This is my personal blog, explaining why I love language so much and attempting to unravel some of the secrets to learning a new language. This first article is all about letting you get to know me. Don't worry, I will go back to basics in future blogs, for example in our next blog I would like you to tell me what you why and how you want to learn English and we will think about vocabulary, the building bricks!
If you are at an intermediate level or above, this blog can be a starting point for conversations in our meetings together. If you are a complete beginner, simply read it and pick out the words you do know. Listen to my spoken transcript. Hearing your new language will help you on your journey. Above all enjoy, have fun, love language. ( transcripts can be found on the repostitory, you have to join up to access them but this is free, simply 'get in touch' with me and I will help you do this.)
I have given the blog a title - Time For a Chat? To chat is an English verb meaning to have an informal conversation. It is when friends talk to and listen to each other’s news. They are chatting. I would love to hear from you and chat! You may have questions about learning English or a particular problem that affects your confidence when talking, reading or writing in English. You may simply want to practice your writing and the topics in the blog might get you started. If you get in touch via the contact page, you can create an account and send your thoughts and questions to your very own folder on the web site. You can store new information and it will also allow you to send written work, chat and exchange ideas.
I love language for many different reasons. Obviously my first language is English. I was brought up by a Scottish Mum and an English Dad. I speak English with a Scottish accent but only use dialect or Scottish idioms with family and close friends. Only Scots or someone who has lived in Scotland for a long time would understand me.
I was taught early on that to communicate on an international level, my English would have to be clear and accurate. ‘Concise and precise’ is how an English lecturer described it when I was a student. My love of my first language grew as I did. I loved to chat to friends and make new friends. My large family adored parties and gatherings where conversation was always lively and good fun. That was the speaking part…. Then aged 5, I learned to read. Reading is like breathing to me. I cannot imagine not being able to read. Much of my learning has been acquired through reading, unfortunately this hasn’t worked for maths but in most areas simply picking up a book on the subject I wanted to learn about or had to study helped me achieve the learning goal I had in mind. This could take us down the ‘learning style’ conversation road but it is a huge topic which we can chat about in another blog.
Reading has given me more than simply knowledge however. It has taken me to other countries, worlds, taken me out of the ordinary every day things that have to be done. I feel lost if I don’t have at least one book, usually a novel, to read when ever I have a quiet moment. As I now live in Spain and am trying to improve my Spanish, I have recently finished reading my first full novel in Spanish. It felt like a real achievement, I enjoyed the story and it definitely helped my Spanish. As your English develops, I would recommend you begin to read as much as possible and not just grammar books!
History is another favourite topic of mine and combining this with language is easy. I studied Latin for two years in High School and even several decades later, I am always delighted when I make the connections between a Latin word and a modern day one, in English or Spanish. English a wonderful mixture of many languages not just Latin. As you learn, you will probably find words similar to your own or with similar roots. It’s great fun!
Finally, travel. Travel has deepened my love of language. My first trip abroad was a school trip to France and it provided the first opportunity for me to try out my school girl French. My travels have tended towards either English, Spanish or French speaking countries but I have also learned the basics, ‘good morning’, ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ for journeys to Greece , Portugal , Germany, Italy and Poland. I feel uncomfortable assuming that where ever I go, everyone will understand English. It also feels very rude not at least trying to communicate a little bit at least in the language of the country I am visiting.
It is what makes travel fascinating. Life would be very boring if we were all the same and all spoke the same language. Perhaps, like me, you also have languages that you just love to listen to even if you don’t understand a word!
Words are wonderful!