language learning

2) Is poor Spanish sufficient for communicating the Gospel?

Spanish / English classThe Roca Blanca Spanish Language School doesn’t think so either! They’ve been helping missionaries and cross-cultural Christians learn to communicate well in Spanish for the last five years from Oaxaca on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Students like the quality curriculum, methodology, and teachers, as well as the reasonable cost, and the great environment, both natural and spiritual, that they live and learn in. Learn more at…

4) What’s Your Opinion of the “Pimsleur” Language Learning Method?

One Brigada partner wrote this past week, “Do you know anything about the Pimsleur Approach to language learning? I wonder if any Brigada readers have tried it.

Their claims seem “too good to be true”, yet Forbes & New York Times supposedly endorse them. If it does work as well as they claim it could be a real tool for missions.” I have used Pimsleur CD courses on four different languages and, I’d have to say, they’ve never disappointed. But what’s your own opinion? (In reality, much of what the Pimsleur method uses is well-developed by folks like Smalley, Brewster, Gradin, and many others, right?) Please give your opinion in the comment box following the web version of this item.

5) Learn a New Language in 22 Hours?

Well, maybe not EXACTLY. But according to the guy in this story..

using this approach, you might be able to learn 1000 common words in a language in that same amount of time. Learn more at …

and put it to the test yourself. I tried a course in French and, I’ll have to admit, it’s a compelling solution, especially for someone unable to leave one’s job, family, or home — for the moment. Either way, after you’ve tried it out, please give us your opinion here (in the comment box following the online version of Brigada), so others will be able to learn from your experience. And thanks to Joshua for tipping us off about this opportunity.

7) Idea for New Device: Could the Device Highlight Text Being Read? –

Here’s an idea from a Brigada Reader. He’d like someone to invent a device or software that highlights, one word or phrase at a time, the material being read. He sees the need, not just in English, but in other languages like Urdu. He specifically wishes the device would feature the Bible itself. Imagine, as some narrator properly pronounces the words, a yellow highlighter bounces from word to word. As I understand him, he’s envisioning something not unlike a Karaoke prompter. He feels it would help the learner associate the spoken word with the written words as they’re being pronounced. Could you or someone you know make that happen? If so, please jot a comment below, along with your website or email address. Or, alternatively, write Michael directly at

mmack4647ataoldotcom but please make a note in the comments below that you’ve done so. It’s the only way we’ll know that someone is giving attention to this request.

3) What’s the Best Computer-assisted Language Learning Tool? –

That’s the question we were asked this past week. The Brigada participant was aware of…


billed as “The World’s Largest Language Learning Community,” and


billed as “The gold-standard of computer-based language-learning.” The question is, what’s your experience with either . . . and are there other, competing sites, services, and/or apps we should mention? Just click “Comment” below and share your experience please — and thanks in advance for any help you can give.

8) Linguistics For Bible Translation Or Language Learning —

Are you interested in Bible translation or other missionary work? Your best tool in training will be to learn how to understand and learn the language. SIL at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, has the courses you need. June 2 – Aug 4 could be a wonderful summer for you alongside others with similar interests. Apply by May 1 to avoid a late fee, or by March 15 if you want to apply for financial aid. The summer package costs $2680-$3125. For more details:


2) Language learners and teachers – Here’s a good tip! –

Brigada participant, Belinda, wrote recently, “I’ve been working in missions for close to 30 years and a man I used to work with (YWAM in Holland) was really gifted with learning languages. I was astounded at how easily he picked up the Dutch language and as far as I know he already spoke French fluently (and flawlessly!).  We took a mission band to give evangelistic concerts in Austria, Switzerland and I forget where else, but this man suddenly would “meld” into the public because he could communicate.  Amazing! David Durham blogs and wrote a book about language learning keys.  He doesn’t just give you easy answers, he expresses the heart of learning the culture of another language – and that is big take-home value even if you never “master” but only enter another language.”


Check it out at:


She continued, “You can subscribe to his blog or download a free sample to give you an idea. Those of us who minister in languages other than our own are sure to benefit from his book.  I proof-read the manuscript and felt privileged that he asked because I only speak one other language fluently and am trying to gain some ground in three others. His approach gives you the basic tools and the heart of the mission of learning another language.  You’ll read it, benefit from it and pass it on to your friends.”


I went there and, indeed, the guy looks to be the real deal. Worth the read. Thanks Belinda!!!

7) Interested in media or minority languages in the Eurasia region? –

Media, Communications, and IT experts, as well as linguists, translators, and ethnomusicologists, will meet near Frankfurt, Germany 19-22 March, 2012, for the Eurasia Media and Distribution Consultation (EMDC 2012). To gain access (web site and secure login), email


with a letter of introduction.

8) Learn Conversational English —

Do you or someone you know want to improve in English?  Youth With a Mission in Lebanon, Pa. USA. is offering a 12 week course from May 9 to July 29, 2011.  Classroom teaching plus immersion in an English – speaking international community contribute to a rich learning environment.  Details and application forms are on their web site.  \ or email questions to


8) Language Acquisition Training —

TRAIN International is offering “Acquire,” language acquisition training in Joplin, MO from April 4-15, 2011. Eric Derry leads this two-week intensive training and empowering cross-cultural workers with the best-known current strategies and tools based on the best-known textbooks. At Acquire, you will:

*** Learn proven and effective principles and techniques of language acquisition

*** Understand the impact language learning will have on your whole overseas experience

*** Improve your ability to hear and make new phonetic sounds

*** Get tips on working with language helpers on the field

*** Spend time with language helpers putting into practice the phonetic training and language learning methods

*** Gain the confidence that you CAN learn your target language The cost for this training is $890 per adult.  For more information, check out


or email Mark at


10) Having trouble Translating that sign? There’s an app for that –

Literally. Thanks to our I.T. guy, Greg, for point us to this article:


(That link might wrap. If so, just navigate to this item on the web, using the link below, and click on the link to the techcrunch story there.)


Basically, the story reports an iPod app that translates text from Spanish to English (and vice versa) in virtually real time. Right now, there’s only Spanish, but give ‘em time. :-)

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