Hello Blogosphere. My name is Eric Billings (husband of the proprietor of this blog) and I have been asked to provide a post of some relevance to help my very busy wife during this holiday season. At first, I was perplexed by the offer seeing as this is a blog about being a mother, which, to many individuals’ amazement, is an occupation for which I have not much experience. However, after much consultation with my much more experienced wife, I feel that I have gained a base understanding of the position, thus allowing me to extol, upon ye faithful readers, the virtues of a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I hope you find it helpful and enjoyable.
With the rise and subsequent fall of the
and our own rise in the 20th century, English has become the new
lingua franca. It is almost impossible
to find an urbanized area that maintains contact with the outside world (here's
looking at you United Kingdom )
in which English is not spoken. As a
result, language studies in North Korea
have taken a back seat to other subject matter such as math, science, and
computer studies. While these more
popular topics of study are very significant in the 21st century
global economy, it is also important that we not sit on our laurels in
expectation that English will forever be the primary global language. After all, there is a reason that we use the
term lingua franca for the primary global language when English is now the
language of choice. America
Our public education system has been quick to recognize the importance of learning Spanish due to our proximity to
America and the large influx of Hispanic immigrants that enter
this country every year. However, while
it is true that Spanish is indeed an important language for the business
service and natural resource industries, it is not the only language that will
be important to the
in the years to come. The emergence of
China as the world’s heir apparent to super power status, the modernization,
democratization, and security concerns arising from the Middle East, and
Russia’s resurgence as a purveyor of oil and gas to Europe are just a few of
the examples which illustrate the need to expose our children to a wide range
of languages. US
I personally have a background in both Spanish and Arabic which I try to integrate into the day-to-day activities of my children. Currently I am working on brushing up my Arabic so I thought it might be useful to see some of the sites, products, and software that I utilize to help me and my children in this learning experience.
Applicable to All Languages
This is a great site that allows individuals seeking to learn a new language from all across the word to interact in both a voice and text format. The best way to learn a new language is through use and practice and what better way than to do it with a native speaker!
This site allows you access to a variety of base level courses that you can use to help learn a new language. Additionally, it allows you access to other users from across the globe that can help you with your language skills.
This is the BBC’s language learning site. It offers audio and video courses in a wide range of languages. Additionally, if you want to practice you can always go to the main BBC news page and select the language that you want the news to be reported in and read away to your heart’s delight.
This is a software package that walks you through the basics of learning a new language. You will learn common phrases and enough vocabulary to get around if you were to travel abroad.
Pros: It is useful to hear how the words are pronounced and provides you with grammatical structures that would be difficult to obtain without the aid of a native speaker. You are also able to work on perfecting your speech since it comes with voice recognition software.
Cons: The downside is that you MUST have an English/(language of choice) dictionary otherwise you will only be able to make out some of what they are saying since they do not define the words for you. They say that the software models the natural way of learning a language but fail to tell you that the only reason that works is because there is always someone there to correct or help you when you need it growing up.
This is an Arabic-English store that sells everything from bilingual games to books and educational videos. There are also items that are in Arabic only like the Tareq wa Shireen video series which I recommend if you want a very child friendly way to introduce your child to the basics of the Arabic language.
This is the Defense Language Institute and it provides a limited but useful repository or Arabic software that can be used to test your abilities.
This is a beginner’s textbook in Arabic and is very useful for those seeking to delve into the language for the first time.
This is another standard beginner’s textbook that may appeal more than Ahlan wa Sahlan. Just make sure to get the answer key as well.
There are two that I recommend. If you want to translate something from Arabic into English then I think the best resource you can find is the Hans Wehr dictionary. It is set up according to root letters, so it takes a little while to get used to, but it is the best resource on the market. If you are trying to translate something from English into Arabic then I recommend the Concise Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary. There are some gaps in it, but they are few and far between.
Hopefully, this information will help you get on your way to helping your child learn a new language!