Thursday, 30 June 2011

Free Offer for English Learners

Language Bridge is offering free use of its software for a limited period.

Get Better at Speaking English

The software is aimed at improving your English speaking. They do this through ‘shadowing’, which is basically listening, speaking and reading at the same time.

I’m not sure how long the offer is on for. So I have written to them to get more detail of when the offer will end and how long you can use it for.

What you need to do to get the Free Software?

Email and explain why you are learning English.

State which package you want. They have the following packages;

• English for Chinese Speakers
• English for Russian Speakers
• English for Spanish Speakers
• English for Czech Speakers
• Generic Version - English for the Rest of the World
• Russian for English speakers

For free use of their software, Language Bridge wants you to share your experience of using it.

What can you say in the email?

Some examples

For Work.

I have been learning English for years but am unhappy with my spoken English. I want to improve my spoken English. With better spoken English my work opportunities will increase. I will be able to work for international companies and work with people from around the world.

For Study

I find speaking English difficult. I want to be fluent in English because I have spent a lot of time learning it. Also with good English skills I will be able to study aboard. This is something I really want to do.

For Travel

I travel a lot but my poor English makes this difficult. I want to speak English fluently so that my travels are easier. Also with fluent English I can make friends and contacts with people from different countries.

Good Luck


Click here for link to Language Bridge

Monday, 27 June 2011

English Resources - LingQ

Free Photos Here

For English Learners (also Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Swedish and French)

There’s never been a better time to learn a language than now. We have access to more resources than ever before.

This video was a timely remember that LingQ has lots of listening and reading resources for English Learners.

Lucas Fischer Raymundo said that he didn’t know any English seven months ago but through listening, reading and reviewing he can now speak English comfortably.

To get access to LingQ resources you can join here

Join LingQ

Check out the site here

Welcome to LingQ

Your English gets better everyday


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Crosstalk - Update

Junk mail or the future of language text books

I started using crosstalk a couple of weeks ago and have clocked up 9 hours so far.

I’m lucky that I’ve found a woman who seems to instinctively know how to ‘crosstalk.’

I always use English. She always uses Dutch.

We have used photos, pictures, the environment and retail brochures (Junk mail the new language textbook!!) to make the Dutch comprehensible. She is also very expressive, with gestures and the use of her voice.

Initial reaction

I’m amazed. I can hold a conversation in Chinese (only sometimes as my Chinese is a bit wobbly) but I don’t think I’ve had such in-depth and continuous conversations with a person speaking another language as I have had with crosstalk. I was really communicating. At first, it felt weird – how can this be? I’m talking English and she’s talking Dutch but we can understand each other and when understanding does break down, she either rephrases what she’s saying or we simply start a new conversation.

I have to add, that it’s not like speaking to someone in your native language. The conversations start from pictures, magazines etc and can develop into opinions and stories. Sometimes the detail is too much and the conversation dies but with additional comprehensible material, the conversation soon restarts.

What does this mean for language learning?

It’s a brilliant tool for adventuring in the language you want to learn. What other method allows you to hold a conversation with someone of your target language with little or no knowledge of the language (note - I’ve had about 330 hours of listening to TV and stories with no translations). The basic content is up to you. You choose your materials and conversations grow out of these.

I have only got nine hours of crosstalk so far and I'm not a linguists but if exposure to a language is a key element of language learning, then 'crosstalk' is an excellent tool.

Also if people have the chance to use crosstalk early in their language learning, I think it’ll be a great motivational tool too.

Using English made it easy to focus on the Dutch.

I found myself focusing on what she said, rather than conversations I have had when I was using Chinese, where some of my attention is focused on whether I’m saying something right, not always on listening. Focusing on my language partner certainly helped me comprehend the conversation better.

No time for analysis the language

There’s no time for the English voice in my head to translate the conversation (something which I get sometimes when watching Dutch TV). There’s also no time for working out the grammar etc. The focus is on the meaning and communicating. Though through repetition you can quickly work out some language.

The future

I believe this is an idea to spread. Crosstalk offers huge potential for language learners, opening up doors that didn’t exist before - watching videos, language classes and listening to podcasts are like floating above the jungle in an hot air balloon, you can get a good sense of the language, but with crosstalk, you’re in the jungle, it’s real and you’re surrounded by the language.

For me, I’ve got another crosstalk session tomorrow morning and then next week, we are going on the streets and shops of Venlo. Crosstalk on the move, now this is something I really want to workout.

If you want to find out more about crosstalk, feel free to email me on or leave a comment.