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We offer all students a free introductory lesson/assessment with their tutor. During the 20 minute session you’ll be able to chat with your tutor about your motivation for learning and your tutor will gauge your current language level and where you want to get to. It’s an opportunity to get to know each other and for you to judge whether they’re the right tutor for you.
The free introduction is offered online either using our own proprietary learning platform or via Skype. Thereafter lessons can be either face-to-face or online depending on your needs.
Just a couple of decades ago, if you decided to start learning a language as an adult your choices on how to go about it were uncomplicated and limited. In today’s world your learning options have increased and diversified beyond recognition. Having more choice also means having to make decisions about which one is the best for you. In this article we explore your possibilities and how to choose the route that suits you as a learner.
Evidently, there is not one unique option which fits all learners. The best way to learn depends very much on your natural disposition as a learner, your learning goals, your budget and your time constraints.
In the pre-internet days, learning a language would generally mean joining an evening class. This is still the number one choice for lots of learners, who prefer to learn in a social environment surrounded by a familiar classroom setting.
The obvious advantage of learning in a group is the interaction among students. Interacting with other learners creates somehow realistic scenarios in which to practise a second language in a fun way.
The main drawback of learning with others is having to share the tutor’s attention. Teachers must help all students, which in turn might mean you have to go at a slower pace than you could actually go or on the contrary, slow down your pace to match the majority’s.
In order to make good progress when you study in a group environment is to do your homework religiously as this will definitely support the learning you do in the classroom.
For those who have the means and prefer to have a teacher all for themselves choosing private tuition has always been an excellent option. The obvious shortcoming of this choice is that by having the exclusive attention of your tutor, you must forgo the social aspect you would have enjoyed in a group environment.
Face to face private tuition suits more those who like to have the luxury of having lessons designed to their goals and learning style. In order to complement the lack of social interaction, students can join a meet up group in their second language or enjoy online chats and forums.
The benefits students get out of having private tuition are considerable and for some learners, being able to enjoy tailor-made lessons tops the social side of language learning in a group.
Both group and private tuition centre on having a tutor to guide learners, but some students completely forgo the role of a tutor and guide themselves independently. Using self-teaching courses has always been a very popular choice. It’s affordable and accessible at any time and place.
Self-teaching courses are the right option if you just wish to get to grips with the very basics. Old self-teach courses have evolved into software apps available on your phone, computer or tablet. There are literally hundreds of applications which help you learn a wide range of languages. One of the great improvements on their self-teach “grandparents” is the voice recognition feature, enabling students to be corrected when making mistakes.
When you are really serious about acquiring a second language to a mastery level, using apps or traditional self-teach courses exclusively is not going to cut it. Despite their claims, it is very unlikely that you will become a fluent speaker but they are a good place to start if you do not have access to private or group lessons.
In the last twenty year or so, the advent of the internet era has deeply changed the face of language learning. The basic teaching and learning methods might have remained almost untouched, but the variety of media and access to almost an infinite amount of data has developed the way we see language acquisition today.
Using face time or skype to have a lesson with your tutor might have seemed like something out of Star Trek only a few years ago, but it is now the chosen method for lots of students around the world. Online learning offers a few advantages over face to face learning. Some of its best features are its flexibility in terms of time and location, the ability to record lessons, the use of interactive whiteboards and having immediate access to the internet.
Online learning is ideal for students who live in remote areas, are technologically minded or have severe time constraints. Preferably, it should be complemented with some face to face interaction either in a group or an individual environment to practise some more realistic day to day situations.
Our advice is to not stick to just one of these option. The best thing about all these varied and different ways is that you don’t have to choose just one. Now more than ever before, students can pick and mix methods and resources to have a well- rounded learning experience. For instance, group or individual lessons can be complemented by applications to help you consolidate learning vocabulary, such as flashcards games or Duolingo. Knowledge acquired through face to face lessons can be also reinforced by having extra online lessons. Mix and keep it challenging to motivate your learning.
There has never been a better time to learn a language.
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Who would have thought? There really are celebratory dates for anything! November 7th celebrates International Tongue Twister Day. As keen linguists, we love challenging ourselves with word games, and tongue twisters in your second language can be a fun way to test your pronunciation skills. Do some tongue exercise today with these amusing phrases in your second language.
Onder de roomse kerk met drie droge doeken.
Below the Roman Catholic Church with three dry tea-cloths.
De koetsier poetst de postkoets.
The coachman cleans the coach.
De kat krabt de krullen van de trap.
The cat crabs the curls off the stairs.
Als vliegen achter vliegen vliegen, vliegen vliegen vliegensvlug.
If flies fly behind flies, flies will fly like lightning.
Je veux et j’éxige ; j’éxige et je veux.
I want and I demand. I demand and I want.
Papier, panier, piano.
Paper, basket, piano.
Je cherche Serge.
I am looking for Serge.
Trente-trois gros crapauds gris dans trente-trois gros trous creux.
33 fat grey toads in 33 big hollows.
Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische.
The Fischer’s son Fritz is fishing for fresh fish.
Kluge kleine Katzen kratzen keine Krokodile.
Clever little cats don’t scratch crocodiles.
Esel essen Nesseln nicht, Nesseln essen Esel nicht.
Donkeys don’t eat nettles, and nettles don’t eat donkeys.
Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut.
A wedding dress remains a wedding dress, and red cabbage remains red cabbage.
Cheannaigh cailín cliste ceanúil císte.
A clever, affectionate girl bought a cake.
Chuaigh ceannaí cneasta cliste thar chlaí crua chloch.
A smart, kind merchant went over the hard stone wall.
Cearc ag piocadh piobair de phláta Pheadair.
A chicken is picking peppers from Peter’s plate.
Bhí bean bheag bhocht breoite bruite leis an bhfuacht.
The poor little sick women was scaled with the cold.
Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa.
On the bench the goat lives, under the bench the goat dies.
Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando.
Thirty-three dwellers of Trent came into Trent, all thirty-three trotting and toddling.
Tre tigri contro tre tigri.
Three tigers against three tigers.
Se l’arcivescovo di Costantinopoli si disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzasse, vi disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzereste voi come si è disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzato l’arcivescovo di Costantinopoli?
If the archibishop of Constantinople debishopconstantinoplized himself, would you debishopconstantinoplize yourselves in the same way as the archibishop of Constantinople debishopconstantinoplized?
Polish łamaniec językow
W czasie suszy szosa sucha.
A way is dry when there’s drought.
Król Karol kupił Królowej Karolinie korale koloru koralowego.
King Karl bought Queen Caroline coral-colored bead.
Stół z powyłamywanymi nogami.
A table with broken legs.
We szwy płaszcza się zaszywszy w szyku marsza trzy wszy weszły.
Hiding in seams of a coat, three lice entered in a marching formation
Sabia que o sabiá sabia assobiar?
Did you know that the thrush could whistle?
O rato roeu a roupa do rei de Roma.
The rat nibbled the King of Rome’s clothes.
O rato roeu a rolha da garrafa de rum do rei da Rússia.
The rat nibbled the cork of the bottle of rum of the king of Russia.
Um prato de trigo para três tigres.
One dish of wheat to three tigers
El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramón Rodríguez se lo ha robado.
Saint Roque’s dog has no tail because Ramón Rodríguez has stolen it.
El cielo está enladrillado. ¿Quién lo desenladrillará?
El desenladrillador que lo desenladrille, ¡buen desenladrillador será!
The sky is full of bricks. Who will put them out now?
The “unbricker” who could put them out, will be such a good “unbricker”!
Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en tres tristes trastos en un trigal
Three sad tigers were eating wheat in three sad (lousy) dishes in a wheat field.
Pablito clavó un clavito, un clavito clavó pablito.
Little Paul nailed a little nail, a little nail Little Paul nailed
Sex laxar i en laxask.
Six salmon in a salmon-box.
Packa pappas kappsäck.
Pack daddy’s suitcase.
Sju sjösjuka sjömän sköttes av sju sköna sjuksköterskor.
Seven seasick sailors were nursed by seven beautiful nurses.
Klockan sju sitter en sjuk katt på skivan och sjunger.
At 7 o’clock a sick cat is sitting on a disc and singing.
Whether you are studying in a group, privately or by yourself is always a good idea to see where you are at every so often. Moreover, if you need to describe your level to apply for uni abroad or a job where your language skills will be taken into account, giving a good idea of what you are able to do in your second language is crucial.
The below table is based on The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or CEFR. The framework is a self-assessment grid. By choosing what “can do” statements apply to you, you will find out what level you are at. The CEFR was put together by the Council of Europe to standardise levels of language learning in different European countries and it’s now widely used throughout Europe.
There are six levels described below: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
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7:30am February 2005. A thick, white sheet of snow had covered the heath overnight. Despite wearing skiing gloves, I could still feel the cold numbing my fingers. Had anyone looked from above, they would have seen a black dot going round the field, then entering the adjacent park and coming out again seemingly going nowhere.
With only a few weeks to go before running my first marathon I was completing the 13 miles scheduled for that snowy winter’s day. No icy roads or minus temperatures were going to stop me. My friends thought I was mad. I thought I was mad.
In some ways, learning a language is not much different to training for a marathon. Both are full of ups and downs, happy times hanging out with other people and solitary times spent by yourself. The two require great doses of persistence, determination, patience and effort. Above all, you need a constant supply of motivation, i.e. the wish to continue doing what you are doing. No matter how good your teacher is or how inspiring your books are, ultimately, you are the only one with the power to motivate yourself.
Typically, when learning languages students will unavoidably hit plateaus every so often. The trick is to persist and keep going against our instincts to quit. Once you come out the other side, you will have made progress and achieved a new goal. Learning another language is undoubtedly challenging and cannot be achieved without making any effort. When students are motivated, the effort needed to make progress will be most welcome as a way to become better. As you do with running, when you think you cannot run any longer, run a bit more.
In the following list we have gathered some helpful advice to keep you motivated throughout your language learning. Pick and choose the points that are useful to you at this moment in your learning. Whenever you feel like giving up try to remember what make you start learning in the first place. Focus on the outcome and keep learning. There is no other feeling like getting to the finish line.
WRITE YOUR GOALS
Having a clear idea and being very specific of what you want to achieve is vital. So, whether is going from one level to the next one, or reading a particular book in its original language, or speak about a certain subject, you need to specify it and focus on it.
SET THE BAR HIGH
You must be realistic when setting your goals but do not settle for second best. Raise the bar as high as you can at all times. Do not drift or coast. Make every single thing you do count. Unconsciously, we tend to increase our efforts when our goals are more difficult.
Focus on the successful outcome realistically. This means that you must understand that in order to achieve success, you must make an effort. Success is not just something that happens to you, you must make it happen.
In order to achieve a successful outcome, whatever your goal might be, you must have some very clear cut plans, predict what obstacles you are going to find on the way and how you are going to overcome them. Having a schedule and sticking to it is a great way to succeed at your learning.
Basic Italian vocabulary: numbers, colours, months of the year, days of the week and much more.