Here’s a review from The Ethertons’ blog!
“Phil and I have been wanting to learn Spanish. We figured that way we could communicate the basics if necessary when we get to Arizona.
Phil never took a language in school and I took one semester in college but struggled to catch on.
I was very excited and optimistic when given the chance to review Mango Languages software. Mango offers many language choices; we picked Spanish.
We have had it for a few weeks now and I am blown away by the results. This is an awesome Language Program! Phil and I could both say greetings after the first lesson. Phil has picked up way more than me but has used it more. I have picked up more in the first 3 lessons than I did in my entire semester of college Spanish.” Read More…
The tasting was a truly unique and fun experience. I learned so much from the host at Migual’s Cantina. If you are wondering what the difference is between Mezcal and Tequila there are many including how many times it is distilled and even the use of the worm is in debate.
What I found interesting is the how you taste, with what you taste and how the traditional drink got its start. Here are a few of my non-scientific findings:
- Mezcal got its start with the Spanish Conquest and was used to convince the native Indians to work in the mines.
- There are over 200 different kinds of Agave plants and at least 150 are grown in Mexico
- When drinking Mezcal you should make a kissing face with your lips and sip.
- Before drinking Mezcal, you should produce a bit of saliva and when the sip is taken you should move the liquid across all your taste buds.
- Mezcal has a strong smokey flavor and can make you cough the first time you drink it.
- Mezcal is usually served as a shot, with a side plate of fried larvae ground with chili peppers and salt and cut limes. (notice picture of the grasshoppers – yes I tried them and am not a fan but I tried it! )
- Supposedly Mezcal is one of the only alcohols that will not give you a hang over. It comes from a polycarpic plant which starts to digest as soon as it hits your tongue.
- Just like with other drinks here are high end and low end Mezcals. But note many are handcrafted.
Do you have a drink or food that is a tradition for you and your culture? Please share with us!
I am pleased to introduce Christopher Craft our Guest Blogger this week. He teaches kids Spanish and Latin at CrossRoads Middle School. He is also nearing completion of a PhD in Educational Psychology and Research at the University of South Carolina. Christopher has a B.A. in Spanish and a Master of Education degree. He speaks fluent Spanish, his wife is from Peru, and he has two bilingual daughters (ages 8 and 4). Find out more about him here.
Learning a new language can be overwhelming. As a foreign language teacher I have seen students get quickly overloaded resulting in a mentality that “I’m just not good at Spanish.” This mindset can effectively hinder the learning of a foreign language. If you are embarking on the journey of learning a foreign language as a self-directed learner, you must take into account some principles inspired by our knowledge of the human cognitive architecture to make sure you don’t fall victim to the same mindset.
People often tell me that they wish they spoke Spanish. When I offer them the many resources online to help them do just that (i.e. Mango Languages) they are often excited. When I follow up with these folks they often cite a lack of time or motivation for the lack of fluency in the desired language. Underneath it all is likely a sense of overload.
To prevent cognitive overload there are certain principles that you can implement when attempting to learn a foreign language. First, it is necessary to practice “chunking.” Chunking occurs when you take information in chunks to avoid overload. This is precisely why phone numbers and social security numbers are chunked; to make them easier to remember. Applying this to the learning of a new language is easy; simply make sure that you don’t take in too much at once. Start slow, and make sure you really learn the first few lessons. It can be daunting to see that there is so much that remains before you are “finished” learning. You must remember that the learning of a foreign language never ends. In order to prevent cognitive overload, first consider chunking your information and taking it slow.
One way to aid your chunking is to rehearse the information you are learning. Find ways to practice the language. Find reasons to say the words you are learning. Teach someone else the new words and phrases you are learning. This mental rehearsal will aid the information to be transferred into long-term memory and retained for a long period of time. You have likely experienced this rehearsal before; perhaps when learning a phone number. When someone tells you their phone number, you have likely found yourself repeating it in your head until you can write it down. This is rehearsal. The more you rehearse the basics of a foreign language, the better foundation you are laying for future learning.
A third principle to take into account is the need to take breaks. Consider your working memory to be a bit like a water glass. If you are adding water at a steady rate, at some point you will reach the top and water will no longer be able to enter the glass. Your working memory functions similarly, in that when you reach a level of “fullness,” no more information can enter. Even more troublingly, if you do not take care to take a break now and again, you can reach cognitive overload. When this happens, the working memory empties and all the learning that had recently happened will be lost. It is as though when reaching a level of our glass being too full, instead of just spilling over someone were to dump the entire glass of water out. This can leave you frustrated and without desire to continue.
Using the principles of chunking, deliberate rehearsal, and regular breaks you can maximize your chances of developing fluency in a target language. Just as your body needs rest when doing work, your mind does as well. Take care to be mindful of your learning and adjust as needed. I wish you the best of luck on your continued journey towards foreign language learning.
How do you prevent Cognitive Load?
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Is it really?
Threads of Latin still exist today in our modern day romance languages – French, Italian, Spanish, and Romanian. So in a sense, are we not still speaking a form of it? Yes, it may be a stretch but look at words like FORTEM (strong); in French you would say ‘fort,’ Italian is ‘forte,’ and Spanish has ‘fuerte.’ The French and Italian shouldn’t be much of a surprise here for us fellow Latin enthusiasts, as it is known that the final ‘m’ always was dropped in Late Latin and carried over into Early Romance (as was the initial ‘h’ ). Of course it should also not be much of a surprise that Spanish is the odd man out here. When it came to Late Latin-Early Romance, apparently the Spanish created diphthongs.
But there are cases where French is the one left out in the cold. When it comes to words like CAMPUS (countryside) French gives us “champ” [sã], while Italian and Spanish make it easy and leave us with ‘campo.’ There are other cases where French did the same thing. With a word like CAMI:SIA (shirt), the French came out with ‘chemise’ whereas Italian and Spanish use ‘camisa’ — only dropping the final [i].
Although it may seem obscure, each language stuck to its own conventions when breaking from Late Latin. For the most part, consonant vowel clusters stayed the same (dental consonant+e>ie for Spanish, etc.) But of course like everything else, language goes through evolution and perhaps someday it will come further than it is now from Latin.
Have you learned Latin? How has it helped you?
2010 is going to bring some amazing things for Mango Languages and our customers – we are so looking forward to the new year.
We thought it might be fun to share with you a few foreign language phrases.
How to say “Happy New Year” around the world:
Arabic: Kul ‘aam u antum salimoun
Brazilian-Portuguese: Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo means “Good Parties and Happy New Year”
Chinese: Chu Shen Tan
Czech/Slovak: Scastny Novy Rok
Dutch: Gullukkig Niuw Jaar
Finnish: Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French: Bonne Annee
German: Prosit Neujahr
Greek: Eftecheezmaenos o Kaenooryos hronos
Hebrew: L’Shannah Tovah Tikatevu
Hindi: Niya Saa Moobaarak
Irish (Gaelic): Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit
Italian: Buon Capodanno
Khmer: Sua Sdei tfnam tmei
Laotian: Sabai dee pee mai
Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo
Russian: S Novim Godom
Serbo-Croatian: Scecna nova godina
Spanish: Feliz Ano Neuvo or Prospero Ano Felicidad or Prospero Ano Nuevo
Turkish: Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Vietnamese: Cung-Chuc Tan-Xuan
Information from http://www.fathertimes.net/hownewyearissaidaroundtheworld.htm