Friday, November 4, 2011

Language Learning - German and Spanish

We are currently studying both Spanish and German. Since my children were very little learning a foreign language has been very important to me.  We began with Spanish between eight and ten years ago. Stopped Spanish and began studying German two years ago upon moving to Germany and started back with Spanish a few months ago while continuing to progress in German. Unfortunately I do not speak or understand any foreign language well so we have used many resources.

My language learning philosophy is fairly simple. Interact with native speakers whenever possible, and listen to the language daily. When some basic understanding happens through listening begin reading and writing. I believe this is easier when you are surrounded by native speakers, but great strides can also be made if that option is not available.

There are so many audio CD’s and DVD’s made to introduce children to a foreign language and this can be a great way to begin. However, native Spanish speakers, native German speakers and native speakers of other languages produce music and television for their children, which is much more entertaining. My children much prefer listening to and watching the native produced media. They do not get many opportunities to watch television except when it is in another language. Therefore by watching they are entertained and absorb so much.

Here are some of the Spanish and German resources we have enjoyed.
Muzzy – Muzzy is a children’s cartoon that was produced to introduce children to foreign languages. The set is available in several languages including both Spanish and German. The cartoon is entirely in the language being learned and a duplicate is available in English. The movie is broken into segments approximately 15 minutes long which begin with simple language and progress in difficulty.  It also includes supplemental books and CD Roms. This product is a great introduction.

German
Some of these are available on amazon.com but many more are available on amazon.de.
There are two wonderful children’s music artists that have produced several albums; Detlev Jocker and Rolf Zuckowski. We have listened to many of the CD’s and the more we listen the more we figure out.

The following are children’s cartoons produced for German children or available in German. The visual portion of the language is very important because it provides so many clues to enable decoding of the language.
Laura's Star in English - This version is available in Portuguese, Spanish and French which is really funny because we have used the German version.

Many of these cartoons are also available in some shortend form on youtube

The only issue with DVD’s and VCR tapes is that many of them are region specific and may not work with standard American technology.

If you have trouble reading foreign language websites like I do try the google language tools website. Google Language Tools

Spanish
Cri Cri is wonderful Spanish children’s music. I believe it was produced for a theater show. The music is upbeat orchestral in nature with funny children’s lyrics.

Salsa Spanish – This is free on the internet. These short episodes provide a very basic introduction to the Spanish language. They are entertaining and easy to understand.

The following are children’s cartoons produced for Spanish children. The visual portion of the language is very important because it provides so many clues to enable decoding of the language.
Pororo – Spanish Penguin on youtube (I actually think this penguin may have been produced in Korea, but it is available in Spanish). I haven't yet figured out where you can get this in other languages in the US besides youtube.
Pocoyo – Spanish cartoons. Also available in some form on youtube.

Other Language Resourses
I am an auditory learner and have really enjoyed the Pimsleur language program. This is a program I used for myself. The children used mainly the resources listed above.

Pimsleur Spanish
Pimsleur German

Last but not least is Rosetta Stone. This computer based program is very good for visual learners as well as auditory. There is no translation so the entire program is in the target language (many languages available). I  went through Rosetta Stone German level 1-5 and the kids used it briefly. Each level is the approximate equivalent to one semester in the language. Now I feel very comfortable working my way through stores and cities. I can speak enough German to communicate my needs and understand the response. In my opinion Rosetta Stone is very good for adults and older children (8 and up).
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Rosetta Stone German

Favorite Resource This Week For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.com


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3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this great list and linking up on Gricefully Homeschooling. Pinning your list and will share on my Facebook page too. Hope to see you linking up again! =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing this list with Favorite Resources! What a great collection of language learning resources :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your blog!
    I am German, living abroad, and after my Montessori formation, I put together a complete curriculum for (bilingual) German speaking children to learn to write and read in German. The material in its complete form is on my computer, I am about to put it on the web one by one... The website is in German - I consider to translate the instructions etc... in English. If you are interested right now in some of it, just tell me.

    https://sites.google.com/site/deutschschreibenlernen/

    email: buchstabieren_mail (at) yahoo.de

    ReplyDelete

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