Many of you will know (mostly because I spent the vast majority of the last year complaining about the French language!) that I recently completed a BA in French Studies at university. I came out of it with a 2:1, which I was incredibly chuffed with and after finishing my degree I’ve suddenly found myself re-attracted to the rush and the thrill of language learning. Over the course of my life so far, I’ve been educated in 4 languages and I have a natural attraction (and arguably a natural talent? I don’t know…)
towards language learning. I have experience working in English, French, Maltese and Italian and am always excited to learn new words in new languages. I’m excited to get stuck into a new language, courtesy of FlashSticks.
I’m going to be blunt here and say that prior to the last few weeks, my Spanish knowledge was absolutely nada, with the exception of the few obvious phrases that EVERYONE and their dog knows.
(I can also say chorizo and paella in a VERY convincing Spanish accent. If that’s not a skill, then I don’t know what is.)
This week, Isobel, the Marketing Manager for a company called Flash Sticks got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to do a little collaboration with the brand on my blog. I JUMPED at the opportunity to try out the brand for a number of reasons, but mostly because I actually considered contacting them myself a few months back but chickened out at the last minute. I was AMAZED that they wanted to collaborate with ME, little me
with this tiny little book blog but hey, I’m definitely not complaining.
I absolutely LOVE this system. I love how the post it notes are colour coded depending on their gender (I absolutely SUCK at remembering the genders of words, even now after years of studying languages, so this will help me endlessly!) I also love how easy it is to use the app alongside the post-it notes: scanning them through allows the word to be read out to you for ease of pronunciation. Spanish pronunciation is pretty simple but hard for my French-orientated brain to comprehend sometimes. I still occasionally pronounce the words in a very bizarre warped French accent. Bad habits die hard.
I’ve been using the system for a few weeks now and absolutely can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a way of consciously learning a language and don’t have much time on your hands to sit down and crack open the books. The fact that there’s an app and a PHYSICAL aspect to the learning is definitely appealing to me- just stick the post its around the house and you’ll be learning and remembering, which is the important part, the words in absolutely no time at all.
Top Tips for Learning Languages
- Keep a notebook where you can jot down vocabulary as you come across it, or as you recognise that you don’t know the word for when you’re out and about. Understanding grammar is great but useless without the vocabulary to use alongside it.
- Work through grammar textbooks intended for younger (native) children. Yes, you’re not a child but your language level is likely the same level. Work your way through the levels, mastering the basics before you move onto more difficult grammar systems.
- Practice wherever you can – talk to yourself, find a pan friend who speaks the language or else take language lessons. Practice makes perfect.
- Watch TV and listen to the radio or podcasts in your target language!
- Once your language improves, work through articles from online newspapers. Highlight vocabulary you’re not sure on and continue to build up that knowledge. Exposure is key.
I have a little code to share with you all, courtesy of the team at FlashSticks. If you fancy learning a new language and subscribe to the premium package, FlashSticks will send you out a set of their Flashcards absolutely free of charge, across any of the six languages in either beginners or intermediate level! Sounds like a bargain to me, and the programme is definitely worth giving a go. If you’re a busy soul dying to brush up your language skills, then this is definitely the one for you!
What languages can you speak? Which do you want to learn? Let me know your language learning stories in the comments below!!