Browsing Tag

English

Common Mistakes

Is it “Early Adopter” or “Early Adapter”?

Last week I was doing a group project which sparked a rather heated debate – should we say “early adopter” or “early adapter“? It’s a mistake that is very commonly made, and seems to even divide and confuse native English speakers.

Though this is a seemingly small difference between two existing words, both have different implications.

So, considering both “adopter” and “adapter” are actual words in the English language, which one should we use in the context of an “early ad@pter”?

The answer you are looking for in this case is “early adopter”.

Both words come from a verb – to adopt and to adapt. To adopt refers to taking up something, in this case a practice, and make it your own. To adapt means to modify your behavior to a changing situation. Arguments could be made for both of these words, but in this case “early adopters” are generally ahead of the curve, adopting a new system. This means you aren’t really adapting to anything, but instead you are getting ahead of the situation.

To clarify even further, here is what Simon Cooke at Accidental Scientist wrote:

Folks, please, don’t make the mistake that one head of marketing at Sierra I used to know did (and fought me tooth and nail on it, insisting that they were correct), and call the people you’re relying on to buy your product early in the game early adapters. The phrase you are looking for is early adopter. 

Note the ‘O’.

This is someone who is part of the first vanguard of people to ever use a new thing. They adopt the thing early on. (Adopt meaning “to take up and practice as one’s own”). An early adapter, however, is someone who takes something early on and, like McGuyver or the A-Team, adapts it to their own nefarious purposes. This usually involves and/or incorporates duct tape somewhere in the process, a pocketknife, and potentially a Sharpie permanent marker. Big difference.

So, there you have it.

It’s a common mistake, but one that can be easily avoided. Next time the question comes up, you know what to do.

 

Resources

How To Get TEFL Certified For Less Than $40

Are you looking for a flexible online job that allows you to travel the world? Or are you just happy to make some money with a side hustle?

Teaching English online is a great way to do either of these things. Teaching online allows you to set your own hours (so you can sleep in as long as you’d like) and make money wherever there is a decent internet connection.

Teaching languages online seems like the perfect job for many language enthusiasts, so I wanted to write an article that would tell you a little bit more about this unique opportunity.

There are many reasons why teaching online can be the ideal job for you, whether it is because you want to make some extra bucks or you are looking for a way to finance your international lifestyle.

Here is why teaching online is awesome

You can teach anywhere

Maybe you have your mind set on an idyllic beach on the other side of the planet, or maybe you like to be able to go work without having to put on pants. Either way, teaching languages online allows you to bring in the money from literally any place with an internet connection.

Simply make sure you have a decent webcam and decent audio quality  and a good wifi connection, and the world is your oyster.

Oh, this also means there is absolutely no commute time. You work the hours you work, and the rest you can spend doing whatever you feel like.

 

You are able to set your own hours

Most websites work with a schedule where you can simply fill in your available hours, and students can book with you within those possibilities. This means you can adjust your working schedule to your own preferred hours.

Not much of a morning person? Sleep in and start working somewhere in the afternoon.

Prefer to have Monday off? Sure, why not?

You decide what teaching hours work best for you.

Simply put, you can work anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

You can set your own rates

This won’t be the case right from the start. Like any job, you have to settle in before you can demand the big bucks. But most sites allow you to set your own rates, so as you get more proficient in your teaching and more students leave positive reviews confirming what a great teacher you are, you can adjust your rates accordingly.

You can set your rates higher, maybe earning a little less overall but also making less hours, or work more hours while charging a little less and earning more on a monthly basis.

It’s up to you.

Teaching English in a school

Maybe you aren’t planning on teaching online, but prefer a steady job in one place. You may have less physical flexibility (and may actually need to put on pants for work), but for a language lover such as yourself (I am just assuming here), this is still a great option job wise.

Internationally there are many opportunities, but even within your country there may be places where people are looking to learn English as a foreign language.

When you are planning to teach in a school, you will most definitely need more credentials than those who teach online. Having a TEFL certificate may be extra extra important for you.

 

Why should I get certified?

A TEFL certificate will add some credibility to you as a teacher. It shows that you not only know how to speak English, but also how to teach it. The TEFL certificate has become such a known standard for foreign language teachers that any place you will apply to will take it as a

It’s not just about the piece of paper – getting certifies means actually taking a course and learning how to teach English as a foreign language. You may be fluent at English, but that doesn’t mean you will be a great teacher.

If you are a native speaker your knowledge will mostly be implicit – meaning that you will most likely speak correctly without actually knowing why. To teach English, you need a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are.

Getting your certificate will help you with this.

Some of the courses help you to find a job afterwards, which is even better. All in all, it’s hard to go wrong with a TEFL certificate.

Getting certified for cheap

This certificate can easily set you back a couple of hundred dollars, which means your plan to make money requires some investment up front. This may not be a feasible investment for everybody.

Luckily, there is a way to get your certificate and start teaching online without having to make a major investment before.

On American Groupon you can find tons of TEFL courses that include a certificate, plus help in finding a job that are only $39. In hours of teaching, you can earn easily earn this back in 2 – 4 hours, depending on what and where you teach.

For this you do need an account on the American Groupon. This really is only a matter of creating a new account, and the fact that you don’t have an American address doesn’t really matter. Your name and email address are enough to get access.

You can outsmart the payment system by paying with a PayPal account. Your PayPal account can either have money on it already, or you can hook it up to your credit card or bank account. Either way, just using your PayPal login is enough to pay.

Before purchasing any course I would try and look at all the reviews on whether it is legit or not. The courses changes frequently and there are multiple people offering, so it is hard to say something about the quality of all of them as I have obviously not checked every single new posting.

However, the course I attended was excellent and helped me a great deal with landing a new job as an online teacher. Groupon generally offers legit deals, so I wouldn’t be too worried generally, but just to be sure it’s great to see reviews on the exact course you are about to take.

 

Click here to find the current offers of TEFL courses on American Groupon

 

And that’s it. I hope this tip has helped you in your goal of becoming  a foreign language teacher, even if you don’t have the budget for an extensive course at the moment.

For the entire article on becoming a foreign language teacher online, click here.

Inspiration, Linguistics, Resources

8 TED Talks That Will Inspire You To Learn A New Language

Who doesn’t love a good TED Talk? At the very least they tell you something you didn’t know before. At the very best they inspire you to become a smarter, wiser person. If you are a language fanatic (like most of us here at the Foreign Language Collective), you will especially love all of these interesting talks about language.

Did you know the language you speak can actually affect how much you save? Or that there is a hidden musicality within sign language?

Watch one of these TED Talks for some guaranteed language learning inspiration.

1. Four Reasons To Learn A New Languager

“English is fast becoming the world’s universal language, and instant translation technology is improving every year. So why bother learning a foreign language? Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter shares four alluring benefits of learning an unfamiliar tongue.”

2. Learn To Read Chinese .. with ease

For foreigners, learning to speak Chinese is a hard task. But learning to read the beautiful, often complex characters of the Chinese written language may be less difficult. ShaoLan walks through a simple lesson in recognizing the ideas behind the characters and their meaning — building from a few simple forms to more complex concepts. Call it Chineasy.

3. My Year of Reading A Book From Every Country In the World

Ann Morgan considered herself well read — until she discovered the “massive blindspot” on her bookshelf. Amid a multitude of English and American authors, there were very few books from beyond the English-speaking world. So she set an ambitious goal: to read one book from every country in the world over the course of a year. Now she’s urging other Anglophiles to read translated works so that publishers will work harder to bring foreign literary gems back to their shores. Explore interactive maps of her reading journey here: go.ted.com/readtheworld

4. The Enchanting Music of Sign Language

Artist and TED Fellow Christine Sun Kim was born deaf, and she was taught to believe that sound wasn’t a part of her life, that it was a hearing person’s thing. Through her art, she discovered similarities between American Sign Language and music, and she realized that sound doesn’t have to be known solely through the ears — it can be felt, seen and experienced as an idea. In this endearing talk, she invites us to open our eyes and ears and participate in the rich treasure of visual language.

5. Don’t Insist on English

Patricia Ryan is a longtime English teacher who asks a provocative question: Is the world’s focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? In other words: What if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL? It’s a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas.

6. Could your language affect your ability to save money?

What can economists learn from linguists? Behavioral economist Keith Chen introduces a fascinating pattern from his research: that languages without a concept for the future — “It rain tomorrow,” instead of “It will rain tomorrow” — correlate strongly with high savings rates.

7. Don’t kill your language

More and more, English is a global language; speaking it is perceived as a sign of being modern. But — what do we lose when we leave behind our mother tongues? Suzanne Talhouk makes an impassioned case to love your own language, and to cherish what it can express that no other language can. In Arabic with subtitles.

8. Should we simplify spelling?

How much energy and brain power do we devote to learning how to spell? Language evolves over time, and with it the way we spell — is it worth it to spend so much time memorizing rules that are filled with endless exceptions? Literary scholar Karina Galperin suggests that it may be time for an update in the way we think about and record language. (In Spanish with English subtitles)

How To Say

How To Say ‘Knock Knock’ in 35 Languages

We all know every language has their own words, but even sounds are described differently around the world!

Here is a list of 35 languages and how they translate the “knock knock” sound.

 

Albanian – “Tak Tak”

Arabic (Morocco) – “Dak Dak”

Arabic (Syria) – “Taq Taq” / “Taa Taa”

Bulgarian – ” чук чук” (“Chuk Chuk”)

Cantonese – 咯咯

Chinese – 扣扣

Czech – “ťuk ťuk”

Dutch – “Klop Klop”

English – “Knock Knock”

Finnish – “Kop Kop”

French – “Toc Toc”

Georgian – “Kak-Kuk”

German – “Klopf Klopf”

Hebrew – “Tuk Tuk”

Hungarian – “Kopp Kopp”

Indonesian – “Tok Tok Tok” (mostly said 3 times)

Xhosa (South Africa) – “Nqo nqo”

Zulu (South Africa) – “Koko”

Italian – “Toc Toc”

Korean – 똑똑똑 / “Ddok Ddok Ddok”

Lithuanian – “Tuk Tuk”

Mandarin –  “叩叩”

Norwegian – “Bank Bank”

Papiamento (Aruba) – “Tok Tok”

Persian – “Tagh tagh”

Polish – “Puk Puk”

Portuguese – “Toc Toc” / “Truz Truz”

Romanian – “Cioc cioc”

Russian – “тук тук” (Tuk Tuk)

Serbian – “Kuc Kuc”

Spanish – “Toc Toc”

Turkish –  “Tık tık”/ “Tak tak”

Urdu – “Khat Khat”

Venda (South Africa) – “Ndaa”

Vietnamese – “Cốc Cốc” *

 

*Fun fact; this is also the name of a popular search engine in Vietnam

Expressions, Tips

Are You Barking Up The Wrong Tree? 10 English Idioms Explained

Ever wondered what the English are actually on about? Why it’s tipping it down, or raining cats and dogs? Then this article is for you! Keep reading to find out the meanings of 10 English idiomatic expressions.

 

  1. Too many cooks spoil the broth

This is more of a traditional English idiom, which basically means that if too many people get involved in something, it can cause problems and ruin the expected outcome.

For instance: if there are 20 people putting up a marquee and they all have different ideas about how to put it up, the likelihood is they will struggle working as a team and it will take ages to put up the marquee, or the marquee might get broken.

 

  1. Tipping it down

As you all probably know, us Brits are obsessed with the weather, if we are not sure what to talk about, we talk about the weather. If we are fed up about the weather, we talk about it. If we are pleased about the weather, we talk about it.

We are obsessed. Tipping it down, refers to rain, so when it is raining really heavily, you can say, it’s tipping it down.

 

  1. It’s raining cats and dogs

Another reference to the weather, if the rain is really bad or awfully heavy, you can say it’s raining cats and dogs.

  1. Pull yourself together

Come on, get up and deal with it, calm down you can do this! This means you should organise yourself, calm down and get control of your emotions and deal with the situation at hand. Pull yourself together, you can do this!

 

  1. Barking up the wrong tree

No, it’s not about dogs. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think it’s about dogs! Barking up the wrong tree basically means you’re wrong. I suppose it’s just a nicer way of putting it, as we are known to be polite it England. So if someone has misunderstood what you’ve said or is wrong about something you can tell them that they’re barking up the wrong tree.

  1. Adding insult to injury

Adding insult to injury, means making something worse. Think of an injury, pretend you’ve insulted that injury and because of that it’s gotten worse… Does it help, no I didn’t think so… Never mind! In England this expression is used subtly, so if you are taking to a friend about someone else, maybe they are upset and you want to try to make them feel better, if your way of making them feel better will just make things worse for them your friend might say to you, ‘Don’t do that, you’ll only add insult to injury.’

 

  1. Call it a day

No need to phone anyone! Call it a day means, to stop or finish something. Imagine you’ve been working solidly on a piece of work all day and you are very tired, so your work is getting progressively worse because you’re tired. If this happens a friend might suggest that it’s time to call it a day, and carry on with your work tomorrow when you feel fresher.

 

  1. Under the weather

Another weather reference! But when you’re under the weather, you’re ill. Say you’re at work and you look quite pale and tired, someone might say that you look under the weather. It’s a more sublet and polite way of saying you look ill or unwell.

  1. We’ll cross at bridge when we come to it

Imagine you are really worried about something happening, but the likelihood of it happening is next to none (impossible), someone might say to you, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,’ this is quite nice, it shows the person cares about you!

 

  1. Speak of the devil

You’re sat chatting with your friends about your new boss. Your new boss walks past and one of your friends says: ‘Speak of the devil.’ Speak of the devil is used when you see a person you’ve been talking about. Beware, if you use it and they hear it, the person generally wants to know hats been said about them! Though it can be used more discreetly, when the person you’ve been talking about walks past but doesn’t enter the conversation.

In conclusion: the English don’t speak English, with a million different accents, dialects and forms of slang, English is certainly not easy to decipher!

Multilingual Things

English As a Second Language: Who In Europe Speaks it Best?

 

This article was originally shared on EuropeLanguageJobs.com

English as a second language is becoming more and more competitive. Due to the weight the language carries in the modern, professional world, speaking English is fast becoming less of a benefit and more of an essential, or even basic, requirement when looking for a job in Europe.

Approximately 2 billion people study English worldwide and some countries find it easier than others to pick it up. Throughout the emerging generations of many nationalities, proficiency is almost ubiquitous as people are becoming more and more serious about language learning. For example, companies like ESL offer language courses abroad, giving people the opportunity to properly immerse themselves in a new culture.

Based on the percentage of English proficiency in the adult population, here’s the list!

 

10)  Belgium

The Belgian people have increased their overall English level since the 2015 figures and their hard work has bumped them up into the top 10 countries who speak English as a second language best! Welcome to the list Belgium.

9)  Poland           

With more and more Poles moving and working abroad their need to learn English has increased too. However, Polish as a language is on the rise in the UK, as Brits fall in love with Polish expats and look to learn their language.

8)  Germany    

 The Germans, with their industrial efficiency, have always had a firm grip of the English language. The modern language of the business world is English and, as German businesses are dominating the European market, the pressure on professionals to speak English to a proficient level is higher than ever.

7)  Austria       

Just beating its geographical and linguistic neighbours to the number 7 spot, is Austria. Sharing its borders with a whopping eight countries, it’s little wonder that the people of Austria have an aptitude for languages.

6)  Luxembourg            

For the very same reasons as Austria, it is hardly a shock to see this tiny landlocked country so high on the list. With heavy influences from both East and West, the country has three official languagesFrenchGerman and Luxembourgish – and on top of that, well over half of the adult population having a proficient level of English!

 

5)  Finland          

We start to head more to the north of Europe as we near the top of the list. Finland has a population of just under 5.5 million people, and almost 70% of its adult population speak high-level English.

4)  Norway                         

Norway is far from a surprise entry in at number four. The Norse languages also have had a huge influence on the English language after the occupation of the Vikings over a thousand years ago.

3)  Sweden        

Sweden has been knocked off the top spot and slip into third place since the 2015 stats. However, their reputation for about as near-native English as you can get, remains strong and I´m sure they’ll be back with a vengeance.     

2)  Denmark      

As approach the grand finale, the countries are becoming less and less surprising. Denmark, yet another Scandinavian country, comes in a number two. The language of the Danes is also growing in demand in Europe, but who could possibly have beaten them to the top spot in terms of English proficiency?!

1)  Netherlands              

Congratulations to the Dutch, not only on their ability to invent hilarious surnames, but also on their ability to speak the English language. Their linguistically gifted population has knocked the Swedes off the number one position…for now.

This list refers to Europe, however if it included all the countries in the world (obviously where English is not a native language) it would be almost identical but countries six to ten would each slip one place lower, as Singapore would slot in at number six.

It is unsurprising to see the top four dominated by Nordic countries – and the Netherlands. They have an increasing knack for topping lists, having very high living standardspopulation satisfaction as well as cost of livingGermany may have been Europe’s most popular country but they are maybe lower than you would have expected considering their mechanical proficiency in most things.  

Also – and I believe this to be key – in the Nordic countries they do not dub the television into their own languages. Whereas, in FranceSpain and even Germany, they translate the television into the country language, despite the majority of TV shows being American or English.

There is also a noticeable lack of southern European countries, with Austria being the southernmost point of the list.  But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dutch reign supreme over the non-native English speaking world. In fact, I regularly meet Dutch and Scandinavian people and assume that they, like me, are English; that’s how flawless their accents are.

Inspired to improve your English or master a new language? There are several free apps such as Duolingo, as well as YouTube channels where you can receive free lessons. With today’s resources you’ve got no excuse for being monolingual!  

Figures sourcewww.ef.com.es/epi 

 

 

Dialects

12 Words in Australian English You Need To Know

Australians love talking. They also love making shortening their words. When talking to Australians, these are 12 words you need to know to make sure you understand what they are talking about.

1. Lappy

2. Maccas

3. Choccy

4. Muso

5. Veggo

6. Avo

6. Preggos

7. Chrissy

8. Sparky

9. Postie

 

10. Relos

11. Sickie

12. Cuppa

 

Minority Languages

Did You Know the English Language Has A Secret Brother?

You may want to sit down for this because you are about to find out your Germanic mother gave birth to another language. That’s right. In the north of the Netherlands there is a province called Friesland, and the language they speak bears an uncanny resemblance to English.

Map of UK + Ireland, the Netherlands and Friesland

If you are confused right now, you are probably not the only one. Not many people outside of the Netherlands know of this language, and in fact even within the Netherlands people often think Frisian is merely a dialect. For those of you who still think that, let me help you right here with this Germanic language family tree.

 

As you can see both English and Frisian are actually part of the Anglo-Frisian branch, whereas Dutch stems from Old Low Franconian. Generally people already consider Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch to be somewhat similar to English, but ‘genetically´ Frisian is the closest language to English. The influence of French on English and Dutch on Frisian might make these similarities harder to see, but we all know you can’t forget your roots.

When we compare certain words and word categories in English, Frisian, Dutch and German we can see how close the two languages really are, especially when we take a look at the pronunciation.

For example the word “cheese”. In Dutch it translates to “kaas” and in German to “Kãse”, which is all similar enough. The Frisian version however is “tsiis’, which on paper just looks like something typed by your cat when he walks across your keyboard, but when you consider the pronunciation of the double I is almost identical to the English double E, whereas both Dutch and German chosen a completely different vowel for this word.

Not only that, but in many other words where English has the “Ch” pronunciation, the Frisians have kept very similar phonetics (only they attach different letters to them).

Another set of examples of words where the Frisians have stuck to the English phonetics is in words like “sleep”  or “sheep”. The Frisian “IE” is identical to the “II” sound, which as mentioned before is like the English “EE”,  while for some reason both Dutch and German have both gone with an “A” sound in these words.

 

But the similarities don’t stop there. When you look at the English words like “Way” and “Day”, where the “Y” has been switched for a “G” in Dutch and German, in Frisian they have kept the “I” sound, and though it is written with an “e”, the “EI” sound in Frisian is comparable to the “YE” or “IE” in “dye” or “die”.

 

And last but not least, an “N” before a ‘voiceless fricative’ (meaning an “S”, “F’ or “TH”) can be found in Dutch and German, but is largely lost in English and Frisian.

Interestingly, though Frisian is still widely spoken in Frisian households the education is generally in Dutch. This means that when people in Friesland learn English it will most likely be taught in English, which means many Frisians don’t make the connections between English and their native language (and I say this from experience).

So now you know that Friesland is not only the province with the coolest flag (see Exhibit A) with it’s famous pompeblêdden (not hearts), but also that one province that speaks a language that is ridiculously close to English.

If you are interested in learning minority languages such as Frisian, try your luck with the Memrise App.

 

Bonus, the Frisian word for “this” is “dizze”, only proving my original hypothesis that Frisians are the real OG’s

Exhibit A