Sunday, December 07, 2008

Learn English, Spanish or Other Foreign Language Fast with a Supermarket Tour

English s a Foreign Language Learning

As EFL teaching professionals and foreign language learners, we’re always looking for ways to acquire English language skills in the shortest possible time using the least amount of focused effort. This is not to say that a person is necessarily “lazy”. This simply means that we want our foreign language learning efforts to be as casual and “painless” as possible. When you think of learning a foreign language, often the toil of memorizing vocabulary and verb lists comes to mind. Also, we might conjure up images of the drudgery of countless hours of spoken repetition speaking drills and hordes of embarrassing errors when trying to speak the foreign language with someone. However, none of these scenarios need to be the case for effectively learning English as a foreign language or another foreign language.

You DO Eat, Don’t You?

Let’s look at a basic language theme like food. You DO eat, don’t you? Well, likely that isn’t going to change if you visit or relocate to a foreign country. So, we’ll start learning (or teaching) English as a foreign language with a visit to our local supermarket. If you and your learners are in the U.S.A, here’s how such a food vocabulary lesson might work for you.

To start off, write your proposed shopping list in the target language.

Go to the supermarket, then add to your English or foreign language food shopping list in these ways:

• What are three to five meats you like? write these down from the signs
• What are two or three meats you don’t like? Write these down too.
• Can you have dairy products? Write a few of these down. If there are any you don’t know – ask another shopper “What is this?” (¿Que es esto?) Do you know what KUMIS is? How about Quajada?
• Move on to the fruit section – write down three to five of these you like
• Ask another shopper about three to five fruits you don’t know. Do you like this fruit? (¿Le gusta Ud. esta fruta?) Do you know Chontaduro (pictured above), Borojo or Pitaya?
• Note five the foreign language names of vegetables that you like
• Write down a couple of vegetables that you don’t like
• By now you know the drill, ask about a few vegetables you don’t know; at last one vegetable this trip. Now, ask another shopper, “How do you cook this?” (¿Como puedo cocinar esto?)

For More Extended English as a Foreign Language Lessons

If you want a more extended lesson, you can continue to the baked goods section, cereals and seafood if you’re feeling puckish – and brave. But for now, you want to engage locals in brief, non-threatening banter about what’s going on all around you. After all, they eat too, you know. Better yet, save some other supermarket sections for additional trips. This way you can go “shopping” everyday, practicing your English as a foreign language skills casually each day. This works equally well for Spanish and other foreign languages too.

Here’s Your English or Foreign Language Learning Opportunity

Here’s your opportunity to ask for help, explanations and even recipes while getting an in-depth immersion into you new foreign language and culture at the same time. No matter what foreign language you’re learning, it just can’t be a faster, simpler or more interesting than that.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at:

1 comment:

Rosana Hart said...

This reminds me of a time when I was teaching beginning English to a group of Vietnamese women in Olympia, Washington. They were all at least 50 and lived with younger relatives who did speak some English. Progress was pretty slow till the day we did a supermarket tour. They all came alive and wanted to know the names of most of the produce!