Categories
mandarin

SUPER EASY to Speak Mandarin Chinese

The most important thing in learning Mandarin language is to have a teacher who can assist you.

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Categories
french

How to Learn French Efficiently – 12 Top Tips

Learning French, like any other new language, implies a lot of memorization, and often, as adults, our memory is not what it used to be. So what is the best way to learn French? These 12 tips will help you memorize new information longer, and learn French more efficiently.

Table of Contents

12. Always Study French with Audio

Let’s start with one truth that many French students don’t realise but which is key if you want to do more than just read novels or French magazines…

Written French and spoken French are almost 2 different languages.

There are many silent letters, glidings, liaisons, etc… and they are everywhere, including in French verb conjugations and grammar.

Picking the right audio tool though is essential: a French beginner will be discouraged with a French movie.

At that stage, French movies should be seen as a recreation, not a serious study tool.

Many students still learn French mostly with written material. The school curriculums insist on grammar and verb conjugations – the teachers don’t have a choice: they have to follow the imposed curriculum. Yet, if you want to learn French to communicate in French, you need to train to understand modern spoken French.

Picking the right French audiobook is your first challenge, and from your choice may very well depend the success or failure of your French studies.

11. Be in Touch with your Own Learning Style

Do you need to write? or do you need to listen? or do you need to read to learn things by heart?

Whatever the method you are using to learn French, make sure you adapt it to YOUR learning style.

This being said, studying French with audio is a must if you want to learn French to communicate: understand spoken French and speak French yourself.

10. Self Studying is NOT for Everybody

When it comes to learning languages, not everybody is the same. I’ve taught hundreds of students, and I can tell you from experience that some people have an easier time with languages than others. It’s not fair, and it’s not popular to say it… but it’s true.

It doesn’t mean that someone less gifted cannot learn French, but it means that self-studying is not for everybody.

Some students need the expertise of a teacher to guide them through their studies, motivate them and find creative ways to explain the same point until it is understood. Skype and/or phone French lessons can be a good solution.

On this topic, you may be interested in my article on how to select the best learning method and avoid scams.

9. Beware of Free

Nowadays everybody French learning website is offering something free. Free French lessons. Free tips. Free videos…

OK. I get it. Free is lovely.

However if the material is not good, then ‘free’ can be a total waste of your time. And your time is valuable.

Be particularly careful about social networks. It’s easy to get lost in there, and jump from one funny video to another. Yes, there are some really good free material out there – if you have not done it already, I encourage you download my free French learning audiobook.

However, if you are serious about learning French, at one point I suggest you invest into a reliable French learning method. And it has to come with solid grammatical explanations – very few people can master French without first understanding French grammar – and audio recordings featuring both traditional and modern French.

8. Translate French Into English as Little as Possible

When you are a total beginner, some translation is going to occur. As you advance in your French studies, try as much as possible to avoid translating.

Translating adds a huge step in the process of speaking:

Idea –> English –> French
versus just
idea –>French

It makes your brain waste 30% more time and energy and will fool you into making a mistake when the literal translation doesn’t work – which is unfortunately often the case in French!

So if you don’t translate, what should you do?

7. Link French to Images and Visual Situations, not English words

Try as much as possible to link the new French vocabulary to images, situations, feelings and NOT to English words.

For example, when learning “j’ai froid”, visualize that you are cold, bring up the feeling, not the English words “I – am – cold” – which won’t translate well since we don’t use “I am”, but “I have” in French…

And never change the English sentence to adapt it to the French – “ah, Ok, the French say “I HAVE cold”…

Let’s see what this does for your brain:

Maybe this sounds familiar?

It is MUCH simpler and faster to link the feeling of cold or “brrrr” = “j’ai froid”.

If you are doing flashcards to study French – which I strongly encourage you do – draw the word/situation whenever possible instead of writing English. Even if you are not a good artist, you’ll (hopefully?) remember what your drawing meant, and it’s much more efficient to learn French this way.

This is a very important point so I’ll take another example.

When learning French numbers, many students “build” them. They do maths. When they want to say ‘ninety-nine’ in French they think about what they’ve learned and remember this fun (or crazy?) logic ‘four-twenty-ten-nine’ and finally come up with “quatre-vingt-dix-neuf’.

Do you realise the time wasted?
Most French kids know how to count to 99 by age 6. Nobody ever told them about the ‘four-twenty-ten-nine’ nonsense! The only think they know is that 99 sounds like [catrevindizneuf]. They don’t know how to write it – and they don’t care!

Well, that’s how you need to learn French. Not like a kid – adults don’t learn like children. But by linking the French sounds to the notions, the images, the ideas. Not to the English words. Not to the logic. Not even to the grammar.

6. Be Careful With French Cognates

This is exactly why you should be particularly careful with cognates – words that are the same between the two languages.

Many students approach them thinking “ah, that’s easy, I know that one”. But then when they need to use that word, they don’t remember it’s the same word as in English…

Furthermore, cognates always have a different pronunciation, and your English brain is going to fight saying that word the French way.

I hear many students having a hard time with the word “chocolat”. In French, the ch is soft, as in “shave”, and the final t is silent. Shocola. Most French students wrongfully pronounce it “tshocolaT”.

Finally, there are many false cognates: words that exist in both languages but don’t have the same meanings (like entrée in US English (= main course) and entrée in French (= apetizers).

So, cognates need more of your attention, not less

5. Learn French in Sentences

Learn the new French vocabulary in a sentence. Like that you will learn “in context”, you’ll remember the situation and words longer, and you’ll already have a series of words that go well together handy for your next French conversation!

To learn French in context, I highly recommend you check out my unique downloadable French audiobooks, a unique French learning method illustrated by a novel featuring different speeds of recording and enunciation, featuring both traditional and modern spoken French pronunciation.

L1 + L2

À Moi Paris Method – Beginner

4.94 (235 reviews)

4. Make Your French Examples Close to Your Own World

Let’s say your teacher told you to write some sentences for homework – or maybe let’s imagine you are doing French flashcards.

You want to learn ‘red’ in French. Instead of writing down a common sentence like ‘the apple is red’, look for something red that personally means something to you, and write about it: ‘my dog likes to play with his red ball’. (my dog likes to play with his red ball).

Your brain will remember a sentence describing a truth or a memory much longer than it will remember a sentence of made-up facts.

3. Don’t Try to Learn Everything = Prioritize

Often, to make learning more fun, teachers try to present a text, a story. At least I do, as much as possible.

If your memory is great, go ahead and memorize everything!

But if it’s not the case, PRIORITIZE: what words in this story are YOU likely to use? Focus on learning these first, then revisit the story once you’ve mastered your first list.

The same logic applies to tenses: in conversation, most of the time we use the present indicative. So focus on the present when studying your French verb conjugations, and then move on to adjectives, essential vocabulary, asking questions, pronouns… things that will make an immediate difference in your ability to converse in French.

The French subjunctive can wait!

2. Study French Regularly, for a Short Time, not all in one Sitting

If you study French all afternoon,  chances are that you’ll exhaust yourself, and are much more likely to get frustrated, lose your motivation or attention.

Spending 15-30 minutes a day learning French – not multitasking but with 100% of your attention – will get you better results than two hours during the weekend with the kids playing in the background.

1. Review – Repetition is the Key!

This is probably the number one mistake students make.

They concentrate on learning new material, and forget to review the older one.

Rule of thumb: for each hour spending learning new things, you need to spend minimum one hour reviewing older things.

Repetition is the key!

I hope these tips will help you conquer the French language. I post new articles every week, so make sure you subscribe to the French Today newsletter – or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

If you enjoy learning French in context, check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation. 

This content was originally published here.

Categories
spanish

How to Learn Spanish or Any Language on Your Own While Traveling

Do you want to learn a new language to improve your traveling experience, but don’t want to spend money on classes or expensive language learning applications? That’s how I felt in 2019 as I embarked on my first big journey abroad to South America, without knowing a lick of Spanish. But I was determined to learn anyway.

When I got to Ecuador, I quickly realized that learning a new language would take more than just a Spanish phrase book and a few Duolingo lessons. Learning a new language takes immersion, regular practice, and — let’s face it — enjoyability. Otherwise it just feels like a chore. Over the months I spent in 2019 and even after I left South America, I incorporated many free and fun strategies into learning Spanish, which brought me to a level of comprehension that I’m now really proud of.

To be upfront, I did take a month of Spanish lessons while I was in Peru, which jump started my understanding of grammar and pronunciation. However, you can learn so much about a language using workbooks (checkout your local used bookstore), free online lessons, and a ton of the resources I’m about to share with you.

So if you’re like me and you want to learn a language while you’re traveling on the road, know that you’ve got loads of free resources and strategies to work with. Read on to find out some of the best ways to learn Spanish or any new language while you’re traveling.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Study verbs and vocabulary using the free Quizlet app. You can study word lists that other users have already created, or make your own. Practice your language skills using different modes: digital flash cards, matching games, fill-in-the-blank, and tests.

Use the Duolingo app to practice your grammar and new vocabulary everyday. The free version is fantastic, but the paid version has some nice perks including an ad-free experience, downloadable lessons for offline practice (great for traveling), unlimited skill test-outs (to skip to the next lesson), and unlimited health so you don’t have to watch a ton of ads in order to continue practicing.

Use the Drops app daily to improve your vocabulary. The free version allow you to practice new vocabulary for five minutes every day. The premium version allows unlimited practice time each day, is ad free, and you can choose to practice any section at any time instead of going in the app’s order. There is no grammar in this app, so use it as a vocabulary supplement.

Follow instagram accounts that share content in the language you want to learn. This is a fun immersion strategy. I follow several Spanish accounts on Instagram to practice translating everyday posts. Here are a few that I enjoy: @72kilos @culturapositiva @uychica @netflixes @lavecinarubia

Bonus App for Spanish Learners: Download the SpanishDict app, which is often more accurate than Google Translate. It also provides conjugation and sound bytes of all words in Spanish.

Language Learning with Audio

Listen to free audio language lessons via library audiobook or Spotify. You can do a search in Spotify by typing in the language you want to learn and then pasting in one of the following album recommendations:

Listen to Podcasts that teach you lessons or allow you to practice listening to stories in your desired language. Tip: If you listen to a podcast that is mostly conversational, slow down the playback speed to 1/2x in order to hear the words more slowly. I recommend these podcast series for Spanish and other languages:

Find or make a playlist of songs in the language that you want to learn. This is a fun way to incorporate immersion into your daily life, and find new music to love. I have a playlist of Spanish songs that I made on Spotify, but you can also find playlists on YouTubePandora, SoundCloud, or MixCloud.

Learn how to sing songs in the language you’re learning. Hands down, this is the top tip I get from people who have learned a second language. Make sure that you choose a song that you can listen to over and over again because you’ll be doing that a lot. Focus on pronunciation and understanding what the lyrics mean when you say them. You’ll learn more about flow and sentence structure in a fun way.

Language Learning with Video

Use YouTube to find free language learning lessons. It’s a great way to find grammar explanations, dialogue exchanges, and whatever type of vocabulary you’re trying to learn. If you’re learning Spanish, I recommend checking out The Spanish Dude. He’s great at explaining grammar.

Watch movies and TV shows in the language you want to learn, but use a strategy. Learning to read a language versus listening are two completely different things, and this method helps both types of learning. For example, if I was learning Spanish, I would first first watch a movie or episode with Spanish audio and English subtitles. Then I would watch the same thing a second time but with both Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles. I would also pause any parts that I don’t understand and take down notes for words or phrases to practice. Finally, I’d watch it for a third time with Spanish audio and no subtitles to try to understand as much as possible without reading.

Bonus for Spanish Learners with Netflix: These are some of my favorite Spanish Netflix series and recommendations: Elite, Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), La Reina Del Sur, Locked Up (Vis a Vis), The House of Flowers (La Casa de Las Flores), Siempre Bruja (Always a Witch), The Queen of Flow (La Reina Del Flow).

Language Learning through Social Exchange

Go to a language exchange meet up in the city where you reside. These meets ups are often hosted at bars or coffee shops. If you can’t find one in your area, consider starting your own! Here are two websites that I’ve used to find language exchanges in the areas where I’ve traveled:

Sign up for an online language exchange and practice with someone who speaks the language you want to learn. Warning: ladies, I‘ve heard that many men use these websites solely to meet women, so maybe consider only pairing up with other women. Here are some free and recommended language exchange sites: The Mixxer, Conversation Exchange, Easy Language Exchange.

If you visit a country that speaks the language you want to learn, commit to only speaking that language with locals. It doesn’t matter if you speak in broken pieces or if they can speak your native language. It’s all about trying and using what you know. You can’t improve your language skills without practice, no matter how painful in the beginning.

Language Learning with Pen and Paper

Keep a notebook of common phrases you’d like to learn, and practice those everyday. Start with phrases such as “How much does it cost?” or “My Name is…” and then work your way up to more complex phrases that would be helpful.

Regularly write about your day, stories you’d like to share, descriptions of people you know, the plot of your favorite movies, etc. Anything that will get you to practice words and phrases that you want to know in real life. Remember that the grammar doesn’t have to be perfect… you aren’t being graded, you just need to train your brain to start thinking, reading, and writing in a new language even if it’s not perfect!

Add sticky notes to objects in your home and label them in the language you are studying. This may not work if you are staying in a hostel or have a ton of roommates, but if you can get away with it, start in the kitchen by labeling things like refrigerator, oven, microwave, bowls, blender, etc. Then continue this in the bathroom, living room, your own room, or wherever you feel comfortable.

Tips for Learning a New Language While Traveling

In general, practice speaking out loud whenever you study your new language. Do this with your apps, audio lessons, and your notebook phrases. Pronunciation is just as important as any other element in language learning.

Some people will tell you that they learned a new language in three months. (They didn’t.) Some people will tell you it’s easy. (It’s not.) Some people will say that they just used one application and now they’re fluent. (That’s not truth.)

So be patient, don’t compare yourself to the progress of others, and most importantly, have fun with it. I love testing my progress by watching shows in Spanish and listening to new songs and writing to my Spanish-speaking friends in their language. The best part is that I can do this anywhere in the world as long as I have a connection to wifi. I’m so thankful for the digital age that we live in, which makes language learning a whole lot more accessible and fun!

What language do you want to learn? What have been your favorite learning strategies so far?

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Categories
english

Learn English Phrases: Let me go! Let me be! Lemme… – Espresso English

Hi students! It’s Shayna from espressoenglish.net and I’m here today to answer another question from one of my students. Someone asked about the difference between the expressions let me go and let me be – when do we use each of these expressions, and how are they different?

Let me go!

The phrase let go is used when you stop holding something with your hand. So if I’m holding this pen and I let go of it, it means I open my hand and I stop holding the pen. If I’m holding this whiteboard and I let go, that means I open my hand and I stop holding it.

So if someone is holding you, for example, a robber or just someone you don’t want to touch you, and they’re holding you physically, then you would say, “Let me go!” which means stop holding me. Stop physically restraining me.

You might also see “let me go” in movies when a criminal or a bad guy has taken someone captive and is holding them prisoner and the person who is being held prisoner might say, “Let me go.” It means release me physically or stop holding me. So let me go is physical.

Let me be!

Let me be is used when someone is bothering you or annoying you. So for example, let’s imagine I’m trying to study for a test, but my little brother keeps coming into the room and making jokes and asking me questions and making comments. I might tell him, “Hey, let me be,” which means, stop bothering me.

Another phrase that is probably more common would be, “leave me alone.” That also means stop bothering me or annoying me.

All right. So we have let me go, meaning to stop physically holding me, let me be, meaning stop bothering me or annoying me.

Let me… (Lemme)

And we also use, “let me…” in a couple other situations in English, for example, let’s say my friend is reading the newspaper and I want to check something in the newspaper. I might say, “Hey, let me see the newspaper for a minute.” That’s, let me see. Let me see the newspaper for a minute. In this case I’m using “let me…” to ask for permission. So it’s almost like, “Please allow me to see the newspaper.”

Of course, another way to ask would be, “Could I,” or “can I see the newspaper for a minute?” But when speaking informally, we often say, “Let me.”

And when speaking fast, we pronounce it like lemme. So my friend is reading the newspaper and I want to see the newspaper for just a moment. I would say, “Hey, lemme see the newspaper for a second.”

That example was literally asking for permission, but actually we often use let me or when spoken fast, it sounds like lemme, when we’re just talking about something we are going to do. So in that case it’s similar to “I will.”

For example, if my friend invites me to see a movie next Tuesday, I might say, “Let me check my schedule.” So I’m not asking permission for me to look at my own schedule. But I’m saying let me as a way to say I will. Usually, I will do this right now. So she calls me on the phone, she says, “Do you want to go to a movie next Tuesday?” And I say, “Ah, let me check my schedule.” That means I am going to check right now.

Or let’s say that two English students are working together and reading a text and they find a word that they don’t know. So one of them might say, “Let me check the dictionary.” Not asking permission, but just saying, “I will check the dictionary right now or in the near future.”

These are a couple of different ways that we use the expression let me in English.

I hope that answers your question! In native spoken English, there are a lot of these little expressions which might be confusing to you because you’re not sure what the context is. A great way to learn some of those expressions is inside my courses.

I have two courses that are specifically on . And so you can learn English from conversations between two native speakers and learn these little expressions, these informal expressions that we use all the time. I’ll show you how they’re used in context and then I’ll explain them to you so that you can better understand conversations between native speakers.

Thank you for joining me for today’s live lesson. I hope to see you inside one of my courses, and that’s all for now. See you next time.

Learn how to speak English in daily life!

This content was originally published here.

Categories
english

Learn English meaning of ‘Smoothies’ – Smoothies

Jessica:  So, Dominique, I am trying to incorporate smoothies into my daily regimen. But I don’t know if I like them.

Dominique:  They’re so easy to make. I have one every day. I get my essentials, my vitamins. It’s low calories. It’s just delicious.

Jessica:  I just don’t find them very tasty. Maybe, I need to get together with you, and we can look up some recipes because I feel like I’m not getting enough calories. I am so hungry after I have my smoothie that it’s not worth it.

Dominique:  But that’s the weight lost part of it. I mean, it fills you up, and you lose weight. Apples, carrots, celery… kale…

Jessica:  Do you use wheatgrass, too?

Dominique:  I do a shot of wheatgrass but not all the time.

Jessica:  That’s so scary to me. It really intimidates me.

Dominique:  You have to do it in a shot, and then you have to chase it with orange juice. It’s the only way.

Jessica:   That’s making my tummy turn. I don’t know if I can handle a smoothie a day.

Dominique:  I swear to you they’re tasty. Come over to my house. I’ll make one for you.

Jessica:  OK, that sounds like a plan. Sounds good!

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

How to learn French verbs in 5 easy steps | Learn French verb conjugations easily

How to learn French verb conjugations

Learning French verbs can be a daunting task, especially when you’re a beginner

French is quite different to English, in that there are many different verb forms that are used depending on who the subject of the sentence you’re saying is. These different forms are called ‘conjugations’.  

For example, in English, the form of the verb ‘to go’ is the same when you say ‘I go’, ‘you go’, ‘we go’ and ‘they go’. In French, on the other hand, the verb form (conjugation) will be different in each of these four examples. 

It may seem like there’s a lot of work you’ll need to do to learn French verbs. But there are some simple hacks you can use to ensure that learning French verbs is as smooth and quick as possible. 

Here they are! 

1. Learn about French verb types 

Your first step when learning French verbs and their conjugations will be to understand what types of French verbs there are. There aren’t too many types so don’t worry. 

The reason you should start with this is because when you know what type of verb a particular French verb is, you will know how to conjugate it (what form to use depending on whether you’re saying ‘I go’ or ‘you go’ – you get the gist. 

There are three main types of French verbs you will need to learn about: 

2. Learn conjugation patterns for regular French verbs  

Once you know that there are four main types of verbs in French, you will be able to move on to learning the conjugation patterns for each of the types. 

You will start with the first three types I outlined above, which are regular – the ‘er’, ‘ir’ and ‘re’ verbs. 

The patterns will allow you to understand what to do with a verb depending on who the subject of your sentence is. 

For example, when you’re using an ‘er’ verb, such as ‘jouer’ (to play), you will learn that in the first person singular, you just need to drop the ‘r’ from the end to create the correct form of the verb. So, this will be ‘je joue’ (I play). 

Once you know this, you will be able to take any regular ‘er’ verb and conjugate it in the first person singular. And once you’ve learned the pattern for all persons (you, he, she, we, you, they), you will be able to use any French ‘er’ verb in any sentence. 

Those patterns are incredibly useful. They mean that you don’t need to learn conjugating individual verbs and memorising their forms. You just need to learn the patterns and that will allow you to take any verb that fits the pattern and conjugate it based on that. 

I’m not going to go into the detail of the patterns because you can find them online, or you can check out some of the courses there are available, like the French Tense Master (a course about French tenses from the 5-Minute Language School), or Olly Richards French Uncovered course, which takes you from beginner to intermediate in French. 

3. Learn the most common irregular verbs 

Irregular French verbs are a bit more challenging to learn because they don’t follow the patterns I described above. That’s why they’re called ‘irregular verbs’! 

This means you will actually need to memorise the different forms of the verbs. Some of them will be similar to each other, though, which means that the more irregular French verbs you know, the easier it will be for you to learn more irregular verbs. 

The key thing to remember when learning irregular French verbs is to learn the most common ones first. So don’t be tempted to learn them alphabetically because you may end up knowing some verbs that are hardly ever used, instead of the ones you will need in every single conversation. 

Some of the most common irregular French verbs are ‘être’ (to be), ‘avoir’ (to have), ‘faire’ (to do), ‘aller’ (to go), ‘pouvoir’ (to be able to), ‘vouloir’ (to want). Learn them first become I guarantee you’ll need them in most sentences you’ll be using when speaking French.

Again, I’m not going to tell you what the conjugations of these common irregular French verbs are as they are easy enough to find elsewhere. 

But if you’d like a guided introduction to irregular French verbs, though, including how to use them in sentences in different tenses, check out the French Tense Master course that I offer as part of the 5-Minute Language School. 

Or, if you’d like to learn French verbs as part of a broader French course for beginners, Olly Richards’ French Uncovered course will take you from zero to intermediate – I highly recommend it. 

4. Learn French verbs in context 

This is particularly important so make sure you don’t skip this step when you’re learning French verbs and their conjugations. 

Whenever you learn a new French verb (regular or irregular), make sure you look it up in context – as part of a full sentence – and preferably in lots of different forms (how it’s used with ‘I’ but also with ‘you’, ‘he/she’, ‘they’, and so on). You will find examples of sentences in dictionaries so make sure you check in several different online dictionaries to get a good range of examples. 

Seeing the French verbs in context will help you understand how they should be used in conversations, how they fit around other French words, and how to use them to make sure you sound natural when speaking French.

Looking at lots of examples will also help you consolidate the French verbs you’re learning in your memory. 

5. Practise using new French verbs in speech 

Once you’ve done the step above – learned to conjugate a verb and seen a lot of examples of it used in sentences, you should start practising it in speech. Make up your own sentences and say them out loud. Write them down too. 

All this will help you memorise the verb more effectively and you’ll be more ready to use it in a conversation when you need it. 

I hope you enjoyed these five tips for learning French verb conjugations. Make sure you check out my list of French resources by clicking the banner below as well. Good luck! 

This content was originally published here.

Categories
english

How to stay motivated to learn English – Tip #1 – Espresso English

Do you ever feel sad and discouraged about your English-learning progress?

Do you sometimes find it hard to stay motivated, because learning English takes such a long time?

Are there days when you just don’t feel like studying?

If you’ve ever experienced these emotions, then you will really enjoy the lessons I have for you this month. I’m going to teach you 10 practical ways to stay motivated in your English learning.

This is a special series of lessons that isn’t specifically about grammar or vocabulary, but instead about how you can stay motivated and keep learning English, even when it feels hard. I’m making these videos for you because I want to see you succeed in your English learning, and these will be my top tips to help you keep going!

Before we get started with tip #1, I want to invite you to take some from my courses about speaking, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and more. You can try the free samples to see which one of my courses will be best and most helpful for you.

All right, get ready to learn how to stay motivated when learning English. Again, this is tip #1 of 10 that will be published this month, so stay tuned.

Tip #1: Be Encouraged – Your English Is Probably Better Than You Think It Is!

Unfortunately, a lot of English learners have a very negative view of their English skills. Do you ever find yourself saying or thinking things like…

“My English is probably full of mistakes.”

“I’m afraid to speak, because other people might not understand me.”

“I’ve been studying for years, but my English is still bad.”

I can tell you honestly – your English is probably better than you imagine. As the teacher here at Espresso English, I’ve interacted with thousands of students. I correct hundreds of homework assignments from students in my courses. So I can say with confidence that most of you are doing great in English!

Yes, of course there is room to improve. But you already have good English skills, and I can understand your speaking and writing. That’s a really big accomplishment.

So if you tend to have a low opinion of your English, try to eliminate those negative thoughts by focusing on what you CAN do, not what you can’t do yet.

That’s all for today, but don’t forget to check out those free sample lessons from my courses! And keep watching my channel for the next nine motivational tips, which you’ll see every couple days during this month.

This content was originally published here.

Categories
english

Speak English with Christina: The story behind it all

There are a lot of reasons to learn English. You probably have your own goal! Maybe it’s for a business opportunity or a career change. Maybe it’s for a personal reason, like making new friends, preparing a travel, talking to your spouse’s family… Or maybe it’s just for fun, you just want to watch TV series in English!

All goals are valid. But at some point when learning English, you’ll probably find that you’re frustrated. You feel limited in what you can say. Like you’re missing out on something. You can be cool, smart and confident in your own language – but when you try speaking English, it all disappears!

Well, at least that’s what I felt – except I was learning French. I felt blocked, and frustrated, and just… not the same person, you know?

Hi, I’m Christina, your American Business English teacher.

Today, let me tell you how teaching business English in France inspired me to create Speak English for Christina.

1. Before teaching Business English: My Story

Back when I was young in the US, I always loved other cultures, and other languages. I learned French in high-school, and I really loved the class. I got good grades and everything.

But I really wanted to live the full experience. So I moved to France! It was exciting, I was finally going to apply what I learned, for real!

Well… I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be easy. In the real world, French people don’t speak the way they do in language classes. They speak fast, they don’t all have the same accent, they won’t stop when you don’t understand… I really wished real-life conversations had subtitles!

I “knew” that when learning a new language, you never feel as funny, spontaneous, or natural, as in your own language. But I didn’t really think it would really happen!

Well, it did. It was hard to feel like myself, in French. Hard to fit in, to make friends…

Of course, I was living in full immersion, so it’s a great way to learn. But I took special lessons to improve my French as well. I learned a bunch of new things.

And now, I feel much better!

The extra mile:

You can use this lesson today to start improving your English: there are many idiomatic expressions in here (such as “a bunch of new things” etc.)

2. Teaching Business English: What I learned

My own experience taught me a lot about what it takes to really feel like yourself in another language. What you need to learn, what people often forget, what you need to hear.

So I started teaching business English, here in my French city, for local companies, for business executives and employees living nearby.

I gave lessons to older business people, in high positions. And they had the same hesitations that I experienced, the same problems when speaking English than I had when speaking French!

In English, they didn’t know how to react to some situations – that they can deal with in French. Like:

And so I realized: “I’m not alone! And they’re not alone!”

It wasn’t just me, who felt like a little kid when speaking English. It’s a universal feeling!

That’s what really drove me to teach business English to a lot of people here.

After some time, I also learned that business people are… busy. There’s always a business trip, a new problem, or a special meeting! A lot of my clients had to miss their lessons sometimes, for business reasons. But they really wanted help in English!

I asked myself: “Well, what can I do to help my clients learn?” And I started to film a few video lessons on the Internet for them.

The first ones were really bad, but like everything, the more you do it, the better it gets! I learned about video, about editing, I bought a better camera and a microphone… And then people from all around the world started contacting me.

And that’s how “Speak English with Christina” was born.

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

[ LEARN FRENCH WITH GABRIEL GATE ] – Canard à l’orange et aux noisettes

Tous les mois, Gabriel Gaté, célèbre chef cuisinier français, invite les lecteurs du Courrier Australien à un délicieux voyage culinaire et linguistique. Découvrez certaines de ses meilleures recettes et leur histoire pour devenir un vrai cordon bleu, tout en apprenant le Français et l’Anglais ! Ce mois-ci, Gabriel vous a concocté du canard à l’orange et aux noisettes…

Gabriel Gaté

Nous sommes si nombreux à être confinés à la maison que le moment n’a jamais été aussi approprié pour élargir notre répertoire de plats et apprendre quelques nouvelles recettes.

Au fil des années, on m’a souvent demandé comment cuisiner le canard, l’une de mes viandes préférées. Il y a quarante ans, lorsque j’ai commencé à enseigner la cuisine en Australie, ceux qui aimaient cuisiner à la maison ne pouvaient que se procurer un canard entier et la façon la plus populaire de le préparer consistait à le faire rôtir. L’inconvénient lorsqu’on rôti un canard entier c’est que la poitrine cuit plus vite que la cuisse, donc le temps que celle-ci soit prête, la poitrine est trop cuite et souvent sèche.

De nos jours, les amoureux de la cuisine à la maison ont plus de choix, les filets de canard et la poitrine peuvent tous deux être achetés séparément. Les cuisses de canard peuvent être rôties, grillées ou cuisinées dans un ragoût, comme une tajine ou un coq au vin. En France, les cuisses de canard mijotées dans le gras de canard puis préservées dans celui-ci une fois cuites sont très populaires.

Cette préparation se nomme “confit de canard” et peut être simplement réchauffée au four ou utilisée pour le plat classique du cassoulet.

Les filets de canard sont délicieux grillés ou sautés et sont appréciés par les cuisiniers car ils prennent peu de temps à préparer. En France, dans les régions où les canards sont spécifiquement engraissés pour leur foie (vendu comme foie gras), les filets sont plus larges qu’ailleurs et sont appelés magret de canard. Un magret sert deux personnes pour un plat principal. Les plats de canard sont communs dans la plupart des restaurants français.

Le canard, en particulier au sein du somptueux et historique restaurant parisien La Tour d’Argent, a été servi dès la fin des années 1800. Depuis, chaque client ayant mangé le fameux plat, désormais prénommé Caneton Frédéric Delair (après son créateur), reçoit un certificat chiffré sous la forme d’une jolie carte. Plus d’un million de portions ont été savourées pendant les 130 ans ayant suivi la création du célèbre plat. Le Président américain Franklin Roosevelt a reçu le nombre 112,151, tandis que quelques années plus tard Charlie Chaplin recevait le 253,652.

Le canard à l’orange est probablement le plat le plus apprécié de tous, et la recette de ce mois-ci est ma version modernisée avec des filets de canard. Bon appétit et prenez soin de vous !

Canard à l’Orange et aux Noisettes

Pour deux personnes

Cette délicieuse recette de canard française est simple à réaliser et peut être accompagnée de votre meilleur vin rouge.

Ingrédients

1 large carotte, épluchée et coupée en rondelles
1/2 cuillère à soupe de beurre
sel et poivre fraîchement moulu
2 cuillères à soupe de persil haché
2 filets de canard, sans l’os
1 cuillère à café de graines de fenouil, hachées
1 cuillère à soupe d’huile d’olive
10ml de brandy, Armagnac ou Cognac
jus d’une moitié d’orange
2 cuillères à soupe de bouillon de poulet ou de bœuf
1 cuillère à café de poivre vert en grains
2 cuillères à café de crème fraîche
les quartiers d’une orange, sans la peau
8 noisettes rôties, écrasées en 2 ou 3 morceaux chacune

Déposez les rondelles de carotte dans une casserole avec un peu d’eau.   Couvrez avec un couvercle jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient moelleuses. Égouttez les carottes, puis faites-en une purée avec le beurre. Assaisonnez avec du sel et du poivre et incorporez le persil haché.

A l’aide d’un couteau bien aiguisé, incisez la peau des filets de canard et assaisonnez-les avec du sel, du poivre et des graines de fenouil.

Préchauffez le four à 150°C.

Faites chauffer l’huile d’olive dans une petite cocotte et dorez les filets de canard du côté de la peau pendant environ 5 minutes. Retournez les filets et finissez de cuire le canard dans le four préchauffé pendant environ 10 minutes.

Lorsque le canard est cuit, déposez les filets dans une assiette. Jetez l’excédent de graisse présent dans la casserole, ajoutez le brandy et le jus d’orange puis faites bouillir pendant une minute. Ajoutez ensuite le bouillon et réduisez à environ deux cuillères à soupe.

Ajoutez le poivre vert en grains, la crème fraîche, les quartiers d’orange et les noisettes rôties à la sauce.

Coupez les filets de canard en moitié sur la longueur.

A l’aide d’une cuillère, déposez la purée de carottes dans deux assiettes. Placez-y les filets de canard et versez la sauce autour et sur le canard.

Vocabulaire :

canard : duck
enseigner : to teach
rôtir : to roast
poitrine : breast
cuisse : leg
ragoût : stew
graisse de canard : duck fat
sauté : pan-fried
engraissé : fattened
foie : liver
fenouil : fennel


In English please !

With so many of us confined at home, it has never been a better time to increase our repertoire of dishes and learn a few new recipes.

Over the years I have often been asked about cooking duck, one of my favourite meats.

Forty years ago when I started teaching cooking in Australia, home cooks could only purchase a whole duck, and the most popular way of cooking it was to roast it. The difficulty with roasting a whole duck is that the breast cooks faster than the leg, so by the time the legs are cooked the breasts are over-cooked and often dry.

Nowadays, the home cook has more choice, and both duck fillets and breasts can be purchased separately. Duck legs can be roasted or grilled or cooked in a stew, like a tagine or in a coq au vin. In France duck legs are very popular cooked slowly in duck fat and, once cooked, are preserved in the duck fat. The preparation is called ‘confit’ duck and can be simply reheated in the oven or used in the great classic dish of cassoulet.

Duck fillets are delicious grilled or pan-fried and are popular with cooks as they take a short time to cook.

In France in the regions where ducks are specifically fattened for their liver (sold as foie gras), the fillets are larger than usual and are called magret de canard. A magret serves two people for a main course.

Duck dishes are common in most French restaurants.

The duck speciality of the beautiful, historic Parisian restaurant, La Tour d’Argent, has been served since the late 1800’s and since that time each guest eating the famous dish, now called Caneton Frédéric Delair (after its creator), is presented with a numbered certificate in the form of an attractive card. Over one million portions have been enjoyed in the 130 years since the creation of the famous dish. American President Franklin Roosevelt was given number 112,151, while years later Charlie Chaplin got number 253,652.

Duck à l’orange is possibly the most popular duck dish of all, and this month’s recipe is my modern version using duck fillets. Bon appétit and stay well!

Roast Duck Fillet with Orange and Hazelnuts

Serves 2

This beautiful French duck recipe is simple to make and can be accompanied by your finest red wine.

Ingredients
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 duck fillets, without the bone
1 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
10ml brandy, Armagnac or Cognac
juice of half orange
2 tbsp strong stock, chicken or beef
1 tsp drained green peppercorns
2 tsp of cream
the skinless segments of 1 orange
8 roasted hazelnuts, crushed into 2 or 3 pieces each

Place the carrot slices in a saucepan with a little water. Cover with a lid and cook until soft. Drain the carrots, then blend them to a purée with the butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck fillets and season them with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan and brown the duck fillets, skin-side down, for about 5 minutes. Turn the fillets over and finish cooking the duck in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

When the duck is cooked, transfer the fillets to a plate. Discard the excess fat from the pan, then add the brandy and orange juice and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then add the stock and reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Mix in the green pepper corns, the cream the orange segments and the roasted hazelnuts.

Cut duck fillets in half lengthwise.

Spoon the carrot purée onto two plates. Top with the duck fillets and spoon the sauce around and on top.

Par Gabriel Gaté

Retrouvez la dernière recette partagée par Gabriel Gaté, et son histoire ICI.

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Categories
spanish

We Speak Spanish | Se Habla Español | Vendemos Autos Usados

Did you know here at McCloskey Motors we have sales professionals and managers that can help ou Spanish speaking community! Check out the video below and call us right now to set your VIP appointment!

This content was originally published here.