Confessions of a Foreign Language Teacher – Birds on the Blog

Confessions of a Foreign Language Teacher

The Only Way to Learn a Foreign Language is to Live Abroad

Let me set the scene

There is a drinks party for neighbours in our road. A tall man in obligatory middle-aged Dad uniform (or so my teenage daughter calls it) of cream coloured trousers, and blue shirt, is standing next to me by the green stuffed olives, and the Bombay mix 웹한글 기안기. Next door’s cat has skipped in through the half open door, and a few daring souls have ventured out into the garden.

“So what do you do for a living ?” the man enquires politely, and then swills back his glass of Sauvignon.

“I teach foreign languages,” I reply,” to people in the City. French, Italian, and Spanish mainly.”

“Oh, the only way to learn a language is to go and live in the country,” he says Download John Wick 2. ” There is no way you can learn a language if you do not live there.”

I glare and choke on my stuffed green olive. I must have heard this comment hundreds of times. Yet every time I hear it, I want to scream. You see it is not true. And never has it been more untrue than today.

With every succeeding minute there are more and more opportunities, which are completely free, to bathe yourself in whichever language you choose xiv-hunt 다운로드. Take Spanish, for example. You can simply log onto the Spanish TVE site, (the equivalent of the BBC) and watch TV Series going back hundreds of episodes. They range from Cookery Demonstrations, to Call the Doctor dramas, and you can put on subtitles in Spanish too, to help you.

You can message on Facebook in any language

You can message on Facebook in any language, tweet on twitter, and there are free translation websites, skype opportunities, LinkedIn Profiles to contact 스타크래프트 오리지날 캠페인. You can view newspapers articles on a daily basis, and there are free apps which will correct your grammar and pronunciation. You can even, if you set up your computer correctly, get it to spell check and grammar check your work in almost any language.

However people make a grave mistake when they imagine, that just just by going to the country, they will automatically absorb the language. I met a teacher, whose native language was French the other day, in one of the companies I teach Download Youth mp3. We chatted in French for a while, and then she begged me to be so kind as to address her in English. I did so, but was curious as to why she was so keen.”Surely,” I commented, “you live in London and must hear the language every day of your life.”

“No, ” she replied, ” No.”

Her husband was French, and worked for a French Bank.

Her children attended the French Lycée in South Kensington, and in her job she was expected to speak to the students entirely in French. When I spoke to her in English that day, it was the first English conversation she had had that month 말리꽃 다운로드.

People can live abroad for years and hardly get an opportunity to speak the foreign language.

Now you may imagine her situation was an unusual one, but that is far from true. Over the years I have taught hundreds of people who find themselves living in a foreign country, without an opportunity to speak it. They may go abroad, without a grounding in the language, and then work for an English company, with English colleagues 유안타증권. In Paris for example, their colleagues speak English in the office, and when they go out in the evening, the French cannot wait to practice their finely honed phrases on them. People can live abroad for years and hardly get an opportunity to speak the foreign language.

I feel, personally, that learning a language has some similarity to counting calories and losing weight 라이프 온 마스. It is a question of numbers. You should count the number of minutes you are hearing, reading, and speaking the language, and you should count the range of vocabulary you are using.

Someone could sit at home in London reading French newspapers on the web, listening to French radio, and watching French television. If you count the words they are absorbing, and the minutes they are spending, they are learning hundreds of words. Or, as is often the case, people could have a cottage in France, invite their English friends to stay with them, and go out all day together. They might hear ten words of French the whole day, if they go out to eat. If they cook for themselves, they would hear no words at all.

As a young girl I worked as an au pair in France, in the run up to some exams I had in French language and culture, I was desperate to practise vocabulary about the French constitution, and French political parties, in order to pass my exams. But the family, not surprisingly, were none too keen on these radical tendencies of mine. Why did I have to keep asking questions about who ran France? Was it because, according to the husband, I intended to run France myself? They wanted me to learn the words for peeling carrots, ironing, and making the beds. To my bewilderment, I found I was covering a wider range of vocabulary, listening to the French radio in London, than when I was working in France as an au pair.

So please, do not tell me the only way is to learn a language is to go and live abroad.

About the Author Susan Isaacs

Susan has been running language courses in the City for the past thirty years. The languages include Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. The classes are currently being held online though have predominantly up until January 2020 been based mainly near Moorgate, Barbican, London Bridge and Canary Wharf. Clients include students from Norton Rose Fulbright, HSBC, Linklaters, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Herbert Smith, Simmons and Simmons, the GLA and the Bank of England. Susan started teaching languages in the City, over thirty years ago, and has been hooked by the buzz of teaching brilliant people ever since. She writes specialist articles on languages for lawyers, which are used in CPD courses, and also gives lectures at the City Business Library. See her blog, "Confessions of a Language Teacher" on LinkedIn.  She gained an MA from Oxford and loves discussing everything from how to chat someone up in a foreign language, to analysing world news. After leaving Oxford she was asked to tutor a group of stockbrokers in French, the brokers became avid students, and all their friends wanted to join the party too. Susan decided that the City was the place to be, and has stayed there ever since.

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