Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tip # 28...Learn your ancestor's language

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Ich kann nur ein bischen Deutsch sprechen.

Hola! Hablas Espanol? Si Si.

Whatever your ancestry, your native language may not be English. With Family History Research, your journey may take you back generations to your ancestors country of origin. You may encounter records in languages other than English.

How can one best prepare? Here are a few ideas which can help you.

  • Your local library has hundreds of audio language tapes or Cd's from beginner to advanced levels. Check out a copy and listen to it during your commute.
  • When you visit your local library and check out if Rosetta Stone is offered online by your library. Rosetta Stone combines reading, listening and speaking to ease the process of learning another language. My local library offers Rosetta Stone at no charge. It is a great way to learn the basics or refresh your knowledge of what you knew in high school or college. You use the lessons at your own pace and gain a sense of accomplishment when you complete each session.
  • If you prefer to learn with a group, Community Colleges offer a wide range of foreign language classes. It may be easier to adapt to a new language by hearing it in person and sharing it with a group.
However you prefer to learn, celebrating Family History Month with your ancestor's native language is also a perfect way to help children and teenagers with their language skills. And, it may just be the impetus for some well deserved travel to new and exciting countries.

2 comments:

Frank said...

Excellent advise. If one doesn't have the time to (or want to) learn another language, I would suggest at least learning the different spellings of names. Most European countries have had several languages spoken within them and names on documentation can change. For instance I have seen a French notary write "Elisabeth" while a Catalonian raised Frenchman wrote "Isabeau" in another document. Antoine and Antoni also come to mind. anyway, great advise as usual.

Anna said...

Thank you. Learning the names, spellings and pronunications of the names in a foreign language certainly is helpful through the maze of information available. And, it can be an easier way to start to learn a foreign language.