You know that practice practice practice is the best way to learn a language. But its definitely true that some ways of practicing the language are more effective than others. If you’re going to put in the time and effort to study your language, you want to use that time as effectively as possible. Latest theory is that learning new words and vocabulary in context rather than in isolation is the best way to expand your vocabulary. So does this mean that the use of flashcards is a bad idea? Should I stick to other techniques when learning a language? The appeal of flashcards Flashcards are appealing in that they give you a sense of making real, measurable progress in your language. If you studied 20 flashcards, then you feel that you have increased your vocabulary by 20 words. Whereas if you speak with someone in the language, read a text or review your grammar notes, then its harder to measure what exactly it is that you’ve achieved. Why you should avoid flashcards Flashcards are a great way of putting vocabulary into your short term memory. But that is the only thing they are great for. You can study a set of flashcards and feel you have learned the vocabulary on them, but if you put those flashcards away for a month and then come back to them, you will have forgotten most of the vocabulary they contain. Using flashcards is like cramming for an exam the night before – the knowledge goes in for long enough for you to pass the exam, but you will have forgotten it all six months later when someone asks you about it. Hopefully you’re wanting to be able [...]
What is a Conjugated verb? In a language class, your teacher might often use this word "Conjugation". So what is it exactly? A conjugation of a verb is when a verb ending or the verb in itself changes with respective to person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, or voice. A simple example: I sing, She sings, He sang, You were singing... Why is it important It’s beneficial to you to devote a lot of time to learning conjugations as it is absolutely integral to successfully understand and speak a foreign language fluently and effortlessly. Of course it is going to be hard, complex and might make your head spin thinking how and when to use which tense. But think about this, with a good amount of practice every day you are almost there already and the rest of the things can be easily learned. So handle it, and get it out of your way so that you don't feel stuck when you are having a conversation. How to practice Take it slow, be patient, and start from the commonly used verbs to the least, in order. Use verb drills, practice writing and revise conjugations in context 15-20 minutes every day and say them out loud. By doing so, you'll practice both your speaking and listening skills. Play verb crosswords, if you are learning French past tense, sing the DR.MRS.VANDERTRAMP while walking your dog at the beach. Click this awesome link if you want learn the Spanish verb Hablar as you sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RuevxWIoCM Don't forget - Handle it, get it out of your way.
When we first started working on the online learning project, we never expected that it would turn out to be such a huge success. We thank all our students especially those who burnt the midnight oil pushing themselves to learn through our Language Topics and Quizzes, and those who got up to the assignment level and successfully handed it over to our teachers for feedback. Though the Topics started right from the basics, “Greetings and Introductions” and difficult levels can only be unlocked after each lesson, we were really surprised when the advanced students took up the challenge, went on to learn new words even from the beginner level and submitted more elaborate assignments for review. A glimpse of Online Language Learning We all have a busy lifestyle, but how far are we willing to push ourselves to explore new things and to quit our comfort zone, is what defines us. When you are learning a new language, many things can come in the way, and if you work your way around it, you will see how beautiful and enriching experience language learning can be. We created online learning so you can take learning outside the classroom. It is available to all Language Hub students and is a free learning tool, so please make maximum use of it – Push yourself. Congratulations Congratulations to German student Michael B for being our 'top' online student. You're a star!
Language Learning Presents for the Year Ahead Its 2015 already. We hope you had a great Christmas and that Santa was kind to you. While you were away over Christmas Santa also brought us some great new books and learning resources that we're looking forward to making use of this year. Online learning And we've been working hard on a present of our own. Our online learning programme is now up and ready to go and will be available to all our students from the 12th of January - only one week to go. We're really excited about this learning programme, as now you'll be able to keep learning outside the classroom. A lot of you have been telling us that you want to keep studying and learning when you go home, but you don't know what to study. Online learning should be a big help to you here. You'll be able to access it from your hubspace account from the 12th of January. You can learn more about the online learning programme here. The video at the top of the page gives a small taster of the online learning programme. So here is a question for you: how do you say "how old are you?" in Japanese? Classes starting 12th of January The release of the online learning programme coincides with classes starting up again for the year. Monday the 12th of January is the big day. The time table is more or less the same as it was at the end of 2014, so unless you're moving up a level you can expect to come to class at the same time and day as you did last year. The exception to this is [...]
The beauty of language is that it isn’t static and rigid, it is flexible, keeps evolving, reinventing and redefining itself. As civilisation grows and expands, so do the words and expressions of a language. Neologisms, colloquialisms, slangs and jargons play a significant role in language evolution. As in any language, French has different registers and has a large repertoire of rich colloquialisms that never stop evolving. Whether or not to use colloquial French is totally up to you. But you need to understand it because you’ll hear it spoken between family and friends, in movies, songs, magazines and in the streets. Importance of Spoken French Let’s take a FLE student attending classes every week. They will study the pronunciation, grammatical structures and tenses, when to use formalities Tu and Vous, how to introduce themselves, ask for information and they can create lovely grammatically correct sentences in French. Once the student goes beyond the textbook environment, they will notice that people no longer sound like the audio CDs heard in class and will encounter a world of language that breaks the grammar rules, where language is far less structured. They might get their first taste of spoken French filled with word contractions, reductions, idioms, argot (French slang) and verlan (reversed words). Learning Formal French is of course the first and foremost step but understanding informal speech will help you understand language in a current way and save you a whole lot of confusion. TOP 3 Contractions: Tu + Verb beginning with a vowel: Tu in Tu as and Tu es contracts to T’ in spoken French. T’as compris? T’as reçu mon message? Also for example: T’aimes le dessin? Je + consonnant: Je becomes J’ Je veux [...]
Language exams are coming up for Chinese, French and German. Make sure you don't miss the registration deadline and miss out. Here's what you need to know: Chinese HSK exam: Register by: 14th September Exam: 11th October Cost: HSK 1 and 2: $50, HSK 3 and 4: $70 French DELF exam: Register by: 18th October Exam: 1st November Cost: A1 and A2: $95 German Start Deutsch exam: Exam is in November: date to be confirmed If you ware interested let your teacher know by end of October Cost: $140 (approx)
Learn a language well, and you can have a high level of fluency after as little as one year of study. Learn a language badly, and you can still be floundering over the basics after 20 years. Although living in the country and immersing yourself in the language is a great way to learn, some people still struggle to order a coffee after 20 years in-situ. So what is the best, most effective way to learn a language, and to ensure that your language learning has a successful outcome? The most important thing to know is that learning a language is NOT like riding a bicycle - if you don't practice it, you WILL forget it. How To get the most out of your language study: - Study and be exposed to the language everyday. If you are given homework in class, don't leave it until the night before. Do it little-by-little throughout the week. Ten minutes of study every day is better than 2 hours once a week. - Don't take a break from your study when your language school does. If your school closes for 2 weeks between terms and for 2 months over Christmas, make sure you don't. Keep listening to music, watching films, reading books and articles, practicing grammar exercises and reviewing vocabulary throughout the break. - Review what you have already learned again and again. Its not enough just to be able to recognise a word or grammar structure - you need to be able to recall it automatically and effortlessly in any situation. It is also important to know that the concept of good and bad language learners is basically a myth. Although some people may grasp grammar concepts [...]
You can learn a foreign language in two ways: 1. By immersing yourself in the language, and learning it through constant exposure and repetition (kids are so great at language learning because they are so great at immersing themselves, and at fearlessly jumping into a new language environment). 2. By having the structure and workings of the language explained to you (this is where us adults have a great advantage, as our adult brains can understand and apply explanations of how the language works, and this allows us to significantly increase the speed with which we learn the language) The 'best' way to learn a language (best = fastest, most efficient, most guaranteed, most satisfying) is to learn using a combination of both methods. This post helps you out with point 2, and tells you six essential grammar terms that will help you understand how any language in the world works. Verbs Verbs are the heart of any language and are the most important part of the language that you are learning. Whole sentences can be made out of a single verb. Eat. Drink. Be merry. Verbs are 'doing' words or 'action' words. Look, be, jump, contemplate, become... are all verbs Nouns Nouns are things. Nouns are things that are real and that you can point at (tree, mother, Julie, Christchurch). Nouns are also things that you can't point at (beauty, happiness, darkness, love). If you can put the word 'the' in front of it (in English) then it is a noun. Pronouns Pronouns are I, you, he, she, they, we, it, me, him, her, them, us, this (as in this is a pen). Pronouns are nouns, but instead of saying the actual name of [...]
Grammar can be your best friend when it comes to learning a new language. So if you start feeling a little queasy when someone mentions verbs, adjectives and nouns (let alone indirect object pronouns), then its time to learn all the ways that grammar can help you in your language journey. Grammar is there to tell you how the language that you are learning works. If you don't know the grammar of the language, then you will be forever stuck at the level of memorizing phrases and words. You will never be able to construct your own sentences if you don't know how the language works. As a New Zealander learning a new language, you probably are someone who never learned grammar in school (because we don't really learn grammar at school in New Zealand) and you've also probably never learned a foreign language before (other than counting to 10 in Japanese and learning a couple of Maori songs). But that doesn't mean you can't learn grammar now. Grammar is just words that describe how a language is put together. There is nothing scary about it and if you aren't afraid you can learn grammar very easily. But first, let me convince you why it's so important to learn the grammar of a language. Every Language Has Its Own Grammar This is a very important concept. A new language is not just English with different words – a new language has its own grammar and ways of speaking. In French and German, when you speak about things that happen in the past (I ate an apple, I watched television), then you use the "perfect tense" (the tense with HAVE in it: I have eaten an [...]
The classroom environment is a great place to test your language skills. In a classroom, you can take all the time you need, you can make mistakes, and you can relax knowing that the people in your class are experiencing what you are. The classroom is the place to practice, so you can go out into the real world with confidence. Some tips to make the most of your classes: Make mistakes Ask questions Learn from and help your classmates Practice at home and then take your questions to class Speak in your target language as much as you can Practice the art of "guessing from the context" (you don't know all the words - but you know enough to guess the overall meaning) - a valuable real-life skill Don't settle for not knowing. If you don't understand something ask for clarification, practice at home, ask for more clarification Relax and enjoy - no one is judging you Practice both accuracy and fluency Accuracy and Fluency: Two essential skills Learning a language means learning both accuracy and fluency. Accuracy means you never make a mistake - every sentence is grammatically correct, and your pronunciation is flawless. Fluency means talking a whole lot. It means talking about ancient philosophy, the rugby game on Saturday night, your secret fantasies and what you really think of your mother-in-law all without pausing for breath. In learning a language, you should work on both your accuracy and your fluency. As you are learning - you may find that if you speak in simple sentences you can be quite accurate. But when you want to discuss more complex topics your accuracy is lost. However, its better to be able to discuss [...]