Learning languages through what you love

I have been enjoying a holiday in Mexico to practice my Spanish but I’m also getting a sampler of German and a sprinkling of Russian in addition to the Mayan language.

Article in Spanish on German bock style beer
Article in Spanish on German style Bock beer
Hop 3 - Beer experience Russian style beer
Hop 3 – Beer experience Russian style beer

When you are relaxed it is much easier to retain information and when you speak the language the locals are much more likely to recommend their favourite places and dishes to you. Local knowledge is key as always. Travel agents are good but they can’t possibly have been everywhere or know everything. The internet is no substitute for experience here.

Hop 3 - Beer Experience Mérida
Hop 3 – beer experience Mérida

This is Eduardo who I had a chat with as he has previously learnt some Russian and was currently learning German. He had progressed quite well for only having spent 6 months on the language so far. Being from this area he had already mastered Spanish, Mayan and English. He liked to travel a lot to the point each year he would spend 3 months working away but regretted the fact that he always had to do it solo. He admired the fact that me and my husband Sam could share our adventures together.

Best wishes

Angela

My Progress in Spanish, Greek and Russian

Recently I have been watching Greek Tedx talks and pop videos on YouTube with the subtitles on but the catch here is that the subtitles are in Greek also. It’s amazing the progress I have made by being able to understand more of what they are talking about than just pure listening. Greek pop videos are usually easy to figure out but going from a gist to understanding the idea behind it purely by seeing more than a 10 second countdown clip and reading the words is pretty cool. Pop music repeats the same simple lyrics so there good for learning but the con is that they don’t use proper language so it’s more slang which still can be helpful.

The Tedx talks are for when I want to step it up although that’s several levels up and I’m not quite ready for understanding these yet. I think maybe I have a 50% comprehension level here.

I’m debating how to progress with my Spanish and Russian studies. I like Latin American Spanish far more than European Spanish which is rather problematic for me considering where I live. I’m hoping extensive use of Netflix and maybe Amazon Prime/YouTube will assist here?

I don’t know enough Spanish to be able to watch purely with native subtitles but the American accents are so off putting when they speak in English. I have very sensitive ears and hearing so the stereotypical high pitched whiny American accent really gets to me. They speak their native language so beautifully but then when it’s dubbed into American English OMG!!!!!

I’m the kind of person that gets bored quite easily if I don’t understand things so I’m basically making a rod for my own back as the saying goes. I’m complaining about something while knowing that this is actually the best way to learn a language. A first world problem as it’s now called.

As to the Russian language this can surprisingly sound beautiful if spoken by the right people. If they sound so mellifluous (honeyed from Greek ;)) then I don’t mind the English subtitles. However, I watched a dual English/Russian pop song today and it was horrific. His voice was bad and the translation showed that while the voice matched the words, the song seemed to be in 2 halves like a he said, she said argument. Why?

This was post was inspired by the fact that I watched a video (another yes I know) and this was about the tricks that polyglots used to learn languages. In it the author said the best way to learn was to talk and to make mistakes. I’m deathly afraid of this but that is the subject for another article as this is getting long as is the subject of reading which I’m again addressing.

Best wishes

Angela

Linguistic insights into the shared Greek and Russian cultures

Since I love both history and language I thought this video was both amazing in giving new insights and intriguing as it makes you want to learn more.

What a love for the Russian language can do for you.

Netflix

This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.

If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.

Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?

Best wishes

Angela

Russian general 1745-1817 and saint 2000-

To saint Theodore Ouaskov Nauargo of Russian fleet in return of the establishment of the eastern state.

Is a direct translation of what it says in Greek and Russian but his name in English is more like Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov. Fyodor Ushakov

This statue was produced on 1 October 2016 in Moscow Russia which is a very precise date but it is printed on the side. It is also the only statue here that has Russian writing which is quite unusual considering this is a Greek island nowhere near Russia.

However once I had discovered who he was then I realised how important a person he was and why he should be celebrated with a statue. He fought in the Mediterranean alongside Lord Horatio Nelson the famous English naval captain and even outranked him. Nelson made sure he got reassigned because he felt unjustly treated. The above wiki article tells you a lot about him. I’ve never even heard of him and I’ve lived in the area where Nelson is from (Wimbledon) for ages along with my parents who are also history buffs. This is why I’m letting someone else tell you here.

Best wishes

Angela

On getting the right mindset

I like gardening as it gives me time to think and to be on my own. It enables me to analyse things in the depth that I want. It allows me to think of ideas for this because I was at a loss for a while so I just let it be.

Today’s thoughts included the fact that I’m getting better as Russian without even trying as my mates girlfriend is Russian. I also happened to be fascinated by various aspects of the culture, history, architecture and dystopian novels. Some of my favourite books have there origins in the soviet style of government- 1984 and a Clockwork Orange.

Russian is a distinctive sounding language that is phonetic and if you know Greek then it is much easier because they share some aspects. The grammar is going to be a pain in the ass but it’s going to be like this in any language I want to learn because that’s my nemesis. I used to think that I would be mad if I wanted to learn Russian but it’s all about the motivation and finding out why you feel drawn to certain things and not others.

It’s popular right now to learn Russian but that’s not why I’m doing it. I have wanted to for about 20 years but I was so focused on getting my Greek done that I didn’t have time for anything else. I don’t need to focus so much on that now but I also know the shortcut to learning is conversation. Watching subtitled movies is a close second. So I’m going to evolve into a social butterfly to perfect my language learning skills.

Wish me luck.

Angela