James Archer

Speaker, Engineer, Entrepreneur, Cultural Connector

Author: archer

ShareLingo Students

Just two things to learn a new language.

ShareLingo StudentsReally – there are only two main things to learn a new language:

Foundation and Practice

Simple, right? I’m an Engineer. I like to break things down and simplify them.

Each of these two items has two parts:

Foundation

a) Vocabulary
b) Grammar

Practice

a) Listening
b) Speaking

The good news is you can do almost all of this alone – on your own.  But there is one VERY IMPORTANT part that you need to do with someone else. Keep reading.

First, the foundation.

Vocabulary.  You can’t tell someone to run unless you know the word for run.  (Correr)  You can’t say you have a dog unless you know the word for dog (Perro). You will need to gradually learn new vocabulary.

Grammar.  How do you distinguish between I run and I ran?   (Corro. Corrí.)  How do you say “Green Chili” (Salsa verde) – the noun and adjective are reversed in Spanish.  You need to learn these things – but they don’t have to be hard.

Where/How can you improve your foundations?  Everywhere!  There are hundreds of ways to build vocabulary and learn about grammar in a natural way. That is, by learning what sounds, or looks, right. Books, Youtube, Rosetta Stone.  Even leaflets at Lowes or Home Depot or other marketing materials have English and Spanish. Use all of these resources to pick up more vocabulary.  As you review these materials, you will pick up grammar aspects automatically. Like: Today I go to the beach.  Yesterday I went to the beach. This month, I have gone to the beach three times. (Hoy, voy a la playa.  Ayer, fui a la playa.  Este mes, he ido a la playa tres veces.)

Next, practice.  If you want to learn to swim, you have to get wet.

Listening:  Duh – you can’t have a conversation with someone – even to ask their name (Como te llamas), or where they’re from (De donde eres), if you can’t make out the words and accents. To do this, you have to “tune your ear” to the words. This means you have to spend some time just listening – even if you don’t understand what the person is saying, you will begin to make out more and more unique words – that you can then go look up to build your vocabulary!  You will also start picking up the grammar aspects from what the speakers are saying. Listen to something for at least 30 minutes twice a day.

Speaking:  This is the one area where you need someone else’s help. Let me say that again.  You need a real person to help you practice speaking. Practicing in front of a mirror. Or recording your voice and playing it back to yourself doesn’t cut it.  For this part, you need to practice with a person. Why? Because you need immediate feedback and positive reinforcement.  Say you’re teaching a kid to say hippopotamus or cinnamon.   You can’t just go tell them to practice on their own. It’s not like throwing a baseball or dancing. They can’t go practice till they get it right. It’s a back and forth thing.  They try to pronounce a word, you help them. They try again, you encourage them.

Where/How can you practice?  Again – everywhere!   Listen to the radio. Watch TV (with subtitles, if available).  Join a meetup group for English/Spanish (or another language).  You probably run across native Spanish speakers every day.  Guess what. They really want to practice English with you. But they’re not going to ask you.  YOU have to connect with THEM.  It’s a cultural thing. [If you want an Easy Button, check out The ShareLingo Project which brings native speakers together to help each other.]

Whatever you do – keep it simple.  Don’t overthink it.  The keys are Desire and Being Consistent.  You have to want it. And you have to commit to it.

Be a language Olympian

Is there anyone in the world that doesn’t know the Olympics are on in Rio right now?

[Traducción en español debajo – Gracias a Danny Mejia.]

As I watch the athletes, I can’t help relating so much of ShareLingo’s mission to these amazing people.

Languages, Cultures, and Dedication to a goal.

Many of you know that ShareLingo links people who speak different languages so they can teach each other.  And they share cultural lessons at the same time. We do this for businesses, individuals, and non-profits – so we have seen a lot of people from different cultures connect and become friends.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to go to an event like the Olympics and speak to people in another language, and to have a real understanding of their customs and greetings?

But for me, the thing that resonates most is the dedication that all of these athletes have. I think about the Gold Medal winners, for sure. But even for the people that don’t win gold – the people that win silver, or bronze, or just get to go to the Olympics – and even the people who have trained and didn’t get to go to Rio – I’m super impressed with their dedication.

Learning a language requires a similar dedication.  There isn’t any magic pill you can take to just instantly know a new language. You have to learn it. Work on it. Be focused, and dedicated, and persistent. Little by little, every day, you can get better and better.

The accomplishment makes the time and effort so worth it.

You can be a language Olympian!  Go for the Gold!

 

¿Hay alguien en el mundo que no sepa acerca de los Juegos Olímpicos de Río en este momento?

A medida que observo los atletas no puedo evitar relacionar, tanto, la misión de ShareLingo con estas increíbles personas.

Idiomas, Culturas, y la Dedicación para alcanzar una meta.

Muchos de ustedes saben que ShareLingo conecta a personas que hablan diferentes idiomas, para que puedan enseñárselos entre sí; al mismo tiempo, comparten enseñanzas culturales. Hacemos esto para empresas, individuos y organizaciones sin fines de lucro; por lo que hemos  sido testigos de cómo una gran cantidad de personas, de diferentes culturas, se conectan y se convierten en amigos.

¿No sería increíble el ir a un evento como las Olimpiadas, hablar con la gente en otro idioma, y tener una comprensión real de sus costumbres y saludos?

Pero para mí, lo que más resuena es la dedicación que todos estos atletas tienen. Pienso en los ganadores de medalla de oro, indudablemente, pero también en las personas que no ganan el oro, las personas que ganan medallas de plata o bronce, o simplemente los que tienen la oportunidad de ir a los Juegos Olímpicos, inclusive en las personas que se entrenaron y no consiguieron ir a Río. Me impresiona de gran manera su dedicación.

Aprender un idioma requiere una dedicación similar. No existe una pastilla mágica que puedas tomar y en solo un instante saber un nuevo idioma. Tienes que aprenderlo, trabajar en ello, mantenerte enfocado, dedicado, y persistente. Poco a poco, cada día, puedes mejorar y mejorar.

Llegar a la meta, hace que el tiempo y el esfuerzo valga la pena.

¡Tú puedes ser un atleta olímpico del idioma! ¡Ve por el oro!

About James Archer

JAMES ARCHER is the founder of The ShareLingo Project – a Social Enterprise that helps people who speak different languages connect and understand each other – both literally (the languages) and culturally. While the program was developed primarily to assist individuals and non-profits (schools, clinics, churches, etc.) it has proven to be a very effective solution within the corporate environment as well.

Prior to founding ShareLingo, JAMES ARCHER was active in many different ventures. He earned a degree in Computer Engineering and his first job out of college was assisting the Canadian and then the Australian military on large computer based training programs. This position took him to Australia, where he joined a conference and exhibition company as a computer programmer (writing, among other things, the world’s first real-time conference delegate registration system). While with this company, James earned his MBA with a focus on international business, and advanced from computer programmer to the Board of Director and became General Manager. During this time, he travelled extensively throughout Australasia to help promote Australian exhibitions to large delegations from countries like China and Vietnam.

Upon his return to the United States, James purchased an art gallery in Breckenridge Colorado, and developed Masterpiece Solutions – the first gallery management software suite capable of integrating online and in-store inventory, images, and meta-data for galleries and antique dealers.

After selling the software business, James invented Silpoura – a silicone kitchen device that aides pouring of almost anything. Of Silpoura, James says, “One can literally pour hot bacon or hamburger grease directly from a skillet into a coke can.”

But it is with ShareLingo that James feels he has found his mission in life.

“Helping people from different cultures connect and understand each other is something our society desperately needs. ShareLingo is working towards world peace – 10 people at a time.”

ShareLingo began when, later in life, James decided to really learn a second language, and selected Spanish.  Although he was living in Denver, where there is a very large Spanish speaking community, he found very few resources that helped him connect with people he could practice with. So, as an engineer, he decided to “fix the problem” and ShareLingo came about.

He worked with a local non-profit and brought English and Spanish speakers together. Rather than teaching them, as in a traditional environment, he created a method to help them teach each other. An unplanned, and beautiful, result of the program was seeing the participants really become friends with each other.  This program broke down cultural barriers in a way that James had never experienced before.

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