Learning Strategies Blog

Chinese Survival Phrases

Below is a list of important survival Chinese phrases put on by Memrise: With a population of over 1.35 billion people, China is rapidly becoming a ‘go-to’ destination for tourists from all over the world. Although many different languages are spoken throughout the country, Mandarin is understood by most people, so getting to know the language can be a real lifesaver no matter which part of the country you are in! With the help of Memrise’s exclusive Native Speaker Videos, we’ve put together 20 phrases to help you survive and even thrive on your next visit to China. Want to learn more? Check out Memrise’s official Chinese courses! 1. 你好! Níhǎo! / Hello! Not only used for “Hello”, but you can also use this to politely get somebody’s attention, for example, a waiter or waitress in a restaurant. 2. 欢迎光临  Huānyíng guānglín / Welcome (to our shop, restaurant, etc.) The word “huānyíng” itself simply means “welcome”, but adding “guānglín” turns this into a simple phrase that staff use to welcome customers to their shop or restaurant when they enter. 3. 对不起  Duìbùqǐ / Sorry A super useful phrase to know in any language. Check out this song to hear the word in action! 4. 我不懂  Wǒ bù dǒng / I don’t understand Unless your Mandarin is already perfect, you will probably find this quite useful when some old lady tells you: “哇,你长得好高哦。你肯定是打篮球的吧!”. 5. 没关系  Méi guānxi / It doesn’t matter This is what you should say to somebody who apologises for stepping on your foot when you’re crammed into the Shanghai metro during rush hour. 6. 谢谢  Xiè xie / Thank... read more

Creating a Self-Study Schedule for Casual Studying

Making a schedule to study is very important to stay on task. keeping a regular study schedule for language learning is especially important. Lili Does Critical Languages teaches us how to create a schedule for studying casually! First, I need to define what casual studying even means. Studying casually means that you are foregoing certain aspects of language study in order to maintain a slow and low commitment pace. For example, say you’re learning French casually. Instead of psycho crazy grammar schedules filled with practicing grammar and vocab over and over, and quizzing yourself every day until your brain turns to pulp, you opt for a simple audio lesson every day for 15 minutes after you come home from work or school. Easy right? Yes! That’s the goal. With casual studying your schedule is freed up for other things. In addition, casual studying gives you the leisure to take your time to learn things deeply and thoroughly. Casual studying, however, implies that you are not studying so much for full fluency but for practical, everyday usage. So casual learners care a little less about learning the specifics about complicated grammar but instead want to learn how to use it in conversation by learning dialogues and repeating phrases. So how do you create a casual study schedule? Here’s what you’ll need to get started. STUDY SCHEDULE AND LEARNING GOALS One Language If you are casually studying one single language, it doesn’t get much easier for you! While there are certainly difficult aspects of the language you’re learning, you can take all the time you need to get it right. I... read more

11 Useful Spanish Podcasts

Check out this amazing list of Spanish podcasts put on by 123spanishtutor you can use for practicing your listening skills. Learning a new language is always fun because then it could mean going on vacation and not having to find all the places that speak English, but now you can communicate with the locals (for the most part). Or you can speak with people you work with and not have to feel left out of the conversation. You can also surprise those people who are talking about you but think you can’t understand them (those are always the best ones). Or maybe you’re just bored.  Whatever the case may be, many would like to do it on the go while traveling or shopping. Doesn’t matter, but that’s where podcasts come in. They are easy, and convenient and can help you learnt the second language you’ve always wanted to learn. Below, we have selected a very useful list of what we think are the current Top Podcasts sites for learning Spanish. Bookmark them right now because, if you are really interested in improving your Spanish, you will be using them very often. Coffee Break Spanish Each one is short; we’re talking less than 20 minutes long (with the majority being under 15 minutes). But when you name something Coffee Break, you would assume that they would be short honestly. Season 1 is for beginners and it moves up in difficulty by season. They focus on what you need so you can speak with locals in the area. SpanishPod101 Just like college classes marked 101, these are the basics.  Each episode focuses on the... read more

In the World of Italian Dialects

A dialect is a version of a language that is slightly different for a variety of reasons. English has many dialects because it’s spoken in so many parts of the world. Italian also has dialects in its country. Italian teacher Liz T. examines the top 6 Italian dialects: In the big boot of Italy, there are dozens of Italian dialects. In fact, almost every region has it’s own unique accent. While the literary Italian language is used throughout the country for law, business, and education, many people still use their region’s original Italian dialect. While it’s not necessary for you to learn every Italian dialect, familiarizing yourself with the most popular accents could come in handy when you’re traveling throughout Italy. Below is a breakdown of some of the most common Italian dialects. Review the list to help you recognize accents on your next trip to Italy! Milanese is not actually classified as a form of Italian. Rather, it’s a dialect of the Gallo-Italic sub-group that is closely related to French and German. Similar to French and German, Milanese uses two additional vowels “ö” and “y” and subject pronouns are doubled in the second and third person. For example, the standard Italian phrase “Tu non sei” (You are not) is pronounced “ti te seet no” in Milanese. Spoken in Venice and the surrounding areas by over two million people, Venetian derives from Latin and Greek. The Italian dialect is used mostly in informal contexts. For example, the standard Italian word “Farmacia” (pharmacy) is pronounced “Apoteca” in Venetian. Florentine is the most standard Italian dialect, commonly used by people under the age of 35. The dialect uses nicknames of words. For... read more

10 Hebrew Language Mistakes to Avoid

The Hebrew language is very different from English, both in grammar and pronunciation! Language learners beware of these 10 common mistakes Hebrew language learners commit: 1. In Hebrew the adjective follows the noun, e.g. “city big.” English speakers tend to put the noun after the adjective according to the English word order, e.g. “big city.” 2. Hebrew nouns, adjectives, and verbs have a designated gender (either female or male). For example, “television” is feminine while “radio” is masculine. English speakers tend to mix up the genders. 3. Hebrew nouns, adjective, and verbs have to match in number and gender. Let’s take, for example, “a good pizza.” Since “pizza” is feminine, the adjective “good” should be feminine as well. English speakers have the tendency to forget this rule and do not match adjective, nouns, and verbs in number and gender. 4. In Hebrew there are two sets of numbers, feminine and masculine, which are used based on the noun that is being counted. For example, in the phrase “10 boys” the number ten is pronounced and written differently than in the phrase “10 girls.” English speakers easily confuse the two sets of numbers. 5. In Hebrew, the definite article is used both before the noun and before the adjective, e.g. “the cake the sweet.” English speakers tend to use the definite article only once as it is in English, “the sweet cake.” 6. The right use of prepositions is a source of frustration for English speakers. For example, in Hebrew we say “I spoke in the phone” and not “I spoke on the phone” as in English. 7. In Hebrew... read more

What’s the Deal With French Conjugations?

Learning verb conjugations as an English learner can be very daunting.  French speakers agree that this is one of the most difficult aspect of French.  Camille Chevalier-Karfis from French Today explains the secret to mastering French conjugations: There is a secret to mastering French verbs. All the French kids do it! Follow my tips to understand how simple French verb conjugation can be! It’s no secret French verb conjugations are a pain. Even in the present tense of the indicative, there are many forms to memorize, no to mention all the irregular verbs conjugations. However, I have a tip for you that will make everything simpler! How do you think French children remember all these verb forms ? 1 – At First Glance, Even The French Present Tense Looks Overwhelming Most French verb methods will start by telling that in French, the verb ending will change according to the subject pronoun. Let’s take the verb “parler” (to speak) for example. Note the way it is written at the end. They will even often emphasis like it did, highlighting the ending in bold, or in red… Je parle Tu parles Il parle Elle parle On parle Nous parlons Vous parlez Ils parlent Elles parlent When an English student looks at this, it’s quite overwhelming… In English, you add an S to the third person singular (he, she, it). But except for a few irregular verbs like to be, the verb is not going to change much: I speak, you speak, we speak, they speak… and then he speaks, she speaks, it speaks Quite simple isn’t it compared to the French conjugation? 2 – Understanding... read more

What is Your Method of Memorizing Kanji?

Japanese learners can agree that memorizing Kanji is one of the most difficult things about the language. Here is a breakdown of the various methods you can use to memorize new Kanji! — Ask just about anyone who’s learning Japanese what their method for learning kanji is and you’ll almost certainly get a disproportionately passionate / angry answer out of them, myself included. There’s something about asking someone what their kanji learning method is that brings the worst out of them. It’s right up there on the “do-not-talk-about-at-parties list” with religion, politics, and iOS vs Android. The kanji methods war is broken up into several camps, which I will be naming the following: Repetition Vocabulary & Context Reading Reading Reading Heisig’s Mnemonics With Readings As I go through each “Way Of The Kanji,” I’d like to look at the positives, negatives, and history of each (if possible). I should also note I have an incredible amount of bias towards the method I like the best, so I hope you enjoy your delicious bias served hot. THE “REPETITION IS KING” CAMP Also known as the “traditional way to learn kanji” this group loves paper with lots of square boxes on it (often with smaller, greyer boxes inside those boxes). Inside said boxes they write the same kanji over and over again until their hands ache like that of a jazz hands beginner. Oftentimes, the kanji they write come from a textbook that orders the kanji in the same order that Japanese schoolkids learn them. I have several problems with this method, in case you haven’t guessed already. First, after a... read more

Grocery Shopping in Your Foreign Language

There are many tips and tricks that language learners can use to learn their target language faster. A great exercise is to make your next grocery shopping list in your language. Here is a fun list of a groceries list in Spanish. Make one just like it! MEAT / FISH – CARNE / PESCADO Beef – Carne de Vaca / Carne de Ternera Pork – Carne de cochino / Carne de Cerdo / Carne de Puerco Chicken – Pollo Fish – Pescado Sausages – Salchichas Bacon – Tocino / Tocineta (tocino can mean lard in some countries and lard is manteca de puerco) VEGETABLES – VERDURAS / VEGETALES Chard – Acelga Avocado – Aguacate Garlic – Ajo Artichoke – Alcachofa Egg plant / Aubergine – Berenjena Broccoli – Brócoli Zucchini – Calabacín Pumpkin  – Calabaza Onion – Cebolla Cabbage – Col/Repollo Asparagus – Espárragos Spinach – Espinacas Green Peas – Guisantes Lettuce – Lechuga Potato – Patata / Papa Cucumber – Pepino Pepper – Pimientos Beet – Remolacha Tomato – Tomate Carrot – Zanahoria NUTS – FRUTOS SECOS Almond – Almendra Hazelnut – Avellana Peanut – Maní / Cacahuate Pecan – Nuez Pecana Pistachio – Pistacho FRUITS – FRUTAS Apricot – Albaricoque Pineapple – Ananás / Piña Cherries – Cerezas Plum – Ciruela Coconut – Coco Dates – Dátiles Raspberry – Frambuesa Strawberries – Fresas Berries – Frutas del bosque Granades – Granadas Figs – Higos Kiwi – Kiwis Lemon – Lima* Lime – Limón* Mandarines – Mandarinas Mango – Mango Apple – Manzana Passion Fruit – Parchita / Fruta de la Pasión / Maracuyá Peach – Melocotón /... read more

Awesome Jobs that Require a Second Language

Learning a new language can open up many doors for you. Sometimes jobs will require you to speak another language.   Check out these jobs that require a second language written by Meredith Kreisa! — You remember when you were young and dreamed big. Now those elusive dream jobs loom haughtily in the distance and seem further away than they’ve ever been. They taunt you as you stock shelves, file paperwork or repeat for the 5,000th time that there are no returns on used underwear. But there’s one way to turn your dreams into a reality: learn a second language. Yes, there are plenty of great jobs for people who know a foreign language . There are jobs that require German, jobs that require French, jobs that require Spanish and jobs that require a number of other languages. If you’re job-hunting, chances are strong that there’s a recruiter out there who would love to spot your resume or CV shining like a glowing beacon of hope in a pile of monolinguals. Whether you’re looking for full-time work or a way to make money on the side, there’s no shortage of jobs for language majors or anyone fluent in more than one language. While dream jobs might be a little harder to land, knowing an extra language can still give you a leg up! How Do Second Language Learners Fare in the Workforce? Apart from having their first pick of jobs that require a second language, being bilingual has other advantages out in the field. There’s an increasing demand for bilingual workers. New American Economy reports that demand for bilingual... read more

5 Language Learning YouTube Channels You Can’t Miss

Are you tired of reading your language learning textbook? A great way to practice your language learning skills is to watch YouTube videos! There are lots of native speakers out there who vlog and create videos so that you can learn your language faster! Check out these Bios 5 YouTubers who are changing the game in language learning: Butterfly Spanish Learn Spanish for free with Spanish lessons that cover grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, tips & tricks, and cultural aspects. My Spanish lessons are for all Spanish levels and are based on my passion for Spanish culture, language, and teaching. I want to make you confident speaking Spanish, and to encourage you and provide you with all you need to make your dream of speaking Spanish come true. Whether you decided to learn Spanish in your dreams, or failed your Spanish exam, or want to communicate with your Spanish friends, or will travel to a Spanish speaking country soon and are afraid because you only know how to say !Hola!… you’ve found the right place.   Yoyo Chinese I started teaching Chinese 10 years ago after I quit my job as an entertainment TV host. Back then, the Chinese learning field was still at its nascent stage and I couldn’t find any effective materials truly tailored for English speakers so I had to develop my own curriculum. I teach from an English speaker’s point of view. A great example is my method teaching Mandarin tones using their English equivalents, which has helped so many students break through the first roadblock they hit when they started studying Chinese. Few things are as... read more