• Why Vocabulary and Grammar Aren’t Enough When Learning a Language

    It’s easy to think that if you spend enough time with your language’s vocabulary and grammar that one day, you’ll master the language. But a language is so much more than just words and grammar.

    And in order to effectively learn a language, you first need to learn how to learn.

    You can be the most dedicated grammar learner or have more points than all of your friends on Memrise, but memorization and grammar exercises are only part of the equation.

    Learning How to Learn Better

    When I first started studying languages on my own, the only way I knew how to learn was what being in a classroom environment had taught me.

    But there were a few small problems that equated to one big problem when I added them all up.

    You see, in the classroom, I studied material to pass a test. I did the exercises as homework because I received a grade for doing them. I knew what vocabulary to memorize because I had a teacher tell us which words to highlight and study each week in class. I knew how to prepare for dictation because it pretty much always covered whatever chapter we were on in the book. And I kept doing the work because my final score in the class was important for university applications.

    When I got out of school, I didn’t have any of that accountability. Neither did I have any of the instruction and guidance.

    I went to the store, bought tons of books and figured that working through them systematically chapter by chapter would be good enough. The book would tell me what to study, I’d study it and voilà. I’d know the language.

    Here’s where things got tricky.

    1. I never spoke the languages I was studying. So even though I knew a bunch of words and grammar, I never really got the chance to put it all together. Whenever opportunities to speak did come up, I failed miserably because I didn’t have any practice at it.
    2. I eventually burned out doing the exercises. No one was checking in on me, so it wasn’t long before I began thinking, “seriously, what’s the point?”
    3. Modern cultures and technologies change faster than most course books can keep up with. I was still learning about outdated currencies and music formats when streaming was the hot ticket.
    4. A lot of what I was studying was completely irrelevant for me. I wasn’t planning on buying train tickets or converting currency in the languages. I wanted to talk about music and video games and the books I was reading. But the material I worked with didn’t teach me how to talk about jazz improvisation, quests, or the mother of dragons.’
    5. I equated owning more books with knowing more of the language when really, I was just learning the same things over and over again in different books.

    I needed direction.

    Then I discovered the online language learning community. After years of reading what everyone was doing, seeing what worked and what didn’t, experimenting with things on my own and making a lot of mistakes along the way, I finally designed out a system that was right for me.

    It wasn’t easy. It was worth the work, but I would have loved to have figured it all out sooner.

    The Four (or Five) Core Language Skills

    Based on what I learned in school, there were only two things I needed to learn in order to master a language: words and grammar.

    But those two things are just a part of the bigger picture. Those two things need to be put into a larger context – the four core language skills.

    The four core language skills are: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. And together, they form your overall ability in a language.

    Actually, I’d add a fifth – cultural awareness.

    Without this, you cannot be an effective communicator. Even if you can read, write, speak and understand well, lacking cultural understanding will render you a poor communicator in your language.

    Now, these four or five skills, they’re super important. And words and grammar fit into each of these, but in a different way. And you have to work with them in those different ways to really make them your own.

    It doesn’t stop there, though.

    The priority that each of these core skills gets depends on what your goals are with the language. Your goals determine how you need to study a language in order to master it (in the way that you need to master it).

    For example, someone studying a language to be able to read Tolstoy in it’s original Russian will need to focus on a completely different skill set than someone who is looking to communicate with their Japanese family in Japanese. And someone who is learning Korean to sing along to and understand their favorite K-pop tunes, needs to focus on different things than someone who is moving to Italy to work in their company’s offices there.

    Each of these people can be fluent and can master their language, but what they need to work on in order to feel like they’ve mastered the language in the context that they need it differs immensely.

    There’s no one size fits all approach to learning a language.

    So just how do you go about figuring out which approach is the right for you?

    Figure Out What Your Goals Are

    The first step to really determine what you need to do as a language learner is sit down and have a think about what your goals are. What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish by learning your language? What would you ultimately like to do with the language?

    I have a post about goal setting that comes with a free worksheet if you need a push to get started.

    Join a Language Community

    There are tons of fantastic language communities around the web, as small or as large as you’d like them. For example, there’s the Language Reading Challenge, my Facebook group. It’s still relatively small, so you can get to know the other members and share your love of reading and languages. There are also forums, language exchange sites, and meet ups.

    Become a Better Learner

    There are a ton of incredible books, articles and courses out there that will help you become a better learner. They’ll help you figure out what tactics are right for you, how to fit language learning into your schedule, and more.

    Find a Way to Stay Accountable

    When you learn on your own, you loose a lot of the systems that help you stay motivated and accountable. This means that you need to figure out a way to keep yourself accountable on your own. There are useful apps like Askmeevery or Habitica that help you track your progress.

    Get All of The Above in One Place

    If doing all of these things separate sounds overwhelming, there’s another option for you: Language Study Club.

    Language Study Club is a community organised by myself and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages.

    Over the past six months, we’ve worked with a private community to build the course and now we’re ready to open up membership to the rest of the world.

    Each month, we focus on a different topic. That way, you can give one area of your language learning a lot of focus and room to grow. Plus, it’s a community so you have other learners there to support you, help you find your way, as well as Lindsay and I to chat things out with during the monthly Live Q+A.

    The best part is that by joining now, you’ll already have access to 6 months of content to dive deep with. These include:

    • Motivation
    • Core Phrases
    • Overcoming Reading Anxiety
    • Goal Setting for a New Year of Language Learning
    • Escaping Subtitles
    • and Time Management

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Every month, we add new topics. Some of those coming up include Learning Different Writing Systems, Sociolinguistics, and Learning On The Go.

    As a part of each month’s theme you get:

    • Week 1 – the Video Lesson for the month
    • Week 2 – the Workbook to help build on what you learnt the previous week
    • Week 3 – a Mini Challenge so you to put everything into practice
    • Week 4 – the chance to participate in a Live Q+A with Lindsay and/or me + other members of Language Study Club

    Additionally, you get access to the private Language Study Club Facebook Group.

    I Want to join Language Study Club!

    We are offering special rates to join this week only! At 11:59 pm on Friday night (March 30th, 2018), the price goes up.

    You can find more information about the special pricing and our bonus offers here.

    If you’re still on the fence (or if you’d just like some awesome and free language learning advice) Lindsay and I are hosting a free webinar tomorrow.

    You can sign up for the webinar here.

    March 29, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 387

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | April

    March was an incredible month. Not only did my most recent course with Fluent in 3 Months open, but Lindsay, Kerstin and I hosted the very first ever Women in Language event. And it was amazing.

    April has an entirely new set of milestones in store. A big one being the end of my second Add1Challenge and my intensive Japanese study. 

    What’s next? 

    Good question… Keep an eye out for an announcement soon!

    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 Mar 27, 2018 at 7:04am PDT

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Travel

    Doors & Doorways in Singapore // In this post, I continue sharing my adoration of beautiful doors around the world.

    The Hoover Dam // After a recent performance in Las Vegas, I decided to make a short day trip to the Hoover Dam.

    Language Learning

    100+ Useful Conversational Words & Phrases in Japanese

    All Documented Language Learning Projects // Recently, I realized that each of my language projects are scattered across Eurolinguiste, so I decided to gather them all in one place. As I add new projects, I’ll also add to this document.

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Yes! Lots of new vocabulary from my tutor and consistent study of my flashcards.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // Yes! I actually read, not a book per se, but on LingQ in Japanese. I finished two courses. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Slow but steady wins the race.

    Meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese. // Most days.

    Add1Challenge Month 3 // Yes! Now, all that’s left is my day 90 video.

    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 April, we’re reading a book written by a language blogger. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // But this time, my aim is to get through as many lessons as possible. It’ll be a great way to brush up my Chinese.

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese. // And if I have the energy, get back into some of my other languages.s

    Add1Challenge Day 90 Video // I’ll need to plan who I record this with and do it. Even though I have made a lot of progress, I’m still very nervous!

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap on the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

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

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Reading books written by French authors
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    • I am on a break from Korean

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    • None

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    That I just really love languages.

    I’m sure I’ve had this as a takeaway before, but every once in a while, I just get this somewhat overwhelming feeling – a good feeling – towards languages.

    I love everything about them.

    I love the process of learning them. I love the successes when they happen. I love using them. I love the people and the community that I’ve met because of them. I love the tools I get to use to learn them. I love the opportunities that they’ve given me.

    There’s just so much about them that at times, I just have to pause and think – wow. 

    Sometimes, I get frustrated that it took me so long to realize languages were my thing. If I had figured it out earlier, I would be so much farther ahead. 

    But then, I realize that I’m lucky I figured it out at all. The circumstances that led to that realization were really by chance. So for that, I’m grateful. 

    I’m also grateful for you for coming here, reading my posts, and sharing my love for languages. It’s really awesome knowing you all.

    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
    An InLinkz Link-up

    Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages #clearthelist
    <div align="center"><a href="http://eurolinguiste.com/tag/clear-the-list" title="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages"><img src="https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.68/0pl.7ab.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/clear-the-list-sidebar-1.jpg" alt="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

    March 26, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 45

  • The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada

    For the first time in my life, I stood in two states. Straddling the Arizona/Nevada border, I looked out at an incredible human construction, the Hoover Dam.

    I was driving back from Las Vegas after a performance, and decided to make a quick side trip. The Hoover Dam was only an hour out of the way and figured – why not? 

    I got out of bed early, checked out of my hotel, and jumped in the car. It was a little more impulsive than my usual travel plans, but sometimes spontaneous adventures make the best adventures.

    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste

    A History of the Hoover Dam

    The Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam built in the Colorado River’s Black Canyon, right between the borders of Arizona and Nevada. 

    Its impressive history begins with its construction during the Great Depression. Built between 1931 to 1936, there was no shortage of available work. During the tour, I learned that if a worker had to call in sick, they were quickly replaced by another person needing work. It was a demanding project and during a demanding time.

    Originally known as the Boulder Dam, it was renamed the Hoover Dam in 1947 after President Herbert Hoover. The renaming is not without controversy, particularly due to the costs building the dam incurred during its construction.

    In 1984, the Dam was recognized as a National Civil Engineering Landmark. 

    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste

    Visiting the Dam

    Exploring the dam is breathtaking. To see this impressive structure that was built so long ago and to realize that it was done without the aid of modern advancements is incredible. 

    The Hoover Dam offers two tours – the power plant tour and the dam tour. Because my visit was short, I opted to do the power plant tour. This involved a short film detailing the construction of the dam, followed by a short visit through the dam’s power plant. It takes about two hours to complete the tour.

    The tour was fascinating and I learned a lot. Seeing the inner works of the dam was interesting, and I highly recommend it. You can always explore the top of the dam on your own as well. 

    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste
    The Hoover Dam | A Day Trip from Las Vegas, Nevada | Eurolinguiste

    What about you?

    Have you ever indulged in a spontaneous side trip? Was it while you were at home or away?

    I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

    March 22, 2018 • Travel • Views: 62

  • Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language

    After studying Croatian, Japanese has been a big change. And not for the most obvious reasons. While the languages are very different in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and how far removed they are from my native language, none of these things are what made learning the languages difficult.

    With Croatian, one of my biggest challenges was finding resources, while with Japanese, there are plenty of tools to choose from. This meant that my biggest challenge was often figuring out which were the right fit.

    In the past, I’ve shared how too much choice can be bad news for language learners. Trying out different resources and never really giving yourself the chance to go deep with those that you use can quickly become a huge time suck.

    I want to save you some of that time, so as a part of my Japanese learning project, I want to share the resources that I’ve found value in. In doing so, I hope to help you more quickly discover the best Japanese language resources for you.

    The Conversation-Based Approach to Learning Japanese

    Japanese is the second language I’ve taken on where my focus is 100% on conversation (Spanish was the first). I plan to eventually dive deep with the language, but in contrast to the other languages I’ve learned, I’ve spent lots of time up front trying to speak and understand. Figuring out how to read and write is second, and so far, I’ve only picked up what I need in order to support my speaking and listening comprehension.

    So far, this approach has worked extremely well for me. After only a few months, my Japanese comprehension and speaking are at a much higher level than some of my other languages were after years of study.

    This means, that when I choose resources, I look for materials that help me develop my speaking and comprehension skills.

    This search led me to Olly Richards’ Conversations course.

    Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language | Eurolinguiste

    I Will Teach You a Language

    Olly Richards is the language learner, teacher and podcaster behind I Will Teach You a Language. He started learning languages at the age of nineteen, and has since produced a number of language learning products and articles teach other learners the techniques he’s developed along the way.

    Conversations is one of the many results of his experience.

    On his blog, Olly has shared his thoughts on how important working with dialogues is when tackling a language. In his words, “dialogues are a staple of language study”. https://www.iwillteachyoualanguage.com/studying-dialogues/

    Unfortunately, most course books bury these highly valuable dialogues in the middle of complex grammar explanations and other unrelated exercises. Not to mention, they’re often built around conversations you’re not likely to have and the language is often unnatural and not at all similar to how the language is used in everyday life.

    Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language | Eurolinguiste

    Conversations

    Conversations is a series of courses for Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and German. There is also a Cantonese Conversations, though this particular course is a little different from the others.

    Each of the Conversations courses includes twenty total dialogues, each between two to four minutes in length. Additionally, Olly includes is Listening Skills Masterclass, a detailed video on how to get the most out of the course (and become better at using audio resources).

    Each lesson includes a brief summary in English, so you get a bit of context before diving into the dialogue. There is then a vocabulary section, followed by an English translation of the dialogue.

    The dialogues within conversations are on a wide range of everyday topics that might come up when living in or traveling to the country where your target language is spoken. The audio is recorded by native speakers and is great quality. Plus, the voice artists speak at a speed that isn’t too fast or too slow. It’s just the right speed to push your listening comprehension.

    The attention to detail in this course is top notch. For example, even when you drill down into something like names of the characters, they are unique. Something that’s important so that you don’t confuse them as you’re working through the material.

    With Conversations, you really have everything that you need to do some intensive listening comprehension study.

    Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language | Eurolinguiste

    Japanese Conversations Review

    The course is definitely geared towards intermediate learners and requires that you have a decent reading ability in the language. It uses kanji + kana, but includes furigana. This can be a challenge to beginning learners, but my personal philosophy is that learning the writing system of a language is important. So this resource certainly challenges you to take that initiative if you haven’t already done so.

    When I first opened up the first Conversations dialogue and turned on the audio, I must admit that I was overwhelmed. With just shy of two months of Japanese under my belt, I didn’t understand the majority of the first lesson.

    Rather than set it aside until I had truly “arrived” at the intermediate stage, however, I decided to dive in.

    With a resource like Conversations, how you use it is pretty open-ended. Olly does suggest following his five step listening process, but with where I was at, I figured I could do more.

    I decided to work from the ground up.

    First, I went through the vocabulary lists at the end of each lesson, adding the phrases I found useful to my flashcards. I made a commitment to studying them daily so that they would become more and more familiar, breaking down some of the barriers between me and the complete dialogues.

    This resource is fantastic and definitely something that I can come back to as I progress in my Japanese studies. It’s definitely not a one-time use resource. As my level in the language improves, I can use this resource in a variety of ways.

    For example, I can use the course with the audio and the scripts together, alternating between listening to the Japanese while following along with the English or while following along with the Japanese. Doing these two exercises will boost my reading comprehension as well as listening comprehension.

    I can also try out the following practice:

    • Shadowing // While listening to the audio, I can read along out loud or just listen and aim to repeat what I hear.
    • Audio only // Listening to the audio alone without the aid of the transcriptions to test how much I understand.
    • Reading practice // I can use the transcripts alone to work on reading.
    • Transcripts + Audio // I can use the course as detailed by Olly in his five step method.
    Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language | Eurolinguiste

    Things That Could Be Better

    While the conversations are far more natural and practical when compared with more traditional course book dialogues, the vocabulary, at times, could still be a little more useful.

    For example, in the first dialogue, one of the characters (in the Japanese version of the course) is looking for a drill. For me, personally, this isn’t really a word I imagine myself needing to know in any language beyond English, so the character looking for a different item would have been more useful to me.

    There is also a lot of discussion about exercise. Tennis, muscle building, and running are covered across several different dialogues. And while I may discuss exercise every so often, having it covered this much seems a bit much for my personal taste.

    Conversations Review | A Look at the Course Series from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language | Eurolinguiste

    Things That I Love About Conversations

    It saves you from doing some of the “administrative” work. If you’re interested in working with audio, Olly’s saved you a ton of work by putting Conversations together. You no longer have to spend loads of time 1) finding relevant audio material; 2) having to isolate the useful dialogue from the rest of the audio; 3) transcribing it yourself or pay someone to transcribe it; 4) looking up the important words and phrases; and 5) having to have the work double-checked. Instead, you can focus on the important part – studying.

    The material will last you a while. If you really dive deep with Conversations, it’s learning material that can grow with you as your comprehension increases and the dialogues become more familiar.

    Stories stick with us. In the past, knowledge and lessons were primarily passed down through stories. Stories and poems were as memorable then as they are now. Because the dialogues are based on the stories of these characters in Japan (or wherever depending on the language), the material is more likely to stick with you.

    In Conclusion

    I’d love to see a version of this course built for those who learn languages from home. There is a lot of potential for a version of the course like this, particularly because the vocabulary surrounding language exchanges, Skype conversations, and getting to know someone from another country while at home would be useful to a lot of learners.

    That said, overall, Conversations is a solid product. It’s great for intermediate learners and ambitious advanced beginners. There are a lot of different ways you can work with the material, so even with twenty dialogues, you can get a lot of use out of Conversations. Recommended.

    Conversations is available for:

    March 19, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 963

  • Chinatown | Things to Do In & Around Singapore

    Located within the Outram district in Singapore is Chinatown, or 牛车水 niú chē shuǐ, as it’s known to locals. 

    The Singapore Chinatown is made up of four distinct areas, each developed over different times between the 1820s – 1920s. They are Telok Ayer, Kreta Ayer, Bukit Pasoh, and Tanjong Pagar. Each has its own history and is inspiring to explore.

    Upon exiting the metro, you’re greeting with a flurry of activity. There are shops, food vendors, and a mix of both tourists and locals. 

    We were hungry, so I stopped to get a pumpkin flavored steamed bun while my friend picked up dried meat. We split our food and continued to explore. 

    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    The shopping and dining options are almost overwhelming. As we passed shops selling books and toys, I was spoiled for choice and had to mentally calculate just how many books I could manage carrying back home for Little Linguist in my luggage.

    The answer? Not enough.

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Sep 26, 2017 at 4:52am PDT

    We did a bit of shopping. It was a great area to pick up gifts to bring back to friends and family back home. A sudden but short rainstorm interrupted our wandering, so we stopped in at a local tea shop for snacks and tea before heading back out. Thankfully, you could walk through many of the shops through a small covered hallway that ran between them, so we were able to continue browsing the local wares without being too bothered by the on and off rain. 

    Finally, after we had decided we had enough and that the day was well spent, we picked up noodles to take back to our hotel for dinner. 

    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    What about you?

    Have you explored an “ethnic enclave” in your travels?

    What did you think? What did you most enjoy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

    March 15, 2018 • Travel • Views: 64

  • All Documented Language Learning Projects on Eurolinguiste

    Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to complete a variety of language learning projects. I’ve documented many of these, but before now, they weren’t easy to locate of follow.

    Now, you can find all of my documented language learning projects in one place.

    Learning Mandarin Chinese to Pass the HSK 4 Exam

    Bonus: 100+ Conversational Words & Phrases in Chinese

    Learning Russian

    Korean Language Project with Lindsay Does Languages

    Bonus: 100+ Conversational Words & Phrases in Korean and Video

    Italian Language Refresh

    Learning Spanish

    Croatian for the Add1Challenge

    Bonus: 100+ Conversational Words & Phrases in Croatian

    Japanese for the Add1Challenge

    Bonus: 100+ Conversational Words & Phrases in Japanese

    Korean for the Add1Challenge

    What about you?

    I’d love to hear about your language projects in the comments below. 

    Tips for Language Learning | Eurolinguiste

    March 12, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 96

  • Doors & Doorways in Singapore

    Whenever I travel, I find that the things I photograph the most are architecture and doors. I never really considered myself much of an architechture buff, but when I look back at my photos, I find that I’m apparently much more interested in it than I realized. 

    It’s amazing what we humans can create.

    And there’s just something about how the creative and practical aspects come together in architecture that just fascinates me. 

    In Singapore, I was greeted with amazing architectural diversity. 

    There were the traditional Malay houses, the art deco influenced buildings, colonial civic, and even post-modern architecture. And something that I didn’t know, but learned after my trip to Singapore, is that much of the architecture is built with its tropical climate in mind. Rather than focusing on glass walls which trap heat, they aim to build sun-shielding living and workplaces. 

    You have everything from these epic skyscrapers to these gorgeous old shophouses. From traditional places of worship to distinctive structures like the Marina Bay Sands. Whether your eyes turn skyward or straight ahead, there’s definitely architectural eye candy within view.

    In particular, I enjoyed Singapore’s shophouses. Especially those near Orchard Road, one of the main shopping areas. And of course, as I’m sure you can guess, the doors and entryways to these homes really stood out to me. I loved the double door style most, but there were certainly other doorways that stood out to me during the trip. 

    Here are just a few of my favorite snaps of doors and doorways in Singapore.

    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Doors & Doorways in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    What about you?

    What are some of the things you most like to photograph when you travel?

    Do you enjoy architecture as much as I do?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

    March 8, 2018 • Travel • Views: 70

  • 100+ Useful Conversational Words & Phrases in Japanese

    Are you thinking about learning Japanese but find yourself struggling to find resources that help you start speaking?

    When I started out, I certainly did.

    Many of the tools that I found when I started learning Japanese were grammar-heavy textbook style resources and they didn’t offer me a lot in terms of day-to-day conversation. Rather than learning how to say “what did you do last weekend?” I had memorized a bunch of rules involving particles or sentence structure and I was nowhere near conversing with my fellow Japanese speakers.

    So I decided to put something together on my own so that I could feel more confident engaging in language exchanges.

    And today, I’d like to share it with you.

    In this post you’ll find a short selection of the 100+ conversational phrases and words in Japanese I have available as part of a downloadable PDF that you can get by entering your email in the box below.

    Happy Japanese language learning!

    Get your free PDF with 100+ Conversational Japanese Words and Phrases

    Get the PDF

    Greetings

    English Japanese Transliteration
    Hello/Good dayこんにちはkonnichiwa
    Hello (on the phone/Skype)もしもしmoshi moshi
    How are you?おげんきですか?ogenki desu ka?>
    I’m good.げんきですgenki desu
    Long time no see.おしゃしぶりですoshashiburidesu

    Basic & Polite Phrases

    English Japanese Transliteration
    Pleaseおねがいしますonegaishimasu
    Thank you so muchどうもありがとうございまdoumo arigatou gozaimasu
    Excuse meすみませんsumimasen
    I’m sorryごめんなさいgomennasai
    You’re welcomeどういたしましてdouitashimashite

    Get the Conversation Rolling

    English Japanese Transliteration
    Are you busy now?いまいそがしいですか?ima isogashii desu ka?
    What are you plans this weekend?こんしゅうまつよていがありますか?konshuumatsu yotei ga arimasu ka?
    How is your family?かぞくのみなさんわいかがですか?Kazoku no minasan wa ikaga desu ka?
    Tell me about yourselfじこしょうかいをおねがいしますjiko shoukai o onegaishimasu
    What do you think?どうおもいますか?dou omoimasu ka?

    Getting a Bit of Clarification

    English Japanese Transliteration
    How do you say that in English?それわえいごでなんといいますか?sore wa eigo de nanto iimasu ka?
    I don’t understand.わかりませんwakarimasen
    I forgotわすれましたwasuremashita
    I don’t know.しりませんshirimasen
    Can you please say it slowly?もとゆっくりはんして?moto yukkuri hanshite?

    Words About Time

    English Japanese Transliteration
    Every dayまいにちmai nichi
    Sometimesじじjiji
    Nowいまima
    Laterあとでatode
    Maybeたぶんtabun

    Exclamations & Transition Words to Take Your Speaking to the Next Level

    English Japanese Transliteration
    That’s a good questionそれはよいしつもんですねSore wa yoishitsu mondesu ne
    Alrightだいじょうぶdaijoubu
    Wait a momentちょっとまってくださいchotto matte kudasai
    Don’t worryくよくよするなkuyokuyo suru na
    Oopsおっとっとottotto

    Conversation Closers

    English Japanese Transliteration
    Thank you for your timeおいそがしいところありがとうございましたo isogashii tokoro arigatou gozaimashita
    see you laterじゃあまたjaa mata
    see youまたねmatane
    Goodbyeさようならsayounara

    *Please note that most of the above examples use formal language, assuming that you’re getting to know the person that you’re speaking with. 

    Get your free PDF with 100+ Conversational Japanese Words and Phrases

    Get the PDF
    Tips for Language Learning | Eurolinguiste

    Are you learning Japanese? What are some phrases that you’ve found useful in your target language? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

    March 8, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 5522

  • Clear the List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies | March

    This month, there is something happening that I’m so excited about. It’s… Women in Language

    I’m over the moon about it because: 

    1. It’s the first time I’ve ever organized a language event and the experience has been amazing.
    2. I’ve been able to chat and plan with two of my language besties (Lindsay Williams and Kerstin Cable) the last few months.
    3. It showcases more than 25 talented and inspiring female speakers.
    4. I get to spend an entire four days in March nerding out over language with some amazing people.
    5. And… you’re invited to join us.

    If you haven’t already picked up a ticket, you can check it out here. Plus, 10% of all proceeds go to Kiva, so you’ll support entrepreneurs across the globe!

    And there was one more item for me this month…

    My new course with Fluent in 3 Months, The Courage to Speak, opened. I’m excited to work with a new group of students!

    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 Jan 30, 2018 at 8:59am PST

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Travel

    14 Things to Do at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore // While in Singapore, I stayed at the Marina Bay Sands to experience as much as the hotel had to offer. And boy there was a lot. Here are just 14 of the things you can do.

    Gardens by the Bay // A beautiful area to explore in Singapore with two enclosed gardens and a skywalk.

    Language Learning

    The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Writing Systems // What I’ve learned about hiragana, katakana and kanji + a free worksheet to help you master the Japanese writing systems.

    Doing More in Your Studies with Less // Ways that I’ve minimized my language learning routines to get better results.

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Yes! I learned the words for almost every vehicle I could possibly think of because it’s a hot item on Little Linguist’s list. Now I need to work on sea creatures.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // Yes, February book read with review coming soon!

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I had another month where I added more than I watched, but it’s still a yes because I did watch a few videos.

    Read something in Chinese, French, and/or Spanish and Russian. // Yeah, no. But I did do some Japanese reading on LingQ, so does that count?

    Finish distilling my Japanese notes. // I used my plane flights to and from Texas to get this done!

    Add1Challenge Month 2 // January was my first month of the Add1Challenge with Japanese. I still have a long way to go to get to a 15-minute conversation, so I want to focus on this more in the coming month.

    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 March, we’re reading a translation (something translated into your target language). I’m still not anywhere near being able to read in Japanese, so I’ll probably choose something in Chinese.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I still have way too many amazing videos on my list. Like… 800.

    Meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese. // I’ll get back to reading in my other languages after this Add1Challenge is over. Speaking of which…

    Add1Challenge Month 3 // I’m starting to get into challenging territory with Japanese and if I weren’t doing an intensive language project, I’d probably take a brief break to come back to it with fresh eyes. But, with the Add1Challenge this isn’t an option, so it will be interesting to see how pushing through works for me.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap on the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

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

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Reading books written by French authors
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    • I am on a break from Korean

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    Resistance can be a positive thing. As I get farther into my Japanese studies, I’m experiencing some resistance and as an exercise, I’m reacting to it differently than I normally would. I haven’t gotten to the other end of it, so I can’t say what my results will be. But already, I feel myself overcoming some of the hurdles I experienced at this same stage with Korean. And because of this, I feel I might be ready to go back to Korean in the near future.

    You never stop learning about yourself.

    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
    An InLinkz Link-up

    Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages #clearthelist
    <div align="center"><a href="http://eurolinguiste.com/tag/clear-the-list" title="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages"><img src="https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.68/0pl.7ab.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/clear-the-list-sidebar-1.jpg" alt="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

    March 1, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 70

  • Join Me at Women in Language: A New Online Event for People Passionate About Languages

    As a musician, I’m used to being in circumstances where I’m the only girl. While there are more and more female musicians entering the ranks, it’s still pretty unusual. In a way, this has become “normal” for me.

    When I entered the language learning space and many of the well-known figures and speakers were men, it didn’t strike me as unusual.

    But much like in music, as I started attending more events, entering more discussion forums, and sharing what I do, I came to realize that there are a lot of women in language doing amazing things.

    Two of these women, Lindsay Williams and Kerstin Cable, have become close friends. And they too have met tons of inspiring polyglots, educators, and enthusiasts with incredible stories.

    So we decided to team up to give them a place to share their stories.

    There are a lot of conversations about language learning and teaching that don’t happen as often as they should.

    • How do you continue your language studies when you’re busy with kids?
    • How do you experience immersion when you’re studying a language spoken in a country where women’s rights are limited?
    • How do you stay motivated when dealing with something like postpartum depression? Or pregnancy fatigue?
    • How important are BOTH parents’ roles in a child’s language development (we usually only see one side of the discussion)?
    • How do you enter a sphere filled with those living a nomadic lifestyle? What about those with a 9-5? How are they fitting language in?
    • What do you do when your language exchange partners just all seem to want to hit on you?
    • How can you avoid feeling intimidated when you attend a language gathering or meet up and you’re the only female in the room?

    While these conversations do happen, in part, they’re often not easy to find. And when you do find them, if you’re anything like me, you’re afraid to join in or even initiate a discussion because you’re worried you’ll be judged or criticized.

    And when the conversation is mostly online (and with language learning that seems to be the case), things can head south quickly.

    Meet Women in Language, a New Event

    With Women in Language, our goal is to provide a welcoming community to bring conversations beyond where they are today. The discussions going on in the language world are fantastic, and our goal is to continue to add to them, bring in new voices, and take them to new places.

    We’ve chosen to do so with an all-female lineup of speakers. Not because we want to exclude men, in fact, men are very welcome at the event! But because we want to offer new perspectives, to give those who haven’t really had the chance to showcase their experience to do so, and to talk about language in new contexts.

    Because women’s issues are human issues. And topics that may have historically been reserved as ‘girl talk’, need to become just ‘talk’.

    Men are parents, too. Men are also present in settings where women are the minority. Inviting them in rather than isolating them would be a benefit to both. Not all men desire to chase after a nomadic lifestyle. And men play a critical role supporting their partners as they experience things like pregnancy, postpartum, and harassment.

    But even in the more traditional language discussions, women have a lot to add.

    As Lindsay said beautifully in her post, “Not every female around the world would feel confident enough to put herself and her language learning out there for all the world to see.” 

    So what exactly is this Women in Language event?

    Women In Language is a unique online event designed to champion, celebrate, and amplify the voices of women in language learning.

    This is a new event in 2018 so we’re really excited about the potential impact of Women In Language.

    We’ve gathered an inspiring all-female lineup of over 25 speakers who are experts from all walks of language life: polyglots, industry veterans, full-time world travelers, teaching experts, academic professors, and innovators.

    Presentations are themed on four key areas:

    • Starting Languages – perfect if you’re just in the early stages and need a leg up to learn languages better on your own
    • Mastering Languages – exactly what you need if you’ve already studied a couple of languages or one to a reasonable level and you’re ready to take things further
    • Living with Languages – a great range of presentations about language in your everyday life. From positive language learning for kids to living abroad
    • Working with Languages – curious about the various ways you can bring languages into your working life? There’s plenty here for you too

    Why should I attend this event?

    By attending Women In Language, you’re aligning yourself with a positive message that shows you support a diversity of voices in language. This is a strong message that can only have a ‘ripple effect’ to increase the diversity of public-facing language folk in the future.

    Secondly, all the presentations are live, not pre-recorded, meaning that you’ve got the benefit of being able to ask questions and share your own opinions and thoughts in the discussion for each presentation.

    Finally, you’ll also receive recordings of the presentations, a digital notebook for the event, and access to a private Facebook Group before, during and for 6 weeks after the event.

    And finally, with 10% of profits from ticket sales going to Kiva, a charity supporting international entrepreneurs, you know you’re helping aspiring entrepreneurs across the world.

    When is the event?

    The Women in Language online event starts March 8 and ends March 11. However, when you purchase your ticket, you get access to the video replays so that you can watch them at your convenience.

    Ok, I’m sold. How do I enroll?

    Click here to enroll and then here’s what happens next…

    1. You click “Register” above and are taken to the checkout.
    2. Once you’ve purchased your ticket, we’ll send you an email right away with details about the event and your free Women In Language Calendar so you don’t miss your favorite talk.
    3. You get ready to join us when Women In Language kicks off on 8th March!

    Is this event just for women?

    Nope! This event is for you if…

    • You are learning a language at any level (or want to) and would love to hear some expert voices discuss topics to help you go further and do more with your languages
    • You work with languages (or want to) within any capacity and enjoy hearing different perspectives and knowledge on working with languages
    • You live abroad (or want to!) and are keen to learn about the experiences and tips of others in your shoes
    • You want to learn from a broad range of female voices within language learning.

    I’m a man/gender non-binary/I don’t identify as a woman. Can I still attend?

    Absolutely. This is an event designed to showcase some of the many women doing many amazing things in the world of languages. That means that although the speakers are all female, the audience is definitely not. In fact, we encourage you to attend regardless of your gender. It’s important everyone sees how much awesome stuff is being done by women in language.

    What if I can’t attend the talks live?

    No problem! You will have lifetime access to all the talks after the event so can catch up as and when suits you. Also, before, during, and for the 6 weeks following the event, you will have free access to the Women In Language Facebook Group that will be a place you can ask questions to Kerstin, Lindsay, me, and even some of the speakers at the event. So you won’t be left behind!

    You aren’t going to just talk about kids and stuff, are you?

    Nope! Those were just examples of some of the discussions that are often “off the table”. We’re going to talk about all things language from a female perspective.We do have speakers who will talk about raising multilingual children, but men will find equal value in these lectures.

    Sign me up!

    Tickets for the 2018 event cost $29 and will only be available for purchase before and during the event. That’s just over a dollar per speaker!

    Oh, and it goes without saying, men (and anyone else who doesn’t identify as a woman) are not only welcome to attend Women In Language, but encouraged to do so.

    The event is of interest to anyone who loves language, regardless of your gender.

    To learn more about the presentations and the speakers, click here to get your ticket.

    See you there!

    TL;DR?

    Women In Language is a brand new live online event. Over 25 speakers. 4 days. 1 unforgettable showcase of awesome women doing amazing things in language.

    I hope you’re feeling inspired and looking forward to Women In Language! It’s going to be a blast! Have you got your ticket?

    Which talks are you looking forward to most?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

    February 26, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 78