How to Learn a Second Language

According to the legend of the Tower of Babel, the biblical structure could never be built as the architects, engineers and workers involved in its construction were unable to communicate with each other after humanity had been divided by languages and nations as a divine punishment meant to destroy its arrogance.

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The letter ‘X’ (equis, pronounced e-kees) and its phonetical discrepancies in Spanish

Have you ever wondered why Mexico is written in Spanish as “México” but we still say “Méjico” (mé-hee-ko)? We would like to invite you on a journey through time and discover the origins of one of the most mispronounced letters of Spanish. From its addition to medieval Spanish to its uses in the New World, the letter ‘X’ was a particular consonant that was subject to phonetical changes according to people’s needs at certain times.

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Seven Ways to Practice Your Spanish Vocabulary

Apart from class, other environments you frequent may lack stimulants or triggers to keep learning Spanish alive. While at home, work or online, you can enhance your environment to complement your Spanish studying by increasing your vocabulary and knowledge of idioms and meanings. Below are some ways to alter your environments—online and off—that will help increase your Spanish vocabulary arsenal and challenge you to adapt to and understand new language surroundings.

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Articles in Spanish

As you probably know, the indefinite articles in Spanish (equivalent to ‘a’/‘some’) are un, una, unos, unas. As you probably also now, the definite articles in Spanish (equivalent to ‘the’) are el, la, los, las. The cool thing is they work in the same way in English and Spanish. We use the definite article when we assume the listener knows which concept/thing/place we’re talking about, since a previous reference (explicit or implicit) exists

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10 Gifts for the Spanish Student

Finding a gift during the holiday season can be stressful. Depending on how funny, personal or “safe” you want to play it, there are gifts that encourage learning Spanish. Gifts that reinforce learning the language and culture can be purposeful, practical, fun and sentimental, and below is a gift guide for anyone looking for some inspiration for the perfect present that will crack a smile on any Spanish student’s face.

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Cultural events in the boroughs that will enhance Spanish comprehension skills

One of the important tenants of learning a language is to expose yourself to how natives speak to better understand pronunciation, context and the culture. Here in New York there are multiple societies, organizations and institutions that dedicate themselves to celebrating Spanish-speaking heritages, which showcase and support arts programs, lectures, company performances and other informative and interactive cultural and political events.

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Tips for Setting Spanish Language Goals

Learning a new language as an adult affords you new and exciting opportunities in your personal and professional live. Aside from your daily schedule, committing the time to study, practice and attend class calls for dedication and a clear strategy to keep you motivated while you learn. Your reasons for learning Spanish will be different than your classmates’, and no matter what your reason is, we have some tips to help you define your language learning goals and create an action plan to keep you on track with your Spanish development.

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Is English your first language?

On September 20, 2018, we conducted a survey in which we asked some of our current and former students in NYC and Chicago the following question:

Is English your first language?

627 students answered. Here are the results:

As you can see, 27.4 percent of our students don't speak English as a first language. Our centers are in New York City and Chicago, so this is not surprising!

Here are some interesting considerations about learning Spanish when you only speak English, when English is your first language but you also speak at least one more language, or when English is your second language.

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Challenge

We have a challenge for you. If you are an intermediate student, doing this will greatly improve your Spanish speaking and writing skills.

Here it goes: We’re going to ask you to memorize 98 basic verbs and learn how to conjugate them in the present, past and future tenses, and we’re going to give you a checklist so you can mark what you already know. Feel free to print it and post it on your fridge, where you'll be able to update it as you progress :) (You can also download it and keep your records electronically.)

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6 More Ways to Keep Your Spanish Learning Active

Looking for more interactive ways to keep Spanish fresh between classes? Here are some ways to stay involved and learn more about the culture.

1. Quizlet

An app and website with a free and paid offering, lets its users create their own study sets from scratch or copy ones already created by other Quizlet users. Once a study set is copied, the copied version can be edited and changed without affecting the original. Learn interactively with flashcards, matching games and pronunciation and typing lessons. There are over 250 million study sets created on varying subjects other than language.

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7 Benefits of Speaking a Foreign Language

"Oh, I'd really like to learn other languages, but"…

The sentence after the 'but' doesn't really matter. A great percentage of native English speakers that wish to learn other languages never do because the process is too rigorous. During high school, every student is taught some other language, but they never really learn it on a conversational level. Their Spanish or French is just good enough to pass the exam. And, we're here to explain why that is costing you.

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Why do people study Spanish?

On June 29, 2018, we conducted a survey in which we asked some of our current and former students in NYC and Chicago the following question:

What was the main reason behind your decision to learn and/or improve your Spanish?

The choices where:

-Professional development

-Personal growth

-Family/relationships

-Other

586 students answered. Here are the results:

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