Monday, July 27, 2015

Found this today, interesting, but not sure how useful it is.

I like the idea of exposure to different accents, but I don't know how useful it is only hearing one speakers voice from each country.  Also, from my travels to Panama I've noticed a great variety of accents even in that small country.  People speak differently or in contrasting manners such as urban vs. rural, formal vs. informal, educated vs. not-educated, etc..

I'm going to write a post on accents soon, but I think It's also useful to look at the phrases people use regionally.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Re Introduction

So, I’ve been off of the blogging wagon for quite some time now, but I’d like to get back into it.  I want to write this blog for several reasons, which I want to spell out here, and I want to re-introduce myself.  

My name is Scott Meneely, I’m 34, married, father of 2 and living in Pittsburgh PA.  The target audience of my blog are adult learners of the Spanish language, and parents trying to help their kids speak a second language at home.  I began my Spanish journey at 24 years old and reached fluency within a couple years.  How do I define fluency?  To me I generally define it as being able to have conversations about a multitude of topics with native speakers without having to ask too many comprehension questions, while at the same time being able to express yourself clearly and be understood.  

So why do I care about Spanish so much?  My wife is from Panama, and we want to raise our kids to be bilingual and bi-cultural.  This has not been as easy as one would think it is.  I always hear that “kids learn languages easily” and “kids soak up languages like sponges”.  This has not been the case in our household.  Our kids understand Spanish but do not want to speak it.  Their peers don't speak it, so they have very little interest in it.  In this blog I plan on writing about some of the ways my wife and I are trying to encourage and trick our kids into speaking Spanish.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet many Spanish speaking friends from all over the Spanish speaking world.  It is truly a great experience to speak with someone in their language, and it immediately takes your friendship with them to another level.  Another thing that I’m incredibly grateful for is having been able to travel to Latin America regularly for the past several years.  Every time I go my language skills grow by leaps and bounds. This month we actually left the kids with mi suegra for 2 extra weeks in Panama, they're coming home tomorrow and I can't wait to see how their Spanish has improved! Immersion in a language certainly leads to rapid learning. That kind of growth is possible for people living anywhere where there is a Spanish speaking community.  You can learn without traveling, I know it is not realistic for everyone who wants to learn Spanish to get on a plane and go (although if you can, that is a great idea)!    

This blog will include my experience with language learning products, study methods and skills, strategies, observations, and I hope some generally fun stuff as well.  I’ve used many language learning products on my journey; university classes, podcasts, audio cds, books, and much more.  My journey is by no means complete and I continue to study Spanish daily, so intend to keep reviewing the books I read and the products I use.  I also want to talk about some of the attributes of success, like this post where I address the need for the language learner to come out of their shell.   I’d love to communicate more with readers, so if you have a comment, suggestion, or idea, I’d love to talk about it.