GET PODCASTING this summer…

AND ALL YEAR ROUND

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

BUSINESS ENGLISH PODCASTS

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:

https://downtobusinessenglish.com/category/free-podcast/

SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN PODCASTS

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

Youtube

Spotify

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

THE LEARNABILITY SHOW by IAN GIBBS

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:

SPOTIFY

https://open.spotify.com/show/7DHnKutoRi6ixnJvylHcoA

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

Youtube

National Geographic website

NO SUCH THING AS FISH

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

website:

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

https://www.nosuchthingasafish.com/

TO SUM UP

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.

ARE YOU A LANGUAGE OPSIMATH?

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.

CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO MAKE RAPID PROGRESS IN A LANGUAGE YOU WANT OR NEED TO LEARN

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

MISTAKES NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS WISH THEY HADN’T MADE

THINGS I WISH I KNEW    V

 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN

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.)

and

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

https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2017/11/21/10-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.

THE POLYGLOT GATHERING 2022

ONLINE and LIVE

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.

https://www.polyglotgathering.com/2022/online/registration/

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.

KEY STRATEGY 3 – INPUT How to get them to speak with your ACCENT.

US and British accents –

Your accent

What accent will your child have when they speak your heritage language (or the local language)? For many people, this is an important issue. After more than thirty years teaching English as a foreign language, and as an English person who lived in Ireland for eleven years, I understand that the accent you have is quite significant, and for many different reasons.

Firstly, your accent identifies your ethnicity and in many languages associates you with a social class. In some places your accent may not be seen in a positive light, such as my English accent when I lived in The Republic of Ireland in the nineteen-eighties.

For many parents and even learners of foreign languages, speaking with the ‘wrong’ accent is perceived as a failure. I have met many children of native English speakers who speak English very well but have a Spanish accent. I have met others who are indistinguishable from a native speaker.

In the blog post Is there a critical age for learning a language?, I spoke about the concept of the ‘Critical Period’ Hypothesis, which tries to identify the latest age at which a child can speak a language at a native level and with a native accent and intonation patterns. Studies of sequential or successive bilinguals suggest that after the age of ten or eleven, children are not able to monitor their own accents well enough to perfect them. I have met only three Spanish people (in thirty years) who learned English as a second language as adults and spoke with native accents, and two of those have lived in England for many years. This clearly reflects their natural ability rather than just motivation.  

What’s the key to talking with your accents?

Because high exposure from birth is the key. If they have enough exposure to a language, your child will speak it with a native accent, because that is what children do in the heritage language country.

Also, don’t be afraid to gently correct now and then if necessary. Make it into a game for example. “Go on, Say “politician” again just like me!” “Again!” or when they are older say “Actually, we’d say it like this.” Even native speakers in their own country help their children. You can too, just do it gently and indirectly, and occasionally explicitly. It’s how you do it that is important.

But remember that you can speak with a foreign accent and still speak a language perfectly.

Summary

 The point is that children do have the ability to speak your language with your accent if they receive enough input from you or other sources, be that your family or children or teacher at a bilingual or international school.

At the very least, if you had doubts, as parents, it is good to know that it really is possible for your child to speak with your native accent.

For more detailed information and advice, check out the book on Amazon: The 5 Key Strategies of Successful Bilingual Families.