How to learn a language online

How to learn a language online

wayne parry

Learn Japanese online - for free

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

The Japanese language is obviously spoken in Japan by over 125 million people as well as in several communities around the world that have received a considerable number of Japanese immigrants, such as in the south-east of Brazil, the US state of Hawaii and several parts of Latin America from Peru to the Dominican Republic. However, in all of those parts of the world outside Japan, the Japanese diaspora is now into its fourth generation and as a result, only local languages tend to be spoken.

This is still an important business language, despite the rise of neighbouring China and South Korea. Japanese is an immensely popular language to learn due to its cultural attraction through animated movies and magazines, fashion and contemporary art as well as its world renowned cuisine and innovative technology. The rise of Japan’s economy in the 1960’s helped to introduce the language to the rest of the world through its country’s surge in tourists travelling abroad and its brand image as a nation of hard-working citizens in a high-tech society. Combined with its rich history and refined social structure, it’s no wonder this language has maintained its position as the most popular Asian language to study around the world.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

KYOTO

The ancient capital of Kyoto is home to many beautiful temples that date back several centuries and this city draws in a high volume of tourists, both domestic and international. By immersing ourselves in a typical street scene, we are able to get an insight into the daily lives of its inhabitants – an important step before taking on this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PLACE WHERE THE LANGUAGE CAN BE SEEN

SHOPPING IN OKINAWA

Browsing through the shops and stalls of Okinawa, a group of islands between Taiwan and mainland Japan, is a great way to read the signs in the language. Identifying signs is another initial step before taking on the language and when we’re able to identify the written language, it helps us to remember words more effectively.

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

Watching TV in Japanese is a very stimulating method for absorbing the language. However, it’s important to take away the subtitles in your native language otherwise this will slow down the process, contrary to the belief that it allows us to understand what is being said. TV drama is by far the most effective situation to watch on television for it shows us real life scenarios that reflect human behaviour – happiness, sadness, grief, joy, love and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE: FOOD

JAPANESE CUISINE

The delicious cuisine of Japan is one of the world’s most popular and the year-by-year growth in the number of Japanese restaurants that can be seen from France to Russia is a true reflection of how favourable the food really is. Learning what the local people eat is a real way to learn how to communicate, for it opens us up to a very important part of culture – food. Here’s a tour of some of the more well-known dishes in Japan as well as a list (below) of a typical menu.

    

 

ENTRÉE

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き (savoury pancakes from Osaka)

Yakitori 焼き鳥 (skewered grilled chicken)

Takoyaki たこ焼き (deep fried octopus dumplings)

Tempura 天ぷら (deep fried vegetables and seafood in light batter)

Onigiri おにぎり (rice balls filled with salmon roe or pickles wrapped in seaweed)

Miso soup  å‘³å™Œæ± (soy bean paste soup)

Kakeh udon カケうどん (thick noodle broth)

Karaage 唐揚げ (deep fried chicken pieces)

Gyoza 餃子 (pan fried pork and garlic dumplings)

Agedofu 揚げ豆腐 (deep fried tofu)

Edamame 枝豆 (boiled and salted soybeans)

Kani korokke カニコロッケ (crab croquettes)

Maguro sashimi マグロの刺身 (tuna sashimi)

Monja yaki もんじゃ焼き (Tokyo style savoury pancakes)

 

MAIN

Katsudon カツ丼 (deep fried pork cutlet on rice)

Yakizakana 焼き魚 (flame grilled fish)

Zaru soba ざるそば (cold buckwheat noodles)

Udon curry カレーうどん (thick noodles in curry soup)

Unagi  ã†ãªãŽ (grilled eel)

Souki soba ソーキそば (Okinawa style noodles with stewed pork)

Yaki udon 焼うどん (fried thick noodles from Kitakyushu)

Miso ramen 味噌ラーメン  (noodle soup with soy bean paste from Sapporo)

Katsu curry カツカレー (pork cutlet curry served with rice and pickles)

Sukiyaki すき焼き (beef and vegetable hot pot)

Nikujaga 肉じゃが (beef and potato stew)

Goya chanpuru ゴーヤチャンプルー (bitter melon stir fry from Okinawa)

Nigiri zushi にぎり寿司 (hand pressed sushi of different seafood)

Fugu sashimi ふぐ刺身 (raw pufferfish which can be lethal if not prepared properly)

Ika somen イカそうめん (finely sliced squid in dipping sauce from Hakodate in Hokkaido)

Gyu tan 牛タン (grilled beef tongue from Sendai)

Taco riceタコライス (Okinawan dish of rice and Mexican style taco meat filling)

 

DESSERT

Castella カステラ (sponge cake from Nagasaki but originally of Portuguese origin)

Matcha ice cream 抹茶アイスクリーム (grean tea ice cream)

Amanatto甘納豆 (simmered azuki beans)

Mochi 餅 (sweetened rice cakes)

Monakaもなか (azuki bean paste between sweet rice crackers)

Ikinari dangoいきなり団子 (steamed bun with sweet potato and azuki beans from Kumamoto)

Imagawayaki 今川焼き (azuki bean waffles)

Anko purin 小豆のプリン (azuki bean pudding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STEP SIX: COOKING

LEARNING HOW TO PREPARE A TYPICAL JAPANESE DISH – KARAAGE

Karaage is fried chicken and it’s fairly easy to make. This clip shows us how to prepare a typical dish without using any other language apart from Japanese. Following instructions is a challenging but fun way to learn the language – and of course, the reward is the finished product. A cooked meal!

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN: MUSIC

POPULAR MUSIC IN JAPAN

While Japan keeps its place as the world’s second largest music market, its appeal hasn’t spread as easily as music from Latin America or certain parts of Europe. Several genres have emerged from Japan, including visual kei (a spin-off of the New Romantic movement from the UK) as well as J-Pop. It could be argued though that in other parts of Asia, popular music from Japan has been a huge success – particularly in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT: SPORT

POPULAR SPORTS IN JAPAN

Sports in Japan follow two paths: traditional and modern. The more traditional sports include several martial arts such as karate, aikido, jiu-jitsu and sumo whereas modern sports have usually followed American trends such as baseball and golf. In this clip we can see Japan’s love of baseball where some players are as popular as pop stars or politicians.

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE: FILM

JAPANESE CINEMA

Many interesting movies have come out of Japan and the recent wave of Hollywood versions of Japanese horror movies is only one aspect of this country’s diverse list of box office hits, from comedy to drama. Here is a contemporary list of some popular (and award winning) Japanese films to have hit the cinemas in recent years.

 

 

Postcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in OsakaPostcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in Osaka

 

 

 

STEP TEN: PEOPLE

SKYPE

Communicating with friends on Skype is without a doubt a very effective way of learning a language. It is important to ensure that the level of the person you’re communicating with has a similar level in your language in order to really gain from the experience. If not, one of you is going to feel a bit left out and it won’t last. Here are two useful websites for finding language partners online.

 

STEP ELEVEN: WORK

THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

Japan has a well-known work ethic which pulled it out of the post-war period and into its boom time during the 1980’s. Working in Japan offers an enormous opportunity to become exposed in the everyday challenges of learning a language, from commuting to socialising. Here is a clip that looks at some of those challenges.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE: RELATIONSHIPS

KANSAI vs KANTO

The two great metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka have a history of rivalry and it’s always interesting to know how the locals feel about their compatriots. In this clip we discover how far that rivalry has come.

 

 

 

Learn Portuguese Online - For Free

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:   UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE

This first step is to introduce us to the language with a clip that shows us all the places where the language is spoken. There are no subtitles (intentionally) but it doesn’t matter if it’s difficult to understand. The point is to just sit back and take it all in. Becoming familiar with the language is important before we begin to explore some of the cultural aspects of this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:   A PLACE WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

LISBON

 

The capital of Portugal is the starting point for this journey of the Portuguese language and this clip is a visual tour of this beautiful city without any words or dialogue. This is an introduction to a major place where Portuguese is spoken.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:   AN AREA WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SEEN

A MARKET IN SÃO PAULO

 

A market is a great place to pick up sights and sounds of the language in its natural habitat. Other good examples are street scenes and local shopping centres. In this step it’s important to observe any signs of the language in its written form.

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:   SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

To understand the people who speak the language we must first understand how they behave. Television drama is an ideal way to explore the emotions, idioms and reactions of the native speakers – especially if the drama is contemporary as opposed to fantasy. Here is a clip of a typical (and recent) Brazilian soap opera watched by millions of people around the Portuguese speaking world.

 

Perfeito Coração  =  love story set in Lisbon after some street riots bring two people together

Gabriela  =  drama set in the 1920’s in Ilheus (Bahia)

Cheais de Charme  =  Brazilian series about three maids who successfully form a band

Deixa que Te Leve  =  story about a rich Italian family in Minho (Portugal)

Avenida Brasil  =  love story set around a famous footballer’s family in Rio de Janeiro

Fina Estampa  =  Brazilian drama based on the family of Griselda, a female mechanic from the Azores

Carrossel  =  Brazilian series for children set in a fictitious school

Sentimentos  =  story about a girl who finds out she’s adopted, filmed mainly in Lisbon and Macau

Big Brother Brasil  =  TV reality show

Amor Eterno Amor  =  drama about the destiny of a man living on the island of Marajó in Brazil

Insenato Coração  =  story about two brothers living in Rio de Janeiro

Minha Terra Minha Mãe  =  Angolan-Brazilian soap opera filmed in both countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:   FOOD

BRAZILIAN CUISINE

 

Learning about the food eaten in the place where the language is spoken is very important for it allows us to understand more about the culture. It’s also a fun and motivating way to learn faster because it encourages us to find out more about something we all enjoy to do – eating. Here’s a list of just some of the food eaten in the countries where Portuguese is spoken.  Many of these dishes, such as feijoada, are enjoyed almost wherever the language is spoken.

 

 

ENTRÉE

Acarajé com caruru (deep fried black eyed pea balls stuffed with spicy shrimp paste) from Bahia

Caldo verde (potato & kale soup) from Portugal

Coxinha (chicken croquette) from Brazil

Bolinhos de bacalhau (fried cod balls)

Bauru (cheese & mozzarella sandwich) from São Paulo

Quibebe (squash soup) from the north-east of Brazil

Tapioca frita (fried tapioca usually served with cheese or coconut) from Brazil

Chouriço (spicy sausage)

Chamuças (samosas) from Goa

Casquinho de siri (stuffed crab shells) from north-eastern & northern Brazil

 

 

MAIN

Feijoada (black bean & meat stew)

Moqueca Capixaba (tomato & fish stew) from Espiritu Santo in Brazil

Caldeirada (seafood stew)

Calulu de peixe (dried fish stew) from Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe

Rojões à moda de Minho (fried diced pork with blood rice) from Minho in Portugal

Pato no Tucupi (duck in cassava broth) from Pará in Brazil

Pirão de caldo de feijão (manioc flour paste with bean stew) from Brazil and Angola

Bobó de camarão (shrimp pureé) from Bahia

Galinha à Portuguesa (curried chicken in coconut) from Macau

Carne de sol (sun dried meat) from the northeast of Brazil

Inteiro com piri-piri (whole barbecued chicken with piri-piri sauce) from Mozambique

Sumatena (barbecued dried fish) from Angola

Alheira (yellow sausage with fried potatoes & fried egg) from Trás-os-Montes in Portugal

Caril de carangueijo (crab stew) from Mozambique

Vatapá (shrimp & coconut stew) from Bahia

Churrasco de picanha (Brazilian barbecue of sirloin beef)

Francesinha (sausage & tomato sandwich with fries) from Porto

Caril de galinha (chicken curry with roasted peppers & coconut) from East Timor

Baião de Dois (rice & bean dish with dried meat) from Ceará in Brazil

Sarapatel (spicy meat & offal dish) from various places – Goa, Portugal and north-eastern Brazil

Maniçoba (meat & manioc leaf stew) from the Amazon region of Brazil

Cozido à portuguesa (winter stew) from Portugal

Piracuí (dried & floured fish meal) from the Amazon

Galinha à Africana (barbecued chicken in spicy sauce) from Macau

Carne de porco à Alentejana (pork & clam dish) from the Algarve region of Portgual

Frango com quiabo (chicken and okra dish) from Minas Gerais in Brazil

Bacalhau à Minhota (cod dish) from Minho in Portugal

Pato de cabidela (duck stew) from Macau

Vindaloo (pork curry) from Goa in India

Xinxin de galinha (chicken marinated in vinegar stew) from Minas Gerais in Brazil

 

DESSERT

Quindim (baked egg & coconut pudding) from Brazil

Bolo de rolo (rolled sponge cake) from Pernambuco in Brazil

Bebinca (coconut & ghee pudding) found in Goa and East Timor

Bolo de brigadeiro (chocolate bonbon cake) from Brazil

Cuscuz branco (tapioca pudding)

Açaí na tigela (açaí fruit of the Amazon with granola, banana & syrup)

Canjica (sweet corn porridge) from Brazil

Cocada (dried coconut sweet) from Brazil and Angola

Goiabada (guava paste) eaten all over, but especially in Brazil with cheese (Romeo & Juliet)

Fios de ovos (egg angel hair) from Portugal

Creme de papaya (papaya cream) from Brazil

Arroz doce (rice pudding)

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:   COOKING

HOW TO MAKE SOMETHING TYPICAL FROM MOZAMBIQUE

 

Eating the food is the easy part. Learning how to make it is more challenging but essential to learning a language. A recipe is an instruction and if we can learn how to follow instructions in a language, we can learn how to create results. In this case, the result is something incredibly tasty.

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:   MUSIC

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE MUSIC IN THIS LANGUAGE

 

By learning the songs from this language, it opens us up to another part of the culture and this is an incredibly useful way to learn Portuguese. It also introduces us to some rather excellent music along the way. This is a language that has been dispersed through its music like no other language except perhaps English or Spanish. From Brazil there is a huge variety of music from samba, bossa nova, funk, axé, forró, pagode, sertanejo and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). There is also kuduro music from Angola, marrabenta music from Mozambique and the one that started it all – fado from Portugal, sung mostly in the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. Here’s a list of some recent artists from this part of the world.

 

Ai, Se Eu Te Pego (Michel Telo)  =  Brazilian sertanejo singer from Paraná with this worldwide hit

Tudo que Eu Sinto (CW7)  =  Brazilian pop rock band from Curitiba

Rosa Sangue (Amor Electro)  =  one of Portugal’s newest pop rock bands to create success

Despedida (Mayra Andrade)  =  the best singer from Cape Verde since Cesária Évora

Odeio (Manu Gavassi)  =  female pop singer from São Paulo

Quem Não Quer Sou Eu (Seu Jorge)  =  famous singer / actor from Rio de Janeiro

Ilusão (Neyma)  =  female marrabenta singer from Mozambique

Ainda Bem (Marisa Monte)  =  very popular MPB singer from Rio de Janeiro

Anda Comigo Ver os Aviões (Azeitonas)  =  pop group from Portugal

Problemas (Ana Carolina)  =  MPB singer from Minas Gerais

Juras de Amor (Bruno & Marrone)  =  sertanejo duo from Goiás

Preto (Claudia Leitte)  =  axé / pop singer from Rio de Janeiro

Pisa Papará (Cabo Snoop)  =  Angolan kuduro singer

Fado das Queixas (Carminho)  =  female fado singer (fadista) from Lisbon

Quero Toda Noite (Fiuk ft Jorge Benjor)  =  pop singer known from the Brazilian TV show Malhação

Duas Mulheres (MC Roger)  =  rap singer from Mozambique

Menina Estranha (Restart)  =  pop group from São Paulo

Lê Lê Lê (João Neto & Frederico)  =  another sertanejo duo from Goiás

Covarde (Jorge & Mateus)  =  one more sertanejo duo from Goiás

Dançando (Agridoce)  =  folk rock group from São Paulo

Amor de Alma (Victor & Leo)  =  sertanejo duo from Minas Gerais

Sexta-feira (Boss AC)  =  Portuguese hip hop artist whose parents are from Cape Verde

Leite Condensado (Parangolé ft Rodriguinho)  =  pagode band from Salvador (Bahia)

Nega (Luan Santana)  =  sertanejo singer from Mato Gross do Sul in Brazil’s central west

Céu Azul (Charlie Brown Jr.)  =  rock group from Santos in São Paulo

Aonde é que Cuya Mais? (Puto Cossa)  =  Angolan kuduro singer who lives in Portugal

Dois Olhos Verdes (RPM)  =  rock group from São Paulo

Nunca Amei Alguém Como Eu Te Amei (Ivete Sangalo)  =  axé / pop singer from Bahia

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:   SPORT

FOOTBALL

It should come as no surprise that if someone is learning Portuguese, whether it’s Portuguese from Brazil or Portugal, the word “football” will come up in conversation. That’s no different from many of the other countries that speak Portuguese, such as in Angola or Mozambique. Compared to other sports, football is overwhelmingly popular wherever the language is spoken and of all the countries in this part of the world, Brazil always comes to mind. Brazilian teams like Flamengo or Botafogo compete fiercely in the same way that the national team has done for many decades.  

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

MOVIES IN PORTUGUESE

 

Most of the Portuguese speaking cinema is produced in Brazil, which is of no surprise because it has the largest population. However, many interesting and popular movies come out of Portugal or Angola as well. Here are just a few examples of some recent releases.

 

Família Vende Tudo  =  story about a Brazilian family that has a scheme to make some money

E Aí, Comeu?  =  Brazilian comedy about sexual relationships

Paraísos Artificiais =  Brazilian love story about a man who falls in love with a female DJ

Dois Coelhos  =  action movie from Brazil about a prison escapee who wants revenge

Uma Aventura na Casa Assombrada  =  Portuguese fantasy adventure set in a haunted house

Tropa de Elite 1 & 2  =  police drama about the BOPE (Special Operations) in Rio de Janeiro

Morrer como um Homem  =  movie about drag queens in Portugal

Corações Sujos  =  story about a terrorist cell of Japanese immigrants in Brazil during WW2

Girimunho  =  set in rural Minas Gerais about two elderly women

O Emigrante  =  movie about Angolan migrants in the Netherlands who return to Angola

De Pernas pro Ar  =  Brazilian comedy about a professional woman and her friend’s sex shop 

Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto  =  love story set in rural Portugal during its month of festivities

Cilada.com  =  Brazilian comedy based on a relationship that turns sour and ends up on the Internet

Bruna Surfistinha  =  true story about a girl from Rio who runs away to become a prostitute

Assalto ao Banco Central  =  action suspense movie about a planned bank robbery

Complexo – Universo Paralelo  =  Portuguese movie set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Chico Xavier  =  true story about the life of the late clairvoyant who was famous in Brazil

Os Inquilinos  =  drama about some strange neighbours in an outer suburb of São Paulo

Na Cidade Vazia  =  Angolan drama about life in the capital city of Luanda

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:   PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Communicating with native speakers is essential for the learning the language and that should be obvious to anyone. But how do we find them if we’re not in the country where it is spoken? Simple. Look for a language partner on websites that promote language exchange and then start communicating with them on Skype. Just be sure to find someone who has similar interests and is almost at the same level in your language, otherwise you’ll find that it might not last as long as you’d expected. Here are some websites that are helpful.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.languageexchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

STEP ELEVEN:   WORK

JOB INTERVIEWS

 

Working in a country where the language is spoken is an effective method of learning the language, provided that the language is spoken in the workplace.  Here are some tips for speaking professionally in a job interview. Even if it’s difficult to catch most of the words without subtitles, it’s important to get a grasp of what’s being said to make it easier to then go and work in that country.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:   RELATIONSHIPS

PORTUGAL AND BRAZIL

 

There has always been some form of rivalry between the two main speakers of this language – the most populous Portuguese speaking country (Brazil) and the mother country of the language (Portugal). Like all parts of the world where a common language is shared, these relations can vary from animosity to close ties. Here’s a clip that shows some newly arrived Portuguese migrants in Brazil and what they think of their experiences. 

 

 

 

LEARN INDONESIAN ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

THE INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 

Bahasa Indonesia, as the language is officially known, is the national language of Indonesia and is spoken by over 200 million people in this country as well as being a ‘working language’ in neighbouring East Timor. In all, there are only about 23 million native speakers who reside in urban centres such as Jakarta or Bandung but it is a language that is now understand by almost 100% of the Indonesian population, making it one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is only spoken where there are large communities of Indonesians abroad, such as in the Netherlands, Australia, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The language is not to be confused with Bahasa Malaysia though. The differences between these two languages are more defined than mere differences between the vocabulary of British and American English, for example. It is more like comparing Dutch and Afrikaans, where the two languages are almost mutually intelligible but are considered separate languages, nonetheless. Obviously it takes very little time for a speaker of Bahasa Malaysia to be able to understand the different lexicon between the two languages, in the same way that a speaker of Afrikaans would spend little time to be able to communicate in Dutch.

While most Indonesians speak a local language at home, Bahasa Indonesia is the administrative language used in schools, government departments and media – as well as being the lingua franca that holds over 6,000 islands together and allows all Indonesians to communicate effectively with one another.   

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

WELCOME TO MEDAN

 

Now that we have become familiarised with where the language is spoken (Indonesia), the next step is to zoom in on the country and take a look at a city where it is spoken. This allows us to feel as if we’re in that location and we can absorb all the street scenes of that city.

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  SIGNS

A LEISURELY WALK AROUND JAKARTA

 

The written aspect of a language is important to be able to memorise words for later use. By taking a walk around a local neighbourhood, it is possible to take in some of the sights and read the signs along the way. Markets are usually ideal for this exercise but in Indonesia, most markets are very traditional and sell fruit and vegetables where very few signs are needed.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

Understanding different situations in communication is important for learning how to speak the language. The best way to see these situations in action is to watch a television drama series, known locally as “sinetron” in this part of the world. Most types of sinetron in Indonesia are sappy love stories but still, they’re worth watching for the variation of emotions shown.  Here’s a list of some recent TV drama that is watched by millions of Indonesians and some are exported to neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

 

Bawang Merah Bawang Putih   -   story about two girls who are neighbours

Bayu Cinta Luna   -   office love romance

Dunia Tanpa Koma   -   action drama set in a magazine bureau

Angel’s Diary   -   drama about a girl who moves from Australia to Indonesia and how she adjusts

Tim Bui   -   football themed drama set in a prison

Sejuta Cinta Marshuda   -   love story about a girl who meets a rich boy

Safa dan Marwah   -   drama about a girl who moves to Jakarta to find love

Dia Bukan Anakku   -   story about a rich girl whose sister suddenly re-appears

Rama dan Ramona   -   two teenagers who meet at school and fall in love

Kesetiaan Cinta   -   love romance about a woman who marries a playboy

Cinta Fitri   -   story about a girl whose wedding plans turn upside down

Mawar Melati   -   romance drama about a woman who steals someone else’s baby

Alisa   -   love story with a shocking twist about the man who she falls in love with

Amanah dalam Cinta   -   story about a girl who is coerced into meeting someone in Jakarta

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:  FOOD

INDONESIAN CUISINE

 

Most visitors to Indonesia would probably have tried nasi goreng or gado gado, which are ubiquitous dishes found all over the country. Due to the melting pot of cultures in this archipelago, it’s no surprise that a food varies from region to region. The most popular type of Indonesian cuisine is called Padang cuisine, or Makasan Padang, and is even found in food courts in Singapore and beyond. Here is a list of some of the more well-known dishes eaten by the locals.    

 

 

ENTRÉE

 

Gado Gado   (boiled vegetable salad with peanut sauce)

Sambal Tempeh  (fermented soybeans in chili paste)

Sayur Asem   (Sundanese sour tamarind and vegetable soup)

Soto Ayam   (Indonesian style chicken soup)

Lalab dan Sambal Terasi   (Sundanese raw vegetables with chili shrimp paste)

Tahu Sumedang   (fried tofu)

Lumpiah   (spring rolls)

Pempek   (fried fishcake from Palembang)

Sop Buntut   (Javanese oxtail soup)

Tekwan   (fishcake soup from Palembang)

 

 

MAIN

 

Sate Ayam   (satay chicken skewers in peanut sauce)

Rendang Daging   (Padang style beef in spicy coconut milk)

Nasi Goreng   (Indonesian style fried rice)

Ayam Goreng Kalasan   (fried chicken stewed in spices from Yogyakarta)

Mie Rebus   (Javanese style egg noodles in gravy)

Bakso Solo   (meatball and noodle soup from Central Java)

Rawon   (dark beef soup with sambal from Surabaya)

Sate Madura   (chicken skewers in sweet soy sauce)

Bakso Malang   (meatball and fried wonton soup from East Java)

Bebek Goreng   (deep fried duck from East Java)

Soto Bangkong   (chicken soup with rice vermicelli and tomatoes from Semarang)

Nasi Kuning   (spiced vegetable and rice dish from East Java)

Dendeng Balado   (thin crispy beef with chili from Minangkabau)

Nasi Liwet   (chicken broth in coconut milk served on rice from Solo)

Rujak Cingur   (marinated cow snout from Surabaya)

Babi Guling   (Balinese style roast pork)

Bubur Ayam   (Javanese chicken rice porridge)

Bubur Manado   (dried fish porridge from Sulawesi)

Bakmie Goreng   (deep fried noodles)

Cap Cai   (Chinese fusion stir fried vegetables)

Empal Gentong   (offal soup from West Java)

Ketupat Sayur   (pressed rice cakes with coconut chicken soup from Jakarta)

Laksa Bogor   (vermicelli and vegetable soup derived from this Malaysian favourite dish)

Lawar   (shredded jackfruit and pork from Bali)

Mie Aceh Goreng   (spicy fried noodles from Aceh)

Nasi Ulam   (steamed rice in sweet soy sauce soup with meat and vegetables from Jakarta)

Paniki   (bat cooked in spices from Sulawesi)

Gule Kambing   (mutton curry from East Java)

Nasi Kucing   (dried fish and rice dish from Yogyakarta)

Nasi Gudeg   (Javanese jackfruit and chicken dish served with rice)

Papeda   (sago congee served with mackerel from Maluku and Papua)

Gulai Ayam   (chicken curry from Sumatra)

Betutu   (Balinese steamed chicken in spices)

Cakalang Fufu   (grilled smoked tuna skipjack from Sulawesi)

Sate Padang   (Padang style satay in thick yellow sauce)

Ayam Taliwang   (chicken in spicy herbs from Lombok)

Roti Cane   (Indian bread with beef curry from West Sumatra)

Sangsang   (Batak style meat stew)

Tongseng   (goat curry soup from Central Java)

 

DESSERT

 

Angsle   (hot soup of sago pearls and mung beans)

Serabi   (coconut and rice pancakes)

Bakpia Pathok   (bean cake from Yogyakarta)

Bubur Kacang Hijau   (green been porridge)

Cendil   (Javanese sweet rice and coconut cake)

Gethuk   (Javanese cassava paste)

Klepun   (glutinous rice balls)

Es Teler   (avocado, jelly and jackfruit in coconut milk)

Es Cendol   (coconut milk and jelly)

Kolak   (stewed banana, cassava and pumpkin)

Kue Putu   (sweet coconut cake)

Pisang Goreng   (deep fried bananas)

Lupis   (glutinous rice balls in coconut syrup)

 

 

 

STEP SIX:  HOW TO PREPARE THE FOOD

A RECIPE FOR NASI GORENG

 

It wouldn’t be right to just taste the food. Getting involved in the preparation of the food is just as important for becoming immersed in the culture of the language. By far, nasi goreng is the dish most known to Indonesians and foreigners alike when mentioning anything typically Indonesian. It’s fairly easy to make and in this clip, there is an easy recipe to follow.

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:  MUSIC

POPULAR MUSIC IN INDONESIA

 

While it is true that traditional Indonesian music, such as gamelan, is essential for understanding the culture of the language, it depends on personal taste. Music that contains songwords (lyrics) is far more useful for learning the language. Obviously, with a population of over 200 million, there is a huge demand for popular (local) music and below is a list of some recent hits. Indonesian popular music is heavily influenced by international trends, especially rock music from the USA or Japan.  

 

Tulalit (Cinta Laura)   -   German born female pop singer from Jakarta

Sesuatu  (Syahrini)   -   female pop singer from West Java

Itu Aku (Sheila on 7)   -   alternative rock band from Yogyakarta

Natural (D’Masiv)   -   rock band from Jakarta

Ketahuan (Matta Band)   -   rock band from Bandung

Terluka (Eren)   -   female singer from Lampung in Sumatra

Aku dan Kamu (Five Minutes)   -   another rock band from Bandung

Jangan Letih Mencintaiku (Asbak Band)   -   pop rock band from Jakarta

Sakura (Fariz RM)   -   one of Indonesia’s most famous male pop singers of all time

Disaat Aku Mencintaimu (Dadali)   -   pop band from Bogor

Matahariku (Agnes Monica)   -   female singer from Jakarta

Aku Yang Tersakiti (Judika)   -   male pop singer who orginated from Indonesia Idol

Tak Rela (Merpati)   -   rock band from West Java

Sang Dewi (Titi DJ)   -   female soul singer from Jakarta

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  SPORT

FOOTBALL IN INDONESIA

 

Like most parts of the world, Indonesians are passionate about football (soccer) and there are many successful players who have made a name for themselves in European teams. Watching a local sport, in its local language, is another way to understand the minds of the local people. Here’s a recent match between Indonesia and East Timor.

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

POPULAR MOVIES IN INDONESIA

 

With its huge population, Indonesia has an insatiable market for home-grown movies – despite fierce competition from movies in English (USA), Hindi (India), Mandarin (China) and Japanese (Japan). It is recently making a comeback after suffering a decade in decline. Indonesian movies are back with a vengeance. Here’s a list of some popular movies that were released in the last few years.

 

Alangkah Lucunya  -  comedy that parodies Indonesian society

7 Hati 7 Cinta 7 Wanita  -  story about seven women who are unknowlngly interconnected

Minggu Pagi di Victoria Park  -  touching story about Indonesians working in Hong Kong

Jamila dan Sang Presiden  -  movie about a prostitute who is sentenced to death for killing a government minister

Ruma Maida  -  story about a young Christian man who runs a house for street kids in Jakarta

Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet  -  story about a woman who was sexually abused as a child

Di Bawah Pohon  -  movie about three women who travel to Bali

Get Married  -  comedy about a tomboy who is forced to find a husband

Mengejar Mas-Mas  -  comedy about a girl who runs away to Yogyakarta

Kamulah Satu Satunya  -  comedy about life in a coastal town compared to the big city

Nagabonar Jadi 2  -  the comedy sequel about a father and son

Identitas  -  story about a man who loses his wife

2 Hati  -  teen romance set in Jakarta

 

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Talking to native speakers is an obvious step to fluency and making friends with locals is a sure way to improve communication skills. However, if you happen to be very far from where those native speakers live then it’s a good idea to try finding some native speakers online, where it is then possible to arrange a time to chat on Skype. Find a speaker of the same level so that both parties benefit from the language exchange. Here are two good websites for finding language exchange partners.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange  http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

BUSINESS WORDS IN BAHASA INDONESIA

 

If you’re learning this language for work, it’s also important to know some business vocabulary in the line of work you’re involved in. This motivates us to learn faster as it reminds us that our career relies on us to learn the language. Here’s a short clip of some Indonesian graduates and what they have to say.

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

HOW THE PEOPLE INTERACT

 

To understand how native speakers communicate in a language it is important to also understand how they relate to each other, whether positively or negatively. Here is a rather patriotic clip that shows how Indonesians perceive their own country and what it means to be a part of this great archipelago known as Republik Indonesia.

 

 

LEARN RUSSIAN ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  UNDERSTANDING THE PEOPLE

A VISUAL GLIMPSE OF WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

 

As an introduction, we should first look at a few images of where the language is spoken. This is a language spoken not only by those in Russia but also in neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus, totalling 144 million native speakers. This includes many speakers in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and other parts of the ex-Soviet Union.  In Kyrgyzstan it is still a co-official language and it still has considerable influence in countries such as Mongolia where it is the most popular foreign language taught in schools.

On top of the Russian speakers in what was once known as the USSR, there are over 750,000 Russian speakers in Israel who are mainly Russian Jewish migrants and large communities of Russians living in the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada and many of the ex-Soviet republics. In all there are over 114 million speakers of Russian as a second language, and when added to the number of native speakers, this number totals more than 258 million speakers. It’s no wonder that Russian is considered one of the official languages used by the United Nations.  

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

ST. PETERSBURG

 

In this step we take a closer look at the language by visiting a place where it is spoken. St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and a major tourist attraction because of its many beautiful buildings. The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum are the most visited of these buildings. Not only does a visual tour of a city make us want to go there, it reminds us of why we’re learning the language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PART OF A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

THE MOSCOW METRO

 

In previous blogs we have looked at a typical market where the language is spoken and where the language can be seen visually. The Moscow Metro is such an iconic part of the city and like all forms of public transport, there are plenty of signs to be seen. Most interestingly, the Moscow Metro does not have signs in other languages – only in Russian. This makes it somewhat unique compared to metro systems all over the world, where there are usually also signs in English.     

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

Russian television has experienced something of a boom in the last ten years, due mainly to the relaxing of media ownership but also because of its huge audience of native speakers. The variety of programmes is immense and this is an essential step for understanding how those speakers behave in different situations. Television is a fun and insightful way to follow characters and see how they interact with others in their native language. Here is a list of some recent favourites.

 

My Fair Nanny (Моя прекрасная няня) – based on the US sitcom, The Nanny, but with a Ukrainian nanny living in Moscow

Russian Translation (pусский перевод) – set during the Soviet era diplomatic tactics in South Yemen

One Night of Love (Одна ночь любви) – period drama set in St Petersburg

Daddy’s Daughters (Папины дочки) – sitcom about a therapist’s family

SPETS (Cпец)  -  real life drama about the Mafia in a Far Eastern Russian town

The Idiot (Идиот)  -  period drama set in Tsarist Russia

U.E. (У.E.)  -  crime series about a retired colonel and a money laundering case

The Cadets (Курсанты) -  series about cadets in World War 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad

The Little Golden Calf (Золотой телёнок) -  adaptation of the 1931 novel about a petty criminal who strikes it rich

Urban Legends ( Ð“ородские легенды) -  series about unusual occurrences in Russian society

Young Wolfhound (Молодой Волкодав)  -  fantasy action series set in the European Dark Ages

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:  FOOD

RUSSIAN CUISINE

 

Visiting a Russian restaurant, whether in Russia or abroad, is an interesting way to explore its food and learn more about what Russians eat. This is a vital part of the process of learning a language and one we should definitely not avoid. Besides, who would want to avoid this part? Here’s a delicious list of some typical dishes around the Russian speaking world.

 

ENTRÉE

 

Okroshka  -  cold soup of raw vegetables and fermented rye bread

Shchi  -  cabbage soup

Botvinya  -  beet soup

Ukha  -  fish broth

Rassolnik  -  hot cucumber soup

Solyanka  -  pickled vegetable soup popular all over Eastern Europe

Lapsha  -  noodle broth from Tatarstan

Shuba  -  dressed herring

Olivier Salad  -  known also as Russian salad

Borscht  -  Ukrainian beetroot soup

Shorba with Baursak  -  Kazakh style soup with fried salted dough

Morkov po-Koreiski  -  Korean carrots, a spicy salad dish from Sakhalin

 

MAIN

 

Pelmeni  -  meat dumplings served with Smetana (sour cream)

Kholodets  -  pork aspic

Vareniki  -  Ukrainian stuffed dumplings

Kotlety  -  pan fried meatballs

Shashlyk  -  meat barbecue from the Caucasus but common all over Russia

Pirozhki  -  stuffed meat pies

Blini  -  think pancakes served with ham, cheese and mushroom (different from dessert blini)

Kotleta po-Kyivsky  -  stuffed chicken cutlet from Ukraine (Chicken Kiev)

Plov  -  Uzbek rice dish otherwise known as Pilaf in other parts of Central Asia

Draniki  -  Belarusian potato pancakes

Qistibi  -  Tatar style potato flat cakes

Peremech  -  Volga style meat turnovers

Sarburma  -  Crimean lamb pie

Chuchvara  -  Uzbek style mini dumplings served with pickled vegetables

 

DESSERT

 

Syrniki  -  curd fritters with honey and apple sauce

Vatrushka  -  cottage cheese cake with fruit and raisins

Kefir  -  Turkic fermented milk drink

Chakchak  -  honey drenched pastry balls from Tatarstan

Kissel  -  sweet berry soup served with semolina pudding

Sushki  -  tea bread that looks like a bagel

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:  HOW TO PREPARE THE FOOD

BLINI (RUSSIAN PANCAKES)

 

One of the easiest dishes to make for this language is blini, which can be sweet or savoury. In this recipe it is a savoury blini with ham and cheese. Often referred to as a crepe in other parts of the world, blini is a popular street food found all over Russia. This step is necessary to learn how to follow instructions and to further understand how the food is prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:  MUSIC

LISTENING TO POPULAR MUSIC SUNG IN RUSSIAN

 

The amazing thing about Russian popular music is its expanse. A major hit not only guarantees instant success in Russia but can spread to other countries such as Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and wherever else the Russian language is appreciated. Many singers from those countries have broken into the Russian music scene as well. Dan Balan (Moldova), Vera Brezhneva (Ukraine) and TT34 (Belarus) are only some examples. One of the positive legacies of the break-up of the Soviet Union is the music that still links all of these republics. Here’s a list of some recent releases.   

 

Москва  -  DJ Smash & Ð’интаж (Vintage)  Combination of two well known dance acts

Я тебя тоже нет (Je T'aime)  -  Ð•Ð²Ð° Польна (Eva Polna)  Popular female pop singer

Всё решено  -  Elvira T  Another popular female pop singer

Спектакль окончен  -  ÐŸÐ¾Ð»Ð¸Ð½Ð° Гагарина (Paulina Gagarina)

Так не бывает - Дима Билан (Dima Bilan)  Currently the most famous male singer in Russia

Вы ше - Нюша (Nyusha)  One of Russia's most successful female singers

Хорошая песня - Митя Фомин (Mitya Fomin)  Male singer of more alternative styles of pop

Bсё хорошо - Марк Тишман (Mark Tishman)  Recently popular Russian male pop singer

Лабиринт - Дискотека Авария (Diskoteka Avariya)  One of the pioneers of Russian house music

Ты мой герой - Инфинити (Infinity)  Russian dance act

Реальная жизнь - Вера Брежнева (Vera Brezhneva)  Ukrainian singer who is very famous in Russia

Кареглазая - Фактор 2 (Faktor 2)  Russian hip-hop duo currently based in Germany

Просто любовь - Любэ (Lyube)  Russian rock band that dates back quite a while now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  SPORT

APPRECIATING SPORTS AND HOBBIES THAT THE LOCALS ARE INTERESTED IN

 

 

Sport (like music and food) is an integral part of culture that often defines a society. Understanding what entertains the native speakers, whether it’s a traditional game or a pastime that has been handed down for hundreds of years, is an important part of learning the language and the culture behind it. In this part of the world, football (soccer) is popular but due to the climatic conditions of most regions where Russian is spoken, other sports such as ice hockey and ice skating are enjoyed. Here’s a clip of a Russian boy who’s quite good on his skates. 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

WATCHING MOVIES IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

 

The Russian film industry is not as large as some other linguistic regions but it is still a huge industry and each year, several blockbusters are released to the general public. Moscow is, by far, the centre of the movie making world for Russian film.  It’s important to try to watch these movies without subtitles in another language as that will slow down the process. Try to watch them with Russian subtitles or no subtitles at all, and little by little, you’ll start to understand the gist of each situation. Here’s a list of some recent releases.

 

 

 

Returning to the A / Возвращение в «Ð»  -  story about 2 Kazakh soldiers in Afghanistan

Burnt by the Sun 2 / Утомлённые солнцем 2  -  the sequel to the original World War 2 action movie (Russia’s biggest budget movie ever)

The Edge /  ÐšÑ€Ð°Ð¹  -  Russian war movie set on a runaway train

Strayed / Заблудившийся  -  Kazakh thriller set in a remote part of Kazakhstan 

Ward Number 6 / Палата № 6  -  Russian movie set in a mental asylum where three patients plan a trip 

Mermaid / Русалка  -  story about a girl who can make wishes come true and who travels to Moscow

12  -  a jury of twelve must decide the fate of a Chechen boy who has been accused of murder 

9th Company / 9 Рота -  Russian war movie about Afghanistan

The Return / Возвращение  -  Russian drama about two boys whose father suddenly returns

Tulpan / Тюльпан  -  story about a young Kazakh man who must find a wife (dialogue also in Kazakh)

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Obviously it is through people that we will improve the language and there is no better way than communicating with native speakers. That might be slightly difficult if you’re in a place where there are few speakers of that language. In that case, it’s always a good idea to look for native speakers on websites for language exchange partners like these ones below.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL WORK CULTURE

 

Working in the country where the language is spoken enables us to improve our vocabulary tremendously, provided we’re in a work environment where that language is spoken. Learning some work vocabulary also gives us a sense of worth and encourages us to stay longer in that country, if that is the intention. 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

HOW THESE SPEAKERS INTERACT

 

Sometimes we also need to understand the social problems associated with a particular language, even if it’s a rather uncomfortable topic. Quite often, the mass migration that occurs from east to west (usually from Central Asia to Eastern Russia) can cause conflicts between communities and this clip looks at a typical conflict between Russian police and Uzbek migrants.

 

 

 

 

LEARN ARABIC ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:   WHERE IS IT SPOKEN?

 

Arabic is a language spoken in 26 countries across North Africa and the Middle East by over 400 million people and by many more who live in non-Arabic speaking Muslim countries. The main dialects of Arabic are Egyptian, Levantine (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine etc), Gulf (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc) and Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia etc). There are also millions of Arabic speakers in countries where Arabs have migrated, such as France, the USA, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Australia. To begin with this language, it is important to understand where it is spoken.

 

 

 

STEP TWO:    TO CHOOSE A CITY WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

 

CAIRO

 

Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world and as such, it is of major importance in this region. By looking at a city and observing its movements we are able to imagine what it's like to be in this city - and this is important to further understand where it is spoken.

 

 

 

STEP THREE:   TO VISIT A MARKET

 

THE SOUKS OF DAMASCUS

 

Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world and its souks are like labyrinths with hidden mosques, narrow laneways and exotic stores. Exploring a city's markets provides us with an insight of how the language is written and this is an essential step for becoming familiar with the written form of the language.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:   SITUATIONS

 

 

TELEVISION

 

Watching television in Arabic is a great way to become acquainted with how people behave and react in certain situations. Drama is the best example but also reality TV or entertaining sit-coms can show us how the local people interact. Some of these TV programs are particularly popular during Ramadan. Here is a short list of some good examples of Arabic television.

 

Al Qarar  -  reality TV show hosted by Saudi actor Abdel Muhsen Al Nimer

Al-Gamaa (The Group)  -  TV series loosely based on the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt

Al-Adham  -  drama series about a man who goes to Ukraine with some illegal immigrants

Private Number  -  crime drama from Egypt

Ayza Atgawez  -  Egyptian drama series about a pharmacist who wants to get married before turning thirty

Nona El Mazouna  -  sit-com about a typical Egyptian family

Elder of Ziyon  -  Syrian / Egyptian production about the life of Cleopatra

Sonbol Baed el Million  -  drama series from Egypt

Sarah – Lebanese drama series that follows the life of a woman

Ajyal – Lebanese drama series about a family in Beirut

Survivor – Arabic version on LBC (Lebanon) based on the successful franchise

The Doctors – Arabic version of the American medical talk show which is aired on Dubai TV

Ahmar Bel Khat El Arid – controversial Lebanese talk show on LBC

Bakkar – cartoon about a Nubian boy that always seems to have a moral message at the end

Al Khobz Al Haram – Syrian drama series

Tash Ma Tash – Saudi sit-com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:    LEARNING ABOUT THE LOCAL FOOD

 

Food in this part of the world is varied and it ranges from delicious couscous and tagine in Morocco and Algeria to amazing tabouleh and hoummos in Lebanon. Learning about the food that people eat is a great way to learn more about the culture behind the language. Here is a rather extensive list of some popular foods enjoyed in this region.

 

 

ENTRÉE

 

Harira (lentil & tomato soup from Morocco)

Lablabi (chickpea & garlic soup from Libya)

Freekeh soup (green wheat soup popular in the Levant)

Mujjadara (sautéed lentils from Lebanon)

Esfiha (ground mutton mini pizzas from the Lebanese city of Baalbek)

Turshi (Iraqi pickled vegetables)

Hrisseh (wheat and ground chicken porridge popular all over the Levant)

Fattoush (crushed bread and chickpea salad from the Levant)

Khobz (flatbread found all over the Arab world)

Shorbat Ramman (pomegranate soup from Iraq)

Canjeelo (Somali style injera bread used for eating stews and dips)

Aseeda (Sudanese corn porridge)

Sakhana (Omani wheat and date soup)

Fatut (fried bread with eggs from Yemen)

Shahan Ful (fava bean salad from Sudan)

Gaspacho Oranais (Algerian soup that originated from Spain)

Fricasse (Tunisian tuna & harissa sandwiches)

Molokheyyah (Egyptian green soup)

Mana’oushe (Lebanese mini pizzas)

 

MEZZE

 

Tabbouleh (salad of parsley, tomato & chickpeas)

Baba ghanouj (eggplant dip)

Hummus (chickpea dip)

Labneh (strained yoghurt)

Tahini (sesame paste)

Za’atar (dried thyme & sumac)

Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)

Falafel (fried chickpea balls)

Kibbeh (ground lamb)

Kibbet Batata (potato kibbeh)

Kibbeh Nayyeh (raw kibbeh)

Tzatziki (Greek cucumber dip popular in Iraq)

 

MAIN

 

Kebab Karaz (cherry kebab from the Syrian city of Aleppo)

Qeema (minced meat, tomato & chickpea stew from Iraq)

Ogdat (spiced meat & vegetable stew from Yemen)

Maqluba (traditional rice & eggplant casserole from Jordan)

Matbucha (tomato & pepper stew from the Maghreb but also popular in the Middle East)

Saltah (spicy meat stew from Yemen)

Makdous (Lebanese stuffed eggplant)

Shish Taouk (Lebanese grilled chicken skewers)

Quzi (stuffed roast lamb from Iraq)

Ful Meddames (Egyptian fava bean stew)

Couscous (world famous semolina with meat & vegetables from the Maghreb countries)

Kefta (grilled meatballs eaten all over the Arab world)

Merguez (spicy lamb sausage from Algeria but also found in Morocco & Tunisia)

Kebdah (fried liver from Alexandria in Egypt)

Shawarma (grilled meat dish found all over the Arab world)

Macaroni béchamel (Egyptian dish similar to Greek pastitsio or Italian lasagne)

Hammana (Lebanese kidney bean stew)

Kebab Hindi (Syrian rolled meat in tomato paste)

Masgouf (baked & marinated river fish from Iraq)

Kushari (lentils & chickpeas macaroni from Egypt)

Kabsa (grilled meat & rice from Sudan)

Bazeen (flour dumpling in tomato sauce from Libya)

Kousa Mahshi (Lebanese stuffed zucchini)

Shish Barak (meat dumplings in yoghurt from Lebanon)

Bamya (okra in tomato sauce from Jordan)

Mahshi Hammam (rice stuffed pigeon from Egypt)

Pastilla (chicken & almond dish from Morocco)

Tagine (popular meat & vegetable dish found all over the Maghreb and also in Egypt)

Douma (baked lamb & yoghurt on rice from Lebanon)

Samak Mashwy (grilled fish from Alexandria in Egypt)

Chakhchoukha (Tunisian flatbread vegetable stew found all across North Africa)

Mansaf (baked lamb in fermented yoghurt from Jordan)

Moutabal with Sambusak (puréed potato & eggplant with meat doughballs from the Levant)

Musakhan (Palestinian sumac-scented roast chicken on taboon bread)

 

DESSERT

 

Basbusa (semolina & walnut)

Baklava (sweet filo pastry with honey & nuts found all over the Middle East & Europe)

Kanafeh (vermicelli sweet pastry found everywhere)

Asida (sweet dumplings found all over North Africa)

Kleicha (Iraqi date or cardamom cookies also found in the Gulf countries)

Halwa (tahini or sesame based sweet with nuts)

 

 

STEP SIX:    LEARNING HOW THE FOOD IS PREPARED

 

HOW TO MAKE COUSCOUS

 

Couscous is a semolina based meat and vegetable dish (sometimes without meat) that is popular all throughout the Maghreb region from Morocco to Algeria, Tunisia and Libya as well as being very well known in Egypt and of course, wherever Arabs have migrated. Here is an easy recipe for couscous. Following a recipe is a valuable way to learn more about the food and how to follow instructions in a language.

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:    APPRECIATING THE MUSIC

 

Following the music in a language is an enjoyable way to learn and it allows us to understand what the local people are into when it comes to musical taste. In the Arab world this can vary from Rai music in Algeria to songs from popular Egyptian movies. All types of modern music are represented in this part of the world.

 

 

Ya Kethar (Nancy Ajram) – Lebanese singer

Chahlat Laayani (Mohamed Reda) – Moroccan pop singer

Baya al Ward (Amal Hijazi) – female Lebanese singer that has often caused controversy

Barmi el Salam (Hani Metwari) – Jordanian male singer

Ya Hazzi w Qalbi (Diana Haddad) – Lebanese pop singer who now lives in Dubai

Akheran Etgaraa (Sherine) – Egyptian pop singer from Cairo

Tsadaq Bmein (Elissa) – Lebanese pop singer

Men Walou (Chouf T Chouf) – Moroccan rap group

Tunisino (Neshez) – alternative band from Tunisia

Ma 3ad Bade Yak (Melhem Zein) – Lebanese male singer

Marafsh Leh (Nawal el Zoghbi)  - very famous female Lebanese singer from Byblos

Layali (Nydal ft Dr Mdzo) – Lebanese pop / rap artist with some lyrics in French

Enta al Ghali (Amr Diab) – probably the most successful Arab singer from Port Said in Egypt

Mar2et mn 7addi (Apik Aroyan) – male singer from Aleppo in Syria

Nti Tzawajti wa Ana Rani Fel Barr (DJ Aminouv ft Hasni Sghir) – remixed Rai artist from Algeria

Ya Majnoun (Haifa Wehbe) – another very famous female Lebanese pop singer

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  GETTING INVOLVED IN LOCAL SPORTS

 

FOOTBALL IN THE ARAB WORLD

 

Like most of the world, the Arabic speaking countries are big fans of football (soccer) and many have renowned national teams, such as Morocco and Algeria. The Gulf countries (U.A.E. and Qatar, for example) spend millions of dollars to attract world renowned teams to their stadiums. Following a game in the local language shows us what the native speakers are interested in - and here's one example of a match in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

STEP NINE:   FILM

 

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL CINEMA IN THE ARAB WORLD

 

Most movies that come out of the Arab world originate from Cairo in Egypt. This city is by far the largest producer of Arabic language movies and its influence over the rest of the Arab world is enormous. It is therefore no surprise that Egyptian Arabic has a cultural advantage over other dialects because of its film distribution. However, many movies are also made in Lebanon and the Gulf countries. Here's a short list of some recent releases.

 

 

Lust  -  Egyptian movie by controversial director Khaled El Hagar

Where Do We Go Now? -  very inspiring Lebanese movie about a town divided between Christians and Muslims

Messages from the Sea  -  Egyptian movie filmed on location in Alexandria

Son of Babylon  -  Iraqi movie about a young boy in the Gulf War

Casanegra  -  Moroccan movie about Casablanca’s underworld    

Captain Abu Raed  -  Jordanian movie about an old man who claims he was a pilot

Sous les Bombes  -  Lebanese movie about a mother who returns to Lebanon to find her son

Salt of this Sea  -   Movie about an American woman who returns to her homeland of Palestine

In the Heliopolis Flat  -  Egyptian movie set in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis

Caramel  -  One of Lebanon’s best movies to date, about a group of women in a hair salon

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

 

SKYPE

 

Communicating with native speakers is a very effective way to improve language skills. There are several websites where it is possible to get connected with people who speak the language and then arrange a time to speak with them on Skype. Here are two useful websites:

 

The Mixxer  http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange  http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

 

WORKING IN DUBAI 

 

In the Arab world, the Gulf countries offer many opportunities for those seeking better career prospects. Learning work vocabulary helps us to become more motivated to learn the language for career purposes. There is an example above of working in Dubai. 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

 

THE ARAB SPRING

 

In 2011 many countries in the Arab world experienced mass protests and changes of government, particularly in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Other countries are still struggling with existing governments in Syria and Bahrain. Here is a heated argument about the turmoils of the uprising in Tunisia.  

 

 

 

 

LEARN GERMAN ONLINE FOR FREE

 

STEP ONE: TO UNDERSTAND WHO SPEAKS GERMAN

 

German is an important business language, not just in Europe but around the world. It is taught in many schools worldwide and it is the official language of both Germany and Austria, as well as being one of the official languages of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and the southern part of Belgium. There are pockets of German speakers that exist in countries as far as Namibia and Kazakhstan, and many millions of people claim a German speaking ancestry in Brazil, Argentina, the United States, Canada and Chile. The first step is to understand who is speaking it, who is learning it - and why.  

 

 

STEP TWO: TO UNDERSTAND WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

 

Before getting immersed in the language without any subtitles to help us out, it's important to start slow and take a look around a part of the world where German is spoken. What better place than the capital of Germany - Berlin.

 

 

STEP THREE: TO BE FAMILIAR WITH THE SIGNS

 

Being able to read signs in German is a very useful way of memorising words and it helps us to build our vocabulary. The best place to absorb all these signs is in a marketplace, like this one in Munich.

 

STEP FOUR: TO UNDERSTAND SITUATIONS

 

One of the best ways to learn about the way a language is used is by watching TV series that show certain situations like arguments, comedy and any type of drama. Here is a brief list of some useful TV shows to watch in German:

 

Messer, Gabel, Herz   -   Austrian TV docu-show about blind dates

Hinter Gittern   -   German TV drama set inside a women's prison

Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten   -   German TV drama based on the Dutch TV series of the same name

Alles Was Zählt   -   German drama series about an ice skater

Unter Uns   -   TV drama series set in Köln

Stromberg   -   German comedy resembling The Office

Lindenstraße   -   long running German drama set in Munich

Künstenwache   -   drama series about coast guards on the Baltic Sea

Post Mortem   -   crime series, or krimi, as they’re know in German

Marienhof   -   soap opera set in Köln

Pastewka   -   sitcom set in Köln

Rundschau   -   Swiss current affairs show

Alisa – Folge deinem Herzen   -   drama series about a young woman’s love life

Kassensturz   -   another Swiss current affairs show

Henker und Richter   -   crime series (krimi) set in Westfalen

Hubert und Stellar   -   police sitcom set in Bavaria

Klimawechsel   -   sitcom about midlife crises

Rote Rosen    -   daytime soap about middle-aged women

Ladykracher   -   German comedy

Switch Reloaded   -   German comedy about Hitler in an office

Bulle von Tölz   -   daytime cop show

Tatort   -   crime show set in Germany, Switzerland & Austria

Traumschiff   -   another German krimi (crime show)

Die Trickser   -   gangster TV series

Komissar Rex   -   one of Austria’s most famous TV series about a police dog

 

 

STEP FIVE:  GETTING TO KNOW WHAT THE LOCAL PEOPLE EAT

 

German, Austrian and Swiss cuisines are often under-rated and although it's true that in this region, many of the dishes are similar - there are variations. Food in southern Germany (Bavaria) and parts of Austria are quite similar whereas in northern Germany there is an abundance of seafood. Obviously Swiss cuisine is influenced by all three of its main spoken languages and so food in Zurich is similar to nearby parts of Germany. Austrian cuisine is an exotic blend of German and Hungarian with its delicious goulash alongside schnitzels and sausages - without forgetting its incredible variety of desserts. After all, Vienna is well known for its cafes. Here's a rather extensive menu of those three cuisines - German, Austrian and Swiss.   

 

 

ENTRÉE

 

Buletten   -   Berlin style meatballs

Kohlroulade   -   cabbage rolls

Kartoffelsalat   -   Bavarian potato salad

Sauerkraut   -   pickled shredded cabbage

Speckknödel   -   Tyrolean bacon dumplings

Rösti   -   Swiss hash browns

Weißwurst   -   white sausage from Munich

Kartoffelsuppe   -   potato soup from Silesia

Pumpernickel   -   black bread

Maultaschen   -   pasta broth

Flädlesuppe   -   pancake broth

Zwiebelkuchen   -   onion cake

Thüringer Klöße   -   Thuringian potato dumplings

Beetenbartsch   -   Prussian beetroot soup similar to borscht

 

MAIN

 

Sauerbraten mit Klöße   -   German pot roast with potato dumplings 

Hochzeitssuppe   -   spicy meat broth from Franconia   

Solyanka   -   typical vegetable stew from East Germany

Bratwurst   -   sausage found all over Germany

Eisbein   -   ham hock from Berlin

Schweinsbraten   -   sliced roast pork from Bavaria

Currywurst   -   curried sausage from Berlin

Königsberger Klopse   -   Prussian meatballs in white caper sauce

Kartoffelsalat   -   Bavarian potato salad

Gulasch mit Semmelknödel   -   Austrian goulash with dumplings

Wiener Schnitzel   -   world famous veal cutlets from Vienna

Labskaus   -   corned beef, herring, mashed potato and beetroot dish

Spätzle   -   hand rolled noodles popular in southern Germany and Austria

Bötel   -   ham hock and mashed potatoes from Magdeburg

Kassler   -   salted pork dish from Bremen

Mehlbüdel   -   flour dumpling with bacon and sweet sauce

Pichelsteiner   -   Bavarian stew

Linsen mit Spätzle   -   Austrian dish of fried lentils, noodles and a Vienna sausage

Gaisburger Marsch   -   meat and potato stew from Baden-Württemberg

Leberkäse   -   sausage meatloaf from Bavaria

 

DESSERT

 

Prinzregententorte   -   chocolate buttercream layered cake from Bavaria

Topfenstrudel   -   Bavarian style apple strudel

Butterkuchen   -   butter cake

Sachertorte   -   Austrian chocolate cake

Linzer Torte   -   hazelnut torte originally from Linz in Austria

Buchteln   -   Bavarian sweet dumplings

Rote Grütze   -   berry dessert jelly from Hamburg

Palatschinken   -   Austrian crepes

Schwartzwälder Kirschtorte   -   the famous Black Forest cake

Quarkkeulchen   -   quark pancakes

Apfelstrudel   -   Austrian apple strudel

 

 

STEP SIX: TO LEARN HOW THE FOOD IS MADE

 

Following a recipe is a good indication that you're understanding the language and at the same time it's a great way to learn even more about the local food than simply eating it. Here's a recipe for Hochzeitstorte, which literally means 'wedding cake' but is eaten in any occasion.

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN: LEARNING ABOUT THE MUSIC

 

A lot of artists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland sing in English which automatically reduces the number of German language songs available from such a large population. Many DJs have come out of all three countries but most of their music contains no lyrics at all. Some of the most popular genres have been trance, techno, electro-pop and more recently hip-hop. Here's a list of some current music from those three countries.

 

Tage Wie Diese (Die Toten Hosen)  -  famous rock group from Düsseldorf

Von Allein (Culcha Candela)  -  reggae and hip-hop group from Berlin

Bück Dich Hoch (Deichkind)  -  electro hip-hop group from Hamburg

Diese Tage (Kris ft. Dante Thomas)  -  from the Hamburg rock band Revolverheld

Lauter (Wise Guys)  -  pop group from Köln

Songs für Liam (Kraftklub)  -  rock group from Chemnitz

Zwei Schritte vor (Oomph!)  -  rock group from Wolfsburg

Zäme um d’Wält (Fraui)  -  Swiss singer (sung in Swiss German)

5 Jahre (L’Âme Immortelle)  -  Austrian goth-rock band from Vienna

Meine Welt (Peter Heppner)  -  singer from Hamburg

Alles Dreht Sich (Der König Tanzt)  -  pop project by Boris Lauterbach from Hamburg

Ich bin Ich (Glasperlenspiel)  -  pop duo from Stockach in Germany

Eisener Steg (Phillip Poisel)  -  German singer

Mr Spielberg (Julian le Play)  -  Austrian singer

Woki mit deim Popo (Trackshittaz)  -  hip hop duo from Austria

 

 

STEP EIGHT: LEARNING ABOUT THE LOCAL SPORTS

 

In the German speaking world, like the rest of Europe, the most popular sport is football and the leading team by far is Bayern. As a national team, Germany has been quite successful in the FIFA World Cup. However, little is known about a very popular sport in Germany called Handball. This is an olympic sport which means it is not just defined to Germany but it is played by many people as a competitive sport and it is administered by the Handball Bundesliga, Germany's Handball authority.

 

 

 

STEP NINE: WATCHING MOVIES IN THAT LANGUAGE

 

No subtitles are needed for this part. The most challenging way to learn a language through its film content is to learn a list of words beforehand and then watch that movie - without subtitles. Mostly, it'll be obvious what's happening by the actions and situation. A lot of the time, it's guesswork. However, subtitles actually inhibit us from learning because it distracts us from what's being spoken. Unless of course the subtitles are in the same language. Here's a list of some new releases in the German language.

 

 

Atmen  -  Austrian arthouse film about an ex-convict who tries to rebuild his life

Die Fremde  -  suspense film about a Turkish family living in Germany

Das Weiße Band  -  German film set in the early 20th century, before WW1

Die Herbstzeitlosen  -  Swiss film about two young teenagers who meet on a beach

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex  -  German film about the Red Army Faction in the sixties

Revanche  -  Austrian thriller about a Ukrainian prostitute and an Austrian con-man

Der Freund  -  Swiss film about a man and woman who fall in love

Die Fälscher  -  Austrian film about counterfeit moneymakers in Nazi Germany

Das Leben der Anderen  -  German film about the Stasi police of East Germany

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN: GETTING TO KNOW PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

 

One of the best ways to communicate with people who speak the language is via Skype - especially if you can agree to exchange languages with someone online. To find people who are willing to exchange languages, try one of these websites.

 

The Mixxer        http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange        http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN: WORKING IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

 

Another important way to learn a language is to work with the locals in an environment where that language is spoken. Not only is this a great experience, but you will pick up lots of local expressions used in the workplace.

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE: LEARNING ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE

 

One thing Germany and Austria share in common (apart from the language) is its large Turkish community. It's important to understand how immigrants who speak German fit into a new country. Turkish Germans have now been in Germany for many generations and the old stereotype of Turks living in the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg are no longer a true representation. Here is a clip about Turks in Germany.

 

 

 

By following these twelve steps, it should be much easier to embrace the language. It's not necessary to be able to understand everything in all these clips but it is important to be able to just relax and absorb the language through its culture - its music, its sports, its food and most of all - its people. Viel Glück!

 

 

 

LEARN ITALIAN ONLINE FOR FREE

 

 

STEP ONE:    TO UNDERSTAND WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:     A JOURNEY THROUGH THE PLACES THAT SPEAK ITALIAN

 

Italian is a language that is spoken by over 85 million people around the world - mostly in Italy. This includes over 500,000 people in Switzerland where it is an official language as well as in the small prinicipality of San Marino and in the Vatican City. The nearby Slovenian and Croatian regions of Istria also include Italian as an offical language. Unofficially, it is still spoken by some people in the African ex-colonies of Eritrea, Somalia and Libya.

 

Over the last two centuries, millions of Italians emigrated to other parts of the world and there are now over 1.5 million Italian speakers in Argentina, 1.1 million in the United States, 1 million in France and hundreds of thousands of speakers in Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Uruguay. The largest Italian cities outside of Italy are Toronto, Buenos Aires, New York City, Melbourne and Montreal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:     TO CHOOSE A PLACE WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:       MILAN

 

 

The largest city in northern Italy is a magnet for migrants all over the world and is a major centre of fashion and commerce. The best way to start with a language is to choose a location and become familiarised with the surroundings. 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:     TO EXPLORE THE STREETS AND SIGNS

EXAMPLE:          VISIT A MARKET IN PALERMO

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:        TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY BEHAVE

EXAMPLE:           TELEVISION

 

The majority of television programmes obviously come from Italy where most people speak the language. However, there are also some programmes from the Ticino region of Switzerland. Here is a brief list of some TV shows that show different situations in Italian (and Swiss) society.

 

La Prova del Cuoco                            cooking show

La Vita in Diretta                                  lifestyle talk show

Volami nel Cuore                                evening variety show

Don Matteo                                           crime drama set in Perugia

RIS Delitti Imperfetti                            another crime drama that has been exported to other European countries

Carabinieri                                           police drama

Elisa di Rivombrosa                           drama series set in the late 18th century

Grande Fratello                                   Italian version of Big Brother

Caterina e le Sue Figlie                     drama about a woman and her daughters

L'Isola dei Famosi                              reality show involving Italian celebrities

7 Vite                                                      sitcom about a man was in a coma for fifteen years

Belli Dentro                                          sitcom from Milan

Camera Cafe'                                      adaptation of a French sitcom set in front of an office coffee machine

Medici Miei                                            sitcom that parodies other medical sitcoms

La Squadra                                          police drama set in Naples

Il Quotidiano                                        information show from Ticino in Switzerland

Frontalieri                                             Swiss comedy about the border control between Italy and Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:          TO LEARN ABOUT THE FOOD

EXAMPLE:           ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN SICILY

 

This step needs no further mention. In order to understand Italian, it is essential to understand the food. Here is a culinary tour of some of what Italy has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:             TO LEARN ABOUT THE PREPARATION OF THE FOOD

EXAMPLE:            RECIPE FOR TIRAMISU

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:            TO LISTEN TO THE MUSIC

EXAMPLE:                  RECENT MUSIC IN ITALIAN

 

 

Italian music has always been synonymous with opera but there is a diverse range of music sung in Italian from rock to rap. Here is a list of some recent releases.

 

La Notte (Arisa)                                                    female singer from Genoa

Bastava (Laura Pausini)                                    Italy's most famous female pop singer

Diamente Lei e Luce Lui (Annalisa)               pop singer from Savona

Dedicato a Te (Le Vibrazioni)                           rock band from Milan

La Differenza Tra Me e Te (Tiziano Ferro)      one of Italy's best known male singers in the last ten years

Tranne Te (Fabri Fibra)                                     probably the most popular rap artist in Italy at the moment

L'Amore e' Femmin (Nina Zilli)                        Italy's entrant for Eurovision 2012

Nessuno Ti Ama (Mondo Marcio)                   rap artist

Una Musica Sola (Gido)                                   another well-known rap artist

Questa Estate Strana (Zero Assoluto)          rock band from Rome

Il Buio (Jolaurlo)                                                 Italian electronic band 

Inevitabile (Giorgia & Eros Ramazzotti)        two of Italy's most famous contemporary singers

Mi Sono Rotto il Cazzo (Lo Stato Sociale)    indie rock band

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:              TO GET INvOLVED IN A LOCAL SPORT

EXAMPLE:                  ITALIAN FOOTBALL

 

 

Football (soccer) is the undisputed national sport of Italy, known locally as calcio. The most successful football teams in Italy's Serie A league are Juventus, AC Milan and Internazionale (also from Milan). Other notable teams include Bologna, Torino and Genoa.  

 

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:                TO BECOME IMMERSED IN LOCAL FILMS

EXAMPLE:                  RECENT FILMS IN ITALIAN

 

 

Italy has always been universally respected for its film industry since the early days of Hollywood and has had its ups and downs. La Vita e' Bella was a worldwide box office hit in the 1990's and more recently, there have been several good quality films to come out of Italy.

 

Terraferma                    set in the south of Italy - dealing with the plight of refugees arriving in Italy

Giochi d'Estate             a Swiss film that follows the lives of two adolescents on a summer vacation in Tuscany

Gomorra                        mafia film set in Naples

La Prima Cosa Bella  set in the 1970's and follows the lives of a family until recent days

La Pivellina                   Austrian film (in Italian) about a circus couple who find an abandoned child

La Sconosciuta            drama that follows a Ukrainian prostitute looking for her daughter

Nuovomondo                historical drama about migration from Italy to the United States

Il Divo                              biographical film about the former Italian leader, Giulio Andreotti

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:                   TO MEET THE LOCALS

EXAMPLE:                   SKYPE

 

Chatting to native speakers on Skype is a great way to learn a language and there are several websites where you can meet those native speakers who are interested in exchanging a language, such as The Mixxer or My Language Exchange.

 

The Mixxer  http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange  http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:                TO UNDERSTAND THE WORKING CULTURE

EXAMPLE:                        FINDING WORK IN SWITZERLAND

 

Working in the country that speaks the language is a fantastic way to improve your communication skills. Here's some advice from an agency in Ticino (where Italian is spoken in Switzerland) about finding a job.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:                TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS OF THE PEOPLE

EXAMPLE:                         RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SWITZERLAND AND ITALY

 

As certain parts of Switzerland speak Italian and as it's a different country, there are obvious differences of opinions from time to time - especially in relation to Italy's contrast between north and south. Here is a discussion about Ticino and its relationship with the north of Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEARN SPANISH ONLINE FOR FREE

 

 

 

STEP ONE:   TO UNDERSTAND WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:    A JOURNEY THROUGH THE PLACES THAT SPEAK SPANISH

 

To learn a language we must first learn where it is spoken. Not only is it spoken in Spain but it is also the official language of 21 countries, mostly in Latin America. There are another 50 million speakers in the United States, making that country one of the largest Spanish speaking countries in the world. Beyond the Americas, there are very few places where Spanish is spoken with the exception of the African country of Equatorial Guinea and also many people in the Philippines as well as Western Sahara.  

 

 

 

STEP TWO:    TO CHOOSE A PLACE WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:      MADRID - CAPITAL OF SPAIN

 

Even if you can't understand all that's being said in the next clip, it's important to get into a frame of mind of eliminating your native language as that won't be needed in these steps. For this step, just by imagining that you are in that place, you will be able to start motivating yourself and opening up to more of the language.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:     TO CHOOSE A PART OF THE CITY TO EXPLORE

EXAMPLE:          EL MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL - A MARKET IN MADRID

 

For reading the signs and for getting a feel for what it's like to be in a typical setting it's always best to choose a market. Pay attention to the many signs and focus on the written aspect of the language.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:       TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY BEHAVE

EXAMPLE:          TELEVISION

 

The variety of television programmes in Spanish is immense and although Mexico still dominates the world of telenovelas in the Spanish language, exporting their television drama to the rest of the Spanish speaking world and beyond, there is also a growing amount of television from Colombia and Argentina. The United States is catching up in terms of home-grown telenovelas in Spanish while Spain continues to dominate when it comes to more topical television such as comedy and programming that veers away from the predictable format of Mexico's soap operas. Here is a brief list of some recent television across the world.

 

 

Física o Química                      Spanish drama set in a high school

Abismo de Pasión                   Telenovela set in rural Mexico

Corazón de Fuego                   Telenovela from Peru

Esperanza del Corazón          Mexican romance telenovela

Natalia del Mar                         Venezuelan drama set in a beautiful coastal town

Mi Corazón Insiste                   American remake of Yo Amo a Paquita Gallego from Colombia

La Casa de al Lado                 Another US remake from Chile's La Familia de al Lado

El Hormiguero                          Comedy show from Spain

La Mariposa                              Colombian crime drama set in Miami and Bogota

Un Refugio para el Amor        Romance telenovela from Mexico

Amorcito Corazón                     Popular Mexican telenovela involving romance

La Que No Podía Amar           Mexican telenovela set in the state of Chiapas

Esperanza                                 Chilean telenovela about a maid who falls in love

Aqui No Hay Quien Viva          Spanish comedy about a group of people in the same house

Relaciones Peligrosas           Another of Telemundo's popular US productions set in the USA

Ni Contigo Ni Sin Ti                 Mexican telenovela about a poor girl who falls in love with a rich man

Rafaela                                      Mexican drama based on the original Venezuelan version 

La Reina del Sur                     One of the USA's most successful telenovelas about drug trafficking in Mexico

El Fantasma de Elena           Another US production set in the Florida Keys 

Aurora                                        US production set in New York City

Becarios                                   Spanish comedy set around an office photocopier

Valientes                                   Telenovela set in rural Argentina  

 

Here's the first episode of Física o Química on YouTube. There's also a version with the English subtitles.

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:           TO EAT LIKE A LOCAL

EXAMPLE:            FOOD AROUND THE SPANISH SPEAKING WORLD

 

There is an abundance of amazing food from Spain and Latin America. While Mexican cuisine needs no introduction here, due mainly to its popularity in the United States and also while Spanish tapas can be found all over the globe, there are other equally interesting cuisines in the Hispanosphere - from Argentina to Peru. Here's a list of just some of those dishes.

 

 

Paella                                              Popular rice dish from Valenica, often served with seafood

Tortilla de patata                           Always a common accompaniment at any Spanish tapas bar

Chorizo                                           Spicy sausage found all over Spain

Arroz con leche                              Spanish rice pudding

Gazpacho                                       Chilled tomato soup usually served in summer in Spain 

Calamares a la Romana            Fried squid - a common tapas dish

Fabada                                           White bean stew from Asturias

Lechazo asado                             Roasted milk-fed lamb

Chuletillas                                     Lamb cutlets from Asturias

Patatas bravas                             The most popular tapas dish - spicy potatoes 

Escudella                                      Sausage stew from Catalonia

Pisto                                               Vegetable stew from Castilla La Mancha 

Tortillas                                          Mexican flatbread different from the Spanish word for tortilla

Guacamole                                   Avocado dip also popular in Tex-Mex cuisine in the USA

Burrito                                            Closed tortilla filled with cheese and meat

Carne asada                                Mexican style barbecued meat 

Chile relleno                                Roasted stuffed pepper from Puebla

Tamales                                       Wrapped corn husks popular in Mexico City

Mole poblano                              Chicken dish originally from Puebla

Quesadilla                                   Toasted cheese tortillas 

Tacos                                            Popular all over the world but originally from Mexico  

Tlayuda                                        Crunchy tortilla with re-fried beans

Chile con carne                          Tex-Mex version of this Mexican dish found all over the USA

Nachos                                        Another Tex-Mex variation of tortilla chips, salsa, cheese and guacamole  

Chili con queso                          Popular tortilla chips and cheese dish in Texas

Dulce de leche                           Caramelised cream popular in Argentina and Uruguay

Chimichurri                                 Herb condiment originally from Argentina but found all over Latin America  

Empanadas                                Synonymous with Argentina and Chile but also found all over the continent

Alfajores                                      Argentinian shortbread cookies eaten also in Peru and Chile

Mate                                             Yerba leaf drink found in Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil

Locro                                           Casserole from the Cuyo region but also in neighbouring Paraguay

Asado de tira                              Short ribs commonly found in an Argentinian parrilla (barbecue)

Lomo saltado                             Asian influenced sirloin strips marinated in soy sauce from Peru

Ceviche                                        Peru's most popular dish of spicy raw (marinated) seafood, also in Ecuador 

Papa rellena                               Stuffed potatoes found mostly in Peru but also in other neighbouring countries

Sancochado                               Peruvian beef and vegetable broth

Arroz con pollo                           Typical chicken and rice dish found in most parts of Latin America

Pollo a la brasa                         Grilled chicken dish commonly eaten in Lima (Peru)

Ocopa                                         Boiled potatoes in chili pepper sauce from Arequipa (Peru)

Ajiaco                                          Colombia's most popular chicken soup, also found in Cuba

Patacones                                  Fried plantains from Colombia

Sancocho                                   Thick soup found in Panama, Peru and Colombia

Arepas                                        Corn dough dumplings from Venezuela

Tequeños                                   Deep fried cheese dumplings from Venezuela 

Cachapa                                     Venezuelan maize pancake

Paila marina                              Fish soup from Chile's coastal regions

Pastel de choclo                       Sweet corn casserole found mainly in Chile

Tortilla de mariscos                 Chilean version of the Mexican tortilla but containing seafood

Cazuela                                      Rustic casserole found in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia

Casado                                      Combination of black beans, rice and tortilla from Costa Rica 

Tamales                                     Central American version (maize) that differs from Mexican tamales

Boliche                                       Cuban dish of roast beef, sausages and rice

Pastelitos                                  Fruit filled puff pastry from Havana

Cuban sandwich                     Ham, cheese and pickles in a French loaf found in both Cuba and Florida

Albondigón                               Puerto Rican meatloaf

Almojábanas                           Cheese flavoured rice fritters from Puerto Rico 

Mofongo                                    Fried yuca and pork dish found in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

Mondongo                                Beef tripe stew from the Dominican Republic 

Pasteles en hojas                  Stuffed plantains originally from Puerto Rico

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:              TO LEARN HOW TO PREPARE A TYPICAL DISH

EXAMPLE:             CEVICHE FROM PERU

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:               TO LISTEN TO THE LOCAL MUSIC

EXAMPLE:                     POPULAR AND RECENT MUSIC

 

Many countries where Spanish is spoken have created distinctive sounds such as rumba, salsa, merengue and tango but those are traditional whereas popular music is what attracts most people to a language. Of course, traditional styles of music should not be ignored but this list (and these steps for learning a language) deal mostly with the contemporary and commercial aspect of learning a language - not the historical aspect of music which can sometimes alienate younger audiences. Choose your genre - so if tango is your thing, then search for it. Here's a list of what I would listen to in order to motivate myself to learn this language.

 

 

Yo Te Esperaré (Cali & El Dandee)                                Reggaeton duo from Colombia

Cometas por el Cielo (La Oreja de Van Gogh)            Spanish pop band with an amazing vocalist 

Cambiar el Alma (Bersuit Vergarabat)                           Rock band from Argentina

Un Año Sin Lluvia (Selena Gomez & The Scene)        American born singer and actress  

No Sigue Modas (Juan Magan)                                       Spanish DJ of European house and trance music

La Señal (Juanes)                                                              Probably Colombia's most famous rock singer  

Todo Se Olvida (Carlos Baute)                                        Popular singer from Venezuela

Fuerte (Nelly Furtado ft. Concha Buika)                         Singers from Canada and Equatorial Guinea  

Frío (Ricky Martin ft. Wisin & Yandel)                              The best of Puerto Rico - old and new

Claridad (Luis Fonsi)                                                         Pop singer from Puerto Rico

Perfecta (Venus)                                                                 Spanish contestants for 2011's Eurovision

Loca (Shakira ft. El Cata)                                                  Colombia's most successful export

No Alcanzan las Flores (Diego Torres)                          Famous singer from Argentina

Lovumba (Daddy Yankee)                                                Very successful reggaeton artist from Puerto Rico

Me Voy (Paulina Rubio ft. Espinoza Paz)                       Mexico's most famous female singer

Ahora Tu (Malú)                                                                   Recently famous singer from Spain 

Olvídate de Mi (Zenttric)                                                     Spanish pop / indie band

Titerito (Farruko)                                                                 Another reggaeton artist from Puerto Rico

Movimientos de Caderas (Rayo & Toby)                       Colombian reggaeton duo

Energía (Alexis & Fido)                                                      One of Puerto Rico's most successful reggaeton duos 

El Verdadero Amor Perdona (Maná)                              World famous rock band from Mexico

La Pregunta (J Alvarez)                                                     Reggaeton artist from Puerto Rico 

La Comunidad (Tan Bionica)                                          Rock band from Argentina

Máquina del Tiempo (Tito el Bambino)                         Yet another famous reggaeton artist from Puerto Rico

Siempre Me Llama (Opi)                                                  Puerto Rican reggaeton artist that collaborates with others

Rival (Romeo Santos)                                                      American singer who was born in New York

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:                 TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN A LOCAL SPORT

EXAMPLE:                     EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

 

Without a doubt, football (or soccer) is the most popular sport in the Spanish speaking world and while some countries have very successful national teams (such as Argentina, Spain and Uruguay) there are also teams on a more domestic level that are internationally successful, like Real Madrid and Barcelona. Here is a match between Spain's two main rivals.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:                   TO UNDERSTAND SPANISH LANGUAGE FILMS

EXAMPLE:                    RECENT RELEASES ACROSS THE SPANISH SPEAKING WORLD

 

 

Aballay                                                       Argentinian action drama set in 19th century

Violeta Se Fue a los Cielos                   True story about a famous Chilean singer in the 1970's

Los Colores de la Montaña                   Colombian film about a school and its students' struggles

Habanastation                                         Cuban film that address social problems in Havana's slums

La Hija Natural                                         Drama from the Dominican Republic

Miss Bala                                                   Intense drama from Mexico that deals with drug trafficking

Octubre                                                      Peruvian drama about a family 

America                                                      Puerto Rican action drama  

La Casa Muda                                          Horror movie from Uruguay  

El Rumor de las Piedras                       Venezuelan drama about life in the slums of Caracas

Carancho                                                  Crime film from Argentina   

La Vida de los Peces                              Chilean drama film

El Vuelco del Cangrejo                          Colombian drama about a man who goes to live on the coast 

Del Amor y Otros Demonios                 Drama from Costa Rica based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Biutiful                                                        Mexican drama film set in Barcelona about illegal immigrants  

La Yuma                                                    Nicaraguan film about a female boxer

Contracorriente                                        Peruvian drama film about the secret love life of two men

Miente                                                        Puerto Rican action drama film about a woman on the run in New York

También la Lluvia                                    Spanish drama film set in Bolivia during the Cochabamba protests

La Vida Útil                                                Uruguayan film in black and white about a film production crew

Hermano                                                   Venezuelan film about two boys and their lives in Caracas 

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:                     TO GET TO KNOW SOME OF THE LOCALS

EXAMPLE:                     SKYPE

 

It goes without saying that if you meet some of the locals who are native speakers of the language, you will be able to improve your level of the language. There are some good websites where you can connect with other people on Skype, such as My Language Exchange or The Mixxer.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:                      TO UNDERSTAND THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

EXAMPLE:                             SPANIARDS WORKING IN CHILE

 

By seeing how people work in a country we can understand a little bit about the working culture. Currently, many unemployed Spaniards are seeking work opportunities in places like Chile or Argentina.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:                     TO UNDERSTAND HOW RELATIONSHIPS WORK

EXAMPLE:                             RIVALRIES

 

This is an interesting interview involving several people's opinions about Chile - a country that is developing much faster than its neighbours at present.

 

 

 

 

 

LEARN ENGLISH ONLINE FOR FREE (PART TWO)

 

STEP NINE :          TO WATCH MOVIES IN ENGLISH

EXAMPLE:            THE MOVIE WORLD BEYOND HOLLYWOOD

 

Movies from the English speaking world are quite complex in that they are intertwined. British film productions are often financially backed by Hollywood and vice versa which means it’s difficult to determine whether a film is really American or British. To add to the confusion, many American films are produced in Canada or Australia. In recent years, New Zealand has produced some incredible fantasy movies but most are funded with American money. So the origins of many of these movies can become confusing.

For obvious reasons, movies from the United States don’t need to be included here as they already receive immense exposure on a global scale. But what about movies in other English speaking countries? Here’s a brief list of some new releases.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Harry Potter (all its sequels)                          One of the world’s most well-known film series

The Queen                                                        Drama based on the events of Princess Diana’s death

Robin Hood                                                       Fictional period drama about the life of Robin Hood

The Phantom of the Opera                             Based on the musical of the same name

War Horse                                                         Drama about a boy and his horse during the 1st World War

The King’s Speech                                          True story about King George and his speech therapist

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy                                 Spy thriller about European espionage

Casino Royale                                                   One of the many James Bond sequels

Bridget Jones’s Diary                                       Classic look at contemporary London

This is England                                                 Upfront and close up look at modern England

Wallace & Grommit                                          Award winning animation

Fish Tank                                                            Drama about a teenaged girl growing up in poverty

Albatross                                                             Teenage aspiring writer on the Isle of Man

Albert Nobbs                                                      Period drama of a man who is really a woman

Anonymous                                                        Drama about the hypothesis that Shakespeare was a fake

Anuvahood                                                         Comedy set in the ghettos of London

Attack on the Block                                           Sci fi thriller about aliens that invade London

The Awakening                                                 Thriller about an author of supernatural hoaxes

Blitz                                                                      Crime movie based in South East London

Cuckoo                                                                Thriller about a girl who thinks she is going mad

The Deep Blue Sea                                          Romance drama set in 1950’s London

The Eagle                                                          Epic drama set in Roman occupied England

Horrid Henry                                                      Comedy about a young mischievous boy

Hysteria                                                               Victorian era drama about women’s sexuality

Jane Eyre                                                           Period drama set in Victorian England

Johnny English Reborn                                  Comedy about a British spy

Ironclad                                                              Action movie about Rochester Castle in the 13th century

Love’s Kitchen                                                  Drama that revolves around restaurants in England

Outside Bet                                                       Drama about a group that invests in a race horse

Perfect Sense                                                   Thriller about a man who suffers from schizophrenia

Retreat                                                                Thriller about a couple stranded on an island

Wuthering Heights                                           Contemporary remake of this classic English novel

Wake Wood                                                       Horror movie set in a remote English village

The Veteran                                                       Action crime movie set in South London

Swinging with the Finkels                              Comedy about swinging

Screwed                                                             Action drama about a soldier who becomes a prison guard                          

 

AUSTRALIA

Tomorrow When the War Began                   Friends camping discover Australia has been invaded

Bran Nue Dae                                                    Comedy musical focusing on Aboriginal culture

Beneath Hill 60                                                  War movie about the soldiers who fought in the trenches

Red Dog                                                              The story of a dog that wanders the desert

Animal Kingdom                                               Crime movie set in Sydney

Mary and Max                                                     Animation about a girl who has a penpal in New York

Beautiful Kate                                                    Drama about a son who goes back home

The Black Balloon                                            Drama about a teenaged boy and his disabled brother

Balibo                                                                  True story about Australian journalists killed in East Timor

The Boys are Back                                            A man who is faced with the new challenge of being a father

The Tunnel                                                         Horror movie set in the tunnels beneath Sydney

Blame                                                                  Thriller about a group of vigilantes seeking revenge

The Eye of the Storm                                        A dying matriarch and her control over her two children

Face to Face                                                      Drama about work confrontations

Sanctum                                                             A group of explorers become trapped in a crevice

Kings of Mykonos                                             The hilarious sequel to Wog Boys – set in Greece

Charlie and Boots                                             A son takes his father on an unforgettable road trip

Closed for Winter                                              A woman discovers how her sister went missing

Australia                                                              The epic Baz Luhrmann movie

Dying Breed                                                        A horror movie set in Tasmania’s wilderness

Rogue                                                                  Horror movie about a crocodile

Daybreakers                                                       Australian vampire movie without the Australian accents

 

NEW ZEALAND

Boy                                                                        Fictional story about a young boy and his tales

Matariki                                                                Set around a market place in Auckland

Under the Mountain                                          Fantasy movie set in Auckland

The Strength of Water                                      Maori movie set in a seaside town

The Ferryman                                                    Thriller movie set on a yacht headed for Fiji

Black Sheep                                                       Bizarre horror movie involving killer sheep

Perfect Creature                                                Horror movie where humans and vampires coexist

Out of the Blue                                                   True story about a massacre

Perfect Strangers                                              Thriller about a woman who meets the man of her dreams

Predicament                                                      Crime movie set in 1930’s New Zealand

 

IRELAND

The Guard                                                           Comedy about a town police station

The Eclipse                                                        Ghost thriller involving a widower and a writer

Hunger                                                                 True story about hunger striker Bobby Sands

Garage                                                                 A middle aged man accused of a crime with a teenager

The Wind that Shakes the Barley                   Movie about the Irish War of Independence

Inside I’m Dancing                                           Two disabled men and their aspirations

Omagh                                                                Events about the Omagh bombing

 

SOUTH AFRICA

District 9                                                               Sci fi about aliens that invade a fictional Cape Town

The World Unseen                                             Two women who fall in love in 1950’s South Africa

Mr Bones (1 & 2)                                                 South Africa’s highest grossing films (comedy)

Son of Man                                                           The story of Jesus as an African fable

Tsotsi                                                                    Story of a delinquent in Johannesburg’s slums

 

NIGERIA

Tango with Me                                                     Romantic drama

Two Brides and a Baby                                     Drama about a planned wedding that goes wrong

Ghetto Dreamz                                                   Gangster movie set in the slums of Lagos

Anchor Baby                                                        Drama about Nigerian illegal immigration in the USA

The Figurine                                                       Thriller movie about a cursed traditional figurine

Osuofia in London                                            Comedy about life in Nigeria

 

THE REST OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD

Better Must Come                                          Jamaican movie about the struggles in the 1960’s

Mirror Boy                                                         Nigerian movie about a Gambian boy who returns home

Sinking Sands                                                Ghanian movie about a teacher and her love life

Made in Jamaica                                            Movie about Jamaican dancehall music

A Sting in a Tale                                              Comedy about life in Ghana

Roots Time                                                      Another documentary style musical move from Jamaica

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN :           TO MAKE FRIENDS ONLINE

EXAMPLE:            SKYPE

 

It goes without saying that if you communicate with native speakers, your level of that language will improve. There are many great websites where you can find a language exchange partner. Some of the best ones are The Mixxer and My Language Exchange. Here are their links.

 

The Mixxer http://language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange http://mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

STEP ELEVEN :           TO WORK IN AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY

EXAMPLE:                    INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES

 

A job interview can be scary in anyone's language. There are some useful clips on YouTube for interview techniques and they can show how to use English effectively for successfully communicating during an interview.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE :           RELATIONSHIPS

EXAMPLE:                    CULTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ENGLISH SPEAKERS

 

Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy is asked about his opinion of the differences from audiences in Canada, the USA and other English speaking countries.

 

 

By following some (or all) of these twelve steps, it should be possible to study a language without opening a text book or even leaving the house. Of course, it's important to learn the grammar but that can be picked up online as well. The most important thing about a language is its culture and by following the language online, especially through YouTube, it's possible to pick up enough enough motivation to want to keep learning the language. Good luck! 

 

NEXT: LEARN SPANISH ONLINE FOR FREE.

Learn English online - for free!

 

 

 

STEP ONE : TO KNOW WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

 

English is spoken in so many countries it’s quite baffling to put a list together. Equally baffling is the chore of finding some of these countries on a map and I suspect the average student of English has no idea, nor cares, where half of them are. However, there should be reason to care. These countries have all played a part in putting the English language where it is today so it’s important we respect  their inclusion in this list. The countries where English is officially spoken are:  

 

Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zambia.  

 

As well as the above list of countries, English is also spoken in the British territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena and Turks & Caicos Islands. There are also the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The Australian territories of Christmas Island, Cocos Islands and Norfolk Island are all English speaking as well as the New Zealand territories of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. An island in Colombia by the name of San Andrés has English speaking inhabitants and the disputed region of Somaliland has English as one of its official languages. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have recently adopted English as one of their official languages, despite the fact that very few people speak the language. And finally, despite now being a special administrative region of China, the English language remains official in Hong Kong alongside Cantonese.    

 

 

 

If we include a list of all the countries where English is spoken, we will find that many of the countries are not officially English speaking. Here's a list of the 50 most populous English speaking countries / territories and from the list we can see how the language has become so widespread.

 

1.       The United States of America (267 million)

2.       India (125 million)

3.       Philippines (90 million)

4.       Nigeria (80 million)

5.       The United Kingdom (60 million)

6.       Germany (46 million)

7.       Canada (25 million)

8.       France (23 million)

9.       Australia (19 million)

10.   Pakistan (18 million)

11.   Italy (17 million)

12.   South Africa (14 million)

13.   Netherlands (14 million)

14.   Spain (12.5 million)

15.   Turkey (12 million)

16.   Poland (11 million)

17.   China (10 million)

18.   Sweden (8.2 million)

19.   Cameroon (8 million)

20.   Malaysia (7.5 million)

21.   Russia (7 million)

22.   Thailand (6.5 million)

23.   Belgium (6.3 million)

24.   Israel (6.2 million)

25.   Romania (6.2 million)

26.   Zimbabwe (6 million)

27.   Greece (5.4 million)

28.   Sierra Leone (5 million)

29.   Mexico (5 million)

30.   Austria (4.9 million)

31.   Denmark (4.8 million)

32.   Switzerland (4.7 million)

33.   Ireland (4.5 million)

34.   Norway (4.4 million)

35.   Singapore (4 million)

36.   Tanzania (4 million)

37.   New Zealand (4 million)

38.   Bangladesh (4.7 million)

39.   Finland (3.4 million)

40.   Portugal (3.4 million)

41.   Lebanon (3.3 million)

42.   Papua New Guinea (3.2 million)

43.   Liberia (3 million)

44.   Kenya (2.7 million)

45.   Jamaica (2.7 million)

46.   Uganda (2.5 million)

47.   Hong Kong (2.5 million)

48.   Czech Republic (2.5 million)

49.   Hungary (2.3 million)

50.   Croatia (2.2 million) 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO :          TO CHOOSE A PLACE WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:             LONDON

 

London is one of the largest English speaking cities in the world and generally referred to as the birthplace of the English language. However, out of the top 20 cities where English is spoken, London is the only British city in that list. Most of the other cities are in the United States. This step is useful for becoming "transformed" into a typical London street scene and to imagine what it's like to be surrounded by the English language.

 

STEP THREE :       TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE SIGNS

EXAMPLE:             VISIT A MARKET IN LONDON  

 

 

The best place to find a variety of signs to read is at a market or by simply strolling down a street like this one in London. When there’s no commentary and when it’s in a setting like this, we’re able to focus more on the written aspect of the language as well as take in some of the street life. Markets are ideal for this step.

 

The purpose of Step Three is to train ourselves to absorb written details that will assist us later on. We need to keep observing these signs to be able to store them in our memory and when we associate signs next to objects, this helps us to associate words with images. 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR :   TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY BEHAVE

EXAMPLE:       THROUGH TELEVISION

 

The United States has an enormous influence over the other English speaking countries as well as the rest of the world when it comes to film and television. Due to the high volume of American content on TV stations around the world, it has often been difficult to compete with such quality – especially in Africa where local TV studios struggle to match the cheaper imports. Nevertheless, most of the English speaking countries that are large enough to sustain a network of television programming have a fairly sizeable amount of local coverage. Here’s an example from some of those countries.

 

USA

100 Questions                     (American sitcom similar to Friends)

30 Rock                                 (sitcom about the behind doors scenes of a variety show)

90210                                    (teen drama set in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles)

The Amazing Race             (franchise reality show where contestants must travel spontaneously)

American Dad                     (animation sitcom centred around the life of a conservative father)

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?         (quiz show where celebrities compete against children)

The Big Bang Theory         (sitcom involving four university geeks)

The Biggest Loser             (reality show where contestants must lose weight to win)

The Bold and the Beautiful          (daytime drama that started in 1987)

Boston Legal                      (sitcom set in a law firm)

Californication                    (series about a troubled novelist who moves to California)

COPS                                   (reality show that follows the police on duty)

Cougar Town                      (sitcom about a divorced woman over the age of 40)

CSI                                        (crime series set in both Miami and New York)

Days of Our Lives              (one of the longest running daytime drama series in the world)

Desperate Housewives   (series that revolves around the lives of a group of suburban women)

Dexter                                  (crime series that follows the life of a forensic expert who is also a killer)

Dr Phil                                  (topical talk show which is usually quite humourous)

Ellen De Generes Show  (talk show by a well-known comedienne)

Family Guy                          (satirical animation sitcom about a suburban American family)

Flight of the Conchords   (sitcom that follows two New Zealanders trying to make it in New York)

Friends                               (one of the most famous American sitcoms of all time)

Glee                                    (musical comedy drama series)

Grey’s Anatomy                (series set in a hospital)

How I Met Your Mother                (sitcom that follows the lives of five friends in New York)

House                                (medical series set in New Jersey)

Jerry Springer Show        (talk show that deals with controversial issues and often becomes violent)

Judge Judy                        (talk show that resembles a courtroom)

Law and Order                 (police and legal drama series set in New York)

Lie to Me                            (investigative drama series)

Mad Men                            (drama series set in an advertising agency in the 1960’s)

Modern Family                  (sitcom that revolves around an extended family in Los Angeles)

NCIS                                   (drama series about special agents)

Nurse Jackie                    (drama series about a nurse in a New York hospital)

Oprah Winfrey Show       (most successful talk show of all time in the USA)

Scrubs                               (sitcom set in a hospital)

Sex and the City               (drama series that follows the lives of four female friends in New York)

The Simpsons                 (the pioneer of satirical animated sitcoms about American suburbia)

South Park                        (a much darker version of The Simpsons with simpler animation)

The Sopranos                  (a Mafia drama series set in New Jersey)

That 70’s Show                (sitcom set in a suburban home in the 1970’s)

Two and a Half Men        (sitcom set in Malibu that now stars Ashton Kutcher)

United States of Tara     (drama series about a woman with split personalities)

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?                 (successfully franchised quiz show)

Will and Grace                   (sitcom that revolves around two friends who share an apartment)

The Young and the Restless        (another member of the daytime soap operas)                

 

CANADA

Degrassi                                               (probably Canada’s most famous teen drama export)

Little Mosque on the Prairie              (sitcom set in a small town in Saskatchewan)

Moose TV                                              (drama series about two brothers who set up a TV show)

Trailer Park Boys                                 (satirical comedy about working class Canadians)

Blood Ties                                            (crime series in Toronto involving a vampire)

Heartland                                              (drama series about a family in Alberta)

Up All Night                                           (sitcom about parenting)

Corner Gas                                           (another sitcom set in a small town in Saskatchewan)

Da Vinci’s Inquest                               (crime series from Vancouver)

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Doctor Who                                        (sci fi series that has been running for many decades)

Coronation Street                             (Britain’s longest running drama series from Manchester)

Eastenders                                        (drama series set in London’s East End)

Hollyoaks                                           (drama series aimed mainly at a younger audience)

Emmerdale                                       (drama series set in rural England)

Antiques Roadshow                       (franchised show where antiques are valued)

Big Brother UK                                  (successful global reality franchise which started in the Netherlands)

The Weakest Link                            (franchised quiz show that often includes celebrities)

Grumpy Old Men                             (interviews of well-known TV celebrities)

Shameless                                       (comical drama series set in a council estate)

Supernanny                                      (reality show where a nanny is sent to discipline children)

Ladette to Lady                                 (reality show that follows the development of party girls)

The Jeremy Kyle Show                  (talk show similar to America’s Jerry Springer Show)

Benidorm                                         (drama series set in the south of Spain)

The Graham Norton Show           (comical talk show with Irish host Graham Norton)

Secret Diary of a Call Girl              (series that follows the life of a London escort)

The Tudors                                       (series set in Tudor England but actually filmed in Ireland)

Wanted Down Under                     (documentary series that follows British migrants to Australia)

Merlin                                                 (drama series about the famous English magician)

The World’s Strictest Parents      (franchise reality show where teenagers are sent to live abroad)

Misfits                                                (sci fi teen drama where teenagers have special powers)

Psychoville                                       (dark comedy that follows five characters around England)

The Only Way is Essex                  (comedy series that revolves around young people in Essex)

Torchwood                                       (sci fi series based in Cardiff about alien hunters)

The Beautiful People                     (comedy series about a teenager’s aspirations in Reading)

The Inbetweeners                          (comedy series about a group of teenaged boys)

 

AUSTRALIA

Love My Way                                     (intense drama series about an extended family in Sydney)

Sea Patrol                                         (drama series about the Australian navy)

McLeod’s Daughter                        (drama series about a rural family)

All Saints                                           (drama series set in a hospital in Sydney)

The Gruen Transfer                        (comical talk show with advertising specialists)

Good News Week                           (comical variety show with celebrities)

Thank God You’re Here                 (comedy show where celebrities have to ad-lib scenes)

Kath and Kim                                   (sitcom about a wife and her daughter in suburban Melbourne)

Underbelly                                        (drama based on a true story about Melbourne’s underworld)

Packed to the Rafters                    (drama series that follows the lives of a family in Sydney)

Neighbours                                      (internationally successful drama series set in suburban Melbourne)

Home and Away                              (equally successful drama set on the northern beaches near Sydney)

Summer Heights High                    (comedy series about a high school in suburban Sydney)

Cloudstreet                                        (drama series set in 1940’s Perth)

East West 101                                  (police drama set in Sydney)

City Homicide                                    (police drama set in Melbourne)

Water Rats                                         (drama series about Sydney’s water police)

Rush                                                    (another crime series set in Melbourne)

 

NEW ZEALAND

Outrageous Fortune                       (drama series about a family that’s always in trouble with the law)

Shortland Street                               (drama series set in Auckland)

Bro Town                                           (comical animation series about Maori and Islander teenagers)

Go Girls                                             (drama series about a group of friends who make a yearly promise)

Laughing Samoans                        (comedy about Samoans in New Zealand)

South                                                 (documentary that explores New Zealand’s South Island)

 

IRELAND

Love Hate                                            (crime series about Dublin’s underworld)

The Late Late Show                         (comical talk show with international celebrities)

Raw                                                     (drama series set in a Dublin restaurant)

The Frontline                                     (topical debate show)

Tallafornia                                           (reality show involving housemates in Tallaght, near Dublin)

Mrs Brown’s Boys                             (sitcom about a matriarch and her family, filmed in Scotland)

Ask Anna                                             (advice show where the audience can write in and ask for help)

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Egoli – Place of Gold                       (drama series from Johannesburg with some dialogue in Afrikaans)

Big Brother South Africa                  (reality show)

Generations                                       (drama series that is in English as well as other local languages)

Isidingo                                               (drama series based around a fictional mining family)

Charlie Jade                                       (sci fi drama set in futuristic Cape Town)

 

NIGERIA

The Station                                         (drama series based in Lagos)

Gulder Ultimate Search                  (reality show where contestants must go through training)

Edge of Paradise                              (drama series about a family in Lagos)

Moments with Mo                            (talk show that often includes well known politicians)

 

OTHER

Higher Learning                              (drama series involving Kenyan university students)

Makutano Junction                         (Kenyan drama series that is often mixed with Swahili)

Churchill Live                                  (live comedy show from Kenya that is also mixed with Swahili)

The Sporah Show                          (Tanzanian talk show that is filmed in the United Kingdom)

Home Sweet Home                        (drama series from Ghana)

The Jamaicans                               (sitcom about a Jamaican family)

Royal Palm Estate                         (Jamaica’s most popular drama series) 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE :           TO EAT LIKE A LOCAL

EXAMPLE:             DISCOVER FOOD ONLINE

 

It's a sad fact that many people who study English assume that all throughout the English speaking world, the food is nothing more than hot dogs and hamburgers. That's so untrue. There is a diverse abundance of good food wherever English is spoken, including Britain. Learning a language is not complete until the food can be sampled and here's a fairly extensive list of the best that each country has to offer. 

                                                                               

AN AMERICAN MENU

Rhode Island clam cakes

Oysters Rockefeller

Californian fish taco and shrimp tostada

Fried green tomatoes with Louisiana remoulade

New England clam chowder

Southern oxtail soup

Black bean and corn chowder

Classic tomato soup

Cajun shrimp and okra gumbo with rice

Louisiana crawfish broil

Cajun seafood stuffed chayotes

Jambalaya

New Orleans crawfish étouffée with rice 

Smoked Alaskan salmon with capers

Hawaiian seared ahi and wasabi beurre blanc

Hawaiian ahi poke (raw tuna with roasted kukui nuts and chilli peppers)

Sirloin steak with wedged potatoes, sautéed onion and snow peas

Chicago style deep-dish pizza

Steak Diane with Idaho potatoes and broccoli

Kentucky burgoo with mashed potatoes and cornbread

Southern style Brunswick chicken stew

Country fried steak with beans, mashed potatoes and white gravy

Texan chili con carne with tortilla chips

Meatloaf in cranberry sauce

Waldorf salad

Caesar salad

Texan nachos with guacamole, sour cream and salsa

Macaroni and cheese

Blueberry pie with New England cream

New York cheesecake with strawberry sauce

Pecan pie with maple syrup

Creole bread pudding with vanilla whisky sauce

Apple pie with vanilla and brandy ice cream

 

A BRITISH MENU

Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding

Fish and chips

Bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes)

Pork pie

Steak and kidney pie

Ploughman’s lunch

Cornish pasties

Cucumber sandwiches

Chicken Tikka Masala

Balti (British curry dish)

Beef Wellington

Black pudding

Cottage pie

Jellied eels

Lancashire hotpot

Shepherd’s pie

Welsh rarebit

Cheddar cheese

Haggis

Cockaleekie soup

Porridge

Scotch broth

Kippers

Kedgeree (Anglo Indian food)

Cawl (lamb stew from Wales)

Roast lamb with laver sauce

Glamorgan sausage

Leek soup

Banoffee pie

Bread and butter pudding

Apple crumble

Mince pie

Trifle

Scones with Devonshire cream

 

AN IRISH MENU

Irish stew

Colcannon (potato and kale dish)

Soda bread

Boxty (potato pancakes)

Corned beef and cabbage

Coddle (sausage, bacon and potato)

Barmbrack (currant cake)

 

A NEW ZEALAND MENU

Whitebait fritters

Roast lamb with kumura

Pork and puha

Maori boil-up

Hangi style platter

Pavlova

Afghan biscuits

 

A CANADIAN MENU

Peameal bacon

Rappie pie

Ginger beef

Bannock (Inuit fried bread)

Oka cheese

Caribou stew

Pierogi (Canadian version)

Donair (Canadian kebab)

Baked beans in maple syrup

Bakeapple pie

Butter tarts

Nanaimo bar

 

A SOUTH AFRICAN MENU

Boerewors (sausages)

Bunny chow (curry inside a bread loaf)

Biltong (dried salted meat)

Grilled ostrich fillets

Sosaties (meat skewers)

Tomato bredie

Bobotie (raisin meatloaf)

Pumpkin fritters

Milk tart

Malva pudding

 

 

AN AUSTRALIAN MENU

Sydney rock oysters

Tasmanian scallop pie

Dim sim with soy sauce

Sweet yabby soup

Creamy pumpkin soup

Bunya nut soup

Adelaide pie floater

Balmain bugs with angel-hair pasta

Paperbark baked barramundi in lemon myrtle

Moreton Bay bugs in mango sauce

Tasmanian pan seared salmon with spinach and pine nuts

Beer battered fish and chips

Cambinata yabbies in coconut and basil sauce

Roast lamb with honey roast pumpkin, roast potatoes and green peas

Carpetbag steak in bush tomato chutney with onion rings

Kangaroo tenderloin with Illawarra plum and baby spinach

Apricot chicken with Asian greens

Lamb shanks braised in red wine and rosemary

Sun dried tomato rissoles

Traditional Australian beef and gravy pie in tomato sauce

Victorian rabbit stew

Gippsland scalloped potatoes

Bok choi in Kurrajong plum and macadamia sauce

Bush tomatoes with lemon aspen and cumquat sauce

Sticky date pudding

Pavlova

Tasmanian lemon pie

Wattleseed and roasted macadamia ice cream

Steak sandwich with beetroot and chips

Party pies and sausage rolls

Curried egg and lettuce sandwich

Cheese damper

Anzac biscuits

Lamingtons

Vegemite crumpets

 

A NIGERIAN MENU

Yam pottage

Beef suya

Maafe (groundnut stew)

Akara (black eyed pea dough)

Jollof rice

Moimoi (bean pudding)

 

OTHER FOOD EATEN AROUND THE ANGLOSPHERE

Jamaican jerk chicken

Dominican mountain chicken (frog’s legs)

Belizean conch fritters

Jamaican patties

Sadza (Zimbabwean porridge)

Barbadian cou cou and flying fish

Curried goat from Jamaica

Callaloo soup from Trinidad (made with okra)

Barbadian pepperpot

 

 

 

STEP SIX :           TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE FOOD IS PREPARED

EXAMPLE:          A RECIPE FOR SHEPHERD'S PIE

 

Of course, you haven't eaten like a local until you can learn how to make a traditional dish. This one (shepherd's pie) is eaten wherever English is spoken.

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN   :          TO LISTEN TO THE MUSIC

EXAMPLE:                  A MUSICAL TOUR OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD

 

 

OK – so this step needs no introduction as music in English is one of the driving forces of pop culture. Therefore I think it’s not necessary to include a list of songs from two of the most influential countries where music is well-known – the United States and the United Kingdom. Here is a list of the other English speaking countries just under the musical radar.

 

Take Care (Drake ft. Rihanna)     Canadian rapper with Barbados’s most famous singer.

Girl in Stilettos (Annah Mac)          Newcomer from New Zealand’s South Island

Do Me (P-Square)                            Probably one of Nigeria’s most famous bands at the moment

The End of the Road (Zebra & Giraffe)   South African rock group from Johannesburg

Love is a Drug (Eskimo Joe)          Australian rock group from Perth

Hold On (Sean Paul)                        Definitely one of Jamaica’s most acclaimed singers

We Run the Night (Havana Brown)         New DJ / singer from Australia

Forever (Six60)                                  New Zealand rock band

Fallout (Mariana’s Trench)              Pop rock band from Vancouver

Nesian Mystick (Fresh Boyz ft. Scribe)    New Zealand rappers featuring their greatest, Scribe

Stadium Love (Metric)                      Canadian pop band that has been featured in several soundtracks

I Love It (Hilltop Hoods ft Sia)         Rap band from Adelaide with their city’s acclaimed singer, Sia

Is Anybody Out There? (K’naan ft Nelly Furtado)  Somalian born Canadian rapper

Black Keys (The Minutes)                Dublin rock band

Ayoba (Ees ft. Mandoza)                  Two of Africa’s best kwaito singers, from Namibia and South Africa

Sugar Pills (Kids of 88)                    Pop duo from Auckland

Blood in My Eyes (Sum 41)             Canadian rock band from Ajax in Ontario

See You Again (Sneaky Sound System)  Dance act from Sydney

Good Intent (Kimbra)                        New Zealand singer from Hamilton

What Do You See? (Electrico)        One of Singapore’s most popular pop groups

Feed Off Me (Potbelleez)                 Australian-Irish electro house group based in Sydney

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT   :             TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN SPORT

EXAMPLE:                    CRICKET

 

While football (soccer) is as popular in the English speaking worlds as it is elsewhere, there are other sports that are more synonymous with certain countries; such as ice hockey in Canada, American football in the USA, Australian Rules Football in Australia and rugby in New Zealand, Wales and South Africa. The one sport that seems to unite many English speaking countries is cricket and is played actively in England, Australia, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Pakistan and the West Indies (combination of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and other Caribbean island nations). 

 

 

 

 

PART TWO IS NEXT

 

 

 

Learn French online - part 2. The vocabulary

 
 
THE VOCABULARY
 
This list is the first step in understanding basic phrases in French. It only contains nouns, verbs and adjectives so other words such as conjunctives (and, but) as well as pronouns (she, he, you) need to be learned separately. The different rules of grammar (present, past, future) also need to be learned independently of this list.
 
   
NOUNS  
   
bank banque
bathroom salle de bain
bed lit
body corps
book livre
boy garçon
building bâtiment
car voiture
centre centre
child enfant
city ville
clothes vêtements
computer ordinateur
country pays
day jour
door porte
eye œil
face visage
family famille
film (movie) film
fire feu
fish poisson
food nourriture
friend ami
fruit fruit
girl fille
hand main
head tête
home chez
hour heure
house maison
hotel hôtel
idea idée
information information
internet internet
job emploi
level niveau
life vie
love amour
man homme
market marché
meat viande
mobile (cell) mobile
money argent
month mois
mother mère
name nom
night nuit
number numéro
office bureau
other autre
part partie
party fête
people gens
person personne
place endroit
point point
police police
problem problème
question question
reason raison
report rapport
restaurant restaurant
result résultat
room sale 
school école
sea mer
shoes chaussures
shower douche
shop magasin
side côté
station gare
street rue
taxi taxi
telephone téléphone
television télévision
thing chose
time temps
train train
vegetables légumes
view vue
war guerre
water eau
way chemin
week semaine
woman femme
word mot
work travail
world monde
year année
   
ADJECTIVES  
   
angry en colère
bad mauvais
beautiful beau
big grand
black noir
blue bleu
bright brillant
brown brun
cheap pas cher
clear clair
cold froid
common commun
complete complet
dark sombre
dead mort
delicious délicieux
different différent
difficult difficile
dirty sale
dry sec
early tôt
excellent excellent
expensive cher
far loin
fat gros
first premier
flat plat
free libre
frequent fréquent
full plein
general général
good bon
grey gris
green vert
happy heureux
hard dur
healthy sain
high haut
hot chaud
hungry avoir faim
important important
intelligent intelligent
kind aimable
last dernier
late tard
left gauche
long long
low bas
narrow étroit
necessary nécessaire
new nouveau
noisy bruyant
normal normal
old vieux
open ouvert
opposite opposé
poor pauvre
possible possible
previous précédent
private privé
public publique
quick rapide
quiet calme
ready prêt
red rouge
responsible responsable
rich riche
right (R/L) droit
right (R/W) juste
round ronde
sad triste
safe sûr
same même
second second
secret secret
separate séparé
serious grave
short court
sick malade
simple simple
slow lent
small petit
smooth lisse
soft doux
special spécial
straight droit
strange étrange
strong fort
sudden soudain
sweet doux
tall grand
thick épais
thin mince
tired fatigué
warm chaud
wet humide
white blanc
wrong faux
yellow jaune
   
   
VERBS  
   
ask demander
believe croire
bring apporter
buy acheter
call appeler
can pouvoir
cancel annuler
clean nettoyer
close fermer
come venir
complain se plaindre
cough tousser
count compter
cut couper
dance danser
drink boire
drive conduire
eat manger
explain expliquer
fall tomber
feel sentir
fill remplir
find trouver
finish finir
fly voler
forget oublier
give donner
go aller
have avoir
hear entendre
know savoir
learn apprendre
leave partir
listen écouter
live (reside) habiter
live vivre
look regarder
lose perdre
make faire
need avoir besion
open ouvrir
pay payer
play jouer
put mettre
rain pleuvoir
read lire
remember se rappeler
reply répondre
return retourner
run courir
say dire
see voir
sell vendre
send envoyer
sign signer
sing chanter
sit s'asseoir
sleep dormir
smoke fumer
speak parler
spell épeler
spend dépenser
stand monter
start commencer
succeed réussir
swim nager
take prendre
talk parler
teach enseigner
tell racconter
think penser
translate traduire
travel voyager
try essayer
turn off désactiver
turn on activer
type taper
understand comprendre
wait attendre
wake up réveiller
walk marcher
want vouloir
watch regarder
worry se soucier
write écrire
  

Learn French online - for free!

 

 

 

Learning a language doesn't need to be expensive and in fact, it doesn't have to cost anything at all. Many of us fall into a bad habit of going straight for the grammatical exercises out of a textbook that doesn't exactly motivate us to want to learn. We often forget about the cultural aspect of the language and we wonder why it takes so long to learn the language. Here's a helpful guide. Twelve easy steps that I used in my book (Do You Speak English?) to combat this problem. It's fun, it involves no grammar and most of all - it's free.

 

By using examples I've given, you can re-design your own language plan that involves all or many of the twelve steps that I've demonstrated. To be able to speak effectively, it's true that you need to know the rules of the grammar and that's often a mundane chore. That can also be learned online. Take a break from the grammar learning every now and then by using these simple steps to trick your mind into believing that this is a good thing - absorbing the culture of the language. You'll learn a lot faster when your mind is busy moving from one topic to the next and you'll avoid the boredom that often comes with learning a language. Bon chance - good luck with your language learning!  

  

 

STEP ONE : TO KNOW WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES:

Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, New Caledonia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Réunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Vanuatu and Wallis et Futuna. 

 

ALSO SPOKEN IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES:

Algeria, Andorra, Aosta Valley (Italy), the Channel Islands (UK), Laos, Lebanon, Louisiana (USA), Mauritius, Mauritania, Morocco, St Barthélemy, St Martin, St Pierre et Miquelon and Tunisia.

 

French is also used by a minority of the population in places like Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Pondicherry (India), as well as in the New England states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire (USA).

 

French is spoken and understood around the world, and not only in officially French speaking countries. Here’s a list of the most populous ones.

 

1.      France (60.5 million)

2.      Democratic Republic of the Congo (24.3 million)

3.      Algeria (21 million)

4.      Cote d’Ivoire (12.7 million)

5.      Canada (10.6 million)

6.      Morocco (10.1 million)

7.      Cameroon (7.3 million)

8.      Tunisia (6.4 million)

9.      Belgium (6.3 million)

10.  Haiti (6.3 million)

11.  Guinea (6 million)

12.  Switzerland (3.6 million)

13.  Senegal (3.6 million)

14.  Madagascar (3.5 million)

15.  Republic of the Congo (2.4 million)

16.  Benin (2.1 million)

17.  Chad (2 million)

18.  Togo (2 million)

19.  Lebanon (1.4 million)

20.  Niger (1.3 million)

 

Of course, this is a conservative figure as there would be many more people in these countries who have a fair understanding of French and it doesn’t include the estimated 14 million Britons who speak and understand French, as well as more than 2 million Americans who speak French at home. In total, there are over 300 million people who speak French worldwide. 

 

The purpose of Step One is to become familiar with where the language is spoken and to eliminate any preconceived images of French as being a language that is confined to one country. This will help us to prepare ourselves for the language in further steps to come.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO :          TO CHOOSE A PLACE WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

EXAMPLE:             PARIS

 

Become familiar with the setting of your chosen language by taking a YouTube city tour. There seem to be many filmed tours with English commentaries but it’s important that we take away any narrations in English (or other languages) as this will distract us. We have to find a clip that has a narration in French or no narration at all. The easiest way to do this on YouTube is to type “les rue de….” followed by the name of the chosen city.

 

The purpose of Step Two is to imagine that we’re actually in that place – whether it’s a film clip inside someone’s car or walking down the street. This is almost as good as actually being there. By this stage we should be able to do without any voice-overs in our own language. From now on – it’s only in French.    

 

 

STEP THREE :       TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE SIGNS

EXAMPLE:             VISIT A MARKET IN PARIS

 

The best place to find a variety of signs to read is at a market or by simply strolling down a street like this one in Paris. When there’s no commentary and when it’s in a setting like this, we’re able to focus more on the written aspect of the language as well as take in some of the street life. Markets are ideal for this step.

 

The purpose of Step Three is to train ourselves to absorb written details that will assist us later on. We need to keep observing these signs to be able to store them in our memory and when we associate signs next to objects, this helps us to associate words with images. 

 

 

STEP FOUR :        TO UNDERSTAND THEIR BEHAVIOUR

EXAMPLE:            TELEVISION IN FRENCH

 

The majority of TV programmes in French usually come from France but there is a surprisingly large volume of TV shows from Quebec that make their way across the Atlantic. Watching a television series as opposed to a movie gives you more of an understanding of the characters and situations – a great way for learning the language. It’s important to choose a type of TV series that interests you and here’s a list I’ve put together which includes some popular TV drama from around the world, some cartoons I grew up with (to bring out the child in me, perhaps?) and some adaptations of programmes from elsewhere, such as La Job (The Office), which is originally a British production. The Quebec version is hilarious!

 

Fait Pas Ci, Fait Pas Ça                        sitcom from France

Sous Le Soleil                                        drama series from France

Plus Belle La Vie                                    another drama series from France

Fort Boyard                                              celebrity reality game show from France

Les Bleus                                                cop drama from France

Ben et Thomas                                       teen drama from France

Commissaire Moulin                            cop drama from France

La Vie Devant Nous                              teen drama from France

Engrenages                                           another cop drama from France, known as Spiral in English

450 Chemin du Golf                             sitcom from Quebec

Le Cœur à Ses Raisons                     another sitcom from Quebec

La Job                                                     adaptation of The Office from Quebec

Loft Story                                                adaptation of Big Brother (versions from France & Quebec)

Sop Moté                                               drama series from Cameroon

Haute Tension                                     another drama series from Cameroon

Astérix et Obélix                                   favourite cartoon from France

Les Schtroumpfs                                the original Smurfs from Belgium

Les Aventures de Tintin                    the original Tintin from Belgium  

 

The purpose of Step Four is to open our senses to how people react and behave when speaking French. By typing in one of the above titles we will see a few minutes of a typical episode of one of these programmes and we can then take the next step in becoming more acquainted with that programme by finding a way to obtain the series on DVD or online (legally, please!) so that we can follow some of the characters as the story develops. 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:           TO UNDERSTAND THE LOCAL FOOD

EXAMPLE:            FRENCH CUISINE

 

French cuisine is one of the most acclaimed cuisines of the world but it can vary from haute cuisine in fine restaurants to typical street food. All across the French speaking world, there is a variety of delicious food which can be found online. Here are some examples of some popular dishes.

 

Steak frites                              (steak and fries)

Coq au Vin                              (rooster in red wine)

Cassoulet                                (duck stew with sausages and beans)

Foie gras                                 (duck or goose liver)

Steak au poivre                      (pepper steak)

Quiche Lorraine                     (popular quiche from the Lorraine region)

Crêpe Suzette                         (savoury crepe dish)

Bœuf Bourgignon                   (beef stewed in red wine)

Raclette                                   (melted cheese with potatoes and ham)

Bouillabaisse                         (fish stew with herbs from Provence)

Ratatouille                               (vegetable stew)

Poutine                                    (fries with cheese curds and gravy from Quebec)

Montreal style bagels            (these differ from the New York variety)

Tourtière                                  (meat pie from Quebec)

Moules frites                           (mussels and fries from Belgium)

Tomate crevette                     (grey shrimp stuffed in tomato from Belgium)

Maafe                                       (Senegalese groundnut stew)

Poulet Yassa                          (chicken dish from Senegal)

Ndolé                                       (fish stew with groundnuts from Cameroon)

Brochettes de chèvre            (goat meat skewers popular all over West Africa)

Crème brûlée                         (burnt cream dessert)

Mille feuille                              (layered puff pastry filled with cream)

Mousse au chocolat              (chocolate mousse)

Profiteroles                             (cream puffs covered in chocolate sauce)

 

The best way to get to know the food is to search for some of these dishes online or simply step into a restaurant. The purpose of Step Five is to get our stomachs interested in the language as well. Previous steps stimulated our senses by observing signs (visual) or learning about where the language is spoken. This time we need to understand what the native speakers usually eat. 

 

 

STEP SIX:             TO LEARN HOW THE FOOD IS MADE

EXAMPLE:            CRÈME BRÛLÉE À L’ ÉRABLE (MAPLE SYRUP)

 

Even though it may be daunting to understand the instructions of a chef in another language, we all understand food and when the ingredients are presented in front of us, we normally know what to do with them. This continuation of food as Step Six is to further involve us in the preparation of local food and motivate us into learning more about what is eaten where that language is spoken. 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:       TO UNDERSTAND THE MUSIC

EXAMPLE:             MUSIC VIDEO CLIPS IN FRENCH

 

Where to start? The French language has so much to offer and the variety of genres is endless. Here’s a list of what I would listen to in French – from Congolese soukous to French rap. The list is quite diverse and it contains songs that have either been released very recently or within the last year or so.  

 

The best way to listen to these songs would be to copy and paste the names of the songs below and add the word “lyrics” next to them, to be able to read what’s being sung. Of course, it’s also good to watch the official video clips.  

 

FROM METROPOLITAN FRANCE

La Forêt (Lescop)       

Si Mes Larmes Tombent (Christophe Willem)

Mafiosa 4 Générique (Pierre Gambini)

Indélébile (Christophe Willem & Zaho)

Ma Direction (Sexion d’Assaut)

Les Mots (Keen’V)

La Suite (1995)

La Terre est Ronde (Orel San)

 

FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD

Avec de L’Allure (Jacques Durocher)              CANADA

Un Jour ou L’Autre (Jali)                                    BELGIUM

Logobitombo (Moussier Tombola)                 SENEGAL

Viens M’Embrasser (Arielle T)                         GABON

Fais Ta Joie (Aboutou Roots)                          COTE D’IVOIRE

On Vous Connaît (Patience Dabany)             GABON

Chagrin (Revolution)                                         COTE D’IVOIRE

Là Bas (Bisso Na Bisso)                                 CONGO

Dima (Zaho)                                                       ALGERIA

Elle Me Dit (Mika)                                              UNITED KINGDOM

Celui (Colonel Reyel)                                      GUADELOUPE

Alors On Danse (Stromae)                             BELGIUM

Vous Le Verrez (Alexis Abessolo)                  GABON

Ça Là (Lady Ponce)                                         CAMEROON

 

As you can see, there is such an international contribution to music sung in French, and sometimes it comes from parts of the world where French is not officially spoken. It’s possible to hear music sung in French from artists such as Anggun (Indonesia), Tina Arena (Australia) and even Shakira (Colombia). The purpose of this step is to hear the language without accents, as singing often disguises accents, and to further learn more about the popular culture of this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:                  TO BECOME INTERESTED IN A SPORT

EXAMPLE:                      FOOTBALL

 

While it may be quite difficult to become active in a sport by watching it online, it’s not impossible to be creative. Many football matches are unavailable on YouTube so it’s important to use some flexibility. There are some great commentaries on the FIFA video games online – even in French – and they provide an insight into how matches are talked about in French.

 

The most successful (and popular) football teams in France are currently Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Paris St Germain, Auxerre and Monaco. All of these are a part of what’s known as Ligue 1 (League 1) in French football. On an international scale, France has a very strong team, as do other French speaking countries such as Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Switzerland and Senegal.

 

If football (soccer) is not your thing, there’s always rugby which is popular all over France – particularly in Toulouse where it is strongest. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, it’s all about ice hockey and the favourite team in Quebec is undoubtedly the Montreal Canadiens (French spelling). The French Open brings tennis to France every year and the Grand Prix (Formula One) is most popular in Monaco.  

 

Sport, like music, is yet another form of popular culture. By understanding what type of sports are played in that region is a further window of learning about the native speakers’ interests. 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:          TO WATCH SOME FILMS IN FRENCH

EXAMPLE:           TRAILERS OF FILM RELEASES IN THE FRENCH LANGUAGE

 

The French film industry is a thriving one and it is sometimes complimented by the occasional Canadian release or even something of equivalent quality from Belgium or Switzerland. The African countries of the francophonie (French speaking world) often struggle to match the quality that comes out of Europe but some are, nonetheless, very interesting to watch. Here’s a list of very recent movies that are worth watching. Most of these movies have received awards or nominations for the Academy Awards or various film festivals.

 

Monsieur Lazhar                                 Canadian film about an Algerian teacher in Montreal

Le Havre                                               A Finnish film but filmed in France (in French) about refugees

La Guerre est Déclarée                     French film about a woman fighting cancer

Omar M’a Tuer                                     A film from Morocco about a man who is framed for a crime

Illégal                                                     Belgian film about a woman who lives illegally in Belgium

Hors la Loi                                            French – Algerian production set during the war of independence

Incendies                                              Canadian film about a woman who returns to the Middle East

Des Hommes et Des Dieux              Academy Award nomination set during the Algerian war

La Petite Chambre                              Swiss film about a woman who looks after an invalid man

Intouchables                                         One of France’s most successful films ever made

Enre Les Murs                                      French film about a violent school in the suburbs of Paris

L’Enfant                                                 Belgian love story about a criminal who sells his child

Polisse                                                  French film about a child welfare agency

Tournée                                                 French film about cabaret performers with some dialogue in English

Copie Conforme                                  French film set in Tuscany with some dialogue in English and Italian

De Père en Flic                                    Canadian film about a policeman and his son

Les Saignantes                                   Unusual sci-fi from Cameroon

           

The purpose of this step is to become involved in the popular themes that inspire this part of the world. As you may have noticed, many of the above movies deal with situations in suburban Paris or the north of Africa. The movies we watch are usually a reflection of what we experience in everyday life – with certain exceptions. The best way to find these trailers in their French versions is to type “bande annonce” followed by the name of the movie.

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:            TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH LOCALS

EXAMPLE:            LANGUAGE EXCHANGE VIA SKYPE

 

One of the best ways to communicate effectively is obviously with someone who is a native speaker. While this may not always be possible if you’re living far from where that language is spoken, it’s easy to get online and find people who are willing to exchange languages with you. Some of these websites include My Language Exchange and The Mixxer. The next step is to then set up a time and start speaking on Skype. 

My Language Exchange http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

The Mixxer http://www.language-exchanges.org

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:     WORK IN THAT COUNTRY

EXAMPLE:            IN AN OFFICE

 

This step may seem quite hard for a beginner learner but even if we’re unable to understand the whole context, it’s still important to listen to advice and try to understand some of what’s being said. Observing a presentation in French or simply seeing the inside of an office helps us to imagine what it’s like to work in a French speaking environment.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:    TO UNDERSTAND THE NEWS

EXAMPLE:            NEWS PROGRAMME FROM FRANCE 2 JOURNAL

 

Even though it may seem impossible to understand what's being said, the news always provides us with a background as to what's happening. It also keeps us up to date with what's occurring in that part of the world - not to mention the possibility of starting conversations based on what's currently in the news.

 

 

 

 

THE VOCABULARY YOU NEED

In the next blog there will be a list of the main nouns, verbs and adjectives that are needed to be able to understand basic phrases in French. This list consists of about three hundred commonly used words. Luckily for the English speaker, many words or either similar or identical - differing only in the way they are pronounced. Google Translate has a fairly good tool for listening to the pronunciation of words. After memorising many of these words and more importantly - trying to use them in a sentence, go back to Step One and see how much more of these YouTube clips you understand. Bon travail!    

 

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