Where is your library card? Go ahead, I’ll give you a few minutes to hunt it down.
It’s fine—I’ll wait.
Want me to look?
We have Kindle and Amazon and a zillion other reader apps for our phones, tablets and laptops. Many of us don’t even bother with books, because it’s so easy to skim blogs, Huffington Post, and Lord help us—social media and funny animal videos. I’m guilty!
BUT did you know your library card can get you free language training? I bet the library will even give you a new card, if you ask nicely.
Mango Languages is a website and app that provides lessons on over 60 different languages, including Pirate. Aarrrgh. For languages that are in higher demand, such as Spanish, Mandarin and Filipino, there are a variety of lessons, from basic to intermediate. Each lesson gives opportunities to record your own voice and compare it to the narrator. When you complete the basics, there are specialty modules for Medical lingo, Legalese, Romance, Texting and yep—Lingua Librarium.
Writing your sponsored child is a great way to practice a new language. I recommend including an English translation with your letters, so that the Compassion translators can ensure that your message is understood. Even common words in Spanish can have very different implications, depending on the region. Deysi and Bryan live in Bolivia, so they will learn Spanish in school but might speak an indigenous language such as Aymará at home. Erich and John Michael live in the Philippines, so they speak Tagalog, which is a fun Asian-Spanish language that sounds a little bit Surfer to me. Mathias lives in Togo, so he speaks Ewe but may learn English in school. Mitiku lives in Ethiopia, so he speaks Amharic but may also learn English in school.
After you whiz through the Mango Language lessons, check out these free resources for additional practice:
Notes in Spanish – This podcast is done in Spanish from Spain, so the accents and some of the vocabulary might not be understood by those living south of the US. However, I love tuning in to this husband and wife duo. Englishman Ben and his Spaniard beauty Marina have friendly, interesting discussions of culture, politics, travel and random lifestyle issues in Spanish. Afterwards, they review the vocabulary in English. Transcripts and additional tools are available for purchase.
Spanish Listening – This website offers videos in Spanish, spoken by a variety of people from all over Central and South America, to familiarize students with different accents and phrasing. Videos may be played with or without transcripts, and there are additional learning tools for purchase.
Filipino in 3 Minutes – I first discovered this video series on Youtube. The home website, Filipinopod101.com, offers lessons from beginning to advanced Tagalog, and cultural tips are included as well.
I have not explored the Amharic or Ewe language sites, but if you have recommendations, please leave a comment below.
Meanwhile, if you’re still thinking about sponsoring one of this month’s awesome children, don’t let the idea of responsibility make you motionless with fear. They aren’t looking for a parent, just a friend who will help them get an education and write to them occasionally. These are God’s kids—God just wants you to be part of the work He’s doing in their lives, and you’ll be happy when you join in. Sponsorship registration for John Michael, Deysi and Mathias need to be submitted 9/25. Sign-ups for Bryan, Erich and Mitiku are due 10/2.
I am participating in Compassion International’s “Release 3” project, and I am praying that the 6 children whose packets I have on my desk today will be sponsored by someone who reads my blogs this month. They need your friendship and $38 per month, to make it out of extreme, tummy-growling poverty and into adulthood with skills and opportunities instead of wishes. Let me know which child you’d like to sponsor, and I’ll send you the information. Share this with your friends, too.
In case you wonder, I will never take your money or your credit info. I will send you to the Compassion site and provide you with sign-up information for these children. I get nothing but the joy of knowing that I helped a few more children by spreading the word.
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