Meet Heather Warne – Japanese language student at Euroasia

You may have seen Heather Warne in the Mitre 10 ad currently running on TV.  Or at one of the many theatre productions she has been part of over the past few years.  A long-term client of Euroasia, she progressed from the Japanese Level 1 course in 2010 to the Japanese Advanced class with Takako. We talk to Heather about her wide range of interests in food/acting/singing/learning.

heather warneWhat do you do professionally?

I work for a charity called the Leprosy Mission – we do overseas aid and development work with people affected by leprosy. I'm also an audio-book narrator with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

What's your favourite food?

Ooh, so many options! I really love variety and trying new combinations and foods from different cultures, but a few old favourites are pizza… chocolate mousse… teppanyaki prawns with Yum Yum sauce…

What do you do when you aren't working?

I like basically any singing opportunities I can get my hands on – musical theatre, recording projects, jamming with bands. I also act, which is sometimes work and sometimes not! And of course enjoy both these things as a spectator, at concerts, theatre and movies. I probably also spend far too much time on computers.

How did you get involved in acting?

Acting is something I've done since I was a kid and been very interested in since college, so I then went on and did a degree in it at Unitec. Singing too – been singing since I was about 5, but a show I did a couple of years ago introduced me to a group of cool singers and I've since then had more training and got further involved in music, and really enjoying all the different avenues of it. I know a few songs in Japanese – it's a fun language to sing in.

What has surprised you most about learning Japanese?

How many verb forms there are… and the number of different words you use to count things!

What's the best thing to happen since you started getting into Japanese language and culture?

I suppose as far as the language, it was pretty awesome when I was watching some old Japanese movies I hadn't seen in a while and found that I wasn't always needing the subtitles. I haven't been to Japan yet – I'm sure that will be the highlight once I have!

Do people recognise you in the streets? What do they say when they do?

Haha, no I'm definitely not at that point yet! Occasionally I'll meet someone who's seen me performing on a stage before we've actually met – but never in really anonymous situations like on the street.

What's your dream job?

Singing, either on the West End or in the Tokyo jazz scene. Perhaps flitting between one and the other.

Heather with her Japanese class and Sensei Takako at the Euroasia Xmas party
Heather with her Japanese class and Takako-sensei at the Euroasia Xmas party (Dec 2011).

What's it like to be learning Japanese at Euroasia?

Really positive environment, great learning from a native speaker and everyone's there of their own accord so they're keen to have fun and also learn.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about learning Japanese?

Go for it! It's a fun language to learn – there are fiddly bits, but it's also not too hard to get your mouth around. As far as a tip, start learning kana (the writing) early – the sooner you know them, the sooner you can start practicing as you continue to learn

What's the difference between a Japanese and a Kiwi?

Hmmm… I haven't personally met a lot of Japanese people so I can't really speak from my own experience. The Japanese appear to be much more stylish, pop-culture-wise, much more outgoing. Also driven – whereas kiwis are often quite laid-back. Though if Takako-sensei is anything to go by, the Japanese must smile a lot!

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101 FREE tools to learn any foreign language

The people at Online College have written an interesting article on 101 tools that can help you learn a new language. At Euroasia we believe that these tools are best supplemented by classroom time with a teacher. Nevertheless these are good resources for language learners.

Translation

With these tools, you’ll find translation and dictionaries.

  1. Xanadu: Get a free all-in-one translation wizard on your PC with Xanadu.
  2. Google Language Tools: Search across languages, translate text, and more using Google’s tools.
  3. Freelang: Check out Freelang for free dictionaries, human translation, fonts, and more.
  4. Rikai: On this page, you can enter the URL you want to go to and see translations as you move your mouse over the text.
  5. Free Online Dictionaries: Make use of these dictionaries to learn more about different languages.
  6. DictSearch: Access 265 online dictionaries using this one simple interface.
  7. Yahoo! Babel Fish: Yahoo!’s Babel Fish will translate text or a web page for you.

FREE Introductory Courses

  1. French I: Follow this course for an introduction to the French language and culture.
  2. American Sign Language: Here you’ll find lesson plans, information on deaf culture, and vocabulary.
  3. Learn to Speak Dutch: You’ll get access to language lessons, vocabulary, and more here.
  4. German I: Acquire an understanding of German through active communication.
  5. BBC Greek: The BBC’s Greek resource offers a quick fix for learning the language.
  6. Beginning Japanese I: Use this course’s interactive study materials to learn beginner Japanese.
  7. Introduction to Portuguese: Use this course to get started learning the Portuguese language.
  8. Learn to Speak Korean: These video courses offer a convenient way to learn Korean.
  9. Intermediate Japanese: Improve your fluency and learn Kanji characters in this course.
  10. BBC Portuguese: BBC’s Portuguese course offers an introduction to the language in 10 short parts.
  11. Farsi: Follow this beginner’s course to get an introduction to vocabulary, sentences, and basic phrases in Farsi.
  12. Advanced Japanese I: With the help of this course, you’ll become an expert in Japanese.
  13. Learn to Speak Russian: You can improve your Russian vocabulary and grammar using these courses.
  14. Kenyan Sign Language: You can learn about Kenyan Sign Language using this illustrated course.
  15. BBC Chinese: Get a taste for the Chinese language with BBC’s slideshows, quizzes, and more.
  16. Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Learn about the language and culture of Europe and Latin America through this literature course.
  17. Spanish I: Watch this course’s videos to learn authentic Spanish and all about its cultural diversity.
  18. First Year Chinese: You’ll get an understanding of the basic Chinese speaking and writing principles from this course.
  19. BBC Italian: Improve your Italian skills using these resources from the BBC.
  20. Oral Communication in Spanish: Get an understanding of Hispanic culture with the help of this course.
  21. Learn to Speak Portuguese: Use these audio lessons to learn Brazilian Portuguese.
  22. Communicating Across Cultures: With the help of this course, you’ll learn how to converse with people outside of your culture.
  23. BBC German: Learn grammar, vocabulary, and more in this German Quick Fix.
  24. Spanish Conversation and Composition: Improve your speaking and writing in Spanish with the help of this course.
  25. Learning German: Find four courses in the German language here.
  26. Learn to Speak Japanese: Take these Japanese lessons, and you’ll improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.
  27. Chinese I (Regular): MIT offers a full series of Chinese language learning.
  28. Spanish for Bilingual Students: Students who are bilingual in Spanish and English can improve their Spanish skills with this course.
  29. Learning the basics of French: This beginning course offers a look at verb tenses, grammatical structures, and simple vocabulary.
  30. BBC French: You can find resources for French learners from beginners to intermediates here.
  31. English grammar in context: Learn about speech and writing in English using this course.
  32. The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism: This course will help you better understand bilingualism.
  33. Chinese I (Streamlined): This collection of Chinese courses is designed for students who grew up in a Chinese speaking environment.
  34. BBC Spanish: Get access to Spanish TV, radio, and other resources here.

Language Learning Communities

Through these communities, you’ll be able to meet other people learning a new language and find partners to practice with.

  1. Livemocha: Connect with language partners around the world for social language learning.
  2. My Language Exchange: Make friends and learn a new language on My Language Exchange.
  3. Skype Community: On this board, you can connect with others that want to learn your language, and share theirs.
  4. LingoPass: In this language learning bartering system, you’ll teach and learn new languages.
  5. Palabea: Palabea canada viagra is a social networking site for communicating in foreign languages.
  6. UniLang: You can learn languages with these free language resources, as well as learn, discuss, and practice languages in this community.
  7. italki: Use this add-on for Skype to find other users to learn languages with.

Podcasts

Follow these podcasts, and you’ll find regular entries that will have you speaking a new language in no time.

  1. English as a Second Language Podcast: Check out this podcast for more than 100 ESL lessons.
  2. Chinese Learn Online: Chinese Learn Online offers an introduction to Mandarin Chinese.
  3. French for Beginners: Get started with these lessons for French beginners.
  4. Learn Japanese Symbols: With this podcast, you’ll learn how to use Japanese symbols.
  5. Arabic Language Lessons: Through this service of the US Peace Corps, you’ll find lessons that teach you the Arabic language.
  6. Bulgarian Survival Phrases: With the help of this podcast, you’ll learn enough Bulgarian to get around.
  7. Latinum: Latinum offers language learning in podcast form from London.
  8. English for Spanish Speakers: Check out this podcast to learn English from Spanish.
  9. Le Journal en francais facile: Hear nightly news slowed down for comprehension.
  10. Maori: You can learn the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people with this video podcast site.
  11. Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk: With Serge Melnyk, you’ll get weekly lessons in Mandarin.
  12. Esperanto: Use these lessons to become familiar with Esperanto.
  13. Ta Falado: You’ll find Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation for Spanish speakers in this podcast.
  14. Hebrew Vocab Pronunciations: Find out how to pronounce words in Hebrew using this podcast.
  15. GermanPod 101: Find materials for German learners from beginners to advanced in this podcast.
  16. Learn Romanian: This podcast offers survival phrases for Romania.
  17. ArabicPod: Here you’ll get access to mp3 podcasts as well as transcripts of learning Arabic.
  18. I Speak Hindi: With this podcast, you’ll learn essential words and phrases for Indian travel.
  19. A Taste of Russian: Find real, every day life chats to learn with this podcast.
  20. Dar to Danish: Learn dirty Danish words and other daring parts of the Danish language with this podcast.
  21. Special Finnish: This podcast slows down the language to make understanding easier.
  22. Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies: You’ll have fun learning Hindi with this podcast.
  23. Russian Literature: This literature podcast can help you improve your comprehension and vocabulary with Russian classics.
  24. German Grammar: These German grammar podcasts are designed for American students.
  25. One Minute Catalan: Get quick learning for Catalan using this resource.
  26. Let’s Speak Italian: Break Italian down into manageable 5 minute podcasts here.
  27. Cody’s Cuentos: Learn Spanish by listening to these classic fairy tales and legends.
  28. Survival Phrases Arabic: With this podcast, you’ll learn the essentials of getting around in Arabic.
  29. Laura Speaks Dutch: Prepare for travel to Holland with the help of Laura’s podcast.
  30. Insta Spanish Lessons: Students of all levels will enjoy this Spanish grammar podcast.
  31. Easy French Poetry Podcast: This podcast uses poetry as a topic for French language learning discussion.
  32. Japancast: You’ll learn from anime and everyday conversation using this podcast.
  33. LoMasTv: LoMasTv offers language immersion for Spanish.
  34. Yabla French: With Yabla French, you’ll get captioned videos, integrated dictionaries,

    and more.

Learning Tools

Here, you’ll find tools made just for language learning.

  1. Mango: Use Mango’s online language learning system, and you’ll build your conversation skills in any language.
  2. Babbel: Learn a language with the help of flash cards on Babbel.
  3. Lingro: On this useful site, you’ll find study tools, online translation, games, vocabulary lists, and much more.
  4. Tibetan Language Tools: Here you’ll find resources for the basic alphabet, vowels, and more in Tibetan.
  5. Busuu: Get writing and speaking practice with the help of Busuu.
  6. Byki: You can download language learning software, follow lessons online, and more, even on your iPhone.

Textbooks

Use these online textbooks in your foreign language studies.

  1. German: Make use of this Wikibook to learn German, or take the bite-sized German course.
  2. Belorusian: Learn the Belarusian alphabet and beyond in this textbook.
  3. Afrikaans: Check out this Wikibook to find pronunciation, lessons, and much more for Afrikaans.
  4. Scottish Gaelic: Find pronunciation, sentence structure, and grammar from this book.
  5. Polish: With the help of this Wikibook, you’ll be able to learn the basics of the Polish language.
  6. Irish: Learn the old language of Irish Gaelic using this Wikibook.
  7. Arabic: This Arabic workbook shares the Romanization system, alphabet, definite articles, and beyond.
  8. Portugese: Choose between European and Brazilian Portuguese on this Wikibook.
  9. Yiddish: This book covers Yiddish for Yeshiva Bachurium as well as conversational Yiddish.
  10. French: Check out this excellent French Wikibook for French language learning.
  11. Russian: This Wikibook presents Russian for English speakers.
  12. Albanian: Learn about the unified version of Albanian here.
  13. Textkit: You’ll find books, readers, and more for Greek and Latin learning on Textkit.
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Euroasia Christmas message – Joyeux Noël

The team at Euroasia has put together a short video message, wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. You'll have to guess who's saying what. If you're playing this at the office, try not to laugh too hard ok. We don't want to get you in trouble.

p/s:If you can

9;t see the video here, check out the youtube clip at http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=tzGqluc0kNs – Don't miss the outtakes ok

Our office closes on 19 December, and will reopen on 5 January for the 2-week intensive programme (2 weeknights + Sat half day).

At the start of next year you have 3 intakes to choose from:
5 Jan and 19 Jan for Fasttrack programmes
2 Feb for the standard courses.

Enrol online now, or talk to us about buying a gift voucher for a loved one. Looking forward to having you back next year. online canadian pharmacy

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How does a Japanese person learn Chinese?

I had an interesting chat this afternoon with one of our Japanese students enrolled in the Chinese language course. We don't have many international students, seeing 90% of our clients are Kiwis. I was quite keen to explore how a Japanese person approaches language learning, compared to a Kiwi.

I managed to extract some interesting insights. In response to my question of what's hardest with learning Chinese, he said that he had great difficulty pronouncing “he” (river Canadian pharmacy in Chinese). Differentiating between the 4 tones is difficult, and he can't seem to get it right. His advantage though, is that he can read kanji (Japanese script). This is very similar to Chinese script, and he can pretty much figure out what's written.

I cracked up when my Japanese friend noted that when he was learning Chinese in Japan, the teacher told the class to start off with massaging the muscle underneath the ears, by the jaw bone, because Japanese people do not use that particular muscle when speaking, and the Chinese do.

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What it means to speak another language

What does it mean to say that you “speak a language”? That you speak like a native, that you speak fluently, that you can to some extent get by? There are many different interpretations of what this phrase could mean.

Over the years, I’ve had a go at learning quite a few languages. I started off at school with French and German (with Latin thrown in for good measure), and I then went off to university and studied these further. Somewhere along the line, I got some teach-yourself books and duly taught myself some Italian and Spanish. A period spent in Wales prompted me to tackle Welsh. Later on, I had a go at Russian, Dutch and finally Japanese. Whereupon I decided enough was enough, so, no, I have no intention of learning Zulu or Icelandic.

I have sometimes been asked how many languages I speak, and I really have no idea how to answer this question. The reason is that I have achieved greatly varying degrees of proficiency in these various languages. My French and German are reasonably competent, but I am definitely not a native speaker, and if I were to write this article in either of those languages, I would take a lot longer and still want a native speaker to check it through. At the other end of the scale, I can’t say very much at all in Russian, but I still have a certain feel for the language.

The point, perhaps, is not so much how many languages I speak, but what do I know of these languages, and what use is what I know.

When we start learning a foreign language, we would of course love to reach a high level of competence in a short period. However, there is no getting away from the fact that there is a lot involved in language learning; even if you have a gift for grammar, and an intuitive feel for the way languages work, you still have to memorise vocabulary, and that takes time. Not everyone can devote years to the study of a foreign language and so, realistically, not everyone who tries it will achieve a high level of competence.

I’d like to go back to my own experience and compare my rudimentary knowledge of Japanese with my non-existent knowledge of, say, Korean.

I can’t say very much in Japanese, I can’t really follow a conversation, and I certainly can’t read a newspaper. However, I do have a feel for the way the language works. I know the sound patterns, and how these are put together to make words. I can easily identify nouns and verbs. I know something about levels of politeness, and how these important aspects of Japanese culture are reflected in the language. On the purely practical level, if I go to Japan, I know enough to get myself around without support. Most important of all, if I meet Japanese people, I can say something in their language, and show them that I have made the effort to match in some small way the effort they have probably made to learn my language.

In Korean, I can’t do any of this: to me the language is just a jumble of sounds, I have no idea what people are talking about, and if I go to Korea I have to really on support from others, sign language, or the classic “Does anyone here speak English?”

The level of knowledge I have achieved in Japanese is probably on a par with what people might hope to achieve after one or two courses with Euroasia. I am certainly not fluent in the language, and yet the knowledge I have is knowledge I really appreciate having: it’s of practical use, it helps me to relate to people, plus it contributes to my general understanding of the world around me.

And this, I would say, is the value of learning a little.

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