About Nathalia

Polyglot Nerd creator, love foreign cultures and learning languages. Speak: English, Portuguese and Spanish. Learning: French

Using colour to learn multiple languages

We all learn in different ways. One line of thinking on the way we learn argues that there are seven different learning styles:

  • Visual (spatial): Learning using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): Learning using sounds and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): Learning using spoken and written words.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): Learning using your body, through your sense of touch and the use of your hands.
  • Logical (mathematical): Learning using a logical approach, with an emphasis on reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): Learning as part of a group.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): Learning on your own.

Each of us learns in a way that blends elements of these learning styles. The topic we’re studying can also impact the learning styles that we use.

Understanding this and using it to our advantage can serve to unlock faster, more efficient learning. This is certainly true of learning languages (along with many other subjects).

Studies have also shown that the use of colour can have a significant impact on how effective learning is and how well we remember. The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review, published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, cites colour as being one of “the most important visual experience to human beings.” Colour links with our cognitive processes, our emotions and our memories.

The psychology of colour is a fascinating (and extensive) topic. Colour can impact our likelihood of reading something, or remembering a piece of information. In addition, it can impact our mood, which can in turn affect the way we learn.

Colour preference changes with age. Younger learners prefer the warmer tones of yellow, orange and red. Older learners lean more towards the cooler colours of green, blue and mauve. The soothing tones of blue can work particularly well in an educational setting, helping students to achieve the calm they need to absorb more information.

When it comes to language learning, we can use colour to our advantage in several ways. Whether the goal is simply learning the basics before a holiday, or attaining fluency with a view to building a career in the professional translation industry, colour can help.

Using colour for single language learning

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Interview with Gabe Wyner from Fluent Forever

Today we are going to talk to Gabe Wyner from Fluent Forever about his app project.

 

1. Tell me a little about you.

I’m a 34-year-old author, living in Chicago with my wife and dog. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up as a nerdy kid obsessed with video games and science. I sang musical theater and classical music as a hobby, and in college, I got dual majors in opera and mechanical engineering. Eventually I decided to become an opera singer, and moved to Vienna, Austria to pursue masters degrees in that field.

I came into language learning because of my opera background; I was studying to become an opera singer and I needed to learn French, Italian, German and Russian for that reason. But engineering never left me. As much as I enjoyed singing, I was, and always will be an engineer at heart. I enjoy solving problems and looking for ways to maximize efficiency in everything I do. So as I started learning languages for my singing, I became obsessed with the process, looking for ways to make it go faster.

2. How did you learn languages?

Badly at first! 🙂 When I was a kid, I floundered for 7 years with Hebrew, then continued to flounder for 5.5 years with Russian. The first times I found any success were in strict immersion programs: I spent two summers learning German at the Middlebury immersion programs, and one summer over in Perugia, Italy to learn Italian. I came to my current methods while studying French; I started by learning pronunciation (for my opera degree), then used a Spaced Repetition System (the app ‘Anki’, to be specific) to teach myself the language, making flashcards that were 100% in French, with pictures. Using this method for 3 months, followed by a 2 month immersion, I ended up reaching C1 fluency in French in 5 months.

3. What is the difference between the Fluent Forever app and other flashcards apps like Anki or Memrise?

The Fluent Forever app is based on research about how we store information. It’s different from other methods in two central ways: it changes what you’re learning every day, and how you’re learning it.

In terms of what you’re learning, this app starts with training you in pronunciation, because if you can train your ears to hear your new language’s sounds, you’re going to have an easier time remembering words and grammar. Then it teaches the rest of your language without using translations: everything you see on a daily basis is exclusively in your target language, so you can focus on building fluency, rather than decoding skills.

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How To Learn A Language As An Introvert

Everyone learns differently. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. However there are two classes of personality traits that have things in common when it comes to learning a new language and that is whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.

What Is An Introvert?

 

Generally speaking if you identify as an introvert you will be a deep thinker, be introspective and feel uncomfortable in prolonged social interactions, but be energized by spending time alone. So as an introverted language learner the popular advice of ‘just get out there, meet people and start speaking’ may well fill you with dread.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have an extrovert personality, you will love meeting new people, be able to chat for hours and feel energized in large groups of people, but find being on your own for extended periods of time difficult.

Is It The Same As Being Shy?

 

Absolutely not. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy. Shyness is a fear of social situations which specifically evokes feelings of nervousness and anxiety. You may have this too, but it’s important to know the difference.

It’s also worth noting that absolutely everyone can be apprehensive about situations that make them uncomfortable. And the good news is shyness can be overcome with practice and patience. Being an introvert is not something you can overcome, and nor should you want to because it has it advantages when it comes to language learning.

Learning Techniques For Introverts

 

  1. Manage Your Energy Levels

Be mindful of how much energy you have left and how and when you can top it up. For example, if you’ve been in a big meeting at work or had a presentation to give at school during the day, that evening will not be the best time to practice talking to strangers because you will already be drained. You will make more progress practising on your own from your textbook.

  1. Be In Control Of Your Social Interactions

Set these up so that they have definite end times. For example at a group meetup let people know in advance that you can only make it for an hour. That way you’re getting the valuable experience of practicing speaking in a real life situation but are not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

  1. Talk To Yourself

This is a key technique for introverts who are particularly wary of judgment. Yes it may seem a little crazy at first but it totally works. You will get used to hearing your voice form the new words and it will build your confidence for when you are speaking with others.

  1. Focus on 121 time

As an introvert you will probably find that working with an online tutor whilst being in the comfort of your own surroundings with a set time limit on the interaction, is easier than classroom based learning. Or you may have an introvert buddy that understands the struggle who you can practice with. Either way, encouragement and constructive feedback from someone you trust are powerful things.

  1. Listen to music and watch movies

Find some songs you love in your new language, get up the lyrics on google, hit repeat and sing along. Use your much-needed alone time to your advantage by watching movies and series’ in the language you are learning. Have a dictionary and notepad to hand and make note of any words or phrases that you don’t know and want to practice. You can even use subtitles.

  1. Do a Homestay or Language Exchange

Living with a foreign family for a language exchange (reciprocal hospitality) or homestay (a one way stay) that you have chosen is a great way to feel settled with the person that you plan to practice your language skills with. Choose the right host based on their profile, lifestyle and interests and then chat with them to make sure that they are a good fit with you. Practicing your language skills with somebody you like is always so much easier. Many end up making lifelong friendships with their hosts.

  1. Force Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Learning a language is also about pushing yourself too. And the bottom line is you can’t get better at speaking if you don’t practice speaking. So while this may not be realistic for everyone, go somewhere where you can’t escape speaking your new language. Not right away but once you’ve been practicing the above techniques for a while this a great way of getting to the next level.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, shy or outgoing, anyone can learn a language and ultimately language learning should fun and fulfilling, not something that depletes your energy and fills you with frustration.

So be aware of being an introvert and work with it, don’t fight it. It is part of your personality and doesn’t need to be fixed. Accept yourself and get creative in your learning techniques.

Article by Lingoo, the world’s biggest language exchange and homestay club. Lingoo gives language learners of all ages the power to decide how they would like to learn and practice a language and helps teachers and hosts to deliver authentic language learning experiences.

This is a sponsored post.

How much Japanese can you learn with Duolingo?

The Duolingo Japanese was finally launched for Android Users and Japanese is in my “Languages to learn list”, so I decided to start learning it, but as you can notice for the scarcity of posts, despite loving languages, I’m not having time to study them right now.

So, what I’m going to do is use Duolingo, ONLY Duolingo to study Japanese. At the end of my experience I intend to do a video showing how much I’ve learned.

My experience will last until I finish my Duolingo Japanese tree.

Another thing to note is that I have started to study Japanese before, but never seriously. So, I do know some very basic phrases like “My name is…” or “Good morning”. In total, I know about 100 words in Japanese and I’ve learned Hiragana and Katakana, but forgot most of it. Therefore, I considered myself a novice in the Japanese language.

So I’m starting today.

Wish me luck!

Motivation & Routine

Today I will give you a simple tip on how to combine motivation and routine to establish a daily practice of studies.

The idea that to achieve a goal one needs motivation has always been dominant. However, in recent years, a number of scientific studies have been changing this concept.

What is motivation?

Motivation is a process that can come from internal or external factors that make us act. The factors that most influence motivation are:

  • Desire: how much do you want something?
  • Need: how much do you need something?
  • Reward/Punishment: what will be the reward in case of a positive behavior and what will be the punishment if you don’t act?

Motivation in language learning

 

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The best articles on March about languages

Let’s start reading two motivational articles from the Eurolinguiste blog.

When you hate to study: how to recover from a burnout in language learning – Eurolinguiste

In this article, Shannon Kennedy gives great and simple tips on how to recover and get back to the studies, even when you don’t feel like.

How to overcome a plateau in language learning – Eurolinguiste Continue reading

Freundschaftsbezeigungen: 20 Words from Europe That Will Make You Doubt Your Linguistic Skills

Today, we have a guest post written by Martha Simons!

One of the defining aspects of a continent is it languages. Even when visiting the different countries in a continent, among the many things you could be interested in is the unique language spoken there. In fact, you will be tempted to learn a few words just to identify with the locals or have something to take back home. Europe is no different from other continents since the languages here have pleasant surprises for you.

Some European languages are known to have oddly long words, for instance, German. However, in other instances, an European language speaker will find a correct word for something or situation and render the rest of the world, including English speakers, speechless for the lack of a suitable translation to match that. Even a polyglot will have a hard time if faced with such a situation. Here is a look at some of these words from Europe that will make you doubt your linguistic skills.

Words that are strangely long

 

Long words can be complex. They increase your chances of missing a letter or two when writing or biting your tongue severally when pronouncing. What’s more, some of these words are hard to translate fully to other languages. Here is a look at some examples;

1. Freundschaftsbezeigungen

This is not only long, but also “clumsy” as Mark Twain would put it, referring to its arrangement. Freund means “friend” and the correct translation of the word Freundschaftsbezeigungen is “demonstrations of friendship.”

2. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

It’s no doubt, German is known for its long words. Surprisingly, they are not rare or special words in this language as you are likely to come across them regularly in a conversation or when reading printed materials such as newspapers. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung is one of these words and it stands for liability insurance for the motor vehicle.

3. Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlung

This is another of the dauntingly long terms in German. In most languages, this term is composed of at least four words. It is used to denote “meetings of the legislature.” Won’t it be just easier to break it into “general states representatives meetings”, then find a German term for each word to form a sentence? Probably, but that’s German for you!

You will not find these long words in German only. European languages have quite a number of them. Here are other examples: Continue reading

There is still time! How to learn German up to level B1 in 2017

As many people liked my post about learning French in 2017. I decided to do a German version. German is for most people more difficult than French, so I cannot guarantee that you’ll reach level B2 by the end of the year if you use these resources, but it is certainly possible to reach the  B1 level, and the best of all is that most of the materials recommended here is free of charge!

 

Knowing the language

As I recommended in the article on the French language, it is best to start slowly. Therefore, one of the best resources is Duolingo, which covers both writing and listening comprehension from the beginning. Another great and free option is the Deutsche Welle course called “Audiotrainer“. The course consists of small audios with words and phrases in German and English that must be repeated.
Another basic and fast course to get to know German is the Mission Europe course.

Choosing your first course

Once you know the basics of the language, you should choose a more complete course.
I recommend starting with two Deutsche Welle courses. My favorite is the Deutsch – Warum Nicht? course. The course is a bit old (early 90’s), however it is very good, interesting and well organized. The advantage of this course is that the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know more about them and their stories.

The second course I recommend is the interactive course “Harry”. As the structure is multimedia, it is a great course to do in front of the computer. Just like the “Deutsch – Warum nicht?” course, the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know what happens to them.

Another course I always recommend is the Assimil, although I find the French version better, the German version is also very good and the course follows the same structure as the French course. The first texts are short and simple; the audios are slow and repeated twice. After the first week, the texts become longer and the audios have a more natural rhythm. After the 50th lesson, we begin to practice reverse translation and the lessons take about an hour to complete, while in the first cycle they take only 30 minutes.

It’s time to talk!

Once you get a basic notion of the language, you should start practicing it. The best tool for this in the market is the Italki website, which has thousands of teachers available online. You can get individual lessons or buy a package. Other option is to participate in language exchanges in your city, using sites like Meetup.com and Couchsurfing to find foreigners or apps like HelloTalk.

FSI: to train phonetics and for those who like to suffer

Although I recommend the French FSI course, I do not recommend the German one, because besides being old, is not as well structured as the French version. Therefore, I do not recommend the Basic Course (FSI German Basic Course). However, the introduction course (FSI German Programmed Introduction Course) is easier and structured, very good for learning the German phonology. The course can be found here.

For the grammar lovers

As always, for grammar lovers, I recommend my favorite book series “Practice Makes Perfect“. As I said before, I love this series because they have specific courses, such as the course of pronouns and prepositions, the basic or complete grammar, verb tenses; in addition to vocabulary and conversation courses.

Another good German grammar book, but to more advanced students is the Klipp Und Klar: Ubungsgrammatik course, available for levels A1/B1 and B2/C1.

Culture

And, as always, I recommend that you be in constant contact with the culture of country, watching movies, listening to podcasts and radio or reading books, magazines or newspapers.

Good luck and start right now your studies !!!

How to reach the B2 level in French in 2017

At the beginning of the year, one of the most common resolutions people make is to learn a language. But, how to achieve a good level in the language in just one year?

Even though it seems a short period of time, a year is enough to learn a language and to communicate in the country where the language is spoken.

So if you want to learn French this year, here are my tips so that, at the end of the year, you spend the holidays in Paris speaking French.

Start with the basics

To know a new language can be scary, so the best way to get started is through an amusing and easy course. Duolingo is the most successful app in the area of ​​language learning and there is a reason for that. It’s free, easy to use, fun and has constant updates to keep you engaged. Continue reading

The Top Ten Posts of 2016

What did people read here in 2016? Check it here!

10. Review of Pimsleur German – I, II & III

I was very excited to do this review, Pimsleur is a very interesting course, people love it or hate it, no middle term here.

9. Why learning a foreign language can change your life

This is a guest post from Lucia Leite, about the most interesting aspects of learning a language.

8. Duolingo Review

An old review about the most famous language app!

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