vendredi 29 juillet 2011

Office Update: An international team with truly international tastes

From the United States to the far east (Japan), the team at
Easy Languages is international at heart.
Another week down, and, as we approach then end of the summer season, we also begin saying our goodbyes to our hard working interns. Today we had a goodbye luncheon for Inge, a Dutch intern from Holland, with the entire office in participation. Everyone brought food from their home country and the results were astounding, from Dutch gehaktballen (meatballs) to homemade sushi to the ever popular "quiche Lorraine." We pulled out all the stops for a truly delicious and international smorgasbord of delights. Read on to get a glimpse of the delicious menu and who brought what!

Belgian Cuisine, A Unique Experience

Moules Frites à volonté - YUM!

The picture above was taken at Restaurant Traiteur when some colleagues and I went to eat lunch one afternoon in Brussels. This restaurant is only open seasonally and with a traditional meal being its main appeal, "Moules Frites" (Mussels with fries). What's incredible is there are 69 different preparations! The interior is amazing with many paintings and photographs from historic places around Brussels. On one wall there is a replica of a famous painting featured in the movie Amélie, which consists of people outside enjoying a garden party. The white wine there we had was delicious and easily my favorite Muscadet, a wine by Vincent Caillé. 

mardi 12 juillet 2011

Video: Portugal is a nation of historically epic awesomeness

Check out the awesome video above for a cool look at some facts about Portugal. Did you know that Portuguese is spoken on 5 continents?! Right now we only offer Portuguese courses on 2 continents, South America and Europe

Do you notice anything wrong about these facts? Shout them out in the comments!

Language Learning: The Harry Potter technique...

I draw so awesome.
To celebrate the soon-to-be-released FINAL Harry Potter movie (Part 2) *sob!* I thought I would tell you about another effortless way in which you can get a crack on with your language learning!

Easy-to-read books. We all have them. For some it's chic lit. Others it's a swords and magic fantasy series. Some people have to spend their lives denying the fact that they hoovered up the Twilight books (ahem), but few can deny that Harry Potter made a lot of people's summer reading lists.

lundi 11 juillet 2011

Language Learning is Like Taking a Shower When You're Covered in Crusty, Slimy Mud

I've had better days.
Yep you read that right, sloppy muddy mud. You're going to need a strong water flow, a sponge, and some soap. So what could this metaphor possibly mean? How does this relate to language learning and why am I still reading this post? Good questions, I'm glad you asked. Head on past the break to find out how to get that flow going at the perfect pace and temperature.

vendredi 1 juillet 2011

Quirky English: "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain..."

Do you recognize this picture from the classic Audrey Hepburn film? I was suddenly reminded of My Fair Lady the other day when reading a fellow colleague's/co-author's blog about english slang in the UK. It made me think of this movie and how much english and even american slang has changed in just merely fifty years.  I also think this 60's musical is a funny commentary of how "improper" english sounded back in the day. It is particularly significant to note the changes in our vocabulary and how the overuse of swear words has become much more common and habitual in this day and age.  If you have never seen this linguistic rags to riches American-made tale, you should take a quick look at the summary of the film and of course rent the movie: My Fair Lady.

To experience first-hand some of the British or American slang that exists today, visit our Easy Languages site which has information on multiple English programs and courses provided in the UK and in the USA. We also have language courses around the world for those of you who are already fully capable of reading this post (Read: You're already far advanced and articulate in the tricky nuances of English grammar). But check it out! Yeah! 

Photo: Flickr user AndreasPizsa (Copyright Warner Bros. 1964)

Language Learning: The Coffee Break mentality

You never stop learning a language. At first glance, this may seem like bad news, but if you think about it, you are constantly learning your native language as well - so why should other languages be any different? Just as you might come across a new word in a newspaper, or, learn how to word things professionally in English, vocabulary and nuances will continue to emerge for you, especially in a foreign language you are studying.  It's important to realize this about languages - if you see languages as a whole entity that you have to acquire, then that's a lot of pressure to put on one person trying to learn a language. Whereas if you realize that you will never stop learning in a language, then it becomes much easier to visualize the process in steps, and to see languages as a skill that you just keep on finessing.

Which brings us to today's discovery: Coffee Break Spanish and French brought to us via the internet by Radio Lingua : for free! Radio Lingua [affiliate link], an organization that heralds from my homeland of Scotland, has grasped this concept and developed an entire language learning system around it. Their concept is that you can learn a new language, currently French or Spanish, by practicing around 15 - 30 minutes a day, about the length of a coffee break! Each one of their lessons is that long and includes a set of vocabulary, grammar and tips. which progress in difficulty. This makes language learning more fun, because it encourages you to bring language learning and language 'exercising' into your day-to-day life.