Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sunday May 10th, 2015 World Languages

English is a popular world language and yet a language which sometimes fails to provide just the right word for certain things. For instance, there is no one English word that describes the action of binge-eating as a result of having suffered an emotional blow. In German, this is covered by the word “kummerspeck” (grief-bacon). How about when you only think of the exact right response just after the moment to say it has passed? The French might say that is” l’esprit de l’escalier”, or literally, stairway wit.  One of the great benefits of learning a second or third language is the pleasure of discovering these sorts of unique words and phrases which give you insight into another culture.

Your public Library is well-equipped to assist you in your journey to learn another language, including English if it is not your first language.  One of the best methods is to be able to hear the sound of the words along with reading another language, and for that reason using a computer for interactive language-learning is a great tool.  With your library card you can access the Powerspeak Languages database which provides interactive instruction in Spanish, French, German, Mandarin and English-as-a-second-language.  To access it from your home computer or tablet, go to TBPL’s website and select the Research tab. Click on the image of the Sleeping Giant and follow the instructions to type in your library card and PIN number.  Then, scroll down the list of databases to Powerspeak. The learning starts there with introducing you to some key words and key points about the language (such as having a formal and an informal version of “you” in German). Audio clips are on each page to allow you to hear the words spoken by a native speaker.  Before you know it, you will be able to participate in a simple conversation.  Learning a new language can also improve your overall brain functioning.  There
are many studies which promote this benefit to persons who learn a new language.

In addition to online learning, you could choose to borrow a language learning CD and booklet as there are a variety of those available for loan. Modern Mandarin Chinese for Beginners, Learn Italian in your car, Learning Ojibwe or Speak Portuguese with Confidence to cite a few of the titles on the shelves.

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to already know more than one language. Then you might want to pick out a magazine or read a novel in a different language and you can do that for selected languages at the Library. For instance you can read the Harry Potter series in French or in Finnish or a cook book in Italian. There are also many foreign films in the Library collection that you could borrow with English sub-titles and the original language soundtrack. So if you want your Bollywood film in Hindi or your Cannes film winner in the original Tamil or Tagalog you might be in luck.

Why you can even find a board book for a baby in Spanish or a CD to help you improve your English accent here, so why not visit your Library soon to see what else you can discover.  We are waiting to help you with your next steps in lifelong learning.

Angela Meady

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