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How to Say “To Become” in Spanish

to become in SpanishIn Spanish there is not just one verb “to become”, there are several. The one to use depends on the nature of the change involved, whether it is sudden or involuntary. The best way to learn when to use which verb is to remember specific examples. I have put together some key examples to help you master the verb “to become” in Spanish.

1. Hacerse
2. Ponerse
3. Volverse
4. Convertirse en
5. Other ways to express “to become” Continue reading

Why Language Learning is Vital Post-Brexit

languages after BrexitThere is a worrying shortage of language skills in the UK which according to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), “is costing the UK economy £48 billion a year”.

Given that only one in three British citizens are able to speak a second language and with a decline in students studying languages at school, it is becoming increasingly challenging for British companies to communicate and do business with countries in Europe and the rest of the world. The UK is facing huge economic consequences both now and will continue to do so in the future.

We will have to manage a lack of language skills whilst trying to maintain international connections. Employees who speak more than one language are highly sought after since they bring skills that businesses require to develop good international relationships and to create trade deals.

According to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages, “We will need more UK officials with foreign language skills.” “Language skills are vital for our exports, education, public services and diplomacy.” Continue reading

The Pros and Cons of Language Learning Apps

Can you learn a language just from an app?

There are so many language learning apps available nowadays each claiming to help you learn a language easily in record time. Popular apps include Duolingo, Busuu and Rosetta Stone. Language learning apps use images, audio and activities such as matching up exercises, re-ordering words in a sentence to help you pick up the basic language. However, just how good are these apps when it comes to actually communicating in the language effectively in real life? This is what we will look at in this blog post. Continue reading

Tips to Achieve a Top Grade in the Spanish GCSE Writing Exam

This summer is the first set of the new style Spanish GCSE exam. The new “higher” tier exam involves three questions. You are given two options for the first two questions.

The first question is to write approximately 90 words responding to 4 bullet points. This may be in the style of a letter to a friend or an email.

The second question is a longer, more open written task of approximately 150 words in which you only have 2 compulsory bullet points to respond to. This could be a blog article, an email or an article for a magazine.

The third question is a translation from English into Spanish of a minimum of 50 words.

Tips to get top marks

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How to re-learn a language you have forgotten

A lot of the people that I teach are often not complete beginners in Spanish. Often they have learnt the language in school years ago or they did an evening college course or they followed a CD course in their own time but have had several years or months break. They normally think they will never be able to get the language back or re-learn it, however the truth is that it can be easily done and does not need to take long either. What you have learnt well previously will have stayed in your long-term memory. It just needs a little refreshing.

For example, one of my clients learnt Spanish O’level in school over 30 years ago, however, because he learnt it so well at the time, he still remembers many verbs and how to conjugate them in different tenses. It is amazing how much he is able to reactivate because it is still there unused in the brain!

How to recover the language previously learnt

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Why Hire a Private Language Tutor for Your Child’s GCSE

language tutorAccording to the British Council, millions of children did not receive any language tuition during lockdowns in England. During the first lockdown more than half of primary school children and 40% of secondary school pupils did not do any language learning.

With these worrying statistics the government will not meet its target of three-quarters of pupils taking a modern language GCSE by 2022.

The poor take up of languages in schools is concerning as a country trying to compete in international markets. According to Lady Coussins, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on modern languages, “Having a foreign language skill, even at a basic level, improves social mobility and employability. Without it, our young people are at a disadvantage in a global labour market.”

Considering this lack of language study due to the pandemic, if your child is due to take a language GCSE exam either next summer or in 2023 this is highly concerning. 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

5 Tips to Avoid Overwhelm When Learning a Language

language learning overwhelmPerhaps you have decided to start learning a foreign language for your next holiday, for work, to improve your CV or simply to do something different and challenging. When first starting out learning a language it is difficult knowing where to start. You are bombarded with so much advice online about the best ways to learn a language and there are so many different resources and apps to choose from, it is hard to know where to start and understandably people feel completely overwhelmed and may even be put off from starting.

In today’s blog post we will give you 5 tips to help you get started learning a language and to stop you feeling overwhelmed. Continue reading

What NOT to do when learning a language

how not to learn a languageLearning a new language is really exciting when you first start out. Once you start learning the first few phrases and are understood by native speakers, it is a great feeling. As you progress you may start to wonder if you are learning in the best way. Some people develop habits whilst studying a foreign language that do not give the best results. In this blog post we will go through some of the things you should avoid doing when learning a foreign language. Continue reading

E-book “Study Spanish Solo”

intermediate SpanishMaybe you have decided to start learning Spanish on your own without going to a college class or working with a tutor. This is much easier to do nowadays given the many language learning resources available on the internet and more and more language apps you can download onto your smart phone.

You have probably already worked out the benefits of learning alone; you study at your own pace whenever you have the time and will not feel the classroom pressure to keep up with everyone else. You don’t feel left behind if you miss a class. You can choose exactly what to study to achieve your specific goals.

However, there are disadvantages and difficulties that people face who decide to “go it alone” when learning a language. The first problem most people face is “language learning overwhelm”. You come across so much advice about what to learn first – should you focus on grammar or growing your vocabulary? Should you try to start speaking straight away? What are the best resources to use? How are you going to test yourself and keep track of your progress? The list of questions goes on. Continue reading

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