Monthly Archives: December 2013

Learn Spanish and Discover a Culture

The United States of America has a population of 317 million as of 2013. The total population 5 years and over for 2011 was 291 million. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau for this segment showed that 231 million people spoke only English at home and 37.5 million spoke Spanish at home. While 80% of Americans speak English as their primary language, the second most common language spoken in the country is Spanish.

learn-spanish-discover-culture-pimsleurAn impressive 12.8% of Americans speak Spanish, over 37 million people, and that number is only going to grow. As Spanish culture is incorporated in the U.S., the necessity to learn Spanish cannot be denied.

The United States is home to a myriad of dialects hailing from all over the Spanish-speaking world. More and more immigrants arrive in this country every year, with more of them speaking Spanish than any other language. As the melting pot of nations grows, English and Spanish speakers alike are discovering the benefits of being able to communicate, both to improve their lives and to grow culturally.

Where to Learn Spanish

The demands for Spanish classes are at an all-time high. According to the New York Times, institutions such as the New York Public Library have had a long tradition of providing free English classes. But it was not until recently that some branches started offering foreign language classes. Libraries all over the country are now following suit and offering complimentary language courses. However, libraries are only able to offer courses based on community needs and available resources. Space is very limited in most library courses.

A great way to learn Spanish is through the use of self-instructional language courses. Simon and Schuster offers the highly-effective Pimsleur Program, a comprehensive language course that gets the student off and running with the most useful phrases through an intuitive learning process. Offered in different media, MP3’s, audio CDs, and computer software, the digital language courses allow the students to choose their method of learning, whether it’s taking the lessons to the gym on their mobile devices as MP3s, or making the most of traffic while learning a new language in the car on CD. The option to take these lessons with you allows you to easily integrate learning Spanish into any free time you find.

The Benefits of Learning Spanish

Learning Spanish is not just personally rewarding, it is also an opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons. With so many books, movies, and music options being released in Spanish, this is an easy way to tap into the growing market. Taking time to learn Spanish can help open up your mind to exciting new sights and sounds.

New culinary experiences also await those who are inclined to learn Spanish. Spanish cuisine is a perennial favorite across the country. An amazing adventure awaits you if you have the ability to walk into an authentic Mexican restaurant and understand the menu, trying new foods you never would have tasted otherwise because you can now interpret the ingredients.

There are a plethora of reasons to take the time to learn Spanish besides the simple joy of learning a new language. No matter the reason, whether practical, sentimental, or perhaps gastronomic, learning Spanish will be a beneficial skill you can use daily. The Spanish-speaking population is growing in the United States every year and embracing the relationship between English and Spanish speakers will enrich your day-to-day interaction and cultural understanding.


How to Learn a Language in Today’s Global Culture

It is believed that there are approximately 7,000 spoken languages in the world today. About 230 of these languages are spoken throughout Europe with 23 of them being official languages. However, across the Atlantic in the United States, there is no official spoken language. Over 80% of Americans speak only English. In fact, just 15 to 20% of Americans are bilingual, while 56% of Europeans are able to speak multiple languages.

As the global culture evolves, the world is becoming smaller and more immediate. The digital age allows us to communicate and conduct business overseas with ease and efficiency.  how-to-learn-a-language-in-todays-global-culture-pimsleurNever has there been a better time for Americans to considering researching how to learn a language. Being bilingual provides you not just doubled conversational ability, but with life opportunities you might not be aware of.

Learning A New Language Improves Your Employment Opportunities

An ever-growing variety of companies are starting to hire bilingual employees to meet the needs of the growing global business culture. As employers are conducting more business overseas, the need for accurate communication is paramount. By taking the time to research the best language for you to learn with regards to how it applies to your industry, and how to learn a language in general, you often can make yourself more valuable in this highly-competitive job market. Companies are often willing to pay nearly 15% more to an employee who is able to speak multiple languages.

How Learning A Language Enhances Your Travels

Devoting time to learning a new language also provides personal rewards. International travel is on a steady incline as the ability to book trips, research famous sites, and plan travel become increasingly easier. Online travel sites provide accessibility to the world beyond our borders. Planning that amazing trip to Paris or Madrid is relatively stress-free in the digital age. Likewise, making travel plans takes less time these days, leaving more time to focus on how to learn a language to make your trip more enjoyable. Spain, France, Italy and even more exotic locales provide amazing sights and cuisine unique to each country. Being able to learn the native tongue of a country you are traveling to can open up a world of small town gems that you could miss if you were not able to communicate with the locals.

Learning a new language is also growing in popularity. More and more classes and courses are being offered all over America both in person and online. Taking the time to explore new dialects and cultures is a rewarding experience that will enrich your life both personally and professionally. As the growing global culture changes, focusing on how to learn a language will help Americans understand the changing world around them and provide amazing opportunities that can change the course of their lives.


How to Learn Chinese through Watching TV

For generations, the Asian countries have supplied the United States with pop culture trends that have impacted Americans from all walks of life. From television shows to movies to gaming technology, these countries have introduced new concepts that have sparked the imagination of nations world-wide. Although these trends often initially come in the form of entertainment, one game show may actually demonstrate to viewers how to learn Chinese.

Chinese Characters Dictation Competition

Since its August 2013 debut in China, the television program Chinese Characters Dictation Competition has exploded in popularity. The Chinese game show originally aired on a small educational programing channel. How to Learn Chinese Through Watching TV by Pimsleur The show was an instant hit and has now been moved to Friday evenings, airing on the popular CCTV1. Even more surprising is that Chinese Characters Dictation Competition is now challenging the popularity of China’s most watched shows which includes their version of The Voice.

The show’s creator, Guan Zhengwen, was inspired by the Scripps National Spelling Bee that takes place annually in the United States. Essentially, the Dictation Competition is a spelling bee of sorts where contestants are given a simple word and then must create the word properly in Chinese characters. For example, if the contestants receive the word “toad,” they must create the three-character word using the forty-six brush strokes that make up the character of the word without making any mistakes. The strokes must be made in the proper order and in the proper direction.

Different Dialects Affects How To Learn Chinese

Anyone who has ever wondered how to learn Chinese would find this popular game show a great introductory lesson to the written language. It is a beautiful art that is slowly being lost, thanks to the technology boom of the last ten to fifteen years. Although they read the characters, an increasing number of people are unable to write them. Just as you find in popular American children’s educational television shows, words are given to the contestants and they are given the opportunity to create the word using Chinese characters or Hanzi. The process of creating the characters, with the intricate amount of strokes to make up each character, takes a considerable amount of time. This actually gives those who don’t speak or write Chinese the opportunity to study the form of the characters as they are created. With repetition and patience, one could learn to write Chinese this way.

Chinese is an intricate language, one of the harder languages for English speakers to master.  This especially holds true for anyone who has had little exposure to the language and culture. Chinese consists of multiple dialects, with Mandarin and Cantonese being the most widely-spoken. What’s amazing about Mandarin and Cantonese is that they are almost entirely different than each other and learning one dialect will not help you understand the other: they are not mutually intelligible. The dialect of Chinese spoken varies by region. Cantonese is mainly spoken in Hong Kong, Guangdong, and the Guangxi provinces, while Mandarin is the official spoken language in Mainland China and Taiwan.

Whether you are traveling to China or just want to learn a new language, finding out how to learn Chinese writing will prove to be a rewarding venture. With the vast array of films, music, and television shows taking the American shores by storm, learning Chinese would be a major benefit for anyone who enjoys the unique trends coming from overseas.