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Can Learning Spanish Feel Like Sex, Gambling, And Chocolate?

What is the link between gambling, chocolate, sex and…learning Spanish? You might be surprised to hear that the same part of the brain’s reward centre activates in response to all four stimuli, but that’s what scientists in Barcelona recently discovered. Participants in an experiment were encouraged to decipher new words in a foreign language whilst experts measured the chemicals in their brains. The results lead scientists to claim that those who felt more rewarded from learning new words were able to learn more. In other words, participants who naturally feel good when they learn, are more likely to learn more!

6 Ways To Turn Your Vacation Into A Spanish Learning Venture

Traveling to a Spanish speaking country has always been the single biggest motivator to Spanish students; in fact, it’s perhaps the only reason most of us decided to even start learning the language. After all, what good is a language skill if you never wish to be where it’s spoken! It’s a shame how so many of us consider it a divine right, as English speakers, to be understood everywhere we go, be it Mexico, Mongolia or even Mars. Now, traveling abroad is a costly affair and not all are lucky enough to make it. But what if you are? Well, then you really are lucky since one such trip can accelerate your Spanish learning like nothing else can.

6 Alien-Sounding Spanish Verbs In An Instant

Etymology is an incredibly wonderful tool when it comes to acquiring new words. Dig deep enough into the history of any language and words that seemed utterly alien and unrelated until now suddenly start to appear familiar. This works best when the language in question shares genetics with your native tongue. Fortunately, Spanish and English share a stronger ancestral bond than many acknowledge, which makes learning new words easier than it seems. Let’s see how etymological mapping can help us learn some of the most commonly used Spanish verbs that, on face value, seem to have little semblance with their English meanings.

Easy Trick To Learn The Spanish For Your Clothes

You could be out on vacation shopping for some items of clothing in a Spanish-speaking country or perhaps you just want to flaunt your Spanish to a bunch of native speakers. No matter what your motivation, learning to name what you wear everyday in Spanish is a cool skill to have. And, if you know the right way to learn, it should take you no more than a few minutes to conquer them all and reproduce them “on the fly” without having to fiddle with mental translations. If cramming up words after words is your forte, we’d recommend saving that skill for something harder as this one calls for hardly any efforts on your part!

The Cause-Effect Trick To Remember Your Por And Para

Be it Spanish or any other language, the most painful aspect invariably turns out to be the appropriate usage of its prepositions. To us English speakers Spanish prepositions might seem way too unruly and chaotic but that’s how the Spanish speakers feel about English too. Try explaining to them, for instance, why you live “in” the house but are “at” home! Grammar rules, more often than not, defy all logic. Fortunately, when it comes to the Spanish por and para, there still exists enough logic to save your day. Mastering this logic is key to proficiency in Spanish as these prepositions are just too damn indispensable.




Tips On Using The World's Largest Language Learning Community

In the process of acquiring Spanish, we have used and abused an insane amount of free resources both offline and online. It is only with hit-and-trial that you eventually appreciate what works best for you, be it learning Spanish or acquiring any other skill. One of the resources many learners have used quite extensively is Livemocha and this article is going to focus on our experiences – and those of many other Spanish learners all over the world – with it. Having ransacked all that Livemocha has to offer in terms of Spanish, we have managed to put together our own list of strategies around squeezing it for maximum juice.

The social network


This is how Livemocha is modeled
This is how Livemocha is modeled
Photo credit: Linda Hartley licensed CC BY 2.0
Livemocha’s model is quite simple and intuitive. It merges social networking with language learning. So, basically you learn new languages using free online lessons, complete drills to assimilate your learning, and make friends with native speakers along the way to reinforce practical language skills. Now, Livemocha isn’t the only such site – you have others like iTalki as well – but being the largest community of learners has its own advantages.

Livemocha offers a free basic membership, much like most other social networking sites. When you join as a free user, you have at your disposal an array of free courses graded in levels along with several exercises and an entire community of fellow language learners to interact and socialize with. These courses have lessons covering every aspects of a wholesome language learning program, i.e., writing, reading, listening, and speaking.

The site has a rating system where you earn points and badges for performing various activities. You earn points not only for successfully completing your lessons but also for contributing to the community at large. For example, you earn points by chatting with other learners, reviewing their exercises, offering them feedback, etc. This is a symbiosis where your exercises are reviewed by those proficient in your target language while you review those of someone who is learning a language you’re fluent in. So, effectively, you are a teacher as well as a student, both at once. A brilliant concept that helped me acquire most of my Spanish skills without a formal teacher! Livemocha also offers a range of paid courses if you are willing to shell out some dough but this article is only going to discuss what comes for free.

Getting started


Just like any other social networking site, you start by creating an account and a profile with some personal details. Well, you don’t absolutely have to load up tons of personal information on this site as you would normally do on your Facebook profile. Almost every field is optional and you are free to decide how much you are comfortable sharing.

However, a profile devoid of any informtion looks pretty much spammy or insincere. Don’t forget that this is a community and the more you are invested in your social endeavors here, the more juice you get to draw. Since your profile is the first impression, it should be reasonably friendly and inviting. A decent mug as your profile picture counts as a necessary PR step.

Do put up a friendly note about yourself and your language learning interests in your “About Me” section as that’s the section that essentially introduces you. The next absolute necessity is telling what languages you speak and what you wish to learn. This will not only help other community members know what you are pursuing and what you know, but will also help Livemocha suggest the most relevant profiles whenever you perform a community search. So, if your profile says that your native tongue is English and you are learning Spanish, Livemocha would suggest to you native Spanish speakers who are learning English.

How to get the most out of it


Once your profile is up, you can immediately start engaging with the vast network of learners and learning resources. In the beginning, however, the whole array of options and tools might get you overwhelmed. So, let my experiences with Livemocha cut right through the clutter and bring to you the 4 most useful tips in order to maximize your benefits:
  1. Focus solely on the reading and speaking lessons. A major portion of every course is composed of modules where you click on pictures and listen to an audio telling you what the picture stands for. In my opinion, this module is an utter waste of time and energy as it won’t get you anywhere in terms of either speaking or reading Spanish. Instead, it is best to just skip to the reading exercise where you record yourself reading a given passage in Spanish and submit the recording to the community of native speakers for review. This will help you with pronunciation and diction in the most effective manner.

  2. Immediately start helping others with their work. So, if you are a native English speaker learning Spanish, you should immediately start reviewing the drills completed by native Spanish speakers trying to learn English. Don’t procrastinate on this one as helping others will get you more help which you so desperately need. A profile poor in “teacher points” is easily seen as someone selfish and unwilling to help – not the best impression you want the community to have of you. Helping others is the best way of making friends with native speakers and accelerating your learning.

  3. Always acknowledge their helpfulness. As you start submitting your exercises, you will start receiving valuable feedback from other community members who review your work. You must get into the practice of rating every feedback in terms on helpfulness and, if possible, offer a comment of acknowledgement. This will not only earn you points but also show your gratitude for their help. Besides, a good rating from you would also add points to the members whose feedback was rated and this would act as an added incentive for them to review your work more often and more sincerely. On the other hand, not-so-helpful reviews are also weeded out organically in this process.

  4. Interact with other members. We admit we are no fans of the Java-based chat interface of Livemocha but the activity nonetheless remains integral to your language acquisition program. Real-time interaction can teach you several finer nuances of colloquial Spanish which are otherwise not available on any course. If the interface peeves you, feel free to move over to something else like Skype once you have become reasonably comfortable with the chat-buddy.

We love comments that add value to our discussions and help build a healthy community of Spanish-lovers around them. Please keep’em comin’; feel free to speak your mind. Everything’s welcome unless you’re spammin’ or trollin’ (refer to our Comment Policy). You’re also welcome to share links to relevant resources but no annoyin’ sales pitches please! So, let’s get talkin’, shall we?

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2 comments

  1. Nice tips you have provided.I want to learn world wide language English,please share some tips with me.I have started learning English with videos http://www.youtube.com/user/twominenglish Please suggest some tips for English learners.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for providing this information really it is helpful

    TOEFL Grammar test

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