Category Archives: Speaking

Spanish Classes in Madrid

In our schools we not only offer English, French and German classes but Spanish classes too. And as with all our classes these are given by native teachers. With our Spanish classes we guarantee personal treatment to every student from all our teachers, who are all fully trained and with teaching experience from both Madrid and the UK. All our courses have reduced class sizes so you are guaranteed personal attention. For all this and more we are sure you will advance rapidly and gain confidence in Spanish.

Whether you are staying in Madrid temporarily or living here permanently we offer classes both in our schools in Ciudad Lineal (La Elipa and La Almudena) and home classes. Our Spanish classes start every month so you wont miss anything whether you are looking for conversation classes, to brush up on grammar or perfect your pronunciation. With us we offer you continual progress in a relaxed atmosphere, where learning a language is not seen as boring or difficult.

Classes are from Beginner (A1) to Advanced (C2) with native Spanish teachers.

HOW TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO LEARN ENGLISH THIS AUTUMN

WATCH A FILM

Watching a film (or TV series) that you already know you enjoy can keep you motivated as you’ll already have an idea of what they’re talking about and the kinds of things that are being said, which means you won’t need to concentrate as much on the storyline and you can pay more attention to the language being used. If necessary, try turning on the subtitles IN ENGLISH so that you can read and listen at the same time (but be aware that sometimes the text doesn’t always match the audio 100%)

SPEAK TO FOREIGNERS

Here in Spain, there are so many English-speaking foreigners that you won’t have to look hard to find native English speakers in Madrid to practise with. Something as simple as giving someone directions on the metro in English, or even having an in-depth conversation about local history, can be enough to show that you know more than you think you do, as is the case with many English students in Madrid, and can be enough to give you that much-needed confidence boost and keep you motivated to continue learning and improving your English in Madrid.

TAKE CLASSES AT AN ACADEMY

Although it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation to get started, once you’ve had that first English class in an English academy, you’ll find that your level of motivation will also increase. Here at our language academies in La Elipa and García Noblejas, we often find that our English students are a bit unsure at the beginning but with time and more English classes both their motivation and their confidence increases.

SUBSCRIBE TO A YOUTUBE CHANNEL

With the same benefits of watching films on TV series in English, but in a much shorter length of time, watching YouTube videos in English can be a great way of staying motivated. Most of us in 2019 probably have a YouTube account and watch videos on the platform regularly, so why not give it a try?

PLAN A TRIP

What better way to motivate yourself (or scaring yourself!) into learning more English could there be than knowing than you will soon be in an English-speaking country, surrounded by people who only speak English and not being able to reply on your native language? Having a specific goal like this in mind can be the perfect way to motivate yourself to improve your English quickly.

SET GOALS AND REMINDERS FOR YOURSELF

As previously mentioned, whether it’s the FCE or CAE exam, or an upcoming trip to an English-speaking country, having a specific goal in mind can be an excellent way of maintaining your level of motivation. If you set reminders for yourself, such as leaving post-its around the house or having weekly meet-ups or English classes to prepare for, you’ll be less likely to forget about these your goals and you’ll be surprised by just how quickly you’re able to advance.

If you’d like to know more and are interested in our English classes in Madrid, feel free to contact us or drop by either of our English academies in La Elipa and La Almudena, where any one of our native English teachers will be able to give you more information on our highly economical English classes in Madrid this autumn.

We hope to see you soon!

Autumn Idioms

Autumn years – often this is used to refer to the later years in someone’s life:
“In her autumn years, Debbie was able to enjoy her free time much more”

Turn over a new leaf – to reform and begin again:
“She has learned her lesson and has turned over a new leaf“.

To drive someone nuts – to make someone go crazy:
“That song is driving me nuts. Please stop playing it!”

To squirrel something away – to hide or store something like a squirrel:
“Paul squirreled away a lot of money while he was working and now he can enjoy his retirement”.

Golden handshake – Used in businesses to refer to a sum of money that is given to an employee (normally high level) when they leave:
“The CEO was given early retirement and a golden handshake of €500,000 when the company was restructured”.

IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH WITH MUSIC

Do you already listen to songs in English? Do you ever look up the lyrics? It is important to also look up the lyrics. Sometimes the artist is saying something different than what we originally thought.
Here is an example:
Son Reebok o Nike?
And here is the song (with the lyrics) of the song he actually likes: The Rhythm of the Night It is called, The Rhythm of the night.

Here are some tips for learning English with songs:
-Listen to the radio, go the the club, turn on MTV or VH1, find songs you like.
-Use Shazam or trackID or any other song identification program to remember songs you like.
-Sing out loud to your favorite songs. Songs are more than just lyrics, songs tell a story, they are emotion, passion, excitement, sadness, try to pick up on the emotion and try to capture that feeling while you sing.
-Next check out the lyrics in English azlyrics here is an excellent site with the lyrics to most songs. This step is important to be sure that you are singing the correct lyrics. I am a native speaker and many times I have looked up the lyrics to English songs. This ensures that you are learning the right words.
-If you have any doubts about words or meanings, get your dictionary and attempt to understand or look for the lyrics in Spanish.
-Sing along to the song while looking at the lyrics. You can also go to www.youtube.com and type the name of the song + singer + lyrics (ex: The Rhythm of the Night, Corona, Lyrics) to see the video with lyrics on the screen.
-Feeling brave? Want to have more fun with the song? Practice the song as a Karaoke. Here is a program to convert songs into Karaoke format. Karaoke player
-Keep practicing singing along and revising the lyrics until you have learned it. Once you have learned the words to a song it is something you will not easily forget.

We can guess a lot about a song by the tone of the singer, but please remember to always look up the lyrics!
The Dramatic Song: The Dramatic Song

Do you think you already understand enough English to not need to look up the lyrics? Please check out this site: lyrics training This site allows you to search English songs by level of difficulty and practice your listening skills by filling in the missing words of popular songs. It’s a fun way to enjoy training your listening and writing skills.
Here is another site that has popular songs ranked by level where you must fill in the blanks.

DO YOU THINK IN ENGLISH? OR SPANISH?

Many of our students here at the academy in Madrid still think about a new language by translating through their first. This leads to common mistakes often spotted by our native teachers. Here we have listed the top mistakes for you to learn quickly and sound more native today!

Using COMO – HOW for questions.

How is this?
How spell this?
Using WITH – INSTEAD OF TO

Married TO someone as opposed to married WITH

John has been married with to Caroline for 5 years.

They have five years together.

This is also not correct as we have to specificy what they have together,

They have been together for five years.

TENER V SER – AGE

In English we don´t have our years, but we are them, this often causes confusion for beginners who like to say I have 10 years old instead of I am 10 years old.

James and John have ten years.

If this sentence seems correct to you, you´d be among the hundreds of Spanish speakers who also incorrectly use HAVE instead of TO BE when discussing ages. This is a fairly common mistake as of course in Spanish we use ´tener´.

 

AGREEMENT

I am agree

This sentence should be I agree with no use of am as agree is a verb itself!

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? INCLUDE THE SUBJECT!

It is very important to refer to the SUBJECT. In Spanish this can be omitted, so even advanced students are tempted to start their sentences with ´is very easy to´, but this leaves us feeling rather baffled; but what is easy? IT of course! IT is easy!

NEW WORD?

baffle
ˈbaf(ə)l/Enviar
verb
past tense: baffled; past participle: baffled
1.
totally bewilder or perplex.
“an unexplained occurrence that baffled everyone”
synonyms: perplex, puzzle, bewilder, mystify, bemuse, confuse, confound, nonplus, disconcert, throw, set someone thinking; More

A little chat with Dan in the Gandhi office

Hello! How are you?

I´m good thanks.

Where are you from?

I´m from Wimbledon in London.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Well, I´ve taught English in 4 different countries now, including Taiwan where I lived for 4 years. In my spare time I like drawing, hiking and eating!

How long have you been working at The Language Corner?

I´ve been here a year. I was teaching at the academy on Calle Gandhi and now I´m running the office at La Elipa, with a bit of teaching too

What do you like most about teaching?

I love talking and meeting new people, and discovering the differences between languages , and accents!

What do you think is difficult about learning Spanish?

Ooh I think pronouns are complicated and I just cannot do the spanish “r” sound at all. I try practising “pero” and “perro” and it just sounds like “Pedro!”

What kind of music do you like?

Lots of stuff, particularly electropop, folk and anything that sounds like Bjork.

Top tip for learning English

Try and do things you enjoy but in English. If you like films, watch English language films, if you like reading, try English books. At the moment I’m looking for more Spanish language music to listen to. Does anyone have any recommendations??

Tell us a random fact about yourself

I´ve been on television at least ten different times, mostly all embarrassing!

Start the new academic year with The Language Corner!

The new academic year has started and at The Language Corner we have a full range of classes available with small groups and native teachers to help you or your child progress in English. Whether you want to progress at work, you are looking for work or you want to gain a qualification such as First Certificate then our affordable classes will help you achieve your goals.

Call us on 673 340 106 or visit us at Calle Ricardo Ortiz 60 posterior or Calle Gandhi 19 for more information and classes available.

Aptis Speaking Parts 3 & 4

Today at The language corner we’re going to look at the second part of the Aptis Speaking test, with tips and sample answers to give you an idea of what is needed in this relatively new exam by The British Council. Of course, here in our English academies, you can prepare for the Aptis as well as The Cambridge exams with our native teachers.

Part 3
In this part of the exam, you will be shown two pictures and asked to compare them. This is quite similar to the FCE or CAE and finding examples from those exams will help immensely. Again, there are 3 questions which each have a 45 second limit for answering.

Compare the two pictures. (45sec)
Why might people choose each type of holiday? (45sec)
Which of these types of holidays are better for you? (45sec)
As we saw in our previous post when describing photos we usually use modals of deduction to say what we suppose is happening in the pictures. Let’s have a go at answering these ones 🙂

In the first picture on the left, a couple can be seen relaxing in deck chairs at the beach. I imagine they are a couple as they are holding hands and the woman seems to be gazing at her partner. There is a bag hanging off one deckchair and a hat hanging off the other. It looks idyllic if I’m honest. In the second picture, we can see a group, with backpacks on hiking through the mountains. They appear to be following a trail and are properly prepared for the terrain. It reminds me of going trekking with my friends in the mountains outside my city.
I reckon people choose beach holidays to get away from the hustle bustle of the city and to completely switch off. Not only do they get to relax on what seems like a paradise island but they also don’t have to worry about the stresses of their daily life. On the other hand, this type of trip can seem utterly boring to some people which is why they might prefer to do something more active. They also want to escape the fast-paced way of things in the city by getting fresh air in a pristine landscape but obviously lying on the beach for days would just bore them to tears.
Both types of holiday have their benefits. Relaxing on a beautiful beach for a week might do somebody who has a high-stress job or day to day life the world of good as they can just switch off and forget about everything for the time being. However, the hiking holiday is obviously more active and in that way, it’s physically better for you. I suppose it all depends on whether you want to do something active or would benefit just as much from simply taking a break from your daily routine.
Part 4
The last part of the Speaking test for Aptis, you are once again given a photo with three questions. This time, however, you’ll have one minute to prepare your ideas and two minutes to cover all three questions.

Tell me about the first thing you bought online.
How did you feel about the purchasing?
Would you recommend online shopping?
For this question, since you have a minute to prepare it’s a good idea to jot down the points you want to mention without writing full sentences. Be careful not to describe the photo given as this is not the task in this question. The questions are more abstract (e.g a feeling). Make sure you answer all three questions and stay on topic. Doing otherwise will lose you valuable points. You are free to glance at your notes while you speak so it’s really important to practise brainstorming and making the most of this.

Here is an example of how you can brainstorm some ideas in one minute. Notice that as well as answering the questions I’ve also included short structures to include in my answer. This final part of the Aptis speaking exam is aimed at the higher levels so it’s important to incorporate advanced structures into your answer. Think about inversions (not only but also, only if/when), passives, conditionals etc. It’s also good to use any related vocabulary you can think of. Having said that, we also recommend you stick to what you know in the exam. Practise these structures before the exam so you are confident using them. Don’t try to wing it in the exam by throwing in structures you half know and are likely to get wrong. Accuracy is of vital importance in any speaking exam and the Aptis is no different.

Let’s have a go at answering this one:

If I recall correctly, the first thing I bought online was a necklace from eBay. It was being auctioned on the site and I thought it was really beautiful. I remember feeling excited by the bidding process. I would place a bid and wait to see if someone outbid me for the item. In the end, mine was the highest bid and I won the auction. I also remember feeling quite nervous however because of the payment method. Only by giving the website my credit card details could I proceed. I was also worried it wouldn’t arrive even after paying for it. I decided I’d have to take the chance and thankfully my necklace arrived shortly after.

I would definitely recommend shopping online nowadays. There are so many shops and you can buy virtually anything delivered to your doorstep. It’s really handy for people who work a lot or simply don’t enjoy going shopping on the high street, especially around the holidays or sales when bricks and mortar shops are packed. Not only is shopping online faster and more efficient but it’s also cheaper than the high street stores a lot of the time.

As you can see, I used the notes from the spider diagram to shape my answer but also added more information as I thought of it. I hope this helps. Don’t forget you can prepare for the Aptis exam in Madrid in our English academies in Madrid in both La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas. All of our native teachers at our language academies are familiar with not only the Aptis but also all of the Cambridge exams. So if you are looking to prepare for the FCE in Madrid or the CAE in Madrid, make sure you stop by our English academies in Madrid in La Elipa and La Almudena.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Aptis Speaking Test Part 1 & 2

The Aptis by British Council is a relatively new exam but it is quickly gaining popularity among English language learners. This is due to it becoming more widely accepted both here in Spain and around the world, it being cheaper than other exams like Cambridge, and being able to get the results more quickly.

Knowing exactly what an exam entails is half the battle when preparing for it. Today we’re going to look at the Speaking exam. The entire exam is done on a computer, so for the speaking part, you have to record your answers within a given time limit. This means preparation is key. Knowing what to expect and being ready to show off your language skills will help achieve your goal.

Part One
In the first part, you have to answer questions about yourself. There are three questions and you must talk for thirty seconds for each question. Possible topics you could talk about include Family, Your Job, Hobbies and Interests, Future Plans, Films and Books, The Weather, Daily Routine etc. This means four or five clear sentences. If for example you are asked, “What’s the weather like today?” You might think it impossible to have your answer last a full thirty seconds. This is why it’s important to brainstorm things related to the weather. What do you like to do when it’s hot outside? What clothes are you wearing for the current season? Is it typical weather for this time of year? Is it unusually hot or cold? So a typical answer to “What’s the weather like today?” doesn’t have to be difficult to elaborate on. Instead of just replying “It’s cold but sunny” you can add “but this is normal for Madrid in winter. People usually wear hats, scarves, winter coats and boots to stay warm. A typical winter snack is roasted chestnuts which you can buy from street vendors.” Instead of talking solely about the weather, we can incorporate other related vocabulary like in this instance; clothes. But we could also talk about what people generally do in when the weather is hot/cold etc. The questions in part one of the Aptis lend themselves to elaboration. You should keep talking, adding relevant sentences until your time is up.

Part Two
In the second part of the Aptis speaking exam, you are given a picture which you have forty-five seconds to describe. You then have to answer to related questions with a limit of forty-five seconds for each.

A typical example of this could be the picture on the left.

Describe the picture.
Do you often have to work in a team in work or university?
Why is teamwork important?

Describing a photo is a question that comes up in many exams. With this type of question, you should take as much time as possible to gather your thoughts. Then use all of the time given to talk about it. Below are some useful phrases to describe the position of things within a picture.

When talking about what people are doing or wearing in a photo we must use the present continuous. Subject + is/are + verb in ING It is also important to speculate about what the subjects of the picture might be doing using expressions like:

It seems as if…

They might/may/could be …

It makes me think of …

I think …

Let’s try to answer the questions above. Remember you have 45 seconds for each answer which should be approximately 5 to 7 clear sentences.

In this photo, I can see a group of people sitting around a table. In the background, there is a large window and the room is bright. There are posters on the wall behind them. They seem to be working on something together. In the middle of the table, there is a model of something which they are pointing to and discussing. Maybe it’s a building. They might be doing a project together for a university class. Maybe they are engineering students and they are doing a project on town planning.
When I was at university, I often had to give presentations with other students. We would be given a project to discuss and research and would have to present it together in front of the rest of our class. I enjoyed working with my classmates on these projects as it gave me a different perspective on the topic. However, I also got very nervous having to speak in front of so many people. I used to practise as much as I could beforehand to feel more relaxed about it.
Teamwork is very important, not only in university but also in the working world. As I mentioned before, having more than one person working on a project allows for more input and different points of view to be considered. Being able to work in a team is beneficial as it reduces the workload for everyone involved and means projects can be finished more efficiently.
As you can see, each answer has clear, concise sentences. I hope this helps you in your preparation for Aptis or indeed any English exam in which you are asked to describe a picture. In the next part of this series, we will look at parts 3 and 4 of the Aptis speaking exam. Don’t forget to check back soon.

In our English academies in La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas, you can prepare for Aptis as well as the Cambridge First Certificate and Advanced.

The Sights and Sounds of Avenida del Marqués de Corbera

At The Language Corner we feel very lucky to have our English school so close to such a vibrant and fascinating road as Avenida del Marqués de Corbera. It plays a very important role in the life of the La Elipa community and our native English teachers always comment on how much activity there is up and down the length of the road.La Elipa Metro

As well as being the main road through La Elipa the Avenida del Marqués de Corbera hosts some of the most popular social events. If you are from the Ciudad Lineal area you surely must have attended at least one of the Fiesta de Septiembre, Mercadillo Popular de la Artesanía, Carrera Popular, Fiesta de la Bicicleta and Cabalgatas de los Reyes!

Avenida del Marqués de Corbera was recently featured prominently on the RTVE program. It starred amongst other people the famous local band Burning, who themselves reference La Elipa and Avenida del Marqués de Corbera in many of their tunes. Also featured were the Asociación de Vecinos La Nueva Elipa, who we support in their important work in the local area.Dragon La Elipa

Other highlights of Avenida del Marqués de Corbera include the incredibly well-known Dragón of La Elipa and the fantastically friendly bar La Fornia, where you can often find The Language Corner teachers enjoying the great food and ambience. The road is a short distance from other important local sites such as the Cementerio de La Almudena, Fuente del Berro park, the TV tower El Pirulí and the adjoining padel courts.

So as you can see Avenida del Marqués de Corbera is much more than just a road, it’s an authentic piece of Madrid history!