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Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award Winners

by Taylor Pebley October 10th, 2012 More

One great way to immerse yourself in a new language is by watching TV or movies in that language. If movies are your choice, you should consider picking from the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award winners. Every year since 1956 non-English films that are made outside the United States are nominated for the award.

These nominations and awards make a great resource when looking for the best foreign language films. The winner at the 2012 Academy Awards was “A Separation” directed by Asghar Farhadi. The film is in Persian and marks Iran’s first win since the award began. Some other notable nominees from this year included “Bullhead” in Dutch, French and Limburgish; “Footnote” in Hebrew; “In Darkness” in Polish, German, Yiddish and Ukrainian; and “Monsieur Lazhar”  in French.

Yes, speaking is the best way to learn, but watching a foreign movie will definitely help you learn, understand, and love a new language. Know any more great foreign films? Let us know in the comment section.

Language learning tips, Learn a Language, Learn French , , ,

Learning a Second Language….. and a Third….. and a Fourth…..

by Brent Jenkins October 5th, 2012 More

Ioannis Ikonomou speaks 32 languages.

Do you know who Ioannis Ikonomou is?  I didn’t either – that is, until I ran across an article about one of the smartest living human beings.  Most of us would consider speaking a second language as a great feat.  A third language? Incredible.  A fourth language?  Impossible.  Not Ioannis Ikonomou.  This 46-year old Greece-born, world-citizen “feels comfortable” speaking and communicating in 32 languages.  That’s not a typo – 32 (as in thirty-two).

As a native Grecian, his mother-tongue is Greek.  He began learning English when he was 6 years old.  After English came German…  Then Russian…  Italian…  Turkish…  Arabic…  And so the story goes.  Ioannis is now employed as the only in-house translator for the European Commission of the United Nations.  He spends about half the year in Beijing, China as a representative of the European Commission.

What does this mean for the rest of us?  Are we to find the story of Ioannis as encouraging or discouraging?  I say that we ought to be encouraged, and here is why:

  • Mr Ikonomou is amazing, but he is still a human being.  If he is capable of learning 32 languages, shouldn’t I be capable of learning at the very least, a second language, and maybe even a third?
  • His second language started when he was 6.  He is now 46.  That means 40 years of dedicated language-learning.  What’s my point?  My point is that this isn’t a race.  You don’t have a deadline for learning that language that you’ve been working on (unless you’re moving to Costa Rica at the end of the month – odds are, you aren’t).
  • “There’s really no hard or easy language to learn,” he says. “Anyone can learn a language if they fall in love with it.”  He goes on through-out the article explaining that his single greatest key to success is falling in love with the language.  That makes sense.  Everything from using it daily, learning the culture, eating the food, watching TV and reading in that language, and eventually dreaming in it.

It’s possible – as long as we fall in love with it.  I completely agree.  I’m bilingual and working on my third – the periods of the greatest success come at times when I’m genuinely interested in the language itself, not just in learning the language.

This blog is hosted by LearnALanguage.com- a site that is dedicated to helping people from all around the world learn languages, all for free.  The learning material is here, but that’s not everything that you need.  My challenge to you, is to dive in and don’t just learn the language, learn about the language.  If you’re learning Russian, do some research on Russia: the weather and seasons, the culture, the food – you can even download a recipe and try it at home.  If you’re learning Spanish, study the several countries where Spanish is spoken and find out about the people who use these languages.

Learning about the language and those who use it will help us to become better learners of the language itself.

Language learning tips, Learn a Language, Learn French, Learn Italian, Learn Spanish, Meet Famous People , , , ,

French Loanwords

by Taylor Pebley October 2nd, 2012 More

Did you know that there are around 200 words in the English language that are actually French loanwords? In fact, English shares words with a variety of other languages (and the same goes for many other common languages). This should be encouraging news for anyone considering learning a new language! But first…what are loanwords?

Loanwords are words and phrases that one language (English, in this case) borrows directly from another language (French) in everyday conversation, such as the word cliché. English includes loanwords from many different languages but has gained a significant number directly from Latin-based and Germanic languages. Some of these include French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. Again, this is great news if you want to learn one of these languages.

Can’t think of any examples of French loanwords? See how many you recognize from this list of some of the most common:

Amateur, au jus, avalanche, baguette, ballet, bayonet, bistro, budget, café, carousel, casserole, cigarette, clarinet, corset, croissant, cuisine, cul-de-sac, debris, déjà vu, denim, entrepreneur, expose, faux pas, filet mignon, glacier, hors d’oeuvre, lesson, liaison, lieutenant, limousine, lingerie, maneuver, Mardi Gras, massage, matinee, mayonnaise, naivety, plateau, en pointe, premiere, provost, prude, questionnaire, renaissance, repertoire, sauce, sauté, souvenir, surveillance, tourniquet, vandalism, and village.

Click here for a complete list of French loanwords in English.

Were you surprised at how many you knew? Loanwords are used every day. If learning a new language intimidates you, start with one that has words in common with English, like French! You will find many more French loanwords as you learn.

Learn French , ,

French Sayings – How Are You in French

by Jake Beus March 24th, 2011 More

An important part of learning French is learning the French sayings. Some of the sayings or phrases are certainly more important than others, but taking the time to learn them will help you flow better as you speak. You will sound more natural. You don’t want to be spitting out useless, random words like “red car” and “monkeys”. I’m not saying that those things are useless, but you probably won’t find much use for them when speaking unless you drive a red Mazda Miada and have a pet monkey. The odds aren’t great. Learn French sayings like how are you in French instead of that other monkey business. You should strive to be conversational no matter what language you’re learning. People will be much more likely to warm up to you if you are warm and friendly with them in your speech. Browse around the French portion of this website and learn as much as you can for free if you haven’t done so already.

Learn French , ,

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