Category Archives: News

Language show silliness

This weekend we went along to language show and  had a lot of fun and silliness.

It is a highpoint in our calendar, a chance to see what is happening in the world of languages and to meet some friends we’ve been chatting to and working with online.

We met some really inspiring people this year with amazing stories behind their products. We also bumped into a few well known language bloggers and podcasters. We took some silly selfies (because that is a fun thing to do right?)

As we arrived,we were stopped by the lovely Madelena from The Alma collective.
We’d been chatting about collaboration for few weeks but had no idea we’d both be at the Language Show. She is a native German and Greek speaker so we had a lot of fun switching languages in our conversation together. Her passion with The Alma Collective is to inspire and empower parents to raise multilingual children. We look forward to working together in the future.

The first stall we visited was Glynys and her baby Spanish CD’s. Like us she is all about starting languages as early as possible and learning with the help of songs and music. She felt there was a gap in the market here so introduced her product. We’ll be reviewing it very soon.

 

 

 

On a French book stand, Librarie la page.
We came across some awesome trilingual chilidren’s picture books, produced by Vincent from
Jarvin Crew The books are in French, English and Spanish. They were produced as all three languages are spoken in his household. It means that many family members are able to read the same story to the children.

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I was so excited to discover BCC Mandarin. They produce some beautiful cards to learn to read Mandarin Characters by playing. They are beautifully illustrated and suggest a simple story to memorise the shape of the character. I have studied basic Mandarin a little but was far to nervous to try anything other than pin yin. These cards make reading characters accessible. They are such a brilliant idea.

The British council had some brilliant resources for bringing Polish and Mandarin into the classroom. A great way to learn together and integrate cultures.

 

 

 

 

We had a look at the Lingotot stand. I figure anyone who is passionate about teaching children languages is a friend of mine. The weirdest thing happened. When giving the lady on the stand my business card, she commented “That is my name!” How odd is that. We’d both kept our maiden names when we married our, non British husbands. We’ll be sharing Sarah’s language learning story in a the next few months.

At the ALL stand we met the lovely Victoria who had invited us to contribute to the magazine last Month. She told us a little of what ALL does to support Primary Languages. Find out more for yourself here.

We met some inspiring teacher’s whose classroom experience has led them to create something for all teachers to benefit….. Bili setting up free online language exchange and ALL-IN Octopus with their grammar teaching software. https://school.all-in.org.uk/

We were really happy to meet Gareth from How to Get Fluent and Kris from Actual Fluency, fellow language obsessives and bloggers.

We ended the very busy day learning some Esperanto with the inspirational Tim Morley. It was such fun!

 

So, as you can see we had a brilliant time and met some awesome people. Many will be features on our blog in the near future. The next day our girls came along. It was a real eyeopener for us keep an eye out for that blog!

DRONGO language festival 2017 Two days all about language

I love to meet other language lovers so language festivals are great. Unfortunately I came across Drongofest too late last time so I want to make sure you don’t miss out too. so over the them….

This year the DRONGO language festival has assembled a two day programme full of fun sessions, interesting lectures, challenging labs and topical debate.

Like one of the keynote sessions: Artificially Intelligent Language

For dozens of years, we have been laughing at ‘the computer’ for its poor language skills. Computer voices were ugly, monotonous and difficult to understand. Because it went wrong so often, voice recognition was mainly amusing. In the end it wasn’t even funny anymore, the translation engines delivered such crippled sentences.

All this is beginning to change, among other things because the computer has learned to learn. On all forms of language skills, the computer is making spectacular progress. Take for instance Watson, the IBM computer, which beat the best human players in the extreme difficult quiz Jeopardy by understanding and interpreting the questions and most of the time, offering the correct answers in spoken form. Also think of chatbots taking over the communication with customers and making a lot of support staff redundant. Furthermore, free apps are helping tourists looking up words, understanding texts and even making conversation in countries of which they do not know the language. And Ronald Giphart, a Dutch bestseller author, is even trying to produce literature in cooperation with a robot.

What is possible nowadays, and what not yet? Do support staff, interpreters, translators and even authors have to fear for their income? What forms of machine language proficiency do we actually need ? This DRONGO session will try to find the answers. Technology journalist Herbert Blankesteijn will be interviewing questioning guests working in science, industry and the government. Gadget expert Boris Boonzajer Flaes will do the introduction with a couple of amazing examples of machines and apps with language skills.

Curious? There is more to do, see and learn on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 September. Check out www.drongotalenfestival.nl

Polyglot Gathering Silly Selfies

I’ve just come back from an awesome time at The Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The weather was gorgeous, but the highlight for me was meeting the inspirational language learners there.

I had met a few of them before, both online and at Language Show Live, and I was excited to spend time with them again.

As soon as I arrived at The Polyglot Gathering, I bumped into Gareth from https://howtogetfluent.com/

Soon after, I found the inspirational Kerstin from http://fluentlanguage.co.uk/ It was a joy to chat about bilingual marriages together.

I met Dimitrios via LinkedIn and was honoured to be allowed to interview him for our blog http://lingotastic.co.uk/2017/how-do-you-become-a-polyglot/
The number of languages he can easily switch between is phenomenal.

Find out more about what he does on http://yozzi.com/

I’ve known Lindsay of http://www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/ for a while. I was really happy to bump into her at the International food evening. Thanks, Lyns, for replying when I kept speaking to you in German.

My friend Teddy Nee http://www.neeslanguageblog.com/ from Taiwan asked me to look out for a few of his friends for him.

First up, Alexander Ferguson from http://www.echonotation.com/ The first time I met him, he spoke in a strong Scottish accent. The next time I heard him speaking English it was with a US accent. Waaah?

Secondly, Teddy asked me to look for Fiel Sahir from Polyglot Indonesia, http://www.between3worlds.com He is such a nice guy!

(Yes, I did spend the majority of the conference approaching people I had not met before, and asking to take selfies with them)

I met Bartosz from http://www.universeofmemory.com/ on the first evening, at dinner. He is a fun(NY) guy and I was excited to hear he was speaking the next day.

I started chatting to Kris of http://actualfluency.com/ at the Polyglot Conference in October, and was over the moon to be asked to feature on his Podcast. He is such a nice guy and so modest about his awesome skills.

Florian is also known as the Mentalist https://www.florian-heller.com/ He does an amazing Multilingual Illusion show in French, German, Spanish, Italian and English. I’m in awe of his ability to switch between languages.

I’d been hearing about Richard of http://speakingfluently.com/ for a long time, but had never met him before. He is so welcoming and friendly. His modelling of a polyglot life makes it seem accessible to everyone. I was as excited as I look in the picture!

This was the first time I’d met Benny Lewis. https://www.fluentin3months.com/ I’ve worked through his Language Hacking books and was keen to finally meet him for myself.

In finishing, I need to apologise to Gareth for photobombing his awesome videos 😉

The Polyglot Gathering was an awesome event. I’ll be back with a more in-depth review soon.

Vote for me!

It’s that time of year again. “What time of year?”, I hear you ask. The time of year when Language enthusiasts from around the world gather once again to vote for the Top 100 Language Lovers!

The annual competition hosted by bab.la and Lexiophiles is aimed at finding the best blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels about language learning. This year they have the pleasure of collaborating with LingQ, Pimsleur and Caseable who are awarding the winners with amazing prizes.

With great excitement, I would like to inform you that we at Lingotastic have been listed as one of the top 100 language blogs! When we started, three years ago, I would not have imagined that this would ever happen.

A big thank you to all of you who read our blogs and the amazing linguists and language learners who have been happy to work with us on the blog so far.


Vote here Your support in this means so much to me.

To show us your support simply follow this link
http://en.bab.la/news/top-100-language-lovers-2017

Click on the ‘blogs’ category

Scroll down to find Lingotastic UK

Click the blue vote button on the right.

Bosh, all done!

Thanks so much!

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.
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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?

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