[Video] Entrevista con Marlon “Señor alemán” Görnert

Hoy nuevamente tengo el gusto de presentar la entrevista a un amigo que realmente se transformó en una charla muy interesante sobre la vida en general y que espero que haya una segunda parte de esta. Quizás esta fue bastante informal, pero creo que le da un gran toque de naturalidad y una sensación de comodidad.

Marlon es alemán y actualmente reside en Estocolmo, Suecia. Sabe alemán, inglés, español (con un perfecto acento porteño), portugués, catalán, francés, sueco e italiano, con un fuerte interés en otros idiomas germánicos y lenguas itálicas, como el sardo. Nos hemos conocido por intereses en común y muchas veces pasamos horas conversando, discutiendo y riéndonos de distintos temas y básicamente, eso queremos plasmar en este video.

Los invito también a seguir a Marlon en su canal de YouTube y su página de Facebook.


[Video] Entrevista a Carlos Reyes – Periodista chileno y profesor de hebreo

[Post in Spanish since the interview is in that language]

Nuevamente, les tengo una entrevista que grabé hace un tiempo con un compatriota mío que reside actualmente en Perú, Carlos Reyes. Él es periodista y profesor de idiomas (de inglés y hebreo), cuya historia de vida es muy interesante debido a que ha aprendido un idioma poco común, el hebreo, sin siquiera tener una conexión fuerte con la cultura de Israel. Él también maneja una página de Facebook en la que se traducen canciones al hebreo llamada Tazinu (y que les invito a seguir).

He aquí la entrevista:


[Video] Language Learning Goals for 2017

While I’m working on the next round of videos, I’ve made my Language Learning Goals for this year. Considering I will have to deal with many things in other aspects, I’ve managed to keep them real, manageable. They are not very ambitious, but I’ll have to see. If I had to summarize them, probably it could be under strengthening my knowledge.




[VIDEO] Interview with Sergiu from Simple Romanian

Today I have the honor of presenting an audio interview with Sergiu from Simple Romanian. His site is a full platform to learn Romanian in a different way, by short videos often shot in Cluj and actual conversations hold by native speakers. Besides running this site, he also works with a language he learned on his own and through conversation with native speakers, Swedish, being his favourite language. You can follow him on Youtube and Facebook as well.

[VIDEO] Interview with Antanas, teacher of Lithuanian for foreigners (IN SPANISH)

This time, I’m presenting an interview with Antanas Vinčiūnas, a physical trainer from Lithuania who is also working as a Lithuanian foreign language teacher, who is looking forward to teach his native language to Spanish speakers. Besides his native Lithuanian, he fluently speaks English, Russian and Spanish. The interview is in Spanish as a way of proving his excellent skills in my native language.

You can contact him on Facebook, YouTube and italki.

Hoy les presento una entrevista con Antanas Vinčiūnas, entrenador físico lituano y que también trabaja como profesor de lituano para extranjeros, dispuesto a enseñar su idioma a hispanohablantes. Además del lituano, habla muy bien inglés, ruso y castellano. Esta entrevista es en español como manera de mostrar sus excelentes habilidades en mi idioma materno.

Pueden contactarlo por Facebook, YouTube e italki.

5 myths about Polish… debunked!

I have been thinking about this issue for so long.

I often interact with other learners or people who are motivated with learning Polish. I sometimes see myself in some of them, while others… seem to have chosen another approach for the language which may affect their learning in the long term. As someone who wants to make language learning a joyful, yet realistic experience… It’s time to debunk some myths about Polish and Polish learning.

  1. Polish IS the hardest language in the world and it IS impossible to master it as even native speakers make mistakes in it. This is a common sentence found in so many websites and repeated ad nauseam by native Polish speakers and Polish learners alike (and usually with some nationalistic connotations). First of all, according to whom? Are all languages alike, first of all?
    Yes, it has cases, but they DO make sense once you study them throughly. Hard pronunciation? Ehm… no click sounds? And what about tenses? I think it is quite good to narrow down verb tenses into a few ones.
    You can find people making mistakes in their native languages everywhere. I even make mistakes in Spanish. The thing is by repeating this sentence you are giving the wrong signal about how languages work.
  2. If you are a foreigner, don’t worry about grammar… people will understand you anyways! I’ve heard this mainly from Poles. Yes, I’ll probably be understood if I am interacting with Poles as a 1-week tourist who is doing sightseeing and so. Of course, I won’t be expected to master that language for a short visit. However, grammar is fundamental in order to become an independent speaker, as in someone who can create their own sentences with no help and can be understood. Someone who is able to answer and ask back questions or giving opinions. Also, by having a good command of grammar, you’ll be able to be seen as an equal and not an outsider.
  3. POLISH PRONUNCIATION IS HARD! Again… it may be true if you only speak one language and if you’ve never heard or even been exposed to another language or even dialect. The thing is… you can probably have an accent and still not master certain sound clusters or so, but other than that, Polish has a decent and manageable sound repertoire. You might want to pay attention to your ś, ć, ż, ź, sz, cz and rz… but you can get there by paying attention to your tongue positions. You can practice those things by listening, reading aloud or even rehearsing small speeches.
  4. Hej przyjacielu! Many foreigners (including myself when I started) have made this mistake that Poles might not feel comfortable with. This sentence is often translated to “Hi, friend!” because przyjaciel gets translated to “friend” in most dictionaries. Yet, that’s not what it means. A “przyjaciel” is exactly a close friend. People might perceive it as pushy and not honest when you call “close friend” to people you’ve just met and you’ve thought they are cool. However, you can use two other words in Polish that can describe what other people might consider “friend”: znajomy and kolega. Znajomy literally means “acquaintance”, but it often carries a positive connotation. Even Facebook uses “znajomy” for a Facebook friend. It is totally acceptable and normal to use that word or even tell someone you are going out with “a couple of acquaintances”  without worrying you’ll be abducted. “Kolega” is often used as “buddy” or “colleague” (from work or classes) and it can also be used with a positive connotation (or you can use also the German loan word, kumpel). So, don’t feel offended if someone doesn’t use the p-word with you!
  5. Polish has irregular grammar and nonsense rules you’ll never understand! No, no and no! I have yet to see a language (except for conlangs) that has 100% regular grammar and consistent in its rules. Most, if not all, of them have certain exceptions that sometimes you probably learn them by heart or you need to work harder in order to understand their logic or how that verb or preposition works. Polish has plenty of those rules in which a certain preposition and case might screw up your sentence, but I have seen that happening in many languages, even Spanish. Or even you might not get a detailed and full explanation on why this and why no that, but that is not exclusive to Polish per se. Maybe a good and detailed Grammar guide is what you might need or an educated native speaker/advanced learner who might explain you rules in detail.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing those myths debunked!

Do you know more myths about Polish that need to be debunked? Have you heard similar things while learning other languages?  Please, share them in the comments!

[Video] #polyglotchallenge

One of the best things about updating this blog with videos is the amount of time it takes. It did not take plenty of my time!

Chris Huff from Language Fan did this challenge about 2 weeks ago and I found it quite interesting, so I joined it as well. Basically, he adapted this challenge from Instagram and took it to a YouTube format, which is the one I used as well. You can check out the questions here and many people who follow me on Facebook or Youtube may have seen my videos step by step, but for those who may have missed it, here are my 10 answers 🙂


Taking notes in Chile: a good way to speed up knowledge

It’s been about a month since I went back to University as a student. I haven’t been a regular student since I got my Bachelor’s degree in December 2011, so going back to a study rhythm in which I have to do projects, turn in papers or tasks and take notes (along with working fulltime)… hasn’t been easy (though I won’t deny that… I love being back at University! I like my classes and the environment over there).

Considering that most of my lectures last for more than 120 minutes, it can be tiresome to keep yourself focused and take notes of what my professors are saying. They often talk about so many topics in a short span of time that I don’t know what to write first or by the time I finished a sentence, my professor talks about something unrelated to the first point. In those moments, you have to be an efficient notetaker and luckily, I learned how to use abbreviations and symbols while taking notes.

Around 5th-6th grade my Spanish teacher taught me (and my class) how to be more efficient with note-taking for personal use (that is to say you cannot use them in any kind of formal document, essay, test or exam) through abbreviations. Most of those abbreviations are formed because of Logics, Maths, Science or even… how words sound. They are highly helpful while taking notes in a rush and from there, you can also create your own abbreviations or shortcuts, depending on your interests (for example, since I study humanities, Churches as institution have a small church drawing to save time).

In order to help you to be acquainted with symbols and abbreviations used for note-taking, I’ve made a short list that you can download and use it, in order to practice and take faster notes in Spanish (at least in Chile) or whenever your Chilean friend lends you his/her notes 😉

Download full size version HERE.

Do you use such abbreviations in your native or target language? Do they help you to take notes faster? Share your experience in the comments section!

[Update] The best, free and LEGAL materials to learn Polish, part 2

It’s been about a year since I wrote this post about materials to learn Polish and I am happy to mention that there are now more materials to start learning and practicing Polish the right way and suited to every need. As always, my goal is to show you the best, free and LEGAL materials to learn a language as there are plenty of better ones that are paid (and well worth paying for them).

  • Po polsku po Polsce: This site should be bookmarked and given to every person who wants to start to seriously learn Polish. It is a site that was developed by the prestigious Jagiellonian University in Kraków and financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The structure is very similar to the textbook I used for my A1 level and I believe the lessons are well done, with a strong focus on language you will use and grammar rules. It is probably one of the most complete free basic courses in Polish out there.
  • U of Pittsburgh new site: I thought this site was gone, but it is now back under a different address.
  • BBC Polish: Do you want to drill your first contact words or polish your Polish pronunciation? This site makes great use of audio and drilling in order to nail the right sz and ś.
  • Polonus YouTube channel: Polonus is a Polish language school for foreigners located in Łódź that offers several YouTube videos in which they teach certain aspects of Polish language such as slang, verbs, cases and many other things. Explanations are in Polish, but the most basic ones are explained in very simple language, so you can gain more exposure.
  • Polski z Anią Youtube channel: Another YouTube channel, but this time from Professor Anna Rabczuk from the Polonicum Centre of Polish Language and Culture for Foreigners at the University of Warsaw. Videos have English subtitles.
  • Duolingo: Duolingo now has Polish courses that may help you practice what you’ve learned above. One of the biggest issues reported is the lack of grammar explanations, so you might want to complement your learning.
  • Habla Polaco: Do you speak Spanish? ¿Hablas castellano? This free course from the Polish Cultural Institute in Madrid offers you the very basics of Polish in Spanish. The course has PDF sheets and MP3 audios.
  • The languages Declension sheet for Polish: This should be printed or put in your mobiles for quick doubts.
  • Mówić po polsku: This site might be very helpful to clear out some doubts learners have. If you know German, this site is even better.
  • Learn Polish with Sam and Biluś: This blog has probably one of the best explanations on motion verbs I have seen.

Do you know more resources to learn Polish? Have you tried any of those listed? Share them in the comments!