November 28, 2018

Adults and Learning Language

Why It's Harder for Adults to Learn a Second Language

Neuroplasticity is the culprit for the difficulty or ease of learning a second language. Basically, the brain is more plastic and flexible when we are younger. The brain is better able to make neuro-connections, which makes learning easier. Very young children's brains are basically programmed to be sponges; they soak up all the information around them. Every parent with a child has experienced the mortifying moment when their toddler or preschooler repeats a naughty word in public. Children learn their language through experience; a second language is no different.

But the brain begins to lose its neuroplasticity as we age. We certainly can learn new things, but perhaps not at the speed or with as much ease as we used to. Because adults have a larger vocabulary than a child, learning new words can easily be mapped over your pre-existing knowledge. An adult can learn to associate chair with la chaise, or library with la bibliothèque. However, learning the grammar rules or even the pronunciation is much harder, since the sounds of a language are naturally picked up by children.

You Can Still Learn Another Language

Don't be overwhelmed by the fact that children seem to have a better grasp on bilingualism than you. Little Billy might have all the pronunciation of a native Argentinian, but most children speak in simple sentences with basic vocabulary- just like they do in their native language! Age is only one factor in fluency; motivation, personality, and the learning environment are also huge factors in learning a new language.

And some adults do in fact achieve near-native fluency. If your goal is to become bilingual, don't let yourself be dissuaded. You can learn that second language!

What You Can Do

If you already know some of a foreign language but want to get better, you can join any number of communication groups through Meetup. Immersing yourself in another language is the best way to pick it up. You could get an app, like Duolingo or Mindsnacks to practice with. If you have children of your own, you could enroll them in classes, and have them help you with your grammar and pronunciation. Cultured Kids Club does offer Adult Spanish through local schools, as well as Parent and Tot classes in French, Spanish, and Chinese, which would allow you and your toddler to learn together. Whatever you decide to do, as long as you commit to it, you will be successful.

November 11, 2018

National Armistice Day, France

Armistice day is a public holiday in France that marks the signing of the Armistice during World War One for the stopping of hostilities on the western front. To honor those killed in World War One, special church services are held on Armistice Day. A military parade processes to the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is underneath the Arc de Triomphe. France’s president lays wreaths at the tombs. This day is a day of sadness and reflection; commemorated by many citizens who wear black on this day. Many stores banks and businesses are closed as well as some public transport services.

The Arc de Triomphe, where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is.

November 5, 2018

November 2018 News

Winter Registration is OPEN

Did you know that you can now register for winter classes? We maintain the same days and times for our classes year-round for the convenience of parents, so that you don't have to change your schedule from season to season. We've been busy prepping our immersive programs to make them better than ever. Just click on the link below to find a class and register.

La Toussaint

La Toussaint is what they call All Saints Day in France, it is celebrated on November 1. All Saints day is a Catholic holiday that celebrates the dead, and all the saints in heaven. The French celebrate by visiting cemeteries to see the graves of their deceased loved ones.

One tradition they have is placing chrysanthemum flowers on the graves every La Toussaint. This day is a day for prayer and silent remembering.

November 1, 2018

Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is a holiday celebrated on November 1. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated particularly in the Central and South regions of Mexico. This multi-day holiday focuses on the gathering of friends and family to remember those who have died. Día de Muertos honors the dead with festivals and lively celebrations, a typically Latin American custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism, brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores.

In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Día de Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person. Ofrendas often have marigold flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. Generally, the celebrations vary from town to town.

Día de Muertos is also observed outside of Mexico, throughout the Americas, and even in the Phillipines!