Have you ever tried to learn a second or third language? If you are not living in a country where you are completely surrounded by the new language, with people speaking to you, seeing signs everywhere, it can be quite a challenge to learn a new language.
My hubby and I are learning to speak mandarin chinese, but we are here in the U.S. We are not surrounded by people speaking chinese. We do have friends from Taiwan who have returned to their part of the world. We will keep in touch with them and look forward to visiting Taiwan in the future. We have a favorite chinese restaurant and enjoy our attempts to use our mandarin when visiting.
We decided to begin our education by using the same books that are utilized by the foreign language class at our local university, so we will learn pinyin and also learn to write chinese characters. In addition to a weekly study group we have with friends and a private tutor, we are also using online resources. I have found many resources on YouTube and some websites with free basic chinese lessons. Today I found the site LearnChineseEZ. They show you words and phrases in english and then in pinyin with a sound link so you can hear the pronunciation. I listen and repeat, it has come in quite handy. And of course google translate is very helpful, but you have to make sure of the accuracy. I think one of my favorite tools is an online learning tool, Quizlet, which provides study tools and games which can be used for learning anything, but is especially fantastic for learning languages. Using Quizlet, I made up my own set of words and phrases and use the flashcard feature, the scatter game and the tests. I have found many useful apps for my iphone, including an app for quizlet so I can practice my sets while on the go.
One advantage for us is that we are doing this as a family. Our dog, Blue Belle, will become a part of the learning process. We can speak to each other in chinese and we can speak to Belle. How long do you think it will take for Blue Belle to comprehend our new speech? She is such a smart dog, I think she will pick up on the new lingo rather quickly.
How about you guys? Have any of you taught your dogs a new language?