• Business,  Language

    Language and Business

    For some reason I love hearing about language blunders. For example… For those learning a foreign language these blunders are common and, with the right attitude, can add flavor to the language learning process. In the business world, these blunders are even more poignant because international businesses “should know better,” right? One which I particularly enjoy is the case of General Motors trying to sell the Chevy Nova in Puerto Rico. In Spanish, “no va” means “it doesn’t go,” which becomes a big problem when trying to sell a car. The Sunbeam Corporation provides another instance of a language blunder, which occurred when trying to sell the “Mist-Stick” in Germany.…

  • Grammar,  Language,  Vocabulary

    Grammar vs. Vocab – Which comes first?

    Recently, I started a thread on a language learning forum and asked the forum members the simple question “Is vocabulary really necessary early on?” I posed this question in all sincerity based on one simple assumption: Vocabulary comes over time whether I like it or not, so wouldn’t a focus on grammar be a better emphasis in the early stages of language learning? Specifically, I thought it better to focus on such things as… – Verbs (past present and future tenses, participles, etc.) – Pronouns – Articles/Cases (including gender, if necessary) – Possessives – Little words like of, for, and, by, with, which, this, that, these, those, etc. – Question…

  • Culture,  Language

    Language Without Culture is Like…

    Learning a new language can be an extremely rich and rewarding experience. It can also be drab, mind-numbing work. What makes the difference? I submit that culture is one of the greatest spices which add flavor to the language learning experience. Here are a few analogies to paint a picture of things. Language Without Culture is Like… Eating a burger without the meat (or, for vegetarians, eating a salad without dressing). Climbing inside a Ferrari, buckling up, putting the key in the ignition, and discovering the engine has been removed. Taking a Calculus class without knowing Algebra. Parents who still try to act cool around their teenagers. Napoleon Dynamite (or,…

  • Grammar,  Language

    Creating a Language Framework

    Trying to learn a new language can be a lot like trying to drink from a fire hose. As I mentioned in the Language-Time Conundrum, there is simply an enormous amount of information – culture, grammar, vocabulary, etc. – associated with language learning. It can be extremely daunting at first. One of the early keys to success in language learning is organizing the language itself into more manageable chunks. I’m here to propose to you some of those areas to help provide a framework for language learning. Think of your brain as a complex computer operating system. When first trying to save a document you must select a folder or…

  • Language,  Resources

    6 Free (or Cheap) Language Learning Resources

    Are you familiar with the word “miser”? I realized the other day that when it comes to learning a new language, I happily bear that title – a miser, a penny pincher, a stingy old goat. I see no reason to spend much money on learning a new language. There are so many free (or cheap) resources to provide the information necessary to learn a new language that paying a lot of money for a program doesn’t make sense to me. The only advantage I see with the expensive language programs is that they provide structure. But the problem is that it’s a one-size-fits-all structure that may or may not…

  • Language

    The Language-Time Conundrum

    Have you ever caught yourself watching sands fall through the narrow opening of an hourglass? It’s pretty impressive, really, that hundreds of years ago this simple method was devised for keeping time. The opening is set to a very specific width, and just the right amount of sand is loaded inside so that it takes a very specific amount of time for all of the grains to fall through to the bottom. It doesn’t go any faster, and it doesn’t go any slower. Have you ever thought of your brain like an hourglass? If you haven’t, at least one similarity is worth noting. If you’ve ever studied for a test…

  • Language

    Can Bilingualism Make You More Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

    – Benefits of Bilingualism – Learning a second language provides many benefits. Some study a second language for the intellectual stimulation, while others have a legitimate need (such as travel) that requires it. But the benefits of learning a new language often reach much farther than simply gratifying any one specific need.  Rest assured that the hard work and diligence you invest over the course of your language learning experience will be rewarded throughout your life in many, many ways. Here are just a few, based in research and my own personal experience with language study. Research Shows… …that bilingualism has several benefits. A research study conducted by Mehisto and…

  • General

    Welcome to TrentBooks.com!

    Welcome! Hello, and thank you for stopping in! Let me give you a quick introduction to who I am, the purpose of TrentBooks.com, and how this site can benefit you as a reader. I hope you find what you’re looking for, and look forward to reading your comments.    Who is this guy? My name is Kenny Trent. I was named after Kenneth Mattingly, who returned home from the final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-4) on July 4, 1982 – the day I was born. Skip ahead a few years… At the ripe young age of 19, I began serving a mission for the Church of…