Author Archives: Merlin

About Merlin

We are a language academy that teaches any language you are interested in learning. We offer only native teachers, flexible hours, affordable classes, and experienced staff. We look forward to speaking to you

Business English in Madrid

Do you need to improve your English for work? Are you looking to improve your interviewing or presentation skills in English?

Here at The Language Corner we are currently offering the chance to enroll in our 24-session Business English course with our well-prepared native English teachers, covering topics such as presentation skills, business writing, telecommunication, holding negotiations and other general business English topics.

The Business English lessons will be held every Monday and Wednesday at our La Elipa branch of The Language Corner from 19:30 to 20:30 and will run from April to June (24 sessions), and will be open to a maximum of 10 students.

If you are interested in our Business English course, or need to improve you English for work in Madrid, feel free to contact us for more information.

English conversation group in Madrid

Do you already speak English? Are you interested in putting your skills into practise, or perhaps brushing up on those skills, in a more social context than structured classes?

In our English conversation classes we focus primarily on speaking, listening, and more general conversation than in our more traditional English classes. We do, however, go over certain points and resolve dificulties as and when they come up in conversation so that the activity is still didactic, just in a more relaxed and true-to-life way.

The conversation classes are held every Thursday at Mercado de Torrijos in Goya at 8:00 – 9:30 PM

Just 10 euros per 90-minute class, with a glass of wine wine included in the price.

To reserve your place, or more information, feel free to contact us at:

673 340 106

Location:

Mercado de Torrijos,

Calle del General Díaz Porlier 8

28001 Madrid

 

We hope to see you there!

Parli L’italiano?

Here are some general facts about the Italian language:

1. The Italian language only has 21 letters

Just like other Romance Languages, Italians use the same modern Roman script as we do in English. Whereas in English we use 26 letters, and in Spanish 27, the Italian alphabet does not contain the letters j, k, o, w, x or y (nor, of course, the Spanish letter ñ). If you do happen to come across a word in Italian which does contain these letters, you’ll know that it’s a loan word taken from another language, e.g. yogurt (taken from Greek.)

2. Italian is the official language of classical music.

Italian is not just a musical language, it is the language of music. If you’re a fan of classical music then you may be familiar with such terms ascrescendo(a steady increase in volume), or ‘staccato(which indicates that a note is separated from the others). This is because musical notation was invented during The Renaissance (or in Italian Il Rinascimento), the historial period in which Italy as a country began.

3. The oldest known text written in Italian is over 1000 years old.

The ‘Placiti Cassinesiare four juridical documents written between the years 960 y 960 AD. They are thought to be the first texts written in Italian and they talk about a disputed territory between three Benedictine monasteries and a local landlord.

So, would you like to learn Italian, the language of Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo and so many others with our native Italian teachers? If so, feel free to drop in to one of our language academies in Madrid (academies in San Blas, near Ventas and Ciudad Lineal) for more information on our language courses. And if Italian is not for you, remember we also teach English classes, as well as Spanish, German, Portuguese and French.

We hope to see you soon!

5 reasons to learn a new language in 2019

After a much-needed and well-deserved break we are finally back in school/work and everybody has been talking about their New Year’s resolutions. If you haven’t made any by now, why not consider new language?

Image result for learning a language

Here are some great reasons to learn a new language in 2019

1. New opportunities

Learning a new language immensely increases opportunities in life, such as job opportunities, opportunities to meet new people, and also enriches the experience of travelling abroad and being able to communicate and immerse yourself in another culture.

2. Neurological benefits

Studies have shown that bilingual people are better at learning new skills, flexible thinking, understanding new concepts and even have a reduced risk of dementia in later life! In addition, learning a tonal language, such as Mandarin or Vietnamese, is also a great way to help develop both sides of the brain and not just the left.

3. Improve your CV

As well as conventional experience and academic qualifications, learning a language is also an effective way of bringing a competitive advantage to the work place, as bilingual people tend to be more flexible in their way of thinking and adapt to new situations more quickly, and a second language can always be put to some good use in today’s globalised market, making bilingual people more appealing to potential employers.

4. Broaden your mind and achieve better understanding of the world

Have you ever wondered why people of different nationalities tend to have different customs and preferences? As well as learning about the history of those countries, leaning to speak their language can gives great insight into their way of thinking and their perception of the world.

5. Sense of accomplishment

If none of those reasons have convinced you so far, it has also been shown in various studies that a sense of accomplishment can dramatically increase one’s level of self-esteem. If you want to give yourself a boost in overall confidence this year, learning a new language could be the perfect way to do it!

 

If you are interested in learning a new language, or would like to improve your English, prepare for the FCE or CAE exams, feel free to contact us or come and see us in person in Madrid, where any one of our native teachers can give you more information about courses in the García Noblejas or Ventas areas.

English music sung live!

Come along to Marcado de Torrijos in Goya, Madrid this Wednesday and listen to music sung LIVE in ENGLISH by Rafa Arnau!

 

This is great way not only to practise your English listening skills but also to meet other people who are interesting in practising and improving their English in Madrid – we hope to se you there!

 

4 tips to improve pronunciation

Compared to Spanish and many other languages, English grammar and vocabulary are both fairly easy to learn, as words tend to be shorter and there are much fewer conjugations to learn mainly because we use auxiliaries instead, although it’s true we have lots of exceptions to almost every rule in English, which can at times make things slightly more complicated.

While it is possible to learn vocabulary and grammar from books, apps and other online sources, that cannot usually help much with pronunciation, which bring us to a question that we commonly hear at our academies in La Elipa and García Noblejas: is it possible to learn perfect pronunciation in another language?

While the answer, in theory, for most people is ‘yes’, it is certainly not easy for anybody. Here are a few tips which should certainly help to improve your pronunciation:

1. Listen to podcasts, radio, etc:

While doing the housework, driving, or in the shower, listen to podcasts or radio programmes. Even if you don’t understand everything, you’ll still be picking up the rhythms and intonations, and you may hear a certain word pronounced differently to the way you have been pronouncing that particular word. As you listen, try repeating what you hear with the same rhythm and intonation as the speaker.

2. Watch videos in slow motion:

One good feature of youtube and other similar websites is that you can reduce the play speed, and as you listen you can watch what people’s mouths are doing. This may sound like a strange thing to do but it is especially good for learning to pronounce sounds that may not exist in your native language, such as the V and R sounds in the case of Spanish speakers, and watching the different movements of people’s mouths as they speak.

3. Listen, repeat, record:

Listen to the way a word or sentence is said, try repeating it to yourself a few times and then record yourself saying it a few times. Listen to the recording and ask yourself how exactly your pronunciation sounds different to that of the native speaker and try to correct that difference (don’t worry, everybody hates hearing their own voice recorded!)

4. Classes:

While all of these methods are effective, unless you have a native English teacher, or teacher of whichever language you’re learning, there to guide you, you can never really tell how well you are progressing with your pronunciation and other aspects of the language. A native English teacher with a high level of experience will be able to immediately pick up on very subtle mistakes and will no-doubt have many techniques to help you improve your pronunciation and to sound more natural when you speak.

This was just a short list of techniques tries and tested by us at the lanaguage corner. If you would like to know more about improving your pronunciation or general level of English, feel free to pop into one of our academies in Madrid (La Elipa near Ventas and Gandhi in García Noblejas) and ask about trying some classes with us.

Good luck and we hope to see you soon!

More than just English

Parlez-vous français?

Yes. Exactly that. Do you speak French? Would you like to practise? Or perhaps you don’t speak any French but you would love to learn?

Then you’ll be happy to know that at The Language Corner we also teach French (and German!) in our centres at La Elipa and La Almudena.

And if you’d like to practise or just talk for a while in French in Madrid, we’d like to invite you to a conversation class in French at Mercado Torrijos in Goya. It’s only €10 per person and comes with a complimentary serving of cheese and two glasses of wine. Come by and have a chat with our native teachers while having a good time.

These conversation classes are on Wednesdays from 20:30 to 21:30 or Fridays from 19:30 to 20:30 at General Diaz Portier, 8. It’s a great opportunity for meeting people and talking with native French speakers, about cheese or anything else really.

Keep in mind that there are limited places, so please remember to book in advance. See you there!

Improving your pronunciation in English

Pronunciation of the R sound in English.

When learning a new language we all want to be able to find an equivalent to each word, sound, etc in our own native language because that is what we have learned to work with. While the grammar in English isn’t particularly difficult to learn, pronunciation does seem to be quite difficult for Spanish speakers to grasp, which is something that we have seen quite often in our English classes. The R sound can be seen as especially difficult to Spanish speakers because they want to find an equivalent, but in reality isn’t so difficult when you realise that there is no equivalent sound in Spanish.

While there is no real way of leaning pronunciation from book or video as there is nobody there to tell you whether or not you are pronouncing that specific sound correctly, it can be said that the R sound in English is pronounced by placing the back or the lower lip against the front of the two top front teeth (the same position as when pronouncing an F, which is the ame sound in both languages) and by leaving tongue down, not raising it as if to pronounce R in Spanish.

One also has to remember that the R sound in most of the UK is usually omitted at the end of a syllable and only pronounced at beginning of word or syllable, or between two vowels even if at end of word.

For example:

Red     /rɛd/

Rabbit     /ˈrabɪt/

Door     /dɔː/  (no R sound)

Car     /kɑː/  (no R sound)

Germany     /ˈdʒəːməni/  (no R sound)

Working     /ˈwəːkɪŋ/  (no R sound)

Carrot     /ˈkarət/

Direct     /dʌɪˈrɛkt/  or  /dɪˈrɛkt/

(Leave the) door open     /dɔːrˈəʊp(ə)n/

(The) car is (expensive)     /kɑ’rɪz/

In America and most of Ireland and Northern Ireland, however, the R always pronounced hard no matter the position within each word. In Scotland it is usually pronounced very similarly to the single Spanish R, but varies slightly between different regions.

As mentioned earlier, pronunciation is best learned in person, so if you are looking for feedback on your pronunciation or want to know more about how you can improve your pronunciation, you can get in touch with us for information about our English classes in Madrid with one of our many native teachers in La Elipa and La Almudena, in the Ventas and García Noblejas areas of Madrid.

Good luck and we hope to see you soon!

Happy Halloween!

As a student’s father said to me today, just a few decades ago Halloween was barely even heard of. Today, however, almost all of our students here at the academy have arrived for their English classes wearing some form of costume, or carrying some novelty item which represents Halloween.

So why is Halloween becoming so popular here in Spain? Although we do celebrate Halloween to a certain extent in the UK, it has always seemed to me to be much more of an American tradition, so one reason for this sudden and dramatic rise in popularity of the tradition could possibly be because of the influence American TV programmes and films are having on other countries and cultures.

Because of this, many of our younger students have been asking about vocabulary in English related to this tradition. Here are a few examples of words related to Halloween , and their translations in Spanish:

Candy/Sweets – Dulces/Chuches

Costume – Disfraz

Pumpkin – Calabaza

Ghost – Fantasma

Witch – Bruja

Bat – Murcielago

Haunted house – Casa embrujada

Dress up – Disfrazarse

If you’d like any more information on specific subjects or topics in English, feel free to contact us or to visit one of our language academies in person in La Almudena or La Elipa in Madrid, where you can speak to our native teachers who can give you plenty of information about English and our courses.