Spanish for Law Enforcement

SpanishLawEnforcementSpanish for Law Enforcement is now available on CD or downloadable MP3s to help busy law enforcement personnel and fire fighters improve important interactions with a Spanish-speaking population. Anyone who wants to be effective and clearly understood will want to take advantage of online Spanish lessons that are convenient and always available. These online lessons augment Maria Oliveira’s language training program for Law Enforcement and other personnel who deal with emergencies. Practice at your own pace and on your own schedule to speak Spanish with online lessons that can be re-sorted as-you-go for successful retention.

Spanish language skills have become increasingly important for police officers, security personnel, and fire fighters because Spanish is the second-most-spoken language in the United States. It isn’t just emergencies that make the ability to speak Spanish so important, either, although emergencies do require immediate action. Imagine having to wait for a translator when you want someone to evacuate a building! Spanish language programs that teach immediately usable skills are in demand for those high pressure situations that frequently have life or death consequences. However, consider how helpful speaking or understanding Spanish would also be when interviewing witnesses, or easing the stress of a parent who needs assistance, or asking simple questions.

Learning to speak Spanish also means learning to understand Spanish. A person asking for help needs to explain the problem. Is it a fire? Is someone hurt? Is a child missing? It isn’t necessary to be grammatically correct, or to speak in complete sentences, although that would be very handy in many situations. But for fire fighters and security personnel and the police, simply knowing key words and phrases will help in identifying problems, describing individuals, and calming confused or panicked people.

In an emergency, those particular Spanish words and phrases will ease stress, identify issues, and get an action accomplished immediately. Employers will admire the increased efficiency of their police and fire personnel. In fact, some employers ask for group workshops to provide Spanish lessons designed for specific work-related purposes. For telephone responders or those who issue orders in the midst of chaos, using the Spanish language is an invaluable skill that is too vital to ignore.

Maria Oliveira provides Spanish language training that is designed for specific purposes as requested by employers. She will provide the space at her Language Learning Center in Richmond, California, or she will come to your location, bringing affordable, effective Spanish language classes. For individuals who study on their own, Spanish for Law Enforcement is an audio program complete with workbook and CDs that can be purchased from our website. The material offers essential words and phrases that can be learned at any pace. Online lessons are also available for Law Enforcement and other security personnel that will perfectly augment existing courses. Practicing your skills with the online lessons will make sure you remember the important Spanish vocabulary and phrases you need on the job.  Purchase Spanish for Law Enforcement, and receive free access to a password protected area for additional practice and self-testing.   Check out the details here: www.marialanguages.com

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SPANISH LANGUAGE LEARNING LESSONS: Part 1

Frequently Misunderstood Words,

Learn Conversational SpanishIn our Spanish language learning lessons we spend some time exploring the differences between words that look alike or sound alike. In fact, these words are used in very specific, and separate, ways.  When students practice their Spanish conversation skills, recognizing and understanding the differences between these words increases their comprehension level.  Let’s clarify the finer points that separate these words. Here are five examples of similar, but definitely different, word pairs that may have puzzled you in the past.

1.         
abril
a month of the year
abrir to open (a verb)

2.
cuarto fourth, or room
cuatro the number four

3.         
nada
nothing
nada he/she swims (3rd person singular of the verb to swim – nadar)

4.         
cocina
the kitchen
cocina he or she cooks (3rd person singular of the verb to cook – cocinar)

5.
trabajo the job
trabajo I work (1st person of the verb to work – trabajar)

You probably noticed that some pairs are spelled exactly alike, or that only a single letter in a word changes its meaning.  Sometimes it is the context of the sentence that tells you which word is the correct one. Understanding these often confused word usages is not the same as memorizing idiomatic expressions; by learning them you are attuning your eyes and ears to actual meaning differentiations. This is how you become truly bilingual.

If you have any troubling word pairs that you want to tell us about, send it to our comments section.  Meanwhile, we’ll be back soon with more of these “Frequently Misunderstood Words.”  Stay tuned! 🙂

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Keys to Language Learning

Language LearningWhen you prepare to learn a second language it is helpful to understand the distinct but connected components that comprise your studies. Vocabulary, grammar, and practice are the three keys to language learning. Becoming bilingual very much depends on the inclusion of all three, and understanding their place in the order of things will help you learn quickly and thoroughly. Interestingly, as you progress from basic to intermediate to advanced, the three components start to merge for more in depth learning and comprehension.

1. Vocabulary

Learning the words is the very basis of language learning. When you understand the words you increase your comprehension. Even a single word can say a lot! But vocabulary is about more than reading and writing, it is also about speech and sounds. Make sure your source is authentic and reliable!

2. Grammar

Learning where to place the words in a sentence is what grammar is all about. And using sentences to express ideas is what language is all about! Grammar can be tricky. There are rules to learn, and then there are also exceptions to the rules to learn, but don’t let it overwhelm you. To make it easier on yourself, grammar should be learned in increments. That is to say, start with the basics, and build on those. Taking it a step at a time will help you break it down into manageable pieces.

3. Practice

Practice makes sure you have learned the material. It includes speaking or reading aloud, interacting with others, and using repetition. Look for materials that require you to fill in blanks, rearrange sentences, and answer questions. Look for quizzes, puzzles, and illustrations that will elicit correct answers from your memory. Repeating words or sentences gets you started, but using what you have learned in new constructions, created by you, means you have stored the material in your brain for future use. Use television and radio and CDs to listen and repeat; use classmates and teachers for interactions; seek out community members to exchange greetings and pleasantries. Practice leads to fluency!

Language learning is clearly a process that starts with words, builds to sentences, and finally, with practice, becomes a means of full expression. But perhaps we should include a fourth key: hard work! Individual effort and self-motivation support successful language learning, and people who become articulate in a second language are, without exception, rewarded by the achievement in many ways. Become bilingual; make it your goal!

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Online Language Lessons

Language LearningIf you are thinking about studying a second language you will find that there are several paths to achieving your goal. Some students enjoy traditional classes, while others choose to study on their own. What’s great is how online languages lessons fit into both categories.

Independent Study: No matter how motivated you are you may not be able to get to a classroom for your lessons. You may not live near a language class. Maybe you travel a lot for your employer. Or perhaps your family obligations prevent you from taking a class.  Whatever the reason, you will enjoy the convenience of online lessons because you get to make your own study schedule. Lessons are available on any computer at any time that suits you. This flexibility gives you the ultimate freedom to choose where and when to study. You don’t have to abandon your language learning goals for any reason when you choose online lessons.

Classroom Study: If you are taking an onsite class your study routine is determined by your teacher. Usually, your lessons in class are reinforced with practice exercises for homework. That routine can be augmented by using online lessons as a study aid. Using these extra lessons will move you ahead quickly because of the ease with which you can access the lessons.

How Online Language Lessons Work: Most online language lessons are not complicated to use. An especially nice feature is their use of technology to refresh your approach to the material. For example, in a book you are given words to study. Obviously that list of words doesn’t change and you risk memorizing them in the order they are given. In an online lesson you can ask the system to rearrange the words so that your brain is not relying on rote memorization. By doing this, you learn each word separately and completely. Self-testing quizzes can also be re-sorted and repeated until you have learned the material well. Many students claim this is a fun way to learn; they enjoy the process as much as they enjoy their success at it.

The Best Way To Learn: A combination of study materials is the best way to learn. Ideally the online lessons will work in conjunction with the book you are using or the class you are taking. Not every school offers this combination, but it is worth seeking a school that takes this approach.

The Bottom Line: Learning a second language is a big challenge and you will help yourself by taking advantage of any study method that gets you closer to your goals. Online lessons are popular because they are so convenient and effective. That’s why Maria uses online lessons as a lab to augment her onsite classes. But whatever method you choose don’t be confused by promises of instant language learning. It takes time and effort to become bilingual, and it is a goal that can be reached if you are willing to work hard. Luckily, online language lessons are there to help you.

  • Maria Oliveira Language Learning School, 3150 Hilltop Mall Rd., Suite 13, Richmond, CA 94806
  • TOLL FREE: 877-251-8353 (510) 223-3320 or (707) 746-5979

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Vocabulary Building Techniques

Vocabulary BuildingVocabulary building is one of the most important techniques for efficient language learning. After you have conjugated verbs and memorized grammar rules, it all comes down to vocabulary. Having a wide collection of words at your command is what enriches your conversational abilities. Furthermore, a well-developed word bank will often override any deficiencies in your sentence formation.  As you strive to become bilingual, you should focus more and more on vocabulary building because the broader the range of your word choices, the more you can express yourself.

There are several techniques for vocabulary building. The most effective vocabulary building technique is to fully immerse into the project, making it an ongoing, daily process. Instead of going through your usual routines without much thought, add the challenge of naming everything you come across using your target language. When you walk across the floor, you can use your new vocabulary to name the rug, the carpet, the tile floor that you cross. You can name the process of walking, the objects you past, the things you do, and the tools you use. Developing your awareness of the things around you is an excellent vocabulary building technique. Just say the word aloud, if it is feasible, or think it to yourself. You can even add identifying notes to stick on objects as reminders of the vocabulary you need. In time, if you keep this up, you won’t need such notes any longer! Awareness of your surroundings can be extended to your car, at work, or any other place.

Another vocabulary building technique is to use vocabulary cards during those times when you have a few minutes to study them. In line at the bank, on the commuter train, wherever you are, you can pull out your cards and work at storing new words in your vocabulary bank. You can look at the word in your target language, or in your native English, and translate it. Flip the card over to check your answer. This is an older vocabulary building technique that has been around for a long time because it works so well.

Many people now prefer a more digital approach to vocabulary building. They want to listen on their earphones while they are exercising, cooking, or commuting. They want to actually hear the new word so they can repeat it using correct pronunciation. For these reasons, and because of the convenience and adaptability of technology, vocabulary programs on CD are probably the most popular technique for expanding vocabulary. Vocabulary CDs are useful in the car, around the house, wherever you are. You can use earphones or the speakers on your sound system. Transferring the CDs to your MP3 player makes them even more portable. The lessons can be stopped and restarted any time you want to check your pronunciation or review a particular word. And using CDs is a participatory vocabulary building technique. You listen and repeat, focusing on the sounds of the word as well as the meaning. It’s a great way to learn!

As you can see, there are several approaches to vocabulary building. Choose the one that suits you best, or use them all in combination. Perhaps you have your own method for vocabulary building, but no matter which you choose, as you accumulate new words regularly, your path to fluency becomes so much smoother!

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