How to say what you “have done” in Spanish

The Perfect Tense

In Spanish to talk about what you have done recently or things you “have done” you would use what is called the “perfect tense”. Luckily it is one of the easier tenses to learn. In this blog post we will look at how to form this tense and the irregular verbs.

There are two parts to this tense: Continue reading

9 ways to overcome the language learning plateau

Why do we reach a plateau?

Problem areas

One reason people learning languages lose motivation and feel they aren’t progressing is because they come across parts of the language they find difficult to understand. For example, tricky parts of grammar such as the subjunctive in Spanish, how pronouns or commands work. Continue reading

4 Tricks to help you speak Spanish faster!

As all learners of Spanish know, Spanish people speak incredibly fast. Spanish is the fastest speaking language in Europe. This is why when in a group of Spanish speakers you also need to speak quickly to keep up with the conversation. This post will give you a few handy tips to help you speak more quickly in Spanish. Continue reading

15 French idioms using animals

It is interesting that speakers of many languages seem to use expressions involving animals, the French being no exception. Here are 15 examples of popular French idioms featuring our furry friends:

1) Arriver comme un chien dans un jeu de quilles – To turn up when least needed. (Literally: To turn up like a dog in a game of skittles).

2) Bon chien chasse de race – Like father, like son. (Literally: A good dog hunts good stock).

3) À bon chat bon rat – Tit for tat. (Literally: A good rat for a good cat).

4) Avoir un chat dans la gorge – To have a frog in one’s throat. (Literally: To have a cat in one’s throat). Continue reading

Anglicisms in Québécois French

French in France and French in Canada have, unsurprisingly, evolved differently, and whilst both include Anglicisms, these can be different in each version of French.

A good illustration of this I encountered in my time in Québec is the following: Whereas speakers of French from France might say J’ai stationné ma voiture dans le parking, a Québécois speaker would probably say J’ai parké mon char dans le stationnement. (I parked my car in the car park). Continue reading

10 Essential Spanish Phrases for Modern Travellers

You may have learnt some basic Spanish phrases from travel guides or phrase books before your trip or holiday, but have you learnt the really useful up-to-date phrases that the modern traveller cannot do without? Here are ten Spanish phrases you really need to know to stay connected whilst abroad:

1. Is there free wifi here?
¿Hay wifi gratuito aquí?

2. What is the wifi code?
¿Cuál es el código wifi?

3. Is there internet connection in the room?
¿Hay conexión a internet en la habitación? Continue reading

Motivational Tips for Mandarin beginners

CHINESE and MANDARIN are becoming popular languages for people all over world to learn these days.

The most common question that beginners of these languages have, is “How can I learn Mandarin quickly and easily?”

Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Learning any language takes patience, persistence, time and creating smart learning strategies to suit your style of learning.

Here are some useful tips for beginners: Continue reading

How to write a polite email or letter in perfect Spanish

You never know when you may need to write a formal letter to a company in Spain, whether looking for work or linked with a holiday booking, car hire issue and so forth. It is always good to try to write a few phrases in Spanish to show you are making an effort. It may help you get a job, land a promotion or just help to practise and extend the Spanish you already know.

Here are some key phrases to help you write a polite email or letter: Continue reading

20 Strategies to Fit Language Learning into your Busy Life!

So many people say they would like to learn a language, however the number of people who actually go ahead and do it is much lower. Why? The main reason is probably working out how to fit it into your already busy schedule. Well a few things to bear in mind which could persuade you to start learning a language are:-

  • You do not need to know every word in the language to be fluent or even to get by.
  • You only need to learn 2,500-3,000 to use it effectively.
  • The key is to focus on what you are actually going to need to know.
  • You don’t need to learn too much grammar, vocabulary is more important in the beginning stages.
  • You only need to spend 15-20 minutes a day focused on language learning to make good progress. Little and often is the key.

So this blog post is aimed “busy” people who may not have hours spare to learn a language.

20 ideas to build language-learning activities into your daily life:

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