Category Archives: News

Santa’s favourite language learning resource!

As you may know Santa is THE most multilingual person on the planet as he reads letters from children all over the world. I even saw him signing on Facebook this week.

As a fellow polyglot he also was the first to get his hands on our brand new of Mostly German CD and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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We launched Lingotastic in January 2014. It’s been a very very exciting journey.
This week has been the most exciting so far. We picked up our physical copies of our Mostly German CD.

CD box

We also shot a silly video of the unboxing. I’m sure it will make you giggle too!

We’ve sold a few copies so far and had some brilliant feedback.
I loved recording the CD and it really comes through in the recording.

Singing is a really powerful tool in language learning, research is now showing. In singing you pick up the sounds of a language and quickly join in yourself. By bypassing the analytical part of the brain, you quickly acquire a good accent. This works for grown ups as well as children. When singing, you are no longer limited by grammar tables and vocab lists, free to enjoy the language and learn along the way.

For little ones, it’s an amazing foundation in language learning and the start of a bright future. We’ve seen this time and time again in our classes and now you can enjoy it at home too, with the most popular songs from our German classes. Most of these songs have not been translated into English before. We’ve also included verses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and Esperanto. Contrary to popular belief this does not confuse language learners (big and small) but actually helps language acquisition. Though these songs may be children’s songs, adults will enjoy singing along too.

Santa has his copy and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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Get yours at www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shopLingo_web_CD

 

Download yours at

Our birthday, NEW CD and holiday classes

This week has been so exciting I may pop!

It is two years since our first EVER class. A free trial at Chesham library.

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It’s been an exciting two years, going from one class a week to four.

Watching some gorgeous little ones grow up and saying goodbye as some move on to school.

Connecting with some amazing language enthusiasts, language businesses and language teachers both in the virtual world and the real world as we’ve met up at Language Show live.

The class (and business) is very different to when we started out with many more props, puppets and bubbles not to mention our own custom made rockets and floor mats designed and made by the amazing Emily Kane

Thanks to all of you who have come along and made the classes so much fun.

Happy Birthday Lingotastic!

Our biggest news is the launch of our first CD- mostly German

It has been a lot of fun to record, which I’m sure you’ll hear!

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Our CD will be available to buy in classes from 14th December, at our special Christmas holiday class and in our online shop.

You will be able to preorder from Saturday 5th on our shop www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shop
Stay tuned for our special pre release offer.

It is great stocking filler and perfect timing ready for the German term in the New Year! You’ll be singing along in the car and at home and picking up lots of German (and a few words in other languages too!)

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As I mentioned before we have our Christmas holiday class coming up on 21st December. 10 am at the Chesham venue 188 Severalls Ave.
We’ll be blasting off to Spain, meeting los tres reyes (the three kings) and joining their journey following the star (la estrella) and singing some brilliant Christmas songs like Feliz Navidad. We’ve a brilliant craft too with some really gorgeous craft materials.

It’s a great way to start the Christmas holiday!

If you don’t know Feliz Navidad already, learn it with us!

Immigration, Emigration and the European Day of Languages

Sprachen verbindenHappy European Day of Languages! We’re lucky to have another blog from Maik Barrett. Over to you Maik…

The 26th September is a significant day. Not only is it my brother’s birthday, but ever since 2001’s “European Year of Languages”, this was the day set with the objective to encourage language learning across Europe. Of course multilingualism and cultural diversity is a fact of life for a lot of people already, considering that according to the Evening Standard there are 300 languages spoken in London alone. As has often been observed, you can easily walk down Oxford Street and not catch sight of a single native English speaker. And with so many multinational companies headquartered in and around London, people from across Europe, and sometimes even further afield, come to work in the UK. Add to that the increase in immigration, whether it is those fleeing war, or those coming to find work, and you end up with what is probably the most ethnically and linguistically diverse part of the whole of Europe. Which adds to the irony of the European Day of Languages sharing its hashtag #EDL with the English Defence League!

Of course I myself am I migrant, having come to the UK to work after marrying the lovely Sarah Barrett, whose Yorkshire dialect took a bit of getting used to, even after being multilingual already. Most Eastern Europeans living in the UK are multilingual as well, for example our Bulgarian friends who also speak Russian and English. (Check out our blog on “Language learning is a great way to make friends ‎”)

It works the other way too. Particularly in recent weeks, a lot has been said and written about increases in immigration, but not so much about emigration, i.e. the over 300,000 Brits who chose to leave old Blighty for (presumably) warmer climes in Spain, France and other countries. One would hope they speak the local language!

Not that all this migration is new. Our family went to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich a few weekends ago, and Britain’s seafaring past is certainly, among other things, a story of migration. In fact the museum currently has a special exhibition, open until 15th November, in collaboration with The Migration Museum Project, which is well worth seeing, and highly interactive. The Migration Museum Project’s aim is to reflect the important role that migrants have played in the making of Britain. It tells the story of migration to and from Britain in an engaging and non-political way. Most people have a migration story somewhere in their family history.

So on this European Day of Languages, let’s celebrate the cultural and linguistic diversity brought by migration. If you live somewhere as diverse as London, I would challenge you to count today how many different languages and nationalities you recognise around you, and let us know in the comments or on Twitter @lingotasticuk #Europeandayoflanguages .

Eurotalk Esperanto Challenge

If you follow us on twitter @LingotasticUK you may already know our whole family is taking part in the Eurotalk 10 day Esperanto challenge. We’re playing with the u talk app and practicing some simple phrases together. I’ve also got Tim Morley (@ClubEnrolment) regularly tweeting me in Esperanto which is a challenge. (Yes, google translate does some Esperanto but also brings up gibberish at times). The twitter auto translate has so far called it Haitian, Serbian, Croatian, Lithuanian…

If you’ve not used the uTalk app before, the contents page looks like this.
utalkefront

You can then choose whether to practice vocabulary or play a game.
utalkesgame

The games are simple multi choice to start with going up to speaking, recall and memory games.

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The u talk app is really useful for vocabulary words and short phrases but no mention of grammar rules etc to help structure conversation. When small children learn a language as a they are not taught grammar rules they simply play and imitate others. I was reading Gaston Dorren’s “Lingo” book. He talks about schools in the Isle of Man teaching children Manx. This celtic language has really complicated grammar rules so even adults learn it by imitating.

The u talk app is really easy to pick up and play for a few minutes and my kids know any language learning game guarantees them some screen time. They took part in the schools challenge a few months ago so easily can click into it. They love to play and are picking up some Esperanto whilst they’re at it.

The girls have quickly picked up the Esperanto numbers and understand the number logic. We now use some Esperanto around the dinner (tea) table. We will only respond to their request for water of they ask “Akvo, mi petas” Makes a change from asking for a cup of coffee in Mandarin! We love playing with languages (even if it is Northern vs Southern English)

Tim Morely sent me a link to his TED talk about the value teaching Esperanto as a second language at primary level so maybe even something I could teach at Lingotastic if I can find some children’s songs in Esperanto? I’m sure that will raise a few eyebrows among the parents! I’ll let you know.

Have you ever tried to learn Esperanto? How did you get on? Let us know in the comments box below.

Blasting off to Germany

We’ve had a really exciting week at Lingotastic.

The first week of German has been brilliant with children and grown ups quickly picking up the new songs. I think Die Räder am Bus is a favourite so far. We had some lovely makes this week too.

We’re really pleased to have a brilliant new venue for our Chorleywood class.
Christ Church

We’re excited to tell you about holiday classes coming up in French, German and Spanish. More details coming soon.

If that’s not exciting enough for you then …

The biggest news of this week is the launch of the NEW exclusive 1 to 1 language classes- Book now while there’s space.
Your choice of language. Bespoke class and consultancy on your ongoing family language learning journey.
In the comfort of your own home.
Give your children the advantage bilingual families already have and sign up today!

We’ve got some other exciting developments too but keeping them under wraps for now!

Children are NOT confused by early second language learning

French market Today I went along to the French market in Chorleywood. The weather was good so a lot of other people went along too. We held hourly French taster classes and had a lot of people coming to join in. I was able to chat to a few families about their language learning journeys. A few were encouraged to start language learning at a young age which was a great result in my mind, whether their language learning includes Lingotastic or not.

We had a lot of fun making fish, singing and finding out what noise a Chamelion makes. A lot of parents were amazed at how quickly their little ones picked up some French.

Il fait comment le caméléon?

Il fait comment le caméléon?

I came across a few parents who were concerned that exposing their little ones to second language at a young age would confuse them. Here is my answer to this…
The best time to learn a second language is the same time as you learn the first. Bilingual families start two languages from birth. Even pre-verbal babies are able to recognise different languages, a recent Canadian study found.
In our family experience, when my son was still in my tummy, my hubby spoke to him only in German,
this meant when he was born, he only recognised his dad’s voice when he spoke in German.

A baby’s babbles sound the same, independent of the language spoken around them. From six months, the babble starts to become like the language sounds they hear regularly. So if babies are exposed to more than one language, the baby soon picks up both languages.

As far as language learning goes, the motto is, the younger the better. Birth to three years is the optimum time for introducing a second language. It is much easier for younger children to acquire languages. Bilingual families usually start at birth or before. In fact, if a child is learning two languages at a time, they will learn both at the same rate, without one language inhibiting the other.
Younger is also better with regards to children acquiring a native sounding accent; they are much more able to pick up an authentic accent if they hear a second language from a young age.

I’ve seen even the NHS, and so health visitors are promoting the value of early second language learning so I’m flabbergasted that these myths live on! The research about the best time to start second language learning is clear. Don’t let this myth make your child miss out!
What do you think?

Countdown to Blast Off to Spain. ¡VAMOS!

I hope you’ve had a lovely Easter break!

We’ve just finished a term of French. Each time we finish a block I’m astounded at how much the mums and little ones have picked up. By the end of the term almost everyone was singing along, knowing all the words!

This term, only two weeks in two mummies messaged me excitedly to say their little ones were saying the “Toc Toc Toc” rhyme word perfect. (They are only just two years old!)
We’ve recorded our version of this over the holidays. I hope you enjoy it!

We made some lovely Easter crafts and learned some French along the way.
rabbitsJoyeuses paques cardoeuf de paques

We enjoyed the Bébés Chouettes story this term. We had a few little ones worried that Maman Chouette had gone, but she always came back safely!

bebe chouettes

It’s been great to have a few more families join us this term and we are expecting more next term.

We had a lovely surprise on the final Chesham class where two mummies brought cake to share after the class. Yum!
easter cake

This week we’re starting with a Spanish holiday class at Little Beans and Co then blasting off to Spain to meet “la Oruga Muy Hambrienta!” It’s going to be an exciting term. We’ve some favourite songs like “la Vaca Lola” and new translations like “Cinco Patitos” Here’s a sneek preview.

Lingotastic on BBC 3Counties Radio

It’s been an exciting few weeks at Lingotastic.

We had Mandarin class at Chesham Library last week and today I took the same class to Waterside School nursery and Reception. It was magical to see how quickly they picked up some simple phrases and sung along to the songs too.

We had a lively French holiday class last week and we’ve just started a block of French this week, with a few new families joining us.

Possibly the most exciting thing was the interview with Nick Coffer. It was a lot of fun.
Listen in here…

We’d love to know what you think.

Mandarin Chinese New Year Fun.

Lion dance

On Saturday, the sound of drums thundered thoughout Chesham town
centre as people gathered to watch a traditional Chinese New Year
lion dance. However, not far up the road, in Chesham Library, you
could hear children singing in Mandarin Chinese as they took part in
a popular Lingotastic event run to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

craft chinese new year

Enthusiastic children made their own Chinese Dragons and “blasted off”
to China with their rockets; they also learned how to say hello in
Mandarin (你好 nǐ hǎo)) and even had a close encounter with a dragon!

dancing dragon

Attendees heard the story of the Chinese Zodiac and used puppets to
act it out themselves, as well as learning how to sing Happy Birthday
in Mandarin生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè). Two tigers joined in the fun, listening to a Mandarin song about themselves 两只老虎 (liǎng zhī láo hǔ) and the children then played a game to another
song called Find A Friend 找朋友 (zhǎo péng yǒu). The fun event rounded up with a hearty
chorus of Good New Year 新年好 (xīn nián hǎo ).

boys chinese new year

The families who came along ranged from those with a smattering of
mandarin to those who heard if for the first time that day. “The
children were all really enthusiastic and really quick to pick up the
songs and phrases in Mandarin; it was amazing to see,” said Sarah
Barrett, the founder of Lingotastic, who organised and ran the event
at the library. “Children are so keen to learn other languages and it
is magical to see their progress.” Lingotastic runs language classes
for children from birth to age 6 in Chesham, Chorleywood and Gerrards
Cross. For all classes and further details, visit their website at
www.lingotastic.co.uk.

Exciting things ahead for Lingotastic- come join us.

We’ve got some exciting things going on in the next few weeks at Lingotastic.

We’re coming to the end of a block of German and I’m amazed by how much the little ones and parents have picked up in six weeks. Most can identify parts of the face, a few numbers and colours, say hello and goodbye and can sing at least four German songs. Not bad for six weeks playing eh? We can’t take all the credit though, as most parents at let their children watch the songs on you tube and talk about what they’ve made and taken home.

Pascale
Next term we’re blasting off to France with Pascale and have a new families joining us on the journey.

Before that…
we’ve still more exciting things to come.

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On Saturday 14th we have a Chinese New Year Blast off class at Chesham library to co ordinate with the other Chinese New Events going on in town that day. It’s a free event to promote the value of early language learning and is going to be lots of fun (I’ll tell you about the story behind it in my next blog)

We’ve filmed a fun Chinese New Year Video from our family to get you in the mood.
If you’re in the area we’d love to see you there!

Next Thursday, 19th February we have French and Spanish special holiday classes at Little Beans and Co. High Street, Chorleywood. We’ve only a few spaces left. It’s great to be able to provide classes for those who are not able to come along to the week day classes as either they are at school or nursery or their parents are working. We’ll have a few more classes in the Summer holidays. If you’d like to join the fun, get in touch!

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