Monthly Archives: August 2017

50+ Conversation Starters in Spanish

Meeting Spanish people for the first time is a great opportunity to practise your Spanish. You probably already know the usual greetings and basic questions when you first meet someone, but it is good to be able to ask more in-depth questions to get to know someone better. In this blog post there are questions on various topics to help you go beyond ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?): Continue reading

Future tense in Spanish

If you want to talk about what you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next month or next year you will need to know how to use the future tense. There are two ways of expressing future actions in Spanish:

  1. Immediate future – for things that are already planned, are definitely going to happen and you know when. “Going to …”
  2. General future tense – for things further in the future but often there is no specific time in mind. “Will / shall …”

You will be pleased to know that neither of the two future tenses are too difficult to learn! Continue reading

Adventures in French Canada

Here are three delicious Québécois foods I discovered on my travels!

Firstly, poutine. This is basically chips topped with cooked cheese curds and light brown gravy. Sounds disgusting? Well, it might look like “chips with a cold”, but it is actually one of the best things I have ever tasted! Its origins are unclear but the story goes that a restaurant customer back in the 50s asked for cheese curds on his French fries, to which the owner replied Ça va faire une maudite poutine! – That will make a damn mess! hence the name. The gravy was added at a later date, apparently to keep the chips warm. I would love to make poutine at home, but the cheese curds are pretty hard to obtain in the UK. They are produced during the beginning stages of making cheese and they come out salty and “squeaky”, so using our grated cheese would not quite be the same. Continue reading

5 tips to get the most out of your language exchange session

So you have found yourself a native speaker of the language you are learning who also wants to improve their English. You have arranged a first meeting or have had your first meeting and are now wondering how to make the sessions work for both of you. What can you talk about? How often should you meet? How long should you talk for? Here are a few tips to help you get the maximum benefit out of your language exchange sessions: Continue reading

French in France vs French in Canada

Adventures in French Canada

Québécois French differs considerably from Metropolitan French in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. This I found out the hard way when I arrived in Mont-Joli, a remote little town in the Bas-Saint Laurent region of Québec, Canada, near the south shore of the Saint Lawrence river. I had been posted there in the third year of my degree in French and Linguistics to be an English teaching assistant in a secondary school. Continue reading

6 tips to keep Mandarin learners motivated!

With over one billion Mandarin speakers in the world today, Mandarin is an important and popular language to learn in the UK today in order to stay connected with the outside world, especially with Brexit looming. But as is well-known, Mandarin is one of the more difficult languages to learn. Most people spend a lot of time on it just to learn a little bit, that is why people often give it up. Here are some tips to help you make learning Mandarin easier. Hopefully they will help you stay motivated. Continue reading

8 benefits of having a language exchange partner

What is a language exchange?

A language exchange is when you meet up with someone who is learning your native language. You spend half the time chatting in the language you are learning and half the time chatting in the language they are learning – your native language. Learning a language on your own can be hard and motivation can drop every now and then. By having a language exchange partner to meet up with regularly or chat to over the internet or phone you encourage help each other to keep going and to stay motivated and positive.

How can a language exchange partner help you learn a language?

Continue reading

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