Can you *truly* learn a language *only* in the country where it’s spoken?

can you truly learn a language only in the country where it's spoken?

You’ve been wondering if you’re wasting your time in your language course.

You’re thinking of ditching your language class and go to the country so that you can actually learn the language.

Well…I’m here to tell you: STOP! Read on before making any decision!

Many people think that learning a language, truly and completely, can only happen in the country where the language is spoken. This assumption is true to some extent, however it can create some dangerous generalisations.

I have some good and bad news: every language learner should go to the country where the language is spoken in order to get their language skills to the next level, however *just* going to the country with zero knowledge of the language, not only could it slow down your learning process but it could also bring your confidence level down.

Here’s a real life story (of me being a stuck up!) to explain what I mean.

When I was studying English at university I joined the Erasmus exchange programme for six months to go to England. Over those six months, I was able to bring my language skills to the next level because:

  1. I turned on my go-getter mode: I hang around only with English students and students of other nationalities so that I could speak English all the time. I joined university societies. I taught Italian to English students. I volunteered in sporadic projects, including painting a school wall for charity, designing logos for shows, and can’t-rememeber-what-else … in other words, I was actively looking for opportunties to practise the language.
  2. I turned into an Italian stuck-up. I avoided -the kind of ‘you’ve-got-the-plague’ avoiding, all Italian groups, meet-up or any place that looked like having far too many Italians -and Italian language.

Despite this didn’t make me the most popular girl among my conationals, I was very happy as I was able to really practice my English and bring it to a much higher level by the end of the exchange -and make friends from all around the world.

But here’s the thing: I was able to do this because I had already an intermediate level of English. I was prepared for the experience -although at the very beginning… OMG! How difficult was to understand them!

The experience of some my other Italian fellows was not quite the same: they had come to England with a very poor level of English. Consequently, they found it far too challenging to integrate into the foreign environment and, after the first weeks of trying, they gave up and ended up hanging around with Italian people only. Needless to say, their language level didn’t go up much.

This experience can ring a bell in the mind of those students who enthusiastically sign up for a language course in the country where the language is spoken, go there with zero or near-to-zero knowledge of the language and realise that they don’t make as much progress as they expected.

Disappointingly, they actually find themselves making the same progress as if they were taking the language course in their home country (but spending far more money!). The truth is that when you are a beginner or you’ve just started to learn a language from scratch, you find it difficult to really get the most out of the foreign speaking environment around you.

Metaphorically speaking, it’s like giving a book to a five years old who doesn’t know how to read and expect her to understand the story. It ain’t happening!

She could understand it, though, if she learned how to read first. Then, she’d also be able to expand her vocabulary too whilst reading the book and develop her reading skills. But she needs the basics first.

You need the basics of the language first.

Ideally, it’s better to get to an intermediate level before going to the country for an extended period to time in order to make the most out of it. If you’re going there for a short trip, a basic level would do too. In this way, you’d really be able to take advantage of the foreign speaking environment around you and bring your language skills to the next level.

On a side note, I’ve also met people who have never been to the country for an extended period of time, and they were able to speak the language fluently. One of my colleguaes in school was like this. She spoke extremely good italian and she had never spent in Italy more than two or three weeks.

Her secret? Hard work and consistency. She was able to recreate around her a “fake” Italian speaking envornment, by listening to podcasts, radio, watching films, reading Italian books, practising her speaking with a language partner… you can do the same too, if you really want to learn!

The bottom line is this: although it’s essential to go to the country where the language is spoken, it’s not the right choice if you’re just starting to learn the language from scratch.

Going to the country hoping to learn the language without having acquired any basic knowledge first, can eventually lead to disappointing results, slow down your learning process and also damage your confidence.

Better learn the basics before setting off, bearin in mind that you’re the one who needs to be proactive and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you

-aka, stay away from people who speak your native language and use some of these tips to practice the language you love.

Now, what about you? Have you ever been abroad to learn the language you love? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below.

I can’t wait to read them.

Find it difficult to find a language course right for you? I can help!

Join my one to one classes  either face to face or on Skype and get a language course designed just for you . Only 9 spots available at the moment.  Email me so we can have a chat about it! 😀

Ermy***

How to practise your language skills (without being afraid of making mistakes)

Let’s say you really want to practise your foreign language once you’re abroad on holiday (or next time you visit that neighborhood that is so full of Spanish people). What can help you to make the most out of your experience?

When I was studying French a few years ago in the beautiful Rouen, I used some simple strategies to practise and develop my language skills anytime I was around the city.

Today, I’d like to share with you some of these strategies and hope they’ll inspire you to be fearless about using the language (see strategy number 3!) whilst you’re visiting your favourite foreign country.

Here we go:

1. Create your visual language portfolio

Posters, signals, ads, menus, leaflets, shops’ names… these are just a few things that you can find around you to learn new words and phrases.

Take pictures of posters, shops or anything that you find linguistically useful or curious. Create a folder in your phone or camera and name it “my language portfolio”.

You can look at these pictures later on and use them as real life flash cards, containing example of language in use. You’ll remember those words and phrases better as they’ll be part of your personal experience.

 

2. Explore local bookshops and newstands

When I was in Rouen, almost every day I used to go to the Fnac and loved to explore the bandes dessinées (French comics) section. French comics were more suitable for my level of French and were much more appealing to me than a book.

You can have a look at local bookhops and newstands and find magazines or books that spark your interest and imagination (by the way, the children’s section in every bookshop is a very good start for beginners!) 😉

 

3. Be fearless about using the language.

Stop someone on the street and ask them the time, directions or where you can find the best food place nearby. Order local food in French. Find ANY excuse in order to speak the language. And it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong. I’ll repeat it. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE.

Remember : 1) it’s unlikely you’ll see the person you stopped on the street again (and even if you will, it’s fine! Make a new friend!) 2) your main goal is to practise your language skills. Don’t miss an opportunity because you’re afraid of making mistakes. Especially in language learning, the more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

If you realise you’ve made a mistake while speaking…great job! You can even acknowledge it by saying in Italian, Spanish or French “I’m still learning”: “sto imparando ancora”, ” estoy aprendiendo todavía”, “Je suis en train d’apprendre le français.”

To help you with this, I’ve created a series of conversational phrases you can use in this scenario. Get them at this link by joining the Language Rose Learning Club.

 

4. Sit back and just listen

Sit down on a bench in one of the main streets, or lay on the beach and listen to the nearest people talking (without staring at them!). How many words can you recognize? This is a fun exercise to do to train your listening skills.

If you want you can bring this exercise to the next level by noting down the words you recognise and challenge yourself to use those words in your next conversation.

5. Journal in your foreign language

At the end of the day, write something in your journal that describes the best, funniest, or even worst experiences you had. It’s  great way to practice your writing skills.

I wrote pages and pages in my journal when I was studying French in Rouen. Here is a little extract of my French journal I used to write when I was studying there- unedited just to let you see that I make mistakes too.  Can you spot all the mistakes?

“OUAH! En France les résultats du baccalauréat sont publiés sur les journaux! C’est-a-dire qu’en France tout le mond sait si une personne a réussi ou échoué le bac. Je ne savait pas celà ! En Italie nous n’avons pas de résultats publiés dans les journaux.
Ce matin, lorsque je prennais mon petit déjeuner, Françoise a trouvée le nom de son amie sur le journal de Rouen. “Elle a réussi avec mention ‘bien’” m’a dit. Après, Françoise m’a expliqué qu’il y a trois niveaux différents: assez bien, bien et très bien. Aussi, elle m’a demandé si en Italie on a un système similaire (Françoise est très curieuse! J’aime bien ça!).

Now, I love writing so my journal entries were always long, but this doesn’t mean you need to do the same. You can just write a short sentence that describes what made your day.

For example, now that I am in England, I write a sentence each day in my journal that describes what I am most grateful for. You could do the same in your foreign language.

 

6. Play make believe

If you’re really into acting, pretend you’re a journalist, a writer or a researcher abroad who is interviewing people about a specific topic.

Write down your questions, go around and talk to people. Don’t take yourself too seriously! just have fun  – remember what I told you in number 3: be fearless!

 

7. Write a postcard in your foreign language

Send it to a friend – even if they don’t speak the language! You’ll inspire them to learn it! 🙂

 

8. Theatre or cinema?

Which one do you like the most?

I love theatre and I like watching plays and shows in the foreign languages I speak. Bear in mind that you don’t need to understand everything; most things are also understood from the context.

Next time you go abroad and, maybe the weather isn’t great for outdoor activities, ask yourself: theatre or cinema?

So here you have them! Some strategies you can use to practice your language on your holiday abroad.

Which one is you favourite? Do you have any more helpful activity you’d like to share? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Happy Summer holidays,

Ermy***

 

9 easy tips for an awesome pronunciation

“Am I actually speaking English or Chinese!?!”.

This is what I used to think every time some native English speaker asked me to repeat what I had just said.

This happened to me quite often when I first came to England.  It seemed that despite I was using the right words, people didn’t understand me.

The truth was this: I was saying the right words BUT…

I was pronouncing them wrongly.

Embarrassing? A bit.

Did I learn from my mistake? You bet!

Although, I wish I had focused more on my pronunciation whilst studying English back in Italy, I quickly got back on track and put into practice useful strategies that helped me to improve my pronunciation.

Pronunciation is key to communication. You need to get it right to get your message across.

Today I’d like to share with you some of the strategies I use to help my learners (as well as myself)  to master their pronunciation in Spanish, Italian, French or any language you’re learning. So you can sound more native too!

Here they are!

1. GET COMFORTABLE IN YOUR BODY

When you are learning a new language, you need to accept that you’re going to make some “weird” sounds!

You need to get used to producing sounds you’ve never produced before and your body may feel uncomfortable. You may experience some resistance that prevents you from  producing the correct sound and pronouncing well. Well, my friend! It’s time you let this feeling of embarrassment go!

Yes, you may feel a bit stupid at the beginning when pronouncing the French or Spanish “R”. You may feel incredibly self conscious, if trying to pronounce a difficult word in front of other people or your teacher. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Every language learner has started there, everyone has faced  (and overcomed) your same obstacle.

It’s normal to feel uncomfortable at the beginning, accept this and remind yourself that learning a foreign language requires you to get out of your comfort zone by experimenting and making sounds that are uncommon to you.

We are wired to produce all the sounds of all the languages in the world. It’s just a matter of training until you get the sound you need right and, eventually, it’ll come out of your mouth naturally and effortlessly. Pinky promise! 😉

 

2.Learn the foreign language’s sounds system

This is especially true for language like Italian and Spanish which are phonetic languages and have very fixed pronunciation for each group of letters. French too has fixed pronunciation for particular group of letters although its pronunciation is less predictable than Italian and Spanish.

There are lots of online resources that explain the sound system of the most common languages and, currently, I am also working on a pronunciation course that uncovers all the secrets of Italian pronunciation. You can sign up for free to the Language Rose Learning Club, to show your interest and support my project! So I can keep you posted!

 

3. Find twin sounds 

Many Italian learners, at the beginning, find challenging to prounounce the sound represented by the letters “gl”, as in words like “famiglia” (family), “fogli” (sheets) or “gli” (the plural masculine).

The truth is that English has the sound “gl” as well, it is just written differently: take the beginning of the word “you”, for example. Pronounce just the “y” sound at the beginning and add the vowel “i” next to it; you’ll get the sound “yi”  which is pronounced like “gli”.

This is one example on how you can find sounds in your native language that recalls the foreign sounds you need to learn. Finding similarities between the two phonetics system of your native and foreign language helps you to learn and pronounce better these foreign sounds, especially when you’re just starting out!

 

4. Listen and repeat (without reading)!

Some words can be fairly challenging to pronounce and this is because of the way they are written, which can be misleading. For example: the word “idea” in Spanish is spelled the same in Spanish and in English, but its pronunciation is completely different.

When we read the word “idea” in Spanish, our brain associates it straightaway to the English word and it is tempted to read it with its English pronunciation. The trick is to eliminate the visual input, just listen to the pronunciation of the word and repeat it. In this way, your brain will memorise the right pronunciation first and, once you go back to the written word, you’ll be able to pronounce it right.

 

5. Have some karaoke time!

Who doesn’t like music? I love music and singing!

Singing is a great way to improve your pronunciation and get used to the rhythm and pronunciation patterns of a language. Listen to songs in the foreign language that are singable (meaning they are not too fast and has a clear pronunciation).

Here are some examples of Italian, Spanish an French songs you can to try to sing along (which I also used when I was first learning Spanish and French).

ITALIAN:  Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu by Domenico Modugno (there’s also a lovely version by Il Volo), Come Un Pittore by Modá, Essere umani by Marco Mengoni

SPANISH: Manos al Aire by Nelly Furtado,  A Dios le Pido  by Juanes, Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony

FRENCH: 1 Jour by Louane, Champs Ellysée by Joe Dessin,   Le bonheure du monde by Sinsemilia (also a lovely version by Kids United) ,

6. Have fun with tongue twisters!

If you’re up for a challenge, you should try tongue twisters in your foreign language. I sometimes use this as a warm up to a study session to get into the mood.

Here are my favorite tongue twisters in Italian, Spanish and French. Can you say them fast?

ITALIAN – Sul tagliere l’aglio taglia, non tagliare la tovaglia,  la tovaglia non è aglio, se la tagli fai uno sbaglio.

SPANISH – No me mires, que miran que nos miramos, y verán en tus ojos que nos amamos. No nos miremos, que cuando no nos miren nos miraremos.

FRENCH- Cinq chiens chassent six chats.

 

7. Practice shadowing

When you have studied the language for a while and you want to bring your pronunciation to the next level, you can start to practice shadowing.

Developed by polyglot Alexander Arguelles, the shadowing technique involves talking over a track and trying to match your speech as closely as possible to the native speaker voice underneath.

Grab an audiobook or even a film in the foreign language with subtitles and start to develop your listening as well as your pronunciation skills right now!

 

8. Read aloud (and mean it!)

Reading a text aloud is an excellent practice to practice your pronunciation. This is even more successful if there’s a teacher or another more expert learner who guides you whilst you’re reading.

When you read aloud, try to understand and interpret what you read and add the right intonation to conjure the emotions that the text suggests. It’s a fun exercise to do, especially if you love acting (I DO!).

 

9. Get over your accent!

If you practice pronunciation consistently and relentlessly you’ll be able to get as close as you can to a native pronunciation. However, your accent sometimes may still come out, and that’s ok!

Here’s what you must remember: your accent is nothing to be ashamed of, your accent makes you unique, be proud of it! Plus, native speakers speak with their own regional accents too, so why should you be ashamed of something that is so common among native and non-native language speakers? 

As long as you are fulfilling the main goal of the language, which is communicating, there is no need to worry about your accent. Speak up and let the words flow. You’re doing a great job!

Now, I’d love to hear from you: which one of this pronunciation tips is your favourite? Do you have any other one that you’d like to share with us? Post it in the comment below!

Have fun learning,

Ermy***

How to learn languages easily – use your Learning Superpowers!

Do you like more learning on your own or with others?

Are you one of those learners who loves making color coded vocabulary lists?

Do you actually know HOW you learn best a language?

By knowing how you learn, you’ll be able to use your strengths to acquire and retain language effectively, without wasting your time and energy.

In this article I’m going to show you step by step how to find out how you learn best and get highly actionable strategies that will make your language learning easier, more effective and much more fun too!

Grab your journal or open up a fresh document on your computer. You’re about to discover your Learning Superpowers and how to use them to be a successful language learner.

 

Step 1: Discover your strongest Intelligences

Your Learning Superpowers stems from your best, strongest, “intelligences”.

It may sound strange to you, but we all have more than one intelligence.

According to Howard Gardner, developmental psychologist and Harvard professor, there are eight kind of different intelligences. We all have them and in every individual some are strongest than others.

Here are the eight intelligences:

Visual-Spatial – if you have a strong visual-spatial intelligence,you think in terms of physical space. You like drawing, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading maps, daydreaming.

Bodily-kinesthetic – if this is your favourite intelligence, you use your body effectively. You communicate well through body language, you like movement, making things. You’re a very practical individual.

Musical – you are very sensitive to rhythm and sound. You love music, and you are also sensitive to sounds in your environment.

Interpersonal – you are very good at interacting with others. You have many friends,and you love group activities, having conversations or doing anything that allow you to connect and interact with other people.

Intrapersonal – you are very aware of your inner feelings and emotions and you have a well-developed intuition. You prefer working independently and enjoy spending time alone.

Linguistic – you use words effectively. You love using new words and learning new way of expressing yourself through language. You like reading, playing word games, creating poetry.

Logical – Mathematical – you are very good at reasoning and using logic.You can easily see and explore patterns and relationships between things. You like experimenting, solving puzzles, logic games.

Naturalist – you love nature and can make consequential distinctions in the world of nature as, for example, between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another.

Gardner says that “we all have multiple intelligences. But we single out, as a strong intelligence, an area where the person has considerable computational power.”

To turn on your Learning Superpowers, you need to leverage the power of your strongest intelligences when learning a new language. 

Here is what I mean: let’s say you have a very strong musical intelligence and you want to memorise 10 new words in Italian: creating a song or rhymes with these words is a good way to use your strongest intelligence.

Another example: you have a strong visual intelligence; you can find very helpful to use flashcards with nice pictures to remember the 10 words you want to learn.

In other words, by looking at your strongest intelligence or intelligences (yes, you definitely have more than one!) you can come up with strategies that will advance you faster in your language learning

How can you find your strongest intelligence then? Here’s a test  to find  out which ones are your top three strongest intelligences. Take the test and note down your intelligences and scores in the learning sheet I have create just for you. You can find it right here.

Then, come back to this page to turn your insight into action in STEP 2.

 

Step 2: Find Language Learning Strategies that work for you!

Do you remember when Clark Kent in Smallville finds out his heat vision? At the beginning he burns out all sort of stuff but then he learns how to control this superpower and uses it purposefuly and strategically to carry out a variety of tasks (including heating up hot chocolate with it!).

Now it’s your time to use your own strongest intelligences strategically and purposefully to learn your foreign language.

Here is my example: as one of my strongest intelligences is musical, I find it helpful to make songs and rhymes with new words I want to learn. I am also an introverted (believe it or not!) and I experience better learning when I am on my own as I also love reflecting on my own learning process.

What about you?

Below are some learning strategies associated to each intelligence. Mix and match them or add new ones that are a good fit for your strongest intelligences. Write them down in the learning sheet provided, just like I did.

My superpowers_2

 

Here some learning strategies for each intelligence:

Visual-Spatial Strategies – make colour coded vocabulary lists (for example, according to the categories of each word:adjectives, nouns, verbs), create pinterest boards with pictures related to vocabulary and grammar concept, create and use flashcards with meaningful pictures, create mind maps, charts and tables, watch films and videos in the foreign language, draw the meaning of new words, use language learning books with nice pictures…

Bodily-kinesthetic Strategies- use flashcards to revise (move them around), listen to language podcasts while walking, cycling or doing any kind of physical activity, associate words to body movements, write new words on post-its and place them around the house or working place(especially if you are learning vocabulary related to your work and environment), tell and perform stories in your foreign language…

Musical strategies – listen to songs, podcasts or audiobooks, create rhymes or songs with new vocabulary, use song lyrics to learn new vocabulary, read out loud and notice the unique sound and rhythm of the language…

Interpersonal strategies – join a language learning group or meet up, be active on social network to communicate in the foreign language, teach other people what you’ve learnt, take every opportunity to learn with other people…

Intrapersonal strategies – study in a quiet place (a library or even at the park), read articles or books about language learning (you’re already doing it with this article!), choose one to one classes rather than group classes, keep a journal about your learning progress and write about what you’ve learnt and reflect on your learning

Linguistic strategies – play with words through making up stories and poems, solve crosswords, engage with exercises that encourage to understand verbs derivation or ethimology, give a presentation on some language topic, do and study translations, read books, blogs, articles and annotate texts.

Logical -Mathematical strategies – study words ethimology and grammar rules, create tables or charts to sum up grammar rules, do grammar exercises that encourage you to apply the grammar rules you’ve learnt, take notice of the language patterns you come across.

Naturalist strategies – study in natural surroundings, sort and classify words, investigate language patterns and word derivation.

Which strategies are you going to use? Can you think of other learning strategies connected to your most powerful intelligences? Write them down in the learning sheet too and start to use them next time you are learning your language.

It’s not over yet, though.

Now we’re going to find out out your Learning Superpowers!

 

Step 3: Use your Learning Superpowers!

Imagine: what would happen if you could use all your best intelligences synergistically? It’d create definitely an outstanding learning experience. As also Gardner points out, all intelligences are interconnected so it’s good to address more than one intelligence at time when learning. This is what is called holistic learning.

Write down the strategies that leverage two or three (or even four) of your strongest intelligences in the middle cloud (the one that is labeled “Learning Superpowers) in your learning sheet, those are your LEARNING SUPERPOWERS. These strategies give you maximum engagement and information retention.

For example, if you have strong visual and linguistic intelligence, watching films in a foreign language with subtitles is a strategy that would combine both of these intelligences. If you have a strong musical, naturalist and intrapersonal intelligence, you’d benefit greatly from a language learning session at the park with your friends where you use the language you want to learn to create songs, rhymes or poems.

The bottom line is : do not limit yourself to use one strong intelligence, use them all synergistically to turn on your Learning Supwepowers.

Have fun experimenting. I can’t wait to read about your Super Learning experience in the comment below.

Keep me posted and enjoy your *super* learning!

Ermy***

How to say “hello” in Italian: 4 common ways

Recently I’ve been to Prague in Czech Republic.

I loved it.

Yet, there was one thing I really disliked: my inability to communicate verbally with Czech people.

My level of Czech language = 0. Literally!

Although I picked up some Czech words whilst I was there, on my first day I couldn’t even say “hello”.

My (lazy) theory was that, since I had Czech friends who spoke English too, I wouldn’t need to speak any Czech at all. Also, most Czech people speak good English too. Plus, I am Italian, I can communicate with gestures, right?

Wrong (and weird, as far as the gesture part is concerned!)!

The truth is that I talk a lot and I love getting to know people from other countries. Speaking a bit of Czech would’ve been a massive advantage to get to know the Czechs more intimately (despite their reserved personality) and see a bit more eye to eye with them.

With hindsight, I wish I had learned some basic Czech before going there! At least, how to say properly “hello”, “good morning” “good evening”… these are the very first words in a foreign language that open a door in someone’s heart and allow you into their world.

The bottom line is: if you are going to Italy this summer, I don’t want you to make my same mistake when I visited Czech Republic. You must know at least how to say “Hi!” in Italian – and it’s not just “ciao!”.

Today, I’m going to share with you 5 common ways to say “hello” in Italian that will make you feel even more welcomed and loved once you are in Italy – and very well treated in restaurants and hotels. Here they are:

1. Ciao

You know this one already, don’t you? Yet, this is one of the most mispronounced words in the Italian language by many learners. Listen to the pronunciation by clicking on the word or here: you can notice that the “i” is silent.
In general, we use “ciao” in informal situations, with people we know well. Also, “ciao” means “bye” too – 2 for 1 deal!  However, you must remember that this is an informal greeting; if you have just walked into your Italian hotel, you don’t want to use “ciao”, instead you’ll use…

2. Buon giorno

In the morning, we use “buon giorno” which literally means “good day”. “Buon giorno” can be used both in formal and informal contexts throughout the whole day (including the early afternoon). There is also a shorter and informal version of this word, which is “‘giorno” but I am a firm supporter of the longer version, because it’s much better to wish people a GOOD morning, as also Pavarotti sings!

3.Buona sera

“Buona sera” means “good evening”. Although when using “buona sera” may seem pretty obvious, it’s also a matter of feeling for Italians. Yes, it’s used in the evening but it may also be used it in the afternoon, especially slightly before the dusk…you may be wondering: don’t you guys have a word for “good afternoon”? Yes, we do, it’s “buon pomeriggio“. However, it’s becoming increasingly less popular to use “buon pomeriggio” in spoken Italian as it’s perceived as a fairly formal greeting.

Now, if at this point you’re a bit confused about which greeting to use, fear not! Because I’m going to share with you the “all in one” greeting, which is…

4. Salve

“Salve” , which means “hello”, can be use it whenever you want. Although “salve” is in theory a formal greeting, it’s currently used in both formal and informal situations. It’ll be your life saver if you aren’t sure which one of the previous greetings you need to use.

And now you’ve got all the most popular to say “hello” in Italian. But, wait! We can’t leave before having learnt how to say “goodbye” too, which is…

5.Bonus – Arrivederci

“Arrivederci” means “goodbye”. It’s pretty formal, very used and maybe a bit challenging to pronounce (get some practice with all these greetings at The Language Rose Italian Class on Quizlet! You can join here!) but, in case you don’t remember it, you can always use “ciao” to say “bye”.

So, here they are, 5 common phrases that will help you to break the ice once you’re in Italy.  Wanna learn more Italian? I’ll be happy to help!

And now it’s language practice time! Come on over to practice these phrases at The Language Rose Italian Class on Quizlet. You’ll be able to listen to their pronunciation and memorise them  before your next trip to Italy. Grab here the flashcards set featuring all these greetings (including their pronunciation)!

A presto (see you soon)!

Ermy

 

 

The REAL reasons why learn Spanish

THE REAL REASONS

So, you are considering learning Spanish.

But, you can’t get yourself started.

After all is the second most widespread language in the world.

In fact, you’re already aware of all the possible, rational reasons why Spanish is a language worth learning.

Now the real question is what is YOUR personal, unique, most compelling reason why you want to learn Spanish. The ones that makes you all excited, your eyes sparkle and your heart go BOM BOM BOM!

Let yourself be inspired! Here are five, heart felt, reasons why learn Spanish.

1.You L-O-V-E Spanish food -you seriously do! You are the best client of your local Spanish restaurant and sometimes you really wish you could understand those conversations between those tanned Spanish waiters. They look like having lots of fun. You want to join in. Imagine asking them in Spanish what they recommend from the menú: “qué me recomienda?”. You won’t be their best customer anymore. You’ll be their MOST FAVOURITE!!! ¡El Número uno!

2. Spanish is fast! You are fascinated by how quickly Spanish people speak. It’s undeniable. They do speak…¡muy rápido! A study by Dr François Pellegrino found that Spaniards utter an average of 7.82 syllables per second, as against 6.17 for English speakers (he called Spanish speakers “metralletas hablantes “ which means “talking submachine guns”. Funny but effective!). You wish you could speak as fast as them. It’s cool, it’s witty, it’s… Spanish! !VAMOS A APRENDER!

3. You love Latin music and dance -and I’m not talking about Despacito -only! You love mambo, salsa, bachata, merengue… you think that Shakira sounds much better when she sings in Spanish, your heart melts every time you listen to Romeo Santos’ bachatas (despite you may not understand what he says) and can’t stop dancing every time you hear a song by Marc Anthony. And shall we talk about Gente de Zona? No, better not to talk about them. Just sing along their songs: “¡Y se formó la gozadera!

4. Spanish Art is your passion. And History too. The talent of Velazquez, the genius of Gaudí, the visionary Dalí, the scary but fascinating paintings by Goya… all these artists are great representatives of different eras of Spanish history and their art reflects their ideology, culture and society. Wanna find out more about them? Learning about them in Spanish would give you a so much better insight of their lives and society.

5.It’s holiday time. Which Spanish speaking country are you going to? Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico… wherever you’ll travel to, you’re going to have the most mind blowing experience by connecting with locals. Talk to them. See eye to eye to them. Taste their food. Go off the beaten track. Really hear the hustle and bustle of their little town. Immerse yourself in their culture and transform your holiday in a life changing experience. Start to learn Spanish now!

So are you ready to learn Spanish? You can start right now for FREE by joining the Language Rose Learning Club ,

And, now I’d love to hear your take: What is the most compelling reason to learn Spanish for YOU?

Tell me in the comments below.

I can’t wait to read your thoughts.

Hasta la vista, baby!

Ermy***

P.S. WAIT! You can’t leave without trying the learning activity of the day!

Find in the blog post the Spanish equivalent of the following words or phrases:
fast, see you soon, very, slowly, let’s learn, what, you recommend (formal), party (Cuban Spanish), number 1.

P.P.S. Today it’s flashcards day!I have just added a new set of flashcards to the Spanish class on Quizlet. Grab them here!

Common Italian phrases, Free Spanish flashcards, French idioms + great learners: it’s The Language Rose Learning Club!

Join The Language Rose Learning Club and get your free flashcards here.

When I was learning English to pass my IELTS in order to get into my master’s course at Warwick uni, I used to have an address book where I would note down new useful words and phrasse I came across with the aim of remembering and using them in my writing and speaking.

Every now and then, I would flick through the address book and see which words I remembered. Some of them, I remembered, some others I didn’t.Despite this, I loved flicking through my little vocabulary list in alphabetical order, as it gave me a sense of accomplishment about what I had learned up to that point.

Yet, I soon realized that this system had its own flaws.

We know that the brain remembers better by association and by putting words in a context. I realised that I should’ve organized the words by topics rather than by alphabetical order… or maybe I should’ve just used Google to find out that there was a fantastic tool called Quizlet that would allow me to do this in a interactive way. Quizlet is a great online tool that allow you to create personalized language flashcards and practice your vocabulary with games and fun online activities.

So today I want to invite you to use this tool to boost your vocabulary too. And I’ll help with that!

As founder of The Language Rose Learning Club, I have created three online classes on Quizlet with free flashcards:

Italiano per tutti – with Italian flashcards
Español para todos – with Spanish flashcards
Français pour tous – with French flashcards

From now on, every week I shall update a set of flashcards in each language class on rotation (so one week I shall create a set of free Spanish flashcards, the following week there will be a set of free Italian flashcards and so on ).

The flashcards will feature not only words but also common phrases and idioms in Italian, Spanish and French. Every set of flashcards will also be organized by topic, so you’ll be able to find what you are looking for easily.

About the flashcards topics, I’d love to hear your take. Leave a comment below to let me know which topic would like to see featured in the next flashcards set.

To join one of the classes (or all three!) and start to learn your language of choice right now, click here. It’s completely free! You’ll also become a member of The Language Rose Learning Club and I’d be honored to welcome you. You’ll receive an email with all the instructions about joining your chosen language class on Quizlet to start practicing with your free flashcards right now.

The Language Rose Learning Club aims to connect creative language learners and help them to become successful communicators. Once you join us, you’ll be part of a supportive and creative community that will help you to conquer your foreign dream by learning and practicing your favourite foreign language.

Join The Language Rose Learning Club and get your free flashcards here.

And don’t forget to leave your thoughts below. Which flashcards set would like to see next in your online Italian, Spanish or French class? Tell me in the comments and hope to see you in The Language Rose Learning Club.

Happy learning,

Ermy***

Language Rose Fun Clubs

Yay! I am so excited about this!

The Language Rose Fun Clubs are our language clubs designed specially for year 4 to 6 children to let them experience a new language and have fun. We love working with children, they are our best present and we want to make them become our best future too.

We’re now organising the new language clubs for next school term in Cambridge!

In our languages clubs, children won’t get only a new language skills but they’ll develop their creativity, team working skills, resilience and self confidence.

Languages available are Italian, Spanish, French and English as a Foreign Language!

It’s going to be a unique experience!

It’s going to be loud!

It’s going to be fun, fun, fun!

Can’t you wait? Us neither! More info on the Language Rose Fun Clubs here!

If you are a primary school in Cambridge or an organisation working with children interested in one of our Language Rose Fun Clubs. please contact us at thelanguageroseATgmail.com

Have a fantastic weekend,

Ermy

The TRUE reasons why learn Italian

If you expect to read about all those usual things that people say in order to convince learners to take this or that language,  this is not it! In fact, I’m not going to speculate over how speaking Italian will maximize your chances in getting this or that job or to study in this or that field (although, yes, in some fields knowing Italian is a great advantage!). Here, I’d rather like to speak about the true reasons why people want to learn Italian. And I mean reasons that make this language so attractive to them and that made many of my students embark on their wonderful Italian learning journey. Here they are, the top 5 reasons why they (and you!) TRULY want to speak Italian:

#1 It’s beautiful
My students always say:”I love how Italian sounds!”. Can’t blame them! Italian is intrinsically  musical and the fact that it essentially stemmed from the language that the poet Dante used (and created!) to write his masterpiece, “the Divine Comedy”, makes it one of the most beautiful Romance language to be heard and spoken for its unparalleled artistic pedigree. Italian IS beautiful, and it will make you feel beautiful too. Screw all those self help books about self esteem, Italian is the key! 😉

#2 You love the “dolce vita”!
Italians are master of the art of living a pleasurable life, and you can tell from the way they behave, speak, eat, dress…this is why so many people’s desire is to live in Italy, blend in the Italian culture and be kissed by the sun everyday. As Pavarotti would sing “voglio vivere così, col sole in fronte!”.

#3 An unforgettable Italian holiday!
The best Italian holidays my students have had are the ones where they were truly savouring the Italian culture by communicating with the language. Learn Italian, go to Italy, meet Italian people and be prepared to be fascinated by their stories, amused by their sense of humor, bewildered by their laid-backness and dazzled by the way they enjoy their life.

#4 To sing in Italian!
Music is a big part of Italian culture which is increasingly becoming part of our worldwide culture too. Italian opera, traditional Neapolitan songs and Italian folk songs have been internationally sung by worldwide famous performers. Some of my students have been musicians and singers who want to sing beautifully in Italian and fully transmit the emotions that lay behind the lyrics. Maybe, you too?

#5 To love and marry an Italian (and his family!)
That’s a lifetime decision which will bring you lots of happiness and also lots of other Italian speakers in your life.  Spending those Christmas dinners, lunches, Easter holidays, summer holidays in Italy with your consort’s family eating and conversing in beautiful Italian (and maybe some dialect too!) may make you gain some pounds but their food and love is “an offer you can’t refuse!” ;). You are part of a big Italian family now! Enjoy!!

The bottom line is, As Elizabeth Gilbert says in the book “Eat, Pray, Love”, “we all want to learn Italian because of what makes us feel” and if something makes you feel good, it’s definitely worth your time and dedication. So, come on over and and let’s learn Italian together!
And now it’s over to you! Can you add more reasons why you want to learn Italian? I’d love to here your TRUEST ones in the comments below!

Ermy