Pronunciation problems…

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Believe it or not, when I’m not travelling or sunbathing I’m actually working here in Spain as an English language assistant. Last week I helped in a class based on pronunciation. The teacher rightly told the students that they can get by in England with a Spanish accent but they need to pronounce words more or less correctly in order to be understood. In English there are so many words that sound similar but can give completely different meanings so it’s important that the difference can be heard. There’s a ridiculous amount of these words if you think about it and for those learning English these words sound mostly identical, causing all kinds of confusion. For example, bird, beer, bar and bear all sound the same to many Spanish students. English is a lot tougher than we realize. Continue reading

Life as a Not-So-Novice

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427462050As every good follower of old fishwives’ tales knows, bad things happen in threes. Recently, I left my phone in Wales, left my keys for my room in France at home and then my bag fell off my desk and smashed my laptop screen into a spider’s web. HOWEVER, on a positive note I think I’ve used up pretty much all my bad luck for a good few months because everything else is going very extra well. Continue reading

A Couple of Hurdles

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Don’t worry, I haven’t actually started exercising or anything.

HOWEVER, the most common questions I get from my friends and family are related to that ever-present elephant in the room – the language barrier. Coming from a non language degree background it’s even a bit of a mystery to me as to how I’m doing this, but seriously why not just throw yourself in at the deep end from time to time? There’s no better way to be learn a language than to be immersed in it and I’d been learning (/attempting to learn) French for such a long time that coming on a year abroad was really a last ditch attempt at being able to communicate in the language.

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Language Learning Curves

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Today, I thought I would write about something which has long plagued anyone who studies a language – slip ups! I think that one of the most fantastic things anyone can do in a foreign country is have a go at the language. Whether you’ve been doing it for years or have found a couple of phrases in a guide book, just showing that awareness that not everybody on the planet speaks English is amazing. What’s more (and even better) is that everybody will make a mistake in which they use the wrong word or phrase, regardless of years studying! I have been doing Spanish for 12 years now and I still make the odd slip up, after which I pray for the ground to just swallow me whole, but the results of such blunders can be just as amusing as they are embarrassing. I have a few little anecdotes to explain exactly what I mean…

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