My Spanish and Chinese Progress-11/21/14

Spanish progress video picture

This week was so so in my language studies. I did practice a bit, but not everyday.

Spanish: I watched two episodes of The Wonder Years in Spanish and am in the middle of Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. I am learning The Lord’s Prayer in Spanish and I know 80% of it by heart.

Chinese: In Chinese, I learned how to introduce myself, how to say Happy Birthday to you, and various phrases like such as I like tea, that is my mom, do you like my shirt? I am also learning the Lord’s Prayer in Chinese. I know….meh. I don’t know, because there are parts I know and others…nope. I will happen over time.

In case you’ve missed it check out:

My Spanish & Chinese Progress-11/12/14

Today’s Note

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Don’t Have Money, But I Want to Learn a Language. What Do I Do?

I’m trying to learn Spanish but at the moment don’t have the chance to go to a foreign country nor can I find anyone that will help me learn.

I’ve been getting emails and comments from people who would like to study a language but do not have the resources to go abroad/access to native speakers. When I started my language journey I was in the same boat. But, it is still possible to learn your target language without leaving the house.

Fortunately, we live in the 21st century and have information at our fingertips. There are programs designed to help you learn the language of your choice by internet. Below, I have listed four online language sites to get you started in your language journey. Two of them even provides you access to native speakers for free.

Initially, please do not waste your money on expensive programs like Rosetta Stone or classes. I suggest that in the beginning you should use resources that are free and available on the internet. Then, overtime, invest (financially and time) in programs/opportunities.

On Thursday I will provide more resources that are totally free and are great to use.  Stay tuned.

Duolingo is a free language learning site that offers Spanish, French, English, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Danish among many other languages. I highly recommend this site, especially for those without previous exposure to their target language because of the structure it provides. Duolingo takes the novice by the hand and gradually walks with them until they have “mastered” a strong grammatical foundation. Photo Credit

Duolingo pic 2

I like Duolingo because it works like a game, which can be addictive. In order to get to the next level, members need to show they have understood concepts through a series of writing, listening and reading activities. Duolingo users are given four hearts (ie. lives) before they have to repeat the level.

Blog pic 1 duolingo

Beware: Duolingo should be used as a supplement in language learning. Duolingo and many of the sites listed below does not explain the theory behind the language’s grammar. It is good to invest in a textbook or even a class the further you get in your studies. Talking to native speakers and additional study material is needed when learning your target language. Also, the site does not yet offer Asian languages.

Livemocha When I started learning Spanish, I used this site occasionally. Livemocha is good because learners get practice in four parts of language learning:  speaking, listening, reading and writing. Photo Credit


This site also shines because it is community based. Language learners can have their writing/speaking exercises “graded” by a native speaker. In return, members are expected to look over audio recordings and writing samples of other Livemocha users to build credit, which helps to “unlock” future lessons.

Livemocha also features a language exchange where members can talk to native speakers in their target language.

live mocha pic

Beware: Livemocha does offer lessons that are available in 35 languages, but the quality varies. I remember the lessons for Spanish were easier to navigate than Chinese or Farsi.

SharedTalk If you cannot leave the country nor do not have access to native speakers then SharedTalk will be a gold mine. Powered by Rosetta Stone, this site puts language learners in contact with native speakers in group and individual chats.  This site is one of the best resources to use when learning a language because you are speaking with native speakers. Seamlessly, you learn grammar and vocabulary (did I mention slang too) because you are putting your studies to use.

shared talk pic 1

Beware: Remember that you are talking to people from all over the world. Thus, it is important to use common sense and not give out important, self-identifying information. Stay safe.

Other Sites You Should Be Aware Of

Mango Languages I’ve used this program once or twice as it is free with my American library card number (check to see if your library offers this site). Since I have not used this program in years, I cannot give a proper review. However, it is an option that I wanted to bring to your attention. I personally, would only use it only if your library offers it for free. Photo Credit


Memrise is a community based, online tool geared at memorization in languages, the humanities, math & science, among many other subjects.  Through timed flash cards, space repetition, and mnemonics, language learners are given a set of words/phrases which they are expected to regurgitate. If “gardeners” successfully complete the level, i.e., planting, they are then given statistics of their accuracy. Unlike Duolingo, the four hearts and you’re out rule does not exist. Even if site users do horribly in a level they can still advance. Of course, there is always the option to “water the plants” or refresh the lesson, but it’s optional. If you like Duolingo, but are looking for greater flexibility, Memrise could be for you.


Did this article help you? If so, please comment below and share with others. Education is power.

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

How do you Pick a College Major

My Spanish & Chinese Progress (11/12/14)

History notes: This Week in Black History (Nov.16th-22nd)

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History notes: This Week in Black History (Nov. 16th-22nd)

November 16, 1967: Actress Lisa Bonet was born on this day. Bonet is best known for her role of Denise Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. She also starred in The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. (Photo Credit)


November 17, 1911: Omega Psi Phi fraternity was founded on this date by three juniors at Howard University. This international fraternity with over 700 undergraduate and graduate chapters is the first African American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university. The objective of Omega Psi Phi is to build strong men with the principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.  Notable Omega Psi Phi members include Michael Jordan, Bill Cosby, Steve Harvey, Ray Lewis, and Ricky Smiley.

s truthNovember 18, 1797: Abolitionist and women rights activist Sojourner Truth was born in Ulster County, New York. Originally named, Isabella Baumfree, Truth changed her name because she believed that the Holy Spirit was calling her, telling her friends “the Spirit calls me, I must go.” (Photo Credit)

Truth, who escaped from slavery in 1826, became one of the first black women to win a court case against a white man when she fought to recover her son after he had been illegally sold. Truth was also influential in the social and political spheres as she advocated for abolition, women’s rights, and prision reform. To gain support for her causes, the former slave traveled to various conventions giving speeches. Her most famous speech was “Ain’t I a Woman.” Truth became so well known that she was given the opportunity to also meet with President Ulysses S. Grant to try to secure land grants from the federal government to former slaves.

Fun Fact: During a speech, someone interrupted Truth, accusing her of being a man. Truth stopped her speech and then opened her blouse revealing her breasts.

November 19, 1985: Comedian and actor, Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, better known by his stage name Stepin Fetchit died on this day. Fetchit enjoyed a successful film career, becoming the first black actor to become a millionaire. He’s also the first black actor whose name appears in the screen credits of a film. Although successful, Fetchit faced criticism from civil rights leaders who accused the actor of perpetuating negative stereotypes of African Americans. Nonetheless, Fetchit was awarded the NAACP Image Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo Credit)fetchit-car-1929_opt

November 20, 1866: In 1866 10 members of the First Congressional Society of Washington, D.C. gathered to establish a seminary for African Americans. In 1867 the institution grew to include liberal arts and sciences and it became what is presently known as Howard University.  Today, Howard University has approximately 10,000 students, making it one of the largest predominately black universities in the nation. Graduates of Howard University have played major roles in civil rights as well as intellectual and cultural development.

November 21, 1971:  Happy birthday to retired defensive end turned media personality, Michael Strahan. Michael Strahan spent his entire 15-year football career with the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). During his career, Strahan set the record for the most sacks and 2001 and was part of the winning Superbowl team in 2007. Today, the former defensive end is a sports commentator on Fox’s NFL Sunday and is a co-host alongside Kelly Ripa on the morning talk show Live! With Kelly and Michael.  (Photo Credit)   


November 22, 1963: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. African Americans living in era of the Civil Rights Movement revered President Kennedy. Kennedy was seen as a “friend” to the African American community as he sympathized with the plight of blacks like no other president before him. Kennedy, for example, spoke out against segregation despite backlash in his own party and he played a major role in freeing Dr. King from jail in 1960. In the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy received 78 percent of the black vote helping him to win by one of the narrowest margins in U.S. history. After his assassination, pictures of Kennedy appeared in many black homes alongside Jesus and Martin Luther King. (Photo Credit)


 Did you learn anything new? Please share in the comment section below.

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Weekly Gratitude Notes

My Spanish & Chinese Progress (11/12/14)

History notes: This Week in Black History (Nov.9th-15th)

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Weekly Gratitude Notes


This Week I´m grateful for:


Friday, I received a call from my new job! I have been offered a position to work in a local college’s international department. I am honored and grateful for this opportunity as it will give me professional experience and allow me to help students in their journey to study abroad.


This week I hung out with my cousin. We went to an Afghani restaurant, where the food was delish, and Paint Nite at a Baltimore bar. For pictures, check out my Instagram page @rookienotes.

Also, I talked to my aunts and grandmother on the phone. I love hearing from my family.


Each day last week I studied Chinese for 30 minutes and read and wrote for the other 30 minutes in Spanish. Hopefully, I can keep this up.

Beautiful house

My family has been living in our house for as long as I can remember. However, during the past week, my Dad installed new floors and the kitchen and my Mom bought a new dining room set. The house looks lovely.


 What are you grateful for this week? Comment Below.

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

History notes: This Week in Black History (Nov.9th-15th)

Notes on Surviving Your Pap Test

How to Access FREE Scholarly Journals

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