Monday, September 18, 2006

HS Language Services in the news

Felicity Carter is a student wanting to undertake the trip of a lifetime to Borneo next year, to do voluntary work. She was in need of sponsorship for equipment and I decided that I'd like to help out. I did voluntary work abroad myself, in Cyprus in 2000 and thought this an ideal way to help out both a local girl and a charity.
See the article here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How do I become fluent?

This is a question that I am often asked and the answer is simply PRACTICE!
There are of course many techniques for improving language and many different ways of learning. This may be in classes at school, adult education classes, self-study or the total immersion method.
Spend as much time as you can reading and listening to the language. If you are a beginner, start off with short news articles, working your way up to the longer ones as you become more confident. This will enable you to get a feel for the language and to build up your vocabulary.
The most effective way of learning is to spend time with speakers of the language. If your village has a local twinning association, join it. You will get to meet the people of the country and get to understand the culture and traditions.
Fluency is described here. I have studied languages since the age of 11 (French and German) and did A levels in these subjects. However, I didn't think myself truly fluent until I spent my year abroad, two years into my degree course. This is because I had no choice but to communicate.
Several years later I started an Open University course in German, and only felt fluent after doing a residential summer school in Jena, Germany. I strongly believe that it is vital to spend time in the country n order to become proficient.
Of course, becoming fluent in a language is the easy thing to do, it's keeping up your skills that is difficult.

What's On in September

11 the September - Beginners French Class, Scopwick Village Hall, 715 - 8.45pm
10 week course commences

12th September - Beginners French Class, Billinghay Methodist Church, 7.15 - 8.45pm
10 week course commences. Places still available.

26th September - European Day of Languages
Display at Woodhall Spa Library

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Please beware pickpockets and thieves

There is a new distraction technique going on around and about, and unfortunately I fell victim to it this week. A seasoned traveller, I am surprised and rather upset to have been duped by this.
The technique is simple. I was sat in a cafe with friends, bag safely out of the way (or so I thought), when there was a knock on the window. That half a second of a glance was enough and when I went to get my bag, it simply wasn't there. I didn't even notice, nor did my friend who was looking in my direction.
Please take care when out and about.

Mon sejour en France.

Having just arrived back from France, here are a few recommendations for hotels and places to visit.
First stop Tours, a lovely city and an excellent place to stay if you want to visit the chateaux de la Loire. We went to Chenonceau a stunning place. Don't bother with the excursions, the train from Tours station to Chenonceau only takes 20 minutes and stops directly outside the castle itself. Try to take a walk into the village itself, as it's very pretty.
The Hotel Best Western was excellent value and very central.
Next stop Orleans, a pretty town, with a very impressive cathedral. This hotel, although not particularly central, was cheap and comfortable.
Finally Paris, and what a choice of things to see. We opted for the batobus, allowing us to hop on and off the boat as and when we pleased, choosing to do so at Notre Dame and the Champs Elysees, which I always enjoy. I love the atmosphere there. We stayed here out at Neuilly, which is a 15 minute walk from the Arc de Tromphe, Metro line number 1.

Well done to all my students!

Well, results are in. Congratulations to all students who studied with HS Language Services for their examinations this year. All French and German GCSE students achieved a C or above, and those doing the Spanish in a year gained a C and a D.
Well done to you all!