SPANISH LANGUAGE LEARNING LESSONS: Part 1

Frequently Misunderstood Words,

In 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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Portuguese Vocabulary 2

IMPROVE YOUR PORTUGUESE VOCABULARY SKILLS AND HAVE FUN DOING IT

Learning Portuguese vocabulary is definitely not “all work and no play!” Try our Portuguese crossword puzzles for fun and entertainment, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of words you absorb into your personal Portuguese word bank. That’s because it is well-proven that language learning is made more efficient and effective if the student is having fun! With our puzzles you first must pick the right word, come up with its correct spelling, and then look for the reward of acceptance by the online mechanism. Try it, and see how the interactivity of online learning can be a language learning aid for you!

Portuguese Vocabulary – Perfect for the independent, motivated language learner!

Learn hundreds of Portuguese words in 13 lessons on one convenient CD. Practice new words for family, nature, travel, shopping, business, and more. Increase your communication skills by practicing correct pronunciation, taught by a native speaker. Included are reference cards for a quick spell check. The portable CD allows you to study where and when you wish, and set your own pace and goals in your ongoing studies.

Audio sample!  

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European Portuguese

Learning to speak European Portuguese online is one of the great perks of our age. You could sign up for a European Portuguese language class, purchase a good workbook, listen to various media programs on your car stereo, or even do all of these things. But using online European Portuguese lessons on your computer or other online device is the most flexible adjunct to these methods, and also the most useful for independent study. Online lessons are available anywhere you choose to have them, on your own schedule, and at your own pace.

What’s So Great About Learning European Portuguese Online?

When you see your European Portuguese lesson on the screen, you get to self-test by choosing answers, or matching the right combination of words. You might also see a crossword puzzle or other fun exercise. After taking a quiz, and you see how much you have mastered, you can then click to rearrange the questions. This way, your European Portuguese lesson is fresh, and you are not learning by rote memorization; you are actually absorbing the correct information. You can also hear the correct pronunciation of a word simply by clicking on it. The words can be repeated as many times as you need to hear and say them. It’s the next best thing to having a European Portuguese teacher at your side!

 Why Learn European Portuguese Online?

Some students are seeking a closer connection to their Portuguese family roots, others are planning a trip; it is not uncommon for Portuguese descendants to seek out relatives they’ve never met. Whether traveling to Europe for business or pleasure, chances are you want to learn to speak the language in the most efficient way, and learning European Portuguese online is a top choice for accomplishing this challenge. Our European Portuguese vocabulary lessons are great for beginners as well as more advanced students. With our online European Portuguese programs, you will learn basic grammar skills, too, along with travel phrases and other useful conversational combinations. With online lessons, you can practice any time you sign on!

Learning European Portuguese Online Is Affordable!

If you choose Maria Oliveira’s Online Lessons you will receive the most affordable online lessons in European Portuguese available. And you are assured that the pronunciation you hear is authentic because they are spoken by a native European Portuguese teacher! Furthermore, Maria’s vocabulary lessons are the most complete collection of commonly used words offered anywhere. If you have tried to learn a second language you might have noticed that the single most important factor in becoming fluent is the accumulation of vocabulary words. You can begin to learn these vocabulary words today with Maria’s Online Lessons in European Portuguese.

Check out our offerings at www.marialanguages.com

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Focus on Vocabulary Building

Vocabulary building is one of the most effective techniques to develop for efficient language learning. Certainly there is more to language than vocabulary; the grammar puts the words together, and practice makes the sentences you create useful. But without vocabulary you have no sentences to construct, nothing to say, nothing to understand. 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. That is what fluency is all about!

There are several methods for acquiring a larger vocabulary, but the most important thing is to make learning a full time experience. That is, instead of looking at your allotted study time as the only time you learn, you should incorporate vocabulary into your everyday life. One way to do this is to place sticky notes around your home. Labeling cabinets, appliances, furniture and other familiar items will make you conscious of their meanings as you go about your daily activities. Say the words aloud until they become automatic in your mind. If possible you can do this at work, in the car, and any other place you inhabit. Another method is to carry vocabulary cards to use when you have a few moments to spare. These cards have English on one side and translation on the reverse so you can memorize words at any time. These kinds of things are simple and can be handmade by you, using card stock or even plain paper.

Probably the most popular and effective technique is to use vocabulary CDs. You can play these in the car, around the house, even on your MP3 player so that you have vocabulary learning going on whether you are driving, doing dishes, or taking your daily walk. CDs can be stopped and started, repeated and replayed, and hundreds of words are available to you. They are good for self-testing and reviewing, and they are convenient for almost all situations. The most significant advantage to CDs is that you can hear the correct pronunciation; when you repeat the word you are hearing, you get to focus on the sounds as well as the meaning.

It doesn’t matter which language you decide to learn, just remember to incorporate vocabulary building into your daily routine. The other parts of language learning will fall into place faster if you have lots of words available to you.

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