Good videos about accents and language learning

Posted by & filed under Free Language Learning Resources.

1. Are you having difficulty learning English? Check out this videos about how to make difficult English sounds with the help of food: 2) Here are some tips on learning Spanish by listening to music: 3) Learn the Spanish verb conjugation song: 4) Popular You Tube video, The One Semester of Spanish – Love Song, 5) Teaching French to children through music (Slangman):

Dr. Oliver Sacks on language and music

Posted by & filed under Free Language Learning Resources, How to learn languages with songs and the media.

My admiration for Dr. Oliver Sacks is no secret. He was just on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night talking about the effects of music on the brain. I am thrilled that he was discussing this on mainstream TV as more people watch The Daily Show than have read his excellent book, Musicophilia. He discussed that even after a stroke, people will still remember music even if they forget language. I wonder what would happen to someone who had learned another language through music. Would he/she have a better chance of retaining their language skills after a stroke? Watch this clip from The Daily Show: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Oliver Sacks Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party This man is a wonderful gift to humanity.

The art of the staycation

Posted by & filed under Budget travel tips.

I’d never heard the word staycation until this year. Journalists send out queries to travel writers asking about how to write tips on staycations. While waiting for the bus to La Guardia airport in Queens, New York, I saw a sign that read, “Daycation: Treat yourself to a hot dog for 50 cents”. I chucked at the site of the ad and wondered what a staycation would be. Believe it or not, I am exhausted from traveling. This summer will be full of staycations for me. Here are some ideas for a staycation: 1) The summer is full of free concerts, outdoor movie screenings, dance performances and festivals. I’ll be there. 2) Not working. That’s quite simple. I will just take time to take walks, read for pleasure and spend time with my friends. 3) International Photo Album Potlucks. My college mentor organized a potluck seven years ago where all the guests brought photo albums from their international trips and prepared foods from those countries. We passed around albums and heard about people’s trips and stories. It was an inexpensive way to eat foreign food and “see” life in another country. 4) Videos and documentaries about other places. Oh yes!… Read more »

Political barriers shouldn’t be linguistic barriers

Posted by & filed under Multilingual identity.

Political barriers shouldn’t be linguistic barriers I was recently in the former Yugoslavia as an election observer in Macedonia and was pleasantly surprised at how I was able to use Serbo-Croatian to communicate with various people: a Slovenian diplomat, an ethnic Albanian woman in Macedonia and a Macedonian man. When the Slovenian diplomat and I started speaking to our ethnic Albanian interpreter and our Macedonian driver in Serbo-Croatian, we were feeling uneasy about the Albanian’s reaction since she might link Serbo-Croatian to the former Yugoslavian government and its actions against the Kosovar Albanians. (We were in Tetovo, Macedonia, where there were ethnic clashes between Albanians and Macedonians in 2001. So, the topic of ethnic violence was quite relevant.) But, she was fine with our speaking in Serbo-Croatian and responded to us in English or Macedonian. The language surpassed political barriers. The former Yugoslavs reminisced about Yugoslavian sports teams and music groups that existed before the fall of the former Yugoslavia. The Slovenian diplomat told me that children in Slovenia no longer learn Serbo-Croatian and focus only on English and German. Since Slovenia broke apart from the former Yugoslavia and joined the European Union, the country is concentrating on being European… Read more »

Living in multiple realities

Posted by & filed under Experiences, Multilingual identity.

Being a world traveler and polyglot can disorient someone, even a seasoned traveler like myself. I think my brain is not able to process multiple realities simultaneously. I am actually kind of embarrassed to say this given how much I love travel and believe in its benefits. However, my recent trip to Macedonia left me feeling discombobulated, not in my body, disoriented, sick and weak. I think it’s partially due to the fact that I was experiencing multiple languages, cultures and places all at once. Physically, I was in one place — Macedonia. Technically, the name of the country is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM. I am not going to call it that. I don’t care if someone reading this is Greek and is offended by the country’s name. (Northern Greece is also called Macedonia and the Greek government opposes its northern neighbor’s claim to the name Macedonia, citing that they are the only place with the right to bear that name.) I am not going to entertain nationalism and name wars. I’ll leave it to the diplomats to wrestle with what to call the former Yugoslav Republic. I’ll just call it Macedonia. My body was in… Read more »

Living in the middle of many worlds

Posted by & filed under Multilingual identity.

Are you multilingual and looking for a job? How about being a spy or economic hit man? Candidate character description: Multilingual, sensitive to other cultures, can mix with local populations in difficult areas around the world, can get used to harsh living conditions, can gain trust of people if different countries, smart, and resourceful. Education: Economics, international affairs. Job: Be an economic hit man. Lie for the US government. Manipulate international leaders and governments to accept “economic aid” contracts and bad loans that favor the US and not the recipient country. I fit the character description and educational profile, but the job doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve been mistaken on several occasions as a spy, but I never knew the term “economic hitman” until the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins was published. I didn’t expect to relate so well to the narrator. I was just curious about the book because several people had mentioned it to me as a good book to read to understand how the US exaggerates how much foreign aid it gives to developing countries. There were several parallels between my life and the author’s life, despite our 30 year age difference…. Read more »