We got more language lovers on the line. Today we are very happy to have as our guest Ula. Ula is a Polish language lover and she has very interesting insights about learning/teaching languages and how to include language practice into your everyday life.
Who are you and where have you lived in the last 12 months
My name is Ula. I’m a language passionate, a student, a teacher, a blogger, a grown-up child, and a coffee lover. I live in Poland but I’m moving to Belgium in 2 months and I feel very excited about it, especially that I took a challenge to learn Dutch on a communicative level till that time.
What languages do you speak?
I don’t really like when people ask what languages we SPEAK because I don’t know what it means exactly. What if you only understand the language? Or just know its grammatical rules? That’s why I prefer to say that I can fully communicate in Polish, English, and French, I speak (and here I literally mean speaking only) basic Portuguese and Dutch, and I understand intermediate discourse in Spanish, German, and Russian as well.
Languages are just a hobby or you make money out of them?
I work as a teacher of English as a foreign language but first of all, languages are my great passion and I learn them to relax, and get to know more about the world.
Tell us something about your First Time.
My very first times with languages are documented in The story a bout a girl, a book, a mum, and a couple of cuddly toys…
However, it was a long time ago, and it was only about English. I didn’t realize for a long time that it is possible to know a couple of foreign languages on a high level, so I didn’t treat them seriously as school subjects, I had also many other interests that didn’t leave me enough time to go deeper into language learning. A kind of revelation came when I started studying English at university. I learnt that language is not a school subject but a tool for communicating with people first of all, and that multilingualism is not a legendary myth but a real, very practical skill or sometimes even a way of life. I also got very interested in methodology of learning and teaching foreign languages which made me finally try to learn other languages for my own pleasure. I was about 21 at that time, so I think that these 3 years make me quite new among the language enthusiasts.
Any terrible experience? Like a language you could not learn and you gave up…
I don’t remember any terrible experience with languages. Even if something is difficult and I give up during my way, there is always something left after such an experience. Maybe you haven’t reached C1 in Chinese, as you were planning but you have still acquired a tiny bit that makes you more experienced and knowledgable than you had been before.
What about an “easy” experience
Languages are tricky. You may know the language itself but fail because of not understanding the culture. There’s no point in lying, learning a language is always a challenge, and much work and determination is necessary to go through the learning path. But it’s also about how you perceive things. Someone told me recently, that everything may be easy if you convince yourself that it really is!
Why languages and not…..
I’ve been interested in thousands of things and I try to develop in many different areas. Languages however, are something completely different. I treat them like a kind of door that let me do more with my other passions – read more books, sing more songs, get to know more foreign cultures. I introduce languages into my daily life and learn them while doing other things that I’m passionate about.
“I treat Languages like a kind of door that let me do more with my other passions” Ula http://t.co/uWBNlj46dH
— Bliu Bliu (@BliuBliu) September 23, 2014
Do you have a mentor? Does anybody inspire you?
I don’t have one particular person but there are many people that inspire me everyday. I sometimes find inspiration in people who have nothing to do with languages. It is enough if they do something with great interest and passion. Last time I was talking to a friend of mine who’s fascinated with painting. Although we didn’t even mention any subject connected with languages, I got some ideas for my passion after meeting her.
Do you have a secret weapon to learn languages?
My secret weapon is systematic learning and passion. First one is a key because I believe that we cannot achieve anything without hard work and involvement, and the second makes this rough path easier, pleasant, and even addictive.
Can you share with us your language learning routine?
I try to introduce language learning into my everyday activities. Of course I also learn vocabulary and grammar in a traditional way but I believe that the biggest part of my learning is talking to myself while cooking, listening to the news in a foreign language, reading press, or meeting foreigners who I try to come across as often as possible. I also believe that if we don’t feel like learning, we should take a break. That’s why there are days when I forget completely about my language learning routine and try to refresh my mind.
Do you try to read/watch content at your level? Is it easy to find?
Firstly, I sometimes find it difficult to define my level, and secondly, I prefer authentic materials whose level is usually not defined as well. That is why, it is very difficult to find something suitable. However, I also think that reading and watching are among the best ways to start feeling confident with the language and use it naturally.
Have you already used Bliu Bliu? :)
I use Bliu Bliu for Dutch because it is my weakest language and I find it difficult to look for suitable content myself. I like that Bliu Bliu recognizes your level basing on known, and unknown words and recommends material that will answer your needs!
Your final words: share anything you want with our passionate community of language lovers.
What I want to share with you most is my motivation and enthusiasm about language learning!
If you want to follow my progress, you can find me on my blog uLANGUAGES or on my Youtube channel