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Archive for foreign language

The Rise of the Young Polyglots

How does one explain the rise of polyglots, of young people being able to speak six, eight, or 12 languages conversationally?

There is something fundamentally different in the methods of the new young polyglots as compared to traditional school learning of foreign languages and it should challenge you to reconsider WHY you want your son or daughter to spend three to four years learning to speak minimal conversational Spanish or French. Listen to this interview and see if you can interpret the difference in approach.

Oh, and by the way, Luca is a native Italian and in this interview he is speaking English with an American accent even though he has NEVER visited to the United States. I know French very well and I’ve heard him speak that language flawlessly too. Don’t you also love the suitably grungy look that lets us imagine ourselves speaking another language like this in a Paris cafe? Awesome. Amazing. The learning revolution continues.

This is how you approach serious talent building in your child’s life. It’s not about doing school to your child, it’s about taking control and making school a slave to your son or daughter’s goals. Sometimes it looks traditional, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work in a traditional learning format, you must jettison the traditional in order to multiply your child’s talent tenfold or hundredfold.

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Latin vs Italian – Which Would You Choose?

latin vs italian.jpg

Should you choose to teach Latin or Italian in your homeschool?

This question came up in the context of a conversation with an American friend who was asking my opinion about which foreign language would be the best to start teaching their young children. I can tell you right now, I would do neither of those languages with my children. Now that I caught your attention, I will also tell you that yes, I think those are wonderful languages to be able to know, but you need a strategy in order to decide if those specific languages are worth learning, among the hundreds you could learn.

You need to understand what your family goals are and ideally, what your talent goals are for your children. (By the way, talent goals for your children SHOULD leverage your family goals for maximum speed and maximum motivation). So my answer back to this friend was “what do you plan on doing with that language once you’ve acquired conversational level?” – I was met with bewildered silence.

Then I started asking if there was any particular foreign language they could think of that would actually open the doors of communication for their child or their family to do something they wish they could do? This is when it came out that Italian could really fit into their family’s love of Italian Opera. They also told me they had aspirations for their young son to be engaged more throughly at some point in Italian opera, which was a family passion of theirs. The husband woke up from his quiet listening and added enthusiastically that he wished they could have more connection with an Italian side of his heritage on his grandmother’s side, maybe even go back and visit his roots. This is the power of understanding your family goals and understanding the purpose of the skills you might learn, such as a foreign language. Once you understand your goals, you understand then which language to choose. It was not until I asked about their family’s NON-ACADEMIC and NON-LEGALLY required goals, that the waters of confusion parted and land was now in view. In this instance, I closed the case with this recommendation: choose to learn Italian.

 

In my household, I chose French and Dutch, because I grew up in France and my wife has family in the Netherlands.

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French Pronunciation Exercise

FrenchBibleAudio

Perfect Free Pronunciation Guide from a Native French Speaker Reading the Text of a French Bible – Always Available and NEVER Tires

Looking for a way to get a real French voice to teach your child how to pronounce French correctly for hours on end, without ever tiring, without ever betraying an American accent? How about if that was available to you as free for your child’s learning of a foreign language? And you could do it without having to drive your child to a tutor after-hours? Well, it is available here:

http://www.wordproject.org/bibles/fr/index.htm

The audio can be treated as the perfect free pronunciation guide from a native French speaker reading the text of a French bible.

If you go to the WordProject.org you will find many bibles in many different languages WITH a native reader reading the text in the foreign language of your choice. You can also follow the written text as the person reads. And of course you can repeat it as often as you like or download it to your smartphone to listen to it in the car during commute hours and errands. In the past, to find a teacher who both had a correct accent and is willing to do it for hours on end with your child would have broken your pocketbook. Now when repetition and precision is everything, the audio bible comes to the rescue.

Here are the other Bible audios they currently offer online:

EnglishBibleAudioList

FarsiBibleAudioList