HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE COMPREHENSION

Listening is an art that can greatly improve the speed at which you learn to communicate in a foreign language. A huge amount of practice is required by a language learner, and this is the very art of absorbing and trying to understand what it is you are hearing.

Great speakers and good readers do not achieve success without first listening to the words and language they seek to master.

The more exposure you get to listening, the faster the learning skills will develop. It is possible to train the ear to listen out for foreign speech and is a key learning skill in developing toddlers as they listen to the words spoken to them by their parents and siblings.

When you see a baby with eyes wide open, mouth aghast and head in a still position – this is what a developing child does when he or she is listening. It is a natural act and is the most prolific and dynamic method to language comprehension.

We know then that language comprehension greatly relies on listening skills, but are there any other tips to give you a head start in comprehending a language more dynamically and at a faster pace?

Removing any distractions that may hinder the ability to listen to a foreign language is a good start. Listen as much as you can: world dramas on television box sets are available in many languages, thanks to smart set-top boxes; make sure it is something you enjoy and do not get agitated when you don’t understand. It will happen and patience is required.

Mastering language comprehension has become easier with the many apps available to download on our smartphones. Common words and phrases are available to help you through the minefield of language pronunciation.

Train the Brain to Listen Fluently

Many language learners will read textbooks and listen to smartphone apps and repeat back what was said in the lesson. It may seem as though everything is actually going really well.

Then you might find yourself speaking one-to-one with a native speaker of your target language, only to find you barely understood a word they said. Did they speak too quickly? Did they talk in a local slang? Probably not.

They will have spoken normally and your listening skills will not have been finely tuned to understand the flow of words that have just been heard by the untrained ear.

Reference:
Says:, V., Says:, J., Says:, D. N., Says:, A. V., Says:, S., Says:, P., . . . Says:, L. (2015, October 04). How To Improve Your Foreign Language Comprehension. Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://www.mezzoguild.com/how-to-improve-foreign-language-comprehension/

SOME OF GUADALAJARA’S ACHIEVEMENTS AND RECOGNITIONS

  • 1970. Venue to the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cups and just recently the upcoming 2016 World cup.
  • 1986. The International Film Festival of Guadalajara was born.
  • 1987. The Guadalajara International Book Fair started and is now the largest Spanish language book fair in the world, held each year over nine days at the Expo Guadalajara. Over 300 publishing firms from 35 countries regularly attend.
  • 1991. Our city was the venue to the first Iberoamerican Summit.
  • 2004. Hosted The Third Summit of Heads of State and Governments from Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union.
  • 2005. Named the American Capital of Culture.
  • 2005. Welcomed the International Promoters and Cultural Managers.
  • 2007. The survey entitled "Cities of the Future", FDi magazine ranked Guadalajara highest among major Mexican cities and designated Guadalajara as having the second strongest economic potential of any major North American city, behind Chicago. The magazine also ranked it as the most business-friendly Latin American city.  
  • 2009. Guadalajara hosted the convention: Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).
  • 2010. We held the AATSP Convention (The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese).
  • 2011. We hosted the Pan American Games.
  • 2013. Trip Advisor selects Guadalajara as their Travelers’ Choice destination award: 
  • 2016. 2nd best place to visit by the magazine: Travel + Leisure.
  • 2016. Named the First IEEE Assisted 'Smart  City'
  • 2016. The 100 Resilient Cities announced Guadalajara, Mexico as one if its newest member. Our city was one of the very few chosen from a list of over 1000 applications.
  • Yearly. Created 32 years ago The FIL (The Guadalajara International Book Fair) is the most important publishing gathering in Ibero-America. It is also an amazing cultural festival.
  • The Ensemble of Performing Arts, we have spaces for music, theater and dance at the height of the best in the world.
  • Guadalajara is a global city. The consultancy A.T. Kearney, which publishes year after year an index of the 100 cities in the world that exhibit the greatest potential, and which placed in 2017 our city in the 76th position, just three below Sao Paulo.

SPANISH IS ONE OF THE LANGUAGES THAT WILL GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO BROADEN YOUR CAREER

Traveling abroad, and taking a language course at an accredited school, is quite possibly the most dynamic form of language learning there is. Language schools are designed to powerfully increase learning skills and merge seamlessly with the day to day immersion of actually living within that country.

But did you know that adding Spanish to your skill set can actually boost your career? Speaking Spanish will improve an employee’s standing within any company. Whether you are an accountant, hotel worker, CEO or tradesperson, a broadening of your career awaits you.

This is particularly the case where there are many Spanish speaking people in the workplace, or the business does overseas trade with Spanish language nations. Understanding Spanish will take away any communication barriers, making the work and life balance a lot more harmonious in the office.

Think how well you could be able to communicate with co-workers, customers and managers on that much deeper level. Even if your Spanish language skills are not up to fluency level, Spanish speaking co-workers will be only too happy to help you practice and will show a deep satisfaction that you are at least trying

Knowing the Spanish language will help you to engage with Spanish-speaking customers. This will lead to better reviews for your business, as the client will surely feedback with the knowledge that you made the effort to communicate in their language.

Imagine staying with a host family in Costa Rica, Argentina or Mexico and attending a language school at the same period you are staying overseas? Spanish is used widely across the world – particularly in the Americas. There are a multitude of jobs and career paths you can take, but knowing how to communicate in Spanish is a huge advantage for most employers.

Even if you own your own business and want to tap into the markets of the United States, China, Europe, South America, etc., learning Spanish opens up a huge new client base.

There are several ways you can help yourself when learning the Spanish language. You should start by listening a lot. If you go abroad to an accredited language school and stay with a host family, there will be little choice but to listen.

Listening is regarded as the first major step in language learning. Multi linguist, Steve Kaufmann, known to have been proficient in 17 languages, always listens when he jogs, vacuums, drives or rests. He usually spends around an hour a day doing just that: listening.

Source:

Steve. “How To Improve Your Speaking Skills in a New Language.” The Linguist, Linguist, 20 Aug. 2018, blog.thelinguist.com/improve-speaking-skills

QUANTITY OVER QUALITY IN VOCABULARY LEARNING

A word being remembered in vocabulary learning is a bit like a person – we know a great deal of words and we know many people. But how many people are there in our lives that we know so little about?

Words that are used in several different situations within your language learning, are just like people we know well – like friends or close associates.

You cannot meet a person just the once and consider him a true friend. Equally, one cannot learn a word in Spanish and claim to know how it really fits in to the everyday language.

Quantity over quality is important in the learning of a new language. The reason is clear: you may know exactly how to say something like, “Hello, how are you?” in the target language but when you are unable to understand a single word of the response you receive back, it kind of makes it all pointless.

We know we have to learn lots of words and grow a large vocabulary learning bank. This way we can find the words to respond to such basic questions.

Imagine if a Spanish person asks you a question, one which you understood and could even repeat back. You can become stuck, at this point, with no way forward in continuing the conversation. All because your vocabulary learning bank is so low.

There are ways of accumulating a large vocabulary in your target language. You may struggle with the grammar when responding but at least you have the words to hand. It is now just a case of getting the words in the right order and getting some grammar rules cleaned up, and you are well on the way to a conversation.

Language learners of all levels have to continue learning a vocabulary. Even the fluent language speakers. Grammar may be the structure of any language but vocabulary is the heartbeat of linguistics.

We all learn languages in different ways. Some have to write down the word, others have to associate with something, or else it will dissipate from the memory. Discover what your best way of learning is and stick to that.

Sticky notes are good for remembering words. Place them around a workstation and allow your brain to subconsciously catch the eye. These can be changed at regular intervals as you learn and digest the old words. The, after a few days, one can start with another set of sticky notes with a fresh 10 or 15 new words.

Source: Steve. “Vocabulary Learning – Quantity Over Quality – The Linguist on Language.” The Linguist, 17 Sept. 2017, blog.thelinguist.com/quantity-over-quality-in-vocabulary-learning.

LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE FROM INTERESTING CONTENT

When you learn another language, there are a small number of variations in how you achieve the knowledge. It is fine to mix and match the different styles, but we all learn a new language so much easier if the content is invigorating.

You may remember the language learning schooldays, when a vocabulary was created on a boring list, sentence structures were written in dusty old grammar books and learning was anything but fun.

Content that grabs the attention and is interesting will place an entire new approach to language learning. If you read interesting content, your brain will work in a dynamic way. Vocabulary and sentence structure is more easily absorbed, learning another language becomes fun and somehow we know a lot more than the tedium of grammar lists.

Interesting content can be something that is appealing to you. It might be a television drama with English subtitles, or a great travel article written in English and your target language.

This is important because we all learn our first language from listening, before aping the sounds we hear. We talk long before we write or read. But now we know how to read and write in our first language, can we not go straight for interesting reading in our second language that we are learning?

Language learning gets exciting when you learn a word and see it appearing in a different context. But to speed up the learning process, make the topic interesting and put some fun into it.

If you were to go back in time, when being taught Mathematics, you may recall how boring it used to be. But interestingly, content-based learning changed the way math was taught. If you give a child three apples and tell her to remove two, to reveal the answer you require, it becomes far more intriguing for the child than it might looking at the chalkboard and seeing “3 – 2 = what?”

It works in a similar vein to language learning. Tedious lists of vocabulary are hard to memorise.

Focus of something interesting: If you are learning German – check out the history of the Berlin Wall; for French language students, try to discover the background of the Eiffel Tower or The Champs-Elysées. Spanish language students might want to read and write about the archaeological wonders of Teotihuacan or the colonial neighbourhoods around Mexico City.

Interesting content sticks in the mind and hastens the learning process; and it’s a lot more fun too.

Resource: Richards, Spike, et al. “The Top 10 Places in Mexico You Need to See to Fully Experience and Enjoy the Country.” NeverStopTraveling, 15 Mar. 2018, www.neverstoptraveling.com/the-top-10-places-in-mexico.

WHICH IS THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH LEARNING SPANISH?

Nowadays there are many ways of learning foreign languages. Technological development makes self-study much easier than before and there are plenty of language schools and teachers available both on- and off-line. However, not all the ways of learning Spanish are equally good. Let me tell you why attending an accredited Spanish language school is the best option.

Self-study is not the best solution

Self-study may seem like a good option at first: you can be flexible, study at your own pace and study the topics you want. However, there are serious disadvantages as well. The biggest disadvantage for any person is the risk of wasting a lot of time. If you are new to learning Spanish, you may not know what to begin with, which materials to choose. If you do not practice self-study regularly, you may waste a lot of time on developing discipline and searching for the most efficient learning techniques. Also, even with all the resources available, speaking practice is still a challenge.

Advantages of studying with a tutor

Learning Spanish with a tutor is a better choice for a person who values their time. A good tutor will provide you with the best materials and learning techniques that have been tested and tried out and proven successful. They will provide discipline and structure, as well as detailed explanation of the trickiest points in grammar and vocabulary. Good tutors will not only provide you with speaking practice, but teach you to speak effortlessly and make the best use of your language skills.

Risks of choosing a bad language teacher

One of the risks of choosing even an average tutor, not necessarily a bad one, are the so called teacher-induced errors. Those are situations when a teacher does not correct a learner’s mistake or they make a mistake themselves which learners may then memorize believing it to be the correct variant. There is a similar risk with low quality learning materials. In the future, it may lead to more time wasted on correcting such mistakes. Having said that, it is absolutely essential to choose a great tutor who will provide you with the highest quality materials and the best learning experience.

The problem of choice

The contemporary foreign language teaching market is really saturated. It is very easy to become a language tutor, especially online, and as a result, the problem of choice creates a serious issue. How can you make sure that the teacher – or even the language school – that you ultimately choose is one of the best? How can you avoid wasting your time and money on subpar education quality?

Why attending an accredited language school is the best way to learn Spanish

The only way to make sure you get the best possible education quality is studying at an accredited language school. Accreditation is a process during which a school is evaluated by a board of experts, who among other things assess the quality of education, teachers and services available to students. If a language school has been accredited it means that it is a reputable school which complies with the highest standards of language teaching. Learning Spanish at an accredited language school will provide you with the best learning experience possible, as well as the best value for money.

Learning Spanish at an accredited Spanish language school will help you immerse yourself in a saturated learning environment. It will prove one of the best investments of your time.

Resource:

Sensei. “Englishtopic.” Топики По Английскому Языку, 11 Sept. 2017, englishtopic.ru/learning-foreign-languages-izuchenie-inostrannyx-yazykov-3/..

TIPS AND ADVICE ON LEARNING SPANISH CONVERSATION AND VOCABULARY

Expanding your vocabulary and improving your conversation skills are some of the most important things about learning Spanish. Most of us learn a foreign language to communicate with others, in writing or orally, for business or for pleasure. And vocabulary and conversation skills are the building blocks of communication.

Even if you have a great teacher that will provide ample vocabulary and speaking practice, there are still a few things you can do to make learning Spanish even more effective.

Learning Spanish Vocabulary

Let us start with learning Spanish vocabulary, which is a little more simple and straightforward. Here are some of the best ways of expanding vocabulary.

Use Flash Cards

A classical flash card is a piece of paper or cardboard with the vocabulary unit in Spanish on one side and translation on the other. The card can also include sentence examples, dictionary definitions, even pictures if they help you remember the word or phrase.

Nowadays hardly anyone uses physical cards, though. Using apps, such as Anki or Quizlet, saves both time and paper. Such apps can offer you ready-made vocabulary lists such as “top 500 Spanish words” or “Spanish verbs” and you can create your own lists, too.

Read

Reading is one of the best ways to both revise and expand your vocabulary. Many words are repeated throughout the book at least a few times, and even though you may need a dictionary to translate them at the beginning, by the end of the book you will use the dictionary less and less.

However, make sure that you choose books or texts that are appropriate for your level. If there are too many new words that you have to look up there is a higher chance that you will eventually give up. Adapted books – books written for students of a certain level – can be a great help to those learning Spanish, and a lot of fun, too.

Another way to practice vocabulary is actually using it in speech or in writing, which brings us to conversation skills.

Improving Spanish Conversation Skills

Practicing your Spanish conversation is a bit trickier because you cannot really do it by yourself – you need a partner, preferably a native speaker or teacher. You can practice with other people who are learning Spanish, too, but be careful not to copy their mistakes.

Go to a Language School

One of the best ways to make sure you practice conversation properly is going to an accredited Spanish language school. This means that you will have some of the best teachers and study among other learners who are as dedicated as you.

Teachers at a language school will guide your conversations, focus on particular skills and look out for mistakes.

If you follow the advice above, your progress in learning Spanish will be much faster. And here is one more piece of advice to finish things up: whatever you do it is essential to practice regularly. If you practice every day, even just a little, you lay small bricks into a strong foundation of your future great Spanish skills.

Source: “Learning Conversation and Vocabulary.” Indonesian Alphabet, Pronunciation and Language, www.omniglot.com/language/articles/slearningtips.htm.

SPANISH COURSES IN MEXICO IMPROVE YOUR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Learning Spanish can greatly improve your employment opportunities. In fact, Spanish is one of the best languages to learn if you want to get better career options. And it does not only concern language-related jobs, such as translating, interpreting or teaching Spanish.

LEARNING SPANISH FOR BUSINESS

Spain and Latin American countries such as Mexico or Brazil are booming markets with significant influence on the world economy. More and more companies are looking to expand their business there or work with Spanish-speaking partners and contractors.

If you work for such a company, learning Spanish will significantly increase your career opportunities: internships, business trips and conferences, meetings, know-how exchange. If you are looking for a job, knowing Spanish can make you a more desirable candidate.

If you own a business and plan to expand to Spain or Latin American countries, knowledge of Spanish will be beneficial as well. It provides for better networking and a personal touch in negotiations with potential partners. It may also help to avoid misinformation through translation.

WHICH VERSION OF SPANISH SHOULD YOU LEARN?

One of the questions that arise when you consider learning Spanish is the choice between different variants of the language.

Spanish spoken in Spain differs from the language spoken in Latin America. Furthermore, there isn’t “one” Latin American Spanish, there are slight differences from country to country.

Mexican Spanish has several advantages. Population-wise, it is the most widespread version (compare: the population of Spain is 46 million people and the population of Mexico is 130 million, according to The World Bank). Also, Mexican Spanish is already popular with learners all over the world. It has wide recognition and neutral to positive attitudes in North America and Europe, due to media and overall exposure.

WHY GO TO MEXICO

You may have heard that the best way to learn a language is to go to the country where it is spoken. It is absolutely true.

Whether you attend an accredited Spanish language school, study with a teacher or by yourself, studying the language in its country of origin will allow you to immerse yourself fully into the language, not only when you study, but in your free time as well.

WHY GO TO A LANGUAGE SCHOOL

There are many ways to learn a language, but learning Spanish at an accredited language school is hands down the best method.

In this case, you can be sure that you are getting the best value for money: professional teachers, high-quality learning materials and a group of like-minded people to practice with.

To sum it all up, doing a Spanish course in Mexico will dramatically increase your employment options.

Now days Spanish is one of the most required foreign languages for business, with Mexican Spanish being probably the most preferred variant.

If you decide to learn to learn Spanish, taking a course at an accredited school in Mexico will maximize the effect. It will allow you to make the most of your time, learn Spanish quicker and more efficiently.

THE BEST PROGRAMS TO LEARN SPANISH ARE ACCREDITED

Spanish is one of the most widespread languages, popular with learners all over the world. Naturally, different ways of learning it are available. This is great, but it also presents a problem of choice.

You can learn Spanish online, with a private tutor or at a language school. And when it comes to language schools, there is a great variety of programs, which can be hard to choose from. However, if you choose an accredited program, you can be sure that it is one of the best programs to learn Spanish.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is an important educational process. If a school or a program is accredited, it shows that the school has met and is maintaining a high level of educational standards.

An accreditation agency evaluates the mission of the school, its instructors and resources, the services and facilities it provides to the students. Also, periodic visits and reviews are held to make sure that the standards are constantly maintained at the same level.

Thus, if you want to make sure that you are choosing one of the best programs to learn Spanish you should choose an accredited program for a number of reasons.

Why accreditation matters

Many Spanish learners are unsure why accreditation is important and why the best programs to learn Spanish are accredited. It may seem that if you learn the material diligently and get your certificate, it is all that matters. However, not all learning experiences are equal.

First of all, choosing an accredited program will benefit you as a learner. There is a great variety of textbooks, learning materials, and styles. There are hardly any that are completely useless, but there are definitely materials that are more effective than the others. Teachers also vary in teaching styles, knowledge, and quality. Choosing an accredited Spanish learning program will ensure that you get the best possible teachers and resources and will protect you from poor quality education.

The best programs to learn Spanish will create a learning process that is fast and efficient, that brings the best possible results and gives you the best possible value for your money.

Secondly, accredited schools and programs can improve your future employment opportunities. Knowledge of a foreign language may look good on your resume. But a certificate from an accredited language school tells your potential employer exactly how good your Spanish is and what skills you possess. Otherwise, they may question how valid your degree is and how good a job candidate you are.

It is absolutely important when knowledge of Spanish is one of the main requirements for the job. You will have a chance to demonstrate your knowledge at a job interview, but even before that, a certificate of an accredited Spanish learning program will make your resume stand out among others.

To sum it up, the best programs to learn Spanish are accredited. They provide you with the highest quality education that has been proven by an accreditation agency. They also provide you with the best possible value for your money. Choosing an accredited Spanish language school or program can have a tremendous influence on your future career. It is one of the best investments in your future that you can make.

Reference:

“Understanding Accreditation.” Accreditation: Why It Is Important, What It Means, and Who Accredits, www.collegesanddegrees.com/accreditation.

WHAT TYPE OF LANGUAGE LEARNER ARE YOU?

People’s personalities differ. It is natural and we are used to the fact that it has a great influence on our relationships and life in general. For instance, you have probably heard a lot about introverts, how to approach them or advice to introverts how to improve their social skills.

What many people do not realize is that our personality affects our learning style as well. If you want to learn the Spanish language but approach it in a way that is not suited to your personality it can be truly frustrating and your success in learning the language will be negatively affected.

This article looks at some of the most common learning styles, their peculiarities and the best ways to learn the Spanish language for each of them.

Are you an introvert or an extravert?

Extraverted people thrive in a community. They study better in groups and enjoy attention. Extroverts are usually better at various speaking and communicative tasks; they give answers relatively quickly and speak more freely than introverts.

Introverted people can feel uncomfortable in big groups or with new people. They take longer to answer, but it does not mean that their Spanish level is lower – introverts tend to think things over more. Such people prefer reading or writing tasks to speaking and learn better in small groups or individually.

Are you a visual or auditory learner?

Even though people in general rely a lot on visual information, certain students can favor either visual or auditory materials when they learn the Spanish language.

As the name suggests, visual learners are better at perceiving and remembering visual information: pictures, charts and graphs, colors. They may benefit from writing down new words or grammar in different colors or creating charts and tables.

Auditory learners rely more on what they hear: sounds, voices, music. They memorize new material better when they hear it and repeat it out loud.

Are you a planner or an improviser?

In learning, as well as in life, certain people prefer to plan everything in advance, while others are better at improvising.

Planners usually benefit from a relatively strict learning plan, they feel more comfortable when they know what they are going to learn and how long it will take. Such people are also usually more concerned about “doing everything right” and not making any mistakes. It may slow them down at times, but as a result, they get a more profound understanding of various language aspects.

Improvisers are usually more spontaneous. They do not mind getting off the planned path to study some exciting or useful materials, even if such materials are not part of the curriculum. Such people are also more spontaneous when speaking. They do not worry as much about mistakes and do not always study the material as thoroughly as they should, but they tend to have better speaking skills.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Certain people function better early in the morning, while others are sharper and more active late at night. When you learn the Spanish language, being an early bird or a night owl can have quite a big influence as well. Early birds, naturally, study much better in the morning, while night owls will probably benefit more from evening classes.

As you can see, there is a great variety of learning styles, and choosing the right way to learn the Spanish language can be a challenge. However, there is one solution that works for any learning style: studying Spanish at an accredited language school.

If a language school is accredited it means that in maintains the highest standards of education, including highly qualified teachers. They will be able to adapt the learning process and materials according to your needs and your learning style to make the process of learning Spanish as efficient and successful as possible.

Resource:

Lesson Nine GmbH. “What Kind Of Language Learner Are You? | Babbel Magazine.” The Babbel Magazine, www.babbel.com/en/magazine/what-kind-of-language-learner-are-you.