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Archive for April, 2010

Interaction & No Grammar is the Key to Language Learning Success

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

KAMMS’ mantra has always been: It’s all about communication! Forget about the grammar and about pronouncing words perfectly. The goal is to get your thoughts out of your head and relayed to another person. That’s it. No stress, no worries, just interact with another human being. That’s why language was developed hundreds of thousands of years ago. (For an interesting article on the origin of language see: Origin of Language). Why do so many language teachers and language teaching programs insist on complicating the process by teaching us grammar and irrelevant vocabulary we’ll never use?

Of course, a language professor will probably argue that grammar is essential to language learning, but that’s probably because they haven’t read the latest language acquisition research. They are also, more than likely, one of the less than 3% of the population that actually enjoys learning about grammar. The rest of us are bored to tears by it and quickly become disinterested in learning the language.

Stephen Krashen, an expert in the field of linguistics, did extensive research on second language acquisition and came to the following conclusions: “Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules… Acquisition requires meaningful interactions in the target language – natural communication – in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding.”

Thank you Dr. Krashen. That’s what KAMMS’ programs were designed to do; give people the short and simple phrases they need to know for specific situations, so they can immediately interact and communicate without worrying about grammar.

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Just a Little Spanish Goes a Long Way in the Real Estate Industry

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Just a Little “Spanish” Goes a Long Way in the Real Estate Industry

It is no secret that Latinos are a “hot” market for many industries across the country, especially in real estate. You may have heard a common complaint among real estate agents: “The only Spanish-speaking agent in our office gets all the Hispanic clients”. These very fortunate agents are capitalizing on their ability to communicate with this booming Hispanic market. Those who can’t communicate with these clients are missing out on “the fastest growth rate in home ownership of any group in the U.S.”(Hispanic Magazine)

Fortunately, you do not need to be fluent in Spanish to obtain Hispanic clients. You can still communicate effectively by learning the most common words and phrases that relate to buying and selling property. Imagine how a prospective Hispanic client may feel when he walks into your office and you can say: ¡Bienvenido! ¿Quisiera comprar o vender una propiedad? (Welcome! Would you like to buy or sell a property?). You can instantly make this potential client feel comfortable and welcome.

Another benefit to speaking a few words of Spanish, is that after you have shown your friendly attempt at communication, the client may feel more at ease to say a few words in English. Many Hispanics are capable of speaking at least a little English, but feel self-conscious about how they may sound. When each of you contributes “a little”, you have started to build a bridge between the language barriers.

This idea of contributing “a little” helps to lessen the anxiety of people who are speaking in their second language. There is an interesting phenomenon called “language ego” (Guiora (1981)) and it is very important to consider when dealing with clients that speak a different language than your own. They may feel that they cannot express themselves effectively. They may even feel inferior to the native speaker of the language they are using to converse. When you let them know that you too are learning a new language and attempting to improve communication with them, this shows a genuine interest in serving their needs. It is the first step in building a relationship with Hispanic clients.

If you can learn just a few essential Spanish phrases that relate to the real estate industry, you will definitely increase the possibility that you will acquire more of the “booming” Hispanic market. According to Hispanic Magazine, there is a possibility of selling almost 3 million new homes to Latinos by the end of the decade. Real estate agents who are motivated enough to learn “just a little Spanish”, will certainly go a long way with this fast-growing market. If you want to learn short and simple Spanish phrases to communicate with clients today, try KAMMS’ Spanish for Real Estate audio program.


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