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200 Words a Day! Blitz your worst words! Newzine #03 --25 Nov03
November 25, 2003

Learn Languages the easy way.
Welcome to 200 Words a Day Newzine #03.

1. Blitzing your worst words when language learning
2. Learning Accented Words
3. Total Immersion Language Learning
4. Why not learn Spanish in Guatemala?
5. A new word and cartoon for you.
6. Tell us about your story and your learning rates.

1. Blitzing your worst words when language learning

Users of the 200 Words a Day CD-Roms may have seen the *My Worst Words* lessons.

By working most on the words with which you are having difficulty you will more rapidly improve your vocab learning. During tests the *200 Words a Day* programme constantly ranks every word you attempt, and puts the worst scoring ones in to a separate, special lesson called *My Worst Words*.

To find the ‘My Worst Words’ lesson, go to the Main Menu page (with the 2 characters on it) and click on the Lesson icon (the Professor icon – first on the left along the bottom). From the list of lessons scroll down the list until you find ‘My Worst Words’ which is lesson 805. You can run through the lesson, first or just go straight to the test by finding the lesson from the ‘Test’ icon on the Main Menu page (the Quill & ink icon).

This features the 30 words with your lowest scores, averaged from all the tests you have ever done, so it changes constantly as you do any tests.

2. Accented Words

Following on from above we notice that common mistakes, which drag down your test scores, are caused by forgetting where to put accents on different letters.

There is a lesson which features just the ‘Accented Words’. To find the lesson, go to the Main Menu page (with the 2 characters on it) and click on the Lesson icon (the Professor icon – first on the left along the bottom). From the list of lessons scroll down the list until you find ‘Accented Words’.

3. Learning Spanish by Total Immersion

To learn any language it’s best to live in the country where the language is spoken, and totally immerse yourself in the language. It needs a good plan with 5 main elements.

You need to combine:

(a) a good comprehensive, preferably concentrated course, with a good teacher with whom you can interact. . . .

(b) have an effective Spanish vocab learning system which is where the 200 Words a Day fits in. Lots of vocab broadens out your base and gives you lots of 'tools in the learning Spanish toolbox'. Spend more effort initially on vocab rather than grammar. . .

(c.) learn some basic grammar& understand how to form verbs in the language. Initially however, do not get too hung up on perfecting grammar,. 200 Words a Day courses have lots of grammar notes too. (d) learn phrases…., use them and make mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you will improve, by getting them corrected. 200 Words a Day! courses have lots of common phrases and expressions.

(e) then put it all in to practice, by talking to locals. Only talk the language you are learning.

Old people and little kids are good to talk to when learning a language. Old people love to talk ……….and so do kids. Avoid anyone who speaks your native tongue, unless they too only speak the new language (no matter what level). It is best to avoid people who speak any of your native tongue, thus you will be forced to communicate and learn.

Of course you need to be lucky enough to be able to organise the time & funds to get onto a concentrated total immersion programme, but if you can it is well worth it. We are currently researching many of the courses available and will provide information in forthcoming newzines. There are total immersion courses to suit all tastes and budgets. Here is a first offering:

4. Why learn Spanish in Guatemala?

Here is something from Christopher Curran, Coordinator of CELAS MAYA language school in Guatemala. (We get no payment or commission I just liked his approach so I am including it here).

What makes Guatemala so ideal as a place for language study? Guatemala – because of some happy accidents of history and geography – is known for the high quality of its Spanish. Without as much English influence as Mexico, and so therefore less Spanglish, Guatemala holds more closely to proper grammar.

In general, the Guatemalan pronunciation of Spanish is slow, well-enunciated, and easy to understand. Guatemalans tend not to chop off syllables as in many other countries.

Advanced students will enjoy practicing the *vos* form of the personal pronoun, which is commonly used in colloquial speech here to achieve a a more informal register than the standard *tú* form allows.

As the epicenter of Mayan culture and with a higher percentage of the population of indigenous heritage than almost any other Latin American country, Guatemala is a pluricultural and plurilingual nation. Anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and others will discover that indigenous languages remain strongly embedded in the culture here, especially in rural communities where Spanish is generally a second language.

For this reason, CELAS MAYA offers both K’iche and Mam (local Languages) as well as Spanish in its language course offerings. Check out our website at to get an idea of the look and feel of the school.

-Christopher Curran, Coordinator, CELAS MAYA

(It’s also a very cheap country to visit, and stay in, and there are lots of eco-tours, and interesting historical ruins. . . Ed.)

5. Here's another Spanish word for you to enjoy.

The word for date is la fecha so we feature a girl telling her sister to FETCH A calendar to check the date.

The character in the pic is a girl, so we know the word is feminine. In Spanish, most nouns ending in '-a' tend to be feminine...... but of course there are exceptions . . .

Additionally, the text is red for female (female is red), and the voice on the programme** that reads the feminine texts is female also. Three gender triggers in one.


(**There is no sound file with the newzine)

6. Tell us about your story and your learning rates.

We welcome feedback on the software and any suggestions for improvement. Tell us about your experiences, and which lessons you find most useful. We are most interested in any personal stories.

Your next newzine will be emailed in around 10 days -14 days time.

Well, that's it for this newzine. If you see any good websites or products that can speed up language learning do let us know so we can add them to the newzine. Also if you have any questions at all do not hesitate to get in touch at

Kind regards,

Kevin Crocombe

Click here to visit our website at by clicking on the link:

Visit the 200 Words a Day! Language learning website.

Trade enquiries are welcome.

200 Words a Day!
32 Alverton, Great Linford, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK14 5EF, United Kingdom.
Tel: (+44) 1908 676 873

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