3 Weird Ways to Learn New Spanish and French Words


These are some hidden learning resources that you can find practically anywhere.

When it comes to learning a new language, the first thing you want to increase is your vocabulary. If your kid is learning Spanish or French (I bet we can apply these to other Latin languages as well, such as Italian or Portuguese) here are some tips, all based on what I enjoyed doing and comparing when I was learning English at that age:

Color Words: Many brands, such as Faber Castell and Crayola, tend to write their color names on the color pens–or crayons–themselves. You can learn a lot from these since the way to describe colors varies from country to country. That’s why  “shocking pink” can either mean “rose ahurissant” in French (close to the literal meaning, but not quite) and something else in Spanish entirely. My favorite English name for a color is “robin’s egg” because it describes the particular shade of a bird’s egg, but it doesn’t mean the same in Spanish, they call it light turquoise: “turquesa claro.”

Latin and Greek Words: When the Normans invaded England, a very long time ago, they brought with them many Latin and Greek words that are at the root of the Spanish and French languages.

Some have been discarded in English, but some (quite a lot, actually) are still there. Logical, from the Latin word “logos,” which means words, has the same or near same meaning in all three; it’s only spelled differently: loguique, lógico, and logical.

There are tons of common words, such as that one, from every aspect of life: appetite; acrobat; hemisphere; international; lake; name; pulverize… and etc., as well. (Here’s the link to the Wikipedia page that includes all of them.)

Disney Songs: We used these a lot to learn English when we were kids, sometimes because we had no choice: there was no dubbed version of certain movies. Now, all Blu-rays have them, and just because Frozen all-language versions have become unbearable to hear, it doesn’t mean is not fun to sing a known song in a different language.

As for the best way to learn verbs in another language, you need to cook. Using a recipe and following instructions can be daunting but also fun. There is no logical translation in cooking verbs, they’re just the expressions each country uses to boil, chop, and stir their favorite meals, and you can learn a lot from them.

All images come courtesy of the Wikipedia, except the lined-up crayons, those come from The Crayon Blog, and I really enjoyed the article in which they are featured.

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