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Meet the team: Silvia

Ciao! My name is Silvia and I come from Italy. I’m studying Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and I’m a language enthusiast. I joined Radio Lingua in May 2019 as part of the Coffee Break Italian team, and even if I am fairly new here I can definitely say that I love working for Mark and Catriona!

What is your role in Coffee Break?

My role in Coffee Break can be summed up as ‘Italian Social Media Assistant’. That means I contribute to the creation of content for our social media and online lessons. In other words, I write Facebook posts for Coffee Break Italian, grammar points, and anything which may need the help of an Italian native speaker.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I started learning languages in primary school, where I first got to know the English language. During middle school I also learnt French and Latin. I have always loved languages, so when I had to choose my high school I decided to attend Liceo Linguistico, which is particularly focused on languages. I started learning German while improving my English and French. I also had the chance to attend Spanish and Chinese beginners’ courses, and I volunteered as an Italian teacher for foreigners. After graduating in high school, I moved to Scotland to study Philosophy, while also fostering my passion for languages. I continued German in my first year and then attended a Russian beginners’ course. And of course, I improved my English by living in the UK and learnt some Scottish words as well!

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

My favourite memory of working with Coffee Break is probably when I first met the team at the office, in May 2019. I was scared but also excited to start a new adventure, and my colleagues truly made me feel welcome and at ease from day one. I really appreciated how I immediately felt part of the team and I could not wait to start working. Being in a friendly and supportive environment really changed my concept of work and I am really grateful to be part of Radio Lingua. And, of course, I’m sure I will create many more positive memories in the future!

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

My ideal coffee break would definitely be in Italy (coffee there is amazing!), in a warm summer morning. I would love to have it with Franz Kafka, who is one of my favourite authors, or with my mum, because she is always busy and definitely deserves a coffee break!

What’s your best language learning tip?

I’d say I have two main language tips: be confident and practise! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s more than normal when learning a new language. Just give it a try and find as many occasions to speak as possible. Practise really makes you perfect: listen to songs, podcasts, read books, watch films and TV series in the language you want to learn. The best way to practise is obviously visiting the country, speaking that language: a full immersion is always the best and fastest way to learn. Try to travel there if you have the chance!

Quick-fire round

• Favourite language: Italian (but also German and Russian!)
• Favourite word/phrase in Italian: amore
Favourite film: The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring
• Favourite TV show: Dark, Stranger Things, Maniac, A Series of Unfortunate Events
• Favourite singer: Vampire Weekend, Twenty One Pilots, Radical Face, Eugenio in Via di Giola
• Favourite destination: Barcelona or my hometown (so far!)

Any further thoughts?

Learning a new language makes life richer and fun. That’s why I could not be happier to be part of the Coffee Break Team and to help you learn Italian. Ciao!

CBS Mag 3.08 | El Carnaval de Santa Cruz

Mark, Fernanda and Anabel are back for another episode of the Coffee Break Spanish Magazine. This week we’re heading to Tenerife for El Carnaval de Santa Cruz! Listener Iris has a question about the use of the words época and tiempo when talking about time, and Anabel shares a couple of interesting expressions.

 

Meet Keith, Coffee Break French learner

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

Hi, my name is Keith and I live with Julie in Hertfordshire. I am English and have been learning with Coffee Break French for just over a year.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

No formal language tuition since school days – and they are long past! That said I did go on a language course whilst a serving soldier, many years ago. This was to learn the rudiments of the Malay language and it proved to be very useful – I can still remember bits and pieces!

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

The challenge for Julie (who studies with me) and I, is in ‘having a go’ – too often the Brits seem to sit back and expect to be understood. A real joy comes from being recognised as trying hard to speak the language, even in a pretty limited way – you gain a lot of credit by just having a go.

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

Just chatting to the locals at any cafe in France (preferably in the summer in the South of France – otherwise anywhere will do!)

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

The old adage “if it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist” could apply in this case. What works for me is to make notes, read them and then read them again. Add new notes and vocabulary to the list but keep reading, re-reading and reviewing them all from page one.

Quick-fire Round

• Your favourite language: French
• Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Bonjour tout le monde, je peux parler un peu de français
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: Nice or Bordeaux

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

Hi Coffee Breakers, I hope you are enjoying the Coffee Break experience as much as I am. I have been impressed from day one with a) the amount and quality of material available, b) the enthusiasm of the CB Team, and c) the level of enterprise which keeps it all not only together but going forward and evolving all the time.

Free Language Resources for Learning at Home

Throughout the world the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is being felt and here at Radio Lingua we are aware that schools are closing. In an attempt to help parents, carers, teachers and learners to minimise disruption, we have gathered a collection of our free resources for primary and secondary on a single page which can be easily shared.

This page lists resources for primary schools teaching French and Spanish and we are making available our High Five French and High Five Spanish courses free of charge for the next three months.

We’ve also providing links to our One Minute Languages resources, and for secondary we’ve listed all our podcasts and YouTube videos which may be useful for learners to work independently.

To access these resources, please visit radiolingua.com/learnathome.

Meet the Team: Ava

Hello! I’m Ava and I’m a Content Production Assistant for Radio Lingua. I started as an intern around a year ago and then began working here part-time 5 months ago. I’m currently in my final year at the University of Glasgow where I study French and Music.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

My role involves a variety of tasks, but I am mainly involved in producing social media content. This includes making graphics for Instagram, researching and writing blog articles and making social videos – all while getting to use bits of my languages. One of my favourite parts of the job is choosing songs and writing about them for our musical feature, Tune for Tuesday which, as a languages and music lover, suits me very well!

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

My first experience of learning another language was in primary school, when we were taught some basic Scots Gaelic, but my interest in languages truly began when I started learning French and Spanish at High School. This led me to decide to study French at university, where I’ve also had the chance to learn some Italian and Mandarin. I’ve also been lucky enough to practise my languages abroad, including spending a summer working as an au-pair in Paris. Since kids love teaching you something they’re better at than you, I learned a great deal during this time, and it turns out playing a lot of Monopoly with French kids is a great way to practise numbers! Also, as part of my degree, I spent a year studying at a French-speaking university in Montreal, Quebec. This was fascinating for me – learning about a culture and a dialect of French that was entirely new to me, even if adapting to québécois French did take a little bit of getting used to! 

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

One of my favourite memories was when I first started working with Radio Lingua as an intern. I learned a lot of new things during those 6 months and really enjoyed working on a whole range of different projects with the other interns. Another great memory is when we first launched our Tune for Tuesday feature. Having been involved with the creation process of this from the beginning, it was exciting to see it finally being shared with all of you.

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

My ideal coffee break would be spent practising my Spanish with the Catalonian trail runner, Kílian Jornet. But for the ideal location, he’d have to travel to meet me for a takeaway coffee at my favourite spot at the top of le mont royal – the beautiful hill in the centre of Montreal. 

What’s your best language learning tip?

Think about every moment in your day when you hear, read, speak or write in your native language and try to do as many of those things as possible in the language you’re learning. This may mean changing the language settings on your phone, watching Netflix with subtitles in the language you’re learning or listening to music, writing your to-do list or speaking to your pet in that language.

Quick-fire round

  • Favourite language: French – because I am most familiar with this language and so have been able to discover more about francophone cultures, films, books and music – or Mandarin – just because I’ve found it so interesting learning a language which is so different from the others I am familiar with.
  • Favourite word/phrase in French: One of my favourite French phrases is l’esprit de l’escalier, which describes the moment when you think of a witty comment too late. I think this is a great phrase which English needs an equivalent of! I also like the québécois word for boyfriend, mon chum, which is pronounced just like the English word ‘chum’. 
  • Favourite film: Café de Flore and La vita è bella
  • Favourite destination: A small lake called Gamskarsee which is near a village called Ehrwald in Tyrol, Austria. I’d love to learn German and practise it in this area.

Do you have a message for the Coffee Break Community?

As someone who loves both climbing mountains and learning languages, I’ve learned that anything that takes time and is difficult at moments is always worth it in the end. However, language learning definitely doesn’t have a clear summit – we’re all still finding out new things about the languages we’re learning every day.

Four stories of inspiring international women

Here at Radio Lingua, we are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day. To mark this day, we asked four members of our team to tell the Coffee Break community about a woman from their home country who has inspired them in some way. From astronauts to poets, we really enjoyed hearing the stories about the four women they chose. Read on to find out which international women inspired Anabel, Francesca, Robert and Pierre-Benoît!

English translations are provided for all texts so that all of our learners can read more about these women, no matter the language they’re learning!

CBS Mag 3.07 | El encuentro de dos mundos

It’s time for another episode of the Coffee Break Spanish Magazine! In this lesson, we’re discussing a very important day for the Hispanic world, El Día de la Hispanidad. Our listener Namrata would like to know more about the use of the past participle in Spanish and Sofía challenges Mark with a tongue twister!

Meet Robert, 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.

My name is Robert. I live in New Zealand. I am a kiwi. I purchased Coffee Break Spanish some time ago. It is only recently after listening to Coffee Break Co-pilot that I came to really realise how much a good podcast can help you learn another language when you use them correctly.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I have never studied language in a language school. I have used online courses and tutors through online services such as Italki and Verbling.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

My favourite memory of learning a language with Coffee Break Spanish is learning how to speak correctly in Spanish.

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

My ideal coffee break would be with a friend drinking a coffee in a cafe in Colombia.

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

Watching the video first, then listening to the audio followed by making your notes using the helpsheet and finally listening to the bonus audio. I have been able to work this into my daily routine and create a constant no stress learning routine.

Quick-fire round

Favourite language: Spanish
Favourite word or phrase in the language: Bacano
Favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language: My favourite film in Spanish is Avatar.
Favourite destination to practise your language: My favourite destination to practise Spanish would be Colombia.

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

Coffee Break podcasts are an excellent resource to help you achieve fluency in your chosen target language.