Learn Italian Online

Tips on How to Learn Italian Fast and Effectively

Learn Italian Online

Do you want to learn Italian fast, yet effectively? In addition to taking Italian lessons with an experienced teacher, there are other ways to speed up the language learning process. All it takes is some creativity, dedication, and practice. Here are five tips and tricks on how to learn Italian fast. Try these methods in your language learning journey.

1. Find Our Borrowed Italian Words

Believe it or not, you already know quite a bit of Italian! There are the obvious words like pizza, paparazzi, and graffiti. But did you know about cello, cupola, and stanza? Just like a game of hide and seek, see if you can recognize and identify these words in everyday life! Once you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised by how much Italian you know.

Words that share meaning and sound similar across languages are called “cognates.” When it comes to Italian-English cognates, many of these words evolved from the same Latin roots. Learning how interconnected these languages are is one of the most rewarding parts of studying Italian. Another added bonus is that picking up other Romance languages, such as Spanish, French, and Portuguese, become easier as you discover the power of cognates.

2. Watch Italian Television and Movies

Another way to learn Italian fast is to watch Italian television and movies. The dialogue can happen very quickly and sometimes be difficult to follow, so it’s always a good idea to watch with English subtitles. When watching, be sure to pay attention to how the actors pronounce words and phrases and follow along with the text. Also, repeating what you hear can help to improve your pronunciation!

The idea here is to simulate language immersion as best as you can. Although total immersion is the fastest way to learn Italian, not all of us can spend our studying days in Tuscany or Rome. By surrounding yourself with Italian media, you can reap some of the daily benefits that come with immersion, no matter where you live.

3. Subscribe to Italian Blogs and Magazines

Find an Italian blog or magazine that highlights one of your favorite hobbies or interests. If you enjoy sports or travel, for example, find a magazine or blog that’s dedicated to that subject. Since you’re already familiar with the topic, you’ll be able to identify common words and phrases easily.

Becoming Italian Word by Word is a great place to start. They cover Italian vocabulary, current events, and history. We also recommend checking out Live Like an Italian, a blog devoted to “Italian lifestyle, culture, fashion, art, travel, and gastronomy.” There’s always something new to learn and a yummy recipe to try out! When you’re trying to figure out how to learn Italian fast, remember that reading in Italian will not only help you expand your vocabulary, but it will also help you perfect your grammar skills.

4. Write Your To-Do List in Italian

Want to practice your Italian writing skills? Just like when learning any language, you must take gender, conjunctions, and accent marks into consideration when writing in Italian. An accent mark put in the wrong place can alter the meaning of a word or phrase!

One of the best ways to learn Italian on your own is to incorporate the language into your daily life. For example, try writing out your daily to-do or grocery list in Italian. This is a wonderful way to practice basic vocabulary and brush up on your writing and grammar skills. You may be surprised by how much vocabulary you can pick up, just by completing your daily to-dos!

5. Throw an Italian-themed Night

Who said that learning Italian can’t be fun? Bring your friends and family in on the excitement by throwing an Italian-themed night! Cook an authentic Italian meal and watch an Italian film (remember the subtitles!). This is an excellent opportunity to practice your Italian vocabulary and pronunciation. Greet your guests with a friendly “Benvenuto al mio partito!” (Welcome to my party!) and encourage your friends and family to test out their own Italian speaking skills by labeling common household items and food in Italian.

Keep in mind that these tips are just ways to boost your Italian skills – they’re by no means substitutes for taking private lessons. By working directly with a tutor, you can build up your conversational skills and get the personalized feedback that textbooks and pre-recorded videos just can’t provide. Even if you don’t have any Italian experts in your neighborhood, online Italian lessons make it easy to connect with the perfect teacher from across the globe.

Learning how to speak Italian doesn’t happen overnight. So, watch movies, play with words, follow the guidance of your teacher, and above all, have fun! The effort you put into learning Italian is well worth it. We wish you the best on your Italian learning journey!

Now that you’ve heard our tips on how to learn Italian fast, we want to hear from you! Do you have any other tricks you’ve used to further your knowledge?

Let us know in the comment section below!

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How to Read Hebrew

5 Important Tips on How to Learn Hebrew

How to Read Hebrew

Wondering about the best way to learn Hebrew? You’ve come to the right place! Hebrew is one of the world’s oldest living languages, and it has had a huge impact on the world we live in. It’s spoken by millions of people around the globe and is learned as a reading language by millions more.

Hebrew is one of the few languages today that connects us with people from 2000+ years ago. Its relationship with the Ancient Near East and other Semitic languages makes learning Hebrew an excellent starting point for people interested in that part of the world.

However, Hebrew is not for the faint of heart! For native English speakers who are just starting out, the learning curve is steep because of how “foreign” the language seems. If you want to know how to learn Hebrew in the most efficient way possible, read this article first. We’ll share five things you should know before getting started.  

5 Tips Before You Learn to Read Hebrew

1. Hebrew Reads from Right to Left

learn to read hebrew books

Hebrew is one of the many languages, including Arabic and Syriac, which reads from right to left. What catches many beginners off guard when they first open up a Hebrew book is that both the text on an individual page is written from right to left, and the book itself is read from right to left.

When laying a Hebrew book on a table, if the front cover is facing up, then the binding will be on the right-hand side. It may seem different at first, but Hebrew students should remember that at some point, they were unable to read from left to right, too! Every new skill takes practice, especially when it’s the opposite of what we’re used to.

It doesn’t take nearly as long as you might think for right-to-left reading to begin to feel natural. If you’re interested in discovering how to learn Hebrew fast, the secret is to put in at least a little practice every single day. When you put in the time to practice regularly, then reading in Hebrew will start to feel much less foreign before you know it.

2. Hebrew was Originally Written Without Vowels

learn to write in hebrew

Many scholars trace the development of Hebrew to the end of the 2nd millennium BCE. Yet, for close to 2,000 years, the written language never actually included pure vowel markings in the text.

Over time, a few of the consonants became special markers for certain vowel sounds, but it wasn’t until the 8th century when vowels were added to written text using a series of dots and dashes. These vowels were placed above and below the letters already in use.

It’s important to note that Hebrew reading schools today teach both “pointed” and “unpointed” Hebrew. “Pointed” refers to learning Hebrew with the vowels in the text, while learning “unpointed” Hebrew leaves the vowels out and gets you a bit closer to how it was originally done!

If you travel to Israel, you should expect to see newspapers, books, advertisements, and more written without vowels. For those who know Hebrew fluently, reading these texts isn’t a problem. In time, you’ll be able to navigate written Hebrew, even when there are no vowels in sight.

3. Hebrew Uses Letters as Numbers

learn to read hebrew writing

While the Hebrew language has words for its numerals (one, two, three, etc.) and its ordinals (first, second, third, etc.), there is a shorthand used to shrink the space down considerably when writing numbers.

In English, we do this by using completely different markings altogether for our numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). But in Hebrew, this is done by using letters from the alphabet.

The first nine letters of the alphabet mark out the numbers 1 through 9. The following 13 letters mark off values between 10 and 400. An additional symbol is added to help with numbers over 1,000.

4. Consistent Practice is Key

learn to read hebrew

When English-speakers first explore how to learn Hebrew, they can feel like their linguistic world has been turned on its head. These students will struggle unless they take the necessary time to learn the alphabet well, and get comfortable reading from right to left.

There are a number of solutions to learn to read Hebrew with greater fluency, but the trick is consistency of exposure to the text. Students should practice daily as opposed to weekly, even if it’s for shorter amounts of time. Even fifteen minutes a day can get you farther than putting in an hour a week.

When you study Hebrew, you have to remember that you’re learning when you recall the language, not when you review it. So, make sure you have time to recall what you are learning. This means integrating elements of the language into your daily life. See if you can apply your vocabulary throughout your day. In time, these words and phrases will become second nature.

One of the best ways to learn Hebrew, or any other language, is to actually write down phrases and sentences rather than just speak them. With consistent practice, you will find that whatever you force your brain to recall, it will remember!

5. Remember What Sparked Your Interest

learn to read hebrew bible

Our brains are wired to remember things that interest us. Why do you want to learn how to read Hebrew? Are you taking a trip to Israel soon? Keeping your reasons top-of-mind will help you stay motivated along the way.

For example, many people choose to learn Hebrew so they can study parts of the Bible in its original language. Known to Christians as the “Old Testament,” the books of the Hebrew Bible have come to exert a massive amount of influence in our cultural heritage.

Their content has shaped western law, as well as cultural assumptions about rights and human dignity. One of the foundational arguments during the abolition movement, and again during the Civil Rights movement, was often cited from the book of Genesis: humanity is made in the image of God.

There are also many phrases from the Hebrew Bible that we still use today. Sayings like “by the skin of your teeth” or “the writing is on the wall,” have been etched into the English language since time immemorial. If you find yourself losing inspiration at any point in your Hebrew-learning journey, get back in touch with what first motivated you to learn. Whatever sparked your fascination with this ancient and influential language, let it continue to inspire you!

3 Steps to Learn How to Read Hebrew

If you are passionate about improving your skills, use the following steps as a guide to how to learn Hebrew fast

  • Practice the alphabet sounds daily. Write the letters on your mirror and recite them in your head while brushing your teeth. Once you get the sounds down, open up a pointed Hebrew text and read out loud (even though you won’t understand what you’re reading at first). Gaining familiarity with the sound and the feel of the language will pay huge dividends down the road.
  • Take advantage of the many helpful resources at your disposal. Flashcard apps like Memrise and Quizlet have already done much of the heavy lifting for you. As a beginner, your memorization skills will be stretched, but regularly practicing with fun apps like these will be highly beneficial.
  • Lastly, try to find a Hebrew teacher or tutor. When learning the basic building blocks of a complex language like Hebrew, it’s easy to make small mistakes. If they go undiscovered for a long period of time, these bad habits become ingrained into your understanding of the language. With a tutor’s guidance, it’s easy to catch these mistakes early.

No matter what sparked your interest in learning Hebrew, you’ll find that putting in the time to practice is well worth it. We wish you the best on your Hebrew learning journey!

Have you come across any obstacles while learning to read Hebrew? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Guest Post Author: Zachary Stevens has spent the last two years serving as a Hebrew Language Teaching Assistant at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has a Master’s in Biblical Studies and is currently working toward a Master of Theology in Hamilton, MA. 

Learn to Speak Spanish

The Best Ways to Learn Spanish: 6 Science-Backed Study Hacks [Infographic]

Learn to Speak Spanish

There’s no doubt that learning a second language can be a difficult task. Although learning Spanish as a native English speaker may be easier than picking up a language like Chinese, it takes time and practice to get from your first ¡hola! to full-blown fluency.

If you’re looking to accelerate your progress, it’s worthwhile to do some research into the best ways to learn Spanish. This means learning how to study smarter, not just harder. With the right study habits and a drive to succeed, you can reach your Spanish goals in the most efficient way possible.

To help, we’ve rounded up six study hacks that will prep your mind and body for learning Spanish more easily. Before we dive in, check out this helpful video on the fastest ways to learn Spanish, from TakeLesson’s expert Spanish tutor Danae Riley!

Now that Danae has got you on the right track, you can apply the following six study hacks to enhance your Spanish learning experience:

1) Write your notes by hand.

You’ve probably heard this popular tip before, but it’s one of the best ways to learn Spanish vocabulary that exists. Studies suggest that you are more likely to recall information if you write it down by hand because your brain has to focus on writing out each letter. So, ditch your keyboard or your iPad, and resort to an old-fashioned pen and paper. If you feel like you have to type your notes in order to keep up with your teacher, rewrite them by hand when you get home to help you study and retain the information.

2) Exercise.

This might sound like a strange tip, but a 2009 study showed that physical activity can improve brain function, learning, and memory. Try combining your studies with exercise by listening to a Spanish language podcast while at the gym. Instead of watching TV during a study break, take a jog around the block. Leading an active lifestyle will help you recall Spanish better.

3) Chew gum while you study.

A 2013 study showed that those who chewed gum while they learned had higher accuracy rates when recalling information than those who did not chew gum. There is also a potential link between level of focus and gum chewing. That’s because giving the jaws a workout can help keep the brain alert. So, the next time you’re struggling to concentrate, pop in some minty-fresh gum, and get back to studying!

4) Immerse yourself in the language.

A 2012 study shows that students who immerse themselves in a language instead of only learning in a classroom setting are more likely to absorb it. Furthermore, the study suggests that immersion can help the brain process the language like a native speaker. While not everyone can pack up and move to a Spanish-speaking country, there are ways to simulate immersion around your home. Try speaking and writing in Spanish whenever possible, along with listening to music and radio shows in the language.  This will help you bring a little Spanish immersion into your life.

5) Say it aloud.

This study shows that people who say information out loud are more likely to remember it than people who read everything silently. The study also suggests that our brain likes to remember oddball information, especially when it’s said aloud. Speaking out loud is not only necessary for sharpening your pronunciation, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to learn Spanish words and phrases.

6) Don’t stress; get some sleep.

Even though cramming for an exam or your trip to Spain might seem like a good idea, studies have shown that sleep is more beneficial than extra hours of studying. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep in the days leading up to your exam or trip will help you to recall information better. Your brain needs time to process the information that you take on throughout the day. Eventually, you may even start dreaming in Spanish!

Here’s a recap of all these Spanish study hacks in one handy infographic:

6 Science-Backed Study Hacks for Learning Spanish

 

So, what’s the best way to learn Spanish? It’s ultimately up to your own learning style and language goals. Working with a qualified Spanish tutor will help you build up your language skills in the most efficient way possible. They’ll present you with a customized study plan that considers your own unique approach to the language. Then, you can apply these hacks to maximize your study time!

Ready to start your Spanish learning journey? Online classes make it possible to connect with the perfect Spanish tutor from anywhere in the world. Search for a tutor today!

Bonus: Learn about the budget-friendly options for learning Spanish!

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How to Learn New Languages

The Best Way to Learn a Language: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips and Tricks

How to Learn New Languages

More often than not, the main question on a new language learner’s mind is, “What’s the best way to learn a language?”

Between language lessons, grammar books, conversation practice, and exercises, learning a new language can be a long and challenging process. On the other hand, few things are more rewarding than carrying out a conversation in a foreign tongue.

To help you in your language-learning journey, we sought out the advice of language experts around the globe to compile the ultimate list of language-learning hacks.

If you’re looking for the fastest way to learn a language, here are 30 incredibly effective tips and tricks to help you along the way!

 1. Choose a Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Each morning, pick a new word or two to integrate into your daily life. This is much less overwhelming than trying to memorize several different words all at once.

Incorporating new vocabulary into your day-to-day routine will help you commit these words to memory and learn to use them in real-life situations.

For more on this, check out 6 Ways to Simplify Your Foreign Language Learning by Lifehack expert Allison Lounes.

 2. Connect With Friends and Language Partners

Connect With Friends

Textbooks and grammar workbooks are only one small element of learning a language. You’re not actually fluent and/or functional until you can use your new language in conversation.

The best way to do this is to practice with native speakers.

Not sure where to find people who speak your language of choice? Search for language partners online, or explore language events and Meetup groups in your area.

For more on this tip, check out the Zen Habits post How to Learn A Language in 90 Days (guest post by Maneesh Sethi of Hack the System)

3. Always Carry a Notebook

buy a notebook

This tip is especially important if you plan to travel abroad, but it’s a great idea even if you’re staying local for your studies.

Keep a notebook handy and write down anything you don’t understand while you’re studying – watching TV in your foreign language, doing exercises on an app, or listening to foreign music.

Plus, as Go Overseas blogger Jenny Marshall points out, “something as simple as a Moleskin pocket notebook fits easily almost anywhere, and looks downright important when you pull it out to take notes.”

For more, see 5 Easy Hacks for Learning a New Language Abroad

4. Sink or Swim/All or Nothing

sink or swim

This doesn’t mean you need to put your life in danger, it simply means it’s time to raise the stakes!

Put yourself in a situation where you have to learn your new language, or face failure. It may sound extreme, but it’s one of the best ways to learn a new language.

Travel to Germany, and don’t allow yourself to speak English. Sign up for a language immersion program and jump in without looking back.

Whatever you can do to increase your sense of urgency will help you learn your language in a more useful, efficient way.

Want to make sure you hold yourself accountable? Let your friends in on your plans so they can help you stay on track!

 5. Learn Cognates in Your New Language

Learn Cogantes

There are cognates in every language, so no matter if you’re learning Korean, Japanese, Spanish, or German, you can use this language-learning hack to your benefit.

Not sure what a cognate is? Cognates are words that are related to words you already know in your native language.

Believe it or not, you may already know several useful words in your new language!

12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time-The Only Post You’ll Ever Need – The Tim Ferris Experiment.

 6. Use an App

Download an app

Want to learn a new language? There’s an app for that!

Smartphone and tablet apps are super convenient because you can take them anywhere and practice on the go.

There are apps available for just about any language, and they generally include grammar lessons, vocabulary, and pronunciation guides. Apps are also a great way to mix things up; they’re interactive and can break up the monotony of reading a textbook or listening to lectures.

Pro Tip: Try TakeLessons Live for access to free language classes led by live instructors!

– 5 cool apps that will help you learn a new language by Jessica Hullinger.

 7. Focus on What’s Relevant

focus on what's relevant

Learning a new language can be an overwhelming endeavor. It’s hard to determine where to start and which approach to take. To simplify this process, focus on the things that are most important or interesting on a personal level.

If you’re learning French for an upcoming trip, learn the essential phrases that will help you communicate and navigate while traveling.

“You’re more likely to learn vocabulary that’s related to your interests, than you are to learn the names of kitchen utensils (unless you happen to love kitchen utensils) and other stuff that you don’t care about.”

– 21 Tips and Hacks for Learning a Foreign Language by Marelisa, creator of Daring to Live Fully.

 8. Set up a Routine

Set up a Routine

Learning anything new is easier when you make it a recurring part of your life. Make practicing your new language a non-negotiable part of your day.

Remember, learning a language is not a one-size-fits-all experience. You’re more likely to stick to your routine if it’s realistic and feasible. Try to set aside some time every day for you to focus on your language studies.

– The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult by David Bailey.

 9. Find and Attend Local Events

attend events

Some of the most rewarding language-learning experiences happen outside of the classroom.

“Local events are a unique opportunity to practice, learn, and at the same time, pursue your other interests,” says travel writer Isabel Eva Bohrer. “There is a myriad of opportunities, it’s just a matter of finding one that is useful, fun, and interesting for you.”

– 6 Ways to Learn a Foreign Language Fast

 10. Remember Your Purpose

why you started

No matter how far along you are in your language-learning journey, it’s important to be mindful of why you started this process. Understanding your purpose will help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

“…if you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated over the long-run,” says Babbel author John-Erik Jordan. “No matter your reason, once you’ve decided on a language, it’s crucial to commit.”

10 Tips and Tricks to Pick Up Any Language

11. Track Your Progress

Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress will help you celebrate the small victories along the way. This is crucial to help you stay motivated.

Plus, learning a new language generally involves traveling, events, and new experiences. Whether you use a written journal or a digital photo app, keep track of these life-long memories.

“Document your adventures with photographs and add captions in your new language,” says Huffington Post writer Stephanie Oswald. “The more you learn, the more fun your story will become to write.”

– Want to Learn a Foreign Language?

12. Learn the Phrase “How do you say X?”

How do you say x

This is one of the most important phrases you can learn in your new language. If you need to ask for directions, introduce yourself, or ask for help, this phrase is critical.

Not only can this phrase help you build up your vocabulary, but you can also use it to break the ice when you’re not sure how to communicate with someone.

– 22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 13. Learn What You Need

learn what you need

You know the phrase “take what you like and leave the rest”? Well, it applies to learning a language, too.

Learning every component of grammar in your new language may help you pass a test in school, but this won’t necessarily make you fluent and functional.

Determine the most important things that you need to know, and learn these things first.

“So, put aside the grammar book and get yourself a travel phrasebook instead (they are small and only cost a couple of dollars),” says Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months. “Learn the essentials in a few hours that would be pretty universally needed as the core of basic conversation, and then learn what you want to say.”

– Becoming a Man of the World: How to Learn Another Language

 14. Pace Yourself: One Step at a Time

one step at a time

When you’re studying a new language, you usually want to know the quickest way to learn. One of the fastest ways to learn a language, however, is to pace yourself and learn little bits at a time.

“Learn faster by exposing yourself to listening and reading in short bursts, several times a day,” says Get-It-Done Guy Stever Robbins. “Five minutes here and ten minutes there makes the language sink in much better than marathon language study sessions.”

– How to Learn a Language Quickly

 15. Intensity of Study Trumps Length of Study

intensity of study

Study smarter, not harder. How you study is much more important than how much you study.

“What I mean by this is that studying a language four hours a day for two weeks will be more beneficial for you than studying one hour a day for two months.”

22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 16. Make Mistakes and Learn from Them

Make Mistakes

When you first start using your new language, you’re going to stumble and make mistakes, and that’s OK!

It’s important that you don’t get discouraged; embrace these mistakes as natural steps in the learning process.

“For me, there came a point, though, when I just became totally unapologetic about it,” says Jason, blogger and founder of the Spanish Vault. “I’ve got to start somewhere, and the more mistakes I make, the faster I learn.”

Read more about learning a foreign language from this interview with Jason on Language Surfer.

 17. Start Spreading the News

news

Watching, reading, listening, and talking about the news in your new language is a fantastic way to learn vocabulary and usage.

Olly Richards, founder of I Will Teach You A Language, recommends this as a Japanese learning hack, but this strategy can be applied to any foreign language.

The news will help you become more comfortable with the language, and also give you up-to-date information about the country and culture.

This tip will come in handy when you plan to travel!

 18. Try the Food

Try the Food

Discovering new foods is one of the most fun aspects of learning any new language! You may discover some new favorite foods or recipes, and you will be able to practice your vocabulary and speaking skills.

It’s a delicious, win-win learning strategy!

– 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Learn a Foreign Language by Cher Hale

 19. Use Your Intuition

Use intuition

Learning a new language naturally requires logic and analysis, but many language learners make the mistake of neglecting their intuition.

In many cases, you intuitively know how to interpret social cues and behavior. When you begin using your language in real-life situations, your intuition will come in handy, especially if you hear unfamiliar words or phrases.

Embrace your intuition and natural instincts, they can help you.

“Basically, spend most of your time figuring out meaning from all the cues in a situation,” says Ron, a Language Surfer writer. “But every once in a while, take the time to study the language and understand the language rationally.”

How to Learn a Language Fast: 5 Things to Speed Up the Process

 20. Watch Movies

movies

Put on a movie in your language of choice and take notes on any words or phrases you don’t understand. Pay attention the vocabulary you already know and listen to the pronunciation and intonation.

Don’t just listen watch the characters’ body language and see what you can infer from their actions. You can also watch YouTube videos with language lessons.

FluentU recommends this strategy in this article about learning French, but it’s a great learning tool for any language.

 21. Believe in Yourself

believe

Confidence is half the battle. You have to believe you can do something in order to succeed. So, while you may struggle along the way, pick yourself back up and keep moving forward!

“My belief is that everybody has the ability to learn a foreign language,” says Lingholic writer Sam Gendreau. “After all, you learned your mother tongue, didn’t you? You just have to learn to step outside of your comfort zone and believe in yourself.”

– Learning a foreign Language – 10 Most Common Mistakes

 22. Find Ways to Relax

relax

This doesn’t just mean giving yourself downtime between study sessions (although this is important); find ways to relax in your new language.

Watch TV shows, listen to music, learn about pop culture. Whatever you like to do to relax, find a way to do it using your new language. The point is to enjoy the learning process!

42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks! by Olly Richards

 23. Enough!

tips and tricks template

This one word can be a big help when it comes to learning a new language.

Basically, develop the mindset that you have exactly what you need to learn your new language, and let go of all of the excuses and limitations that would normally hinder you from doing something.

You have enough time, you have enough resources, and you have enough brain power to accomplish what you set out to do.

“This word should be your mantra when learning a language,” says Language Mastery writer John Fortheringham. “When you find yourself procrastinating, making excuses, and putting off speaking practice out of fear, this string of six letters can help put you back on track.”

 24. Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind

Again, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to struggle.

This is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t fight it; embrace it.

Rather than beating yourself up for making mistakes or not learning as quickly as you’d like to, congratulate yourself for your hard work, and acknowledge your accomplishments – even the little ones.

– The Best Ways to Learn a Language as an Adult

 25. Act it Out

Act it Out

Put your acting skills to the test and role play in your new language. Not only is this fun, it’s effective because you learn how to use the language in different situations.

Connect with native speakers or find some study partners in your area.

Not only is this one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, but you’ll be having fun and making friends at the same time.

End scene!

Pangea Learning

 26. Make Flashcards

flashcards

Flashcards are useful, portable study tools to help you learn vocabulary and essential phrases.

If you prefer digital flashcards, try these downloadable flashcards from anki.

If you’re feeling crafty, make your own flashcards and bring them with you to study on the go!

7 Secrets to Learning a Language Fast

 27. Storytelling

story

The Heisig Method, which is essentially storytelling, was developed to help aspiring Japanese speakers learn to read kanji characters. This effective learning tool can be applied to any foreign language.

With the Heisig Method, you create funny stories based on the meaning of each kanji character. So, for your own language studies, get your creative juices flowing and come up with some fun stories using vocabulary words.

This method also helps you break up vocabulary into smaller parts, so that you can master one thing at a time.

Zooming Japan blogger Jasmine T. used this strategy to learn nearly two thousand kanji characters in only two months.

 28. Enlist a Friend

enlist a friend

Any new endeavor is easier and more fun when you do it with a friend versus going it alone. If you’ve challenged yourself to learn a new language, grab your best friend and encourage him or her to do the same.

Of course, your friend may not have the same reason for learning a new language, so you may need to step out of your comfort zone and find some new friends or study partners with similar goals.

“It’s fun doing something with someone else, and often if one person loses motivation, the other person will help keep you both on track. I also am very motivated by wanting to help the other person, and while doing something for myself is also a great goal, doing it for someone else helps a lot.”

– The Best & Less-than-Best Motivations for Learning by zen habits writer Leo Babauta.

29. Learn Synonyms

synonyms

Learning synonyms in a new language can be the difference between understanding the language in a classroom setting, and being able to apply it to real-world situations. Understanding synonyms allows you to use the correct word in the right situation.

“Fluency is not just the ability to function in all contexts, it’s also the ability to function well,” says language teacher and polyglot Alex Rawlings. “If you haven’t grown up with a language, you will probably be largely unaware of certain nuances or connotations that words and phrases may have. You will remain unaware of these, unless you immerse yourself culturally.”

Rawlings suggests boosting your knowledge of synonyms by learning alternative words when you memorize new vocabulary terms. While this might be time consuming at first, it will help you understand the language on a deeper level, and help you apply your knowledge of the language when you interact with native speakers.

Synonyms: your shortcut to fluency

30. Immersion

imemrsion

This one may be a bit more difficult than the rest of the items on the list because it involves time, future planning, and money – but it’s without a doubt the best way to learn a new language.

Making language practice part of your day is mandatory when you’re in a country that uses that language. It’s no longer an obligation, but instead a necessity to be able to function and communicate.

“When you don’t have any choice but to speak the language you are learning, you will make faster progress.”

Slip of the Tongue

If you’re serious about becoming fluent in a new language, plan ahead or join a language immersion program.

If you don’t think this is feasible, or if you still want to get a great language-learning experience close to home, try these tips to simulate immersion.

There you have it – the 30 essential tips and tricks for language learning success! Remember that you don’t have to go it alone on your journey to fluency. By far, the best way to learn a language is with the help of a private tutor. Even if you don’t have any teachers in your neighborhood, online language lessons make it easy to connect with native speakers around the globe.

Do you have some more language-learning hacks to add to the list?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Greetings in French Language

15 Greetings in French: How to Properly Meet & Greet Someone in France

Greetings in French Language

Bonjour! How much do you know about French greetings and salutations? Learning how to say “good morning” in French, along with other basic greetings, is usually the first task that aspiring French speakers take on.

Properly greeting someone can open up new connections as well as deepen existing ones. Pronouncing “Hello, how are you?” correctly in French may seem like a small feat, but it can have a big impact on your conversations with French speakers throughout the world.

Here are a few easy greetings in French, so you can make an excellent first impression!

15 French Greetings to Know

Just like with other Romantic languages, there is no one-sized-fits-all approach to greeting others in French. The greeting you use depends on your relationship with the other person, the time of day, and the social setting. Properly greeting people is polite, so knowing when to use each greeting is as critical as knowing the greeting itself.

After we cover the fundamental phrases you need to know, we’ll also look at some basics of French etiquette, including the dos and don’ts of greeting people with the language. 

To get a jump start on pronouncing some of the most common French greetings, check out this short video! Then, we’ll dive into greater detail below.

Greeting Phrases in French

1. Bonjour – Good morning / hello

Wondering how to say “good morning” in French? You can use bonjour to say either “good morning” or “hello” to someone when you’re seeing them for the first time of the day. If you encounter the same person again later in the day, it’s appropriate to use a less formal version of “hello.”

2. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you

In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you’re delighted to meet someone after they introduce themselves, and this phrase is the perfect way to do so.

3. Bonsoir – Good evening / hello

This greeting is used in similar situations as bonjour but is reserved for the evening.

4. Salut – Hi

Considered one of the more casual French greetings, salut is appropriate when you see someone again later in the day.

5. Coucou – Hey

Close friends use this French greeting often. You can skip the formal bonjour and use this word, or even ciao, when seeing close comrades.

SEE ALSO: 50 Inspiring French Quotes

6. Ça fait longtemps, dis donc – Long time, no see

A typical greeting between old friends, young French people tend to use this phrase often.

7. Âllo – Hello

This French greeting is used exclusively for conversations on the telephone.

8. Ça va? – How are you?

A very simple way to ask someone how they are doing is to say Ça va? It’s a condensed version of the question Comment ça va? – How are you doing? Either version is correct and can be used in formal and casual settings.

9. Tu vas bien? – How are you doing?

Literally translated to “are you doing well?” this is a polite way to ask someone how they are when you’re expecting a positive reply.

10. Quoi de neuf? – What’s up?

This is a very casual French greeting, so we recommend using it only with close friends.

RELATED: 50 Beautiful French Words

Parting Phrases in French

Now that you know how to say hello in French, you need to learn how to properly part ways! Just like with greetings, these parting phrases can differ based on the context.

11. Au revoir! – Goodbye!

Rather formal, this is a safe way to say goodbye in French no matter the social setting.

12. Salut! – Bye!

This French word for “goodbye” is much more casual than au revoir.

13. Ciao! – See ya!

This phrase is Italian in origin, but is popular among the younger French population.

14. À plus! – Later!

This is one of those easy greetings in French and a simple way to indicate that you’ll see them at a later, unspecified time.

15. À demain! – See you tomorrow!

The word demain can be replaced with any day of the week if you know that you will see the other person soon.

Dos and Don’ts for French Greetings

The proper etiquette for greeting people in France relies on a few factors. While it’s expected and considered polite to greet everyone, from colleagues to shopkeepers, the way you greet each person depends on your relationship and the setting. For example:

  • Les bises (kisses) are a typical greeting when meeting friends in France.

Depending on the region of France, la bise can include one, two, or even three little kisses on the cheek. If in doubt, let the other person initiate and move to one side of your face or the other. The kisses generally begin on the right side of the face.

  • A handshake is a greeting that is reserved for formal or business settings.

When entering a meeting for work, it’s normal for colleagues to offer a firm handshake. It’s also common for men to greet with a handshake rather than with une bise.

  • A hug, contrary to American greetings, is reserved for close family members or significant others only. Wondering how to say “family” in French? It’s une famille.

A hug is seen as an invasion of privacy to the French, and can make someone feel uncomfortable if you don’t know them well enough. Save your hugs for your close friends!

Learn More French Greetings & Phrases

An appropriate greeting is just the beginning of a beautiful conversation in French. These guides can provide you with the phrases you need to carry your conversations further:

Want to learn even more French? Your options are endless with TakeLessons! To start, try working one-on-one with a French tutor near you. If you want even greater levels of flexibility, online French classes make it possible to work with a French teacher anywhere in the world, from the comfort of your own home.

No matter what your goals are when it comes to learning French, we wish you the best on your linguistic journey. Au revoir!

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL. She has her Bachelors in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and has been teaching since 2008. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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Online Activities During Coronavirus

Best Online Activities for Coronavirus Quarantine

Online Activities During Coronavirus

With the spread of the coronavirus, life as we know it is moving indoors. In many major cities, schools are closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, events are postponed, and employees are working from home. The goal is social distancing in order to flatten the curve and reduce the impact of Covid-19 in our communities. We are all sacrificing our individual freedoms to help the common good.

As we self-quarantine and spend more time inside, there is a growing need to occupy our time in productive ways, to remain calm, reduce stress, and find joy in our new reality. We rounded up ideas to help you practice social distancing while staying educated and entertained. From online workout videos and digital museum tours, to online side jobs and online lessons with experts, there is a silver lining to life indoors.

Try these fun online activities at home to thrive during coronavirus quarantine.

 

1. Exercise with Free Online Workout Videos

One strategy for social distancing includes avoiding crowded in-person gyms and fitness studios. However, you don’t have to sacrifice physical fitness while staying at home. There are a multitude of ways to workout online, and many of the online workout videos are free to consume and easy to stream on your computer, phone, or tablet. On YouTube, you’ll find yoga, strength training, HIIT, kickboxing, and more free online workout videos. Or, choose an online fitness program that is designed for your goals, such as Tone It Up with home exercises for women, or Fitness Blender with his and her routines. No matter which workout you choose, fitness is a great online quarantine activity at home.

2. Start an Online Side Hustle Job

Staying home doesn’t have to mean decreased productivity or lower income. The modern gig economy provides a variety of ways to start a side job online. Start by asking yourself these key questions. What unique skills do you have? Can you teach those skills to others through an online platform? Perhaps you’re bilingual, you’re a passionate piano player, or you’re an experienced visual artist. Websites like TakeLessons.com are platforms for online lessons, connecting experts with peers who want to learn. With a computer, webcam, and internet, you can become a teacher while staying at home. Learn more.

What to Do at Home During Coronavirus3. Get Cultured with Virtual Museum Tours

While international travel is paused, it’s normal to crave what we can’t have. And one of the best parts of any international vacation is exploring a city’s art and history museums. Luckily, many of the world’s top museums now offer online tours, so digital visitors can explore, admire, and learn from the comfort of home. One of the most unique online quarantine activities at home, Google Arts & Culture partnered with 2,500 museums to create and share virtual tours and online exhibits. Just a few of the featured museums include the Guggenheim in New York City, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the British Museum in London. Learn more.

4. Get Informed on Global Topics with TED Talks Videos

Are you interested in learning more about the coronavirus pandemic? Or perhaps you need a break from current events, and would like to explore other topics that resonate with peers around the world. TED Talks is a platform with over 3,000 videos of speakers in unique subjects. The speakers are experts in their field, and share their messages in 10 minute videos that are entertaining and easy to digest. While you’re cooped up at home, why not learn something new? TED Talks is a free learning platform, and there is a subject to interest everyone. Consider watching “Why you should get paid for your data” and “How burnout makes us less creative” to start.

5. Learn New Skills Online, from Music to Language

Are you sitting at home staring at that piano you still haven’t mastered? Are you forced to delay your European vacation until the travel bans are lifted? There are skills you can learn online to fill your time and get you closer to your goals. While online videos are entertaining, it may take a one-on-one private online lesson with a teacher to speed up the learning curve. Websites like TakeLessons.com offer two-way video streaming technology, so you can connect with a teacher in an online classroom and learn something new without leaving your house. The website offers opportunities for online guitar lessons, online piano lessons, online Spanish lessons, online American Sign Language lessons, and even more subjects. If you’re looking for ways to socialize and learn, they also offer live group classes online, for peer and teacher interaction.

Online Lessons During Quarantine

6. Meditate and Practice Self-Care with Online Apps

With news changing daily, and new lifestyle and travel restrictions added weekly, it’s a very stressful time for people all around the world. The spread of coronavirus means we are losing our freedoms and gaining more stress. There is no better time for self-care. One free and easy habit for taking care of your mental well-being is meditation. While you don’t need technology to meditate, there are a variety of apps that offer guided meditation practices. Download apps like Headspace and Calm to receive free guided meditations for beginners that can help you manage stress in a healthy way.

7. Walk and Learn with Podcast Entertainment

Fresh air is important for clear minds and healthy bodies. For cities where outdoor walks are still permitted, exercising outside is a great way to break up the indoor monotony. Grab your headphones, stream a podcast, and walk to stimulate your mind and body. The podcast industry is booming, and there is content to match all interests, from news and current events, to celebrity interviews, health advice, and true crime. For a mixture of global topics and celebrity interviews, check out Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. For health and wellness, give a listen to The goop Podcast. For long-form interviews, stream The Joe Rogan Experience. If your neighborhood allows, walk in nature away from crowds.

 

Are you an educator looking for online learning solutions during coronavirus school closures? Learn about our new TakeLessons Classroom solution for schools.

ASL for Beginners

Sign Language for Beginners: 12 Basic ASL Phrases & Words

ASL for Beginners

To effectively communicate with sign language, you need to know basic sign language words and phrases. Just like spoken languages, there are a variety of sign languages used around the world. American Sign Language (ASL) is used throughout North America, including the U.S. and English-speaking Canada.

ASL is a complete language, which means that you can communicate just about anything through signing. Those who are deaf and hard of hearing, as well as people with functional hearing, use ASL to converse in a rich and expressive way. If you’re interested in learning how to sign, this list of sign language words for beginners is perfect for you.

ASL Lessons

ASL for Beginners

ASL AlphabetASL beginners usually start with learning the alphabet. The 26 letters of the English alphabet can be conveyed through signs in ASL, and words can be spelled out through sequences of signs. This is called “fingerspelling.” Want to give it a try? Figuring out how to fingerspell your own name is a great place to start!

Below, you can find a handy diagram that shows how to sign the ASL alphabet. You can always use these letters when you don’t know how to sign an entire word. If you need to spell a word that has the same letters back to back, make a slight bounce or sliding motion between the repeated letters.

Now that we’ve explored the alphabet, we can move on to words and phrases!

Sign Language for Beginners: Common Expressions

It’s not always practical to spell out words for everyday interactions. That’s where these expressions come in handy! You can use common expressions to meet people, show your appreciation, and communicate with friends.

ASL Signs for BeginnersAsking Questions with Basic Sign Language Words

A single word question can keep a conversation flowing and help you get to know others. An important part of asking questions with sign language is using your face to look inquisitive while you sign. When asking a yes or no question, the eyebrows are raised. With questions that may incur a more detailed response, the eyebrows are lowered.

The following video guide from Victoria, an ASL teacher, covers many important phrases, including basic questions like these!

Basic Sign Language Words and Phrases for Kids

It’s recommended that parents expose their deaf or hard-of-hearing children to sign language as early as possible. At most hospitals in the United States, newborns are tested for hearing loss so that parents can encourage language learning as soon as possible. Language skills develop alongside cognitive and social skills, and teaching your child ASL — or learning it with them — is a great way to grow together.

There are certain words and phrases that are especially important to know when communicating with children. Some of these phrases include: “I love you,” “What’s wrong?” and “Good job!” Watch Bill Vicars of Lifeprint.com walk through some of the most important phrases to know as a parent.

To expand your ASL vocabulary even more, watch Dr. Bill run through 100 sign language words for beginners:

Other Sign Language Fundamentals

If you’re new to ASL, there are some important facts you should know about signing. First off, ASL goes beyond hand gestures alone – facial expressions and body language also play a critical role in communication. For example, we’ve seen that you use your eyebrows when asking a question.

Next, you should know that ASL is not used worldwide. Other sign styles such as British Sign Language (BSL) differ in many important ways, although it’s still possible for some trans-lingual signers to communicate in a basic form. Cultures around the world have developed their own ways to communicate via sign, and it’s interesting to learn how people communicate in languages other than ASL.

The Best Way to Learn ASL for Beginners

As with learning any type of language, it takes time and persistence to develop communication skills through sign. While learning a few basic sign language words is easy, mastering ASL takes years of practice. One of the greatest developments in ASL learning has been the ability for teachers, students, and friends to connect via webcam. Online ASL lessons make it possible to build sign language skills from anywhere in the world.

While lesson videos, books, and online resources are a great tool for learning vocabulary and the fundamentals of ASL, there is no substitute for working one-on-one with a teacher. Private lessons allow for real-time feedback and personalized lesson plans, so your sign language skills can reach their full expression.

Ready to take your ASL skills to the next level? Find your sign language teacher today!

 

ASL chart source: dummies.com

Female Teachers Spotlight

Teacher Spotlight: Meet 3 Inspiring Female Teachers

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating stand-out female teachers within the TakeLessons community. We are thrilled to introduce you to Kathy, Mikayla, and Rosita, three unique female teachers who are using their skills and passions to impact student lives. Learn how three strong women used their creativity and entrepreneurial drive to build a business. It’s a side hustle with limitless potential.

Meet Music Teacher Kathy Z.

Kathy Z. teaches voice, guitar, and piano lessons in her New York studio, and has been an active member of the TakeLessons community for over 10 years. She holds a Master of Music degree in voice from Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Nebraska.

Female Teacher SpotlightQ: What is your teaching mantra?

A: We all NEED to MAKE music.

Q: Best memories with music students?

A: I’m proud to say my students have won auditions, played in bands, and gone on to study at performing arts high schools and college music conservatories. I’m also proud of students who have taken lessons in order to sing lullabies to their newborn, sing a song in proposing marriage to their significant other, and hone their karaoke skills in order to represent well at a social outing at their job. Music is life, man.

Q: When you’re not teaching, how do you spend your time?

A: I straddle the line between classical musician and folk/pop musician in that I have a band for which I am the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist. I also am employed as a church musician and use that to keep my classical chops honed. Other than making or listening to music, you can often find me exploring NYC or philosophizing with friends.

Q: Why is TakeLessons a unique opportunity for female teachers?

A: TakeLessons has been hugely helpful in enabling me to be a freelance musician. It’s incredibly important to be able to arrange my own schedule, and to be able to teach according to my own high standards. TakeLessons enables resourceful people to be self-employed, and they’ve kept me well-supplied with students over the years.

I think women have always had an important role to play as teachers. Perhaps it’s an extension of motherhood, having that nurturing quality that’s so necessary in order to reach students. But I think often women possess the special qualities of having patience, being encouraging, and being successful communicators. I also think it’s important for aspiring women musicians to see women musicians practice their craft, to sing and play.

“TakeLessons has been hugely helpful in enabling me to be a freelance musician. It’s incredibly important to be able to arrange my own schedule, and to be able to teach according to my own high standards.” – Kathy Z.

If you’re interested in music lessons in New York, learn more about Kathy Z.

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Meet French Teacher Mikayla S.

Mikayla S. teaches French lessons online to learners of all ages. And she doesn’t just teach French, she currently lives in France and shares the cultural immersion experience with her students. Mikayla earned a Master of Teaching French as a Foreign Language degree from Université de Lyon, with an emphasis in online education.

Meet French Teacher MikaylaQ: What is your teaching mantra?

A: Make it fun! If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to learn.

Q: Best memories with language students?

A: I have quite a few moments with students that I’ll never forget. Since I live in France, I don’t always have the opportunity to meet my students. However, I’ve been able to meet 6 or 7 of them on their trips to France. It’s always exciting to go out to dinner and have them order for us and watch them use what we’ve learned in class. One student even stayed with me for 2 weeks while she went to a language school here in Lyon! I love the connections I’m able to have with my students.

“I’ve been able to meet 6 or 7 [students] on their trips to France. It’s always exciting to go out to dinner and have them order for us and watch them use what we’ve learned in class.” – Mikayla S.

Q: When you’re not teaching, how do you spend your time?

A: I’m actually also a singer and dancer, and so I spend a lot of time doing concerts and taking classes. I do mostly musical theater and I do tap and Irish dancing as well!

Q: Why is TakeLessons a unique opportunity for female teachers?

A: I think it’s a great tool for building a business, especially for women. Before I started with TakeLessons I had no idea what I was going to do, I was straight out of college. TakeLessons paved the way for me to have a business where I don’t have to worry about having a job I hate with hours I hate. I get to choose my hours, my subjects, my curriculum, my pricing. I get to decide everything about my business and I’ve loved every minute of working with TakeLessons. Without it, who knows where I’d be!

If you’re interested in French lessons online, learn more about Mikayla S.

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Meet Language & Singing Teacher Rosita R. 

Rosita R. teaches a fusion of foreign language and singing, both online and in-person at her Los Angeles studio, and has been an active member of the TakeLessons community for seven years. She holds a Master of Education degree from CalState Northridge, and also studied vocal performance and Japanese in Los Angeles. This unique education experience prepared her to teach others how to speak and sing in different languages.

Meet Teacher RositaQ: What is your teaching mantra?

For singing, the mantra is: “If you can Speak you can Sing!” People think that you have to have talent in order to sing, but actually, singing has the same mechanism as speaking. You are just adding colorations to the voice. Singing, like any other skill, is something you are learning how to control and how to use your voice properly.

Q: Best memories with music students?

In 2016, a person from Avex (an Asian talent agency) reached out to me to see if I could help a singer with singing in English. So, I met with her and little did I know, I am face to face with one of my favorite artists. (Under NDA, I can’t say the name.) If you are an Anime nerd like me, she was our childhood. As we were going with our lesson, we talked about how regardless of age, if someone wants to improve on something in their life, whether it is a skill or a situation, starting anything new is scary and challenging. But when you see yourself improve, that feeling of accomplishment is worth it!

Q: When you’re not teaching, how do you spend your time?

I am both a nerd and a geek and I’m proud of it! I love Anime! Watching new Anime is definitely one of my biggest pastimes. Also, I can justify it for work since I work a lot in the Anime world with voice actors and singers. I love building gunpla. The wing series is still my favorite. And I love looking at Sailor Moon Memorabilia.

“Teaching on an online platform allows you to meet so many people from different cultures, backgrounds, and societies. I learn so much from them as well.” – Rosita R.

Q: Why is TakeLessons a unique opportunity for female teachers?

Thanks to TakeLessons I am able to provide for my mom and myself. Using the online platform has allowed me to take care of my mom, especially now that her illness is getting worse. I have the freedom of taking care and taking charge of the responsibilities that need to be done. Also, teaching on an online platform allows you to meet so many people from different cultures, backgrounds, and societies. I learn so much from them as well.

There is no doubt that this is not only a unique opportunity for female teachers, but an experience that must be had if you want to own a business. This company honestly has helped me to create my own teaching / coaching business.

If you’re interested in bilingual singing lessons, learn more about Rosita R.

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Thank you to stand-out female teachers Kathy, Mikayla, and Rosita for sharing your stories with us, and for sharing your skills with our community of lifelong learners!

TakeLessons partners with 5,000+ experts in foreign language, music, academics, visual art, and more inspired subjects. Lessons are held in-person, online, and in a live, digital classroom for groups. What are you interested in learning? Explore the possibilities.

Are you interested in becoming a TakeLessons teacher? Learn more!

Online Spanish Games for Kids

10 Fun and Educational Spanish Games for Kids

Online Spanish Games for Kids

Making sure that your child practices Spanish in between lessons is important. Below, Spanish teacher Breeana L. shares 10 fun and educational Spanish games for kids…

There are many ways to engage your child or your students in the Spanish learning process -whether the topic is vocabulary, verbs, or pronunciation. Here are 10 fun and educational Spanish games for kids that can be used in the classroom or at home.

Try These Spanish Games for Kids

 

1. Charades: Verbs

Playing charades is a great way to engage students of all ages in the use of Spanish verbs. Write down different verbs on cards (you can use index cards). For younger students, you can include both the picture and the word. One student will pick one of the cards to act out for the group. The rest of the participants will try to guess which verb is being acted out. Some Spanish verbs that lend themselves well to this activity include the following: bailar (to dance), correr (to run), and comer (to eat).

2. BINGO: Vocabulary

You can create your own BINGO boards either with your own materials or by using free online websites. Place vocabulary words in the different squares on the board. You can have several different BINGO boards, for different games, each with separate themes. For instance, one BINGO board can be for farm animals. Another can be for items in the classroom. You can purchase chips, or use coins or other manipulatives. Remember to create the list of words so that you can call them out to the players.

3. Diego Dice (Diego/Simon Says): Body Parts Vocabulary and Directions

Spanish Simon Says, or Diego Dice, is a fun way to review body parts as well as directions. Students will stand up and listen to the instructor call out commands such as, “Diego dice, toca la cabeza,” (Diego says, Touch your head) and “Mueve a la izquierda” (Move to the left).

4. Jeopardy: Various Spanish Topics

Through Jeopardy, you can review multiple topics simultaneously, such as Geography (Spanish countries), verb conjugations, adjectives, family members, etc. You can make this game on the computer by using a free preset game board offered by online sites. You could also create this game the old fashioned way by using a huge poster board.

5. I Spy: Colors, Shapes

I Spy is a captivating game with which lots of students are familiar. Each student can have a turn “spying” with their little ojos (eyes) an object in the room by describing its color and/or shape. As a result, they are practicing their use of nouns (the guesser), and adjectives (the spy).

6. Concentration/ Matching Flash Cards: Vocabulary

Create a deck of Spanish vocabulary cards and a deck of English vocabulary cards that correspond to those Spanish words. Place the cards faced down and have students try to find the correct match. Students can play this game in small groups or with a partner.

7. Catch the Pelota (Catch the ball): Various Spanish Topics

Purchase a lightly colored lightweight ball (preferably an inexpensive beach ball). The ball needs to be lightly colored so that you can write on it with a sharpie or indelible marker. Divide the ball into equal sections so that you can write questions and/or commands about various Spanish topics. While the class is arranged in a circle (or at their desks), the instructor or a student will toss the ball to another student. When the student catches the pelota (ball), wherever his/her right thumb is touching is the command or question the catcher must perform or answer. Some example questions include, “How do you say apples in español (Spanish)?” and “What is the capital of Columbia?” Some example commands include, “Touch your cabeza (head)” and “Count to ten in español (Spanish).”

8. Dramatic Spanish Conversations: Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary

Create topic strips around which students can create a conversation. For example the topic strips can say, “Two people ordering lunch from a restaurant,” “A doctor talking to a patient,” or “a tourist asking for directions.” The instructor will pick two students who will pick a strip from a bucket or hat and use their vocabulary and grammar skills to act out and engage in discourse. You can make the scenarios more dramatic by having costumes and props available to the students. Students can practice before they perform for the class.

9. Parent/Teacher made board game: Directions, Vocabulary

Create a board game for any Spanish topic of choice (or multiple topics). This board game can be as elaborate or as basic as you choose. Students can go around the board only moving if they answer questions correctly. There can be road bocks that require students to move backwards or skip a turn. These directions can be in Spanish for further practice. They can also have bonuses such as moving forward. You can create question cards as well as command cards for the students to pick from. You should also have game pieces that students will use to move around the board. You can utilize a spinner or dice (from games you already have) that the students can use to move their pieces forward or backwards.

10. Spanish Hoops: Various Spanish Topics

Create a list of questions to ask students. If your class sits in rows, you can use a giant die to choose the student that you will call on. The first number you roll will be the row number. The second number you roll will be the seat number. You can also use Popsicle sticks with the students’ names if they do not sit in rows. Ask the student any Spanish related question. If they answer correctly, they can have the opportunity to shoot the ball. This game can be played with teams. Separate your class into groups or two teams. Ask a question to the whole class. Give each group a white board to hold up their answer. Whichever team answers correctly will be allowed to shoot the basketball for an extra point. Small basketballs and nets that you can stick on your classroom’s whiteboard can be purchased.

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How to Read Body Language: Examples from Around the World

how to read body language

If you want to make a great first impression no matter where you are, learning how to read body language is key. And while you may be familiar with the customs and nonverbal cues of your own culture, traveling abroad is a different story.

Different cultures have their own interpretations of body language. For example, direct eye contact may be expected in one country, but be inappropriate in another.

Some other important nonverbal cues to pay attention to are hand gestures, personal space, and even posture. Included below are some helpful tips on how to read body language, as well as a few examples of body language from around the world.  

5 Tips on How to Read Body Language

1. Proximity

Paying attention to how close someone stands to others during conversation is vital. If you stand too close to someone, it might be a sign of aggression in their culture. On the other hand, if you stand too far away, it might come across as insincere.

In Japan, it’s common to have more of a distance between others. One reason for this need of extra space is the bow made when greeting others.

This is quite different from Latin American cultures, which are very tactile and affectionate. When speaking with someone from a Latin American country, be prepared to stand very close to the other person.

2. Face and Eyes

Many times, observing a person’s facial expressions can tell much more than their words. Is the person looking away, or at someone else? This might mean that he or she is not fully engaged in the conversation.

Direct eye contact on the other hand is typically a sign of genuine interest. Another sign of sincerity is a smile that involves the entire face. A smile that involves just the mouth might be a forced smile.

3. Hand Gestures

Always be sure to observe the hands of whoever you’re speaking with. Are they motioning with their hands as they speak, or are their hands folded? In what context do they use certain gestures or signs?

A seemingly small gesture can have a positive meaning in one country, but a completely opposite meaning in another. In the US for example, a thumbs-up sign signals a confirmation. In the Middle East, however this same gesture is offensive!

body language examples

4. Arm and Feet Positioning

Posture is also key in understanding body language. Pay attention to how others’ arms and feet are positioned while speaking. In some cultures, folding your arms across your chest appears standoffish and even insulting.

Sitting positions are also very important. Positioning your feet to show your soles while sitting is considered very rude in most Middle Eastern countries.

5. Mirroring

Appropriate body language in a culture will usually be mirrored. So one of the most important tips on how to read body language is by merely observing the other person to see if he or she is mirroring your movements.

It’s always on the safe side to shadow what you see others doing in another culture. Over time you’ll learn to adopt that culture’s customs so you don’t stand out too much from the crowd!

Body Language Examples From Around the Globe

Check out this animated infographic with examples of how body language differs around the world. Be sure to click on each magnifying glass for more details!

Here are some more body language examples that represent the many cultural differences around the world.

Head Movement

Head movements can have very different meanings in different parts of the world. For example, in India, a side-to-side head tilt is used to confirm something. In Japan, a nod means that you have been heard, but not necessarily that there is agreement.

Eye Contact

In most Western cultures, eye contact shows that you are being attentive and interested in the speaker. Constant eye contact in Japan can make people feel incredibly awkward.

In Spanish and Arabic cultures, strong visual contact is very common between people of the same sex and not looking back is often considered disrespectful.

Nose Contact

Blowing your nose into a handkerchief is a typical action in Western cultures, but it’s considered dirty and rude to the Japanese. Tapping your nose in Italy means “watch out,” while it means that something is “confidential” in the UK.

Lips and Kisses

In the Filipino culture, the lips are used to point toward something, while Americans would use their fingers. Kisses in public are a normal way to say hello or goodbye to a loved one in some European cultures, but in Asian cultures, these gestures are considered intimate and are often left for the privacy of one’s home.

body language examples

Finger Signs

It’s important to be cautious when using finger gestures in other countries. Here are the various meanings of joining the thumb and index finger to form a ring:

  • This is positive sign in the US, meaning “OK.”
  • In France and Germany, this signals “zero” or “nothing.”
  • In Japan, this sign means “money” if you’re in a professional setting.
  • In some Mediterranean, Arabic, and Latin American countries, this gesture is an obscenity.

Proximity

Personal space varies greatly across cultures. It’s common in China for people to stand very close to one another, while Americans are accustomed to a lot of physical space. Latin American cultures are very tactile and affectionate so they also stand closer to one another.

Physical Contact

While an almost automatic response for some people, touch is very important to consider when with people from other cultures. In the British culture for example, they are more conservative with their tactile gestures. In the US, Americans are more open to handshakes and hugs.

Other countries where it may be considered rude to touch others include:

  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Scandinavia

Some countries where it’s generally okay to touch the other speaker include:

  • Turkey
  • France
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Spain

Learning how to read body language can truly enhance any cultural or travel experience. If you’re interested in learning more, studying a foreign language is another excellent way to gain insight into communication styles that differ from your own.

Check out TakeLessons to learn the language of your choice and be introduced to its culture by a native speaker. Or join an online language class today for free!

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL in Jacksonville, Florida. She has a Bachelors in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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