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

Continue reading

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.

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

Why learning a foreign language can change your life

English-speakers have the great luxury of knowing the most in-demand language in the world.  When Europeans are sitting down for business or for recreation, the common language spoken is often English.  The same is true in Africa and in Asia.  So, if you are a native speaker of a language that many people around the world wish to learn, you might ask yourself – why would I learn a different language?  There are dozens of reasons, but let’s focus on four of them.

Work and travel opportunities

pexels-photo-128299-large

Speaking another language opens doors to visit other countries and parts of the world that wouldn’t be open to 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