Grammar is great!

Just kidding. 

In all my years of language learning I haven’t met anyone (yet) who has told me that they love learning grammar. Despite this it is a vital part of learning a language so whether you like it or not you need to learn it!

We all have preferences when it comes to the way we learn which means that some of us may like learning grammar by reading through explanations and completing relevant exercises. If that works for you, you can stop reading here. However if you (like me) enjoy learning through using maps, diagrams and pictures (otherwise known as visual learning) keep reading, as I may have something for you!

In one of my earlier blog posts I mentioned The Language Show London, an event for language teachers and language lovers alike. In today’s blog post I am going to be sharing a resource with you which I discovered there.

The suitably titled VerbMAPS does exactly what it says on the tin. You guessed it…maps of verbs (Unbelievable right!) As simple as it might sound, for someone who likes visual representations this book is ideal! Not only does it show you how to form tenses it also teaches verb patterns by using easy to follow diagrams which are colour coded, so learning those all important verbs doesn’t have to be dull or confusing!

You can visit to type in a verb and see how it works. Then from there you can easily purchase the book if you like the look of it (There is also one for French).





Españoles en el mundo

“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening.”

Jeanette Winterson

There are many aspects of learning a new language that are difficult however in my experience it seems that two skills that lots of people struggle with are listening and speaking. Of course this is largely due to the fact that when reading or writing we have time to process the information, whereas when listening or speaking this time is limited. This means that many of us feel under huge pressure and consequently can become very nervous or embarrassed when practising these skills, which often puts us off trying. In today’s blog post I will be focusing on the former of the two: Listening.

How can I combine listening to a language with my other interests? 

You won’t be surprised to hear that to improve your listening skills you need to…listen (No way!). But what you might be surprised to hear is that you can actually enjoy yourself whilst doing so! But how exactly can you do this?

Whilst some people seem to think that the extent of listening resources is as follows:

  • specific exercises on educational websites 

In fact the list is far more diverse:

  • radio 
  • podcasts
  • television programmes
  • films
  • youtube videos
  • music 

That’s right! 

So where do I begin?

You can start by visiting sites like the BBC who have fantastic resources for languages and a huge section on Spanish news, TV and radio. From here you will find that you end up on all sorts of brilliant websites to help you with your Spanish. Today I am going to be talking to you about one particular link on the BBC website ‘TVE’ under ‘Spanish TV’, where you have access to (amongst other things) a variety of Spanish TV programmes.

“Españoles en el mundo”

Explained on the website as ‘a programme that approaches destinations around the world through the Spanish people that have decided to settle in another country’ españoles en el mundo is brilliant for anyone who is looking to practise their Spanish listening skills. But it’s not just about the listening. The description continues by telling us what else we can expect from the programme… ‘These “new migrants” offer their particular views on the country and share their anecdotes about what their lives are like there’.

So, from Brisbane to Hamburg, Belfast to San Diego, españoles en el mundo not only gives you the opportunity to listen to Spanish spoken by native speakers but also to find out about so many interesting places from the viewpoint of someone actually living there so is ideal viewing if you are interested in travelling and culture. 

The great thing about these programmes is that in each episode they follow several people, with each one describing and showing a different part of the city e.g music, literature, night life, food, art, scenery etc which means that more often than not there will be something you are interested in. 

Another plus is when I initially watched españoles en el mundo years ago there were no subtitles (so I would have recommended only very confident Spanish speakers to watch the videos-as they are quite quick) however having revisited some of the more recent videos I can see that there are now Spanish subtitles (in Castilian). This means that you can follow what is being said by reading the subtitles and can write down any unknown vocabulary to look up later. The conversation is natural and is full of expressions, idioms and colloquialisms you may not hear in more structured listening exercises. 

Practising your language whilst pursuing your interest in culture and travel. What’s not to like?

To take a look for yourself click the link below and get watching!