Chatterbox #66 – Learning languages

We’ve had two different listeners suggest that we do an episode about learning languages. Maura and Harp could talk forever about this topic! So here’s the episode where we talk about learning French, and a little bit of Japanese and Korean too! Harp also tells us what she remembers about learning English. (Did you know that Harp learned English as a second language when she was a child?) We also give you a few of our best tips for learning English, besides listening to Culips!

esl podcast

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:language

  • Kindergarten
  • To pick up
  • The thing is…
  • Like a fish out of water
  • To work someone to the bone
  • Learned/learnt
  • To get by
  • To hold back
  • Sink or swim
  • To stick it out
  • To be better off
  • To open your mind/eyes
  • Nursery rhymes

Sample transcript:

Maura: Now, we’ve also had a little bit of experience with other languages, right? How much Korean did you learn when you lived there?
Harp: When I was there, I knew a lot. I could not have a basic conversation, but I was teaching English and I was working with kids so I was able to speak with them, give them commands and I was able to read Korean because Korean is a very easy language to pick up in terms of the written part of it, but it’s still a complicated language.
Maura: Oh yeah. Well, when I lived in Japan, I learned a little bit. I learned some expressions and some words that were important. But to be honest, I had just been trying to learn French for a year and then I realized how difficult it was to learn a language. And so when I was in Japan, I didn’t really immerse myself in Japanese. I just learned a little bit to get by.
Harp: Yeah. I learned enough to talk to taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and the kids in school.
Maura: But I do think that Japanese was much easier to understand orally than French, because the pronunciation was so much clearer, that in French I found it really difficult to understand at the beginning.
Harp: Oh, that’s very interesting.
Harp: Yeah. A lot of people are surprised, because to people in Canada, Japanese seems so different that most people are surprised to hear that. OK, so those are some experiences we’ve had learning languages, mostly that it’s hard and you have to work hard to make progress.
Harp: Yeah, definitely. You cannot give up.
Harp: That’s it. So, let’s give some more tips. And that’s the first one: Don’t give up.
Harp: Don’t give up at all. I know it seems hard and it seems like you’ll never be good at it, but that’s how I used to feel about French and now I’m very fluent.
Harp: Yes. if it seems too hard, take a break, take a week off, relax. And you might even find you miss it, but it’s important to persevere, to continue on studying, if you really want to learn.
Harp: Yeah. And I think it’s also important to make it fun.

Podcast/ Learning Materials: Culips English PodcastChatterbox #66 – Learning languages