Tag Archives: Portuguese

Language learning is THE best way to make friends.

I originally wrote this blog two years ago as a guest post for FlashSticks. I’ve brought it up to date now. It’s exciting to see how my language learning has progressed in that time…

I’m starting to realise I may be a bit of language nerd. I’ve been thinking recently as to why people learn a language. I think for me the greatest reason is that it gives me the chance to make friends. I’m a really relational person and language learning is great for this. As Nelson Mandela said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart”

As I walk my children in to school I often say good morning in about four languages to the other parents and children. dzień dobry, bună dimineața, jó reggelt, As- Salàmu ’Alaykum, доброе утро, dobrý deň, Guten Morgen, zăo sháng hăo !

At my children’s school, there are parents and children whose main languages are Polish, Hungarian, Mandarin, Russian, German, Romanian, Slovak, Urdu, Arabic, Ukrainian or French.

In September, my daughter returned to school, after the summer holidays. She had three children in her class who’d just arrived in the country and spoke no English. The children taught each other to say “good morning” in their own languages. I was really impressed by this mutual language teaching at age 7 and also the way the new children were welcomed into the class. I decided I could do this too, and learn to say at least good morning or simple greetings in these languages.

I started to chat to the new families and learned how to say good morning. I thought language learning would be a great way to get to know other families in the school. It’s been a fun journey. I’ve spoken the wrong language to people a few times and sometime pronounced so badly they did not know what I was saying! The Urdu and Arabic speaking mums automatically respond to me with “Wa ’Alaykum us Salam,” then realise it’s me speaking and look a bit confused or giggle! In time they’ve got used to it though!

On the whole people have been really pleased to teach me a few words of their language and laughed with me as I stumbled over the new expressions. It empowers them and builds their confidence as they are the experts in this area. Some of the mums are new to the country, learning English, and they like the fact that I take the time to talk with them and try to understand what they are saying. I, myself have struggled with communication in other languages, so I’m patient!

Cup of tea anyone?

I’ve discovered our local Big Issue seller is Romanian and she has taught me:

Hello Buna dimineata

Goodbye La revedere

I’ve been practicing and improving my Polish with the help of the staff at the local Polish Deli. Through spending time with them I’m getting to know them better especially those who only speak a little English. Other customers in the shop are noticing, too, and will speak to me in Polish if they see me on the High Street, which I love.

I’ve a few Thai girl friends so I always greet them with Sawatdee-kah.

We have Greek friends in church so I greet them with Καλημέρα Τι κάνεις: I’ve also discovered a few of my friends speak Afrikaans so I try my Dutch on them, which often works. In my daughter’s new school we have Spanish, Hungarian and Portuguese speakers, so I try to use these languages whenever I can.

I’ve met Russian, Swedish and Tagalog speaking parents at my local mums and toddlers group and am slowly learning words from them.

I’m enjoying building my own language skills and making friends, too. Do you have anyone you can get to know better by learning their language? I’d love to know how it goes!

Why study abroad with Erasmus?

This week we have a guest post from the lovely Lily. Lily She has just completed her time in Portugal with the Erasmus programme. Lingotastic only exists because of the Erasmus programme, we met in the UK as native German Maik came over with the Erasmus programme. But, enough of our story, over to Lily…

lily sea

Hi I’m Lily and I’m a third year languages student. For the past nine months I have been studying in Portugal as part of the Erasmus programme for my degree. I’m studying French and Portuguese, and usually in the UK it is compulsory to spend the third year of your studies abroad in order to gain firsthand language experience before completing your final year back at your home institution. My university is slightly different in that it does not allow you to split the semesters between countries, so the summer vacations either side of the academic year are crucial if, like me, there’s a second language to maintain! So last summer I was an au pair for a family near Lausanne in Switzerland, and this July I will be following an intensive course in Lyon, France. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten everything!

Languages are unfortunately becoming less and less popular in the UK, as options for GCSEs and A-Levels, and many languages university departments have closed in recent years. It’s a real shame as I’ve found my degree to offer me great flexibility with ideas for the future and opportunities for study. I think I was extremely lucky to have had a truly passionate and engaging French teacher at secondary school for 5 years, and her dedication and inspiration helped me to pursue my eventual degree choice. My French classes at school were taught completely in the target language, and as we were all beginners, this was definitely like being thrown in at the deep end. However, it was certainly the most effective way for me to pick up my first second language, which was far more successful than my attempt with Spanish, the classes for which were taught in English.

When it came to choosing degree programmes, I knew French would figure in the mix in one way or another, and the great thing about most of the degree programmes on offer is that you can normally take a language as an elective module, so you can gain accreditation for language learning even if your degree is in maths or zoology. A joint honours language programme was the route I decided upon, and I chose to learn Portuguese ab initio, taking an accelerated course. Sometimes when I tell people what I study, they ask “why Portuguese?”, and I still don’t have a concrete answer. It’s partly because I wanted to learn a language that was a bit more niche and away from the usual European languages that are taught at schools (not that Portuguese is so very niche with over 200 million speakers worldwide, but still), and I also had hopes to spend the year abroad in Brazil, because it would coincide with the Olympics and I thought that would be a good plan. And saying you can speak Portuguese is normally a good conversation opener when you’re talking to people.

As you can imagine, learning a new language as well as starting university in a new city was quite overwhelming, but we all got there in the end! Because the course was accelerated, we learned most of the grammar and the intricacies of the language very quickly, and as a result my range of vocabulary was quite limited, but this was justified with the reasoning that the year abroad would help fill the gaps. I eventually chose to study in Coimbra, Portugal, mainly due to costs and a few other reasons that made staying closer to home more desirable at the time, and I’m so glad I came here! I’ve still got about a month left in which I need to finish some work and take my final lot of exams, but other than that it’s going to be a time to enjoy and relish my last days in Portugal. Erasmus is such a good opportunity for all students, not just linguists, to participate in, because you’re living in a new country with new people, and you’ve got to adapt pretty quickly to a new culture and vibe; my friend who is studying in Germany came to visit me and she said she had more culture shock coming to Portugal than when she first arrived in her host city. It’s not all coffee drinking and partying.

It’s not all coffee-drinking and partying

It’s not all coffee-drinking and partying

, as many people think Erasmus is (well, it is for some, but this academic year carries a lot of weighting for my final degree classification, so I have had to maintain some work ethic throughout), but there are infinite opportunities to meet people from all over the world, to travel to other countries and cities, and to become well acquainted with another city and country. I think I know more of Portugal than I do of the UK in all honesty now!

As far as I can tell, my language skills have improved, and I can hold a more natural conversation in Portuguese, which was my main goal. I certainly haven’t achieved fluency or anything like it, but I’m more competent and I can understand much more, which is all that I could have asked for. Sure sometimes I can share a joke and laugh with the postman, and other times the waiter can’t really understand what I’m trying to order, but it’s swings and roundabouts, which is what I’ve come to expect with language learning. Also, I’ve developed a genuine love for my third language, which is great, because before I came here my relationship with Portuguese was slightly more love-hate, depending on how well my revision was going on a particular day. I would certainly recommend the Erasmus experience to everyone, even just taking a couple weeks out of the year to study a course somewhere abroad would be a great experience for anyone. It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life so far – I know I’m only young! – and I cannot recommend it enough.

Lily has completed her time in Coimbra, Portugal and in now in Lyon France improving her French. Follow her adventures on Lily has a blog.

Lily group

How did you boost you language skills? Let us know in the comments below, you could even be our next guest blogger!

Why learn languages?

This week my friend Teddy Nee from Nee’s language blog talks about the value of learning languages

“Why should you bother learning another language when you already know English?”
Someone might have ever asked this question to you before, and how did you react to it? Or let’s assume nobody had asked this question to you, how would you answer it when you are asked?

I was frequently asked by either my friends or acquaintances why do you learn languages. They know and we all know that I know English because if you can understand this text, it means that I know English. Having been asked that question, I have only one answer, “Not everyone is eager to speak English or can express themselves well in English.”

We should accept the fact that nowadays we can get information from other countries in other languages much easier than, let’s say, 20 years ago. It mainly because of the internet. The internet has really changed our way of life, and it even has created so many jobs that weren’t existed before. I work as an IT engineer, and it is not easy to explain about what I really do to my parents, or even to my grandparents because what I am doing did not exist in their time when they were at my age.

So, this easy access to information has caused globalization to happen where companies can establish partnership with overseas companies, and have the ability to expand their market even to much larger scope, not to mention inter countries, but inter continents.

English pic

English as a universal language
English language which originated from England has apparently became a universal language that two persons from different countries would use to communicate unconsciously because they thought English is supposed to be the language that everyone understands for international communication.

If you often gather information from the internet, you must have realized that most contents are available in English. Therefore, if you know English, you can get much more information that those who don’t know English. That’s the fact! However, I need to remind you that there is still limitation for using English to search for information, especially if the information is more personal that only speakers of the original language could have the privilege for the access.

TeddyGroup

Taking part in an international community
When we discuss about a universal language, a question might occur in mind, that is “What is a truly universal language?” and “How do we define a universal language?”. The United Nations even has 6 official languages — English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Russian. We might also be intrigued to talk about a constructed language for international communication, Esperanto.

Esperanto speakers around the world have been vigorously promoting Esperanto as the language for international communication. Nowadays, we can see many activities done in Esperanto, such as activities related to education, charity, science research, journalism, commerce, and so on. Although there are quite a lot of people who are still pessimistic and skeptical about Esperanto language being a human communication tool.

We need to have more knowledge about other language in order to get access to much more information, and to be able to get to know more people from other countries, especially those who don’t speak English or our languages. On top of that, language learning is like an investment. Spending a little time and effort to learn a language that you could use for your whole life doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

Books

Choosing a language to learn
When you search for, let’s say, top 10 most favorited languages in the world, top 10 languages with the most speakers, top 10 languages for job seekers, etc. you can get abundant of results. The most important is to know your goal, whether you want to learn the language because there is more job opportunities in your area or you want to learn the language that is completely different from that you have known or you want to learn a language that is similar with that you have known. Deciding the goal is the very first thing you need to do.

If you like challenge, you should choose to learn language from other language family. For example, if you know English, you can pick Hindi, Mandarin or Russian as your target language. If you want to quickly reach higher level of understanding in other language, you should choose to learn language from the same language family. For example, if you know Spanish, you can choose to learn Italian, Portuguese or French.

There is actually a rule of thumb that many language courses don’t teach you. If you want to impress your friends with the amount of languages that you know, learn languages from the same family group because they share so many similarities that you even already can understand a big portion of it without learning. Thus, it is not surprising to know a someone who knows 5-6 languages but those languages are from the same language family.

Depending on your geographical location, some languages might not be useful. Let’s say you will spend some months in Latin America. Your focus should be Spanish rather than Japanese, and perhaps, the second language could be Portuguese. However, any languages will likely be useful if your activities are internet-based since the majority of people around the world have had access to internet nowadays.

So I ask again. Why learn languages? Knowing more languages is always beneficial. Apart from giving you more opportunities to enjoy what speakers of those languages can enjoy, you can also enrich yourself by broaden your viewpoint and increasing your skills. Learning language also trains your brain and it certainly increase your intelligence. No wonder, many articles state the benefits of knowing more languages as if there is no downside of it.

Teddy loves to learn languages.

Teddy loves to learn languages.

Teddy Nee is a passionate language learner and blogger. An IT Engineer by day and a language learner by night. His mission is to raise awareness of the importance of knowing more languages and to educate more people to be global citizens. He believes that learning the language of the others is a milestone to reach world peace. You can correspond with him in Medan Hokkien, Indonesian, English, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, and Esperanto. Visit his blog at Nee’s language blog.

Teddy’s Tips for Language Learning (Part two)

This week we’re lucky to have the second part of an interview with Teddy from Teddy Nee’s Language Blog. If you missed the first one you can read it here.
Teddy is a native of Medan city, Indonesia, who loves writing as much as language learning.Teddy Pic

Great to interview you again Teddy.
What do you think is the importance of learning a foreign language?

How many people around you who know multiple languages? By the word “know”, I mean being able to hold conversation related to basic topics, such as self-introduction or expressing oneself. Have you ever asked them about their language learning story?
I used to question myself, “What motivates someone to learn foreign languages when many people already know English, which they might have learnt for years from school?”
Although English has been used in major international activities, not everyone speaks English. Many people know English, but not everyone speaks it well.
Let’s say a Korean meets a German, they might speak English with their accents, which could be difficult to be understood by each other. Moreover, things might be worse when they speak English with their own mindset. Imagine one is speaking indirectly meanwhile the other is the opposite, despite speaking the same language, they might not have common understanding.

Could you tell our readers which languages you have learned so far?

How do you start learning a new language?
Before learning a language, I usually begin by reading the country profile, including its language and the culture of the people. Afterwards, I would read travel phrases or play with words. I believe that when you learn a language, you don’t learn only about the grammatical structure or words, but you also learn about its culture. You learn about what makes the language alive and being used over centuries.
Many people learn foreign languages nowadays, making foreign languages part of our life. The Internet has abundant of learning resources, articles, or even free/ paid courses, but many people still cannot learn successfully. Imagine that you are still hungry despite having many plates of food served on your table. Something is wrong!
When a student don’t excel at school, parents cannot blame solely at teachers, or cannot even blame the teachers. It is always better to be an independent learner, as we know ourselves better than anyone else.
Which languages do you suggest to people to learn?
I once read that English, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese Mandarin are considered five important languages for business. Well, you might argue with me about the data accuracy, and I am totally fine with that since everyone might come up with their own conclusion about which language being the important.
However, I strongly agree that Western European languages, such as German, Spanish, Portuguese, or French, and East Asian languages, such as Korean, Japanese, or Chinese Mandarin, are favorited languages for many learners.
You can see from the mentioned set of languages that many of them come from the same language family. One advantage of learning one of them is that it enables you to understand to some degree other languages from the same family, even without learning them. For example, Portuguese speakers will understand Spanish easier than Dutch.

Thanks for sharing your ideas Teddy. Your love of languages is infectious.

If you’d like to hear more from Teddy check out Teddy Nee’s Language Blog.

We’re learning Portuguese with Eurotalk Junior Language Challenge

As a bilingual German and English family we think language learning is very important. My husband has studied, English, French, Latin, Spanish and Polish. I’ve studied French, German and Spanish. We’ve passed on some of these languages to our children by simply playing with languages. As you might have guessed we LOVE languages. You may have read about our Mandarin learning journey at the start of this year.

Well, now we’re learning Portuguese! My girls are taking part in the Euro talk Junior Language Challenge. The Junior Language Challenge involves children up to age 10 playing simple games in order to learn Portuguese. They do this with minimal adult involvement (which I like!). I’m often cooking in the room next door as they play, so I’ve picked up bit of Portuguese. I found it very interesting to hear Portuguese and how different it is to Spanish, but I’ve understood quite a lot because of the other Latin based languages I know.

JLC  blog1

I did not start to learn a second language until I was twelve so I’m sure they’ll surpass me in their language abilities as they get older! They other languages they are picking up mostly from home, so it’s great they can do this learning independent of us.

My girls are much better at Portuguese than me and I’ve been amazed on the occasions I’ve watched them playing the junior language challenge. They really like the silly game where you learn body parts to make your own Frankenstein monster and the telling the time game, as the man’s arm grows! They’re having a lot of fun playing and moving up the scoreboard.

frankenstein

They’ve been learning more than just Portuguese.
I heard my six-year-old reading very quickly in English last week. I did not know she could do this.
They’ve been learning National flags alongside the Portuguese names for those countries.
I asked my girls what they would like to say about the junior language challenge. My seven year old said “It’s a lot of fun” and the youngest said “I’m going to win! ”
If we get through to the next round we’ll be learning another language and in the third round yet another language. I’ll let you know how we get on.

JLC logo

It’s not too late to join the Junior Language Challenge.

Why sign up to the JLC?

  • It makes languages fun
  • It introduces children to new languages
  • It raises money for charity
  • There are some great prizes

It’s not too late to join the Junior Language Challenge, simply contact Eurotalk

Links

There are some brilliant language learning resources out there. As a parent raising bilingual children I know how difficult it can be to find resources suitable for children.
Here are a few and some with special Lingotastic discounts to tempt you further…

At Lingotastic we sing and play in English, German, French and Spanish so I’m so pleased to recommend The Little Linguist’s Alphabet poster created by the lovely Una. The Little Linguist’s Alphabet is a multilingual alphabet with 26 objects that all start with the same letter as their translations in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. Now D is always for Dinosaur, and P is always for Princess, no matter which combination of these languages your little linguist speaks.

loveyrlingoclose

Una is an English (Irish) speaking mum with a French speaking husband. Her children found if confusing that U is for umbrella with mummy but with papa it is P pour parapluie. She created this alphabet so in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. D is always for Dinosaur. With original illustrations, this print makes a stunning addition to any child’s bedroom or playroom. All the words for each language are printed around the edge to help the grown-ups! This beautiful poster is available on www.loveyourlingo.com

Singing is my favourite way of learning a language so here are some CD’s both me and the families coming to Lingotastic classes would recommend.

Babi Bach CD
The lovely Penni from Babi Bach has produced a brilliant bilingual Welsh and English album. Here is our interview
The album is currently available for download through most major sites including Amazonand Spotify. CDs can be ordered directly from Penni (info@babibach.co.uk) and in some South Wales shops. CDs will also be available shortly through Siop Mabon a Mabli online.

a little mandarinA Little Mandarin produce a fun funky CD of both familiar and traditional Chinese songs to expose little ones to mandarin from a young age, to help them “tune in” to the language. The songs are really funky so it’s fun for grown ups as well as little ones. My family used this CD and within five weeks had picked up four songs. As Mandarin is so different to European languages there is real value to very early exposure to it so, when they encounter it later in life it feels familiar and they can pick it up more easily. The album is also available on Deezer and Spotify.

Bilingual by music kids song swedish and english illustrated by asa wikman 2 © asa wikman If you fancy learning some Swedish or Danish, Kristin at Bilingual By Music has produced some gorgeous bilingual CDs with familiar songs. You’ll be singing along in no time… I’ve a few Swedish speaking mummies who rave over these CDs. They’re also available on i tunes Spotify and Amazon. Read our interview with Kristin here

Baby Boom Boom produce some baby friendly, sing along CD’s to introduce babies and little ones to other languages early in life, the songs are familiar sung in both English and the target language. The CD features nursery rhymes and songs in English and a second language. Currently you can choose from English and either French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh. Exclusive code from Lingotastic. Use the code lingo10 for a 10% discount.

This summer we found out about a brilliant new Spanish CD by Nathalia. When I was your age.Cuando Era Pequeña“> Cuando era Pequeña.
Cuando Era Pequeña Check out our review of it here.

You may have noticed I like Flash Sticks! A really simple tool to increase your vocabulary in French, German, Spanish, Italian, BSL and English. (with more to come)
The guys at FlashSticks have offered Lingotastic customers a special discount.
10% off at Flash Sticks use the coupon code lingotastic10 (in lower case). We interviewed Vejay about the concept read about it here.

Early language learning is all about having fun. Toys that talk and sing in another language really fit the bill there and Rachel’s Toy Shop sell some beautiful ones. Simply mention “Lingotastic” in the comments box when ordering to get to a 10% discount AND your postage refunded!

Mommies Tongue. Stock a brilliant range of bilingual toys as well as multilingual puzzles and games for older children too. Brilliant resources to pick up and practice language whilst simply having fun! We bought a Polish singing Teddy from them a while back and my six year old now knows the alphabet in Polish! We were learning the German alphabet and I was surprised how much she knew. It’s what my teddy bear sings she told me!

Renze at Babeltots has a massive range of beautiful bilingual toys and books.

The_Rights_of_the_Language_Learner_-_b_small_publishing[1] Reading together is a brilliant way to increase your little one’s language skills. It’s a good way to sneak a hug from a lively toddler too! b small publishing Produce some beautifully illustrated books in French, English and Spanish. They range from simple one word vocab books like “les vêtements” perfect for toddlers and new language learners, to bilingual story books, perfect to snuggle up and read together. They also have some brilliant activity books for older children. Sam at b small publishing has offered Lingotastic customers an amazing 10% discount.
Simply email sh@bsmall.co.uk and quote LINGOTASTIC to place your order.

I’ve bought some beautiful foreign language books from Little Linguist They’ve offered Lingotastic customers a special discount. E mail us to get the special code

Chatterbags make some brilliant tote bags to get people chatting, whatever language they speak. Simply tick which languages you speak, use the bag whilst out and about and get chatting. Mention Lingotastic when you place your order.
Chatterbags blog

Chatterbags

Chatterbag

All these businesses started when a parent or individual saw a need for language learning resources and decided they would find a way to meet it. We’ll be sharing their inspirational stories on our blog!