IT’S MONDAY. WELCOME.

What’re you going to do in English this week?

I hope you’ve had a good weekend. I’m not going to say, “I hope you’ve had a PRODUCTIVE weekend!” because that will put me in the category of someone who doesn’t know how to enjoy my free time, right? How we categorise what constitutes fun and enjoyable activities is personal of course. But, were you productive?

If you’re learning a foreign language, what are you planning to do this week to improve it? If you’re doing classes, especially with IDIOMAS ADVANTGE, great, and good choice by the way. Whether you are or not, if you really want to learn a language, you need to immerse yourself in the language.

Luckily, there are so many fun things you can do these days, that it doesn’t need to feel like “work”.

I’ve spoken before about the Personal Language Learning System (PLLS) with its five strategies to really boost your language level by integrating it in your life. It’s all about doing things that motivate you, and basically things you’d do in your native language anyway.

Have you created any routines or habits at specific times and locations during the day? Are you going to listen to a podcast during your daily commute, your morning or evening run, or as you are enjoying your coffee or lunch break? When you get home and sit on your sofa, are you going to watch your favourite Netflix series in English or French or choose the Spanish audio version?

I absolutely guarantee that by choosing times and locations for your PLLS language learning, you’ll turbocharge your progress like never before.

So, what are you doing at the moment, or are you going to do this week to improve your language level? Let me know in the comments.

If you want to know more about the PLLS for you or your company, get in touch!

STOP WASTING YOUR LIFE WATCHING TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube and NETFLIX or CHANGE THE LANGUAGE

Do you know what a lot of business students tell me they do when they get home from work after a long tiring day at the office? Can you guess?

If you’re like them, you probably look forward to sitting on the sofa in front of your bigger-than-necessary flat-screen TV and settling in for a session of turn your mind off and watch the latest Netflix series that you’re into at the moment. It’s a lovely feeling, isn’t it?

A comfy sofa, a big screen, your stomach full of dinner and a favourite series to enjoy, perhaps with your partner with the kids in bed. It’s a bit of ‘me time’ or even ‘we time’. Hey, or why not start watching some YouTube videos…?

If it’s the weekend and you have even more free time, then that “let’s just watch one episode of Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), turns into a massive 3-hour binge session that takes you all the way through to the next meal. And why not? It’s your time. You’ve worked hard (probably), and you deserve it.

And then you turn the national TV on, and you feel you just need to catch up on the latest happenings around the Globe. After all, you need to do something productive and important now.

 Although the headlines have given you enough information to keep you up to date, you feel impelled to sit through the whole hour and digest the news that a group of journalists have chosen from countries and cities you can’t pronounce and events that have zero impact on your life.

But wait, you haven’t seen the weather forecast yet! What, from my location? No, from the whole country and in excruciating detail. Don’t go anywhere till you’ve memorised the tomorrow’s temperatures for every city in your country. It’s going to be a record somewhere I hear.  

It would only be a killjoy who would say, “What’s the point in that?” or “Don’t watch those series and films that make you happy, and the news that makes you more knowledgeable about irrelevant events.”

Well, let it be so. I’ll be the party pooper and ask what will you remember about today when you are on your deathbed?

Umm, I remember something about a superhero who jumped out of a helicopter and survived, and yeah, there was a flood in Pakistan or was that China or Zaragoza.

With such a limited amount of time on earth to make a difference, how many hours do you want to devote to watching other people live their lives?

Can you still watch hours of TV, series and films and still be productive and not a couch potato?

Well, actually you can. And this is how.

You take your remote control, click on Audio and toggle the English language option (or French if you’re lucky enough to be learning that language instead like me).

In fact, getting input and exposure to boost the language you’re learning is the only real justification for spending an exaggerated amount of time in front of any screen if you want to be productive, even if you’re retired or incapacitated.

Choose something you love watching and then change the language. Now, you’re enjoying yourself, learning something and not wasting your precious time.

If you want to learn more about the Personal Language Learning System (PPLS), get in touch as soon as possible.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! y ¿LO MEJOR?

NADA DE INGLÉS DURANTE UN MES

Muchos esperan las <<ansiadas vacaciones>> porque me imagino que lo que se ha vivido antes ha sido… ansioso. Oigo una y otra vez frases como <<¡Necesito unas vacaciones ya!>>

Según Confucio, un señor que no solía dar puntadas sin hilo,

“Elige un trabajo que te guste y no tendrás que trabajar ni un día en tu vida”.

No sé qué tipo de trabajo tenía en mente allí en China por el año 550 AC, pero sabía construir frases con gancho sobre las que engarzar sus ideas. Hoy, él mismo encontraría trabajo como periodista o en el marketing o publicidad online sin problema.

¿Quiere decir que si coges vacaciones has elegido mal tu trabajo porque nunca has podido encontrar tu verdadera vocación o una afición de la cuál podrías ganar la vida?

Cuando Dalí veraneaba en Cadaqués ¿Se supone que ya no pintaba nada porque <<Estava de vacances>>?

Ya, pero no todos tenemos la suerte de poder trabajar de lo que nos encanta, sea pintar, cantar, diseñar bisutería o escribir libros. Pero, da igual, ya que tienes tiempo en estos días estivales.

Sea lo que sea tu situación o en qué playa, pueblo o país estés este agosto, puedes sentirte aliviado por fin, porque, al menos no tienes que hacer nada de inglés, francés, alemán… es que, necesitabas un descanso de tus clases de idiomas.

Para dominar un idioma, las clases son un simple complemento a lo que realmente necesitas hacer para aprender un idioma de verdad, y en mucho menos tiempo.

Si no lo sabías o no lo haces ya, el idioma que aprendes debe formar parte de tu día a día. Si no es así, sigue leyendo para descubrir cómo conseguirlo.

El secreto de dominar cualquier asignatura sea uninstrumento, una habilidad o un idioma es la regularidad; es decir, crear hábitos que acaban siendo simples rutinas que forman parte de tu vida cotidiana.

Hoy en día hay tantos recursos a tu disposición para aprender un idioma, que ¡ya no hay excusa! Dispones de canales de televisión y radio, en YouTube tienes contenidos de todo tipo que elegir a tu gusto y podcasts que saldrán por tus oídos. Y, lo tienes todo en cualquier nivel.

Luego, existe Netflix y Amazon Prime para ver tus series en un montón de idiomas.

Si ves contenido ya en tu idioma, cambia al idioma que aprendes, aunque sea por parte del tiempo con subtítulos en el mismo idioma. Escuchar, ver o leer un montón de noticias irrelevantes para tu vida no aporta nada en tu idioma nativo, pero en él que aprendes te despegarás cómo nunca hayas imaginado.

¿Cómo lo incorporo en mi vida durante las vacaciones?

La forma más fácil de incorporar otro idioma en tu vida es hacerlo al mismo tiempo que otra actividad, o sea, crear un hábito simultáneo.

Por ejemplo, si haces footing, fitness, bicicleta, natación, caminas, te bronceas en la playa, cocinas, limpias, etc, elige un podcast o video que puedes escuchar al mismo tiempo por la duración de la actividad.

Cuando estás en el coche, el autobús, tren, etc. haz lo mismo. Sabrás que has conseguido incorporar una actividad en tu vida cuando te des cuenta de que no lo estás haciendo y ¡te sientes raro!

 Ahora mismo, no puedo ni cocinar ni hacer fitness por las mañanas sin escuchar un podcast o un video de YouTube en francés. Y, cuando estoy solo, siempre como viendo algo en francés. Y, ¿sabes qué?

 ¡FUNCIONA! Lo garantizo.

Y, si aprendes inglés, ¿Por qué no estás en Inglaterra de vacaciones? ¿Por qué no has ido un sitio donde te hablan el idioma que aprendes? Estás perdiendo una oportunidad.

¿Es porque hace mal tiempo en Inglaterra? Pues, esto fue antes. Gracias al global warming, llegaron a 40,3 ºC en julio 2022, un récord absoluto, y los científicos y meteorólogos nos prometen más veranos calurosos en esta isla justo al norte de Europa.

Por tanto, haz la maleta para la playa de Bournemouth o Brighton el año que viene con tus podcasts y videos ya preparados, y kill two birds with one stone.

Happy holidays … in English!

Pregúntanos cómo puedes dar un empujón a tu inglés

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.

STOP WASTING YOUR LIFE READING and LISTENING TO IRRELEVANT NEWS: And change the language

Throughout most of my adult life I’ve loved listening to the news in the morning during breakfast or travelling to work in the car. I would put on the radio and find a news channel to get up to date with the latest goings-on in the world.

I’ve also got even more excited about sitting down on Sunday mornings and reading through the entire Sunday paper while dipping different pastries in my coffee with a smile on my face.

Then, with the news on my smartphone, I was soon disappearing head first down rabbit holes in Germany and the floods in some region I couldn’t pronounce or locate, and then appearing again on the island of Kiribati, where I discovered it’s going to be the first nation in the world to disappear under the ocean.   

However, one day while watching another video, this time about successful people, one of the common themes was “I don’t listen to or read the news.” At first, I thought it was just part of an eccentric personality and just one of a millionaire businessperson’s habits, such as getting up at 3am, working out at 5am and then having a Sirtfood breakfast before driving to work in their Tesla.

But no; it seems that it’s a pretty common theme with most very successful people. Before I continue, and before you object, let’s rule out reading and listening to news that you need for your work. For example, economic and stock market news for people working in finance.

So, I decided to stop reading or listening to the news, deleting my favourite news App on my phone and decided to see what would happen. At most, I was basically reading the main headlines for the day in a couple of minutes and then moving on. The strategy was to be highly selective, and not go into an irrelevant depth of knowledge that was absurd. And it worked. Nothing changed in my life except my increased productivity and feeling less stressed!

Why is knowing about what’s going on in the world a waste of time? Knowing about how the war in Ukraine is advancing can seem like a useful and even humanitarian thing to be up to date with. However, any more than reading a brief headline is irrelevant unless you are directly involved in the conflict.

As humans, we seem to have a natural desire and love of gossip and finding out about things in general. Put bluntly, we have a morbid curiosity to discover things in more detail than we need. Sadly, we don’t discriminate.

As an example, think about the evening news in two ways.

1)the piece of news

2) the details of the piece of news

How much of the news do you even need to know about? For example, there’s a forest fire in another remote part of your country, another country or even continent. It’s irrelevant. In fact, there are fires all the time, and you don’t even know about them. And, you don’t ‘need’ to know.

The theft of cars has gone up in another part of the country, there was a train cash in another part of the world, there was a terrorist attack in the Middle East, a train was derailed in the UK due to high temperatures. A swimmer was chased by a shark and a man bit a dog. You could spend the rest of your life just reading about other people’s lives and random events that have nothing to do with you.

What about the weather? A good example of how ridiculous the ‘News’ has become is the Weather on TV1 Spain, that must last at least 10 minutes and gives you a detailed analysis of every province of Spain and its islands. Even if you didn’t have Google weather, you could find out the weather in your location in 20 seconds. But you feel compelled to ‘finish’ the news and sit through and later discuss the bad weather they’re having in a location a 1000kms from where you live. I could go on.

You’re wasting your time, you’re wasting your valuable life and your productivity is zero.

 Yes, but it’s my relaxation time!!! I really enjoy listening to the news and the detailed analysis of the irrelevant item while driving to work.

The question boils down to one key point; what else should you or could you be doing with your time?

If you can’t think of anything better to do in your life, then it’s time you found something!! But that’s the subject of another article.

For me, the only useful thing about the news is to practise and learn a new language. If you’re learning French, and you’re going to listen to irrelevant news anyway, why not tune in and find out about the metro strike in Paris, the melting snow caps in the Alps and how it’s affecting livelihoods there, and then move on to  residents’ opinions on the extreme temperatures on the French Riviera?

Did you know that regular exposure to a language is one of the most important ways you can boost your learning? And on many news channels, the news is repeated every 15 or 30 minutes. Perfect for a language learner. Useless for everyone else.

So, if you still feel impelled to find out about a load of information that wastes your time and adds nothing to your life, then at least do so in another language. In that way you’ll be using your time productively and can kill two birds with one stone, or faire d’une pierre deux coups or even matar a dos pájaros de un tiro.

Language Learning Strategies: MUSIC

It’s no secret that listening to a language that you are learning is an incredibly good way of increasing not only your comprehension, but also your vocabulary knowledge.

If you can unite enjoyment with what you’re listening to, then your motivation is going to increase and you’re more likely to repeat the activity.

Let’s look at all the advantages of adding music to your language learning toolkit.

  1. As I mentioned before, listening to music is something that you do for pleasure and therefore it’ll be easier to do and more motivating. Compare this to listening to the news to help you learn a language.
  2. It’s very likely that if you’re learning English, you’re listening to a lot of English music already. So, it’s going to be easier to continue doing so.  
  3. According to the Economist Interactive (29/01/22), of the 50 most-streamed tracks on Spotify over the past five years, 47 were in English. Most radio stations in Spain play music in English, and YouTube has practically every popular song ever written. What this means is that you’ll never be short of material.
  4. You can always read aloud articles and stories, but most people love singing songs. With lyrics and karaoke versions of songs readily available on YouTube, you have never had a better opportunity to sing along to your favourites, and at the same time get a real feel for the words, melody and rhythm of the language.
  5. Portability. Just like podcasts, you can carry around millions of songs, especially if you have a subscription to Spotify, and therefore, you can integrate music into other activities from driving to jogging.

Music seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to language learning and if you are serious about improving quickly, you need to incorporate it into your life.

How do I learn with music?

Here are a couple of tips.

1.Pick a song you like but are not familiar with yet.

2. Listen to it without the lyrics a few times to see if you understand it all.

3. Now check the lyrics and look up any words you don’t know.

4. Listen to the song with the lyrics and notice the way the words link together as well as the rhythm and melody.

5. Now listen again without the lyrics. Do you understand the whole song now?

6. Time to sing. The best option is to memorise the lyrics and sing the song with the singers and later without them. If not, you always have the karaoke version.

7. If you really love singing and are good at it, why not join a choir? In Barcelona and other large cities there are English choir groups, and you may have the opportunity to meet English speakers. Win-Win!

If you want to know more about Personal Language Learning Strategies or improve your English pronunciation, feel free to contact me.

SEX and THE CITY

¿Con o sin subtítulos? La pregunta del millón

Me acuerdo de la sección con las entrevistas llamada S’ho fa con la Rosa (Se hace con Rosa / Sofa con Rosa), en Malalts de Tele (el programa de TV3 con Rosa Andreu y Toni Soler, 1997-2000), y la pregunta estrella para los invitados siempre fue “Las pelis porno, ¿Con o sin subtítulos?

Bueno, aparte de este tipo de ejercicio lingüístico, voy a dar unas recomendaciones a continuación para sacar el máximo provecho a los subtitles; con, sin y en qué idioma.

Primero de todo, si tienes un nivel muy bajo e intentas ver una serie o película hecha para nativos, no entenderás ‘ni papa’ y el vocabulario será poco relevante. Y si pones los subtítulos en inglés tampoco entenderás nada. Luego, si solo vas a leer, ¡compra el libro!

Si quieres verla en versión original para escuchar las voces reales de Benedict Cumberbatch o Sarah Jessica Parker, mírala con subtítulos en tu idioma nativo. Harías lo mismo en chino; sino ¡directamente en versión doblada (dubbed)!

Cuando ya empieces a entender mejor por tu trabajo previo con las noticias, podcasts y YouTubers en inglés y notes que vas subiendo de nivel poco a poco, ya es el momento de escoger una serie o película y probar a entenderla. Escoge series con un inglés más estándar si es posible. La serie que más alumnos de inglés eligen es Friends. Si crees que te gustará ¡Pruébala! Será por algo.

En este caso, es mucho mejor poner los subtítulos en inglés y empezar a ver la sincronización entre lo que dicen los actores y el guion. Si pones subtítulos en castellano solo vas a centrarte en traducir todo el rato.

Si has llegado a un nivel pre-intermedio o intermedio bajo puedes probarlo. No te frustres, porque solo vas a entender la mitad o menos al principio. Un consejo es mirarla durante 30 minutos y luego vas incrementando el tiempo que la ves en inglés.

 Me acuerdo de cuando empecé a ver las películas y series en francés. Al principio no entendía casi nada cuando hablaban, pero sí más del 70% cuando leía los subtítulos en francés. ¡No daba crédito a la forma de hablar de los franceses!  Y, poco a poco con mucha repetición y fuerza de voluntad empezaba a entender cada vez más.

Yo tomaba el tema como una oportunidad de aprender; no solo para “pasar el rato”. Apuntaba frases o palabras claves que no entendía que se repetían mucho en mi libreta incluso parando las escenas. Luego veía el capítulo una segunda vez ¡para disfrutarla!

No hay que entenderlo todo, es un proceso.  ¡No te rindas! Hay que tener paciencia y voluntad. Ten en cuenta que, si también escuchas las noticias y un podcast en inglés y ves tus YouTubers favoritos, suma y sigue.

Con la repetición de las mismas palabras y frases en diferentes contextos de forma frecuente (spaced repetition) empezarás a aprenderlas con su pronunciación.

Al final, cuando ya entiendas alrededor del 75% o más, será el momento de quitar los ruedines a tu bicicleta y disfrutar del viaje sin nada que leer.

¿Cuáles son los idiomas más fáciles de aprender para un hispanohablante?

Si aprendes o ya has aprendido el inglés (¿Qué nivel tienes?), ¿dirías que es un idioma fácil de aprender?

Si tu primera lengua es el español, y quieres añadir otro idioma a tu colección por placer o por añadir valor a tu CV, y buscas una opción fácil, a continuación, te presento una selección de idiomas que te podría interesar.

Las lenguas romances son el grupo de idiomas que más se parece entre sí y son los más fáciles de aprender por su cercanía al español, sobre todo a nivel de vocabulario.

En primera posición podríamos poner el portugués y el gallego. Dicen que la similitud léxica entre el español y el portugués es del 89%. Es fácil de leer, pero más complicado a la hora de entenderlo sin acostumbrarse. Personalmente encuentro el portugués de Brasil (brasileño) más fácil de entender.

Otro idioma de origen latino de la península Ibérica es el catalán, que comparte muchas palabras y la sintaxis con el castellano. También existe una influencia de nuestro vecino galo (una casa petita). Las dificultades principales son la pronunciación y la ortografía. ¡Me cuesta un montón escribirlo bien!

Una cosa que sorprende del italiano la primera vez que lo escuchas es que tienes la sensación de que lo entiendes bien. Y que es más fácil de entender que aprender por las diferencias de vocabulario y gramática. Sin embargo, sigue siendo muy cercano al español, y si uno se pone en serio a aprenderlo, puede llegar a un buen nivel en poco tiempo.

Algo más difícil es el francés. Como el catalán, la pronunciación y la ortografía es más compleja. En mi opinión, el francés es tan difícil de escribir bien como el inglés. ¡y eso es mucho decir! Por suerte, comparte mucha similitud entre el vocabulario y los géneros de los objetos. 

No podemos olvidar el romano, que también es otro idioma latino y se parece más al italiano en cuanto a la gramática. Sin embargo, ha recibido muchas influencias del húngaro y las lenguas eslavas que lo hace menos familiar.

¿Has considerado el tagalo? Es el idioma cooficial con el inglés que se habla en las Filipinas, y recibía mucha influencia del español, sobre todo el vocabulario, debido a que fue una colonia española durante 300 años hasta el 1898.

Entonces, ¿el inglés es mucho más complicado? Pues, por una parte, sí, porque es un idioma germánico, pero con la ventaja de que el sistema verbal es SUPER fácil (¡A qué sí!), y hay miles de palabras de raíz latina. Pero, cuidado, muchísimos son los famosos falsos amigos (Do you assist or attend a meeting?).

Para cualquier idioma, la facilidad de aprenderlo dependerá de la similitud de la lengua además de los idiomas que ya hablas, y por supuesto de tu motivación.

 En el caso del inglés la ventaja en España es la presencia del idioma en la escuela desde edades muy tempranas además de las fuentes de exposición que existen hoy día en la televisión como Netflix y en internet con podcasts, videos y cursos de inglés en YouTube a punta pala.

Para ti, ¿QUÉ IDIOMA ES EL MÁS FÁCIL DE APRENDER PARA UN HISPANOBLANTE?

Si quieres mejorar tu inglés o cualquier idiomas en el trabajo, ponte en contacto con nosotros.

info@idiomasadvantage.com

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?

Your career might depend on it.

A typical reply to this question in English is “How long is a piece of string?” That is, it depends. OK, some people are better than others, but nearly everyone can reach a C1 level. Do you live in the target language country? And if you do, do you speak to any of the locals? Do you immerse yourself in the language at home and use a speaking app?

In the business world, I’ve found cases of managers who needed a foreign language for their new role or because their local company had been taken over by a multinational. The normal reaction is, “Right, I need a high intermediate level… right now….no, tomorrow, no,YESTERDAY!” “Can you do that for me?”

We can’t learn the language for you, and the lesson to learn from this is that preparing for the future is essential. And if you have certain roles in a company, you should think through potential scenarios and the probabilities of needing English, French, etc. If you think you will, the best time to start learning isn’t tomorrow or yesterday, it’s TODAY.

About 5 years ago, I had a student in a class with a low intermediate level who predicted that his future role in the multinational would require him to speak Advanced English. He ended up being my most dedicated student in my 32 year career as a language trainer! He never missed a day, he did extra work outside class, and started speaking more English at work. 5 years later, he’d reached a C1 level.  True story.

According to James Clear of Atomic Habits fame, “Most big, deeply satisfying accomplishments in life take at least five years to achieve” He goes on to mention growing your business, writing a book, getting in great shape and cultivating a loving relationship. He could’ve added playing an instrument or learning a language really well.

In a previous article, I mentioned that many polyglots manage to learn languages to a B2 level in 2 years or less. However, not all of us have the time it takes to do this, although there are ways of organising your time which would make a huge difference.

The important take-away is that you need to accept that it takes time and dedicaton to reach certain large goals. Unrealistic expectations and demands will cause frustration and just distract you from reaching them.

Sadly, there are no shortcuts to learning a language well, despite the spurious claims of online courses. Like most things, you need to find motivation, create habits and add a good dose of will-power and dedication to get there.

Some languages will take you less time to learn than others. In my next article we’ll look at which ones are the easiest.

Meanwhile, if your future is looking international or global and you don’t have a sufficient level, START NOW, not in 5 years’ time!

To find out how to reach your language learning goals, contact us TODAY.

WORDS WITHOUT TRANSLATIONS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

In this article we’re going to look at 6 words that defy a simple one-word translation. This is often because of the peculiarities of the culture, the climate, the traditions or habits that are then reflected in the language.  

Hygge

This Danish term is all about finding cosiness indoors through a warm fire, blankets, comfortable (IKEA!) furniture, warm comfortable clothing, hot drinks and hot food, and the feeling that all that gives us. In English you’d say I love feeling warm and cosy on cold winter days. It’s closely related to the climate and way of life in Denmark. Let’s bring hygge into our lives!

Flygskam

Staying with our Scandanavian friends, it’s origins are in Flyg (flight) and Skam (shame), and describes “The Guilt of Air Travel”, which is ironic since Sweden is a country where people travel 7 times more than the world average! Sweden’s very own climate activist, Greta Thunberg,  may also be to blame for the popularity of this neologism.

Schadenfreude

This German word is used in English; by intellectuals obviously. There’s no English word for this term which means “to gain pleasure from another person’s misfortunes.” It could be a person you know who is more successful than you, and you dream of something going wrong in their life! Is it only Germans that get these feelings?

Ikigai

Moving away from Northern Europe we find the interesting Japanese word Ikigai. It’s usually translated as your ‘reason for being’, or raison d’être. ‘Iki’ in Japanese means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ describes value or worth. Therefore, your ikigai is your life purpose and what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day. What’s your Ikigai? Have you found it yet?

Trasnochar

This Spanish verb could be translated in English as stay up all night, or in informal English, pull an allnighter, but no single verb exists to express this. Does it have something to do with bars and discoteques being open all night? In my younger days in Barcelona I certainly enjoyed trasnochando.

Cherrypick

One of my most favourite words in English, which means to choose only the best of something and discard the rest, but also, to only pick the ideas that support your argument and ignore the others in a study, report, etc. Ask any politician about the secrets of cherrypicking. And, yes, you can pick cherries in England, but if you do, only choose the ripest, reddist, most delicious ones!

The fact that one language can express something in one word that another language needs two or more to say the same thing can lead to speakers of that language to think that their language is superior in some way.

However,  every language has words like these, and if you like one enough, then you can import it into your language directly as a loan word.  English does this a lot. And if yours doesn’t, well, C’est la vie!

What other examples do you know?

For an extensive list of untranslatable words from English to Spanish and visa-versa, check out my new book, coming soon!