Ah, the holiday season! It’s a season of joy, celebration, and time spent with loved ones… and a season of giving. If you’re searching for the perfect present for the language student in your life, we’ve got you covered. These gifts for language learners are sure to please your Spanish-studying niece, polyglot cousin, and German-teacher friend alike!
Whether your giftee is already an intermediate or advanced language student, or has always wanted to learn a language but never gotten around to it, footing the bill for class sessions can be a thoughtful and practical way to help your loved ones tackle their New Year’s resolutions.
For students who have already begun classes, reach out to their instructor or language school and inquire about crediting a handful of their scheduled classes or prepaying for the next session. For new learners, look into local language centers and tutors with flexible teaching hours so that your giftee will be able to work learning into his or her busy schedule.
While one of the first gifts for language learners that may spring to mind is a software learning program, keep in mind that you can’t teach yourself a foreign language. This is particularly true for learners in the initial stages: the importance of setting the foundation for language skills with a live instructor in a classroom setting simply cannot be overstated! This holiday season, skip the pricey yellow-boxed software and opt for gifting language classes, the always-in-style learning tool that will help learners stay on track!
Pro tip: If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Email a CORE representative at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our Spanish, German, and English classes, offered nationwide at competitive rates.
Flashsticks are language learning tools that are easy to incorporate into daily life and help students commit commonly used words and phrases to memory. Currently offered in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and English, Flashsticks are custom-printed post-it notes that double as flashcards. They easily stick onto surfaces and objects in the home, office, or car as useful review tools, and come in beginner, intermediate, and advanced packs for students at any level. They are even color-coded for easy gender association — an especially helpful feature for native English speakers, who often struggle with gendered nouns in other languages!
Flashsticks are complemented by a free pronunciation app for phones and tablets that offers unique features like object translation: using the app, learners can scan an item and get an instant translation and pronunciation guide. Users can also record themselves pronouncing the phrase to test progress against sample audio clips, scan their Flashsticks cards for additional information on conjugation and usage, and save notes on areas to review later. The app has learning games and activities built in, and learners can create their own leaderboard to track their progress against family and friends. This is our top pick for a small, inexpensive stocking-stuffer for a language student or a family of aspiring polyglots!
Engaging with native content produced in a foreign language is a dynamic way to master another tongue. To help intermediate and higher-level language learners boost their reading or listening comprehension, consider gifting native material in the form of movies, books, or subscriptions for magazines published in the target language.
If you know some of the recipient’s favorite books, a simple search for “Book title” + “German edition” will likely turn up the results you’re looking for… plus, books the reader is already familiar with in their first language are great stepping stones to more challenging texts. You can also visit a local foreign language bookstore where staff members will be able to point you in the direction of the most popular books in the target language.
Watching foreign language movies is another enjoyable way to strengthen language comprehension. Movies in your giftee’s language of study are great gifts for language learners at all levels — just double check that the DVDs you’re looking at have English subtitles available!
Pro tip: If you’re having difficulty finding books or movies in another language online, you can easily access Amazon’s international pages by tweaking the domain suffix. For example, Amazon Italy is accessible at www.amazon.it; Amazon France can be found at www.amazon.fr; and Amazon Spain at www.amazon.es.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE BOARD GAMES
Learning is at its best when it’s fun! Is your giftee a wordsmith? Scrabble comes in Spanish. Does she have a penchant for business? Think Monopoly — the French edition. Or does he enjoy solving a good mystery? Then Clue in German might be the way to go!
Chances are, the language learners and linguaphiles in your life also have a streak of wanderlust within them. Surprise them with best-selling travel guides by Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, or Fodor’s to pique their interest in the region they’re studying. Jam-packed with striking photographs and attractions to visit, travel guides are great gifts for language learners that are sure to come in handy when they make plans to go abroad and put their language skills to use!
What other gifts for language learners made your holiday shopping lists this year? Share your best finds in the comment section!