Create a Foreign Language Audio Collection

Asterix et le Papyrus de CesarLearning a foreign language involves many things. Of them, audio is an important factor. Hearing your chosen language over and over helps you become accustomed to it, and learn to pronounce it better. When you enjoy listening, your development is improved. In your efforts to learn, try building yourself an extensive foreign language audio collection so that you always have something to which you can listen.

This does not mean audio learning accessories, though these are very, very useful. For the purposes of this collection, things you really enjoy hearing are best. Whatever type of music you enjoy, it probably exists in the language you want to learn. From rock, to jazz, to popular music, these all abound in other countries. Go hunting for recommended musical artists who sing in the language you’re learning, and start collecting.  Look for both authentic music, as well as original music that was written specifically to help language learners.

I crossed that out, only because these are free and then why would they need to buy products from me.

If you’re a reader, make a list of the literature you want to read and go find the audiobook version. You can listen to the audiobook even if you’re not quite advanced enough to comprehend. Hearing it helps you learn and you may understand more than you realize. Then, later, when you’ve learned more, you can revisit the literature and read it yourself.

We are more than reading at World of Reading; we have audio, too. Come get what you need to learn a language on our site–from books with CDs, to music.

Read Literature to Learn a Language

Audiobooks, textbooks, and more abound to help you learn a language. These are wellworth considering if you’re taking your project seriously. However, few things can make learning a language as easy, or be as fun as reading the literature you really want to read.

Literature carries not only the grammar and vocabulary of a language, but all of its meaning and nuance, as well.  Literature is a lens to the world; it is sometimes argued that an era’s fiction is a more accurate, firsthand view than a history textbook could ever offer. Literature offers, in print, all of the tools for real communication in a language.

El Lazarillo de TormesSo, how do you go about using literature to learn?

Start with something simple. If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to reach for a children’s book. Or, try a graphic novel, or comic book. Work your way up to more lengthy, complex works of literature. It’s a process; keep your dictionary with you and look up any terms you don’t understand. You can also have the translation in your native language, too, and compare the two side-by-side.

Audiobooks are also of great help. Part of learning a language thoroughly is hearing it and speaking it. Audiobooks bring all the text has to offer to life. Listen to the audiobook with the text in front of you. You both see and hear. Anytime you don’t understand something, pause and look it up. A great thing about dictionaries now is that you can get them online, and you can even click and hear the word you want to know. The first few times, listen while reading, then try just listening to see if you understand.

You can also enjoy the process with a partner. Read aloud to someone, or let them read to you while you follow along. Look up words and pronounce them together.

Get everything you need to read and learn a language at World of Reading.

Broaden Your Mind Through Language

We know that learning is healthy for the brain; it has been said to improve cognitive function and possibly stave off neurological disorders. There is more to the brain, however, than mere function. The mind works in ways that we do not fully understand, and learning a language will broaden your mind.

colors-of-the-mountain-dvdUnderstanding another language is to understand something about another culture.

Languages do more than allow you to communicate with someone from another country. They reveal things about the language’s culture. Phrases and their meanings develop over time and reveal things about history. Nuances expose elements of culture, communication, and how relationships develop. Suddenly, you understand more than just the words of a language—you comprehend things about the people who speak it.

Once you understand what someone else is saying, you can really listen.

Things often get lost in translation. Basic communication may be possible, but only when you learn the other language can you not only speak, you can listen. Suddenly, another person is able to express far more with you. Things you never realized about that person become clear. This leads to true communication and possibly better relationships.

Your world is made bigger.

Now that you understand another language, more of the world is open to you. You no longer have to rely on finding a translation. You can learn from another culture’s educational system, its arts and literature, and its people. In many cases, knowing a language doesn’t limit you to one other culture; there are several cultures in which the language is spoken, and because you’ve learned it, you now have access to even more of the world.  Your world is a larger, your life potentially a little better, and your mind broader.

Broaden your mind through language. Pick up a textbook, or instructional audio. Watch more foreign films and read more literature. Visit World of Reading today and open your world.

Beneficial Languages

Learning a new language is beneficial in general. Among the many reasons to learn is business; knowing another language can be a significant boost in your career. However, though all languages are interesting in their own way and may be of some benefit in the right circumstances, there are some particularly beneficial languages that could great for your career.

Mandarin

It is well-known now that China is a significant economic power. For major corporations, business with China is a must. The country is home to over a billion people and the demand for employees with the ability to communicate in Chinese, particularly Mandarin, in on the rise. It is a difficult language to learn for many, but if you manage to conquer it, potential employers will find it very impressive.

Spanish

talktalkspanbigIn both the U.S. and Europe, Spanish is a very useful language to know. With the U.S. in close proximity to countries like Mexico, and Spain in Europe, Spanish becomes a major language of choice. In most industries, there is a need for Spanish-speakers. The U.S. does a lot of business with Mexico, Colombia, and many more countries where it is the official language. Many find that Spanish is one of the easier languages to learn. If you can find the time, knowing Spanish could be very good for your career.

German

It may surprise some to know that German is currently a useful language, particularly for businesses that operate in Europe. Germany is one of the largest generators of European business; it ranks very high in the world of exports. German is one of the most common and most beneficial languages.

There are a multitude of reasons to learn a language—from business to pleasure. Whatever your reason for learning a language—any language—you can find what you need at World of Reading. Visit and learn today.

The Importance of Fun when Learning a Language

Comment ca vaAlmost anyone can learn a second language if they put their minds to it. With some effort and focus, you can achieve anything from beginner status to fluency. However, there is arguably still one thing you need—beyond educational tools, effort, and focus—in order to learn your chosen language well: fun.

The idea has been studied by observing children’s abilities to learn, and many educators are well-aware of it: the more fun you have when learning, the better your chances of retaining the information. Why this is so, who can say? Perhaps the pressure to perform in a serious situation hinders thought processes. Whatever the reasons, experiments have been conducted that show people are more likely to solve problems mentally when having fun than when they’re in a less fun environment.

Additionally, being creative with information while learning a language is very helpful. When the lesson involves asking the learner to take the information and be creative with it—rather than requiring standard memorization—retention is not the only thing improved; the learner’s in-depth comprehension of the information is enhanced, as well. Creativity and invention require you to take information and use it in different, but correct, ways. Upon completing something creative, you discover that you have a much stronger understanding than when you began.

El reino de los animalesWhether you’re a student, a teacher, or you’re learning on your own at home, never underestimate the power of pleasure in the learning process. Teachers can get creative with lessons. Students have fun with assignments by doing more with them at home. Other learners can go about learning in ways that make them more enjoyable. Having fun while learning will help retention, and being creative will spark improved abilities to solve those language problems.

If you need tools to help you make learning a language more fun, visit World of Reading. We have what anyone needs—teacher, student, at-home learner—to enjoy learning a language.

Your Brain on Language Education

Foreign Language. Concept - learning, speaking, travelThe brain is a fascinating thing about which we still have a lot to learn. Have you ever wondered what is going on in your brain when you do something, such as learn a new language? You are not alone; scientists have wondered the same and explored the notion.

MRI brain scans can sometimes tell us much about what we know of brains. They show us how active the brain becomes when we use it for any reason, including to learn. Studies have been conducted using this imaging technology, specifically to find out how the brain is affected by language education. Basically, the scan “lights up” in the areas of the brain doing the work, revealing what happens to the brain when a person hears a language, speaks it, comprehends it, or doesn’t comprehend it, but tries to do so.

Some results of these studies even suggested that the brain grows as a result of learning a new language. A Swedish study examined the brains of various individuals, some of whom were adept at learning a language, and others who were not. The MRI scans showed that certain areas of the brain for those students in language education appeared to grow in size. The scientists also learned that the people whose brains grew in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex areas generally appeared more skilled than others.

Research into the brain serves many functions and understanding how language helps us grow is merely one of them. But, time and time again, studies—be they of the brain or any other area—have shown that learning a language has few, if any, negative repercussions. This is your brain on language education: learning a new language is great for the mind, for social interaction, for understanding the world, for business interaction, and beyond.

We are all about learning a new language. Come get the tools you need to help your brain grow and your horizons broaden at World of Reading.

Friendship and Foreign Language

Language is about communication. There are many reasons to learn how to communicate in another language and ways to learn. Among all these is the most important: human communication. So, what better way to advance learning than by mixing friendship and foreign language?

Interacting with another person when learning a language is valuable for many reasons. Doing so with someone for whom the language is native is even more so:

colors-of-the-mountain-dvdLearning the Natural: When you take language lessons, you learn the accurate, official elements of the language. You learn proper pronunciation, grammar, structure, etc. This is the best way to begin. However, as you continue learning, it’s important to communicate in a way that is natural. Common communication in any language is not formal; it is not “official.” People for whom the language is native have their own pronunciations, expressions and ways that they are spoken, and many more little things that make the way they speak natural. The best way to learn this is to practice with a native speaker. They can not only help you learn the basics, and proper speech and grammar, but they can supplement your education with communication that the books simply do not teach you.  When they are not available, watch foreign films to learn how people communicate with each other.

Crossing Cultural Divides: Communication is more than words; it is expressions of belief systems and cultures, and all that those contain. To immerse yourself in a language it helps to understand the culture and people that produce it. Putting friendship and foreign language together and making a friend who is willing to help you develop your language skills is a certain way to better your full comprehension of the language beyond the mere grammar, and into full and genuine communication.

Whether you’re teaching, learning, listening, speaking, reading, or writing, there is a wealth of people and materials to help you. We have plenty for you at World of Reading. Visit our website today and starting learning.

Give the Gift of Foreign Language

a-jewish-celebration-cdThat special time of year is coming, as is the time to purchase Hanukkah and Christmas presents. For some, this is fun and easy, and they enjoy it, overall. For others, it can be frustrating trying to figure out what people might want, need, or like. Fortunately, we can make it a little easier for some.

If you know someone who loves a foreign language, is learning a new language, teaches language, or loves foreign films, then we have plenty for you to choose from:

Foreign Films: Movies are almost always a good idea. Most of us love movies, and foreign films give us an opportunity to experience different cultures and languages, all with the thrill of great storytelling. There is a multitude of great, awarding-winning foreign films for all ages. The gift of foreign language pleases the language lover, the movie buff, or a combination of both.

Teaching Materials: Do you know a foreign language teacher? Find something that may help them shake up their teaching routine. There are plenty of board games, novels, non-fiction texts, audio cds, films, and beyond that a creative teacher can use to educate and inspire.

Learn-at-Home Materials: Is someone you know learning a new language? Or, perhaps they’ve expressed a desire to do so. Get them started, or help them on their journey. Give them a book or software program to get them started. Give audio tapes, music, or movies to help them enjoy their learning process.

Great Literature: For the book lover with a knowledge of a foreign language, or someone who’s learning, try a classic novel in the original foreign language. For example, someone learning French might like to aspire to read Victor Hugo in the original French, or a Spanish-learner might like to read Don Quixote.

There is a myriad of gift possibilities this Hanukkah and Christmas at World of Reading. If you have questions, we can help, too and help recommend the perfect gift. Come check us out and give the gift of foreign language.

Passive Listening and Language Learning

instant-immersion-french-audio-cdWe know that, if you want to speak a language fluently, you must learn its sounds and imitate them. When you take lessons or learn on your own, you practice these things. There is something additional that you can do; it’s called passive listening. Some say that passive listening is a significant boost to your foreign language learning process that may improve your education noticeably. This is up for debate. However, what passive listening can help you with is acclimating to sounds as you practice your active listening and study.

Passive Listening as a Learning Aid

There are those who say that you can learn a language through passive listening only. Many also believe this is highly unlikely. It is arguable, however, that passive listening may serve as a beneficial learning aid, secondary to active learning. For example, as you learn a new language, particularly early in your efforts, the foreign words may sound like gibberish in a recognizable accent. Hearing the sounds as often as possible, even when you’re not really paying active attention, may still affect your most basic understanding of what you’re hearing. Though you may not comprehend what you’re hearing in the beginning, you adjust to the accent and sounds become more recognizable. The more you hear in general, the better off your pronunciation and recognition will be.

How to Go About Passive Listening

Another great thing about practicing this method is that it can be done at so many times and in so many ways. As you drive to work, you could listen to foreign music in the language that you are learning. You could have that music on when you work, or any other time. You may also listen to audio learning CDs; you don’t necessarily have to actively repeat what you hear or engage with the lesson—just let it play. You can play a film and watch it without subtitles, or have it on as you do other things, and just listen to the actors speak.

There is a myriad of ways to go about passive listening as part of your larger lesson plans. We have what you need. We have music, audio lessons, films, and more. Visit our website today.

Great Foreign Films

There are simply too many great films in languages other than English to count. This is good news, however, for any cinephile, student, or generally bilingual or multilingual person. Here are just a few recommendations:

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)

This French tale by Antoine de Saint-­Exupéry has been translated into most languages and is loved by many children, and adults. Recently, and much to the delight of many, it was made into a feature film. As a young girl is prepared for life by her mother, she meets the Aviator, who shows her an amazing world that he experienced with the help of the Little Prince. It’s a journey many have taken and will enjoy taking again in this beautiful film.

Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa)

In this film, a Jewish family emigrates from Germany to Africa just prior to WWII as anti-Jewish sentiment grows. They arrive in Kenya and start a farm. Life and the war continue, bringing drama, struggles, and love. This dramatic film was awarded Best Foreign Language Film at the 75th Academy Awards.

Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)comoaguabig

This romantic story is both dramatic and amusing. Tita, a young Mexican girl, falls in love with Pedro, but they cannot marry because, traditionally, Tita’s older sister must marry and Tita must live to care for their mother. As she pines for Pedro and other events—both happy and unfortunate—occur throughout her life, Tita finds the only true way to express her emotions is through her cooking, which has some unforeseen and amusing consequences. Based upon a popular novel, this film is lovely and romantic, though it should be noted that it is also rated R.

Want more foreign movies? Visit World of Reading online and see what we have to offer or email us for specific recommendations, especially if the film must be appropriate for the classroom.