Tuve el placer de dar el taller IMPROVING YOUR ENGLISH VOICE en EOI GRANOLLERS esta semana.

Cuando hablo de ‘mejorar tu voz y la pronunciación’ en inglés, destaco 3 cosas principalmente.

1) INTELLIGIBILITY – pronuncias las palabras de tal forma que quien te escuche te entiende, aunque la pronunciación no sea perfecta.

2) COMMUNICATION – que la precisión de tus frases comuniquen lo que pretendes decir. Se precisa un buen conocimiento del vocabulario y la gramática del idioma como mínimo.

3) VOICE QUALITY – ¿Qué tipo de voz tienes? El objetivo es tener una voz “agradable” para los que te escuchen. En otro idioma, tu tono de voz puede cambiar. Vale la pena reflexionar sobre tu English voice y el efecto que tiene en tus oyentes.

A partir de aquí, the sky is the limit.

Si quieres mejorar la forma de hablar el inglés más allá de las clases de inglés típicas, ponte en contacto conmigo.

GET PODCASTING this summer…


Listening to English-speaking podcasts is a great way to increase your English level. Playing back parts that you don’t understand and writing down words you don’t recognize will help you expand your vocabulary.

Which podcasts should I listen to?

We are spolit for choice, and luckily there’s something for eveyone and every level. You could being with either the The Learn English Podcast from the British Council or 6-minute English from the BBC. But, look at all the options below and chose something you like and for your level.

At the beginner level, in general, you’ll find that the programs are focused on basic language skills like “Let’s learn English,” “Everyday grammar” and “Words and their stories”.

If you are at an intermediate level, Podcasts cover a wider variety of topics, including health and lifestyle, science, technology, culture, and news, which can be particularly helpful for chatting to friends in English. All podcasts come with a transcript to help you follow along. 

Once you get to the Advanced level it’s time to start listening to more authentic material made for native speakers, such as the BBC and American news. Remember that you can listen to a huge number of radio stations from the UK on the App British Radios, and it’s free!

How do you learn English with a podcast?

All language learning experts and polyglots agree that massive INPUT is essential to increase not only your listening skills but also your vocabulary, grammar, accent, and even speaking!!!!

The more you watch, read and listen, the better your English will get. But, remember to make it a habit. Check out my other Blogs about making learning a habit and creating routines.

Extra tips for Learning on the GO!

  • Take notes of new vocabulary you find interesting. NOT everything.
  • Make sure you create a specific timeslot every day. Make it a habit.
  • For a few minutes repeat what they are saying in real time if you can: this is called SHADOWING.
  • If you can, play and stop and repeat to practice your accent.
  • Learning on the GO means listening to English while you are doing other activities
  • If you don’t understand everything, you can use the subsititles or slow the speech down.

Learn English Podcast from the British Council

The Learn English Podcast is excellent for beginners. It is aimed at  English language learners from A1 to B1 levels and episodes revolve around discussion and cover common everyday situations. Every episode comes with a transcript and a support pack with exercises to test your understanding. There’s even a free app!

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

British Council website

6-Minute English from the BBC

Are you short on time? 6-Minute English fits into even the busiest schedules. No excuses! 6-minute English is a news podcast produced every week and is aimed at intermediate speakers. Each episode comes with a list of vocabulary, a thought-provoking question, and a transcript so you can follow along in case you miss some words or phrases. 

The English here is spoken at a slightly slower speed than usual, making it much easier to understand. In addition, there are hundreds of episodes going back to 2014. Try listening to one six-minute episode per day, and your vocabulary will grow in no time.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website

The English We Speak

The English We Speak is produced every week by the BBC. This series is even shorter than 6-Minute English, with episodes only 3 minutes long. Each episode focuses on a different English idiom or expression used in the UK, such as “play a blinder,” “take the biscuit” or “to cut a long story short.”

This podcast is especially interesting if you in the UK or moving there, or just want to gain more natural English. , this program is highly recommended. The vocabulary is a bit more complex

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website

Global News by the BBC

One final mention for one of the BBC’s many English podcasts. Why not start listening to the news in English? It’s a great way to get more English language exposure into your daily routine. 

New episodes of the BBC’s Global News are published twice a day and report on issues that affect the whole planet. As you might have guessed, this show is beneficial if you would like to learn British English. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website


Down to Business English is a podcast for people who use English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) in their work environment and are trying to improve their overall language skills.

In each episode, hosts Dez Morgan, Samantha Vega, and Skip Montreux discuss business news making headlines around the world. Through their discussions, they introduce professional vocabulary and phrases, review useful grammar structures, and identify cultural differences that may impact doing business in an international work environment.

Where to listen:



Voice of America: Learning English

If you want to learn American English, then Voice of America: Learning English might be a better choice for you. It’s a clear website that offers different podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced ESL learners.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Voice of America website

All Ears English

All Ears English is another great option if you already have an intermediate level of English and want a little more entertainment. All Ears is in American English and is presented by two ESL teachers, Lindsay from Boston and Michelle from New York City.

In very short episodes, they discuss American culture, and explain confusing English expressions in a friendly and fun way. Their motto is “connection not perfection” so expect a focus on everyday English as it is spoken in the real world!

Also, they produce the show with the IELTS in mind, so anyone about to sit the exam will find it especially useful.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

All Ears English website

Espresso English

The Espresso English podcast is made for beginners and intermediate-level learners. It is presented by Shayna who is the teacher at Espresso English and everything from vocabulary to grammar to pronunciation is covered in the 350+ episodes.

One of the fantastic features of this podcast is the fact that there are so many episodes and they cover many common problems  The shows features American English and they only last 5-10 minutes.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Espresso English website

Advanced English podcasts aimed at Native Speakers

If you want to take your English to a really proficiency / near-native level, then you need to start listening to authentic material for native speakers. Here are a few suggestions for podcasts in this category.

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the biggest podcasts globally, and in 2020, the show signed an exclusive deal with Spotify worth a reported $100 million. His podcasts with interviews are aimed at native speakers, and has a huge range of tòpics in over 1,660 episodes with subjects ranging from comedy and science to politics and sports.

You can also watch and listen to his show on YouTube.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts



This American Life

This American Life is a great choice for English learners who want an insight into the culture of the USA. It is a mixture of journalism and storytelling, focusing on real-life tales from citizens of all regions of the country. The stories are varied and original. One episode was taped for 24 hours in an all-night restaurant; another interviewed students at a high school which experienced a mass shooting. It has won a host of awards and is consistently rated among the most popular in the US. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

This American Life Website


A great show to listen to for teachers, trainers and learners. You can find out how to learn in general while improving your English. A win win! 45 minutes per episode.

Where to listen:



Overheard at National Geographic

National Geographic is a very popular American magazine (and TV channel) famous for incredible stories and photography related to science and the environment. 

Overheard is about the discussions Nat Geo employees have had while taking breaks. Expect crazy stories from explorers, photographers, and scientists from around the world. 

Episodes last around twenty minutes, It’s perfect if you want to be amazed at the strangeness of our planet. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts


National Geographic website


When learning any new language, some people say that jokes and humour are the hardest thing to understand. Yep, it’s not easy.

 But try this British podcast where Each week Dan, James, Anna and Andy discuss their favourite facts unearthed in the past seven days. ​

New episode every Friday from 2pm


Where to listen

Apple Podcasts



I hope this has inspired you to add more English to your life. Even if you take classes, they are never enough to get you quickly to the next level. There is no substitute for exposure to a language, so get exposing yourself TODAY!!

Let me know in the comments which podcasts you listen to.

TURKÍA ha cambiado su nombre. Y, ahora se llamará…

¿Cuántas acepciones sabes para turkey en inglés?

Pues, por esa razón, el país ‘del pavo’ liderado por Recep Tayyip Erdogan ha anunciado que a partir del 3 de junio 2022 el país pasará a llamarse Türkiye en vez de Turkey en inglés. Al menos en castellano Turquía no tiene nada que ver con las aves.

A partir de ahora, quieren que se adopte el nombre Türkiye en todas las comunicaciones oficiales. Y, ha lanzado una campaña turística en inglés donde los turistas dicen el nombre en turco. La pronunciación suena en inglés como turkeyay /ˈtɜːkieɪ  /, o sea, lo mismo, pero con una sílaba más al final.

 El único inconveniente para los anglófonos será como escribir la ü. Sin embargo, hay algunas palabras en inglés que se pueden escribir tal cuál con su diéresis, naïve, y con acento, café, aunque esta última es opcional.  Pero, creo que al final se adoptará la palabra sin la ü.

Para mí, lo que más sorprende es que hayan tardado tanto en hacer la petición oficial a las Naciones Unidas, aunque durante bastantes años han pedido a los países que utilizaran el nombre en turco para las comunicaciones en inglés.

Y, te sorprenderás aún menos su decisión si tienes en cuenta las acepciones que tiene la palabra turkey.

Claro,  la más común es pavo, pero también se asocia con la Acción de Gracias en EEUU, y con navidad en los países anglosajones, que se relacionan con costumbres cristianas. Fun Fact: la religión predominante de Turquía no es cristiana.

A partir de aquí las acepciones se empeoran. En los EEUU a turkey puede referirse a algo como una película o una obra que es un fracaso o una persona que es un inútil.

A pesar de todo eso, creo que tardará un tiempo hasta que las personas se enteren o se acuerden de cambiar el nombre cuando lo nombren. Sonará hasta raro. Por ejemplo ¿sabías que la República Checa ha cambiado su nombre a Czechia (Chequia en castellano)? Sin embargo, en Eurovisión no lo han usado.

¿Crees que España tendría que cambiar su nombre a Espain en inglés?

Para aprender turco, inglés, español o el idioma que más te apetezca, contacta con nosotros.


How’s your Greek? While a Philomath is a lover of learning (it also refers to a student of mathematics), an opsimath /ˈɒpsɪmaθ/ can refer to a person who begins, or continues, to study or learn late in life. The word is derived from the Greek ὀψέ, meaning ‘late’ and μανθάνω, meaning ‘learn’. 

Something I hear often from students as young as 40 years old is that they are too old to really learn a language well. And when someone hits 50 or 60 then they tell me it’s game over!

I used to be an agent for the Anglo Continental English School in Bournemouth, UK until I changed my mind. I remember the young enthusiastic sales representative visiting me at Idiomas Advantage in Barcelona and showing me the brochure with their courses.

What caught my eye was a course for mature students that promised courses specifically aimed at older people. So, are we talking about +60s? No, it was for the over 45s!!! I was 46 at the time… For 2022, they are now offering special Club + 50 English courses, which brings to mind some sort of holiday programme for old aged pensioners. Is this ageism or clever marketing? It’s a bit of both.

Separating teens and students in their early twenties from those above that age is generally a good idea as is providing specific courses for older business students with a certain number of years’ experience. Even business schools do this. But not creating an old people’s course.

This point is that there is a stigmatism and a belief that over 50s can’t learn languages (or anything new). It is true that cognitive funtions and memory are slower (but that depends if you still exercise that ‘muscle’!), but not enough to make learning significantly more difficult, especially when effective personal language learning strategies (PLLS) are used (as I explained in another post).

As well as the right strategies, motivation and a belief that “Yes I can”, are all you need to learn a language at any age. The best way to demonstrate this is through examples. Since turning 55 I have been learning a new language quickly and have increased my French level from B1.1 to B2.2 in under 18 months.

The best example of a language opsimath is probably Stephen Kaufmann (a Swedish born Canadian). He’s well know in polyglot circles for speaking about 12 languages well and having a working knowledge of about 8 more (depending on which vídeo you watch!). He had the advantage of studing in France and then working in many countries around the world throughout his life as a trade commisisioner and in the Canadian diplomatic service. However, he says that he started learning most of his languages from the age of 60. He’s 77 now and still learning new languages.

It’s literally “all in the mind.” You can learn languages well into your 70s and even 80s. So, if you are younger than that, stop making excuses about your age, and start learning a language.


And we won’t sell you a course for pensioners!



There is one really frustrating experience for parents who are trying to raise their children in their native language while living in a country that doesn’t speak it;  their children answer them in the local language rather than their own one.

The first TWO KEY STRATEGIES for raising a child in your language are

1)OPOL. One Parent, One Language. That is, you only speak your language to your child, and the other parent speaks their native language. This is important and establishes one single clear channel of communication. It’s simple and effective. And simple and effective is a good thing for children.

2) IL2U. ONE LANGUGAGE TO YOU. The goal is that your children only speak your language back to you. This is the most common issue. Many parents manage the first OPOL strategy correctly, but then they ‘let’ their children answer them in the local language.

There are two main reasons why this happens.

  1. The child hasn’t received enough exposure to your language and the local language is the one that comes to mind first.
  2. The main reason though is that you have ‘let’ your child answer you or speak to you in the local language, perhaps thinking that this is ‘normal’, and your children will eventually speak to you in your language. Sadly, this hardly ever happens without some serious intervention!  See my article on how this happens and some of the ways you can nip it in the bud.

If you’re in this situation, and haven’t been able to turn it around, I have THREE QUICK TIPS that will at least make your children speak their language to you, even if they don’t want to!!! It revolves around scripted language. So, let’s dive in and see how it works.


If your child isn’t old enough to read yet, you may have started reading to them in your language. If not, START RIGHT NOW!  

With nursery rhymes, children love them and they’re easy to learn and repeat. Once you’ve repeated one of them a million times (at the child’s request), they will know them by heart anyway. The trick now is to get them to ‘sing’ them with you. So, say, “OK, together! Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon…”

Once they are repeating it with you, you can say, “So, what did the cow do?” and use questions and answers using the songs and rhymes. This may spark a moment which triggers your language. You can even coax them gently: “Hey, let’s speak in OUR language when we’re doing this. Can you do that for mummy? Don’t push it, but be perseverant.


Something that never occurred to me was that parents weren’t teaching their children to read in their language. In fact, not teaching your child to read is the norm! Despite what you might believe, learning to read in your language, won’t tire them out or confuse them. They are much more resilient and intelligent than you think. For some easy tips on how I taught my son to read in English, see Marc’s Blog on this website.

By getting them to start reading out loud, they are speaking the language. If your language is a phonetic one, you can use the ‘phonic method’ of pronouncing the syllables and saying the words. In English I combined the phonic with the ‘whole word’ approach for irregular words. Read up on it and get some books in your language appropriate for their age and start reading together.


Once the child is reading in your language, a whole world of possibilities opens up for you. This means reading stories, poems, plays, prayers (where relevant) and rhymes, as well as learning and singing songs. Children love singing until they are told be adults that they can’t sing properly. 99% of people have the potential to sing in tune, so encourage it.

This can lead on to Karaoke. In most major languages, you’ll find karaoke versions of all major songs. Take advantage of it. Music adds an extra dimension to your language.


Even if your children never speak back to you in your language, ALWAYS speak to them in your language. The worst case scenario is that they will be passive bilinguals, and the language will be there to revive later in life.

The most important thing is to nurture a love for reading and if possible, for music and especially singing in your language. I won’t deal with writing here, but that is also great.

These techniques are great whether your child speaks to you in your language or not but is especially important if you don’t. If you haven’t done so, try it out, and let me know how it goes.

If you have very young babies, immerse them in the language, speak to them all the time and only let them speak to you in your language. This is how it works. Make it a daily habit.

I look forward to hearing your comments.




As a learner of English, you’ve studied a lot and depending on your teacher you started studying I wish at Low or High Intermediate level.

You learned that:

I wish + past simple is for things you wish for now or in the future,

I wish I knew more about saving money.

(Ojalá supiera más sobre como ahorrar dinero.)


I wish + Past Perfect is for things you wished for in the past that didn’t happen.

I wish I’d (had) known more about saving Money when I was twenty.

(Ojalá hubiera sabido más sobre como ahorrar dinero cuando tenia 20 años.)

However, it seems that native speakers are breaking the rules again. On some grammar forums, the suggestion is that the trend may be coming from the United States. Oh no!!

Here is an example from Frances Bridges, writing in Forbes Magazine in 2017. The title should read “10 things I wish I’d known…”

10 Things I wish I knew when I was 20


That being said, there is so much I wish I knew when I was 20 that I know now that would have saved me time, money and often a great deal of pain.

It’s in the past so, it should be I wish I’d known…”

 If I were to write a list to myself at 20 of what I should understand as soon as possible, this is what I would write. I hope you find it helpful, and that your learn from some of my mistakes.

This is in the past so it should be “what I should have understood…”

It seems to be a lazy and sloppy way of avoiding longer phrases, which isn’t really acceptable if you are writing in a reputable publication.

This theme of “Things I wish I knew when I was (age).” has now become a fixed phrase with wrong grammar, and you can find it in LinkedIn articles and all over the Internet.

At least some authors such as Robin Sharma and Linda Green have got it right.

Who started it all? Was it perhaps an English pop star called Rod Stewart? Probably not. Songs often use words and phrases that break grammar rules so that they fit the melody or just sound better.

Here are two examples with “I wish I knew…” used wrongly in songs. If you also want to use it like this, please be aware that in a Cambridge examination it will be marked as wrong!

Rod Stewart – Ooh La La

I wish that I knew what I know now  (I wish that I’d known what I know now)
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger

Songwriters: Ron Lane / Ronald David Wood

Ooh La La lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

The Revivalists – Wish I Knew You

I wish I knew you when I was young   (I wish I’d known you when I was young)
We could’ve got so high
Now we’re here it’s been so long
Two strangers in the bright lights

Songwriters: Andrew Campanelli / David Shaw / Edward Williams / George Gekas / Michael Daniel Girardot / Robert Ingraham / Zachary Feinberg

Wish I Knew You lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.



Yes, according to their website, The Polyglot Gathering is an informal event which takes places once a year and brings together polyglots (people who speak several languages) and language enthusiasts from all over the world.


For the third year running, due to the pandemic, the conference will be online (28th April- 1st May) but also at a live venue in Poland (1st-6th June).

Whereas many foreign language students reach intermediate level in 10 years and then spend most of their lives maintaining it, polyglots give themselves about 2 to 3 years to reach an advanced level in a language, before moving on to the next one!! 

As most polyglots will tell you, they are not especially gifted at languages (yes it’s true), but it is their enthusiasm, motivation and the amount of time that they dedicate to learning new languages that makes the difference, as well as special techniques that anyone can learn and use.

This year I will be giving a talk on ARTIFICIAL BILINGUALISM, that is, raising a child by non- native speakers, which is sure to interest many of the attendees. In case you missed the blatant advertising of the two versions of my book on this topic previously, here they are again. For sale now at an extremely competitive price on Amazon Kindle in ebook or paperbook formats.


What have England and Catalonia got in common?

Well, apart from the great weather, the cuisine and a love of sports, both nations celebrate their national day on the same day. Both have the same patron saint who it would appear was a knight who saved a lady from a dragon.

In England the day isn’t celebrated widely, which seems a shame, whereas in Catalunya, sí que és una festa que és celebra amb llibres i roses.

The 23rd of April is International Book Day, a date chosen as it coincides with the myth that both Cervantes and Shakespeare died on this date in 1616. A quick search on Google shows that it is more wishful thinking than actual truth, although evidence suggests that they died within 10 days of each other that year. That’s close enough, isn’t it?!  

Personally, I love Sant Jordi’s day in Barcelona. Not only is it a colourful day in a city bedecked with roses, but also it promotes literature and books in a sector that is undergoing great change due to large online sites such as Amazon and the Android and Apple book stores.

Have you bought or received a book this year?

I’d like to do a bit of advertising here and suggest my book if you or a family you know are raising children in a language that is not the local one:  The 5 Key Strategies of Successful Bilingual Families also available in Spanish under the title Las 5 Estrategias Clave para criar a un Niño Bilingüe.

Available on Amazon or from Come In book shop in Barcelona.  



Welcome to this second part, where we’re going to be highlighting the cognitive benefits of having a bilingual brain and being bilingual or trilingual.

Bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline. And the benefits can been in students who’ve studied with Idiomas Advantage!

It’s interesting to note that up to 1970s, bilingualism in children was often seen as being a disadvantage and to be the cause of a variety of learning difficulties from dyslexia to slowing down learning in general.

In the 21st century, neuropsychology and neurolinguistics as well as more recent studies using brain imaging technology have uncovered many cognitive benefits of being multilingual.

Firstly, It would appear that having at least two sets of languages strengthens the 4 main cognitive processes: memory, attention, perception and emotional skills, including being able to take another person’s perspective and be better at solving mental puzzles and sorting games.  Other research points to benefits in the development of other executive functions, such as planning and maintaining attention, inhibitory control, task switching and resolving conflict.

Studies have also shown that bilingual children achieve higher scores than monolinguals on a number of tests of cognitive ability, including mental flexibility, working memory, non-verbal problem-solving tasks, understanding the conventional origin of names, distinguishing between semantic similarity and phonetic similarity.

Happy family having fun, playing board game at home, happiness concept. People pet love concept.

A third area that bilinguals seem to benefit from is a delay and lessening in the deterioration of cognitive competencies by improving the cognitive reserve, that is, the protective effect of mental and physical activity carried out throughout life in the face of healthy aging. The onset of symptoms in people suffering from dementia may be delayed by just over four years.

A further surprising benefit of bilingualism that speaking several languages  you are twice as likely to recover your normal cognitive functions after a stroke. In one study, 40.5% of bilinguals recovered normal cognition, compared to 19.6% of monolinguals.

So, even if you weren’t raised as a bilingual in a bilingual community or family, the benefits of speaking another language regularly at a high level can bring a multitude of cognitive and social benefits right through to old age.

This is why you should sign up for a language course with idiomas advantage right now!! 



I’ve always found it strange that some people are not convinced of the advantages of having a bilingual brain and being bilingual. When you think about it there are some many positive reasons for being or becoming one.

When we talk about benefits, we have to divide them into two broad areas, the social and cognitive ones. As we’ll see, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.

In this first part we’ll look at the social benefits of being bilingual or even multilingual, whether you’ve reached that level as a child or an adult.

It should be obvious that knowing more than one language has certain advantages, especially if you speak major world languages. Or isn’t it?

Firstly, it makes it easier for you to travel, meet and understand better more people in those countries that speak that language as well as gain access to twice as much literature. And you can delve deeper into the culture of a language without having to rely on translations.

It should also be said that if you have raised your child in your language and you live in a country that doesn’t speak that language, it will mean that your offspring will be able to learn about their parent’s country more easily. Moreover, if you have family in the heritage language country, your children will be able to get to know their cousins and relatives there. This last reason is a justification in itself even if your language isn’t a major one.  For more about bringing up your child in your language, check out The 5 Key Strategies of Successful Bilingual Families:The Step-by-Step Guide for parents. On Amazon now.

Another very important benefit these days is in the business world. With an ever-expanding global market, knowing two or more languages will open more doors in the job market. It has also been reported that you are likely to earn a higher salary on average. I’ve been involved in carrying out professional language level interviews for candidates in selection processes. Sometimes, a competent level is the difference between getting the job or not.

And last but definitely not least, many people find bilinguals and multilinguals more interesting and attractive! What do you think? If none of those social advantages has convinced you, in the second part of this series, we’ll look at the cognitive ones.