Monday, January 14, 2019

Learning a Lingua Franca or a Niche Language by Sienna Walker

Which Should I Choose?

Learning a language is no small undertaking. Many people find that languages are one of the most difficult things to learn. The process requires a lot of discipline and retraining your brain. If you're going to learn a new language, you want to make sure that your hard work is going to pay off.

Most people who decide to learn a new language either want to learn a lingua franca (a common language that people speak to communicate with one another) or a niche language (a language native to very few countries and not often spoken outside of those countries). Learning either of them opens up new opportunities and deciding which route is the best for you largely depends on how you intend to apply this new language in your life.

Consider Your Passion


Some people learn a language simply because it's on their bucket list. If this sounds like you, it mightn't matter which type of language you choose. As long as you're motivated and have an interest in the language or choose a language that's commonly described as relatively easy to learn, you're setting yourself up for a smooth journey.

If you intend to use a new language to set up a new life in a new country or to properly appreciate the art and culture of a place, learning a niche language might be more helpful. Scholars of Japanese culture might as well master the Japanese language – especially if they intend to go to Japan for an extended period of time.

For a Career


Learning a new language to increase your career prospects is a fantastic idea. If you've ever had a look through online job boards, you've probably seen jobs asking for employees with language skills. When learning a new language for a career, both the lingua franca route and the niche language route are good ideas. It all depends on what you intend to do with your career.

International companies have a strong preference for people who are fluent in a lingua franca because these people can help bridge gaps and forge connections to strengthen relationships with overseas partnerships. People who speak a lingua franca can do more in more parts of the world.

On the other hand, people who speak a niche language are highly valuable when it comes to specific countries and are usually harder to find. If a company wants to open up a manufacturing plant in Hungary, they might need someone who is highly fluent in Hungarian, a language commonly considered to be “difficult”, to get the job done.

For Travelling


Travellers need to know how to communicate with natives in the country they're visiting. It's helpful when purchasing something in a store, ordering a meal at a restaurant, or securing accommodation for the night. It's necessary in case of an emergency. If you need to speak with local authorities or get help, you're going to have a difficult time if you can't find a common language to speak.

In most parts of the world, it's not hard to find someone who speaks English. After all, it's the most common lingua franca. Despite that, you don't want to take for granted that you'll be able to find someone who speaks English when you're in an urgent situation. It helps to keep a translator app on your phone for emergencies – or learn some useful phrases in that particular language.

Research the lingua franca languages used in areas of the world you intend to travel to. If there aren't a lot of English speakers, learn the lingua franca used in a given region. In areas like the middle east, Persian and Hindustani are widely spoken as second languages and native languages. Knowing these languages will make your life easier.

Why Not Learn Both? 


You don’t necessarily need to learn one or the other. There are instances in which knowing both a niche language and a lingua franca will help you cover all your bases. If you travel frequently or work overseas, it’s best to know as much as possible. There are numerous benefits to learning a second, third, or even fourth language. Communication is one of the most invaluable tools that human beings have. Anything you can do to maximize your ability to communicate is a worthwhile pursuit.

Sienna Walker is an experienced tutor, avid traveller, and a languages lover from Australia. She's passionate about self-improvement and is currently learning how to manage her travel finances through Brighter Finance. Whenever not working or planning another trip, Sienna is trying hard to pick up some new languages. She's currently focusing on Spanish and Norwegian. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Top 10 Ways to Improve your Spoken English at Home by Emma Simmonds

Knowing how to speak English correctly is really rewarding and usually, the learning process is also straightforward too. But then again, not everyone has the time and patience to sit in a language class or do an English course, even if they are driven to improve their English skills.

If you fall into this category, you should know that there are numerous ways you can learn English and improve your language skills from the comfort of your home. The best thing is that you can learn either with or without the help of a partner.

Below are ten great ways you can improve your spoken English at home.

1. Get a Partner


An easy way to learn and improve your spoken English at home is to start a conversation with someone who is fluent in the language. You could invite a friend or neighbour who speaks fluently over to your house. Of course, make sure that they understand your goals and have agreed to help. Otherwise, you are wasting time.

Can't find a partner to speak with you in person?

Not a big deal.

Programs and apps like Skype, Facetime, Facebook and even phone calls will make that possible. These technologies will allow you to speak with anyone from anywhere in the world.
Just make sure that you have a good internet connection so the voice would clearer.

2. Watch Television Shows


The more you listen to people speak a specific language, the better you'll get at it and the more your interest in the language will grow so if you want to develop your spoken English at home, start watching television shows recorded in the English language. You should start with cartoons as they're usually aimed at younger viewers and use simple grammar that's easy to grasp.

3. Find Friends with Similar Goals


Learning is simpler when you have a partner with the same interests. Both of you can motivate one another, swap lesson notes and set goals together. Also, during conversations, make sure that you speak only in the English language. You'll soon make a lot of progress.

4. Think and Speak in English


Whether you are at home, work, or a gettogether, always think about the new things you've learned and speak to yourself from time to time. In other words, think aloud in English.
Don't wait for someone to correct your mistakes. Just by practicing like this, you'll gain more confidence and be more comfortable speaking the English language.

5. Listen to Songs and Sing Along


Another effective way to improve your spoken English at home is through songs. You have to listen to them and sing along. While learning the lyrics may take some time, it'll worth the wait.
You can also learn with rap songs. Rappers use fast speed and stronger rhythm that will help you improve your fluency.

6. Write it Down


Take the time to write down the new words, sentences, and phrases you come across. This will help you improve faster. You can also try using them in sentences throughout the week. The idea is to continue using your new vocabulary until you get used to them.

7. Play Word Games


There are many word-related games you can play with other friends who want to learn English that are challenging and entertaining. Examples include games such as Boggle, Mad Grab and Scrabble. You will learn new words as you play and constantly be looking up new words in the dictionary.

8. Practice Tongue Twisters


Tongue twisters are words and phrases that even fluent English speakers sometimes find difficult to say quickly. An example is: "The sun shall soon shine." Try saying this quickly over and over.
Others could be longer though.

While you need to work on your grammar and fluency if you want to improve your spoken English, tongue twisters can improve your fluency and pronunciation. You can practice these regularly.

9. Don't Beat Yourself Up


Learning is a gradual process that also requires a lot of patience. It's good that you're eager to improve but you need also to take things slowly when you're a beginner.

Try not to get frustrated about your mistakes or how terrible you sound as you're still learning.
If you get confused at any point, try to relax and then think about how to make things clearer. You should also reduce your speed maybe that could help.

10. Read, Read, and Read Some More!


Read anything you come across that is written in the English language. Visit websites and read articles, journals, and books written in the English language. You should also consider reading aloud so that you can hear yourself.

It's not difficult to learn and improve one's spoken English. You only need to show commitment and be consistent in whatever learning process you are using to develop your skills. However, these ten different tips should help you improve your spoken English more quickly. You can use all of them simultaneously. Just don't forget to monitor your progress and focus on the one that is most effective.

Emma Simmonds is a passionate writer with an interest in custom writing. She loves to share tips and easy ways people can do things and achieve great results. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

7 Mistakes Language Learners Make and How to Avoid Them by Sara Williams

Learning a language is never simple and most people consider it a challenge. To get started, many people go on the web and read articles on how to succeed in language learning and then try to discover the best methods.

That's all well and fine, but can any anyone explain why such a significant number of language learning students don't achieve what they set out to do?

Why do they continue making the same language-learning mistakes again and again until the point that they, in the long run, give up?

What are these common mistakes that stop language learners achieving their objective?

Here are seven of the worst language learning mistakes and how you can stay away from them.

Setting Unrealistic Goals


One of the most widely recognized language-learning errors is trying to achieve an objective too quickly.

Making a few mistakes can severely hinder your chance of learning a foreign language. Think of learning a foreign language more like a marathon than a sprint. Persevere, research what you need to accomplish, and carefully consider how long it'll take you.

Train each day by making little strides nearer to your objective.

Using Only One Learning Method


Language learning mistakes are more common when you depend on only one learning technique.

There are plenty of ways to learn a language. Some people adapt their own strategies while others pick structured textbooks. You can also look for online mentors for help. Every one of these methodologies is fine, yet it would be a major mistake to only use one of them.

Since learning languages involves so many different skills to master, reading, writing, speaking, and listening, it makes sense to vary your learning approaches.

Avoiding Speaking


Even the most confident people can get nervous when it comes to speaking their new language. You can't just memorize lists of words. The more you talk, the quicker you learn. 

Not Listening Carefully


Before you can write or speak a language, you'll need to read and listen to your new language.

Music, films, TV shows, and digital broadcasts in the target language should be your new favorite resources when learning a language. Tune in as regularly as you can to media in your new language...

Not Adapting Your Learning Approaches


Not every technique will work for everyone. Pursue your interests while taking in a language to abstain from committing a similar language learning errors over once more.

Do you like cooking?

Learn local recipes.

Are you learning a language for work?

Adjust your learning to suit the field you work in.

Translating


When learning a foreign language, make sure that you understand it as it's spoken by natives. listen to local speakers and take on board when they explain how to use their languages,

Studying at the Wrong Level


One mistake you can make is thinking that the harder a course is, the better it is. At the end of the day, you should learn at a level that suits you. Don't make your learning process a nightmare.

Learning a language is very important in our globalized world. Although we now have access to many different sources, language learning is a challenge that many people still face.

Sara Williams is an editor, journalist, writer from San Jose. She likes to read the classics, travel, yoga. She spends almost all her free time reading. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Dispute between British English and American English by Eugene Eaton

Have you ever heard people arguing passionately about the smallest details such as auxiliary verbs or prepositions? How many times have you seen one person warning another for not using a proper grammar norm or pronunciation?

I bet it happens to you all the time! As a matter of fact, I believe this happens to everyone.

It seems like there are millions of language puritans all around who can’t stand people taking a single step away from the Oxford English Dictionary. They're the true followers of “genuine” English. They are the people who adore textbook rules and correct speech. Such folks enjoy making objections and reminding everyone to speak flawlessly.

What do they consider to be the proper English and what is the so-called correct version of English language?

My answer is  that there's is no such thing as correct English and that it’s just an imaginary construct that serves as the general outline for language learners.

Correct English Is an Imaginary Concept


I’ve seen so many people who live in the US who don’t understand the colloquialisms and local expressions. It’s just way too different from things they used to learn in school so they start complaining and saying that Americans can’t speak English properly. Rest assured this is mostly an excuse for individuals who are having a hard time improving English proficiency.

ESL expert James Hatfield says that the vast majority of students believe Oxford English is the single most important learning model:

“This is why they neglect the importance of all those other accents and dialects. I’m not saying that I don’t understand their problem. After all, it’s much easier to follow the textbook rules and expect everyone to speak the same way, but it’s simply not the reality.”

For instance, followers of the correct English movement object when you say: “I’m gonna grab a drink.”

They don’t recognise it as the textbook example so they automatically have a problem with what they believe is an unusual phrase. In other words, they label it wrong. There are tons of similar examples, but you get the idea

Grammar is not the only issue here. On the contrary, language puritans also pay attention to your pronunciation, and they're more than willing to make comments about it.

For example, they'll say something like this: “I went to Dublin last week and couldn’t understand a word they were saying! It’s not English! It's a completely different language!”

You don’t have to be a language expert to disprove their claims. All it takes is logical thinking to explain how things work in this field. Regardless of your mother tongue, I'm sure you can think of many regions or counties where people speak differently. It’s a matter of natural diversity, and that’s exactly what makes languages so beautiful.

For example, you can find maps online showing how Americans alone have 24 different English dialects - not to mention in the UK, Australia, or Ireland for that matter!

The illusion of correct English is probably the result of the mass media influence. People all around the world watch the same movies and listen to the same music so they start believing there are only two good options when speaking English – British English or American English.

Don’t Think about Correctness – Think about Usefulness


The reality, however, is totally different. Language learners should stop thinking about the correct version of English and begin focusing on how useful it is for them. The best solution is to practice conversational English in a real-life environment.

If you are about to spend the next five years in Ireland, why would you stick to Oxford English?

It would be both impractical and time-wasting. The same goes for individuals residing in the States, England, or Australia.


  • Spelling: colour (British) vs color (American)
  • Vocabulary: trainers vs sneakers
  • Grammar: at the weekend vs on the weekend
  • Past perfect/past simple: I’ve been to the vs I went to the…


As you can see, all these (and many other) differences are so minor that they really don’t make much of a difference to your everyday lives so you might as well pick the one that works for you.

The Bottom Line


Keep in mind that English – just like all other languages – is a means of communication. It's supposed to help you establish new friendships and professional relationships

So why would you use the kind of language that makes this process longer and more difficult?

If you want to start a new life abroad in the English-speaking country, you better prepare for it properly.

Ask yourself one question:

Will I look like a weirdo walking around with the Oxford English dictionary and speaking words no one understands?

Unless you are going to enrol in a prestigious prep school, the answer is probably "yes". Therefore, be ready to learn real everyday English. Pick a dialect that suits your needs the most and allows you to build a career in the local environment.

When you look for the studying materials online, don’t type in inquiries such as: Should I learn British or American English?

Instead, try to find resources that can teach you how to use the local dialect and understand the local accent.

You could even forget about all these differences and learn English as it's spoken where you are, picking up all the fascinating colloquialisms along the way. After all, it’s not a rocket science and not everything has to be by the book so feel free to learn your own way.

Eugene is an Australian-based blogger for UK Careers Booster who's into stand-up comedy. His favorite comedians are Louis CK and George Carlin. A good laugh in the morning is what keeps Eugene upbeat and motivated throughout the day.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Best Languages to Learn for English Speakers by Jack White

Believe it or not, English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Most of us are either native speakers or have learned it at a young age. Because of this, we don’t notice these difficulties due to the everyday role of English in our lives.

While being difficult for beginners, English is a gateway to learning other languages and mastering them with ease. As language enthusiasts, we’ve discussed this topic with many linguists and grammar experts.

After doing some research, we’ve determined that these nine languages are the best English speakers to learn. While some may surprise you, but all of them are useful and entertaining.

1. Norwegian


As surprising as it sounds, Norwegian is by far the easiest language for English speakers to learn. A member of the Germanic family, Norwegian shares many of the same grammatical mechanics and words with English.

The word order closely mimics that of English. An also interesting fact is that Norwegian has many different accents and there aren’t strict rules about pronunciation. Under the Vikings, Norwegians ruled England for a certain period of time so a lot of English words originated in Norwegian.

2. Swedish


Norwegian’s close cousin and Scandinavian neighbor Swedish is also incredibly easy for English speakers to learn and master.

First of all, Swedish and English share a lot of cognates. A cognate is a word that a language shares with another, mostly due to a common ancestor.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in a vibrant and interesting culture, Sweden is the country you want to focus on. Also, there are a lot of summer schools for Swedish learners of all levels.

3. Spanish


While we all know that Spanish has an incredibly wide reach and is practical to study, there are even more benefits. For a couple of centuries, Britain was ruled by the Romans. Most of the legal systems, the administrative rules, and even some towns are leftovers from that period.

The Romans spoke Latin, an ancestor of all Romance languages, amongst which we have Spanish. Used by many cultures, Spanish has a lot in common with English in terms of mechanisms and vocabulary.

4. Dutch


Because English is a Germanic language, it’s not surprising that Dutch is the 3rd Germanic language in our top 4. After German and English, it’s the third most spoken language in the family.

The shared vocabulary along with the similar grammatical characteristics is why it features in this list.

Why are Danish and German left out?

German has some of the most difficult grammar in the world and Danish pronunciation is even scary for some Danes.

Dutch is challenging, but more in an entertaining way.

5. Portuguese


One of the most popular languages for English speakers is, of course, Portuguese. Another Romance language, Portuguese is spoken by hundreds of millions of people in Portugal Brazil, the Portuguese port of Goa in India, and many other places.

The one thing to be wary of is that there’s a difference in dialects. At certain times, Portuguese and Brazilian people might not understand each other, but knowing one dialect will allow you to master the other. The cultural diversity is also astonishing.

6. Indonesian


Surprise! For language enthusiasts, Indonesian is a bit of an unknown. If you are proficient in English, you will find Indonesian a great choice. Most choose to learn it because it’s one of the rare Asian languages that use a Latin script.

Furthermore, 23 million people speak it so you can utilize it in the country any way you want. There are almost no grammatical rules. For example, you don’t have to remember cases if you want to use the plural – repeat the same word twice, and you’re good to go.

7. Italian


Even though isn't as widely spoken as Portuguese or Spanish, there are 63 million native speakers, plus even more non-native speakers. Perhaps the most enticing property of Italian is that it’s the closest living relative to Latin, mostly because it’s considered its direct descendant.

A lot of Italian and English words share the same roots while the grammatical rules aren't too hard. Additionally, you will get to experience one of the most amazing cultures in the world.

8. French


French is perhaps the favorite Romance language of all English speakers. Even though it’s not easier than the others, it has a distinct sound that gives the speaker a sophisticated sound. The Norman conquest of England resulted in English and French sharing many words.

Another benefit of learning French is that it’s spoken on every continent and by an incredibly large number of people. The easy vocabulary and an incredible culture make it a popular learning choice.

9. Swahili


A bit less conventional than other languages on this list, Swahili is an excellent option for those looking to learn something different. The easiest African language, Swahili shares a lot of words with English and is used as a lingua franca between different African tribes and countries.

Many linguists have concluded that it’s one of the most logical languages in existence. If you’re looking for an interesting cultural experience, start learning Swahili.

Learning new languages is a key factor in becoming a more knowledgeable and happier person. Getting to know different cultures through these easy languages is an incredible privilege and pleasure. If you want, you can combine several and challenge yourself like never before.

Jack White is optimistic that he will carry his past success into the future. He managed to work his way up from the bottom and today he is an excellent writer who also works at EssaysScholarAdvisor in the PR department.

Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Great Online Apps to Help You Learn New Words Every Day by Kate Khom

Learning a foreign language often takes a lot of time and money, but it also happens that we can find it difficult to reach fluency. However, with the help of dozens of different language learning apps, today we can independently learn foreign languages without going to language schools.

Different language learning tools can help you learn words, grammar, and phrases for free and at any time and at any place. In this article, we've decided to present you the 5 most popular language learning tools.

1. Duolingo


This app consists several levels that encourage learning words and grammar through the game where you can add friends and compete in the levels you need to complete. Since most courses are from
English, this app is best for those with a good level of English. However, more language combinations are being added all the time.

It begins by using text, pictures, and audio, and the main idea is to associate the sound of the translation with the visuals of the text and pictures. By completing every task, you’ll move on to more difficult tasks.

Advantages

  • The app works with Android, windows phone, iOS, and web so you can use it at every place and at any time you want. 
  • It offers 33 language courses.
  • There is also a school version of Duolingo and thousands of teachers are already using it to enhance their lessons.

2. Memrise


Memrise is an easy-to-use free language learning tool that supports more than 150 offline language courses. It uses pretty unique methods for learning new words and phrases by putting words into sentences which is a great way for building a connection between words and memorizing them.

Another of Memrise’s method includes mixing up the words in the translated text that helps you to playfully learn words by repeating them over and over again in different order.

Advantages

  • The app works with iOS, Android, and web, and can be downloaded in free or pro version.
  • The free version offers over 200 language combinations and ‘learn and review’ section, while pro version provides you beside previously two mentioned also the Grammarbot,  Pro Chats, Difficult Words Mode, speed review, Listening skills mode, video mode and learning stats.
  • You’ll learn the vocabulary that is relevant to your life, with courses from travel to business!

3. Babbel


A bit like Duolingo’s cousin, Babbel offers you 40 free classes and ways to learn phrases in one of 13 languages it teaches. Beside beginner’s courses, Babbel includes paid packages for improving grammar and vocabulary and provides you with the explanation pop-ups of the most important grammatical points.

Advantages

  • The desktop version includes interesting short cultural notes. 
  • It’s available for Android web, and iOS.
  • Their 10-15 minute bite-size lessons easily fit into everyone’s busy schedule.
  • Review section will reinforce you to memorize words by bringing it back in new contexts.


4. Bussu


Bussu is another free language learning tool available for desktop and mobile phone learning. It’s friendly, simple to use, and there’s even children's version available. It’s made up of 3 sections (lessons, practice, and vocabulary) that range from beginner and elementary to intermediate. It’s available in a free and Premium version (22 hours of Bussu Premium = 1 college semester of language study).

Advantage

  • It can work offline.
  • It offers you to get official McGraw Hill level completion certificates.
  • You can practice your spoken conversational skills with native speakers.
  • It offers 12 language courses

5. Rosetta Stone


This professional grade service for language learning offers a free app specially created for travelers who want to learn basic words and phrases. It consists of dozens of pictures connected to common phrases that are spoken in the language you learn and also provides you with a native online tutor support and different language learning games and community access.

Advantages

  • Includes 200 hours of interactive language learning content
  • Provides you with the help of native speakers in 30 languages
  • Offers pronunciation training
  • Works with Android and iOS
Language learning apps can definitely help people being more confident when using a foreign language. They are meant not only for beginners but also for those who want to improve their previous knowledge. Whether we talk about everyday life or business, languages present one the most important parts of our lives and connect billions of people from all over the World!

Kate is a passionate writer and blogger. She likes sharing her thoughts and tricks with readers. Currently, she works at hu.flatfy.com as the editor. Feel free to add her on Twitter!

Monday, October 1, 2018

6 Effective Ways to Learn a New Language by Irfan Ak

Whether you want to travel to a foreign country or want to add another bow to your résumé, learning a new language is always a unique experience. Gone are the days without access to resources and being unable to learn even the basic words of a language. It's easy now thanks to the technological advancements. If learning a new language is on top of your To-Do list then, then this article is for you.

In this article, we have 6 effective ways to learn a new language.

1. Make New Friends


If you are interested in learning Spanish, then you should look to join a community that people who speak the language. Don’t miss out on any events or special functions organized by that community as it can help you learn a lot. You can also physically meet someone you've befriended on social media in a bar or a café and have a casual chat with them. It'll be a great learning experience for you.

2. Travel

"Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative empathy and cultural outlook of children." - Michael Gove

There is no better way to learn a new language than visiting a country where the language is spoken. Like kids, you can learn a lot by hearing other people talk. You can learn to pronounce different words better and hear which words the locals use in their day to day conversations. More importantly, you also get a better idea of what each of these words means.

You learn about the culture, history and art of that particular country as well when you travel to that country. Talking to a native or learning from a native speaker is also a great way to master a new language.

3. Study Smart


“Work smart, not hard.” How many times you have received that advice? Countless, right but how many times you have followed this advice? Very few, right? 

If you want to learn a new language then, you should set smart goals, to begin with. Setting goals won’t be enough if you're not tracking your progress towards that goals. This is where a task management software can come in handy. Use best study techniques that not only speed up your learning process but also makes it easier for you to learn a new language.

Here are a few examples:

  • Use flashcards to learn new words and boost your vocabulary. See the translation in the dictionary then try to visualize and vocalize the word.
  • Incorporate gestures into your learning as your brain tends to learn faster when you use actions.
  • Use the word in your native language as it will make it easy for you to see the term in context.
  • Form a sentence including that word to help you integrate language learning into your daily life.

4. Use Mobile apps and the Internet


As mentioned before, technology has made it easier to learn new languages. Use apps like Duolingo and Memrise and other websites that learning languages a breeze. The simple and easy-to-use interface makes it easier for you to learn new languages. With flash cards and visuals, you'll never get bored of learning a new language with these apps.

5. Watch A Movie


Want to learn a new language from a comfort your room? Watch a movie in that language! Make sure that you watch it with subtitles turned on. When you see movie characters speak their native language and you see it translated into the language you know, you'll understand the meaning of words and learn new vocabulary. You'll also get a sense of how to string different words together to form a sentence. You should always consider watching a movie when it comes to learning a new language.

6. Listen to the Radio


Just like watching a movie, listening to a radio station in the language you want to learn can prove to be of great help in your quest to learn a new language. What’s great about listening to a radio station is that you can do it anywhere thanks to podcasts and radio broadcasts,  whether you're in your car or traveling on foot.

Write down new words spoken during a radio broadcast. You can also listen to the news in the language you want to learn. Nothing can give you a boost in vocabulary like listening to news does! This will really help you achieve a conversational level in your new language.

How do you go about learning a new language? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.

Irfan Ak is a digital marketing manager at Branex, a web design company in Toronto, and a guest blogger on various websites. He has created brand value for various brands.