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My five favourite language learning methods - Mis cinco métodos favoritos del aprendizaje de idiomas

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Decidí a escribir mi blog a partir de ahora en español también. Quizás a veces voy a escribir en otros idiomas también, pero en este momento español todavía es mi lengua meta favorita. Estoy segura de que voy a cometer muchos errores en este processo, pero aprendemos idiomas a través de errores, ¿no?

I decided to write my blog from now on in Spanish as well. I may write in other languages from time to time as well but Spanish is currently still my favourite target language. I'm sure that I'll make a lot of mistakes but we learn through making mistakes, right?

Recientemente me gusta usar Instagram para aprender idiomas y allí encontré el hashtag #languagefavefive de @bec_irregular.endings. El objetivo es explicar sus cinco más favoritos recoursos o estrategias del aprendizaje de idiomas. Leí los fave five de unos estudiantes y fue muy interesante que cada uno prefiere otros métodos. De todos modos, sin más preámbulos os presento mis cinco más favor…

Jamming in Greek

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Photo by Aleyna Rentz on Unsplash
I'm back to the Western social media after I spent one month in China without a VPN and therefore no access to Facebook, Youtube, Google, Wordpress based web pages and also my own blog. I was stuck with Baidu, Bing and Duolingo. Shortly before I left, I took part in a fun language challenge called Language Jam: http://languagejam.net/ by Lingudendron. It took only place for a weekend. Participants could choose if they want to learn a completely new language for one, two or three days. They could also choose if they wanted only a language with Latin script, only with non-Latin scripts or if they were open to every kind of writing system. I listed in the application all languages I have at least some basic knowledge and chose to learn a language with a non-Latin script for three days. Then the organiser of the challenge drew languages for all participants, the day before the challenge started. I didn't list Latin and Ancient Greek that I learnt …

It takes two to tango - About false and real friends - Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish (World Cup Challenge Day 2)

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Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash (Graffiti in Cairo)
So, yesterday (16.06.2018) was the second day of the World Cup 2018. The matches were Egypt vs. Uruguay (0:1), Morocco vs. Iran (0:1) and Portugal vs. Spain (2:3).
Egypt (Arabic) vs. Uruguay (Spanish)  Of all the countries participating in the World Cup I know the least about Uruguay. The only things that come to my mind are Montevideo, Luis Suarez and José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica. Mujica has a video column on DW world: Conciencia Sur. He speaks slowly and there are Spanish subtitles, so it's perfect for learners.
I know a little bit more about Egypt but of course, the usual pictures come first to my mind: pyramides, the sphinx, hieroglyphes and the pharaohs. Just clichés but not much about life in modern Egypt (apart from political developments in recent years of course). 
I tried to find something to connect Egypt and Uruguay and stumbled upon tango. Tango originated not only in Argentina but also in Uruguay and the m…

The World Cup Challenge

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Today, the 14th of June 2018 marks the start of the Soccer World Cup in Russia. I'm looking forward to exciting matches, I love learning languages, I'm interested in other cultures and I enjoy taking part in challenges. So, why not combine all of that and take up a World Cup challenge? Starting from today I want to post every day a couple of sentences in the languages of the participating countries, some fun facts about them and of course links to music and resources in those languages.

I know it's a tad crazy but I won't write whole essays but keep the blog posts rather short. And a lot of countries share the same official languages so I can group them together. My knowledge in the following languages goes from tiny little bit (Serbian), basic (Arabic, Portuguese) over intermediate (French, Spanish) to advanced (English).

Spanish: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Panama, Peru, Uruguay.

Arabic: Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia

French: Belgium, France,…

How to learn languages when you have no time at all

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Sometimes people ask me how I manage to find so much time for language learning. Honestly, I don't. I have a job and a family, am always busy and always tired. So, it's a constant struggle to make some time for language learning, especially because  I'm trying to learn several languages at the same time. But how to do that, if one has no time whatsoever? I can't give a definite answer to this because I'm still looking for an answer myself but I'd like to share some of my ideas and steps for getting more structure in my language learning.
1. Get your priorities straight There are so many things I'd like to learn but as my time budget is limited, I have to think about what's really important for me, right here and right now. So, the languages, I really want to make progress are Spanish, Arabic and Russian. I'm intermediate in Spanish and this is my focus language. I take classes, do a language exchange, record videos of me speaking Spanish, correspon…

Learning a language like a child

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This is a follow-up to my previous post Learning Shanghainese like a Child, in which I described how I learnt Shanghainese as an adult like a child. In this post, I'll elaborate more on why we don't learn languages like children as adults but at the same time on how we can adapt the language learning tricks of kids to our needs.

Many adult language learners dream of learning a language like a child again. It seems so effortless. Children seem to pick up languages quickly, learn to speak accent-free and just happily chat away. But in fact, language learning means a lot of effort for children. We just don't remember it. It takes a year until kids can utter the first words. Another year until they talk in simple sentences. By the age of four, they already have impressive linguistic skills but in general, can't read or write, still have pronunciation problems, and still make many grammar mistakes. When they enter school, they start to learn about grammar, finally acquirin…

小囡讲上海闲话。Learning Shanghainese like a child

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Often language learners hope they could learn a language like a child again. It seems so effortless and effective. Even though I don't agree with this view, and say that learning a language like a child is neither effortless nor effective for an adult, I, actually, did learn a language like a child as an adult: Shanghainese (Wikipedia article on Shanghainese). In this post, I'd like to introduce Shanghainese and my relationship with it and in the next post, I'll discuss my take on "Learning a language like a child".

Get a taste of how Shanghainese sounds on Wikitongues, a great site, where you can find recordings of an abundance of languages: Ivy speaking Shanghainese

I started to learn Shanghainese at the age of 31 when I moved to Shanghai for the second time. I stayed for five years and learnt the language in an immersive environment, my husband's Shanghainese speaking family, together with my kids. Ok, I cheated a bit. Before the birth of our first kid, …