Monday, June 28, 2010

smart phones

one other thing, i will probably purchase a smartphone and use a few of the apps out there in place of the little notebooks i'm keeping. for vocabulary, there are plenty of flashcard apps. looking forward to using them...

pronouns, conjugations, new software purchase

from e-learn spanish language website, i learned that you should learn pronouns first before verb conjugations because the pronoun forms (and nouns) determine how to conjugate verbs.

i purchased at costco (yes!) Instant Immersion. i researched this program before. on amazon, this program has nearly a 4-star rating with 133 reviews. not as robust or functional as rosetta stone, this program apparently is adequate for beginners. in addition, it was only about $29 with tax at costco. it's latin american spanish and mac and pc friendly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

keeping up with Spanish

something i found out that was quite interesting is that a ton of the major Spanish learning software programs teach Castillian Spanish; that is, Spain or European Spanish. the is that Castillian Spanish is considered formal, educated Spanish. odd huh? well, i guess "culture" (narrowly defined here) started in Europe!

so, i started making lists of nouns, verbs, pronouns, prepositions and common phrases. i got them all from rosetta stone (v2) and the website, i really like the website. it's organized, simple and mainly text-driven with some audio wave files for pronunciation. this is in comparison to rosetta stone, which has both audio, text, input boxes to practice writing and pictures.

the first couple of weeks, i really just "listened" to Spanish on the radio and watched some Spanish TV programming to get a feel for the language. i'm now officially taking notes and practicing. as all the SLA theories say, it just takes time to learn a new language. i can't wait until i actually understand the Spanish radio and TV stations!

Friday, June 18, 2010

making a list of spanish phrases

i've started making a list of spanish phrases - commonly used, intro, hi, you're welcome stuff. i'll get into technical grammar in a couple/few months.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

finding decent online spanish learning websites

i found a website that's for absolute spanish learning beginners. it's called E Learn Spanish Language. i particularly like it because it has a section titled "I want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I start?" it has some good, common sense tips. i was hoping for leads to other sites.

anyway, the creator has broken the beginner lesson to very easy, understandable and not overwhelming basic such as nouns, articles (definite, indefinite), article agreements and plural and singular form noun agreements, etc. also, the site has soundbites or wave files to help with pronunciation. helps me out!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

online spanish learning sites

this is a tougher one b/c most good ones, you have to pay of course! the bbc language site deals with castillian spanish (i do like the site and format/design).

i'll keep hunting...

spanish learning software

alright, so there are so many options out there. i googled "spanish learning forums", "top 10 spanish learning software" and then went onto amazon for reviews. i then researched each product that came up consistently and finally, researched if they were mac compatible, able to download to ipods and most of all, if the spanish was latin american vs castillian (spain).

top spanish learning software list: fluenz, tell me more, rocket languages (coincidentally, in Los Angeles), rosetta stone, pimsleur and study spanish.

castillian spanish: fluenz, study spanish, tell me more (not mac friendly). automatically out for me.

latin american spanish: rocket languages, rosetta stone

mac version: rocket and rosetta both

mp3: transferable to ipods: rocket languages

price: rocket has downloadable price for $99 (cds 300)

method: rosetta stone is based on natural language acquisition where kids learn by images and sounds and matching them. rocket has media as well but also focuses on writing and finer points of grammar - from the reviews

what i'll purchase: rocket languages spanish (latin american)

Monday, June 14, 2010

paid spanish lessons

i found a few and researched reviews that compared the following:

rosetta stone of course
transparent language

RS and TL are supposed to be pretty similar as both use images and audio with flash cards. TL is much much cheaper. Pimsleur is pretty much a listen and repeat only. but, they have comprehensive packages with books that are fairly costly.

i myself have a copy of RS version 2, which is old, of Spanish Latin American. i have a copy of Spanish (Spain/Castillian) version 3.

i will purchase TL i think but am deciding on either downloading (plus u can put on mp3) or cds that are windows and mac compatible.

spanish learning update

alright, so, i've been listening to spanish radio and tv. i suppose this might be against Krashen's comprensible input because i don't know 99% of what's being said. but, Chomsky's LAD (which i haven't read yet) suggests that exposure is a key factor in picking up lang. so, i'm listening to spanish radio when i can b/c i want to get a feel for the language, pronunciations, phonetics and all.

in the meanwhile, i've found a couple of free sites that are useful to learning conversational spanish. first is BBC Languages (yes, british broadcasting corp). i like the site a lot. design-wise, say in "Spanish Steps," you start with basic words and phrases (such as in travel) of a variety of categories. pick "taxi" and in the center of the window, there's a yellow card where words and phrases will appear. to the right, there are icons/pics that indicate Spanish words, English words or just audio. click on these and the corresponding choices will present themselves. either case, you hear the spanish audio. these lessons are brief and at the end of each small lesson, there's a summary plus there are options to replay the summary and take a quiz. the quiz is comprised of a film strip with pics. to the right of it are empty boxes. to the right of these boxes are words and phrases which you can pick and drag and drop into the empty boxes that are next to the appropriate pictures. essentially, you are matching pics and words/phrases together. this is done with flash.

the other site is the Foreign Services Institute's language lessons. pick a language and the site will take you to a table of contents of lessons. click a unit number and media player with only audio plays. listen and repeat. this one is tough because the phrases get longer and faster.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

rosetta stone spanish latin america

following up from yesterday's blog. really like the various stages. liking the voice recording and playback function as well as the typing function of the program. you'll be shown a picture and you have to write the object or the action and/or both.

i also like the progression of the lessons with simple to more complex vocab and syntax.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learning Spanish (Latin American)

so, i don't know spanish (except for dinero). i started listening to spanish radio and i going through rosetta stone version 2 spanish (latin american). here are just a few notes:

Spanish (lat am) and spanish (spain)
both level 2

Rosetta Stone Button
click on level 1, unit column (8) and lesson columns with description in spanish (up to 11 - 12 lessons for each unit)

level 1, unit 1 - nouns and prepositions (sustantivos y preposiciones)
unit 2 - verbs - present tense (

in each unit lesson, there are 4 there are icons on the left of the screen, each representing the type of lesson. You start out with narration plus written cues plus pictures (picture shows speaker plus book). you can do an audio only exercise. the exercises right of the column of exercise types vary from 2 to 4 (in number). the first exercise box contains audio, visual and text cues with a text of an item, plus narration and pronunciation and 4 pics underneath. you must click on the picture the word at the top represents. the second exercise box has a pic at the top with 4 boxes below. the pic at top identifies an object and the boxes below just have the Spanish text. Pick the correct box/text after the narrator says the word (of the picture at the top). the third box has no pic at the top. there are 4 boxes with spanish words. the narrator says a word. pick the correct box. the 4th box - there's a spanish word or phrase at the top of the screen. the 4 boxes below are blank. the narrator says different words/phrases and each empty box highlights after the narrator says each word/phrase. here, i think the program is weak. this is just memorizing the boxes.

this by the way, is just for the first type of exercise (all the senses). the point is, each exercise leaves something out from the last exercise; thus, each exercise gets more challenging.

Talk Now button (bonus feature language system)
common words, phrase help with pics and narration

Monday, June 7, 2010

Foreign Language Acquisition & Technology

i'll be working on an independent course this summer on foreign language acquisition (second language) theories and technologies that can enhance learning foreign languages. in this blog, i'll touch base with what i'm doing and talk about software programs - online and off - that i'm poking around with.