Monthly Archives: July 2017

8 ways to improve speaking in a foreign language

When learning a foreign language most people find the speaking much more difficult than reading and understanding the language. This is perfectly normal mainly because when you speak you are on the spot and you have to produce the language immediately. This is difficult because often the new language cannot be translated word for word from your native language. There are differences in sentence structure and grammar not to mention recalling the actual vocabulary that you need. Here are some tips to help you bring your speaking skills up to speed: Continue reading

Beginners French

A warning – do not translate literally!

When first beginning to learn French, many people fall into the trap of thinking in English and trying to translate word-for-word from English to French. Unfortunately, they soon find that this approach will not work because the French say things in a different way to us, often using a different word order or expression, so that a literal translation may well be incorrect in French.

Here are some examples: Continue reading

7 good reasons to watch foreign films – plus tips to get the most out of it

How does watching movies help your language learning?

Sitting down to watch a film is one of the more enjoyable and effortless ways to improve your language skills. You do not have to understand everything that you hear to follow what is happening and to enjoy the film. You can watch something you are interested in that you can engage with. Thanks to the power of the internet, it is a great way to learn the real language without being in the country where it is spoken. Here are 7 reasons films help you learn the language: Continue reading

Beginners French – When to use “tu” or “vous”

One of the difficulties you will face when you’re learning French is the two different ways of saying “you”.

In modern, standard English, there is only one form. Whether you’re talking to one person or a group of people, to a VIP or a child, the word is “you”. In French, it is different: there are two words for “you”, tu or vous.

Here is an explanation of when to use each: Continue reading

5 excellent films to learn Spanish!

Who says you can only learn a language from textbooks or by going to the country where they speak the language? There are so many different ways to learn a language. One of the most enjoyable ways, especially if you like watching films is to watch a subtitled movie. Not only does it improve your listening and understanding skills, but you also get to hear how the language sounds, the rhythm and accent of native speakers as well as the everyday words and expressions they use which you probably won’t find in any textbook or dictionary.

In this blog we will look at 5 popular films to learn Spanish: Continue reading

Saber vs Conocer

Both the verbs “saber” and “conocer” in Spanish mean “to know”, however they are not interchangeable and you can only use each one in certain contexts. Here we will look at when you should use each one.

Saber

1) Use saber to express that you know a fact or some information. Continue reading

Beginners French – The Idea of Gender

One of the first challenges facing English-speaking learners of French is the concept that all French nouns, whether referring to living beings or not, are either “masculine” or “feminine” in gender. These terms are grammatical ones and are not equivalent to the terms “male” and “female”, although the ideas may overlap in certain cases, such as un homme – a man, is masculine and une femme – a woman, is feminine. With the vast majority of nouns the masculine or feminine gender either has no connection with sex, or, in the case of inanimate objects, it is applied to nouns which cannot be considered as male or female, such as un stylo a pen and une chaise  a chair.
How, therefore, do we tackle the problem of learning and remembering which gender a noun happens to be? Here are a few tips: Continue reading

Breakfast in Spain

Desayuno en España

In Spain breakfast (desayuno) is almost the most important meal of the day and they do not hurry over it! Coffee is perhaps the most important part of it. You will find though that their coffee is much smaller than in the UK with the “cortado” (small cup of coffee with a drop of milk) being the most typical. Typical foods include galletas (biscuits), tortilla (potato omelette) and pan tostado (toast).

Here are the most traditional foods and drinks you will find in Spain for breakfast: Continue reading