How to achieve your new year resolution: learn a foreign language

So you’ve decided your New Year resolution in 2011 is to learn a new language. You’re not alone. So what do you do next? There are myriad options available for intending language learners, and we’ll outline a few here. I know first and foremost you’re interested in knowing the cost, time and

effort involved in learning a language.

Cost: This can range from FREE (lesson downloads/youtube) to thousands of dollars. How much you spend would depend on your budget and how committed you are to learning a language. Generally there are 3 options (also check out the detailed comparison between Euroasia and other providers/options).

1) Going to a school: You may choose to go down the academic route and enrol at university, especially if you want to dedicate yourself to mastering the language. Some even decide to spend some time at a language school overseas in full-immersion ($5000+). There are also private providers like Euroasia who offer part-time courses (cost: $368).

2) Private tutor: Proceed at your own pace. Supply of private tutors is plentiful. You can even hire a teacher off the supermarket notice board. Quality is highly variable, and so are costs ($20-$60 per hour). You can also hire a teacher from a recognised language school. You will definitely pay more, but at least you have some assurance of the quality of the teacher and the backing of the school.

3) Online/Independent learning: There are plenty of CD or online packages available as a search on google would confirm. This option gives you some flexibility. And is not that expensive (FREE to a few hundred dollars, depending on package you choose). In fact you can get started right away. But do you have the discipline to do everything by yourself? What if you need to ask a native speaker how to pronounce certain words? Or if you get stuck with a certain problem with grammar?

Time/Effort: What do you mean by “learn a language”? To get by in everyday situations, to speak it like a native, or to reach one of many different stages in between? There’s a huge range of possible levels of competence, and a huge range in the amount of time needed. Which one do you hope to achieve? People are also different; some pick up a language faster than others. The ads which say you will be speaking your target language by studying ten minutes a day, watching a video clip or simply listening to your Ipod while you exercise overlook this fact.

In my experience, most Kiwis want to learn enough to “get by”, ie. to introduce yourself, ask for directions, engage in small talk, some bargaining, order food. This is why we’ve designed our course to be as practical as possible, so that you leave us with practical know-how you can immediately use in real life. Our basic beginners course involves 10 lessons delivered over 2, 5 or 10 weeks. Even in this short space of time you can make really significant progress. If you can find time in between lessons to go over material, expand your vocabulary, listen to CDs, then you will undoubtedly make faster progress.

New Year resolution: Learn a language

Language learning is an aspirational goal that ranks highly on many resolution lists. It’s an especially worthy endeavour for avid travellers wanting to maximise their travel experience. You’ve probably heard stories from Kiwis who have returned from their “Overseas Experience” lamenting the fact that they would’ve enjoyed themselves more if they could speak the local lingo.

These days travel is not the only driver of foreign language learning. Increasingly Kiwis realise that knowing a foreign language gives them a distinct edge in dealing with clients and suppliers from other cultures. Job seekers also realise that employers value people who speak more than one language. Language learners also demonstrate to potential employers that they are proactive enough to make the effort to learn

a foreign language.

Every January, we see a surge in interest from people wanting to learn a language, and I’m sure 2011 will be no different. It’s worth checking out my blog entry from last year, on how to make a SMART plan to ensure you meet your language learning goals.

For a zero-risk evaluation of whether language learning is for you, check out the Euroasia FREE language taster lesson that is taking place on Wednesday, 19 January 2011.

6pm-7pm: French,

German, Portuguese, Mandarin.

7.30pm-8.30pm: Spanish, Italian, Japanese.

Venue: Euroasia, 10 Titoki Street, Parnell (next to Birthcare) – plenty of parking at Auckland Domain or along Titoki Street.

Please register for the free class as we have a limited number of spaces.

Posted via email from Euroasia

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What does learning a language really involve?

Yesterday we kicked off our series of frequently asked questions on language learning with the question “Why is it a good idea to learn a foreign language“. Today, we cover this question.

What does learning a language really involve?

On a very basic level, languages have two key components: vocabulary, the actual words, and grammar, which is the set of rules determining how the words are strung together to make sentences. And you encounter language in the form of the so-called four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

You certainly can’t get away from the vocabulary; some language courses

avoid too much grammar, and concentrate instead on certain situations, like buying a ticket or ordering a meal. Listening and speaking are the most important skills for most people; some courses don’t offer much reading, and may leave out writing altogether.

It all depends what you want.

Stay tuned as we cover the following questions in the coming days…
3. What’s the best way to learn a foreign language?
4. As an adult, can you learn a language the same way that you did as a child?
5. Some ads promise instant/magic results?
6. How long it will take me to learn a language?
7. I don’t understand grammar; we were never taught it at school?
8. Is it easier to learn a language if I go to the country?
9. Which language should I learn?
10. Are some languages harder than others?
11. So which languages will I find easier than others?
12. Which is the most popular language?
13. Can

learning a language be fun?

Let us know if you have other questions by leaving a

comment on our blog…

You can also comment on our Facebook page.
Or if you’re ready to experience language learning feel free to check out our upcoming courses, starting 26 April.

Posted via web from Euroasia

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Na'vi language from Avatar: Lessons for language learners

Those of you who have seen James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar will know that Na’vi is the constructed language spoken by the fictional indigenous race (the Na’vi) on Pandora. Slates calls Na’vi the new Klingon. Aspiring Pandorans are flocking to learn Na’vi in droves.

The Na’vi language was created by Paul Frommer, a professor at USC with a doctorate in linguistics. Frommer has now launched a website to

share the Na’vi language with everyone.

Paul Frommer- creator of the Avatar language

Frommer spent years working on the Na’vi language, eventually teaching it to

all of the principal actors who have to speak it, and making recordings for them to listen to on their iPods.

Later, he worked on the set during shooting, coaching actors on pronunciation between takes, and even writing the occasional extra line when Cameron decided a scene needed tweaking.

Frommer recalls a moment during the filming of Avatar: “Jim Cameron and Sam Worthington came up to me and said, ‘We’ve decided that the character Jake is going to be recounting an incident he had where

he was bitten in his big blue butt — so how do you say ‘big blue butt?’ … I had ‘big’ and I had ‘blue,’ but I didn’t have ‘butt.’ ”

At last count, there were 165,000 posts by 4,400 people on Frommer’s Learn Na’vi site —passionate Pandorans who spend time translating and discussing Na’vi words, encouraging novices who have never even studied a foreign language.

Whilst we do not wish to discourage the many aspiring Pandorans; instead of spending hours learning the invented language spoken on a fictional alien planet, why not sign up for some Spanish classes at your local language school? It’s a lot easier to get to Chile than to Pandora.

Classes in FrenchGermanItalianPortugueseSpanishChinese (Mandarin)Japanese and Korean start 26 April. Fasttrack intensive courses start after Easter. Euroasia is taking enrolments now for courses in Auckland and Christchurch.

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How you can benefit from learning a second language

Most of us at some point or another have wanted to learn a second language. Some of us have learnt French or Japanese at high school. But most of us are still surprisingly monolingual (around 80% of Kiwis).

Some New Zealanders still think English is the lingua franca of the global village, only to be surprised when they visit faraway towns in Europe, South America or Asia. However, learning another language is useful not only because it opens up great travel possibilities. Learning a foreign language also helps give us an understanding of and appreciation for people that are different from us. Your understanding of the world will be enriched by gaining access to resources not available in English.

And as far as careers go, you don’t have to be an aspiring United Nations diplomat to learn a second language.

In our global village today there is almost no career that you could enter where second language skills wouldn’t come in handy at some time.  Even the big metropolitan cities – New York, London, Paris, Sydney etc. – which were once homogenous – now have sizeable populations of people who speak English as a second language. Being able to say on your CV that you have attempted to learn a second language would certainly make you come across as someone who is adventurous and serious about understanding people from other cultures. If you’re already doing business with people who speak a foreign language, you should at least be able to say a few words in the language of your business counterparts. You will no doubt win their respect, and in time this will translate into business deals.

Before you book your air ticket for that

trip to Europe or Asia this year, consider learning the local language to enrich your holiday experience.

Euroasia Language Academy offers programmes in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Call Cedric now on 0800 387627 or visit www.euroasia.co.nz for information on courses starting 26 April in Auckland and Christchurch.

For those of you super-busy people, there are two additional options:

  • if you are keen to learn as much as you can within a short timeframe, consider the 2-week Fasttrack 2 programme, starting 13 April,
  • if you can’t make it for class every week at one of our centres, you can still sign up for the online language buy propecia 5mg online uk course – delivered live by a language teacher from our centre in Auckland.

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2010 New Year Resolution: Learn a language

In recessionary times, it’s even more important to keep improving and to consider learning a second language. Now is the time to be upskilling to future proof yourself. The ability to speak

a second language puts your business or your job prospects one step ahead of the competition. You are also demonstrating to future employers that you have what it takes to stick to something. Employers realise that people who embark on language learning have some key characteristics that are highly valued in such times: commitment and dedication being some key ones. Part of what makes knowing a language a great skill to have is simply because it’s not that easy for someone to acquire fluency. If it was, it would quickly lose it’s value and won’t be treasured as much. Some of you would already have mastering a second language set as a 2010 New Year resolution.

How do you ensure you achieve your 2010 New Year resolution? Your goals have to be SMART. The reasons people give for not learning a language include lack of time, the cost involved and the difficulty of the subject area. The good news is you can craft a SMART plan to overcome the obstacles mentioned, to achieve your goal of speaking a foreign language by the end of 2010.

1) Specific

What does “speaking a foreign language” mean? Should your goal be to know enough French in order to survive in a remote town in France without relying on interpreters?

We have a specific learning outcomes for people who enrol for courses at Euroasia. For example, at the end of the Level 1 French course with Euroasia, you should know enough to “get by” in French: you will be able to cope with the most common everyday situations by asking and answering simple questions, and you will be able to understand people when they speak to you about the situations covered.

2) Measurable

How do you know you’re on track with your goal? You need some objective measure of your progress. This is the main reason why self-help language courses don’t work. This is because learning a language is not like studying history. You need constant feedback from experienced teachers who know how to provide constructive suggestions and correct you when you make mistakes. CDs and software programs can’t do that as well as humans. You need to be regularly “tested” either formally or informally so that you know you’re making progress. Language schools follow lesson plans that introduce progression over time. As long as you keep on top of the coursework, you will keep improving.

3) Attainable

Your goals have to be realistic. Sometimes we get calls from people who need to master a language within a matter of weeks because of an impending transfer offshore, or because they have to meet the future-in-laws who don’t speak any English. Learning a language, like everything else, takes time. There are certainly people out there who promise the world, and will tell you that you do not have to put in the hard yards and yet will emerge fluent within a short timeframe, simply by spending an hour a week listening to CDs or playing some games on your laptop or iphone. This is obviously appealing, in the same way that expensive infomercial weight-loss programmes are. The real secret to learning a language (and weight loss, saving money etc) is having a realistic plan and keeping to it. At Euroasia, we follow a language learning programme that allows people to realistically gain fluency over time. If we did have magic pills that make clients instantly fluent in Spanish, we would be selling them at a thousand-a-pop and not bother investing so much money in establishing and running a school.

4) Relevant

Why are you wanting to learn a foreign language? If you’re just wanting to learn Italian for fun so that you can order a beer and have a simple chat with hot locals as you roam around Rome, then your goal should be to complete Level 1 or Level 2 with Euroasia. A Level 1 course can be completed within 2 weeks, 5 weeks or 10 weeks, depending on how intense you want it to be. If on the other hand, you wish to conduct business negotiations with your suppliers in China, then a Level 1 course is not sufficient, and realistically it would take a year or two to get a point where you can engage in everyday conversation, comparing your life in New Zealand with other people’s lives overseas; discussing matters of interest, including politics and economics. The more solid your reason for learning a language, the longer the staying power. Visualise your end-goal. When the going gets tough, keep reminding yourself of how it feels to be able to ultimately converse freely with locals. What would also help is if you have career-oriented language goals such as planning to gain a foreign language qualification. If your goal is to pass a formal certification exam like DELE (Spanish), DELF (French) or HSK (Chinese), then you are also more likely to have stronger motivation.

5) Time-bound

What’s your plan in order to achieve your goal? Where do you want to be in 3 months? 6 months? An ineffective resolution is “I will be rich someday”. An effective resolution is “I will save $20K

by December 2010″. You then break this down further into quarterly and monthly targets. In the same way, you would set targets for yourself in learning a language. You may wish to complete the Euroasia Gold Package (4 courses) by the end of 2010.

We wish you all the best in setting SMART goals for 2010!

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Lost in translation

It's fashionable these days for Westerners to wear t-shirts with Chinese calligraphy or have tattoos with Chinese words. I reckon 9 times out of 10, people have no idea what the Chinese phrase means.

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I found this one, where a boyfriend proudly displays what he calls “My girl's “Bitch” tattoo”. He posted this on a website, not knowing that it actually means prostitute.

Before and after ... the cover the the Max Planck Research magazine wa

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Before and after ... the cover the the Max Planck Research magazine was replaced after it was discovered that the original cover (left) was an ad for a strip joint.

This one is really funny. One of Europe's most prestigious scientific research institutes has had to issue an apology after discovering that the calligraphy used on the cover of its flagship magazine to illustrate a special China edition was

in fact an ad for a Hong Kong strip joint.

The institute hastily replaced the cover – which advertises “hot, young housewives” – from the online and English edition of the publication, Max Planck Research, but not before the German language version of the periodical had been dispatched to subscribers.

Why is it so hard to get people to understand the importance of getting translations done properly, and checked by experts?

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