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Language learning Tips and Advice

Want to know how proficient you are in a language?

How proficient are you in a foreign language? The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) offers a handy measure.

The CEFR operates a scale of 1 to 6: proficiency levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.

  • Level group A = basic user – divided into A1 (lower) and A2 (upper)
  • Level group B = independent user – divided into B1 (lower) and B2 (upper)
  • Level group C = proficient user – divided into C1 (lower) and C2 (upper)
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Language learning Tips and Advice

“I wish I’d paid more attention at school!”

Our advice for adult language learners

The popular assumption about learning a new skill is that when you are younger, is that it comes very naturally. This is attributed to the still developing, curious, creative and dynamic human brain – something neuroscientists refer to as ‘neuroplasticity’. However, this suggests that when you reach maturity you begin to lose the ability to learn new things, whether it is a new sport, a musical instrument. Yet, both contemporary sciences, and our own experience with over 30 years teaching foreign languages prove this to be largely false. Indeed, there is no better time to learn a language, than right now!
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Language learning Tips and Advice

‘Phoning it in’ – pros and cons of language learning apps

There is such a proliferation of language learning applications for your tablet, PC and phone in 2019 that it is often quite difficult to define what they actually can and can’t do. Indeed, when ads claim you can ‘learn a language in a month’ or ’spend 10 minutes a day to achieve fluency’, is this actually the case? As we know, language learning is a multifaceted exercise, so can we take advantage of technology to help make the process as enjoyable and efficient as possible? Today we will be taking a look at the pros and cons of different language learning apps in comparison to other learning methods.
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Language learning Tips and Advice

Top five foreign language movies for language learners

We all know immersion is the best thing for language learning. But outside of the classroom, going on holiday, and meeting people, how can we really engage with languages in an exciting and stimulating way? Movies! There are a huge variety of foreign language films available through a variety of sources, and watching with or without subtitles can make it less or more of a challenge! Movies are also fantastic for vocabulary building, by allowing you to associate language and words with a visual stimulus, helping your brain make the connection and remember it with greater ease. With this in mind, today we have decided to run through a few of our favourite foreign language movies for different languages!
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Comparing courses: 1-1 vs group tuition

One of the best parts of learning a language at The Marlow Language Centre is the variety of course options we have to suit every kind of language learner. We have recently been asked some questions about the differences between our two main kinds of course; 1-1 (private) classes, and group classes. Read on to find out more!
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Top ten frequently asked questions about language learning

Our primer on learning a language!

Learning a foreign language at the Marlow Language Centre is a fantastic opportunity. However, people often have many questions about the process, and it’s safe to say in our 30 years providing bespoke tuition, we have heard them all! Read on for our top 10 frequently asked questions about learning a language.
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Top five tips for immersion – the secret key to language learning

One of the most valuable, but often most ephemeral, aids to language learning is immersion. A New York Times article in 2017 revealed how 27-year-old Philadelphia ‘Phillies’ baseball shortstop Freddy Galvis from Venezuela, learned English entirely through back-to-back binging the American sitcom ‘Friends’. He would watch in English with Spanish subtitles for hours every day after practice, and within a few years, was semi-fluent in English. While we are not recommending that strategy exactly (we wouldn’t wish that amount of Ross Geller on anyone!), it is proof that immersion is a fantastic way to aid language learning. Here are our top tips for immersion.
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Healthiness and language learning – the facts

Is language learning beneficial to your health?

One of the most significant but often overlooked aspects of learning a foreign language are the health benefits. In recent years, more and more studies are showing far reaching cognitive, emotional rewards to language learning. In this article we are going to try to separate the fact from the fiction.
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Group tuition at The Marlow Language Centre

Five reasons why you should choose our group classes

In addition to our wide variety of bespoke private courses here at the Marlow Language Centre we also operate regular mini-group classes. Some students prefer to take tuition in a group format rather than one-to-one; there are many benefits to both kinds of tuition, and learning with other people presents a different style of language learning to private tuition. Here are our top five reasons why our group classes are so popular:

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Language learning Tips and Advice

Embracing local culture as a second-home-owner

Live like a local

When you finally achieve the dream of buying, renovating, building or even renting your dream home abroad, the idea of embracing the local culture suddenly takes on a new significance. Naturally, you’ll be excited about learning how to live like a local – knowing the best places to eat, engaging in new traditions and understanding a different way of life but, more unexpectedly, living like a local becomes an absolute necessity if you want to get anything done!
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Top ten reasons to love learning a language

Our insights after 28 years of teaching

They say the first step is always the hardest and that’s especially true for something like learning a language. It’s always so rewarding to see our students take their (usually trepidatious) first steps in language learning, before falling in love with the whole process of discovering a foreign tongue.
From what we’ve learned in 28 years of teaching, these are the top ten reasons to love learning a language:
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

The top five excuses for not learning a language…

… and why you can’t use them!

It goes without saying that we’ve heard every excuse in the book in the last 28 years… and we’ve overcome every single one of them.

At the Marlow Language Centre, we come across the same reservations time and time again, but the trick to surmounting those mental blocks is to see those “reasons” for what they are – unfounded excuses that you don’t have to be guided by!

Want to know if your favourite excuse is on our list? These are the five most common reasons we hear for shying away from learning a language – and why you can’t use any of them…
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

How to help your employees love learning

Perceived obstacles and how to overcome them

Learning a second language can be a smart career move, yet many employees find themselves terrified of tackling such a challenge.

This can be both frustrating and baffling for you as a manager – especially if you find language learning easy yourself – so how can you best support your employees to not shy away from the benefits of bilingualism?
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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

How to converse with locals abroad

Ten things to bear in mind when you’re thinking of striking up a conversation

Chatting to locals can be one of the most rewarding and enriching parts of travelling, giving you the chance to learn about a new culture and lifestyle and really get a feel for a different country. It can provide a wonderful mixture of practical advice and cultural insight and an experience you’ll remember for years to come.

Research shows that the majority of us (60%) would like to speak to locals when we travel abroad, but with only a quarter of us managing to do it, how do you strike up and hold a conversation when you’re travelling?

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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Broken your new year’s resolution yet?

How to maintain motivation for your language learning in February and beyond

Hands up if you started the year with a flurry of new year’s resolutions and career goals.

Even for the biggest procrastinators amongst us, January 1st seems like an enticing time to start developing our skillset by setting goals like learning a second language.

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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

More than words

How introducing children to languages enriches more than just vocabulary

The ability to order a cup of coffee when travelling abroad is undoubtedly a useful one, but supporting your child in learning a language will give them far greater benefits than just being able to get themselves a hot drink or even pass a particular exam.

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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Languages: a national priority for Brexit

The “national priority” we need to focus on for the UK to compete internationally

The British Council has called for languages to become a “national priority” in the run-up to Brexit after research shows that English youngsters are among the worst in Europe at foreign languages.

Past studies suggest that our young people are lagging far behind their European peers, with many unable to understand more than basic words or phrases and new research confirms that two-thirds of adults (67%) surveyed said that the UK does not encourage enough young people to learn other languages and 63% said schools should dedicate more time to foreign languages.

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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

Why face-to-face learning is better for your bottom line

All businesses have one thing in common – the bottom line.

The need to consider how everything the business spends will impact that bottom line is what makes the idea of training your staff to improve their language skills through distance or online training programmes so enticing.

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Internal Language learning Tips and Advice

The biggest secret to learning a language

Why face-to-face interaction matters

A funny thing happens when you meet somebody face to face – your brain starts creating sensory-rich memories attached to the information you’re receiving consciously.

A large proportion of the information we absorb from direct interaction isn’t from the words we hear, but nuances from vocal tone, pacing, facial expressions and body language which is why, no matter how far or fast technology moves, the need for human interaction is fundamental.