Friday, April 22, 2011

Improving listening skills (tip)

As you probably know, internet offers endless chances of improving your listening skills: radio broadcasts, podcasts, videos, films, etc. Although, there are other ways of working your listening skills. The following is a useful tip.

If you have a recording and the text you want to work out, you can upload it to your mobile or mp3 player. Write down the text in your notebook, and search the new words. You can also print out or photocopy it, although it's much better to write it down.

Once you have finished, you can listen to it several times in the underground, in the bus or at home. At the beginning, listen to it reading the text, later do it without the text. This way you'll improve your listening skills and broaden your vocabulary.

Those who learn English, for instance, can work this way with Words in the News from the BBC Learning English. If you have the CD from a learning book, you can also work this way.

If you know more tips to improve your language skills, please leave a comment.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learn Serbian

Learn Serbian is a blog with lessons of Serbian (by Marina Petrovic). You'll mainly find short videos (and exercises) with different topics about the language. Also, Marina tells tips about the language and some useful links for learning Serbian.

Many lessons are fun and display real videos from tv or music clips. Here's an example, learning numbers with an hilarious gag about inflation: Practise Numbers in Serbian - Listening Exercise.

In her 'intro lesson' she advices:

I believe that the easiest way to learn a language is to be relaxed and eager to learn. Your actual feelings towards language learned will depend on your teacher and surroundings, to their attitude and their feelings - you will be just their mirror.

Therefore, I would suggest you learn bit by bit - small chunks of language, incorporated in short and easy to memorize sentences. Therefore, you will be able to repeat these simple things and motivate yourself by your own success.

Do not worry about the pronunciation. The aim is to say a word clearly enough, so that people understand you. That is an achievement in itself. In the course of time, your ears will get accustomed to Serbian, and thus, your pronunciation is going to improve. So pls, don't worry about difficult sounds like š, ž, ć, č, đ will come in time :)


Monday, April 18, 2011

Learn English with jokes

Sometimes, language lessons are not really motivating and boring. offers materials for teachers and students to learn English in a fun way. All the materials are focus on jokes. They are classified in different levels: elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate / advanced. Every joke comes with grammar points, vocabulary and exercises.

Welcome to

This is a website of free English Language Teaching materials for teachers and students. Jokes written in graded English are followed by grammar and vocabulary exercises.

Teachers: print out the jokes and language exercises to use with your classes.

Students: work through the jokes on screen, or print them out to make your own self-study book.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Ten reasons to learn Russian

Master Russian is a comprehensive site for students of Russian. It's got several resources such as lessons, videos, tips, links, etc. An interesting article in the page is Ten reasons to learn Russian. It talks about the different reasons to learn Russian as a foreign language. Here's this article:

Ten Reasons to Learn Russian

You might already have your own good reasons for learning Russian. Perhaps you like the sound of the Russian accent, or admire the Russian ballet and literature, or want to get a Russian girlfriend or meet your prince charming. Maybe you plan to do business in Russia or simply want to visit Moscow as a tourist. Just in case you are still wondering about the benefits of learning Russian, here are ten great reasons to get started.

1 You are passionate about Russian classical literature and dream to read the works of Russian classics in the original.

Talented Russian writers - Bunin, Chekhov, Pushkin - are authors of amazingly interesting literary works. The famous writings of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol convey the essence of the Russian soul. However, the Russian culture is known not only for its writers. Many brilliant musicians and singers such like Oistrakh, Chaliapin, Tchaikovsky, and dozens others also came from Russia. The glory of Russian ballet and its stars Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev does not subside even today. Russian cultural heritage is widely known throughout the world and knowledge of the Russian language is a must to fully enjoy and understand it.

2 You have heard a lot about the beauty and modesty of Russian women and want to find your destiny in Russia.

The amazing and mysterious Russian women have been the Muses of many great artists and writers. People have told legends about the beauty of Russian women, while the traditions and peculiarities of Russian upbringing shape their noble and modest character. Russian women make wonderful hosts and place great importance on family values. Many men from different countries of the world dream of having a Russian woman as a wife. Therefore, besides learning the language of love, it would be perfect to master the native language of your future "second half".

3 You are aware of Russia’s lucrative investment opportunities and consider establishing a company in Russia.

If you are going on a business trip to Russia, you want to be prepared to communicate with your Russian business partners. Russian entrepreneurs are well-versed in international economics and willingly establish business relationships with partners from abroad. Russia is adequately represented in the international arena. Due to the size of the country and its natural resources, the Russian market is of great interest to foreign businessmen. And serious business requires a serious approach - the knowledge of the Russian language is a must for efficient communication with your new business partners.

4 You are an ambitious traveller and Russia is the next stop on your travel list.

Many foreigners have set to travel across Russia at various times. Russia is a fascinating and exotic country. It occupies a vast territory offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy resort towns with spectacular beaches, experience the taiga with its diverse wildlife and unexplored places, visit the Russian Far East where the sun rises while people in the Western parts of the country are still fast asleep. There is so much to see and do in Russia, and speaking a little Russian will help you to meet all sorts of fascinating people and make the most of every moment.

5 You know that life in Russia is very different from life in the West. You are interested in everything connected with the Russian way of life, habits and mentality.

Life in Russia is not quite the same as in the Western world. Everything from upbringing of children to family values to friends and relationships has its own flavor in Russia. The system of education (kindergartens, schools), health services, and work of various official organizations – all this is often radically different from what is common for the Western Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. You will find it much easier to quench your thirst to all things Russian if you can speak and understand the Russian language.

6 You like to meet new people from around the globe but don’t have enough knowledge of the language to talk to your Russian friends. Your Russian friends will certainly be very pleased if you can understand them better.

The latest advances in technology have opened limitless opportunities for communication. The distance is no longer a barrier. In just a few hours, anybody with a computer and Internet connection can make dozens new friends with similar interests from around the world. Russian Internet users are actively exploring the virtual space – run personal blogs, post Twitter updates, connect with people via numerous social networks, and gain new knowledge about other countries of the world. In Russian schools, English is taught starting from the elementary grades, therefore most Russians can understand a few English phrases and express simple ideas in English. So why not learn a little bit of Russian? After all, it’s much easier and more interesting to communicate with friends from abroad if you can understand the language of each other.

7 Russian language is the most widely spoken among Slavic languages. You should certainly learn it – there are about 300 million total speakers of Russian in the world.

Russian became one of the languages of world communication – a global language – as early as in the twentieth century. Today, there are less than ten global languages in the world. This means that the Russian language – just like English, French or German – is used for communication by a very large number of people around the globe. In addition, Russian is one of the official UN languages. Out of approximately 300 million people in the world who know Russian, 160 million people consider it to be their native language. The Russian language is ranked the fifth most prevalent language in the world.

8 You are seriously interested in history of Russia. The knowledge of the Russian language is required for you to work with archival documents.

The historical past of Russia is of great importance for understanding the World history. In fact, Russia played crucial role in the development of the world during the past several centuries. The Russian authorities have recently opened access to a variety of archives storing many invaluable documents. These materials enable researchers to look into the past and understand the reasons behind many global events. However, the study of these documents is only possible if you understand Russian. Want to better know the history of Russia and the world? Start learning Russian!

9 You plan to adopt a child from Russia.

International adoption of children from Russia became possible in the early 1990’s. Since that time, Russia has been one of the top sending countries. Today, there is an estimated 750,000 children living in baby homes and orphanages in Russia. They dream about a new family, a cozy house, and affection of mother and father. And some adults find that it’s in their power to give the child a miracle and make him or her happy. If you are planning to adopt a child from Russia, you should start learning Russian now. Many adoptive families agree that it’s important to know more than just “yes” and “no” in Russian.

10 You have a lot of free time. Why not learn a foreign language like Russian? Especially when it has such an unusual and original sound for native English speakers.

Every person should strive to develop and improve. A wise man will always find it interesting to make new discoveries and master new knowledge. It is believed that the more languages a person knows the more intelligent and educated he or she becomes. Learning the Russian language should be twice as interesting because it is very challenging to learn and many native English speakers find Russian accent to be unusual and beautiful.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Commandments for language learning

Kató Lomb was a Hungarian interpreter, translator, language genius and one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world. She spoke 17 different languages. And she suggested the Ten Commandments for language learning. They're really interesting, so do not miss out on them:

I. Spend time tinkering with the language every day—if there is no more time available, then at least to the extent of a ten-minute monologue. Morning hours are especially valuable in this respect: the early bird catches the word!

II. If your enthusiasm for studying flags too quickly, don’t force the issue but don’t stop altogether either. Move to some other form of studying, e.g., instead of reading, listen to the radio; instead of assignment writing, poke about in the dictionary, etc.

III. Never learn isolated units of speech, but rather learn words and grammatical elements in context.

IV. Write phrases in the margins of your text and use them as ‘prefabricated elements’ in your conversations.

V. Even a tired brain finds rest and relaxation in quick, impromptu translations of billboard advertisements flashing by, of numbers over doorways, of snippets of overheard conversations, etc., just for its own amusement.

VI. Memorize only that which has been corrected by a teacher. Do not keep reading texts you have written that have not been proofread and corrected so as to keep mistakes from taking root in your mind. If you study on your own, each segment to be memorized should be kept to a size that precludes the possibility of errors.

VII. Always memorize idiomatic expressions in the first person singular. For example, ‘I am only pulling your leg.’ Or else: ‘Il m’a pose un lapin’—‘He stood me up.’

VIII. A foreign language is a castle. It is advisable to attack it on all fronts at once: via newspapers, the radio, un-dubbed movies, technical or scientific articles, textbooks, or via a visitor at your neighbor’s.

IX. Do not let the fear of making mistakes keep you from speaking, but do ask your conversation partner to correct you. Most importantly, don’t get peeved if he or she actually obliges you—a remote possibility, anyway.

X. Be firmly convinced that you are a linguistic genius. If the facts demonstrate otherwise, heap blame on the pesky language you aim to master, on the dictionaries, or on this little book, not on yourself.”

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