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Are your Children Better at Learning Languages than You?

It has long been held that children are much better at learning languages than adults – after all, it is children who are able to learn and master their mother-tongue so capably, while many adults struggle pick up a few basic words when they go on holiday. This is why it is often encouraged for children to start language lessons as early as possible, to take advantage of their natural learning gifts.

However, in actuality, children are not better at learning languages than adults – it is just that children and adults learn languages in different ways.

A Simpler Vocabulary

One reason that children can appear to be better language learners than adults is because their lives are inherently simpler and they require a much smaller vocabulary and arsenal of tenses in order to communicate. Adults are able to communicate in far more complicated ways, and as such they require a much broader understanding of a language in order to appear fluent.

It isn’t quite right to assume that just because children are more quickly able to get their point across in a foreign language, that means that they are learning the language. Rather that it is simpler for them to make their points.

Doesn’t Age Affect Learning Skills?

It is another misconception to think that as we age, our powers of learning naturally diminish. In fact, this is not the case at all, and people are able to pick up new skills at any time in their life. The only reason that children appear to have better learning skills is that the simply have more to learn, and childhood is a time of intense learning.

The only issues that typically affect someone’s ability to learn a language as they get older are their hearing and their vision – both of which are typically perfect in children.

Different Ways to Learn

One of the major issues surrounding adults learning languages is that they often try to learn in the same way as children. However, this is typically less effective. Children benefit enormously from classroom sessions as well as lots of repetition and reading. However, it is more valuable for adults to learn in a way that establishes meaning they can associate with real life.

This is why it is generally preferable for adults to learn in less formal group setting, where there is less of an intensive student-teacher relationship, but rather a chance to all learn together. Adults also learn better using online learning where children would not have the discipline to take all the lessons and practice.

Why is learning English through a course is so beneficial?

As the world becomes more and more connected, learning a second language is increasingly valuable. There are various ways to learn another language, from immersing yourself in the country where it’s widely spoken to using text books, but there are several benefits from choosing a structured course that make it the preferred method for so many people. Here are just some of the reasons why opting for a structured online English course will help you learn more effectively.

You’ll learn the rules of the language

English can be a tricky language to learn as it has a lot of contradictory rules and guidelines that can be confusing. Using a structured course will help to provide you with a better understanding of how these rules work in practice, as well as providing context for when and where certain words and phrases might be used.

It helps to keep your learning in order

When you’re picking up random phrases here and there, often you’ll learn something without the background of how it works which can make it confusing. Do you learn plurals first or adjectives? How about tenses? With a structured course, you’ll learn these things in the correct order, making your learning more seamless and efficient.

It’s faster and more convenient

Having structure to your learning means you’ll keep up with it and, as with anything, repetition is the best way to learn a new skill. Instead of reading a textbook and then not picking it up again for two months, by which time you’ve forgotten much of what you’d learnt, you’ll have regular interaction with the language which will help to speed up your learning and help you to pick up English more quickly.

Studying becomes more accessible

Courses provide multiple resources to help your learning, from online downloads to help you study wherever you are to people you can get in touch with if you’re struggling, all of which helps to ensure you learn the language more easily. The accessibility and help you receive with a course helps you to feel more supported throughout your learning.

 

Watch More Movies – and improve your spoken English

There are not man times in school where a teacher will say ” you should watch more movies” but when it comes to learning English movies (or films as many English people call them) can be a brilliant way to improve your English learning both in terms of listening and understanding English conversations and improving your spoken English.

Movie or Film?

There are many things in the English language that have more than one word to describe it and movies are one of them. The word movie is something that has come from the USA and is certainly a term that is not traditionally used in the UK. British people tend to use the word film instead. However, ironically due to American movies being watched more and more across the world the word film is now less common and movies is used a lot. Both words are fine to use in the UK but movie is probably better in other English speaking countries.

How Do Movies Help Your Improve Your English?

Quite simply a movie in English is 1.5-2 hours of solid English speaking and if you are trying to learn English this is a great way to hear new words, understand new ways of saying things and also improve your spoken English because you get to hear how people say words you may have learned in a lesson. While full online English courses are the best way to learn English watching movies will help further improve and broaden your knowledge. It is like being in a room with people speaking English without having to find a group of people to be in a room with.

Accents

One of the hard things but also very useful things about watching movies is the different ways people speak. While the teacher in your online video lessons may be easy to understand in the real world people speak with a huge range of accents. By watching a range of movies you can pick up and understand some of these accents and this will help you understand people in the real world. However it is worth be careful to choose movies with mainstream accents and initially avoid rural accents in places you are not likely to visit. For example, if you are planning on working in Australia then watching a movie about rural Scotland may not be very useful and may be very hard to understand.

How to Watch a Movie?

Depending on how advanced you are at English you can watch a movie in different ways. If you are a beginner then use English subtitles while listening to your native language. This will help you associate words. If you are more advanced then try watching in English and using native subtitles. If you are even more advanced then aim to watch the whole movie in English. If you have to pause the film to think about some words or rewind to hear again then do but the best way to get better is to try and watch it all in English.

If you can you should watch at least one movie a month but one a week would be better. Try getting a group of people together so you can talk about what is happening and learn from each other. Quite often one person will hear something another person may have missed so it is useful to share the learning. If you cannot do this then find some people on our Facebook page who may wish to watch the same movie and then talk about it afterwards on whatsapp or messenger.

Movies can be a really fun way to help improve your understanding of spoken English and improve your own ability to speak English. TV shows are also useful and seasons on platforms like Netflix can be good if not better than movies because there are hours of watching time with the same accents and people to listen too.

English Speaking Practice

Learning English isn’t easy but with the right online English courses it is certainly something anyone can do. An important part of learning English is getting time to practice speaking English as well as watching online video lessons and learning written English. However, finding people to help with English speaking practice can be hard.

Friends and Family

One of the best sources of English speaking practice is, of course, friends and family. If other people you know are learning English too or have already learnt and are more advanced than you then getting time with them as often as you can is a brilliant way to get some English speaking practice. This can be done on the phone, in person or even with skype or whatsapp video calls. Even just 5 minutes of practice once a week can be helpful. If you are living with other English learners then having “English only” days in the house can be a brilliant way to improve your spoken English skills.

Work

The reason many people learn English is for work. They may want to work in an English speaking country or they may already live their but want to get a better job where English is needed. This kind of environment is perfect for practising spoken English. Colleagues who speak English are great to chat to and ask questions too if there is a word you need help with. Listening to others speak around you is also great for improving your spoken English. Do remember that colleagues may be busy so it is useful to be aware they may not always have time to explain a phrase, idiom or word.

Other Learners

One way of practising spoken English that a lot of people don’t think about is linking up with other learners. There are 1000s of people learning English online with Perfectly Spoken and often this people connect on the Facebook page and then organise their own video chat groups to practice speaking English together. They may not be friends or family and you do not work with them but they can be the perfect people to practice with especially if they are the same level as you or more advanced.  Perfectly Spoken is a rapidly growing global English learning platform with full and totally free online English courses. By signing up and joining in the extra live lessons on Facebook you will not only learn English from our amazing teachers and the high quality video lessons but you may find some new friends to practice your spoken English with too.

What are or is an MOOC?

MOOC simply means – Massive Open Online Course or Courses

But what does it all mean?

Well a massive open online course is a course that anyone can join, log into and start learning anytime, anywhere and at any speed they want too. We have a number of MOOCs and we are very proud to be part of this exciting new way to learn English online. Of course MOOC is not a term exclusive to learning English, there are online courses for every kind of subject but the popularity of learning English online is so big it is often used as an example of a common MOOC.

What Are The Benefits of an MOOC?

To put it simply the benefits are mostly based around flexibility and convenience:

  • Anyone can sign up and learn so there is no need for entrance exams and most are free.
  • Courses and lessons can be viewed on any kind of digital device from phones and tablets to laptops and PCs.
  • Lessons can be taken at any time of the day or night.
  • Lessons can be taken anywhere with an internet connection, 3G, 4G or WiFi.
  • Courses can be taken over hours, days, weeks, months or even years.
  • Courses and Lessons can be taken at any speed. So pupils can do 10 lessons in one week and then no lessons for a month and still be able to complete them.

These advantages make signing up for an MOOC the perfect way to learn English for people busy at work, studying or even travelling. People can take a lesson before work on the train or bus, or maybe even at work in a lunch break. Lessons can be taken in the middle of the night or the day and can fit in with any lifestyle and working life.

What Else Makes Up an MOOC?

As well as the lessons and courses massive open online courses are often supported by forums or social media groups. These allow pupils and students to compare notes and share things they are finding hard or easy. This can be very helpful, especially when it comes to parts of the course learners are finding hard. Perfectly Spoken has a large Facebook community and offers extra free Facebook live lessons that run alongside the main online courses.

Join Us and Start Your MOOC Journey Today!

If you are looking into the world of MOOC English learning then you are in the right place. You can sign up for our free online English courses today and join thousands of other people learning English with us all over the world! Good Luck!

The Best Way To Learn and Practice English Online

Learning English Online is not easy, it is challenging but very rewarding thing to do. Learning to speak English can help with getting a job in an English speaking country, studying and travelling too. But with so many ways to learn English online what are the best ways to do it and what are the best ways to practice? In the post we look at some of the best ways you can learn English online to get the best results possible!

Online English Courses

There are a lot of online videos that can teach you English but the best way to learn English properly is to take a full English course. Just doing one video every few days from different teachers that are not connected can confuse you and may slow down your learning. The best thing to do is choose an online English school like Perfectly Spoken and sign up for a free online English course at the correct level for you. Our Forever Free courses are made up of over 40 video lessons and these can be watched on any device at any time.

Practice Your English Online

One of the hardest parts about learning English online is finding ways to practice. If you were in a classroom you might have other students to practice with but online you may not have anyone you know who is learning English with you. But do not be disheartened there are ways you can practice online. Facebook is a great place to start, there are lots of people who will also be learning English but it can be hard to find them. Look for groups of other English learners and message some of the members to see if they would be happy to swap messages or even have a video chat with you. There is a perfectly Spoken Facebook page where 1000s of other people are learning English and many of them will be very happy to find new people to practice with. There are also Whatsapp groups and many websites with forums where you could also meet people to practice with. The great thing about Whatsapp is you can use it as a video call system as well as a way of finding other people learning English.

If you would like to find out more about our free online English courses then have a look at our courses page. Join other people on our Facebook group and try our free extra live lessons and other people to practice with. The key is to learn in a structured way and to practice as much as you can even if you don’t have anyone at home to speak English with.

3 Things You Hear About the UK That are Not True

As with every country there are a lot of stereotypes and things that people believe are true that are simply not. Because British actors often feature on huge movies and many TV shows are exported around the world the UK perhaps suffers this problem more than some other countries. Here are just 3 things you may have heard about British people and the UK that are just not true.

Every British Person Loves the Royal Family

This is simply not true. Whilst many Brits (1) are proud of the royal family and some do have pictures up in their homes the majority of British people are really not that interested. The royal family, for a large number of British people is a rather old fashioned and expensive thing that they feel should be made smaller or given less money. For many others it is something that is a tradition but not something they love. It is quite common for people from other countries to ask if a British person has actually met the Queen. Very few people in the UK actually get to meet or see the Queen and a large number would not really want too. The Brits do not all have large pictures of the Queen in their homes and do not all follow the news about them. In fact, people in the USA are often more interested in the royal family than British people.

British People all Wear Hats

Sadly, this is not true at all. The traditional image of a business man wearing a hat to work on the underground or a lady dressing like the Queen in a hat is very old fashioned (2) and really stopped around the 1960s. Whilst many people wear baseball caps and woolly hats in the cold this is nothing you would not see in many other countries.

It Rains All the Time

This is a very common idea that it rains almost every day in the UK and the weather is very bad. It is simply not true. However, the West Coast of Scotland does get the most rain per year for any country in Europe that is just a small part of the UK. Southern England often has droughts (3) in the summer and gets far less rainfall than places like Norway or the Alps. Perhaps it is the fact that Brits talk about the weather all the time and like to moan (4)  about the rain that gives other countries this idea.

Knowing these stereotypes and ideas are not true will help you if you are learning English to work or study in the UK. It is important to understand the people of the UK if you are hoping to interact with them. If you would like to learn English or improve your existing skills then join Perfectly Spoken and take one of our online English courses.

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VOCABULARY:

  1. Brit: informal way for British.
  2. Old fashioned: opposite to modern, not contemporary.
  3. drought is long period of little or no rain
  4. To moan: to complain (often about something that isn’t important)

What is Pancake Day?

If you are living in the UK or working with people that do then you may have heard about Pancake Day. It is basically a day where people in the UK cook and enjoy thin flat cakes made in a pan But, there is a lot more to the day than enjoyable food.

If you are learning English and not sure what Pancake Day is then read this!

Shrove Tuesday

The day is actually celebrating in a number of English speaking countries including Canada, Ireland and the USA. It is also celebrated in France and Australia. In Spain, Italy and Brazil it falls at the end of Carnival.  It is called different things in different countries and the proper name in the UK is Shrove Tuesday. In other countries it is called Mardi Gras and even “fat day”.

Why Is It Celebrated?

Like many traditional festival days it is based in religion. But as much of the UK is no longer religious the meaning is sometimes lost. The day is always just before ash Wednesday at the start of lent. Lent marks the start of a 40 day period before Easter. During lent it is common to give up things that you enjoy as part of a Christian tradition. Butter, sugar, eggs and milk were often given up and so there was a reason to use them all up before lent started.

The Pancake

With these ingredients needing to be used the pancake was invented. It is a very simple recipe where eggs and milk are mixed together and fried in a hot pan in butter. The pancake is a very thin soft cake that is then eaten with some lemon juice and sugar.

The Cooking

Cooking pancakes is actually quite hard. When one side is ready you need to turn it over. This is very hard and the only way to do it without tearing the pancake is to “toss” or flip the pancake in the air and catch it again in the pan. Pancake tossing is a very traditional part of Shrove Tuesday.

Racing?

In some parts of Britain they have pancake races. This is where people run through the streets with a pancake in a frying pan, often in costumes.

Pancake day is considered a fun day and not one you need to totally understand. If you get a chance, why not try a pancake with a friend or go to a café to have one made for you.

If you are learning English online and would like to take a full online English course then have a look at the Perfectly Spoken plans and find out more!

 

Wales – A Useful Guide

If you are planning on visiting the United Kingdom for work or you are working with people from the UK then this Guide to Wales will be very useful. When learning English it can be important to understand the different countries in the UK and how the people can be different.

General Information

Wales is 1 of the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom. Like Scotland and England it shares the main island while Northern Ireland is across a small stretch of sea called the Irish Sea.

Wales is a small but very proud country. There is around 3 million people living in Wales which is around 5% of the total UK population. The capital city is called Cardiff which is a vibrant and busy place to visit and work. Wales is, as with other parts of the UK, famous for it’s amazing beaches and beautiful mountainous scenery. The coastline of Wales has around 1300 km of beach, some of these are the most beautiful in the UK.  It is also famous for the amount of rain it gets and this is often a point of humour among people form the UK.

The Welsh flag shows a large red dragon and this is a very important symbol for the country along with a yellow flower called a Daffodil.

Language

While both Northern Ireland and Scotland do have a traditional language Wales has more people that speak theirs. The language is used on road signs and many other things although it is almost always written next to English. In certain areas of Wales, Welsh is still spoken but most people will also speak English. Around 20% of the population can speak Welsh.

Food

Lamb is a very traditional food in Wales. This is because sheep farming is very common rather like New Zealand. There is also a cheese and toasted bread meal called Welsh Rarebit which was created in Wales. It is delicious and eaten across the UK.

Sport

Football is very popular in Wales but Rugby is the sport most people watch and play. The Welsh are very passionate about it and the streets can be empty when there is a large international game being played, especially if they are playing England.

In some parts of Wales the feelings towards the English are not very positive or happy. As with Northern Ireland and Scotland England is seen as the larger country that invaded them historically. It is useful to remember not to call anyone from Wales English.

Perfectly Spoken offers a range of different online English courses where lessons can be taken any time and on any device.

 

 

Scotland – A Useful Guide

If you are planning to move to the UK for work, visit or if you work with people from the UK then this guide to Scotland will be very useful. If you are learning English it can be very useful to understand a little more about how the UK is made up for different countries. This can be very important if you are going to be working with people form the UK.

Scotland is one of 4 countries that make up the parts of the United Kingdom. Unlike Northern Ireland Scotland is part of the same island as England and Wales. It is well known for its mountains, forests, beaches and Lochs.

General Information

Scotland is north of the top of England. It is the very top part of the United Kingdom. Because it is so far north it often gets a lot of snow and you can even see the Northern Lights from some parts and has sunlight until 11:30pm in the summer. It can also rain a lot and be very cold!

Scotland has it’s own parliament which is in the capital city of Edinburgh. Around 5 million people live in Scotland which is around 8.5% of the total UK population. Glasgow is another famous Scottish city. Most people tend to live further South and the more mountainous and cold country is further north. This northern part of the country is called the Highlands.

Lochs

A loch is a Scottish word for a large lake. There is a very famous Loch called Loch Ness where a famous monster called the Loch Ness Monster is said to live. Over many years there have been photographs of this monster but most are hard to see and the monster is considered a myth; it is often called Nessy!

Music

Like other parts of the UK modern music is very popular but Scotland also has a very traditional type of music and a very famous instrument called the bagpipes. This instrument is made up of an air bag and a number of pipes. It creates a very unique and beautiful sound.

Language

In Scotland there are actually 3 languages; English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic. Around 30% of the population are able to speak Scots but everyone in Scotland will understand and be able to speak English. Scots actually has a lot of words that are the same in English but it would be very hard to understand.

Sport

Football is very popular in Scotland. They have their own large football league called the Scottish Premier League. Huge matches are played between Celtic and Rangers and it is worth remembering some fans of these teams do not like each other. Scotland also hosts a more traditional collection of sports called the Highland Games. These events include dancing, music and games involving huge tree trunks being thrown.

Food

Like other parts of the UK the food is very similar but each part has some of it’s own traditional food types. Haggis is something eaten at certain celebrations in Scotland. It is a kind of round sausage made using a sheep stomach, oats and meat. Scotland is also famous for amazing seafood because of it’s rich coastline.

Scottish people are often very friendly but also very proud of their country. As the film Braveheart shows, the Scottish and English have not always got on well so be aware of that if talking to Scottish people.

If you are learning English online then Perfectly Spoken has a number of different options to allow you to take full English courses online.