Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Tips for language learning success

  • Article from vistawide.com with some guidelines for students of foreign languages.
If you're a first-time language learner, you know that emotional ups and downs come with the territory. When you understand a concept or begin to comprehend the language, you may experience feelings of exhilaration. However, these are often followed by moments of frustration and discouragement, during which you might feel as if you will never master the concepts and attain the ability to understand and communicate effectively. Below are some time-tested, research-verified approaches that will help mitigate potential frustration and will increase your ability to succeed in language learning.

1. Set realistic expectations

It is natural to feel uncomfortable in a language class. You're used to being in classes where the mode of communication -- the language of instruction -- is a given.

In a language course, however, it is the mode of communication itself that is the focus of instruction. For this reason, a language course is different than most other courses you will ever take. Not understanding and making mistakes -- things that are negative learning indicators in other courses -- are a very natural part of the language learning process. Accept the fact that you will not understand everything. In fact, at the very beginning, you will not understand much at all.

Remember that during the initial period of adaptation your ear and your mind are adjusting to the sounds and the rhythm of the language. Though you will not understand all of what is being said, you will be amazed at your increasing ability to make sense of the language. Remember that the only way to learn the language is through practice, practice, and more practice; in the course of practicing you will make many errors … and you will learn from them.

2. Break study time into smaller chunks

Research shows that language students learn more effectively and retain more when they study frequently and for shorter periods of time than if they study infrequently for extended periods of time. Try to study each day, and whenever possible, several times a day. This means, for instance, doing a few homework exercises each day rather than doing all homework assignments the night before they are due.

In addition, there are many otherwise mentally "idle" moments during the day when you can work in some studying. For example, you can review vocabulary while eating breakfast, recite the alphabet while showering, count your steps as you walk between classes, name as many object as you can in the target language on your to way school, take your vocabulary flash cards with you on a road trip.

There are many moments during the day when you can squeeze in a few minutes of practice time. Through the repetition of material, it will be come increasingly familiar, until it eventually becomes an automatic part of your language repertoire.

3. Learn vocabulary effectively

Vocabulary is the most essential element of communication. The more words you know, the more you can say and understand.

The absolute best way to learn vocabulary is through the use of flash cards that you make yourself. Purchase a set of 3 x 5 index cards and cut them in half. (This makes them small enough to carry everywhere.) Write a vocabulary word on the front and its English definition on the back. As you learn more information about each word (e.g. plural forms of nouns, principle parts of verbs), you can add these to the cards.

There are many ways you can use flash cards as a learning tool. To help you learn and remember noun genders, for example, you can color code the nouns by gender, either by using colored cards or colored ink. When studying, organize words in meaningful groups (e.g., by noun gender, in thematic categories, regular verbs vs. irregular verbs). Shuffle the cards or groups, so that you use the stack(s) in a different order each time. Use the cards in both directions: first look at the foreign language words and try to recall the English definition. Then shuffle and look at the English definitions and attempt to remember the foreign language words. Flash cards offer many possibilities. Take advantage!

4. Practice language actively

Whenever possible, speak the language aloud rather than reciting it silently to yourself. Say vocabulary words out loud, read passages in the text aloud, do pronunciation activities orally and not just mentally. Write out the answers to activities rather than gliding through them in your mind. Read aloud entire sentences in an activity rather than just reading a fill-in response. Transferring language from your mind to your mouth is a skill that requires a great deal of practice.

5. Do homework conscientiously

In the course of a conversation, it is not practical to look up noun genders or fret over verb tenses. But homework offers you a golden opportunity to practice your language skills in a deliberate manner.

When doing your homework, you have the luxury of time. Look up words and genders you don't know. Refer to charts and other resources available to you. This will reinforce the material and eventually it will become automatic. If you never look things up or simply guess, you will be strongly reinforcing errors and you will never learn proper forms and words. Read instructor feedback on homework and ask clarifying questions when necessary. Maximize the utility of your homework to your learning.

6. Form study groups

Meet regularly with classmates to work together on homework assignments, to learn vocabulary, to study for tests, or just to practice speaking the language. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to language learning. Learning with others helps decrease knowledge gaps and gives you opportunities to actively discuss concepts and material covered in class, thereby increasing the chances that you will remember it. You will benefit from the knowledge and abilities of your classmates, as they will from yours.

7. Identify your learning style

Each person has his/her own learning style and everyone learns at a different pace. Try not to get frustrated if someone else in class seems to be progressing more quickly than you. You might find that you have a knack for grammar but have difficulty with speaking. Or you may find that you understand things perfectly in class, but when it comes to the homework assignments, you feel lost. Strive to identify your own personal strengths and let these help you in your learning process. If you are a visual learner, for example, write things down and try to associate words with images. At the same time, strive to identify your own personal learning barriers and make efforts to overcome them. For example, if you tend to be quiet in classes and often refrain from participating, force yourself to sit at the front of the classroom.

8. Maximize your language exposure

If your ultimate goal is language fluency, as it is for many students learning a language, then it is important to know that you will become more fluent more quickly if you increase the amount of contact you have with the language. You can start by simply practicing the language with a classmate outside of class. You can befriend native speakers in your community or attend a local foreign language conversation hour, if one exists. Rent a movie in the target language, or listen to authentic audio or video online. (Many foreign television and radio stations have streaming or archived audio and video programs).

Remember that you won't be able to understand everything, and you might not understand much at all at first. Nonetheless, these experiences will make you increasingly familiar with the sounds, rhythm, and intonation of the language. Increased exposure to and active practice with the language will help you develop skills more quickly.

9. Spend time on task

Use the time you have in class each week to work on your language skills. This means not only attending and paying attention in class. If you finish a partner activity early, use the time to try conversing with your partner in the target language on a related topic. Or work on your written homework. Or study the weekly vocabulary. If you finish a lab activity early, attempt trying some supplemental activities, work on the week's written homework, or explore some cultural sites. If you are in your language class, you should be doing something language-related. Make the most of the time you have to maximize your learning.

10. Communicate with your instructor

Take responsibility for your learning. Communicate with your instructor any problems that may be interfering with your learning or any specific difficulties that you are having with the material. Seek help immediately when you need it. You might be surprised how easily such difficulties can be resolved. Also, be proactive about making up missed work. Not only your grade, but also your success at learning depend on it.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The advantages of learning Spanish as a second language

  • An interesting article about the importance of learning Spanish. Source: literacynews.com
Without question, if you’re interested in learning a second language, Spanish is one of your best options. Whether you’re looking to meet high school language proficiency requirements or simply want to round out your education, Spanish is one of the most useful languages you can learn. You may even find that learning Spanish will help you in other areas of your education.

Similarity to Other Languages

Spanish is one of several European languages based on Latin – called the Romance languages. As a result, when you learn Spanish, you’ll have a beginner’s key to a number of other languages, including French and Italian. Because many words in Spanish are based on Latin roots, you may find that learning Spanish will help you understand medical and scientific terms.

In fact, many people consider Spanish the easiest of the Romance languages because it lacks the complex pronunciations found in French, while still retaining a structure and root word usage that’s compatible with other languages. You’ll also find that the Spanish language has a natural rhythm that makes it comfortable to speak and write. In some cases, you may even find that Spanish is easier to learn than your native language!

Spoken All Over the World

Historically speaking, conquerors and missionaries from Spain and Portugal were primarily responsible for the spread of the Spanish language throughout the American continents. Today, Spanish is spoken all over Europe, as well as in Mexico and many countries in South America. That said, it’s important to realize that people in specific geographic regions speak in dialects that may be very different from what you initially learned. However, the basic elements of European dialects are similar enough that you’ll be able to interpret these different patterns with ease.

Easy and Convenient to Learn

Considering that Spanish is spoken by over 300 million people around the world, it should come as no surprise that locating classes and tutorials is fairly easy. If you’re a high school student, you probably have the option to elect Spanish studies for free. Many colleges also offer full credit classes for students, as well as non-credit versions for community members. There are also hundreds of tapes, videos, books, and dictionaries designed to help you learn Spanish on your own. You can also take advantage of the internet to find websites, chat rooms, and other resources that are developed exclusively in Spanish.

When you’re thinking about learning a second language, it’s important to consider the benefits of all your different options. Unfortunately, if you choose a less commonly known language like Latin, you won’t have many opportunities to practice with others or to directly use your knowledge. Learning Spanish will give you this kind of linguistic grounding. At the same time, you’ll gain the ability to converse with millions of people that may or may not speak your native language. In addition, if you don’t already speak English or another Romance language, Spanish offers you a key foundation to learning them.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Russian For Everyone

Developed by Dr. Julia Rochtchina as a self study guide for elementary level learners of Russian and for intermediate level students who wish to review basic grammar and vocabulary.

This is a grammar course for beginners and intermediate students of Russian as a foreign language. The site is quite well structure and presents several grammar topics. Each topic with its explanations, quizes, phrasebooks and audio files. You can also test yourself with a set of the Russian language games.

You can find specially usefull the Summary Tables, as you can print them out for your study. Have a look, for instance, of the "Summary of Case Uses" (Basic uses of Nominative, Prepositional, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, Instrumental cases), or "Verb Endings" (Verb Endings: First and Second conjugation. Regular Forms).

In addition, there are everyday a couple of new Words of the day you can listen and learn.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

BBC - Languages - German

One of the most outstandings sites of the BBC web pages is the BBC Learning English. It's a web page for students of English as a foreign language.

However, BBC has got several foreign languages sites (visit BBC Languages) for students of other tongues. You have access to audio and video courses of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and others.

BBC German is the one to visit if you want to learn German. The page offers different resources in order to improve your listening, writing, reading and speaking skills: grammar lessons, videos, tests, a newsletter, a tutors area, and so on.

Other related links

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Importance of Learning a Second Language

  • An interesting article about the importance of learning a foreign language. Source: literacynews.com
So what is the importance of learning second language other than the one that were born in and that we grew up with? Well there are many benefits to learning another language, and here I’ll out line just a few, so that you can start thinking whether having a second language will be an important skill to have in your future.

With ever changing technology, communications and the Internet these days the world has become a smaller place. This also applies to business. A global business can be run from a sole computer these days. So with the vast majority of companies these days planning to go global, having the benefit of a second language as a communication skill that you can demonstrate would put you in good stead with any employer.

Whilst travelling is easier and with the influx of immigrants entering into primarily English speaking countries, the need for speakers and translators are in much needed demand. You can take great advantage of this by discovering the importance of learning a second language, which will definitely further your career.

Imagine visiting a country on your next holiday and being able to converse with the locals. Surely you’d probably make a few mistakes here and there, but I am sure you would have a blast learning another language initially and then being able to practice it on your holiday. So not only can you show that you are multilingual, but also show cultures and people around the world much respect, hence you will appreciate it more and they will appreciate the effort you’ve made which will make you’re holiday a more enjoyable experience for it.

Languages are the main part of culture and each country, therefore the importance of learning a second language can make it relatively easy and wonderful way of absorbing another culture. Learning a second language can not only challenge your mind and fulfil your soul, but it will also allow you to meet and speak with a variety of people, locally and worldwide and develop your knowledge, skills, understanding, tolerance and patience. Increase your skill set and learn a second language by visiting www.Second-Language.org


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RusskogoYazyka, a collection of Russian videos

This is an odd collection of old Russian videos for advanced beginners. This is what the owner of this Youtube channel tells about these videos from the Soviet era:

"Specifically designed to help you learn this most beautiful language, this Channel gathers 61 videos (1 song + 11 full lessons + 49 help lessons with basic vocabulary in English) for advanced beginners.

"The audio recordings are the original ones from the Soviet era. So the dialogues reflect the Soviet way of life.

"I am not a video maker, so I inductively edited some raw material from the book "Так Говорят Русские" and from Internet Soviet propaganda posters using Adobe Premiere Pro software ad hoc."

Russian As Russians Speak It (Так Говорят Русские) aims at improving the student's command of Russian dialogue techniques and is designed for students who have worked through an elementary Russian course and who wish to develop their aural comprehension and speech habits. The student is assumed to have mastered the fundamentals of Russian pronunciation and intonation, the formation and meaning of the most essential nominal and verbal forms, the basic syntactical structures, and to have a command of an elementary Russian vocabulary.

Тема 1 - Урок 1 Познакомьтесь: это моя семья

Monday, October 26, 2009

Babelan is growing! (Paris and French language)

There are new features you can find in Babelan. These are as follows:
  • The site has been fullly translated into French, thanks to a contributor.
  • Paris has been added as a new city. You can offer and search languages exchange, classes and translations services in this city. Paris >>
You can contribute and help us translating Babelan into any language. Further info >>

Babelan, the languages site

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Foreign languages podcasts

Students of foreign languages search for audio files in order to learn and practice their target language. Ivoox, a free site to share audio files, offers several languages podcast channels. Here, you have a collection of them.


- Grammar Challenge [BBC]: Improve your English grammar with the BBC. Each week we challenge an English language student on an area of the English language such as verb forms, tenses, prepositions and pronunciation. Listen to a short presentation on the topic then try to answer the questions. The programmes are recorded on location in an English language classroom. Each episode lasts for six minutes and is made available every Friday.

- 6 Minute English [BBC]: Learn and practise useful English language for everyday situations with the BBC. Your weekly instruction manual for saying or doing something in English is published every Wednesday. Each programme is six minutes long and contains examples and explanations to help you improve your knowledge of the English language across a wide range of topics.

- ESL Podcast: A podcast is an audio file that you download from the Internet. After you download it, you can listen to it on your computer or on an MP3/portable music player (for example, an iPod or iRiver). You can subscribe to a podcast so that it is delivered to you automatically each day, just like a newspaper.

- Listen to English: The podcast website for people learning English On this page - podcasts to help you improve your listening skills.

- Tu inglés!: Vamos a ejercitar tu oído para el inglés! Practicar y aprender con un nativo. Cada sesión incluye entrevistas, practicas de conjugacion, consejos, grabación de discursos y otros recursos. ¡A aprender!

- Podcast de Vaughan: Todos los días el programa de Cloverdale (Cloverdale's Corner) en MP3.


- FLE - Madrid: Apprendre le Français.


- Podcast China y Japón: Podcast sobre China. Aprenda chino mandarín mientras monta en bicicleta. Podcast sobre Japón.


- L de Lengua: Podcast sobre el mundo del español como lengua extranjera y las aplicaciones didácticas de la web 2.0.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

BBC Learning English

Probably, BBC Learning English is the most comprehensive web page to study and practice English. It covers a wide range of levels from a lower intermediate to proficiency level.

Any student of English can improve different skills with the site: reading, listening and also writing and talking (thanks to its Community where the user can contact other people). In addition, there are areas to learn grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation topics.

The page has got lots of resources. Words in the news is a tool to work listening skills and also to broaden the vocabulary. Face Up to Phrasals helps to improve such a difficult topic as phrasal verbs. Quizzes is the place to test your knowledge of the language. For teachers is the area for teachers. And the site offers dramas, blogs, questions and answers and so on.

It's really comprehensive and a good complement to students and teachers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Russian Language Podcast

There are some skills we need to develop in order no learn a foreign language: writing, reading, listening and speaking. You need to practice quite a lot every skill if you really want to learn the target language.

It is difficult to find resources with a suitable level for a foreign student. Regarding listening skills, you can find dozens of radio stations in many languages, although finding recordings for students of lower levels is not easy.

Russian Language Podcast is a site focus on intermediate students of Russian. The site is built by Tatiana, a Russian and French teacher and interpreter. The page has many podcasts, all in Russian, with the tapescript.

"This podcast is for those who already know basic grammar and want to improve their Russian level. If you don't speak Russian at all, but can understand few words, you still can listen to this podcast, it will help you too. This podcast is entirely in Russian."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A couple of Japanese web pages

This post presents a couple of Japanese resources for students of this languages. The first one is A Japanese guide to Japanese grammar, a reference web site to Japanase students.

"This site explains Japanese grammar in a systematic step-by-step process and is released under the Creative Commons License. It was created as a resource for those who want to learn Japanese grammar in a rational, intuitive way that makes sense in Japanese. The explanations are focused on how to make sense of the grammar not from English but from a Japanese point of view. To learn more about this guide, go to the introduction page and start learning this intriguing and unique language!".

There is a web page version, although, there is a version available to download (sip file or pdf). Also, the page is translated into different languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Bahasa, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Finish, Turkish and Korean.

The second one is Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Language Study Materials. As Charles Kelly states "these are free-to-use online materials that I have developed to help people learn Japanese."

This site is an interesting tool to practice the use of the language with quizzes, vocabulary exercices, flashcards, crossword puzzles, videos and so on. It's got a selection of Japanese language study sites to find more resources to learn this language.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Forvo. All the words in the world

This web is an interesting tool for language learners of any language. As the web page describes itself "Forvo is the largest pronunciation guide in the world, the place where you´ll find millions of words pronounced in their original languages."

How it works

You need to know how to pronunce a word in your target language (eg. thanks in Spanish: gracias). You Search your target language "Spanish" and the word "gracias": http://www.forvo.com/word/gracias/

There you can find different recordings uploaded by native people. If the word doesn't exist in the web you can ask for a native to record it.

Right now, there are 220 different languages in Forvo (English, Portuguese, Arabic, German, Spanish, Russian, Persian, Italian, Dutch...)

Forvo: http://www.forvo.com

Friday, July 24, 2009

Language exchange: Russian

This is a list of people offering to teach or learn Russian. You can participate posting your message or answering someone else's posting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Liveworda, tutoring Russian language with native speaker

Liveworda is a blog that offers a collection of video lessons for students of Russian. The owner of this website presents it this way:

Hello, My name is Alla. I live in Moscow (Russia).

If you want to learn Russian language - this blog for you. I have just started producing Russian language videos and publishing my videos and videos of another teachers in this blog. All teachers are native speakers.

I hope you start follow me. If you like my blog, please help us spread the word. I encourage feedback.

The lessons are useful to learn and practice pronunciation of basic words and sentences. You can also find music, materials to learn Russian and other tips.

Liveworda: http://liveworda.blogspot.com

Here, you can watch an example.

Learn Russian: I love you

We learn russian phrase and words on topic "I love you" in this lesson. For example: I love you. Love came to my heart. I fell in love with you from the first sight. I need you so much. I can't live without your love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Learning foreign languages. Tips

If you are searching tips to improve the foreign language you're studying, here's some articles about different strategies to be used.

10 Tips for Language Learning Success
Article contents:
1. Set realistic expectations
2. Break study time into smaller chunks
3. Learn vocabulary effectively
4. Practice language actively
5. Do homework conscientiously
6. Form study groups
7. Identify your learning style
8. Maximize your language exposure
9. Spend time on task
10. Communicate with your instructor

15 Language Learning Resources at Your Fingertips
Article contents:
1. Find a pen pal
2. Rent and watch a foreign film
3. Read or watch foreign news online
4. Find native speakers in your community
5. Join or start a conversation group
6. Visit an ethnic restaurant
7. Find a book or magazine in your library
8. Use a foreign language search engine to explore your interests
9. Join a foreign language discussion board
10. Visit a foreign language chat room
11. Plan a trip
12. Study abroad

Learning a Language - The Basics
Article contents:
Study Little Often
Do Not Run before You Can Walk
Look for Partners with Similar Interests
Do Not Expect to Feel Progress all the Time
Make as Many Mistakes as You Can
Enjoy yourself

And already posted in this blog

Other related links

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MongolHel. Videos to learn Mongolian

A Youtube video channel that "contains Mongolian language lessons for English speakers. These videos are designed to help those who are interested in learning Mongolian".

MongolHel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MongolHel

Here's a sample.

Greetings and Introduction in Mongolian

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Success with Foreign Languages: Seven who achieved it and what worked for them

Success with Foreign Languages: Seven who achieved it and what worked for them, by Earl W. Stevick, a book about learning foreign languages that could be worth a read.

Summary: "This book contains Earl Stevick's analysis of the strategies used by seven successful language learners and the implications for becoming a more successful language learner yourself. There are extensive excerpts from taped interviews with the seven learners, with Stevick's comments on the strategies and beliefs of the various learners. The book ends with Stevick's summary of what we can learn from the experiences of these learners. This book shows the diversity of approaches and beliefs that can be held by successful language learners and can provide suggestions for strategies that may work for you."

Complete table of contents >>

Download the book (free) >>

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where to promote your translations and interpreting services for free

This is a list of internet sites where a freelance translator or a translations company can advertise its services for free. Although, there are much more sites, this is in only a sample:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Videos to learn Portuguese

A Youtube user has collected a set of videos to learn Portuguese. There are different playlists to learn pronuntation, conversation or vocabulary. In addition, you can find more web pages to learn Portuguese in the Babelan directory.

Watch one of the videos called Learn Portuguese - Conversation 2

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Voice of America (VOA) special English

A good way for improving listening skills is tunning to a native radio station. Althoguh, it's is difficult to understand real English from a native broadcasting.

VOA special English helps listeners to learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science.

As they quote the goal is to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English.

Hence, VOA special English is a excellent tool to listen real English for a poeple who study the language and are not fluent. It offers, audio and video news and features about the USA and the world.

VOA special English: http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/

Monday, May 11, 2009

Aploosh, videos to learn Japanese

Thanks to websites like Youtube, a student of any language can find videos to learn and practise languages. Aploosh is a youtube channel with a colection of funny videos to learn Japanese.

Here's the first lesson "I'm Yan"

Aploosh: http://www.youtube.com/Aploosh

Friday, May 1, 2009

Toronto in Babelan

Babelan has added a new city to offer and find languages exchanges, classes and translations services. The new city is Toronto. Currently, the list of cities in Babelan is as follows:
The most outstanding new feature in the Babelan site is the Global language exchange (messenger, e-mail, voice, chat, skype, webcam, msn) area. This is where you can find native people to practice your target language from home, just with your e-mail, messenger or voice software. It could be any language Russian, English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Czech or Korean.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Help others to find a language exchange, a private lesson or translation service

You can help others to find a person for a language exchange. Also, you can help a student to find a private tutor (and vice versa) or a freelance translator a work.

Just place a link in your blog or personal page. Babelan has a free message board to offer and find a language exchange, a class or a translation service.


Babelan - The languages site.

Copy and paste this code

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mexico in Babelan

Babelan has added a new city to offer and find languages exchanges, classes and translations services. The new city is Mexico DF. Currently, the list of cities in Babelan is as follows:
The most outstanding new feature in the Babelan site is the Global language exchange (messenger, e-mail, voice, chat, skype, webcam, msn) area. This is where you can find native people to practice your target language from home, just with your e-mail, messenger or voice software. It could be any language Russian, English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Czech or Korean.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Learning Estonian

Recently, someone suggested in the Babelan directory a language page to practice Estonian, ZpeakIt. You can find there different useful phrases in Estonian and its translation into English. Clicking the phrase you can listen it.

There are some basic topics you can choose from: greetings, shopping, questions, help, conversation, thanks, conversation questions, common expressions, travel, asking the way, weather nad all phrases.

There is also a an area for registered users where you can monitor your progress.

ZpeakIt: http://zpeakit.com/main

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The daily English show

There are many interesting tools in internet to improve your English: blogs, chats, dictionaries, podcasts, videos...

Here's antother one. Sarah is a New Zealander based in Niseko, Japan. Every week since 2006, she records a short video lesson, The daily English show. Everyone can watch these short lessons in her Youtube channel. In addition, you can find all the video scripts in The daily English show blog.

Moreover, she's got a set of delicious cook lessons for students of English. It's called the Sunday kitchen. Try this one: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Watch this sample of The daily English show:

Hannah From Scotland, Airline Toilet Charges

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Germany vs USA - Foreign Languages

This is a video I found. Two guys talk about their experiencies with foreign languages.

Alex and Jim talk about Foreign Languages.

Alex (from Germany) and Jim (from the USA) talk about cultural differences and similarities between Germany and the USA.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Improving foreign languages skills - Language exchange

When learning a foreign language, there are some different skills we need to improve in order to comunicate: writing, reading, speaking or listening. For example, it is pretty clear that we cannot speak if we cannot understand (listen) what the interlocutor is telling us.

Probably, the very first step learning a new foreign language is enroling a class. This could be either in a language school or with a private tutor. Obviously, this cannot be only source of learning and improving a new foreign language. Nowadays, new technologies, such as internet, offer us a wide range of languages resources.

Thanks to internet, you can improve your reading skills just with newspapers, magazines or blogs in the target language. Listening can also be boosted by listening radio stations and watching tv channels or videos.

The list of sites is endless in any language: English, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Romanian, Vietnamese, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish...

Thus, it could be wise to search for pages that deal with a topic you like (e.g. a hobby). You will improve faster because the topic will attract you and you will pay much more attention rather than a boring issue. In addition, when you know the topic in your mother language helps to understand the new language easily.

Thousands of language students are willing to speak a foreign language with native people. So, why do not try to find a language exchange. This could be a one-to-one exchange if you both live in the same city or a virtual exchange using the new techonologies (e-mail, chat, messenger, webcam, microphone...).

Recently, I searched some different sites to meet native people for a language exchange. Check them out and use the one that fits your needs.

  • Babelan is a languages site. There you can find for free (not registration required) native people from around the world for a language exchange via mail, chat, voice,... Also one-to-one exchanges in New York, London, Barcelona, etc.
  • Another place is My Language Exchange. You can find several registered members to practice a foreign language via email, text chat or voice chat. Needs registration.
  • Shared Talk is a community to practice foreign languages. It has different tools such as text chat or a voice chat. Needs registration.
  • In Speak Mania you can find penpals for a language exchange. Needs registration. It has a an audio and video chat.
  • Lang-8 is a language exchange community focus in writing skills. Needs registration.
  • ConversationExchange.com is a community offering three types of language exchange face to face, penpals and text and voice chat. Needs registration.
  • Gumtree is a classifieds website, although, it has a languages swop category mainly for the UK and Ireland. It's free and needs no registration.
  • Another classifieds site with a language exchange category is Justlanded. It works in a wide range of countries, The UK, Ireland, Romania, China, Russia, Italy, Spain, USA, Germany, South Korea and so on.
There ara several sites where you can find native people for a language exchange, you can find them searching in internet. This is only a sample of some of them that could be useful.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Language teaching abroad

Probably, you want to travel abroad to stay in a foreign country for a long time. Some people want to learn a language, to study in an university or just long for an experience in a different place.

Unless you are a rich person, you'll need to earn your living abroad. When arriving a new country this could be a problem, specially, if you don't speak the native language.

There are many sort of jobs as bartender, bellboy, cook,.. the list is endless. Although, you may choose to teach your own language and get some extra money. It makes no difference which language you speak German, Russian, English, French, Italian, Chinese or Japanese. There are hundreds of chances to teach languages in language schools or offering private tuition.

A part from rendering your CV in all the languages schools, you may use internet to offer you private lessons. It's free and everyone can reach your post.

Nowadays, internet provides many sites to post free adverts. Here, you can find a sample list of sites to find students for your private classes:

First of all, a language site called Babelan. Currently, this has a free message board to offer classes in New York, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago. This website is focus in languages.

Another site to place your free classifieds is Justlanded. It works in a wide range of countries, The UK, Ireland, Romania, China, Russia, Italy, Spain, USA, Germany, South Korea and so on.

A New York classifieds site is ikinewyork.com that has got a tutors, language lessons category.

A UK based forum for tutors, students and parents is Local Tutor Forum. Here you can offer your private tuition in the UK.

Japanese, English and other languages can be offered in Tokyo Notice Board.

Loquo is a free classifieds site in Spain. It's got dozens of categories such as room, cars, jobs or servicies, also, it has a 'tutoring and private lessons' area to post your adverts.

Campusanuncios.com and mundoanuncio.com are two global classifieds web pages. So you may post your advert to teach not only in Spain but around the world.

Related links

Finally, I'd like to add some other related links that could be useful:

English language teaching job opportunities worldwide http://www.eslbase.com/jobs/

Language recruitment and Language Jobs in Madrid, Spain

Classes, courses or private lessons

Directory of jobs for teaching abroad

English Teachers - Madrid

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lithuanian lessons

The latest link we added in our directory is Debesélis, an online Lithuanian lessons wesite. It's got an English version and a Spanish one.

Debesélis offers free lessons, grammar resources, phrases, vocabulary, links to other Lithuanian related sites and a forum. This is a site worth to visit for a beginner.

Debesélis: http://www.debeselis.net

Friday, February 13, 2009

Russian dictionary

Multitran offers an online Russian dictionary which "includes phrases, examples and cross-references". The dictionary is quite comprehensive. In addition, users can edit or report errors.

It translates from Russian into English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, Latvian, Estonian, Japanese and Afrikaans and viceversa.

Multitran dictionary >>

Friday, February 6, 2009

Iranian Songs Translations

Learning by Singing Persian - Yadgiriye Farsi ba avaz khani یادگیری فارسی با آوازخوانی

Iranian Songs Translations is a blog that offers a funny way to learn Persian.

Her owner
Laura Vivero describes her site as follows: "Salam, my name is Laura and I am a fan of persian music. Thanks to the effort of some iranian friends who kindly translated Iranian songs into english (specialy, my beloved friends Vanda, Mehdi, Mozhgan and Shakiba), I gathered a modest collection of translations which I here would like to share with you. They can help you to learn or improve your Persian, or just to enjoy the beauty of Iranian songs. I firmly believe that singing is an optimal way of learning languages. At least I´m doing that myself!".

Enjoy and learn Persian: http://iraniansongstranslations.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Babelan, the languages site

Babelan is the languages site to find native people for a language exchange. It also allows to search and offer language classes and translations services. All just a click away. No sign ups, no fees.

Babelan New York >>

Babelan London >>

The most outstanding new feature in the Babelan site is the Global language exchange (messenger, e-mail, voice, chat, skype, webcam, msn) area.

This is where you can find native people to practice your target language from home, just with your e-mail, messenger or voice software. It could be any language Russian, English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Czech, or Korean.

Global language exchange (messenger, e-mail, voice, chat, skype, webcam, msn) >>

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