Tag Archives: Eurotalk

U Talk Family Frolics

I was asked if I wanted to join the uTalk challenge. I can’t resist a challenge!HelloEurotalk

In January our whole family took part in the uTalk challenge with Eurotalk

I learned some Urdu

My daughter some French.

My son some Polish

My hubby some Latin

So here’s how we got on.. (in our own words)

 

Sarah – was asked if I wanted to join the uTalk challenge. I can’t resist a challenge! Having heard Urdu around me for many years it was a language I’d been thinking of learning for a while and the challenge gave me the perfect reason to. January was a busy month so I did not have as much time as I’d have liked.

On the school playground there are many Urdu speakers who let me practice on them!

I played  Urdu with the u talk app daily and tried out what I’d learnt with others. I had a few comments about speaking very posh Urdu! I said Aap ka shukria – Thank you . They said just Shukria – thanks was fine.

I learned how to say Subah bakhair – good morning and Alwidah -goodbye.

I found learning my first non European language very tricky as I did not have any clues with words I knew! I did like that hello in Urdu is Hello and many foods are the same too.  I’ve a long way to go to fluency but could now identify a question and recognise some numbers colours and a few other random words.

I did not even start to look at script but I have a few words to greet people here in the UK simply by playing with an app. I’m happy with that.

 

Jasmin age 8

I wanted to learn French with Eurotalk to help with the French I’m learning at school. I found the talk now app easy to use. I felt like I learned a lot and it helps me as the app has a better French accent than my teacher at school.

 

Josh age 15

I enjoyed doing the uTalk Challenge as it helped me learn Polish which I used to to talk to a Polish guy at my school. I found it hard to do it all in one month as I didn’t have much spare time on my hands as I am doing my GCSEs this year and I am preparing for mock exams by doing revision and also having a lot of homework to do, as well as revision. The uTalk Challenge helped me learn some useful Polish phrases to greet people in Polish. After doing the uTalk Challenge I not only started speaking Polish, but also started talking and greeting people in other languages as well such as German and Arabic.

 

Maik age – better not mention that!

I guess I had to enter the uTalk challenge, as I couldn’t let my wife win …  But seriously, my Latin, which I spent five years learning all those years ago in school, had lain dormant for a good while. One thing I had found difficult, being a polyglot, was how differently Latin is taught compared to other languages. As it is supposedly a dead language, little emphasis is placed on speaking it. This is why I liked the Usborne “Latin for beginners” book, with which the uTalk challenge tied in rather nicely.
I did struggle with a lack of local native speakers though, who appear to be mainly resident in the Vatican. However, with uTalk taking the “Conversational Latin” approach, which I had only recently discovered myself, this way of getting to grips with the language worked really well in my existing multilingual framework and was great fun, and therefore easy to maintain. I’m not sure whether I will ever need to ask where I can park my car in Latin, but I am now in a position where for the first time I am starting to think in Latin rather than approaching it with the typical analytical mindset that tends to come HelloEurotalkwith reading a (supposedly) dead language.

What language learners can learn from actors

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My gorgeous, talented husband @lingotutor

Last weekend our family were on stage in The Magic Toyshop by Andrew Willment.

I was helping backstage and it got me thinking. Acting is a lot like language learning. Here is why I think so.

 

Actors learn lines and phrases. They use cues and context to learn their lines.  Many polyglots start a new language by learning key phrases and build from there. When I started to learn Mandarin in January 2015, a  phrase I picked up quickly was:

Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi kāfēi xièxiè. – I’d like a cup of coffee thank you

It was not long before I figured out how to ask for a cup of tea.- Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi chá xièxiè.

 

Actors learn a script 

Benny Lewis in his book Fluent in 3 months talks of the value of writing a script in the target language, and learning it to start basic conversations. I’ve been learning Urdu with Eurotalk this month. I’ve learned to say  good morning – Subah Bakhair, Thank you – Shukria, goodbye- Alwidah. With these simple greetings I’ve been able converse with Urdu speaking parents and build up more Urdu as the speakers helped me.

 

Good actors are able to improvise when dialogue goes off script.

Good language learners are not flummoxed when they do not know a word in another language, they simply explain using word they know and communicate their point. I use this a lot when talking to my mum in law in German!
Acting is a lot of fun and allows to you be another person (or simply a more confident you!)

A Turkish proverb says

“One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.”

I’ve taught my first Chinese New Year class of 2016 this week. When I can communicate and sing in Mandarin it’s an amazing feeling; as I get into the swing of the class I feel I’m flying!
My favourite part of the Magic Toyshop play was these lines…

No look up there, he’s flying …. up… in the air!

Heavens above that’s impossible!

Yes, and someone needs to tell them that or they are going to carry on doing it!

So I tell you… go and do the impossible. Go out there and have a go at communicating in another language, and let me know where it takes you.

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.