Unique words in other languages

Some people call these ‘untranslatable’ words which is rarely true as everything can be translated, one way or another. However, it often teaches you something about a culture when they have a single word or phrase for a concept that may take a sentence to explain in English. I enjoy how succinct the description is,…

French: Idioms using animals

Idioms in foreign languages can offer an insight into that country’s culture but can also cause confusion and leave one feeling the ‘perpetual foreigner’. Even worse, attempting to translate an expression from your own language can lead to inadvertent confusion or (in my experience) hilarity. For example, did you know that while in English siblings…

Chinese idiom: 半途而废 To give up halfway

半途而废 bàntúérfèi To give up halfway This idiom is particularly relevant for me right now because doing a PGCE is tough and, as much as I love teaching, sometimes it is difficult to maintain motivation when I get bogged down in the paperwork. But, 我不要半途而废!I don’t want to give up (more than) halfway through or…

Multilingual flashcard: Rainbow

Caught sight of one of these yesterday afternoon as the rain eased and the sun broke through the clouds in the park near me. Enjoy a rainbow for Day 12 of the multilingual flashcard challenge!  

Korean through music – Stand up by J-Min (일어나)

Stand up by J-min This song is the main theme for a popular Korean series, To the Beautiful You, which I have been watching recently. As well as being very catchy it is also quite easy to understand so I would like to use it as a focus for learning some new Korean words. Watch…

Music and TV for language learning

Listening to music can be an enjoyable way of learning a new language or simply getting used to the sounds and patterns of that language. Through music you can learn new vocabulary or reinforce what you have already learned – I love the thrill I get when I hear a new word or grammar structure…

Fairytales for children

“Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.” ― Jack Zipes I have always loved fairytales in all their incarnations. They are a mainstay in our popular culture from bedtime stories to movies, constantly being reinvented and reinterpreted. There are…

Untranslatable Words

A collection of untranslatable words (or at least words that are difficult to translate!) from around the world by the London-based artist Marija Tiurina. I like using images such as these to stimulate conversation in a language awareness class or to improve cultural understanding. Images credited to http://marijatiurina.com/?portfolio=untranslatable-words    

Idioms from around the world

For language learners idioms can be the spice of language learning, brightening things up with a dose of humour or cultural insight when the grammar gets too much and you need a break. They can also be something that trips you up or makes you feel that you will never be truly able to be…

Lullabies from around the world

A beautiful project by Metronome Film funded by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography of the Russian Federation. They have animated lullabies from many countries around the world and are planning to add more. Watch the videos below or click through to their website for more information: http://www.lull.ru/eng/ What a great way to introduce…