Is Spanish a Difficult Language to Learn? Part Two False cognates, verb conjugations and other challenges

By Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, PhD and Kristina Klausen, MBA

Image of smiling girl

Have you ever tried to “speak Spanish” by putting a bunch of O’s on the end of English words? If so, you might have noticed this strategy doesn’t take you too far. While there are similarities between English and Spanish, there are also some significant differences that can cause confusion for students at first. Understanding a bit about how Spanish works will help you support your child when it comes to common pitfalls and challenges in learning this language.

(more…)

Is Spanish a Difficult Language to Learn? Part One Features that make Spanish easier than you might think

By Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, PhD and Kristina Klausen, MBA

How hard is it for kids to learn a particular foreign language? That is often one of the first questions many parents ask when considering foreign language education for their children. Because Spanish is similar to English in several ways, and because many aspects of Spanish and Latin American culture are familiar to students in the United States, Spanish is considered one of the easier foreign languages for children to learn. In this post we’ll look at some of the features that make Spanish easier for kids to learn, and in part two we’ll look at some of the challenges that Spanish learners face.  (more…)

How to Support Your Immersion Student

Happy young boy working on foreign language homework

Learning a new language is both exciting and challenging, and the younger your child starts a second language, the more easily she will learn to speak it. Immersion programs for children, particularly Spanish and Mandarin, have been growing very rapidly and are often over-subscribed. If your child is lucky enough to be learning a foreign language in an immersion program, you may feel unsure how to support her–especially if you don’t speak the language yourself. Don’t worry. There are ways to help your child on the language-learning journey.

(more…)

How Hard is It for Kids to Learn Chinese? Part Two What makes Mandarin challenging: characters, tones, idioms and more

By Kristina Klausen, MBA and Mingyu Sun, Ph.D.

An image of a young Chinese student writing in a notebook.

In Part One of this series we looked at some surprising ways that Mandarin Chinese is easier to learn than other languages. Children learning Mandarin are happy to discover that Mandarin has no verb conjugations and no irregular spelling or grammar. That said, Mandarin has a reputation for being a challenging language – so for parents who are interested in having their children learn Mandarin we’ll take a look at the challenges and how they can be addressed.

(more…)

How Hard is it for Kids to Learn Chinese? Part One Surprising Ways Mandarin is Easier to Learn Than English

By Kristina Klausen, MBA and Mingyu Sun, Ph.D.

Image of Children Learning Mandarin

Chinese has a reputation of being a tough language to learn, but have you ever wondered why that is? Nearly a billion people in the world speak Mandarin Chinese – so clearly learning it is possible. However, if you’re a parent thinking about having your children learn Mandarin as a second language, you probably want to know more about whether Mandarin Chinese is a hard language for kids to learn. 

What might surprise you is that, in some ways, Mandarin is easier to learn than English. In this article we’ll take a linguistic perspective and look at what makes Mandarin easier to learn than you might think and, in Part Two we’ll look at what makes Mandarin challenging.

(more…)

An Interview with Stella Su, Founder of Great Chinese Reads

Stella Su and Mason Pan (right) of Great Chinese Books discuss how to present the recommended reading list in an online searchable database with Rich Matsuura (left) of PandaTree.com.

Stella Su and Mason Pan (right) of Great Chinese Books discuss how to present the recommended reading list in an online searchable database with Rich Matsuura (left) of PandaTree.com.

We often get asked by parents for recommendations about Chinese books for kids to read, so we’re thrilled to support the launch of Great Chinese Reads’ Recommended Chinese Reading List. Experts at Great Chinese Reads reviewed more than 2,000 books and selected 50 for inclusion in a leveled, searchable database available for free to parents, educators and students. PandaTree was delighted to work with Great Chinese Reads to bring their list to life online. Here’s a discussion with Great Chinese Reads Founder, Stella Su.

(more…)

Great Chinese Reads and PandaTree Announce Launch of Recommended Chinese Reading List for Kids

Chinese Books for Children Recommended By Great Chinese Reads

 

January 29, 2017, Palo Alto, CA: The non-profit organization, Great Chinese Reads, together with the language learning company, PandaTree, announce the launch of an expert-selected Recommended Chinese Reading List for students in kindergarten through sixth grade who are learning Mandarin  Chinese. The list of 50 recommended picture books is now available for free to parents and educators in a searchable database at PandaTree.com.

(more…)

Reasons Why Children Should Learn a Foreign Language

There are amazing benefits for children from learning a foreign language

What if there was one thing you could do that would help grow your child’s brain, improve her problem solving skills, help her do better on standardized tests, prepare her for better paying jobs of the future, deepen her empathy and cross-cultural understanding and give her tools to unlock a lifetime of greater connections and richer experiences?  You would be all in, right?

(more…)

Welcome to the PandaTree Blog!

Children holding hands around the globe

PandaTree was launched to help kids learn foreign languages in a way that is fun, motivating and effective. We’ve been thrilled with the response from parents, who, like us, are looking for ways to offer their children the opportunity to learn a foreign language, knowing the benefits only increase as the world becomes more globalized.  PandaTree has been discovered by families around the world – including Norway and New Zealand!  We are grateful to our students, their families and to our 20-and-growing amazing tutors.
(more…)