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Meet the team: Olivera

Hallo! My name is Olivera and I’m a Content Production Assistant in Radio Lingua’s Coffee Break German team. That means my job is to help find the best possible topics for our German courses and turn them into the content our lessons are made of.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

Those of you who have listened to our CBG Magazine may already know me a bit – I’m the one who reads the texts and talks about the Sahnehäubchen at the end of each episode with Mark. Apart from writing the texts for the Magazine, I also helped write and record the texts for our CBG Reading Club. I help proof read all sorts of German texts we write – even if it’s just an Instagram post, we always have a native speaker making sure it’s all correct. Together with Robert, I also work on the CBG Facebook page, writing the posts and replying to our community’s questions and comments.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I’m a very European mix – my dad (and my name) is Serbian, my mum (and my passport) is Hungarian. I was born and grew up in Germany, and I went to university in Glasgow, Scotland for four years. As you can tell, I was really lucky to grow up around so many languages and I’ve tried to make the best of it by adding even more; I picked up French and Italian at school, and Russian at uni. I love learning, using, and teaching different languages, so working for Radio Lingua for the past 2 and a half years has been truly wonderful!

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

Recording the CBG and CBI radio plays for CBG Season 2 – I had never done anything like that before but it was just so much fun! And the other thing is how supportive the work environment is at Radio Lingua. It meant so much, especially being at university so far away from home. Mark, Catriona, and the others always made me look forward to work, no matter how homesick I was or how stressed I was with university.

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

Any stranger at an airport, between flights. I love travelling, and I find the time between switching flights (unless I’m in a hurry) just really relaxing. There’s nowhere else you have to be and not much else you have to do. It’s like being forced to kill time, in an international place full of international people. And suddenly, you get to sit next to people you would never usually meet or talk to.

What’s your best language learning tip?

Make use of songs, films, books and pop culture! Read children’s books at first, where the language isn’t too challenging, then later on as you progress you might want to read your favourite novel in that language, and so on. The same goes for watching a show or movies in the language you’re learning – at first, you’ll need English subtitles but as you learn more and more, you’ll depend on them a little less, and at a certain point you’ll even be able to switch to subtitles in the given language. Or if you’re not a total beginner, you could switch your phone to that language and you’ll eventually pick up new words simply by seeing them every day. These are small things, but they combine language learning with leisure, and you don’t even notice how you gradually pick up more and more words and phrases. It’s one thing to read in a language, but so much more difficult to actually get speaking – tandem with a stranger because you don’t know them, there are no expectations, and a lot less pressure. It’s really relieving to know you’re both in the same boat. You literally listen to someone else making the same mistakes you make, just in different languages. Personally, I find it a lot more helpful not to do it with a friend or family member just because your language learning process may be different from how they already know you – a stranger has no expectations and no other knowledge about you and can simply just focus on your language skills.

Quick-fire round

• Favourite language: By the way they sound, Turkic languages, but from the ones I understand, I think it would be Hungarian – it’s very rich and full of tiny little nuances that allows for endless puns.
Favourite word/phrase: возвращаться It’s the Russian word for ‘to return’. I just love how it feels when you pronounce it.
• Favourite film: Love Actually. I’ve seen it 36 times. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, and I don’t have to be in any specific state of mind, I can just sit down and watch it any time and enjoy it.
• Favourite TV show: How I Met Your Mother
• Favourite destination: Iceland
• Favourite Bands: The Midnight, Deftones

Do you have a message for the Coffee Break community?

The ever-growing community of Coffee Breakers is the reason why we’re able to keep delivering new and exciting content, so a massive Dankeschön (Thank You) to both new members who are just discovering Coffee Break Languages, and those who have stuck around for years!

Pre-estreno de Coffee Break English

¿Quieres aprender inglés, pero no sabes por dónde comenzar? ¿No tienes mucho tiempo para aprender inglés? ¡Ahora puedes aprender inglés con Coffee Break English! Con nuestros podcasts y cursos en línea, ¡Estarás hablando inglés en un dos por tres! Acompaña a nuestro maestro Mark y a la estudiante María y aprende inglés con nuestras lecciones de 15 minutos. ¡Perfectas para tu Coffee Break!

CBS Mag 3.06 | Verde que te quiero verde

Fernanda, Anabel and Mark are back for another episode of the Magazine and this time they’re talking about the famous Spanish writer Federico García Lorca. Listener Eric has a question about demonyms and Anabel shares an interesting expression.

Meet Tony, Coffee Break French learner

Keen cyclists, Tony and his wife, live on the west coast of Canada and over recent years have cycled a great deal in Canada, the UK and Ireland. They started learning French after planning a 3-week cycling trip to Normandy and have been listening to Coffee Break French on a regular basis ever since their French tutor introduced them to the podcasts. Tony tells us all about his language-learning journey with Coffee Break so far.

One of the first things Tony tells us is how much he and his wife have been enjoying developing their language skills with Coffee Break French: “They (the lessons) have been absolutely fantastic. I would listen to them while running and was able to get through four seasons … subsequently, we purchased Season 3, and plan to buy Season 4.

Tony often listens to the lessons while running: “Mark became a virtual running buddy – though he never got tired or out of breath!” One of the main things Tony loves about Coffee Break French is the style of the lessons: “Mark is such a great teacher. Clearly he loves what he does, and this really comes across. He has a friendly, approachable style, and can put himself in the shoes of the learner, so he explains everything so well.” Tony also appreciates the fact that the lessons progress at a steady pace, enabling language skills to develop naturally: “The gentle progression from absolute basics through to some quite complicated material seems almost effortless. The methodology is excellent too, with different approaches being chosen for the different levels.”

Both Tony and his wife enjoyed the lessons so much that they decided to sign up for the premium version: “My wife and I found that the Coffee Break French series were an excellent complement to the lessons with the tutor. And really, the emphasis switched so that the tutor supported the CBF courses, rather than the other way around.”

Having returned from their trip to Normandy, Tony was pleased to inform us that their ability to speak and understand French made all the difference. Despite the fact that many people spoke English, there were instances where some knowledge of French came in useful. “There were lots of times when we had to depend on French. We found everyone, without exception, to be friendly and very patient with us.”

Reflecting on their trip, Tony now realises that he had always been wary of going to France due to the fact that he couldn’t speak the language. Thankfully, now, thanks to the confidence he has gained through language learning, he has been able to discover a beautiful part of France. Even though they made mistakes, they still managed to get their point across and even have a few laughs along the way! “In hindsight, I realise that I had had a fear of going to France in the past because I didn’t know the language. That fear disappeared pretty much as soon as we arrived, and we came to enjoy talking to people. Even though we were slow and made many mistakes, we could still have full conversations. And we had many laughs too, especially with people who spoke little or no English.”

Tony leaves us with some final thoughts on his experience with Coffee Break French so far:

“CBF transformed a subject I feared into something that’s fun, rewarding and useful. We’re really keen to continue learning.  In particular, I want to recognise Mark’s graciousness in providing so much material without charge. I realise, of course, that he hopes people will be led to purchase the premium courses, but even so, he’s done a selfless public service by producing so many free podcasts.”

CBSw 1.03 | Var kommer du ifrån? – Where do you come from?

In this episode of Coffee Break Swedish you’ll be learning how to talk about where you’re from. We’ll cover countries and nationalities, and you’ll be able to answer the question var kommer du ifrån? We’ll also hear from our Cultural Correspondent Emma who’ll tell us more about the Swedish language and where it’s spoken.

Introducing La Vérité éclate toujours – Coffee Break French Advanced

We’re getting to ready to launch our new advanced course for French learners. It’s called La Vérité éclate toujours and it’s an audio drama which we think you’re going to love. However, this podcast will not be available on the normal Coffee Break French feed. Instead you need to subscribe to a new feed specifically for this new show. If you’re using Apple Podcasts, click here. Alternatively, just search for “Coffee Break French” on your favourite podcast app and you’ll find the new feed for La Vérité éclate toujours there.

Meet the team: Monica

Hello! My name’s Monica and I’m Radio Lingua’s Content Production Assistant. I first started working with Radio Lingua when I was younger on a project called High Five French and, in the past two years, I’ve started working on producing content for a variety of new courses and projects.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

As a Content Production Assistant, my job is very varied and always interesting! Some tasks my job involves include: researching for and writing blog articles, creating graphics to either go with blog articles or be posted on social media, working through the editing process of making video courses, and even travelling to places such as France and Italy to help film footage for new courses.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

A lot of my experience learning languages has come from Radio Lingua! As I briefly mentioned before, I was part of the High Five French course about 7 years ago now. This really inspired me to keep learning French throughout school and gave me a greater appreciation for language learning in general. My more recent work has involved editing videos which are in other languages such as Italian, German, and Chinese – through this I’ve been able to pick up some words here and there! I am now at university and have taken Spanish as one of my classes as I’d really like to continue learning languages.

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

I have lots of amazing memories with Coffee Break, but if I had to pick favourites they would probably be filming High Five French and CBF To Go in France, and filming CBI To Go in Italy – it’s always such a great experience getting to travel for work!

Monica working with Francesca while filming in Milan

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

Ooh that’s a difficult one, but I think my ideal coffee break would probably be on a sunny day in the beautiful Tuileries Garden in Paris!

Quick-fire round

• Favourite language: French
• Favourite word/phrase in French: “Bonjour et bienvenue à High Five French” 😉
• Favourite French film:  Les Intouchables
• Favourite destination: Ireland or Paris

“Le temps libre” – Talking about free time in French – Coffee Break French To Go Episode 10

What do you like doing in your free time? In this episode of Coffee Break French To Go, Pierre-Benoît asks the question, qu’est-ce que tu fais pendant ton temps libre ? (informal) or qu’est-ce que vous faites pendant votre temps libre ? (formal). You can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn how to talk about what you do in your free time in French.

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 French 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 French To Go, Pierre-Benoît is in the town of Pornic, in the west of France, 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 French and build your vocabulary.

Coffee Break French To Go will be published every two weeks here on YouTube, and each Season will be filmed in a different part of the French-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 French To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break French. For access to the free podcasts, please click here.

To purchase our full online courses on the Coffee Break Academy, click here.

Cosa fai nel tempo libero? – “What do you do in your free time? – Coffee Break Italian Episode 10

What do you like doing in your free time? In this episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go, Francesca asks the question, cosa fai nel tempo libero? (informal) or cosa fa nel tempo libero? (formal). You can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn how to talk about what you do in your free time in Italian.

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 Italian 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 Italian To Go, Francesca is in the town of Milan, in the north of Italy, 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 Italian and build your vocabulary.

Coffee Break Italian To Go will be published every two weeks here on YouTube, and each Season will be filmed in a different part of the Italian-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 Italian To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break Italian. For access to the free podcasts, please click here.

To purchase our full online courses on the Coffee Break Academy, click here.

Coffee Break Travels: in Piemonte with Francesca

In this Coffee Break Italian special, join Francesca and Mark as they travel to Francesca’s village of Pettinengo in the Piemonte hills. The video features segments in Italian and English, and we’ve provided subtitles in both Italian and English for you. You’ll meet Francesca’s family – and her dog – and get to know the village where she grew up, and the town of Biella where she attended secondary school. We hope you enjoy watching the video!

The Coffee Break Italian podcasts can be found here.

 

The Coffee Break Catch-Up – February 2020

Join Coffee Break founder and CEO Mark Pentleton for this month’s Coffee Break Catch-Up in which we update you on all things Coffee Break, from our latest podcast episodes and videos to what’s been happening on our social profiles. Coming up in this edition:

  • the latest episodes of our Coffee Break German and Spanish Magazines;
  • the first lessons of our Coffee Break Swedish course;
  • announcements about our forthcoming Coffee Break English for Spanish speakers and La Vérité Éclate Toujours, our advanced French course;
  • a sneak preview of our latest Italian video in which we join Francesca in her village in Piemonte;
  • cultural updates from around the world.

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 John, 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 John from Portland Oregon, USA. I’ve been studying with Coffee Break Spanish for approximately 10 years.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages? 

Holiday trips with family to Mexico, dental clinics in Guatemala, and trips to Buenos Aires.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

Success in logistics – getting through the airport; arranging transportation; checking in at hotels – and getting warm, reciprocal greetings from locals who appreciated my efforts at using Spanish.

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

Making arrangements with locals to help fund dental work in Guatemala.

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

Use a variety of methods – CBS, reading books in Spanish, talking one-on-one.

Quick-fire Round

• Your favourite language: French
• Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Mais oui !
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: Buenos Aires

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

Coffee Break Spanish is fun – use and enjoy it. Few language learning opportunities are fun.

Quel est ton sport préféré ? / Quel est votre sport préféré ? – Coffee Break French To Go Episode 9

To ask “what is your favourite sport?” in French you can say quel est ton sport préféré ?, or in a more formal situation, quel est votre sport préféré ? In this episode of Coffee Break German To Go, Pierre-Benoît asks this questions to interviewees in the streets of his hometown, Pornic. 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 French 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 French To Go, Pierre-Benoît is in the town of Pornic, in the west of France, 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 French and build your vocabulary.

Coffee Break French To Go will be published every two weeks here on YouTube, and each Season will be filmed in a different part of the French-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 French To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break French. For access to the free podcasts, please click here.

To purchase our full online courses on the Coffee Break Academy, click here.

Coffee Break Language courses are produced by Radio Lingua Ltd, based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Qual è il tuo sport preferito? -“What’s your favourite sport?”- Coffee Break Italian To Go Episode 9

In this episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go, we’re talking about sports. Francesca asks the question qual è il tuo sport preferito?, “what is your favourite sport”, and you can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn to introduce yourself in Italian.

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 Italian 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 Italian To Go, Francesca is in the town of Milan, in the north of Italy, 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 Italian and build your vocabulary.

Coffee Break Italian To Go will be published every two weeks here on YouTube, and each Season will be filmed in a different part of the Italian-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 Italian To Go is based on the popular podcast series and online course Coffee Break Italian. For access to the free podcasts, please click here.

To purchase our full online courses on the Coffee Break Academy, click here.

CBSw 1.02 | Vad heter du? – What’s your name?

Teacher Hanna and learner Mark are back for Episode 2 of Coffee Break Swedish. This time, you’ll learn a variety of greetings and you’ll be able to introduce yourself and ask the question ‘what is your name?’. By the end of the episode you’ll also know how to answer this question.