Beginner’s mistake: in search of the Holy Grail

When we begin to study a new language, we make a lot of mistakes. Today, I will talk about one of the most common errors: the search for the perfect method/material.

The perfect material/method does not exist

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There are good and bad materials/methods. Some are better than others. Some will be better for you and your goals, but none is perfect. You will not learn a language well, using only one method. Of course, you can learn the general basis of a language from one method, but learning it well? I doubt it, and you should also be suspicious of any material or method that promises you a good level without effort and using only one material/method. Continue reading

How to keep the inactive languages

As I said before, I don’t like to study two languages ​​at the same time. Personally, I need to dedicate as much time as possible to the language I’m learning and it’s hard to do that with two languages ​​at the same time. But, that doesn’t mean that I stay away from the languages I don’t actively study. I try to keep a minimum contact with the languages ​​that are inactive, but in a way that they don’t interfere in the language that I am studying. The way I found to do that is using my “dead” time, leisure time or at work (if that don’t disturb me). Below, I list how. Continue reading

How to enrich your reading with audio

Reading in another language is a great activity to acquire more vocabulary, to learn more expressions, to immerse yourself in the target language, plus, you increase your cultural knowledge. But how to boost this activity?

Igor Barca

Reading with audio is one of the best ways I found to study a language. The only drawback is that you must be prepared to manage two media: your text and you audio file. But I assure you, nothing better than to hear a native reading while you follow the text.

The association word-pronunciation is strengthened and you begin to realize that you were pronouncing words incorrectly or that one word has more than one pronunciation. Reading and listening to a poem at the same time can be a great way to start applying this technique, since,  for the most part, the poem is a short text and contains rhythm and rhymes, elements that facilitate and invite the reader to read aloud. Although a book is (almost) always longer than a poem, you can still follow the reading with a certain ease. Another benefit is that you can retrocede the audio when you want to solve a doubt about pronunciation.

I know it may sound crazy, it looks like you will not be able to concentrate on both at once, but if you try, you will see that is not like that. It’s a matter of habit; adaptation is faster than you think.

This method also works great for when you are unable to focus on a very boring book, required by the university, for example. I can’t tell how many books I’ve read in this way and for that reason: from Shakespeare to Proust, all the books that I considered boring or difficult were read exactly like that. There are some sites that you can use to undertake this task. I’ll show links in five languages: Continue reading

Review of the course Mission Europe

One of the first courses I completed when I was studying French was the course “Mission Europe: Paris”. With German, it was no different. In just one day I finished “Mission Europe: Berlin“.

Mission Europe are courses developed with the support of the European Union to promote three languages: French, German and Polish. Currently, the courses can be found on the Deutsche Welle website.

The course is aimed at A1 level students, and has always as background a mystery story that works like a video game, where you earn points or lost lives. There are 26 lessons that last 5 minutes each.

mission europe Continue reading

Interview with Shannon Kennedy from Eurolinguiste.com

shannon-kennedyShannon is a super talented person, besides learning languages, she’s an artist (singer/ songwriter). You can find her in her website Eurolinguiste, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

1. What languages do you speak and at what level?

I speak English fluently. It is my native language and the one that I use the most frequently. French comes in close second. It is one of the languages that I speak at home, but I don’t use it as often as English since I live and work in an English-speaking country.

After French and English, Mandarin is the language that I speak the best. Even though I’ve only studied it for a year (the shortest time I’ve spent with other languages), I’ve really worked on it intensely, so my ability in the language progressed much more quickly than languages I’ve studied longer (or that I’ve let slide).

Croatian, German and Italian are languages that I’ve studied in the past but haven’t done a great job of keeping up. I was working quite hard at Croatian up until recently, but I decided to take a break from it to really focus on Mandarin.

Lastly, I’ve recently started studying Russian. I don’t spend a lot of time with it because my focus is still Chinese. I also find it more difficult than the other languages I’ve studied, so my progress is quite  slow. Despite my snail-like pace, however, I really enjoy studying it and look forward to spending more time on it after I sit the HSK exam for Chinese.

To know more: Languages Continue reading

Spanish accents – Part 2

Second part of the post about Spanish accents.

BANDEIRA PERUPeru

The accent of the capital is considered one of the most neutral of the Spanish language. The “limeños” speak a clear Spanish (not the young generation), and pronounce very well the r and the rr. Sometimes they pronounce the final d as a t. In the mountainous areas people speak slower and always pronounce very well the letter s.

Check it here how strong the Peruvian rr is. Continue reading