Tips for this summer

Dimecres, 1 de Juliol del 2015

Consells per mantenir el teu nivell d’anglès durant les vacances.

The sun is shining, the days are longer, the terraces and squares of Catalonia are full of people… Summer has finally arrived, and with it comes a chance to relax and spend some time with your loved ones; to go on holiday, to indulge in simple pleasures and to forget about your job for a while.

But what of your language learning? Well, there are plenty of options for maintaining your level of English - or of any language - this summer.

Read a good book

Okay, so reading in another language might be the last thing you feel like doing, but understanding and finishing a book in another language is hugely satisfying and motivating. You can do it on the beach, before you go to sleep, on a bus, train or plane… It’s a quick, easy and enjoyable pastime, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First of all, choose the right book. Anything too long or complicated is a bad idea. Pick something relatively short, with a compelling story. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is one I recommend to all my students: it is simple, beautifully written, and absolutely gripping. Young adult fiction usually works, too: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is a great, moving example of the form. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a modern gothic retelling of Alice in Wonderland featuring a brave and resourceful heroine, while John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a brilliant short read.

And don’t try to understand every single word. Reading can be a challenge, but it should be a pleasure, too. Don’t have a dictionary on hand - try to focus on the story, and any important vocabulary should soon become clear.

 Listen to music

The benefits of listening to music in another language are enormous. Songs and the words in them have a habit of sticking in your head in a way that, for example, the rules of reporting speech might not. What’s more, they present the language as it is spoken; in terms of pronunciation, learning new expressions and picking up vocabulary, it is surely one of the most enjoyable ways to “learn” a language there is.

Get addicted to a great series

We are living in the ‘Golden Age of Television’, after all! There are so many series out there worth watching. Recently there has been a trend for short, ‘standalone’ seasons, too: from New Zealand’s superb mystery drama Top of the Lake to Britain’s stylish period crime piece Peaky Blinders and the USA’s True Detective, you’re really spoilt for choice. Not to mention The Wire, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad… I could go on. Watch them in their original language with the subtitles in English if you can, but if that’s not possible then even Spanish subtitles and the original audio will give you some serious exposure to the language.

Make a friend

The best way to learn a language is to speak it: to make mistakes and to learn from them, and to put what you’ve learned into practice. Of course, speaking and listening classes are perfect for this, offering structured discussion and an opportunity to learn at the pace that you and your classmates dictate. Another option, of course, is to get involved in a language exchange - there are many native English speakers living in Catalonia, and lots of them are looking to improve their Spanish or Catalan, too. Make a friend, and help each other out.

Take it easy!

Learning a language can feel like a difficult and intimidating task. Anyone who has ever taken a Cambridge exam has surely felt nerves before the speaking part, but it’s important to remember that speaking in another language is far from impossible.  Look out for a chance to practise when you can, even if that’s something as simple as singing along to a song on the radio. Take it easy - and enjoy it.

Professors nadius titulats Exàmens oficials Prestigiós mètode educatiu


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