Jan 18th 2018

7 False Facts about Learning a New Language

Learning a New Language

Guest post written by Gloria Kopp on January 18, 2018 

One of the most common questions that come up regarding a new language is; ‘is it worth it?’

This comes up time and time again, typically followed by one of the most common arguments which basically reads that lots of people all over the world speak English, even when you visit another country, so is there any real need to learn another language and could we be doing something more productive with our time?

However, this isn’t the only language-learning myth out there, and the more people believe myths like this, the more cultures will become divided and the less universal we become as individuals. To help free your mind, here are seven of the most common myths that come with learning a language.

Everybody Speaks English
Of course, we’ll start with the most common language myth around. According to a quick Google search, around 20% of the world’s population speaks English; that’s about 360 million people, although it’s worth noting that not all of them have English as their first language.

However, this is only 20% of the world’s population. What about the other 80% of people? How are you going to communicate without trying to learn how?

European Languages are Enough
Another common myth that many bring up, especially if they’re on the fence about learning new languages is ‘okay, how about if we learn French, Germany and Spanish?’ In UK schools, these three languages are typically taught to higher-end English students. In the US, Spanish is one of the most commonly spoke languages, and these three languages are taught in around 77% of all schools, so this makes sense.

However, these three languages only make up around 13% of the entire global community. In comparison, Bengali and Javanese languages have more native speakers than French and German combined.

I’ll Just Use Translation Software
While this is true, there are dozens of apps and streams of technology out there that can help us to translate a language, most notably Google Translate which can use the live feed on your smartphone to directly translate text, but there are problems that come with this.

“Imagine you lived in a very sarcastic culture. This isn’t something that a translation app can currently pick up, and not learning the language yourself have deprived you of many cultural contexts such as this” – explains Kathryn Turner, a Language Educator and columnist at Paper Fellows and Huffington post.

I’m Too Old to Start Learning a New Language
A popular excuse when it comes to trying something new. Of course, science has already proven time and time again that the older we get, the more difficult it is for our brains to absorb and hold information. Children’s brains are often referred to as sponges, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

To counter this, it’s worth remembering that most retail and online language learning packages are designed for teenagers and adults in mind.

It’s Too Difficult Trying to Live with Two or More Languages
One of the most common misapprehensions is that learning multiple languages can mess with your brain and cause ‘thinking delays’. This is where an individual has to stop and think about what they are going to say and in what language, especially in children growing up.

Bryce Stiller, a Linguistics Writer at Ukwritings says: “This has been proven time and time again to be false. Researchers have studied children who are bilingual and found that any delays caused were more likely to be due to speech problems, rather than knowing two or more languages”.

You Either Speak Multiple Languages, or You Don’t
A common myth is that if you say you learn two languages, you can do everything in both languages, such as read, write and speak, without any problems and there are no exceptions, but this is simply not true.

For some people, they can speak a language fluently, whereas they may not be able to read and write in. Others may be able to read exclusively, without being able to write or speak with ease.

I Can’t Afford Language Classes
If you’re still in education, such as high school or university, you might have the opportunity to join language classes as part of an extra-curriculum activity or club. You may even study the language has part of your main degree.

However, a common misconception when you leave education is that language classes are too expensive, but this simply isn’t true. In addition to the dozens of free learning platforms and apps that are available online, a quick Google search can reward with even more affordable options, depending on what courses you’re interested in.

“Many people are even using social media groups to meet people from a country, for example, someone who speaks Spanish and wants to learn English, and then talking to them through Skype” – comments Dorian Putnam, a Language Tutor at Assignment Help.

Conclusion
These common myths are everywhere in society, and as the world we live in becomes ever more connected and global, the worldly conversation needs to open up for us to succeed as a race. If we’re restricting ourselves to a predetermined language, we’re consciously allowing ourselves to miss out on a plethora of opportunity.

“Gloria Kopp is an elearning consultant and an educator at Paper Fellows. She is a writer and an editor at Studydemic blog for writers and students. Gloria is a contributor at Semrush, Collective Evolution and Ukwritings.”

Leave a comment

Jan 16th 2018

Improve Your Vocabulary

Vocabulary_500x300_3
Nobody can communicate better without working hard to improve vocabulary. Improving one’s vocabulary has several benefits. For example, it improves self-confidence and self-esteem. It also enables the addition of sophistication to one’s spoken or written language. The following are some of the steps you can take to work on and improve your vocabulary.

Read More, Read Deeply
Reading has never killed anyone. Invest in several novels and read them to increase and enhance your vocabulary. It’s not only the simplest but also the best way to increase vocabulary. Read anything that you can find – including newspapers, magazines, and all types of literary works. Expose your brain to more words. Look up the meaning of new words from the dictionary. Try deciphering meaning from the context in which they are applied.

Use Dictionaries and Thesaurus
Another excellent way you can improve vocabulary is by keeping a dictionary nearby. A Thesaurus would also help massively. Feel free to use either an online, software based or printed dictionary or Thesaurus. Develop a habit of uncovering the meaning of new words by looking them up in the dictionary or Thesaurus. Doing so will help you to not only learn the meaning but also the pronunciation of each new word you learn.

Learn a New Word Every Day
Learning a new word every day is a good habit. Take time to develop your own list or schedule of daily words you wish to learn. There are several websites and calendars that you can use for this purpose. As long as you remain disciplined, you will soon begin reaping the benefits. If this method feels too rigid, feel free to complement it with other methods.

Study Word Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes
You will greatly succeed in improving your vocabulary by checking the roots of each new word you learn. Most English words have Greek and Latin roots. Learn these roots. Learning the roots enables you to decipher their meanings. The prefixes, suffixes, and roots are worth every minute you spend learning them. When a new word appears impossible to comprehend, trace it back to its roots.

Play Word Games
To many people, the best way to increase vocabulary involves playing word games. Play the sort of games that challenge your brain. The world is full of tools you can use for this purpose. You will never run short of games that you can play offline or online to improve vocabulary. Numerous websites are rife with games worth playing too. Some of the most commonly played word games include:

  1. Scrabble
  2. Word Jumble
  3. Anagrams
  4. Crossword Puzzles
  5. Boggle

There you go:  If you would like to improve your vocabulary, follow the above steps and you will see an enhancement in your  vocabulary  within a short time!

2 Comments

Nov 15th 2017

Slang

Slang_500x300_2

 

Modern slang today
Slang is an informal language or words that are used by a specific group of people. British slang, for example, is an unofficial adaptation of the English language in Britain. This informal way of speaking is acceptable in most informal and casual settings, although some British slang words have been used so often that they have been adapted into the formal way of speaking.

Over time, the words that are used in slang either die out because people have moved to other newer slang words or their use becomes so prevalent that they have to be incorporated into the common way of speaking.

Examples of slang from all over the world:

British slang
British slang is perhaps the most widely used and most documented slang in the world. British slang is used so widely that a dictionary dedicated to it was published in 1889. Since then, additional British slang dictionaries have also been published. Commonly used British slang includes:

  • Bang to rights- caught red handed
  • What a lot of Tosh- meaningless nonsense.
  • Trollied- stupidly drunk.
  • Don’t look so bait- Don’t look too suspicious.

Australian slang
Australian slang or Aussie slang is commonly referred to as strine by the locals. Not only can, the Aussie accent leave both English speakers and foreigners perplexed, but the Australian slang is also just as complex to understand.  Australian English is quite similar to British English; however, British slang and Aussie slang are two different entities. Aussie slang is all about making the words as short as possible. Here is a list of some of the most common slang expressions in Australia:

  • Barbie- barbecue.
  • Bottle-O: liquor store
  • Mozzie: mosquito
  • Root: sexual intercourse.

Teenage slang
The teenage slang of 2017 has evolved from the use of actual words to the use of abbreviations. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher teenage slang, principally because the shorthand meanings can be varied. Some of the most commonly used teenage slang words are:

  • PAP- post a picture.
  • Bad- bad means good (as bad as they come).
  • Bae- sweetheart, lover. Sometimes it means Before Anybody Else when used with all uppercase.

So, why do people use slang?
Slang words are typically used by people belonging to a certain group. Because of this, using slang is, above all, a great way of demonstrating your identity. By using terms and words that can only be understood by a specific group, it is also easier to make a connection with like-minded people who know exactly what each word means. Slang is often termed as cool- teenage slang is especially used by the younger generations who rely on it to separate themselves from the older generation.

 

1 Comment

Oct 31st 2017

End of School holidays

School_Holidays_500x300_2
The new school year has started, which puts an end to the stressful school holidays. The summer flew by and as a parent; you may or may not be grateful for the start of a new semester. If you have not already prepared for the end of the school holidays 2017-2018, you need to get started on the lengthy process of getting ready. You need to acquire school supplies, prepare school uniforms if necessary, as well as get the kids mentally prepared. If you are struggling to transition from school holidays 2017-2018 to the new school term dates, here are some tips to help you adjust:

Set a schedule

It is important to set a schedule for waking up and bedtime so that your children can get back into their normal school routine. Ideally, you should start adjusting the children’s schedule at least a week in advance so that they can get used to it by the first day of class. Resetting their sleeping patterns from what they were used to during the holiday will help them settle down in school better. It is also supposed to help with school performance.

Make studying a top priority

Transitioning from the school holidays 2017-2018 can be easier on the children when parents establish well defined academic goals for their kids. Of course, it is important to make these goals with a little input from your child so that you can hold them accountable. The path to achieving academic success is obvious; it must be characterized by regular study sessions, completed assignments and class participation throughout the year.

Meet the teachers

Most schools and principals generally urge parents to make a connection with their children’s teachers. This connection can be made during drop off on the first day of school or during the school’s open house. Most schools also host various back to school events before the end of the school holidays so that parents can acquaint themselves, especially with new teachers. Meeting your children’s teachers is important as it can help you children attain their full potential.

Don’t forget the extracurricular activities

It is essential for you as a parent to encourage your children to participate in extracurricular opportunities and activities that match their interests and preferences. There are many clubs, activities, and programs available in the modern school system to suit every child’s abilities and needs. Although extracurricular activities should be encouraged, parents should help their children with their time management skills so that their academic performance does not decline.

These tips, as well as continued support, should be able to help your child transition easily from the school holidays to the new semester. Until the next school holidays 2018, happy studying!

Leave a comment

Sep 25th 2017

Update on Ginger Keyboard for Android

With over 5 million Android users, the Ginger team is constantly trying to improve the users experience with our keyboard.

We have now added within our new Android release an emoji search function as part of the keyboard!

How does it work?

Download Ginger keyboard and tap on the smiley icon:

a

See the search button on the top left corner?

c1

Now search the emotion you are looking for:

b

And enjoy the results!

Best,
The Ginger Team

2 Comments