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foreign languages

cafecroissantmini

Multiple magazine articles, both scholarly and popular extoll the benefits of bilingualism or multilingualism for the health and efficiency of the human brain.  It is said that those who learn multiple languages from birth are less likely, for example, to develop early onset Alzheimer’s disease…if the disease does appear, it is more likely to be delayed proportionately to the fluency and depth of understanding attained in a second language.  Foreign languages are promoted as a means to make your child (or self) appear more sophisticated and cognitively advanced, leading parents to believe their child will become a front running contender for advanced educational programs, degrees, and be more competitive in the job markets of the future.  Of course, certain languages are considered more useful than others, depending on where you live in the world.  In a not so distant past, it was believed that learning a second language could cause developmental delays, but this is no longer the current consensus.

From my readings, I often gather that an overlying assumption motivates parents’ wishes for their children to learn foreign languages: that it makes their minds more logical and mathematical, and therefore better prepared for our technical and information age.   While I understand these arguments, some of which seem plausible and worthy, I have my own reasons for defending and promoting multi-lingualism.  To learn a new language means to learn to understand and assimilate a new culture.  Culture includes body language and unspoken assumptions about time, proximity, morality, justice, love and how affection is demonstrated or withheld, diet, and so much more.  Simply learning grammatical constructs, while being great gymnastics for the rational mind, is only a small part of the benefits of bilingualism.

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May 27 2011

Ahoy lasses and laddies!

by Amanda L

With the release of the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, there is renewed interest in all things pirate. Would you like to be able to speak in Pirate? One of the electronic resources that we  subscribe to is Mango Languages. The company is offering a free language course on how to speak Pirate. You have to go through this link to get to the course and leave your e-mail.  The course is available until June 30th. If you want to learn another language besides Pirate, Mango Languages offers a variety of languages including the standard ones such as Spanish, French, etc. They also have a few lesser known languages such as Irish, Tagalog, Urdu, etc.

Speakin’ pirate not your cup o’ tea? The library has movies and books about pirates.

Arrr, o’ course we have the Pirates o’ the Caribbean movies.

Ahoy, thar be se’eral stories that have been written about pirates. My favorite one is the Bloody Jack series. The story takes place in the early nineteenth century.  Mary Faber joins a pirate ship at the age of thirteen. The catch,  she joins dressed as a boy to get onto the high seas.  The first in the series is Bloody Jack: being an account of the curious adventure of  Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy

Aye, if a series is not what your lookin’ for, you might try Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton or the classic, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ahoy, lookin’ for a book on the history o’ pirates? Try Pirates of Barbary by Adrian Tinniswood or Pirates: predators of the sea by Angus Konstam.  For true tales of modern day pirates try Terror on the Seas: true tales of modern day pirates by Daniel Sekulich.

Arrr, if you still have not gotten your pirate fill,  remember  Pirate Day is on September 19th.

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Jul 2 2008

Learning Languages for Children

by Ginny C

Are you looking for something to help your child learn a foreign language?  It’s widely reported that children learn new languages easier and faster than adults.  Most schools, however, don’t offer language classes until high school, though.  The library offers several useful tools designed specifically for children to learn a different language.

Bonjour There are a few DVDs that are popular with parents and kids, specifically Bonjour Les Amis and Hola Amigos which teach French and Spanish, respectively.  The Professor Toto dvd series, which comes in French, Spanish and German, teaches basic vocabulary and phrases.  If Chinese if the language you’re looking for, we also have Chinese for Kids and Early Start Mandarin Chinese.

Of course we also have picture dictionaries in the above languages, as well as Arabic and Polish.  For older children and teenagers, our LEA collection offers a wide range of languages and comes in audio and book format, as well as dvd.  We have many resources to help children (and adults) learn a new language.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, ask a librarian.  We’ll try to find something that’s just right for you or your child.

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