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Dora M

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Everything posted by Dora M

  1. Don't feel intimidated by any language. In the beginning any new language sounds daunting. With the help of a friendly and competent teacher, or in a group, you might soon discover that everyone else has their trepidation about acquiring a new language. Simply stick with it, go with the flow, and find out which way of learning most appeals to you.
  2. The only way that you will improve your speaking skills, is to interact with German speakers, watch German movies, sing along with German songs. Basically, it takes some initiative on your behalf. The problem with tests in schools is that they are mostly academic. When you step out into real life and talk with Germans in the street, they might not exactly understand what you are talking about. That's why it is so important to learn and practice a new language the way it is commonly spoken on a daily basis.
  3. I wonder if there is anyone here who has experience with teaching business English. I have just finished my TBE course and am currently preparing myself for a career change. I would be interested to hear about your experiences and also grateful for any kind of TBE resources that you would like to share.
  4. That's a really interesting question. In my own case, I have noticed that after nearly 20 years of hardly speaking my mother tongue, I occasionally need to look up words in the dictionary. I wouldn't say that I have forgotten some of my native language, it's just that certain words have escaped me, as I don't communicate in that language on a daily basis.
  5. I have been watching Spanish movies without subtitles long before I actually started learning the language. As a matter of fact, I acquired a lot of basic Spanish in that way. It was like a game for me, trying to guess what the movie was about and what they were saying. Later, when I developed a good command of the language, it was even more interesting for me to follow movies, documentaries and news broadcasts in Spanish while I was till living in a country where they didn't speak Spanish. For me it was all about my personal interest in Spanish and my high motivation to learn it as quickly as possible.
  6. When I started learning Spanish, I always encouraged my Spanish friends to converse with me in their native language, but to help me along when I got stuck. I only ever got uncomfortable when I was presented with a question that I didn't understand and there was a long silence. But if I was given a little help to understand better, I felt good and confident to prattle along.
  7. It seems to me that language levels are mostly a hindrance when it comes to learning a new language. A lot of my new students approach me with a level of anxiety about their particular English level. They come to our institute, eager to attend the higher level English classes without wanting to cover the basics that they often require. So, I keep telling them that before they can walk, they need to learn how to crawl. In my opinion, the various language levels are obviously necessary to create an organised system of progress in learning, but they are overemphasized.
  8. Obviously, it's a fact that some people have special talents. I have come across a similar case like yourself. When I went to college one of the girls in my French class spoke French like a native without coming from a French background or ever having been to a French speaking country. Even our French teacher marveled at this. But the strange thing was that she was struggling with English. Her pronunciation wasn't the best, and she made many mistakes. So, I wonder if in a past life she had lived in a country where they spoke French.
  9. Hi Julia Lu, I have also been teaching people online for a while now. In fact, I have got an online business where I offer private tuition in English and German. There are plenty of people out there who, for various reasons, prefer to build their language skills in the comfort of their own homes. And I, as a teacher, enjoy the independence of my work. I have flexible working hours and can teach from anywhere in the world where I can get internet access.
  10. I am currently doing exactly that. I have been living in Latin America for a year now, and my focus has been on absorbing the rich Latin culture, immersing myself in every aspect of life here, without worrying too much about the many mistakes that I make when I talk in Spanish. The people here love it when I talk in their native language, no matter how false it sounds at times. They still understand me, and enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs.
  11. For many years I lived in a town called Mullumbimby, a name which caused a lot of hilarity among my friends overseas. The locals affectionately call it "Mullum". Visitors to our area often mispronounced the name of our town, but it has never been a big deal. I have an acquaintance who lives in a place called Whataknobby, and the people of that village have fought long and hard to change its name. From what I hear, they haven't had any success so far. Instead, they decided to make use of the unusual name and attract tourists to their place and boost their local economy.
  12. I have been learning Spanish for a while now, and 2015 is going to be a year in which I want to become a lot more efficient in conversational Spanish. I have enrolled in an online course, as I already have the basics. I just need to improve my grammar and build up my vocabulary. So, this year is going to be very Spanish for me.
  13. I also grew up bilingual, and the way I keep up my language skills is to communicate with my relatives and friends on a regular basis. They always send me plenty of material to read and explore, making sure that I am up to date with the latest developments in their life and country.
  14. How interesting. I have read about monkeys who can communicate with humans, using certain signs and noises. I have also read about parrots who have been taught to talk and express their feelings. I have no doubt that we can learn to communicate with all animals, without them having to acquire our language or sign systems.
  15. Academic English is something quite different to the English that is spoken on a daily basis by native speakers. I have encountered this problem many times. I have a Colombian friend who studied English for nearly six years at a university, and yet her English is quite bad. She was instructed by non-native teachers and has never had the opportunity to visit an English speaking country.
  16. The pointing approach is especially invaluable when you are teaching new vocabulary to young learners. But in my experience as a language teacher, I find that adults benefit from it just as much. When introducing new words and phrases to my class, I often bring images and charts along with me. It can be a lot of fun pointing at things and trying to explain them.
  17. I never play video games, so I can't really comment on this topic. But I have been using different types of foreign language software on my computer. One is in French, and another two are in Spanish. I have to say that I have gained quite a lot of new vocabulary and expressions from these programs.
  18. I still have trouble with "if I was" and "if I were". Who can explain to me once and for all when to use which?
  19. I tend to disagree with your teacher. I have been successfully teaching Spanish speakers how to pronounce English properly by explaining to them where to place their tongue and how to shape their mouth when saying certain words. Naturally, it takes a while, and some are more "talented" than others, but in most cases my students get it quickly, as they love watching me stick my tongue out and making funny faces. So, I would say it's not about the structure of the mouth, but rather the way how you move your mouth and tongue.
  20. No, I don't really have such a list. All I really want is to continue practicing and perfecting the 5 languages that I have acquired so far. Currently, French is my weakest point. I studied it for 3 years but due to a lack of opportunities to practice it, it somewhat withered, and I have some catching up to do.
  21. For me it will always be a real life teacher. Language learning apps have their place, but they can't replace a native speaker whom I can ask all kinds of questions when they arise, and who will be able to teach me correct pronunciation as we go along with our classes.
  22. I would say that it all depends on what you want to do or achieve in life. If you love travelling and getting to know different people and cultures from around the world, the more languages you speak the better. If you want to be a translator or work in a business where other languages are a bonus, you might consider acquiring at least one or two languages, in order to further your income. And, if are generally interested in languages for their own sake, then, obviously there is no limit.
  23. It all depends where you live. The closest country to where I grew up was Italy, but we spoke German in our region. Not many people in my neighborhood spoke Italian. Partially, because they didn't feel that they had much in common with the Italian culture, and also due to national pride. Yes, pride. It's a strange thing, but there are people all over the world who refuse to speak in any other language than their own.
  24. I think correct pronunciation comes with time and practice. French pronunciation is very distinctive and different from any other language. It has a lot of nasal tones and sounds that you have to produce at the back of your throat. This can be quite challenging in the beginning. But practice makes perfect.
  25. Most of my American friends lament the fact that they are only able to speak English, whereas most Europeans often speak two or more languages. I grew up bilingual, and later acquired another two languages in school. And two years ago, I added a fifth one to my "repertoire". I think growing up on a continent where almost every country speaks a different language, it seems quite quite natural that it leads to multilingual abilities, even if foreign languages weren't taught at school.
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