is usually: a lack of vocabulary.

It does not matter where you are in your learning process. You can be a beginning, intermediate, or advanced student. However, if you do not have a decent pool of words to draw from, you will never be able to make yourself understood.

Forget about grammar. If you do not know the foreign language equivalent of ‘telephone’, you will never be able to say something like, ‘Where is the nearest telephone?’

Here is how to solve your problem.

1. Make a list of ten topics that you might need to talk about during a normal day.

2. Write the topics down on individual slips of paper and put them into some kind of container.

3. Every day, draw a topic out of the container and talk for one minute. Pretend that a national news network is interviewing you. Do not permit yourself to use any ‘ums’, ‘ers’, ‘ehs’, or ‘ahs’. Think quickly and improvise, using words that you know.

4. If you do not know how to form future or past tense, substitute with a phrase that means something like, ‘Next Friday I go shopping,’ or ‘Last Friday I go shopping’. The point is to converse in an understandable manner without awkward pauses.

5. After your one-minute talk, quickly jot down all the words you could have used if you knew them, and look them up in the dictionary.

6. As soon as possible, try a similar speech, incorporating the new words. Throughout the day, attempt to recall what you learned, and replay the speech in your mind.

7. Every day pick a new random topic.

8. After you have gone through the ten topics, increase your talks to two minutes, or develop ten more topics to work with. After you reach two minutes, see if you can stretch the time to three.

Here are some questions that an interviewer might ask:

• What do you eat for breakfast? Do you cook it yourself?
• What do you do for a living? Do you find it enjoyable?
• What is your favorite hobby? How much time do you devote to it?
• Tell me about your family. Do you have a happy home life?
• Where were you born? Did you grow up there?
• Why are you attempting to learn a foreign language? Is it fun?
• Who has been your biggest inspiration in life, and why?
• Have you read any good books lately? Why – or why not?
• Where do you do most of your shopping? Why?
• What is your favorite TV series? Why?

You will be amazed at how quickly you can increase your vocabulary with this method. Additionally, you will learn to think faster and apply grammatical concepts easier with each session.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

About the Author:

Kathy Steinemann is an author and webmaster who enjoys writing German-English short stories and poetry in parallel translation. More of her foreign language articles are available at A-Language-Guide. Article Source: A Language Guide

Yes! Context-Oriented Language Study Beats Rote Memorization

By Kathy Steinemann

Most subjects require a certain degree of memorization by students. However, learning by rote can be slow, inefficient, and laborious. This article demonstrates how context-based recall is superior, especially when acquiring a foreign language.

Most subjects require a certain degree of memorization by students. However, acquiring facts by rote can be s-s-s-l-l-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w and laborious. This article illustrates how context-based recall is vastly superior, especially when acquiring a foreign language.

Are you tired of endless vocabulary lists and verb conjugation tables? Do you want to eliminate some of the drudgery – and instead dive into the fun of learning a foreign language? Grab a stopwatch or timer, and read on. Please do not peek at the rest of the article until you have your timer at hand.

Now get ready for a couple of one-minute exercises. There are two sections below, labeled ‘Section 1′ and ‘Section 2′. Start with the first one. Set your timer and give yourself 60 seconds to memorize the definitions for the fake words.

Reset your timer and proceed to the next section. Give yourself another 60 seconds for memorization of Section 2. Because the second section illustrates context-based learning, spend most of the 60 seconds repeating the first sentence, preferably aloud, while you envision the action in your mind. When finished, proceed to Section 3.

(There is an answer section close to the end of this article.)

If necessary, before you proceed to the timed exercises, go back and reread the previous paragraphs. You must understand the instructions completely before you begin.

Are you ready? On your mark, get set – go!

Section 1 – Memorize the Definitions:

brellieran - to yell
shrallzent - happy
trummkey   - baby
zelltran   - to smile

Section 2 – Memorize the Definitions:

He prozzed, ‘Narrnel Birthday!’ to the soytole and it breozed.
He yelled ‘Happy Birthday!’ to the baby and it smiled.

Section 3:

Cover the preceding sections (no peeking) and provide the definitions in English for the following words:

brellieran ____________________
breozan    ____________________
narrnel    ____________________
prozzan    ____________________
shrallzent ____________________
soytole    ____________________
trummkey   ____________________
zelltran   ____________________

How did you do?

How many words did you remember from Section 1? How many from Section 2? If you are like most people, you probably remembered significantly more words from Section 2.

What does this tell you?

You should spend more time learning phrases or complete sentences. Your mind automatically categorizes words based on the way in which you use them. How often have you seen a word that seemed familiar, then rifled through the information in your mind until you remembered a previous sentence or phrase in which you used the word?

Context-oriented learning works. You have just seen the proof! How efficiently are YOU learning? Maybe now is the time to make a change.

Still not sure? Want to try another language vocabulary test? Go ahead. The results should be very similar to what you discovered here. If not convinced, try this language vocabulary test as well!

Note: All of the fake words in this article produced zero matches in a Google search. I apologize in advance if I somehow managed to use a word that translates to something inappropriate in a foreign language!


brellieran: to yell – Section 1
breozan: to smile – Section 2
narrnel: happy – Section 2
prozzan: to yell – Section 2
shrallzent: happy – Section 1
soytole: baby – Section 2
trummkey: baby – Section 1
zelltran: to smile – Section 1

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

About the Author:

Kathy enjoys writing foreign language articles for A Language Guide. She also writes German-English short stories and poems in parallel translation. Article Source: A Language Guide

Small Children, Languages and Myths

Our children are growing up bilingual in the French part of Canada – Québec. “That’s fine”, says everyone. “Even though they’ll probably start speaking later because they’re learning two languages at once, they’ll catch up.”

Well actually, this well-entrenched idea that bilingual children are slower to acquire language, is actually a myth!

We were surprised and delighted to learn that research is finding that bilingual children do NOT acquire language later than monolingual children. Our first child participated in a language study on babies carried out at McGill University of Montréal, Québec, Canada. There it was explained to us that research is finding that the difference in language acquisition of one child compared to another is very large. Some children speak sooner, some speak later. And the range of language acquisition of bilingual children is just as large as the range for monolingual children, statistically speaking.

Although these research results are relatively recent, I was able to find an article on the internet about it, written by Professor Fred Genesee of McGill University at, confirming what we had been told verbally. In addition, instead of seeing bilingualism as the minority exception to the rule, Professor Genesee suggests that there many be as many children growing up bilingually as there are growing up monolingually.

So rest assured that the myths are wrong and the following are true:

  • Bilingual children do NOT have delayed language acquisition.
  • Learning more than one language at a time is NOT difficult for small children.
  • Bilingual children DO master both languages just as well as one.

More and more parents are convinced of the benefits of exposing their small children to foreign languages. This has resulted in the recent explosion of videos, books, music and computer software aimed at babies and preschoolers, that expose them to another language. For example, free computer games on the website allow babies and preschoolers from an English-speaking environment to learn and practice French and Spanish.

The most obvious benefit, and one that is confirmed by research, is that exposing infants to a foreign language can help them master that foreign language later on. In the well-documented but very accessible book on baby brain development “What’s Going On In There?”, the author Lise Eliot explains that babies are born being able to hear the sounds of every language in the world. However, this ability is subject to the “use it or lose it” phenomenon. If the baby is not exposed to foreign sounds, she will lose the ability to distinguish those sounds. For example, on page 368, she reports:

«Infants’ ability to discriminate foreign speech sounds begins to wane as early as six months of age. By this age, English-learning babies have already lost some of their ability, still present at four months, to discriminate certain German or Swedish vowels. Foreign vowels are the first sort of phoneme to go. Then, by ten or twelve months, out goes the ability to discriminate foreign consonants, like /r/’s and /l/’s for Japanese babies or Hindi consonants for English-learning infants.»

Another benefit of exposing children to another language that is starting to be recognized, is that of increasing their proficiency in their primary language. It may be that the brain exercise of sorting out multiple languages gives that brain a deeper proficiency in language and grammar overall.

So the next time your infant has the opportunity to be exposed to a foreign language in a suitably fun setting (which is how all activities should be presented to infants, isn’t it?), then jump at the chance!

Learning How Children Learn

Have you ever watched in amazement how easily children learn new concepts and ideas?kids
The reason why children are so incredibly proficient during these early years is because they utilize all of their senses, they cultivate an optimistic attitude, they make learning fun and exciting, they turn everything into pictures using colors and shapes, and they constantly form associations and connections with existing knowledge and information.
Is it really surprising that children are extremely creative and imaginative?
Don’t you think that the way children naturally learn during these early years is the way adults should continue to learn during their later years?

This is an exerpt from “Learning How Children Learn” from IQ Matrix’s: A Rediculously Simple Guide For Beginners. This book outlines and demonstrates an entirely new way of learning which promotes creativity and the use of colors, images and creative wording to convey simple concepts. It is a simple method that the creators of the Language Bear have used with great success for years. The method utilizes the inate learning pathways that we are all born with and therefore resembles the way children learn. We, as adults, can learn great things by thinking back to childhood and by watching our children learn by whatever methods are best for them.

I would encourage anyone to take a look at this program for amazing benefits and improvements to your learning process and tools. One of the tools utilized by this program is the “Mind Map” which is something that has been around since the days of Leonardo DaVinci, and is being used more and more popularly in businesses and schools today.

IQ Matrix: A Rediculously Simple Guide For Beginners