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  • The Best Free Language Learning Apps in 2020

    Given the current situation, many of us have more time at home and on our own. You likely have a list of tasks you’d like to catch up on at home–cleaning, organizing, finally wheedling through that stack of books you’ve always wanted to get to… or maybe to finally start learning a new language. Or to just make the time to continue learning the language you already started.

    If that’s the case, you’re in the right place.

    Best Language Learning Apps

    Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to test out a variety of language learning apps and here are the best language learning apps I’ve come across during that time.

    Memrise — learn new vocabulary and basic grammar

    Memrise started out as a vocabulary learning app exclusively, but have since expanded. You can still use Memrise for free if you’d like to learn new words, but if you’d like to try out their courses, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription.

    That said, they’re still one of the best language learning platforms out there if you like to make and study your own flashcards (I certainly do). Using this feature is free as are the community decks.

    Try Memrise.

    Drops — learn thousands of new words

    Full disclosure, I work for Drops. But I was a fan of this vocabulary learning app long before I became affiliated with the company. I originally featured them in a post on language learning activities you can do when pressed for time, and it’s the only language learning app I currently use on a daily basis.

    You get 5 minutes for free every ten hours. It’s an engaging, fun, and visually-memorable way to learn new words in a language and build a strong foundation.

    Try Drops.

    Duolingo — pick up the basics of a new language

    Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning apps out on the market today. It helps you learn new vocabulary and basic grammar, though its methods are somewhat unconventional and there’s even a Twitter channel dedicated to it.

    Try Duolingo.

    Google Translate — get translations on the fly

    Google Translate is an incredible tool, even if it’s translations still have room for improvement. I use it in a variety of ways–to get quick translations to or from a foreign language, to scan text so I can import it into LingQ (see below), to test my pronunciation using the microphone tool… The options are endless.

    Try Google Translate.

    Clozemaster — contextual language learning

    Clozemaster is an app that uses cloze, another way of saying “fill in the blank” to help you learn a new language through context. They offer a wide range of languages–including languages like Breton and Croatian!

    Try Clozemaster.

    The Best Paid Language Learning Apps You Can Try for Free

    The following language apps require paid subscriptions but offer free trials so you can test them out.

    LingQ — read and listen to your new language

    LingQ is a paid app, but you can try it out for free on a limited basis. The free trial isn’t really enough to get a good sense of how LingQ works if I’m being totally honest. But I can assure you that it’s worth upgrading your account if it works for your budget. It’s one of my favorite language learning apps out there.

    Try LingQ.

    Pimsleur — build listening comprehension and speaking skills

    Pimsleur started out as an audio course that was pretty cost-inhibitive (around $350 per level). Recently, however, they introduced a subscription model that makes using this audio course much more affordable. It’s $14.95/month (at the time of writing), but you can try it out for 7-days before making the commitment.

    Try Pimsleur.

    FluentU — use video to learn a new language

    Want to dive right into native source material in your language? FluentU uses videos on Youtube in a variety of languages to teach you new vocabulary and phrases in a language. You can try it out with a 14-day free trial. After that, it’s $20-30/month.

    Try FluentU.

    March 17, 2020 • Uncategorized • Views: 310

  • How to Work as a Freelance Translator

    My new album “Back Again” is out and I am so excited! There will also soon be a Croatian version of the vocal song on the album, too.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    What’s Been Going On

    As I mentioned, I spent the beginning of the month back in Budapest, so prior to the trip, I spent some time refreshing my Hungarian. Beyond that, I continued to work on Hindi and German.

    And now you’re caught up!

    Last Clear the List Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // We didn’t actually make it to any classes this week, but I did have the chance to work on Chinese on a few occasions.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In June, we’re reading a history of the region, culture, or language that we are studying. I read this.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // There’s still so much to get through!

    Add1Challenge // I continued to learn as a part of Add1 and started my Korean Add1 as well.

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In July, we’re reading something about a language we’re not learning.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // So much more to learn!

    Add1Challenge // I’m still wrapping up my Hindi and German Add1’s soon and starting my Korean Add1.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using to Learn Croatian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hungarian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hindi:

    What I’m Using to Learn German:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    • Lots of books
    • Day-to-day interaction
    • Mommy and Me weekly classes

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    This month, I’m releasing my first solo album since 2012! I’ve worked on other albums and recordings under other names and as part of different groups, but this will be my first solo album since Behind Your Eyes. Working on this while keeping up my language studies was a challenge, but it taught me to really use those little waiting periods to the max.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList

    March 13, 2020 • Language Resources • Views: 168

  • BBQ Beef Baozi Recipe (Steamed Buns)

    Today I’m going to step outside of Europe for the first time as part of this series and take you to Asia! We’re going to do a BBQ beef baozi recipe (aka BBQ beet steamed buns).

    M and I often eat pre-packaged baozi purchased from the local market. I first became addicted to them while we were in Malaysia where they served them at our hotel. I had never even seen them before our trip there.

    Most of the baozi at our local market is made with pork filling and M doesn’t eat pork so we’re often limited in our choices. I didn’t realize just how easy baozi are to make on your own if you’re patient enough to wait for the dough to rise, but now that I do, we’ll definitely make these more often!

    BBQ Beef Steamed Buns Recipe | Eurolinguiste

    BBQ Beef Baozi Ingredients

    You’ll need a steaming basket and parchment paper to complete this recipe. This serves about 20 buns!

    For the dough:

    • 2.5 cups of flour (we used wheat flour but you can use all-purpose flour)
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 0.5 tsp salt
    • 1 pack of yeast
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 3/4 cup of water

    For the filling:

    • 1/2 lb of either ground beef or thinly sliced beef
    • green onion (to taste)
    • 1 cup of shredded cheese
    • 1/2 cup of bbq sauce (or more if you prefer)

    BBQ Beef Baozi Recipe, Steamed Buns

    Combine the flour, yeast, salt, baking powder and water in a large bowl. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. Place the dough in a clean bowl (with some oil spread across the bottom so it doesn’t stick). Cover and set aside for one hour.

    While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Slice green onion. If I am using thinly sliced beef, I first cut it into thin strips and then I sear it in the pan before mixing it with bbq sauce in a bowl. If I am using ground beef, I cook the meat completely before mixing in the BBQ sauce.

    Once dough has risen (after about an hour), flour your work surface and divide the dough in half. Roll out the first half and use either a cookie cutter or wide rimmed glass to cut out circles. Roll out the circles until they become thin.

    BBQ Beef Steamed Buns Recipe | Eurolinguiste

    Use a spoon to place the meat in the center of the dough. Add in cheese and green onion to your preference.

    There is a more traditional technique for folding the buns which you can find here, but I simply fold up the edges until they meet at the top and then twist the bun until it is sealed. Place a small strip of parchment paper beneath each bun.

    Bring water to boil in a small pot and place buns in your bamboo steamer. Steam on high (ten minutes for small buns and fifteen minutes for large buns).

    BBQ Beef Steamed Buns Recipe | Eurolinguiste

    Baozi Steamed Buns Making Tips

    Honestly, you can really put whatever you want inside the dough – pizza fillings, macaroni and cheese, and sandwich fillings (like a reuben or pastrami).

    You can also make peanut butter and jelly baozi! Or nutella baozi!

    If you don’t eat them all, wait until they cool and then freeze them for later! You can reheat them by steaming them for a few minutes whenever the craving hits.

    BBQ Beef Steamed Buns Recipe | Eurolinguiste
    BBQ Beef Steamed Buns Recipe | Eurolinguiste

    This recipe is an adaptation of this more traditional Nikuman (steamed bun) recipe at Just One Cookbook.

    Have you made steamed buns? What’s your favorite filling to put in them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

    gourmand-recipes-lg

    March 12, 2020 • Uncategorized • Views: 178

  • CLEAR THE LIST | MONTHLY LANGUAGE LEARNING STRATEGIES UPDATE | JANUARY

    In December, with the holidays, I enjoyed time with family at home. I continued to study Hungarian, but also returned to several of my previous languages. 

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Aug 29, 2018 at 11:01am PDT

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // We read together every night, so I’m always learning new words. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In December, we read a book about a language that we’re not learning. I went through my Tuttle phrasebook for Arabic once more to relearn a few basic phrases.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Did this!

    Add1Challenge // I studied Hungarian each day as a part of the Add1Challenge. I also published my Day 60 video (though I had recorded it early in Budapest.

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // I’m announcing next year’s reading challenge soon, so I’ll soon share what we’re reading in January.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I still have several hundred videos to watch.

    Add1Challenge // It’s the last few weeks of my current Add1Challenge and the first two weeks of my next Add1Challenge.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using to Learn Croatian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hungarian:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    • Lots of books
    • Day-to-day interaction
    • Mommy and Me weekly classes

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    I’ve mentioned it in a few of my interviews and live videos lately, but haven’t yet shared my big takeaway here. The last few months, my biggest takeaway has really been that my language learning habit isn’t the task, but the language itself. 

    Before I used the built-in streak tracking for many of the language learning apps I use and worked to maintain them. Because of this, my habit was using those apps. Lately, however, I’ve started exploring diversifyng my study methods and so now, my habit is spending time with each of my languages in some way as often as possible. The habit is time with the language, not a specific tool. 

    But because I like stats and keeping track, I still use something to monitor how frequently I’m studying. I discovered an app called Streaks that I use to track how often I study each of my languages. I really find it effective and enjoy it.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList

    Inlinkz Link Party

    December 27, 2019 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 129

  • Travel

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    indonesia
    singapore
    france
    eurolinguiste-italy
    china
    spain
    united-states
    eurolinguiste-caribbean
    malaysia
    canada
    ireland

    December 7, 2019 • Uncategorized • Views: 2

  • Best Gifts for Language Learners

    It’s holiday season and I’m sure your inbox has been flooded with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. How do you decide which tools are right for you with so many amazing choices?

    Here are a few of my favorite choices and some of the items on my holiday wishlist:

    Best Gifts for Language Learners This Holiday Season

    The Language Learning League

    For a few years, Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages and I have hosted Language Study Club—a monthly membership for language learners looking for new community, support, and creative new language learning strategies. In the coming year, we’re being joined by Kerstin Cable of Fluent Language and renaming the membership course The Language League.

    You can sign up for Language League at a discount here.

    The Fluent in 3 Months Bundle

    Fluent in 3 Months is currently offering 85% off their Black Friday Collection. This includes The Fluent in 3 Months Challenge, a 90-day challenge that helps you build the confidence and skill you need to have a 15-minute conversation in your new language (ps. I’m the Head Coach!). It also includes a Travel Hacking Workshop with Benny Lewis, Conversation Countdown, and Easy Languages. And it’s just $97! The Fluent in 3 Months Challenge is normally priced at $247 so this is a killer deal.

    You can sign up for the Fluent in Months Bundle here.

    Olly Richards’ Uncovered Courses

    I recently took Olly’s German Uncovered course and was really impressed not only with the amount of content available within in the course, but the quality of the content. You’re guided from beginning to intermediate, learning tons of important vocabulary and grammar along the way. It’s currently available for French, German, Italian and Spanish and is discounted 67%.

    You can sign up for the courses here. 

    Drops

    Drops is my favorite way to learn new words for many of the languages that I study (they have more than 35 languages available). You can spend just five minutes a day with the app and learn several thousand words and phrases.

    You can sign up for Drops Premium here. (Or if you’d like to get a gift for your friend, here)

    Language Learning Accelerator

    My course Language Learning Accelerator, normally priced $147 is now available for $97. It’s an in-depth course on time management and energy management in language learning. If you’ve ever felt that you don’t have the time or energy to learn a language, this course will help you discover you do, in fact, have both!

    Get Language Learning Accelerator 

    Pimsleur

    One of my favorite audio courses is put together by Pimsleur. I’ve used it for every language I’ve learned, especially because it allows me to make good use of all the time I spend commuting. They’re currently offering 50% off their audio program.

    Up to 50% OFF CDs + 25% OFF Digital with Code: BESTDEAL

    Language Learning Notebooks

    A while back, I designed these fun language learning notebooks. They make great, affordable gifts for language learners!

    Get the notebooks.  

    What about you? What’s on your holiday wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

    November 27, 2019 • Uncategorized • Views: 146

  • NEW LANGUAGE PROJECT: LEARNING HUNGARIAN

    Over the last couple months, I’ve been learning a language in secret. I recently revealed that language was Hungarian and now, I’m excited to share more details about this language project – the how, the what, and they why.

    But first, if you’re interested in following this project along, be sure to subscribe to the Drops blog! It’s where I’m sharing all my updates.

    Getting Started with the Hungarian Language

    Just over two months ago, I decided that I wanted to learn Hungarian.

    Why?

    Because I wanted to surprise my colleagues at Drops on our team trip. In November, we all met up in Budapest, Hungary and it seemed like the perfect occasion. Not only would I be in the country that speaks the language, but I’d also get to surprise the founders of Drops with their native language.

    I signed up for the Add1Challenge for motivation, keeping the details of my language a secret, saving my videos and updates for after the big reveal.

    In many ways, this project was different from anything I’ve done before. To start, it was a secret, so I was limited to how many people I could reach out to for help. Luckily, Benny Lewis over at Fluent in 3 Months completed a similar project – Hungarian in 3 Months. He and I chatted about language projects and learning Hungarian, and he offered me tips for filming the reveal in Budapest.

    Limitations Offer a Creative Environment

    One of the other things I really wanted to do with this project was change my approach. Lately, I’ve found a lot of success in the conversational approach and because of this, I’ve stuck to it for my last several projects. Getting too comfortable with a system or routine can cause learning plateaus and with a short-term project, that can be dangerous. 

    Rather than use all the resources, processes and methods I typically use when I start a new language (or refresh an old one), I did something different. 

    First, I limited myself to two resources – Drops and italki. I had originally planned to use three (a coursebook being the third), but ended up not using it. Doing this meant that I really needed to maximize my experience with the two resources I was using.

    I had to get creative.

    And that creativity not only led to several breakthroughs, but helped keep me from burning out during the time I spent studying.

    Second, I cut grammar out almost completely. During that time, I did not learn a single grammar rule. Instead, I studied tons of vocabulary and practiced the language with my tutor. In doing these two things, I learned some grammar through context without ever having to sit down and learn how to conjugate or use cases.

    Third, I took an almost month-long break in the middle of a two-month project. A few weeks before our trip to Budapest, I also had a trip to Shanghai, China for music. As a part of that trip, I needed to focus on preparing presentations in Mandarin and Japanese, so I had to step away from Hungarian until after I got back.

    Despite this break, I still successfully completed this project.

    Finally, I decided on every milestone I wanted to reach as a part of this project. There were eight in total. You can read about them more in-depth here, but here’s a quick summary:

    1. Learn 50 words in the first 3 days // This would get me access to the Drops Tough Words Dojo so that I could review challenging new material.
    2. Find a conversation partner // Having a date on the calendar would help keep me focused and on-track.
    3. Write my first script // This would help me navigate that first conversation. It included phrases and questions that I might need.
    4. Have a Hungarian lesson // I found a fantastic tutor on italki and ended up taking several lessons the week before the trip.
    5. Have an unscripted chat in Hungarian // Before I went to Hungary, I wanted to try to make my way through a conversation in Hungarian without the help of my script.
    6. Learn all the words in Drops // There were about 2,500 words in Drops while I worked on this project.
    7. Use Hungarian around Budapest // To get some practice in before the big surprise.
    8. Surprise the founders of Drops // The project conclusion!

    You can watch my project introduction video for more context:

    To Sum Up

    I plan on sharing updates for each of the milestones over on the Drops blog so you can follow along with my progress. Each post will include videos of where I’m at with the language as well as the exact steps I took to achieve each milestone.

    In the meantime, if you have any tips for me as a new Hungarian language learner or if you have any resource recommendations that you couldn’t have lived without, please let me know in the comments below.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Tips for Language Learning | Eurolinguiste

    November 27, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 97

  • Misadventures

    I am as guilty of wanderlust as anyone. I can scroll through travel photos on Pinterest for hours making plans for future trips, envying the exciting adventures of other travels. But the truth is, travel isn’t always wonderful and amazing. Like anything else, it has its ups and downs.

    I recently read this inspiring post from Creatrice Mondial about travel envy and I definitely recommend checking it out. As someone who’s always eager for the next adventure, I often forget to appreciate and explore what’s already around me. I also tend to forget about some of my traveling mishaps, and so,  I decided to share some of my misadventures.

    Please keep in mind that I know other travelers have had far more difficult travel experiences than I have and I am in no way making light of their stories. I have been extremely blessed to have mostly amazing travel experiences.

    1. That time I forgot my passport and had to pay a fee to reschedule my flight for the next day. When I first began traveling alone as an adult, I had to learn some things the hard way (including making sure that your passport is on your packing list). I can be rather forgetful and on this one occasion, I managed to leave my passport behind on a trip to Canada from the US. I ended up having to reschedule my flight because I couldn’t get back to the airport the same day. My friends had dropped me off and I had to call them to come back and get me. It was a pretty humbling experience.

    2. That time I got food poisoning. As a teenager, I visited Mexico with my parents via Club Med. We were staying at one of the resorts and even though we only ate at the hotel restaurants, I ended up with the worst food poisoning of my life. It was from eating a tomato/mozzarella salad. I still find it difficult to eat either of those things – for several years I couldn’t eat them at all.

    3. That time we only had 3 hours in our destination city. My roommates and I made a day trip to Scotland from Ireland and we decided to take the ferry. On that particular day, however, we were hit with pretty terrible weather and it caused delays for both our boat and our buses. By the time we got to Glasgow, we only had three hours to enjoy our trip before we had to make our way back to the boat.

    4. That time we were stuck in a 500 person village with no transport out. While living in Ireland, a friend and I decided to take a trip out to the Marble Arch Caves. Once again, due to the weather, they were closed and so we ended up stuck in Belcoo  (the buses only passed through the town 2 or 3 times a day). The street we were on only had two shops open – the market and the hotel bar. We ended up spending the day wandering around the village and consuming coffee and shortbread cookies at the bar.

    5. That time I had to trudge through a foot of snow with my body weight in luggage to the train station. I was scheduled to fly to California from Ireland for Christmas and the night before my flight there was a snowstorm. I had to walk through it to the train station (I didn’t have a phone and couldn’t call a cab) while dragging my enormous suitcase/sax/flute/backpack full of textbooks with me. When I arrived at the airport, we were told our flight was delayed. A few hours later it was cancelled. Then it was rerouted through Dublin so I spent nearly an hour in the snow waiting for the bus and then several hours on it driving down to Dublin. I finally got on a plane that was almost 8 hours after I was originally scheduled to fly back and I missed my connection due to the delays. The airline would not pay for a hotel so I had to camp out in a McDonalds with a coffee and my term paper until the terminals opened the next morning and I could check-in for my connection flight.

    6. That time someone tried to rob my mother and I on the train. They placed a map on our table to try to distract us with questions about directions while they tried to steal my mom’s purse underneath it. I had heard similar stories in the past and so I told my mother to grab her purse and wrap her arms around it in her lap. They ended up leaving almost immediately after.

    7. That time someone sat down at our table and began to help herself to our food. When I was younger, I was out at a restaurant with my parents. While we were eating, a stranger joined us at our table and began to eat some of our food, picking things off of our plates. While she did this, she went on and on about how great the food was at that restaurant and how gracious the staff. We thought we were being pranked, but it turns out we weren’t. She continued to hop from table to table doing this until the staff caught up with her and kicked her out of the restaurant.

    8. Mosquitoes. We got our fair share of them in both Venice and Malaysia and even with vaccines, our skin reacted to them far worse than any mosquitoes in France or the US.

    9. Chillblains. I am not a huge fan of wearing gloves and I paid for it while living in Ireland. If it’s cold – protect your hands!

    Regardless of however difficult some of my travel experiences may have been, I would do it all over again if I had the chance. Not only were they great learning experiences, but they also make great stories and great memories with friends. The friend who ended up stuck in the small with me and I often joke about our failed trip and it’s a great memory we share.

    These are just a few of my misadventures – I’d love to hear about some of yours in the comments! Maybe I’ll share a few more.

    October 27, 2019 • Travel • Views: 126

  • 5 Reasons to Speak Your New Language Even If You’re Shy

    Speaking is the best way to learn a language.

    How many times have you heard this advice? A lot, right?

    How many of you ‘know’ you should speak more but hesitate to do it for one reason or another?

    If you’re shy, like me, speaking is an enormous challenge. And more often than not, it’s all too easy to put off engaging with others in your new language. 

    But practicing your new language with other people has a huge number of benefits. Here are just a few.

    You get to hear the language how it’s really used.

    When you spend most of your time with language resources that are aimed at language learners, the language that you learn is just that – geared towards language learners. It’s usually incredibly polite, a little bit outdated, and rather limited. Real people are dynamic, they say the same things a lot of different ways, and are an amazing source of knowledge. 

    You’ll get insider tips on culture, on the colloquial language, and even non-verbal aspects of the language like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. 

    You can evaluate your weak points and strengths. 

    When you chat with a native speaker, you’re put in an unfamiliar environment. Your skills are really tested. You get the chance to evaluate what you most need to work on and what you do best. 

    Learning with a course is kind of like functioning on a closed track when driving a car. A lot of the real challenges are removed to create a “safe” learning environment. They’re designed to help you succeed in a specific scenario, but real life doesn’t work that way. When you work with a course it’s easy to think you know much more than you do because you’re getting all the questions right and completing all the exercises. 

    When you chat with real people, you get to work on the language in a new context and you can quickly pinpoint your weak points so that you can tackle them head-on.

    You get feedback on how you’re doing. 

    Ever wonder how your level in your target language really stacks up? Native speakers can give you an honest evaluation. They can let you know about mistakes you don’t even realize you’re making. But they can also let you know what things you’re doing really well.

    They can offer you suggestions to help you correct mistakes you’re making, whether you realize you’re making them or not.

    You get to practice speaking and train your muscles.

    Speaking requires training the muscles in your mouth and throat to work together to create the sounds needed to speak your new language. The more you speak, the more you train those muscles to do what they need to do. 

    You can get to ask all the questions.

    When you’re working with a set resource like a coursebook or audio course, you have to hope that it will at some point, answer your questions. If it doesn’t, it means that you have to try to find those answers yourself elsewhere.

    Practical Steps to Get Started

    Despite knowing all the benefits of speaking with native speakers, it can still be tough to take initiative and actually do it if you’re shy. And even if you’re not.

    You feel vulnerable. As though you’re not in control. And it can be scary. 

    That’s why it’s important to look for people to practice with in the right places. You want to connect with people who understand what it takes to speak your new language with another person. With people who won’t judge you for the mistakes you make. And with people who have the patience to help you sort a new language out.

    Not sure where to find these types of exchange partners? Here are just a few ideas.

    Find a partner on an exchange platform.

    There are lots of excellent language exchange platforms where you can find native speakers to practice with. These are fellow learners who understand exactly what you’re going through. How it feels to make mistakes. What sort of effort it takes to learn a new language. And who will treat your time fairly.

    Finding people like this is possible on language exchange platforms. They are fellow learners and they understand just what you’re going through. My personal favorite language exchange platform is iTalki

    Connect with a Language BFF

    Instead of a language exchange partner, you can connect with a study buddy or language BFF. This is someone you are studying the same language as, and together, you can compare notes, practice, and share your questions. If you’re not sure where to find a study buddy, as a part of an upcoming event (read below), we’ll help you find one!

    The tips in this article are just a snapshot of the benefits of taking a small step outside your comfort zone and the places to do it if you’re shy. 

    Where to Go From Here

    I’m sharing much more in my session at the very first Women in Language Camp on Saturday, November 3rd. It’s going to be an exciting event.

    The whole event is focused on the topic of community and connection, something we noticed got great feedback from the first Women in Language event back in March 2018. So we thought, why not dedicate a whole mini event to that exact topic?

    On the day, you’ll hear from me as well as my other two co-hosts of Women in Language, Kerstin Cable of Fluent Language and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages.

    Kerstin will be sharing her session Not the Only Linguist in the Village: How to Create Your IRL Language Squad and Lindsay will be leading her session Switch on the Community: How to Practice Your Language with People Everywhere.

    As well as the three main sessions, there’ll be the chance to ask questions and connect with other attendees in the final Campfire session and the Women in Language Facebook Group, which we’ve reopened for this event!

    Finally, if you purchase your ticket before October 30th, you’ll get paired with a Language BFF for the day. This person will be someone who studies the same language as you and who you can compare notes with as a part of the event.

    You’ll be able to secure your ticket to the main event in March too – but only during Women in Language Camp. A little heads up there.

    And the final thing I have to tell you is that the recordings of Women in Language Camp won’t be available to purchase after the event. Although if you get your ticket, you will get access to all the recordings. So even if you know you can’t make the live sessions but you still want in on the action, be sure to get your ticket now while you can.

    Ready for Camp? Get your ticket now.

    October 22, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 112

  • MARTIAL ARTS VOCABULARY IN KOREAN

    My new album “Back Again” is out and I am so excited! There will also soon be a Croatian version of the vocal song on the album, too.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    What’s Been Going On

    As I mentioned, I spent the beginning of the month back in Budapest, so prior to the trip, I spent some time refreshing my Hungarian. Beyond that, I continued to work on Hindi and German.

    And now you’re caught up!

    Last Clear the List Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // We didn’t actually make it to any classes this week, but I did have the chance to work on Chinese on a few occasions.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In June, we’re reading a history of the region, culture, or language that we are studying. I read this.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // There’s still so much to get through!

    Add1Challenge // I continued to learn as a part of Add1 and started my Korean Add1 as well.

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In July, we’re reading something about a language we’re not learning.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // So much more to learn!

    Add1Challenge // I’m still wrapping up my Hindi and German Add1’s soon and starting my Korean Add1.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using to Learn Croatian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hungarian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hindi:

    What I’m Using to Learn German:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    • Lots of books
    • Day-to-day interaction
    • Mommy and Me weekly classes

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    This month, I’m releasing my first solo album since 2012! I’ve worked on other albums and recordings under other names and as part of different groups, but this will be my first solo album since Behind Your Eyes. Working on this while keeping up my language studies was a challenge, but it taught me to really use those little waiting periods to the max.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList

    July 29, 2019 • Uncategorized • Views: 125