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TFT: Geboren um zu leben

Hallo alle zusammen! This week’s Tune for Tuesday is by German rock band Unheilig, who were together between 1999 and 2016. Their song Geboren um zu leben, released in 2010, was a great success in Germany and Austria. The whole 2010 album, Große Freiheit, was #1 in the German charts for 23 weeks, breaking the German record at the time. The singer, Bernd Heinrich Graf, isn’t too difficult to understand, so add this song to your music listening for the week and see how much you can understand by the end of the week! Look out for the many different tenses used as well. Feel free to share some examples you’ve found in the comments. To hear the lyrics sung more slowly, we recommend watching the YouTube video below and selecting a slower playback speed by clicking on the settings symbol.

What other German-speaking artists do you know? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

We hope you’re enjoying our Tunes and remember to check out and follow our Spotify and YouTube playlists below, containing songs from all over the world.

For copyright reasons, we cannot publish the lyrics to Geboren um zu leben, but you can find them to read while you listen by clicking here.

Language learning inspiration from the Tour de France

Every year, France plays host to the largest annual sporting event in the world: Le Tour de France. For 23 days, competitors cycle 2000 miles through 21 different stages, covering mountain ranges and coastal villages. With all of its twists, turns, rapid sprints and gruelling ascents, we couldn’t help but compare the event to the process of learning a language. So, whether you’re about to start learning a language or you’re close to reaching your goal, get on your bike and come along for the ride with us!

Stages 1-5: Prologue

It’s day one. You’re lined up at the start of the race and can’t wait to get going. Though your nerves are threatening to take over, you set your sights on your end goal as you wait for the sound of the starting pistol.

At this initial stage of learning a new language, it’s likely that you’ll feel that you’re advancing quickly with all of the new vocabulary you’re using each day. While it’s essential to keep your end goal in sight throughout, it’s equally as important to focus on how you’re going to get there, to ensure you stay motivated and don’t lose your enthusiasm if progress feels slow sometimes. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself at this stage is to find a method of learning which you enjoy. Whether it’s listening to podcasts, using apps, writing out colourful notes or going to language ‘tandems’ (pardon the pun!), you’ll be much more likely to reach that final ‘Champs-Elysées’ stage if you enjoy what you’re doing.

Stages 6-10: Flat

You are still filled with excitement and passion for the challenge you’ve taken on, but the further you advance, the more you realise how much is ahead of you. From here on, there’s no room for freewheeling.

You’ve reached the point in your language-learning journey where you’re starting to make real progress and you can already feel the endorphin rush! So far, you’ve been learning colours, numbers and days of the week but, to be able to advance further, it’s time to get stuck in to the grammar and move on to more complicated learning points. At this stage, make sure to keep enjoying what you’re doing and try to immerse yourself as much as possible in the language you’re learning, whether that’s through listening to the radio in your new language every day, watching TV shows with subtitles or attending evening classes to keep your ear tuned to the sounds of the language.

Stages 11-15: Mountain

Uh oh… You’ve hit the dreaded ‘wall’ and everything feels like an uphill climb that might never end. You’re at the back of the group, other people keep whizzing past you and you can’t help but compare your progress to theirs. Make sure not to back pedal, you can do this!

Anyone who has spent time learning a language will undoubtedly be familiar with ‘the wall’. This is when things start to feel more challenging than the earlier stages. As learning a new language isn’t something that can be done overnight, it’s only natural that there will be peaks, troughs and the odd plateau along the way. If you find yourself in a language-learning rut, why not try different activities and introduce some variety to your learning?Try something creative, like using Post-it notes or flashcards to help you memorise vocabulary. Changing your regular routine will stop things becoming monotonous, and will reinvigorate you, providing the motivation to get you to the next stage! Most importantly, as the saying goes “if you fall off your bike, the best thing to do is get back on and keep pedalling”.

Stages 16-20: Time trial

The end is in sight, and it’s time to get your head down and perhaps even switch up a gear. Maybe something has reminded you of why you decided to take on this challenge in the first place or perhaps you’ve had a sudden burst of motivation. Although there are still some mountains to climb, your confidence is coming back and you’re racing along the route towards the finish line. It’s all downhill from here!

One of the largest hurdles in any major challenge is the fear of making mistakes. In language learning, the most important thing to do at this stage is to think about how far you’ve come. When you have the opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice, don’t be embarrassed, just go for it. There’s an Italian expression, sbagliando s’impara, which means that it’s only by making mistakes that you actually learn. Once you have this breakthrough moment and realise that nobody will laugh if you get a word wrong, there will be no stopping you! This is also the stage where you begin to feel comfortable in the language and your confidence grows, so enjoy the feeling of ‘freewheeling’ as you put your language learning into practice.

Stage 21: Champs-Elysées

Bravo ! You’ve won the yellow jersey! After countless ups and just as many downs you can be proud to say that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do at the beginning.

At this stage, it’s important to remember that reaching this level doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be mistaken for a native, or that you won’t muddle up a verb conjugation now and again. What it does mean is that you can deal with a variety of different situations in the language you’re learning, and that you are no longer afraid of making mistakes. Language learning is a lifelong journey, not a race, and there is so much to enjoy en route. With some of the skills you’ve already picked up, you’ll be ready for the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta d’España next!

Of course it’s not just about the language: just as the cyclists who have completed the Tour de France will have built their stamina, developed their fitness and hugely increased their mental focus, you will also have acquired a whole range of additional skills and attributes that go along with learning a language. Whether it is developing confidence, boosting your memory, becoming more creative, widening your cultural awareness or even making new friends, there really are no down sides to learning a language. So, which language are you going to learn next? There’s an open road ahead with so many beautiful scenes and experiences to be discovered and enjoyed. 

 

Was ist dein Lieblingssport? Talking about sports in German – Coffee Break German To Go Episode 9

To ask “what is your favourite sport?” in German you can say was ist dein Lieblingssport?, or in a more formal situation, was ist Ihr Lieblingssport? In this episode of Coffee Break German To Go, Julia asks this questions to interviewees in the streets of Berlin. You can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn to answer this question yourself.

In the first part of the video, watch the interviews without subtitles and try to understand. In the second part of the video, we’ve provided subtitles in German at the top of the screen. You can choose to turn on subtitles in English using the Subtitles/CC button.

In our first series, Julia is in the city of Berlin, and in each episode she’ll ask passers-by one question. Of course, that one question will result in many answers, and it’s through these answers that you can practise your German and build your vocabulary.

If you’d prefer not to wait for all 10 lessons of Season 1 to be published, you can access downloadable versions of the videos along with audio versions and lesson notes / transcripts in the Coffee Break Academy.

Coffee Break German To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break German. For access to the free podcasts, click here.

What’s the difference between Mieux and Meilleur? – Walk Talk and Learn French Episode 006

Do you get confused between meilleur and mieux? Are you unclear about the difference between these two words? Do you struggle to know how to translate “better” and “best” into French? In this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn French, Mark spots an advert on a bus shelter in Paris which provides an example of le meilleur, and he goes on to explain that meilleur is an adjective, the comparative form of bon, while mieux is an adverb, the comparitive form of bien.

Make sure you subscribe to Coffee Break Languages on YouTube to be notified when we post new videos!

Meet Liz, Coffee Break Spanish learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us.

I am Liz from Taiwan and live in Germany. I have been learning Spanish with Coffee Break Spanish for 3 months.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I was born in Taiwan and my native languages ​​are Mandarin/Chinese, Taiwanese and Hakka. So far, I have learned English, Japanese, German and Spanish.

English: From 7th grade at school in Taiwan, I started learning English. Later, due to many stays in the USA and travelling around the world, I have improved my English.

Japanese: Japanese was one of my major subjects. As a student, I translated many Japanese comics into Chinese for a publisher to make quick money. Since college, I have not used Japanese at all and I can hardly do it now.

German: After trying to learn French, I learned German as a substitute for one semester. Two years later I continued learning German for love. My husband is German. Due to work, we travelled around the world for the first ten years of our marriage. This meant that I could only learn German through self-study. I got certificates for different language levels through exams at language schools, including the Goethe Institute in Germany.

Spanish:  I spent a few months in Peru, so I started learning Spanish there. Unfortunately I was only able to reach level A1, then I became a selfless mother. Several years ago I continued learning Spanish and so far I feel like I’m in love with Spanish.

I’ve been listening to Coffee Break Spanish (CBS) Season 1 & 2 during my morning gymnastics instead of music, and surprisingly, I’ve refreshed my Spanish knowledge.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

Through the lessons from CBS Season 1 & 2, my Spanish has improved, especially my listening comprehension. Now, I can understand more during the my weekly Spanish encounters in our little German town. I am also able to answer questions in Spanish more quickly. Once a Peruvian woman told us a joke that nobody understood except me, even though I was/am the least advanced learner in the whole group. After I translated the joke correctly, I was praised with a the burst of applause.

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?

I want to speak Spanish more fluently with friends, neighbours and my classmates at the Flamenco School when I travel to Seville again this year.

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you?

My language-learning tip is to use the language as much as possible, so that you can get used to it.

Quick Fire Round

• Your favourite language: Spanish
• Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Mariposa, ¡Olé!
• Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? TV series: La Casa de Papel
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: Andalucía, Spain

Please finish off with a message to your fellow members of the Coffee Break community and the Coffee Break Team.

Hello everyone,
I am glad to be here with you. I’m convinced that Coffee Break can help me learn Spanish effectively and successfully.
Best regards to all of you,
Liz

TFT: La Puerta de Alcalá

¡Hola amigos! This Tuesday we’re bringing you a classic Spanish “Tune” by Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel. La Puerta de Alcalá was a huge success when it was released in 1985 and it remains an important song for many Madrileños because of its link with Madrid’s monument of the same name. Its lyrics also give us a good example of ser vs. estar. Listen out for the refrain “Ahí está, la Puerta de Alcalá” (“There it is, La Puerta de Alcalá”).

If you’d like to hear the lyrics sung more slowly, we recommend watching the YouTube video below and selecting a slower playback speed by clicking on the settings symbol. And you can find the lyrics to La Puerta de Alcalá by clicking here.

What other songs in Spanish do you know? Share some of your favourites in the comments below! We’d be delighted to add some of them to our Spotify and YouTube playlists, which you can find by scrolling down the page.

A Summer Coffee Break Catch-up… from the pool!

Join Coffee Break Languages Founder and CEO Mark for a summer catch-up on all things coffee break … from the pool! In this short video Mark will update you on the latest podcast episodes, videos and blog posts from Coffee Break Languages.

In this edition:

  • updates on the latest podcast episodes available in the Coffee Break French and Italian Magazines;
  • news of forthcoming Coffee Break German and Spanish Magazines;
  • updates on new video content including Walk Talk and Learn French and the Coffee Break To Go series;
  • continuing series on our blog including CoffeeBreaker stories and our Tune for Tuesday.

If you’d like to access all the links for this episode and practise your reading skills in the language you’re learning, click here to sign up for our weekly language and culture newsletter.

Meet Freya, Coffee Break German learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us.

My name is Freya, I am British and I live in the East of England. I have been learning with Coffee Break for two months.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?

German

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

My earliest memory of having an interest in languages was my first day of Year 6 (eleven years old), being handed my timetable with ‘French’ scheduled on it. I was ridiculously excited, and genuinely puzzled as to why my peers weren’t sharing my enthusiasm. As a child, I used to go on holiday to France with my parents and they would always encourage me to say ‘bonjour’ and ‘merci’ to the locals. I used to love it when they responded to me in French, because it felt like a secret code. I continued to study French throughout my school years, albeit still not really being able to speak it. This changed when I enrolled myself in a language school in Montpellier for three months. I lived with a host family (who I ADORED), sat the DELF B2 (and passed!), and finally learnt how to communicate freely in French. Since then, I have kept the French up, spending a year working at a science research facility in France, watching the news every day in French, and discovering new French music to sing to in the car. Learning French opened my eyes to an international community of people I can relate to, and inspired me to learn more languages. This is one of the reasons I am now learning German.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

My best friend is German – we were thrown together as flatmates when we were working in France. In March 2019, I finally went to visit her and her family in Cologne, Germany. My friend has the most amazing English, and I never needed to speak to her in German, but I really wanted to impress her in Germany with a bit of dabbling in her mother tongue. I was lucky enough to discover Coffee Break German, and I started from the beginning as I pottered about in the lab at work. Over two months, I made my way through series one and half of series two, by which point it was time for my trip. I ordered things correctly in German (using the accusative!), I went to see a German play at the theatre in Düsseldorf (I understood one of the jokes – a win!), and I attended family dinners conducted entirely in German. I relied a lot on my friend, constantly asking her ’wie sagt man… auf Deutsch?’, but I also tried to get my point across by myself. The best part was having her family compliment me on my German, and being welcomed into a different culture.

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?

I’m obsessed with the French band ‘L.E.J’ to the point where I almost cried seeing them live. I’d love to have coffee with this group on a Spring afternoon in Paris, probably somewhere outdoors with a view of the Arc de Triomphe.

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you?

Mix up your routine, and practise little and often. There are so many (free!) resources online, and variety keeps it interesting! Watch TV in your target language, listen to the radio, talk out loud to yourself in the car, find some new tunes, and find people to study with. Even if they’re not studying a language, having a productive environment will motivate you. Basically, make it fun.

Quick Fire Round

• Your favourite language: French
Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Insupportable (it’s so satisfying to say)
• Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? L.E.J (short for Lucie, Élisa, Juliette) is my favourite French band. I saw them in Lille last year, and listen to them constantly!
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: My old hometown of Grenoble, in the lab with my French colleagues

Please finish off with a message to your fellow members of the Coffee Break community and the Coffee Break Team.

Coffee Break is a precious gem of a language resource. It succeeds at being enjoyable to listen to, thorough, and rewarding. It’s also incredibly moreish and I can listen and relisten to episodes without getting fed up. To the Coffee Break Team, I’d love to thank you for your efforts and time, and to the Coffee Break Community, I’d like to personally recommend CB German!

The Wonderful World of Emoji

You’ll be familiar with Coffee Break French, Coffee Break Spanish and indeed our other Coffee Break German, Italian and Chinese editions, but what about Coffee Break Emoji? With millions of “fluent” users around the world, Emoji is here to stay, and what better day to write about this interesting language of pictures than on 17th July, World Emoji Day?

Before we get started, let’s clarify one thing: Emoji is the word used for the “language”, and it is made up of individual images, or “emojis”, so we’ll be using both Emoji and emojis throughout this article. 👍🏻 Read on for more information about the origins of Emoji.

Origins

Interestingly, the word emoji is made from a combination of two Japanese words; e (絵) meaning “picture”, and moji (文字) meaning “character”. Created by Japanese interface designer Shigetaka Kurita in 1999, the 176 original emoji designs were only the beginning of what was to become a worldwide phenomenon in a matter of a few years.

In the beginning the Emoji keyboard was only released in Japan on iPhones, but the success of these small pictorial symbols representing words, emotions and much more led to the release of the Emoji keyboards to the rest of the world. At the time of writing there are over 3000 emojis, and no doubt this figure will continue to grow. The use of Emoji has truly dominated the online world of communication, whether simply to enhance a sentence, or convey emotions which can’t be expressed easily in words, or even write full sentences using nothing but emojis!

Lending even more kudos to the “language”, the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji (you know the one… 😂) was named “Word of the Year” by the Oxford English Dictionary, and in 2017 Emoji hit the big screen with the release of The Emoji Movie.

How popular is Emoji?

Whether you’re a regular user of emojis, or you tend to be more of a recipient of image-laden messages, you’ll be 🌬 (blown away) by some of the staggering statistics mentioned on the official World Emoji Day website.

  • Did you know that over 900 million emojis are sent every day without text on Facebook Messenger?
  • Every day more than 700 million emojis are used in Facebook posts.
  • Already by mid-2015 half of all Instagram comments included an emoji.

Pretty 🤯 (mind-blowing), no?

Japanese origins

Of course, any language carries with it a huge amount of cultural significance, and Emoji ticks this box too. Given its Japanese origins, we can even learn something about Japanese culture through some particularly interesting emojis. Here are some examples, as explained by the Emojipedia, the self-professed “Home of Emoji Meanings”.

  • 🔰 – This emoji is a Shoshinsha Mark and it is the symbol used in Japan by learner drivers. It’s almost the equivalent of the “L Plate” that we use here in the UK, but in Japan, drivers must continue to display their Shoshinsha Marks for a year after passing their test.
  • ㊗️ – This emoji features the Japanese character 祝 which is linked to the word meaning “celebrate” or “congratulate” and is therefore used to mean “congratulations”.
  • 🏣 – This emoji represents a Japanese Post Office. If you’re familiar with the Japanese Katakana syllabary, then you’ll recognise the character テ which is pronounced as te from the word teishin (逓信 “communications”).
  • 💮 – Again, if you look closely into this cherry blossom emoji, you should see some Japanese text. Traditional Japanese texts were written vertically from right to left, so the words in this emoji are 大変よくできました (taihen yoku dekimashita) which means something along the lines of “very well done” or “you did very well”. According to Emojipedia, teachers in Japan use this as a stamp on high quality work and this is definitely one of our favourites!

And if you’re feeling hungry then there is plenty of inspiration in the Food and Drink section of Emoji with a distinct Japanese flavour:

  • 🍱 Bento Box – A traditional Japanese lunch box with different compartments.
  • 🍥 (Slice of) Narutomaki – A Japanese fishcake.
  • 🍡 Dango – A Japanese dumpling.
  • 🍢 Oden – A skewer of Japanese Oden, which includes ingredients such as boiled eggs and fishcakes.
  • 🍣 Sushi – Japanese Sushi, rice with two pieces of raw fish on top.
  • 🍘 Rice Cracker – Senbei (rice cracker) with a sheet of Nori (seaweed).

A global “language”

Given that Emoji is becoming an international “language” used by an ever-increasing number of people, it’s not surprising that the most popular emojis vary from country to country. While the simple smile 😀 tops the list almost everywhere, an interesting survey looked at the second-favourite emojis of survey participaints in various countries around the world. It seems that the UK, the USA, Jamaica and Trinidad all share 😂 as their second-favourite emoji; Canada and New Zealand very much enjoy a classic ❤️; South Africa prefers 😘; Ireland’s favourite is apparently 💩; and it’s a win for 😜 in Australia. This survey dates from 2017, so let us know in the comments where you’re from and if you have a favourite emoji at the moment.

Does all this sound familiar?

As we’ve seen, Emoji is, in its own way, a form of language. But does the idea of communicating through pictures and symbols remind you of anything? It could be said that this is nothing new: the Hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians conveyed meaning through images as far back as 3200BCE and they’re often compared to the use of emojis in present-day communications.

However, although aspects of the two are similar, the fact remains that hieroglyphs are much more complex than simple pictures and they could be combined to create other words. As effective as emojis are at helping us show whether we are 😄 or 😞, have a 🐱 or a 🐶, or are in a ✈️ or a 🚗, they can’t really convey grammatical constructions or complex information. Nevertheless, they are great fun, and a fantastic addition to the languages we speak!

We hope that you’ve learned something new from this article, and are now an Emoji expert. Leave a comment below if you have a favourite emoji, or let us know if you’re celebrating World Emoji Day! 👋

TFT: La cura

Ciao, come state? This week’s Tune for Tuesday is one of Coffee Break Italian Francesca’s favourite songs! La cura was a collaboration between Sicilian philosopher Manlio Sgalambro, who wrote the lyrics, and Sicilian musician, filmmaker and painter, Franco Battiato. Battiato’s experimental musical style – a fusion of various genres – and his collaboration with Sgalambro on numerous albums made him one of Italy’s most popular artists from the 1970s up until today. In 1984, he represented Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, performing with Italian singer, Alice.

We hope you like listening to La cura, and take the time to switch off and enjoy the poetry and the music. If you’re not an Italian learner, we recommend looking up a translation of the lyrics online so that you can fully appreciate the beauty of the words. And for Coffee Break Italian learners, this song contains plenty of examples of the future tense. Let us know in the comments which ones you could pick out!

To hear the lyrics sung more slowly, we recommend watching the YouTube video below and selecting a slower playback speed by clicking on the settings symbol. If you’d like to read the lyrics while you’re listening to La cura, you can find them by clicking here.

Welche Sprachen sprichst du? Talking about languages – Coffee Break German To Go Episode 8

To ask “which languages do you speak?” in German you can say welche Sprachen sprichst du?, or in a more formal situation, welche Sprachen sprechen Sie? In this episode of Coffee Break German To Go, Julia asks this questions to interviewees in the streets of Berlin. You can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn to answer this question yourself.

In the first part of the video, watch the interviews without subtitles and try to understand. In the second part of the video, we’ve provided subtitles in German at the top of the screen. You can choose to turn on subtitles in English using the Subtitles/CC button.

In our first series, Julia is in the city of Berlin, and in each episode she’ll ask passers-by one question. Of course, that one question will result in many answers, and it’s through these answers that you can practise your German and build your vocabulary.

If you’d prefer not to wait for all 10 lessons of Season 1 to be published, you can access downloadable versions of the videos along with audio versions and lesson notes / transcripts in the Coffee Break Academy.

Coffee Break German To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break German. For access to the free podcasts, click here.

Meet Gail, Coffee Break French and German learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us.

I am Gail, originally from Glasgow in Scotland but living in Switzerland for the last 7 years. I have been learning with CB courses for about 6 years.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?

French and German

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I did 4 years of German at school but never really got into it. When I moved to Italy to teach in an international school, I did Italian evening classes and learned just by listening and being forced to use it as English is not so common in Italy. I then moved to Switzerland for a new job where I stared to learn French. That is when I started using Coffee Break French. I took a 3 month intensive course there as well and topped up and practised with CBF. I then moved to the German speaking part of Switzerland again for a new job but continued French as I arrogantly thought I’d be fine with my German from school. A year in and with many local friends, I started learning German, not out of necessity as everyone speaks English but because I felt I should. So I started Coffee Break German. I have also taken evening classes and summer courses. It’s challenging as Swiss German is very different to High German. I understand somewhat but definitely feel better about my skills when I go to Germany.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

The coolest thing is knowing some vocabulary that perhaps you would not pick up in a normal class and using it to people’s surprise. The lessons where Mark looks at interesting language points in the dialogue is really useful for expanding that vocabulary.

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?

Having a conversation in French with a former French colleague who I used to only be able to speak to in English. I think they would be impressed!

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you?

To listen to lessons rather than read from a book, or do both. It’s important for pronunciation and I remember it better. Also, you need to use the language – once you use a word you will remember it.

Quick Fire Round

• Your favourite language: French
• Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Donc
• Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? Singer, M. Pokora
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: French part of Switzerland

Please finish off with a message to your fellow members of the Coffee Break community and the Coffee Break Team.

Coffee Break courses bring language learning to life!

Learn a language through laughter

Every July in the province of Quebec, Canada, the largest international comedy festival in the world, ‘Juste Pour Rire’, fills the vibrant city of Montreal with laughter. Juste Pour Rire, or ‘Just for laughs’, began as a two-day French-speaking comedy event in 1983 and is now a huge platform for both francophone and other comedians from all over the world.

As language learners, we can gain a lot from watching comedy in the language we’re learning. Humour is a huge part of everyday life all over the world, and being able to understand and make jokes in another language requires a good understanding of both the language and the culture. Stand-up comedy also often includes slang and plays on words, making it a real test for your language skills! This is why, for many people, the first time you understand a joke in another language can feel like a real landmark in your learning.

The Juste Pour Rire festival gets underway today in Montreal and continues for two weeks. To join in the comedy, we thought we’d share some jokes with you in the languages you’re learning.

A Spanish chiste

We’ll begin with un chiste in Spanish:

¿Qué hace el tiburón perezoso que tiene que atrapar la cena?

Translation: “What does the lazy shark do when he has to catch his dinner?”

La respuesta es…
(The answer is…)

¡Nada!

Remember that nada has a double meaning, un doble significado.

nada can be translated as:

1. ‘nothing’
2. ‘he/she/it swims’ (from the verb nadar)

A French blague

Next, we have une blague in French:

Pourquoi le hibou est-il l’animal le plus heureux ?

Translation: “Why is the owl the happiest animal?”

La réponse, c’est…
(The answer is…)

Car sa femme est chouette !

Translation: “Because his wife is chouette!”

Une chouette is another word for ‘owl’, but the adjective chouette translates as ‘great’.

An Italian barzelletta

Now, are you ready for an Italian barzelletta?

Che cosa deve avere un musicista disorientato?

Translation: “What does a confused musician need?”

La risposta è…
(The answer is…)

Un piano!

Un piano also has more than one meaning:

1. ‘a plan’
2. The musical instrument

A German Witz

And unfortunately we decided not to include a German Witz …

… because German jokes are the Wurst!

(Wurst (f) = ‘sausage’)

We hope you’ve enjoyed these chistes, blagues, barzellette, Witze and can see how jokes can really test your knowledge of a language, and are therefore a great way to practise!

Fancy a challenge? Why not try making up a joke in the language you’re learning? If you do, make us laugh by posting it in the comments section below!

TFT: Le blues du businessman

Salut ! This week’s Tune for Tuesday comes from Céline Dion, from French-speaking Quebec in Canada. Although well-known for her hits in English, she mainly sings in French. Her cover of Le blues du businessman, originally performed by Claude Dubois in 1978, was a major hit throughout French-speaking Canada and France, and still is today. Have a listen to it throughout the week – you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll begin to understand more of the lyrics! While you’re listening, see if you can spot the repeated use of the conditional perfect tense – “J’aurais voulu” – meaning “I would have wanted”!

Even if French isn’t your language, we hope you enjoy this song and listen to some of the others in a range of languages in our Spotify and YouTube playlists below.

If you’d like to hear Le blues du businessman sung more slowly, we recommend watching the YouTube video below and selecting a slower playback speed by clicking on the settings symbol. We cannot publish the lyrics due to copyright reasons, but you can find them by following this link. Try reading them while you listen to the song, to help you recognise the words you’re hearing.

CBF Mag 1.05 | Destination Québec

In this episode of the Coffee Break French Magazine, we’re heading to the French-speaking area of Quebec in Canada and finding out more about how the French spoken there is different from the French spoken in France. We also look at the very useful expression il s’agit de, and learn about how to use this expressions.

In each episode of this 10-lesson season for intermediate learners, you can build your vocabulary, increase your understanding of grammar and learn to use the French language in a more natural way. This series is aimed at learners who have completed at least Season 1 and Season 2 of Coffee Break French.

¿Cuál es tu deporte preferido? – Talking about sport in Spanish – Coffee Break Spanish To Go Episode 10

In this episode of Coffee Break Spanish To Go, we’re talking about los deportes, sports. Marina asks the question ¿Cuál es tu deporte preferido?, “what is your favourite sport”, and you can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn to introduce yourself in Spanish.

In the first part of the video, watch the interviews without subtitles and try to understand. In the second part of the video, we’ve provided subtitles in Spanish at the top of the screen. You can choose to turn on subtitles in English using the Subtitles/CC button.

In this first series of Coffee Break Spanish To Go, Marina is in the city of Málaga, in the south of Spain, and in each episode she’ll ask passers-by one question. Of course, that one question will result in many answers, and it’s through these answers that you can practise your Spanish and build your vocabulary.

Coffee Break Spanish To Go will be published every two weeks here on YouTube, and each Season will be filmed in a different part of the Spanish-speaking world.

If you’d prefer not to wait for all 10 lessons of Season 1 to be published, you can access downloadable versions of the videos along with audio versions and lesson notes / transcripts in the Coffee Break Academy.

Coffee Break Spanish To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break Spanish. For access to the free podcasts, please click here.

How to use the Past Historic in French – Walk Talk and Learn French Episode 5

The Past Historic (in French passé simple) is a special tense used mostly in written French to relate narrative events in the past. In this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn, Mark spots an example of the Past Historic on a film poster, and he explains the full conjugation of the Past Historic of regular verbs, and of the common verb être.

Make sure you subscribe to Coffee Break Languages on YouTube to be notified when we post new videos!

Meet Liane, Coffee Break Spanish learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us.

I’m Liane from Australia . I’ve been following Coffee Break Spanish for about 3 years.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?

Spanish

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

At the moment I am walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I am enjoying trying to communicate with the wonderful Spanish people and during the walk I’m listening to Coffee Break Spanish podcasts!!

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

It is really wonderful when I can understand people and then get my message across. The best situations are where they don’t speak any English at all and we have to fumble through with my very bad Spanish, but it is fun and they are very grateful for my efforts! In the Camino we stay we have to organise our bags and getting food etc. great opportunities to speak Spanish!!

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?

Speaking with hairdressers, staff in restaurants and accommodation places.

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you?

Don’t listen to slow Spanish, listen at the normal speed because that’s how people talk! Also, don’t try to understand every word, just get the general idea. And finally and most importantly, don’t be afraid to talk!! Just talk! You will make mistakes but it’s okay!!! I love listening to and reading stories at my level.

Quick Fire Round

Your favourite language: Spanish
• Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Zanahoria
• Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? Short stories for beginners in Spanish
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: Spain

Please finish off with a message to your fellow members of the Coffee Break community and the Coffee Break Team.

Never give up! Learning a new language can take a lifetime and that’s okay. Enjoy the journey!

TFT: 99 Luftballons

Hallo alle zusammen! This week’s Tune for Tuesday comes from German band Nena, who were together between 1981 and 1987. The band is very important to German musical culture, as it was part of the forming of the German New Wave scene (Neue Deutsche Welle). In 1984 their song 99 Luftballons was a huge international success, becoming one of the most popular foreign-language tracks in the history of the US charts.

If you’re a Coffee Break German learner, it’s a good song to listen to, as the vocabulary isn’t too tricky and the lead singer sings fairly clearly. It’s also good practice for your numbers! How many times can you hear her sing “neunundneunzig” (“ninety-nine”)? Let us know in the comments if you think you know! If you’d like to hear the lyrics sung more slowly, we recommend watching the YouTube video below and selecting a slower playback speed by clicking on the settings symbol.

Whichever language you’re learning, we hope you enjoy this song and check out the others in our multilingual Spotify and YouTube playlist below.

For copyright reasons, we cannot publish the lyrics to 99 Luftballons, but you can find them online here.

Coffee Break Language Podcasts Now Downloaded Over 3 Million Times Monthly

For Immediate Release
Glasgow, UK – 2 July 2019

Three Million Free Language Lessons Delivered Monthly by Glasgow-based Podcast Company

Radio Lingua Ltd announced today that the total number of monthly downloads of the Coffee Break French, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese podcasts has now surpassed three million. Language learners around the world are improving their language skills through these 20-minute, “coffee break”-length podcasts. In each episode, listeners learn the language in a fun and entertaining way, with the help of the experienced teachers and native speakers who host the podcasts.

Hosted by Acast, the hugely popular Coffee Break podcasts have been downloaded over 250 million times since launching in 2006. They are listened to in 196 countries, with 41% of listeners in the United States and 12% in the UK. The total number of downloads over the 30-day period 28 May 2019 until 26 June 2019 was 3,056,588. Every minute of the past 30 days, over 70 learners have started learning a language with an episode of Coffee Break.

The Coffee Break language podcasts have consistently been rated top education podcasts on Apple Podcasts and are among the most popular education podcasts on Spotify. Coffee Break Spanish has won a European Award for Languages and the European Podcast Award, and Coffee Break Italian was voted Smartest Podcast in the 2017 British Podcast Awards.

The team at Radio Lingua believe that language-learning can be done by anyone, any time and anywhere. Founder and CEO of Radio Lingua, Mark Pentleton, said: “it’s no longer a case of having to go out to a conversation class on a cold Tuesday evening in November: you can learn a language where and when it suits you.” Each episode of the podcast aims to feel like a coffee break with a friend, where the friend happens to speak the language and can help you learn.

According to Mark, “podcasting is the perfect medium for language-learning: you can listen as many times as you want, and pause the recording to build your comprehension. By using podcasts as a starting point, you can take advantage of your downtime and do something useful while you’re driving to work, walking the dog or at the gym.” In addition to the podcasts, Radio Lingua also offers a range of online courses and regularly publishes learning materials on social media. A weekly live video show on YouTube, the Coffee Break Catch-up, helps to keep the Coffee Break community up to date with the latest lessons and episodes.

Sophie Herdman, UK content director for Acast, said: “Having the Coffee Break podcasts as part of the Acast family is something we’re really proud of. As anyone who has heard the shows knows, they educate and inform in a really fun way, as well as helping listeners to develop an understanding of other cultures. We’ve been so pleased to see the shows’ fantastic growth over the last few years and we look forward to seeing them continue to inspire language learners around the world.”

Coffee Break Spanish was a ground-breaking podcast, the first of its kind on iTunes when it launched in October 2006. Since then, the team has gone on to produce podcasts in French, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese. In total, over 600 episodes have been released across the languages. Further languages are planned for future release.

Coffee Break podcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Acast or any other podcast app. New episodes are uploaded regularly and lesson notes and additional materials are available at radiolingua.com.

About Radio Lingua

Radio Lingua Ltd (https://radiolingua.com) has been delivering languages education since 2006. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Radio Lingua produces Coffee Break courses in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese, and other short courses in over 30 languages. Working in conjunction with experienced teachers and native speakers, the small core team of 10 employees are dedicated to helping language learners around the world develop a passion for language learning.

 

Download the full Press Release:
190701-PressRelease-RadioLingua-3MillionMonthly