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Learn A Second Language

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Parlez-vous francais?  Sprechen Sie Deutsch?  Parli Italiano?  ?Habla usted espanol?  Milate Ellinika?  If not, maybe it’s time you do.


Why?  Let us count the reasons.


  1. To satisfy college entrance or graduation requirements. 
  2. To broaden career opportunities or fulfill job requirements.  More businesses today need employees who can communicate with customers or clients in their native languages, and there are many environments where language skills are a definite plus.  In “A Gift to My Children: a father’s lessons for life and investing”, Jim Rogers recommends they “learn languages (and make sure that Mandarin is one of them!)”.  For the younger generation, “Mandarin and English will be the most important languages in the world.”
  3. To have a successful travel experience.
  4. To communicate with a new family member or friend who doesn’t speak English.
  5. To better understand other people and cultures.  Rotarians, for instance, put special emphasis on promoting international exchanges because, as they say, you don’t go to war with your friends. 
  6. To exercise your brain.  Learning a second language increases the brain’s capacity to learn other things.  Children in foreign language programs demonstrate greater cognitive development, creativity, and stronger math and verbal skills than children not exposed to another language.  Language proficiency also delays mental decline in later years.


The best time to learn a second language is by the age of 7 when the brain is more malleable and receptive to new patterns of sounds.  After the age of 11, the brain sets, rather like concrete, and it is very difficult to create new circuitry for different language patterns.  But, if a child grows up bilingual, it is much easier to learn additional languages even after the age of 11 because the brain has been programmed to accommodate varied language patterns.  Sign language counts as a foreign language so, if a child is raised to hear and speak one language and interpret sign language at the same time, he will have much better facility with additional languages.


The library offers twenty-four educational computer games in Spanish for preschool and primary age children.  Each branch has an Early Literacy Station with activities in both English and Spanish which gives children an excellent opportunity to hear Spanish.  Try “Jump Start Spanish” or “La Casa de las Matematicas de Millie” in which a Spanish-speaking cow guides you through counting and adding activities.  “Encarta Kids”, a multi-faceted learning experience, includes “What Language Is That?”, a game which allows the listener the opportunity to distinguish Swahili from Swedish and Polish from Portuguese.


Tumblebooks is an online audio program for children, with a language learning section, which they can access from the library’s website.  The child can choose from a number of books in French and Spanish, as well as a few Italian, Russian, and Chinese titles, to view and hear.  Enjoy listening to “Lola en la Biblioteca/Lola in the Library” in Spanish as the pages of the book turn on your computer screen.  Other offerings include “Les Trois Mousequetaires” in French and “Adventuras de Tom Sawyer” in Spanish.


If you are an adult learning your first second language, it may not be too late.  For you, the library has recently added Mango Languages to the array of online programs.  Mango Languages is similar to Rosetta Stone, frequently advertised on television and only available to home users.  With Mango Languages, you learn easily by seeing phrases printed on the screen and hearing them pronounced slowly, and repeated several times.  Twelve languages are available: Spanish, French, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Greek, Italian, Russian, German, and English for speakers of Spanish, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.


The Pimsleur Language series, a highly regarded learning system, is available on CD for

French, German, Italian, and Spanish.


The new Playaway collection includes instruction in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese, both Mandarin and Cantonese.  Playaways are self-contained audiobooks which you can wear on a lanyard and play with earbuds.


And there are many recently-added, and popular, books to help with learning French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, and sign language.  Check “language instruction”or subject headings similar to “Spanish language” in the library’s catalog at to see the wide selection of materials available.


Translate this: Visit your library today!  Llámenos en 988-2541.

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Online collection of animated, talking picture books to encourage reading in children.


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