August is coming to an end soon and with September approaching, many people take the opportunity to get clear about what they’d like to accomplish by the end of the year.
If learning Italian, Spanish, or French has been on your wish list for a while, this September is the right time to start and I’d love to help you.
Let’s schedule a chat on Skype to design a language course just for you. The one that you’d really love to take.
If you’ve been learning a language already and need to get some motivation to resume your learning routine. I can help you with that too.
I created the 5 Days Language Learning Challenge to get you started (or re-started) to learn the language you love. Specifically, you should take this challenge if:
The Challenge starts on September 4th.
Here’s in detail what we’re going to do together each day:
Day 1 : Get and apply my best strategies to stay motivated – especially when you don’t feel like learning!
Day 2 : Discover and use your “learning superpowers” to learn better and faster.
Day 3: Find out how to set specific targets to get your learning organised and efficient.
Day 4: Get tips to find a like-minded language accountability partner to practise with.
Day 5: Apply my “secret” method to get you through any conversation with a native speaker (about any topic) in your favourite language.
If you haven’t joined the Challenge yet, you can join right here.
I hope to see you there.
Happy language learning,
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 other helpful activity you’d like to share with us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
Happy Summer holidays,
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.
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.
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,