Archive for May, 2013

The Key to Unlocking your Future is Language!

Posted on May 26th, 2013by Melanie
In German, Language acquisition, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Unlock your futureRosa was from southern Spain and, having spent a year in England in her twenties, spoke fluent English. At home, that opened up more opportunities for her as a large number of companies on the coast were British run. She´d joined one such company and had enjoyed working there for the next nine years. It was a large travel company with a mixed nationality staff including British, Spanish, German, Danish, Russian, Swedish, Finnish and French. Rosa loved working with so many different nationalities and enjoyed the travel opportunities that it opened up.

Unfortunately, like many other companies during the recession, this travel firm had gone into liquidation and Rosa found herself out of work. With so many people facing unemployment in Spain and with no companies hiring new staff, Rosa had decided to travel to Germany, like many of her Spanish friends, on a 3 month intensive language course with the intended outcome of finding a job there at the end of it. But, as no work was forthcoming, and with no work available back home, Rosa had to look carefully at what options were open to her.

She´d stayed in touch with her ex colleagues and many of them had returned to the UK, opting to work for the sister company of the one they had all worked for in Spain. The perfect job was available for her there, to deal with their Spanish clients on a daily basis, so Rosa flew to the UK to begin her new job. But she didn´t want to give up on her idea of working in Germany one day either, so looked to find some German courses that would enable her to keep up her new linguistic skills. She found the ideal course which enabled her to have lessons near her workplace and was taught by a native German speaking teacher. The teacher quickly assessed Rosa´s level in the German language and structured the lessons to continue from that point. Rosa´s confidence grew not only in her ability to speak the German language, but in the fact that there would now be so many more possibilities open to her in the future, and she looked forward to whatever they might be!

If you´ve ever dreamt of living and working abroad, as Rosa has, then broaden your horizons and learn German in Liverpool. You never know what your future holds!

Finding Foreign Words in our Everyday Language

Posted on May 24th, 2013by Melanie
In English, French, Words | Leave a Comment »

EurostarCan´t speak a foreign language? Think it´s too hard to learn? Nonsense! You may not realise it, but the English language has absorbed so many words and phrases from other languages over the years that they have become commonplace and used as everyday terms for us. Take the French language, for example.

How many times have you asked to see the à la carte menu in a restaurant? And chosen crème brûlée, mousse or a flambé for dessert? Do you enjoy watching the ballet or is the Grand Prix more your kind of thing? Are you an entrepreneur? Why don´t you buy your fiancée a lovely bouquet of flowers? Is your home in a cul-de-sac and does your bedroom have an en suite bathroom?

We have become so used to these words in our everyday language that we often don´t realise that they have been taken from another one. So whilst you might think that you´re unable to learn another language, think again, because you´re already speaking one more than you realise!

With the right style of teaching, at a level to suit you, you can learn to speak French fluently in no time. The best way to pick up the language easily is for a native French speaker to teach you. So give it a go! Arrange to meet your tutor in the local café and pick up your friends en route to your lessons. You´ll be surprised at just how easy it is to learn French in Leeds!

Chewing the Fat with the Family

Posted on May 19th, 2013by Melanie
In Spanish, Speech, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Family mealAlice and Damian had been in a relationship for a few years now and, like any couple, spent a fair amount of time with each other´s relatives for family meals, celebrations or casual visits. For Alice though, this wasn´t always an easy affair as Damian´s family was Spanish on his mum´s side. Having taken a year of basic Spanish in school, Alice had been able to make initial gestures towards conversations when she´d first met his family, but her vocabulary was somewhat limited to say the least. When their relationship had become more serious, Alice had travelled to Barcelona to take a brief but intensive Spanish course to try to build up her knowledge of the language and boost her confidence when speaking it. Now though, as time had passed and with little practice, Alice found that she had difficulty in recalling words and phrases, and was finding it harder to be included in conversations at family get-togethers.

So, she thought she´d better make an effort and take more of an active role with Damian´s family by looking for some refresher courses. Having made some enquires, Alice signed up for some recommended one-to-one Spanish classes in Bristol and looked forward to being taught by her native Spanish teacher. As she lived so close to the language centre, Alice was lucky enough to benefit from the teacher being able to visit her at home for the classes which was extremely convenient. The lessons were geared to be a continuation from Alice´s current level of Spanish and were more personal in their content, with much of the subject matter being focused on Damian´s family and on conversations that would be more likely to take place.

As her Spanish vocabulary broadened and she found it easier to get her tongue around certain phrases, Alice´s confidence increased again and she felt sure that she´d be able to hold her own during some of the family conversations. Now she could look forward to the next mealtime when she could sit and have a chat with Damian´s mum without having to use him as a translator!

Lost in Translation

Posted on May 15th, 2013by Melanie
In French, Speech, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Lost in translationEddie Izzard, the quick-witted comedian known for his love of Europe and his alternative humour, is planning something a little daring and somewhat risky with his current tour.

Force Majeure, which commenced in March and will carry on into 2014, is a major comedy tour that will span 25 countries within all of the continents. The comedian has already shown his talents during this show in Germany, Latvia, Croatia, Turkey, Austria, Estonia, Scandinavia and Serbia. That´s formidable enough in itself as these countries haven´t hosted many British stand-up comedians, but that´s not nearly enough of a challenge to satisfy the demands of this intrepid comedian! Eddie Izzard is looking to perform his show in no less than five other languages. That´s right, five. He already speaks French and plans to have learned German and Spanish to a performance level by next year, with Russian and Arabic performances to follow suit. Luckily, his brother is a linguist who will be giving him a helping hand but, even so, this will be no mean feat to accomplish. As anyone who has tried learning new languages will know, what you are trying to say in your native language and how you think it should be worded in the new language is often not how it is actually spoken. Trying to convey comedy in other languages is tricky, not only because the true meaning of the sentence may become lost in translation, but because people´s sense of humour in different countries can also be very different to each other.

But Eddie Izzard firmly believes that speaking different languages brings people together and can only see the benefits of this grand idea. He feels it shows respect for others and dismisses any negativity that his humour will be lost on people from other nationalities. Let´s hope that his ‘universal humour’, as he calls it, really can be universally understood! If your funny bone is looking to be tickled, why not follow Eddie Izzard´s example and learn some amusing French sketches in Leeds to impress your friends!

Leave Learning Disabilities Behind and Become Fluent in a Foreign Language

Posted on May 12th, 2013by Melanie
In French, Pronunciation, Speech | Leave a Comment »

Learning difficultiesStudents with learning disabilities might be dismissed as being unable to learn foreign languages, but this is simply not the case. Many people with learning disabilities have trouble isolating the sounds of words and distinguishing between vowels. They may mispronounce words that have a similar sound. Learning a new language will emphasize these issues but it doesn´t mean that it will prohibit the learning of a second language. Studies have shown, in people suffering from dyslexia, that those with less phonemic awareness in their own language may find it harder to learn a foreign language whereas those with a better phonemic awareness will be able to converse in a foreign language more easily and may find the writing and grammar aspect harder. Or, conversely, the reading and writing component may not present any difficulties but it may be harder to speak it. By using a systematic approach to learning that involves a multisensory structure, students with learning disorders can overcome any inhibiting factors and have the ability to learn foreign languages. People with dyslexia can be particularly good conversationally, so more vocal orientated lessons in foreign languages are recommended.

As the need for a knowledge of foreign languages is on the rise, it´s no longer necessary for people with learning disorders to be made to miss out on these linguistic opportunities. As awareness of learning difficulties has increased and new teaching methods have evolved to cater for these needs, there´s nothing to stop students from learning the new language they desire. So, if you have a learning disability and have always felt that you´ve been held back by being told you can´t learn a new language, then think again! With courses that are specifically tailor-made to your needs, you can learn French in Leeds and show that you have what it takes to learn a foreign language.

Speak Up for Lower Learning Costs!

Posted on May 10th, 2013by Melanie
In Education, Spanish, Speech | Leave a Comment »

University graduatesThe cost of education has often been a bone of contention with students, parents and teachers. Parents of children in primary and secondary education have to continually shell out for school uniforms, books, lunches, extra-curricular activities, school outings, term fees and summer school costs. It´s never ending! Students in higher education are facing continually increasing term fees; last year in the UK, university tuition fees rose to a maximum of £9,000 a year. This led to a decline of 15,000 applicants who just couldn´t afford this high price for their education. More increases are on the horizon for university fees again this year. In Spain this week, demonstrations have occurred throughout the country during a one-day strike against the government for proposed education cuts. Children and teachers in primary and secondary schools were not in attendance, just as students of higher education and faculty members chose to attend the protests instead of their classrooms, in a bid to change the government´s plans and instead promote the need for a proper public-funded education for everyone.

Don´t get caught out with crippling costs

One way to ensure you don´t get caught in this money trap is to arrange your own private tuition. You choose the subject you want to study, where you´d like to have your lessons and who you´d like to study with. One-to-one tuition is great for an intense course but studying in a group is much more interactive and you´ll find that the group rates are much cheaper. There´s no need to sacrifice your education when such competitive prices are available. The courses can be tailored to meet your requirements and you can choose how long you´d like to study for, so there are no hidden surprises! So if you want to brush up on your linguistic skills, for example, what better way than to learn from a native speaking teacher in your local area. You could book some great value Spanish classes in Bristol for some personal tuition that won´t break the bank!

Striking Up a Conversation in Sorrento!

Posted on May 4th, 2013by Melanie
In Italian, Speech | Leave a Comment »

As a child, Sarah had many penfriends from all over the world: New Zealand, Japan, Turkey, Ethiopia, France, America, Germany, Sweden and more. She wrote and received colourful letters every week and often got sent photos, stickers and little tokens from her penfriends to resemble their countries. One of her penfriends was an Italian boy, Domenico, and Sarah actually got a chance to meet him on a family holiday to Sorrento in Naples when she was 13.

Domenico arrived at her hotel with his entire family in tow, and both families sat down to meet and greet each other. The hotel manager very kindly offered to spend some time with them translating between the families. As Sarah and Domenico already communicated each week by writing in English, this was the easiest option for them, as well as making basic attempts at miming things to try to get their messages across to each other. Considering they had been penfriends for a couple of years, they were both extremely shy at having actually met each other and Sarah felt quite nervous and silly in her attempts at trying to ‘speak’ to Domenico. After a little while, Domenico´s family left with the promise of returning shortly. And sure enough, not long afterwards, they returned with the lovely gesture of a gift from their family to Sarah´s family. It was a beautiful mosaic plate with a brightly coloured peacock on a golden background that glistened in the sunlight. Touched at such a thoughtful gesture, Sarah´s family hugged Domenico´s and thanked them for such an exquisite gift. And that was the last time Sarah saw Domenico…until now.

25 years later, she was going back to Naples and had arranged to meet up with Domenico again. Never having forgotten her embarrassment at not being able to speak to him properly the last time they met, she had enrolled in some fun conversational Italian classes based in Newcastle where she quickly picked up the basics she needed to be able to have a general chat with Domenico. Competitively priced and at a venue to suit her, Sarah was very pleased with these bargain language classes that allowed her to be taught by an Italian speaking teacher. In a very short time, she felt confident that she would be able to hold her own in a one-to-one conversation with Domenico.

With her flight ticket in her hand, Sarah grabbed her passport and suitcase as the cab pulled up outside her home and excitedly closed the door behind her. In just a few hours, she´d be back in the sunshine meeting her lifelong friend, only this time she planned to surprise him by showing off her newly acquired speaking skills. This was going to be the best Italian experience she could ever imagine!

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

Posted on May 2nd, 2013by Melanie
In French, Language acquisition, Research | Leave a Comment »

It’s no secret that men and women are different from each other in just about every way. Their physical appearance, their emotional attitudes, their interests, their abilities…they might as well be from different planets! Many studies have been conducted over the years to see if men´s and women’s brains are wired differently making one sex excel in one field while the other sex excels in another. One such type of theory and related studies considers the difference in linguistic abilities between men and women; does one have the ability to learn languages more easily than the other?

The answer is yes, women are more likely to succeed in learning a new language and at a faster rate than men. This is because they process the information in both sides of their brain and also listen using both the right and left hemispheres which enables them to multitask while doing so. Men, on the other hand, use the left hemisphere only of their brain when listening and also when learning a new language. Men process male and female voices differently to each other which can lessen the degree of ease for learning languages. In the parts of the brains used to process languages, women´s brains have been found to have a larger proportion of volume than men, resulting in women having a natural advantage over men in the ability to learn and process languages. Whilst these findings don´t affect everyone, they do apply to the average population and go a long way in explaining why there seem to be more females in language related professions, such as interpreters, over their male counterparts.

Why not test this theory for yourself and get a mixed group of friends together to see who has the ability to learn French faster in London!