zaterdag 30 januari 2016

10 language learning tips

There's loads and loads of ways how to learn languages... and there's loads and loads of views how to learn languages. However, the most common ones that are on the internet usually are the same. And I'll save you some time, here they are:

  1. Move to another country: that's an obvious one, but not a bad idea at all. Mostly because you combine culture, social learning and language.
  2. Practice for free on websites like duolingo. They'll get your basic vocabulary up in no time.
  3. Skype! There's tons of websites and Facebook groups that facilitate the exchange of Skype IDs, so make sure to choose this flexible solution!
  4. A pocket dictionary is recommended. However, my advice is to try to explain a word with the person you're talking to, they'll come up with the word and you won't forget it as easily.
  5. Newspapers! Seem to be very useful for advanced learners.
  6. Converse! Speaking with other persons not only enhances your vocabulary and your sentence building, but you're also practicing your listening skills. The only part you're actually not learning, is the writing/reading part... Try also to find a language partner. Or more, the more the merrier.
  7. Make it fun. Essential if you don't want to get bored. And focus. Don't spend 5 years 'learning' a language. 
  8. Organise. Many polyglots organise their language learning plans and set useful goals that are not too difficult to achieve. 
  9. Age. Never too old to learn. Actually, there's some scientific studies that prove that kids have more difficulties learning languages than adults... I think it's just because kids see it as some game, while adults usually learn to really learn.
  10. Dating! Date someone whose language you're willing to learn. Although I would only recommend it when you're at a good level, because otherwise you're going to keep on talking in the language you've been talking since the beginning. It's also a good excuse to ask someone out, to 'practice your language'. If only he/she knew your evil plan...
There's loads of experts sharing their tips on the links below!

vrijdag 29 januari 2016

Common Dutch mistake: dt

Even the best do it: on the Flemish news agency VRT, there's a small 'dt' mistake. For foreigners, it can be very confusing. Can you find it in the picture?
Copyright: De Redactie
The dt-mistakes are often made, even by respected journalists. The 'problem' is that we can't hear the ending's difference between a -d and a -dt. So we have to rely on the grammar. And the grammar can be quite complicated in Dutch!

The easiest way to find out whether it's -dt instead of -t is to use another verb in the same sentence that doesn't end with -d. Instead of for example 'raden', which is to guess in Dutch, try 'zoeken' or 'werken'. If you hear a 't' with those verbs, the conjugated form will be with -dt, in this case 'raadt'.

And for those who rely on grammar rules: the -dt is only used for the second and third singular present. For the second person of the singular, the t is dropped if the pronoun (that's je or jij) is placed after the verb. There are no other uses in modern Dutch. An old-fashioned way for the imperative is used as well, but that's not modern Dutch.

And well... the mistake is 'zwembadverbod vindt ik paniekreactie'. The t is dropped, because the subject is 'ik', and that's the first person of the singular, for which there is never a dt.

Oh yes - make sure to enrol on my Dutch course for half price! And check those resources as well.

United Kingdom's languages of the future...

Ever wondered which languages the United Kingdom will need in the near future? Instead of making difficult calculations, asking your friends and write a PhD about it - just read what the British Council says in an interesting report.

instead of calling home, better call
Spain! copyright: public domain
They published a report, based on a range of factors: which countries the UK will do business with, which languages are needed right now and in the future for the labour market, and so on. Spanish comes first, Arabic second (sure that report will welcome the Arabic-speaking Syrian refugees to the UK). French, Chinese (that is, Mandarin) and German add themselves to the top 5.

Interestingly enough, according to a survey of the British Council, 3 out of 4 Brits don't speak enough of the top-10 of the future languages to hold a normal conversation. Not that the Brits have been studying the wrong languages, it's just that they haven't done enough.

If you compare those numbers to the rest of the European Union, the Brits are dragging behind. Difficult to blame them though: English is everywhere. According to a European survey, only 15% of the Brits say they can speak two languages or more. That's a figure even worse than the British Council's. Only Hungarians and Portuguese do worse, while the EU's average is about 25%...

In a world where emerging markets like China, Africa and South America will increase their share in the world's economy, this might sound quite alarming.

Interesting post of the Economist about languages!

The Economist held a live session with its chief linguist - make sure to check it out! A talk about how many languages there are in the world, if they will die, business languages, and so on. Make sure to read some articles of the Economist - their English is really good! And subscribe to their Facebook page, too! I love it when some of their articles pop up on my wall... like this one below.

Live online now: Lane Greene, The Economist's language columnist. Send him your questions about language
Posted by The Economist on Friday, 29 January 2016

Why learn Maltese

Maltese - seems like a weird language to learn. Only spoken by half a million persons, most of them on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean. Difficult, since it's derived from the Arabic language. The only semitic language written with Latin characters. Here's a few reasons why learning Maltese isn't a bad thing or wasted time at all.

First of all, it's very close to Arabic. If you want to learn Arabic, learning Maltese can be a first and much easier step. Counting from 1 to 10 is more or less the same, but by learning it in Maltese you don't need to study all those Arabic characters. These characters were made difficult because it was the language used by the Arab's elite. So you can avoid it temporarily by studying Maltese.

Maltese is an official language of the European Union. What? Yes, it is. Only spoken by half a million, but one of the 24 official languages of the EU. That's less than for Russian, Catalan, Arabic, Turkish and even Tamil in the EU. What does it mean? Well, all the laws of the EU are translated in Maltese. That offers quite some possibilities to work in Brussels or for other EU Institutions.

If you live in Malta, or close to a Maltese community, it's great to learn it because with the language you'll discover a whole new culture. Maltese have their own cuisine, their own anthem, their own flag, their own newspapers,... If you like multicultural environments, you'll definitely love the Maltese environment.

And well, last reason: learning languages is anyway a good way to increase your intellect. Since Maltese may require some time and some effort to learn, this will look good on your CV. When an employer will ask: why do you know Maltese? You can answer: I like challenges - and those words will sound like sweet, sweet honey to your future employer...

Check out these resources!
And don't forget that this course is made by a grade-A professional!

donderdag 28 januari 2016

Some interesting language learning tips...

Well, here's some interesting language tips.

5 of mine:

  • Practice!
  • Oblige yourself, for example with a newspaper subscription!
  • Make it social, find language partners!
  • Make it fun! Find interests in the language you love, if you like watching football, find a channel with comments in the language you want to study!
  • Find a decent course with a good teacher!

What are yours? Leave a comment...

Best languages to study

Argh! Have to study a language and you have no idea which one? Tons of people are making recommendations on which one to study. Why?
"The demand for foreign languages and communication skills is steadily rising", according to loads of Ministers in the European Union.
So it's for your job. My recommendation? Just study the language you want to study. If you have no idea, let's take a look at some lists.

The Telegraph says it's German you should study. Voxy -whoever that is- says it's Mandarin. The people from Richest say it's English. However, according to Forbes, French is the language of the future. Because apparently, Africa is going to grow a lot. So learn French with this course if you want to deal with more Africans! Or check some other resources.

My opinion?  Companies look for people who already know the language, and, to my experience, aren't going to finance the study of the language you'd like to learn. So take the initiative! Go to that evening class. When you go on vacation, follow some language classes. And read a newspaper in that language.

Multilingual jobs - where to start?

So you speak a few languages, and you want to make the most out of them on the job market? Here's some websites to begin with:

Over 1 million jobs last I checked. Only for the EU and one or two other countries. They recently improved their search engine. Some countries only list jobs for foreigners, so give it a go. Maybe you have to look for a while to find your dream job, but it's certainly worth it. Trick is to find the right keyword, if you're a wordpress expert just type in 'wordpress' and select the country! There's also loads of information on working abroad.

Multilingual vacancies
Loads of jobs from all kinds. Mostly for the United Kingdom.

Top Language Jobs
1000s of jobs, very handy because you can select which industry, which country,... and so on in the search engine. If you have a good idea of what you want, this is a great website!

Multilingual careers
There's some jobs, and some search parameters. Good to check it out.

If you're looking for jobs that have something to do with the European Union, check out Eurobrussels and Euractiv, subscribe to their newsletter!

Has another list! Mostly for the United Kingdom but some other vacancies as well!

Of course, check the websites of the countries you want to work in!

Spotted another website? Leave a comment!

woensdag 27 januari 2016

French course - for beginners!

Always wanted to start learning French? Then this is your lucky day - I just finished a French course which takes you from 0 to infinity. There's loads of subjects included, like introducing yourself, asking for directions, but as well how to form the imperative, how to use politeness... Try it out today, see the WHOLE first chapter with free preview!

Always wanted to start learning French?
This is your opportunity! In this course, we start from zero. Indeed, zero. No previous knowledge needed. No expensive study books. We build on our way to learn French, step by step. Learn at your own pace, you can review the videos and redo the exercises any time, as much as you want!
What can you expect?
French is difficult. Yes. So no unnecessary, 10-minute long grammar lessons with all the rules. Only what you need to know. Tips where you can find more French. Over 300 French words to use in your everyday life. An interactive quiz at the end of each section. Culture to understand French better.
For who is this course?
You don't understand French, or barely. And you want to. And it's taught for you. Ready to enrol?
I guarantee:
  • Full, free lifetime access
  • All future extra lectures and upgrades are always included for free
  • Unconditional Udemy 30 day money-back guarantee
Looking forward to your feedback!
And oh yes:

A new blog post!

... and off we go with the blogging! Since there's too many things to tell about languages and learning them, the best way to spread the message is with a blog!