Monday, May 29, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of May 2017

It's that time again where we have a look at some of the best language content to hit our screens over the last lunar cycle.

This content comes from one of our favourite language sites. "Hello" and its equivalents in other languages are some of the most common words we use. However, we barely think about them. In this article, you can see their origins and what they mean.

Have you ever wondered why people say they're A2, B1, etc. when it comes to speaking languages? This is because of the CEFR Levels used to gauge language ability. In this article, you can find out all about them and how to find out what level you are.

This interesting radio broadcast talks about the Cockney accent, how it's disappearing, and why. A fascinating listen and something you can put on in the background while you work, too!

Why do the British hate Americanisms so much? It's kind of weird given how many of them are just English expressions that fell out of use. Additionally, there are plenty of Americanisms we use without even realising. This article has it covered.

Not sure what kids are talking about these days? Me neither! In this interesting article, you'll find out about some of the weird and wonderful words the youngest generation are using.

Though controversial, swearing can be a powerful thing. After an interesting psychological discovery, this author gives her thoughts on why swearing is so powerful.

(Source: Dan Chung/The Guardian)

Ever stood on a piece of Lego with no shoes on? If you didn't swear, I salute you. However, it might've been a good idea to do so since psychologists have discovered that swearing both makes you stronger and increases your tolerance for pain. Read more about it here.

Numbers 3 and 2 this month both come from Itchy Feet, a great comic about languages and travelling. If you're learning Spanish, you'll enjoy this one!

The second comic in our list from Itchy Feet is fantastic. Remember, confidence can go a long way when speaking a foreign language!

Since France headed to the polls earlier this month, it's no surprise this article made it to number 1 this month. It's surprising how many French words and ideas made their way into English political terminology. Find out more about it here.

Were there any interesting stories that we missed? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Vote for TLF Translation!

Today's post is just a quick message to thank everyone for their ongoing support. This year we've been nominated as one of the Top 100 Language Twitterers category in's Top 100 Language Lovers competition.

We'd really appreciate it if you'd show your support for us and our blog by clicking on the button below and voting for "TLF Translation".

Top Language Lovers 2017
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Or follow us on Twitter, here:

Thanks again for your ongoing support! Keep loving languages!

Monday, May 15, 2017

10 Ways to Dive into a Language Environment when Studying Abroad by Richard Nolan

Communication is a crucial part of our everyday living. Without communication, we wouldn’t be able to anything. Language is key when it comes to communicating. It’s therefore pertinent that we understand the language that we intend to communicate in.

At times, we find ourselves in an environment where we may not fully comprehend the language that people around us are using. It can be quite stressful since you can't do much and you end up feeling frustrated. For a student studying abroad, the feeling could be worse, especially if the language in which your teachers or lecturers are using is foreign to you.

Well, you needn't worry anymore. We're going to discuss some tips on how to learn a new language should you find yourself studying abroad. Different individuals have different learning styles. It's up to you to establish what works well for you. Check out these 10 ways and pick the ones that work for you:

1. Use Apps

The advancement of technology has brought about easy ways of doing and knowing things. This is mostly by the use of phone applications. There are a number of language learning applications like Duolingo and Memrise that you can use to learn new languages.

Some of these have audio so you have no excuse when it comes to pronunciation too.

This makes the use of applications a very easy method because you carry your phone around everywhere hence you can always have access to the application.

2. Take a Dictionary

This might look like an outdated and old-school way of learning a new language but it’s really helpful. Having a pocket dictionary gives you the ability to check any new vocabulary that you hear around and get to know its meaning. You can also use the dictionary to learn new words and even get to know how to use them in a sentence.

3. Enroll in a University/College Programme

Audio and online learning programs work well but they cannot be compared to a classroom setting. This is because there’s interaction in a classroom which makes it easy for someone to grasp a new language. Not all universities offer foreign languages but you can still apply for course in another university or college.

Learning a new language in college is interesting and interactive since you can practice what you learn with other classmates. The classroom setting also helps you learn quickly since you meet people who speak a different language. This will push you to use your new lingua franca. An added advantage of learning a new language in a university is that there will be up-to-date reference books available for you that you can use during your study.

4. One on One Learning / Private Lessons

The difference between a private lesson and a university lesson is the number of students involved and less of a classroom structure. In this case, the number of students will be minimal and instead of a classroom or lecture hall, a more informal setting will be involved.

The advantage of having private lessons is that they bring about the one on one interaction between the teacher. Therefore, the student can get all the attention that he/she might require. There is also some freedom that you don't get with a university class. The disadvantage is that costs more and you may not have up-to-date reading materials.

5. Buddy Programmes

Buddy programmes is more of an informal method of learning a new language. It involves an exchange of lessons with a foreign friend. This can be done online or you can meet up for a one in one session.

From this method, you can learn accents and slang of the language since you’re interacting with someone who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn.

This method is easier than reading from a book or listening to an instructor. Buddy programmes are free in terms of money but do cost a lot of time. This is because it’s a give and take situation where you also have to teach the other person your language and this requires a lot of patience.

6. Make Learning a Fun Activity

The conventional way of attending lessons, reading and writing may prove to be so boring and make you disinterested in learning the foreign language altogether. Well, the good news is that there are an unlimited number of activities that are enjoyable to engage in and that can assist you with your learning.

Frankly, there is something for everyone. For example, if you love listening to music, then you could learn a thing or two from listening to music in the language you want to learn. You could also watch a movie, go to football matches, concerts, play games etc. There are many things you could do.

7. Use the Language Whenever You Can

The trick to perfecting your language skills is to always practice speaking regardless of whether you’re perfect or not. That helps build your confidence and makes you more comfortable reading, writing, or communicating in the language. It’s crucial to be confident in your learning.

Always incorporating new vocabulary in your speech is an excellent way of learning a new language. Why? Because you get to familiarize yourself with how different words fit into different contexts.

8. Have a Go-To Place That Helps

We all have our favorite hangout spots where we go whenever we need to relax or get something to eat. These spots will help you familiarize with the people of the country you’re in while at the same time improve on your mastery of the language. If you go to restaurants or gyms, you’ll get to meet different people, listen to them speak and ultimately end up being fluent yourself.

9. Read! Write! Speak!

The only way to master any language is by constantly using it to communicate. Be it through reading, writing, or speaking. Reading materials based on the language that you’re learning is important as it improves on your understanding. Writing and speaking allow you to practice using the language. You get to understand what words are used under different scenarios.
You also get to identify what mistakes you’re making and work on improving on them.

10. Avoid Using English

English is more of a universal language, therefore spoken in a majority of countries worldwide. The problem with this is that if you study abroad, you may fall into the trap of using English and fail to learn the new language. Try to use the foreign language as it is the only way to learn effectively. If you insist on using English to communicate, then you may as well give up learning a foreign language.

Be careful of getting comfortable using English as you may end up not seeing the point in learning the language.

Learning a new language may appear to be difficult but it’s quite simple if you're dedicated. Passion and drive are very much needed. These tips will help you out. Write your daily schedule to incorporate the foreign language learning tips that you find will work for you. All the best!

Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of  writing, blogging, entrepreneurship and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, May 8, 2017

8 Tips for Those Who Find Learning a Language Difficult

Learning a foreign language can be really difficult. It's probably even more difficult if you're surrounded by gifted learners making it look really easy and speaking like it's their native language. Does it feel like you aren't progressing as quickly as you should? Are you desperate to become bilingual? Then here are some tips to help you!

1: Immerse Yourself

This doesn't necessarily mean moving to a country where the language is spoken! You can immerse yourself in plenty of ways. Here are a few that I find useful...

Put flashcards all over your house to help you learn new vocabulary.

Make sure your phone is in the language you're trying to learn. If you're like me, your face is probably glued to your phone most of the time. Consider it free language learning on the go!

Read the news in the language you're learning, listen exclusively to music in that language, and only watch TV and films that will help you.

You'll be amazed at the phrases and vocabulary that you'll learn by doing just a few of these. You'll probably also learn a lot about the places where your new language is spoken since language and culture go hand in hand!

2: Go To Classes

If you've been studying at home using things like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone but you've only picked up a few new words and phrases, perhaps it's time to learn a foreign language with language lessons.

While online language learning can be beneficial, signing up to language courses means you'll have a teacher in front of you who can help you grasp the grammar. Furthermore, learning a new language with others in a classroom can be a great way to meet people and have lots of fun!

3: Get a Private Tutor

If classes aren't working, then maybe you need one on one tuition. If you want to learn French. spending a few hours a week studying and practicing with a native speaker will help you develop your language skills on put you on the right track towards fluency.

Remember, you should always work with somebody who teaches, not just somebody who can speak the language!

4: Go To Language Exchanges

If you live in a large or diverse city where people speak lots of different languages, there'll probably be language exchanges where you can learn a foreign language.

A language exchange is where you meet native speakers of the language you're learning in order to practice. What's the catch? You also have to help other people learning the language you speak. They're great if you want to speak your second language at a conversational level!

5: Change Things If They Aren't Working

Are you doing all of the above and still struggling? If you've been studying at home, consider changing the resources you've been using and rediscover how to learn a language.

Have you been taking lessons for what seems like ages but still finding things difficult? You should tell your teacher or what you're finding difficult, they'll probably be happy to adapt their approach.

If nothing seems to be working, perhaps it's time to move to the country where the language is spoken. Personally, I find immersion the best way to learn a new language and if you're surrounded by it every second of every day, you'll be fluent in no time!

6: Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Every language learner is different and needs to go at their own speed. A lot of people who think they're struggling with a language. In fact, they just think they are because they're comparing their own language learning experience to others, often those who learn languages with ease.

Don't get demotivated by what you read online. Stories of people learning their first foreign language are rarely published. Instead, you'll read about somebody who was once a monolingual English speaker but now thanks to their special learning process, they've gained proficiency in Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, etc.

Just remember: These are the rare special cases, don't get demotivated by them!

7: Don't Dwell on Mistakes

When you learn a foreign language, you will make mistakes. In fact, people make mistakes in their mother tongue all the time, so they're even more likely in their second language. Use your mistakes to help you learn, not to tell yourself you're terrible at languages!

8: Be Proud of Your Progress

As I said at the beginning, learning languages is difficult! Every time you learn something, give yourself a pat on the back! Focus on the progress you make, rather than the journey you have ahead of you. This will help motivate you. If you're motivated, you will learn!

Do you have any other tips for those being demoralized by learning a language? Tell us your advice in the comments below!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of April 2017

There was some fantastic language content last month. Let's have a look back at the best language and culture content from the last month!

10 - How Do Babies Become Bilingual? on SciShow Pysch

While this is a psychology YouTube channel, this month it included some linguistics content. This is an interesting video about child language acquisition and how their brains work when they learn a second language. Watch the video below:

If you're struggling to learn French language and grammar, you should make your life a little easier with these fantastic tips from Benny the Irish polyglot! This article is highly recommended for any French learner but a lot of these tips could be used to gain proficiency in many different languages. Either way, you'll be fluent in no time!

If you're like us, you're probably already a self-confessed linguaholic. However, if you have any doubts, this article should clear everything up for you!

Since we love languages, learning them doesn't bother us. However, not everyone acquiring a new language finds it fun. In these instances, games can be a great way to make them enjoyable. Not convinced? If you want to learn a language or if you teach one, you should check out this article on Eurolinguiste and see how games are a crucial part of language instruction.

With the UK going back to the polls on 8 June, the political mud is being slung. Boris Johnson took one of the first swings by calling Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) "a mutton-headed old mugwump". But what is it? I have no idea and I'm a native speaker of English! Thankfully, you can find out in this article!

This article is great if you're learning the language of love and looking for more media. If your linguistic journey starts to plateau or your language courses need a boost, exposing yourself to media in the target language is a great way to gain fluency.

While there is no single answer, this article provides some fascinating insights into which languages might be easier for you to learn. If you're set on learning a new language, you should choose to learn a language from this article!

If English isn't your native language, this article's for you. Those of us who speak English as our first language love phrasal verbs and if you want to learn to speak the English language fluently, here are 5 phrasal verbs you should make part of your vocabulary.

In my opinion, this might be the most important language debate taking place in the UK. Like most English pronunciation, it depends on your dialect! If you're still wondering how to pronounce "scone", you should check this article out.

Finally, this month's most popular language content came from The Guardian. Bilinguals apparently find some of our ruder phrases easier to say. Why is that? Find out by reading this fascinating article.

Were there any great articles this month that our readers would love? Tell us about them in the comments!