Someone who may (or may not) have more authority on language acquisition wrote an article which ranked the ease of learning languages. Speak Easy, the Easiest Languages to Learn used many of the same arguments or proving points that I use when explaining why it is good to learn Spanish. Ok, maybe I was a little surprised that for English speakers, German or Dutch are actually the easiest to learn because the languages are so closely related. The author did point out that you have to get used to the sounds and a different sentence structure. I do not think I could ever get past the sound.
Most people choose one of the Romance languages (the languages that descend from Latin). Of these, Spanish is generally accepted to be the easiest to learn. One big hurdle for English speakers is learning that in other languages, verbs take many different forms, but once you learn how to conjugate the verbs based on tense and speaker, Spanish grammar is highly regular and logical. The spelling and pronunciation are also extremely easy—no silent letters, and each word is spoken exactly as written.
The majority of my 6th graders finish proficient in verb conjugation. If that is the toughest concept to wrap your mind around for learning Spanish, they are in good shape for the years to come.
Another great quote from the article (that not only is true, but exposing myself to more of the Spanish around me is one of my goals for the next year).
Doing conjugation exercises in a workbook can only take you part of the way, so when choosing a language, it’s important to choose one that you can practice regularly. In this respect, Spanish is a good choice, since it’s spoken by so many people in the United States and abroad. It’s easy to find strangers to converse with, which will expose your ear to different accents and dialects, and it will force you to broaden your vocabulary. … but anywhere in America, it’s possible to tune in to Spanish television and radio, find Spanish-language newspapers, or see Spanish signs to translate. Using the language regularly is the most important part of learning, and no language is more ubiquitous in our culture today than Spanish is.
So true and so important. There is no excuse for students and adults to not pay attention to the Spanish we see in everyday life. There are so many opportunities for authentic learning, I want to find ways to bring them into the classroom. I am very grateful that the school district does not choose to block YouTube. There is some questionable content, but the good outweighs the bad. Judy taught me how to embed a YouTubevideo directly into Moodle, so the students never actually go do YouTube. (P.S. I am equally enthusiastic that my department believes in sharing our professional development experiences, we all learn from each other). A perfect example of a good YouTube video is one I found today on conjugating reflexive verbs.
Other authentic learning opportunities include reading international news stories, checking the weather, using Google Earth or Google Maps to give directions, researching food and preparing it, etc.