How to Learn Another Language
One skill that can help you when you work from home, especially if you do phone work, is being fluent in a second language. Many companies are looking for people who are bilingual, especially in English and Spanish, though some companies are also looking for people who are fluent in other languages as well. This post will provide information on some websites you can use to learn Spanish, as well as other languages, from home.
I recently started using this website to learn Spanish so that I can do interviews with spanish-speaking customers at my job at Apptical. Spanishdict has four different courses, and each course has several different lessons.
Each lesson consists several different exercises that will help you learn the material-first is a video that is around 10-15 minutes long. The video introduces the vocabulary, phrases, and/or verb conjugations you’ll learn in the lesson.
The next resource are flashcards that you can use to quiz yourself on the vocabulary and verb conjugations – you’ll see a picture, and then when you click the mouse again you’ll see the word and also hear its pronunciation.
Next is a recognition exercise where you have to choose the correct Spanish word or phrase for the picture that’s shown.
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The next exercise is a listening exercise where you’ll hear the word or phrase pronounced and then you have to choose the correct English meaning.
Then you’ll have a recall exercise, where you’ll see the picture, and you have to write out the word or phrase, with any accents in the correct places.
The next exercise is a writing exercise, where you write out whatever the instructions tell you to write, for example “Tell me how old you are,” or “Tell me about your family,” and then compare it to the example that’s provided.
The last exercise is a speaking exercise, where you record yourself saying whatever the prompt is asking for, like “Tell me how old you are” using the correct form of the verb “Estar” After you record yourself and listen to your recording, you can compare it to the example recording that’s provided.
As you work through each exercise, you’ll earn points – you need to accumulate at least 750 points before you can move on to the next lesson, which you can usually do by the end of the writing section. In addition, there are other flashcard sets you can review on your own to learn additional vocabulary, as well as a phrasebook and a translator that you can use for words or phrases you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve been using this website quite a bit, and it’s helping me develop a pretty good foundation for Spanish vocabulary, verbs, and phrases.
This is another language-learning website that’s similar to Spanishdict, but also very different.
For one thing, Livemocha has lessons in other languages as well as Sapnish. Also, when you join Livemocha, you’re given a certain number of points that you can use to purchase lessons, or for feedback on some of the speaking, reading and writing exercises you’ll do.
They have many of the same types of exercises that Spanishdict has, such as recognition and listening exercises, but the way their writing and speaking exercises are done are a bit different – when you do them, you have the option to have someone review them – either an expert, or a member of the community, which costs a certain number of the points that you start out with when you first join the site. If you want to have your work reviewed by an expert, it costs more points and also takes longer to get feedback.
However you can have your speaking and writing exercises reviewed by other members of the site, which costs fewer points, plus you get feedback a lot faster.
In addition, if someone gives you particularly helpful feedback, you can ask them to be your language partner, and you can actually practice your speaking and writing with them through text and voice chat when you’re both on the site at the same time. You can also rate the speaking and reading exercises of people who are learning English and give them feedback – when you do that you’ll earn points so you can keep purchasing lessons and getting feedback from members.
As good as this site is, I have encountered one major problem with it – after I set up my password and got into the site the first time, I had problems logging into the site again. I contacted their tech support and the suggestions they gave me were not very helpful. Because of that, I sought out another site for connecting with other language learners to practice my speaking and writing.
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I found this site when I started having problems with Livemocha. My Language Exchange is a lot like Livemocha, except it doesn’t have actual lessons.
You can sign up as a free member or a Gold Member-as a free member you only have access to certain features, such as the message boards, text chat and email. You won’t have access to voice features as a free member, nor will you be able to contact people directly through the member search – you’ll have to use the message board to find someone to do text chat and/or exchange emails with.
You can play games on My Language Exchange however, and in addition you can use message boards to find language partners that you can practice speaking or writing with.
Also, when you’re a free member, gold members can contact you and start communicating with you that way – that’s how I found my current Spanish e-mail pal – I’ve been communicating with him for a while now, and he’s taught me a few good Spanish phrases, such as “Thank goodness it’s Friday (Gracias a dios es viernes), and he has also helped me with the Spanish I’ve been learning through Spanishdict.
Spanish 2 Go App –
With this app, you can download the Spanish 2 Go podcasts to your iPhone. The podcasts are short, around 12-15 minutes each, and you’ll learn different words – the person who put the podcast together, David Spencer does a Word of the Day podcast, and he also has different podcasts that center around different themes. This link will take you to the iPhone app, however if you have a Kindle or other Android device there is also a Spanish 2 Go Android app available.
Other ideas for learning new languages:
- Watch television shows in the language you want to learn – a lot of cable companies provide at least a few channels for Spanish speakers – for example if you get HBO, there’s the HBO Latino channel, and there are also other Spanish-speaking channels.
- Read books in the language you’re trying to learn – You may not know all the words, but you’ll know some, and you may be able to figure out other words because words in some languages, such as Spanish and French, look like and/or sound like their English meanings.
- Find ways to practice the language you’re learning during the day – That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to start a conversation with someone, but for example when I’m working out, when I do strength exercises I’ll count the reps in Spanish. Or when I’m making a meal for myself, I’ll try to practice the names of the foods I’ve learned, like “La manzana” which means “apple” in Spanish.
I hope this post has given you some ideas for resources you can use to learn Spanish or other languages from home. If you have other methods you’ve used to learn langauges, I’d love to hear about them!