Alternative indoor activities – Dancing

If you prefer the active life and like to be “actively doing” even when you are intending to have lots of fun then Dancing and Dance routines coud be something to consider if too much television is not your gig.

Discover new music Well since you know Single Ladies by Beyonce off by heart then why not see what else is out there. Theres bound to be a whole ton of stuff just asking to be discovered and now you’ve got an excuse to see what’s out there.

Have a way of embracing international music If you are a language learner or someone who is keeping their linguistic skills up to date then its a no fuss way of embracing music from other shores and keeping up to date with “what’s just hit the Argentine chart at number 1”.

Depending on your preference this can be coupled with singing.

Doesn’t require other people for you to enjoy it Sure it’s often nice to share your activities with others but this is one of those activities that can be enjoyed solo if you are rained out and truly can’t get to your mates house at all. It can also be enjoyed in the company of others for example Zumba etc.

Zumba Is usually a group activity where a mild exercise/dance routine is shared among the participants while some high tempo music is being played in the background. It’s popular among many age groups and provides relatively easily accessible means of sharing both exercise and dance in the company of others.

Exercise routines Some are looking for a more full on exercise regimen, usually with the aid of an experienced physical trainer. These regimens can and usually are enjoyed in the presence of music to get and keep the participants in the mood.

Cultured Music and Dances Love Salsa, Flamenco and other cultured dancing styles that are a hit in the ballroom? Many clubs and classes that teach these styles are out there and they can be a great way to meet new people and “feel” another culture by practising it.

Help with sense of self Even if done in your own privacy dancing can be a nice carefree way to embrace yourself and feel at one with yourself.  It’s a way of expressing yourself in a westernised culture that appears to care only about productivity. The ability to do something for the sheer fact it helps you to feel whole and enlivened. We can show our spirit and our heart through dance. This can build confidence in other areas.

Release of good vibes If you do any form of dancing for even half an hour the chemicals it will release into your bloodstream will help to raise your mood and spirits and can also wake you up if you are feeling a little tired to a more enlivened state.

Keep Dancing!

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Want to learn an uncommon language?

20170125_0035221Uncommon languages, or languages less used or spoken on the world stage. Sure we all know someone who has taken an interest in Spanish or French for example. But what happens if you have an unrelenting desire to learn Romanian, Filipino Irish Gaelic or Korean? Well luckily enough this process is far from impossible, however there will be some extra struggles you will come across along the way. Depending on your location some languages might fit this category and some might not.

Here are some useful tips and ideas as to how to best proceed.

Have good and solid reasons as to why it is you have chosen this path. Are you planning on travel to the said country, are you going to do business with the country either on your or their soil, Have you held a burning interest for their culture or even using this as a means and method of reclaiming or rediscovering your own culture.

Personally I’m undertaking Romanian as I was born there (international adoptee) and as part of reclaiming my Romanian national identity feel I absolutely must bear the language. Whatever your reasons may be they must be strongly held reasons as every language learner has doubts at some point in their journey.

Have attainable goals As someone who can speak conversational Spanish and some level of Italian I can safely say that it will be hard to be successful in undertaking any language if you don’t have goals in place. These goals will need to be adjusted as time progresses if you are looking for high proficiency in a language.

My current ones are (at the time of writing) to have a basic understanding of Romanian for a trip to rediscover the country in March/April time and to know off by heart (or close to) the national anthem and football songs (with meanings) by March 26 when the first international match against Denmark is. I can expect these to change as time progresses.

Know what resources are available The chances are there are a lot fewer books, YouTube videos, seminars and language exchange partners should you be seeking a language which isn’t on the top ten of most spoken in the world. When starting out it might be helpful to gain an understanding of all the options available to you and knowing which ones your likely to prefer more.

Internet translators can help. While the likes of Google Translate and Bing Translator might be improving according to their developers claims, there can still be inaccuracies in these. I’d not usually advise a language learner to use something like this, but when resources including native speakers are potentially scarce sometimes you have to use these. Due to a higher likelihood of error its advisable to write one sentence at a time into the translator should you need to use one.

I’d advise that you do not record any translations created by these translators in any language progress journals you might be keeping. I’d also recommend that you be prepared to have a native speaker tell you the more natural way of saying something or even the correct way.

Singing If you have a particular passion for singing this might be a fantastic option for exposure to vast amounts of vocabulary and how words are pronounced. If there are set rules as to pronunciation this will help banish the pronunciation problems early on. The quickest way is to cut and paste the lyrics into a translation software and sing to them while keeping an eye on the general idea of the meanings. Any use of an internet translator has potential for error but it’s a good way of quick exposure to the language and embracing the culture and having fun while you’re at it.

Doing this everyday (if possible) and ditching the translators as soon as feasibly possible will expose you to new words, grammar and verb forms quickly. You will unlikely know how to place some of these in speech in the start but the exposure aspect is second to none.

Take instruction in a non native language Some of us are not new to the world of languages and if you possess a second language it might be an idea to take a flash card course in that language. That way you are keeping that language alive while actively pursuing your new pursuit.

Facebook and social media If you are a keen social media user why not “follow” some groups in your target language. You can keep up with current affairs in the country (ies) where the language is spoken and get to see non textbook examples. Of course its wise to have daily (or as close to daily practise as possible) as well as this.

If you are embarking on a journey of learning a language that is not one of the most common some people may question your judgement. Please understand that 99% of the time they mean well, even if you find their comments to be “unhelpful at best”

I can expect that in due time my proficiency in Romanian may one day be greater than that of my Spanish (most proficient 2nd language I have) as I feel its my language on a spiritual level. There is true and valid reason why I call it my sacred language.

limba mea este în inima mea

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Music, a great addition to your language journey

20160612_004126Hello Dear Readers

While I initially thought of writing this as something that could complement my Role Plays article I realise this can be of easy benefit to everyone and both introvert and extrovert personality types.

I started learning languages back in October 2014 and have been hooked to some degree ever since. I have gotten quite far in my language journey and listening to music in the languages you are learning is a must for a number of reasons.

The first is it’s a fantastic way to learn and embrace the language outside of materials. The natural way language is presented in music. While I’m not against learner materials (far from it) its nicer to have a way of enjoying the language outside of “grammar drills” and to be able to feel as though “you’re not studying at all”.

I would go so far as to say I personally believe music to somewhat be better than television and movies for learning a language. My rationale is that the melody is enough to keep someone interested even if they don’t understand it all or only understand a small amount.

To listen to music effectively you will need to find a genre you like and find tracks of that genre. The “catchy effect” is good for learning new grammar as since its encapsulated in a song which you love to bits and have probably played on repeat.

The only limitation is the tracks you choose must have vocals and quite a lot of them, it’s also preferable that the vocals are easy to hear. I’d suggest in most cases voices that are electronically synthesised and difficult to interpret are not the best choice.

Singing and dancing to the music you take a liking to is another way to make it a part of you and visit language in a way that “doesn’t feel like learning”. Depending on how much confidence/time/other considerations you have this could make an enjoyable experience even more enjoyable.

With a foreign music you will be able to explore areas of another countries culture, perhaps many countries cultures depending on which langauge it is your learning.

In addition a liking of foreign music could potentially get the listener into taking up a particular dance style or instrument involved with more classical genre’s. If you are a learner who is deeply interested in the cultural aspect as well then this is no doubt something to consider.

While listening to music alone is not a substitute for talking practise, its somewhat possible singing might be at least to some level, since you are producing the language. You can talk to people who speak the language you are learning about your newly found interests in music whether you prefer to sing or not.

You may find new genres that do not exist (or barely exist) in your native language. I have come across at least 3 generes  in Spanish that don’t exist in the English-speaking world (as far as I know). These are Ranchera, Cumbia and Reggaeton and there could even be more? Its fun and refreshing to find something entirely new.

The only time listening to music in a foreign language likely will not help you at all is if you haven’t actually studied the language at all. No amount of listening to ten entire playlists in Italian will help your cause if you have not studied Italian for even an hour. This is something that can only be accessed by those who have done at least some studying.

In conclusion I would suggest music does not fulfil every aspect required to successfully learn a foreign language but it does cover a fair few

I’m grateful as to the music I’ve found and I’m confident that I’ve progressed faster with it then I would have done without it.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable