In this tutorial we cover:
- How a busy self study student can make time to prepare for the IELTS
- Why Powerful Focus is essential (and how to get it)
- How to keep motivated (useful for adult learners)
- How to get an INSTANT ROUTINE
You can download or listen to the audio version here:
You can also watch the full tutorial here:
READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Female Voice: You are now listening to the IELTS podcast. Learn from tutors and ex-examiners who are masters of IELTS preparation. Your host, Ben Worthington.
Ben: Hello there, IELTS students. In this tutorial, we’re going to be speaking with Kirsten from the– what do you call it– fluentlanguage.co.uk and Kirsten has built up this awesome website which deals with learning a language, developing a habit of a language and speaking it fluently and Kirsten is going to be sharing lots of helpful advice and she knows what she’s talking about. She’s learnt eight languages and yes, absolute brainiac, insanely intelligence. So, welcome to the podcast, Kirsten.
Kirsten: No one’s ever introduced me like that. That’s possibly the best introduction I’ve ever had. Hello, Ben. Hello, IELTS listeners.
Ben: Yes, but eight languages; that’s just insane because I’m trying to learn a second one and I just keep bumbling it and falling over. So, somebody who’s learned eight that’s amazing, from my point of view anyway.
Kirsten: It just means I’ve been falling over for much, much longer than you probably.
Ben: I guess from what we were talking about last time like your community is the polyglot community so you’re probably like eight languages just like yes, I’ve learnt ten I’ve learnt five or whatever, but for outsiders, eight languages is just incredible. So, could you tell us about yourself and why you jumped into this world of language learning?
Kirsten: Sure. I live my life in the English language now, but originally, I come from Germany and I grew up and didn’t really have formal language lessons until I was 10. So, I grew up speaking German and speaking a dialect of German as well as Hochdeutsch; sort of standard German. So, I was kind of aware probably that people express themselves in different ways.
I remember like when I was 9 years old in school that we did if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands before I knew English, before I knew really what it meant. I was just like this is so much fun. This is so brilliant. So, I think I’ve always had a thing for like the different sounds of other languages and then I was very lucky in secondary school because I had compulsory English and a compulsory second language choice of French or Latin in my school. So, I took French and then the school just like two years later they offered Italian. I was like cool, let’s go and then there was a chance of taking Latin again at a later stage and I was like cool, let’s go.
So, all the way through my life I think when someone’s offered a language, I’ve always gone like cool, let’s go. So, Italian and Latin and then I did Spanish later on. That was after school. I trained then I moved to England, studied English and French basically. Took an MA in Translation Studies and then for a while, I’ve just worked.
I had a job where I traveled a lot, but I didn’t really learn languages. So, I sort of went on break and then when I came out of my job and I became self-employed, I thought oh well, what can I do? What skills do I even have? German teaching? Okay. Right, let’s try that and that’s kind of when I realized how excited I am when adults learn languages and then how excited I am when I learn languages.
I kind of really, really came back to it and that’s when I started doing– first I was doing Russian, then I started learning Welsh, and now I’m kind of playing around with Chinese although Chinese I’m finding so much harder. So, I’m still struggling and that’s how the language numbers sort of added up.
Ben: Got you. Wow! Wow! So, you just kept progressing. I was wondering because the last time we spoke, you picked up on my Spanish question tags and I was wondering hardly anybody picks up on that. Just for the listeners, as you probably know I’m from England, but I spent a lot of time in Spain and sometimes I use the Spanish structures even when I’m speaking English.
Kirsten picked up on this and I was wondering how she picked up on it, but now I know that you have studied Spanish to a certain level so that’s why it was pretty clear, right?
Kirsten: Yes and I always found question tags really fascinating because in English– when you’re learning English, you get taught how to do question tags because there’s a very firm structure, isn’t there? Right? You say a sentence and then you sort of just negate the verb, but you only do it with do or be, don’t you? So, I remember learning that and how exciting I found it and then how I had to learn that like– or how cool I found it in Spanish that’s they don’t do that. They just go no at the end of the sentence.
Ben: And it’s funny because it’s almost intuitive. If I speak like that, the listener always understands, no?
Kirsten: Just do it, Ben.
Ben: Just that’s it, but they always understand and it’s like intuitive even though it’s not the right structure and I think it just speaks a lot about like the capacity of other people to understand if they just– even if you don’t put in that much effort. So, yes. I’ve got some questions about Welsh, which I’ll ask you near the end because it’s from a meme that I received from a German friend and then I sent on to a Welsh friend and the Welsh friend– yes, exactly. It was kind of weird and the Welsh friend doesn’t even speak Welsh, but I thought I’d send it. Anyway, I’ll ask you about that later on.
What I’m really interested in is your focus is on adults and I guess adults usually are quite time poor especially when it comes to learning a language and I’ve got the same situation with a lot of my students. I get emails from them and they’re working full-time or studying full-time and it’s a real challenge to prepare for the exam and then to even budget the time necessary to not only to prepare for the exam but to learn the language. What solutions could you put forward or how would you help a student like that especially a self-study student who’s not going to an academy?
Kirsten: Absolutely. It’s a really interesting question. I think it’s very important and straightaway we’re asking a question here about not how to learn a language you know like should you do the verbs first or should you do pronunciation first? It’s much more fundamental. It’s much more basic in a way than that and much more about your life.
So, you have to start with who you are and what your life is like and how much time you realistically have. This is by the way when you work. I mostly work with English speakers who want to learn another language. This is I think why so many people pick up a language in retirement because you just have time all of a sudden or you feel like you have time.
So, the key tip for somebody who isn’t in retirement yet and you want to learn a language and you’re busy, the key tip for me is to go little by little. So, that means don’t expect yourself to sit down once a week and study a language for five hours straight even if that’s how it fits into your schedule, even if that’s how it fits into your diary. It’s not as helpful because your brain– the way forgetting works, the way our brain forgets is that your brain is better at learning stuff when you are reminded little and often.
So, allow yourself first of all to do something for only 10 minutes or 15 minutes. That is important. So, just kind of look at your diary and see where something can fit in and if you can only do 10 minutes of English, if you just can listen to a podcast or something like that for a little bit, that is better than nothing and that is actually better than adding it all up and doing it in one session during the week. Also, it’s better for developing your habit, right, so you continue to do it.
Ben: Absolutely. So, it’s like better to do 10 minutes every single day rather than just batch it all out on one day, one Sunday five hours, for example.
Ben: Yes, that makes perfect sense from my own experience of learning Spanish as well. We’re just going to go a bit off-piece now. When you were talking about whether it’s better to learn the verbs first or the nouns or whatever, I was curious there. What would you say– do you have a methodology like if you’re teaching adults and they want to improve in their language or even start learning the language? How do you start? How do you do that?
Kirsten: Two things that I do now, like for me personally, something I really like to do is to– and I think this is because I’m German. So, I’ll explain this in a minute. Something I really like to do is start with pronunciation and just get my head around how to not be perfect, but just really know the different sounds in the language and how they relate to the different letters and this is why I say maybe it’s because I’m German because German is extremely consistent. What you see is what you say always.
English is not like that at all. In English, what you see could be five different sounds, twelve different sounds, right? But coming from Germany, I learned that pronunciation is really helpful because it then teaches me how to spell and then I can read and then when I read I can hear a word and when I hear a word, I can imagine the word. So, it all starts for me to come together in most languages.
Now, I’m currently– like I said, I’m learning Chinese and there is this whole like layer of– like the tones I didn’t find too difficult. A lot of people talk about the tones with Chinese and it’s not– to me, it didn’t really break my head, but there being a whole other system where I can kind of see something, but from looking at it, I might know the meaning of something, but I don’t know how it sounds, that still is throwing me a little bit.
Ben: Right. Yes, yes.
Kirsten: So, that’s one thing, but I find pronunciation really helpful. The other thing that I do now and I think is really helpful if you’re learning English, for example, is just put yourself in front of something fairly simple and just ask yourself what you can understand. Give yourself a lot of input and just try and figure it out. Try and figure it out and just kind of go along the way. It could be a simple song. It could be if you happy and you know it clap your hands. That will be good actually because there are a lot of actions.
So, they teach you what different things mean, but it’s how I teach German as well. I’ve got this big German online course and it’s story based. So, we actually work with read the story and then I kind of unlock lots of different aspects of it.
Ben: Got you, got you, yes. What you’re saying about the pronunciation that definitely– it kind of almost mimics the natural way of learning a language because you start by listening for the first couple of years. You’re just listening. It’s just input, input and then you start reproducing the sounds and then, as you said, it kind of unlocks other parts of the language. Yes, very interesting.
So, another point that I found on your site was the power of focus. Why is this needed and how could a student get it?
Kirsten: By focus– when I talk about focus, either it’s very closely related to the idea of goal setting and all-round planning out what you’re going to do because if you’re self-taught or if it’s may be your first time teaching yourself a language or you just came out of school or any kind of institutional setting, what you are used to is you kind of turn up at a specific time, someone else has done all of the thinking for you and somebody else has done all of the planning for you and all you have to do really is kind of go here I am. Teach me. Teach me. Teach me, right? So, it’s actually less work.
So, when you’re teaching yourself a language, there’s this whole other level that you forget about because no one tells us that this happens. I have to learn it myself, but I can’t just get the book, sit down, and go right I’m going to do Polish now because what happens is when you sit down and you haven’t thought beforehand about what you actually want to achieve, Polish is just like a massive like swimming pool. You’re looking on the sea and you’re looking at you go right, I’m going to empty this now and you don’t really know what you’re doing and you don’t really know what’s going to be the most useful thing to do about it.
So, I talk in order to really be able to focus, I think you need to be able to give yourself the opportunity to sit down and know that what you’re doing is effective. A lot of students, a lot of people contact me and a lot of my clients and stuff talk to me and they want to know is what I’m doing really effective.
So, I work with people on setting yourself goals or setting yourself tasks for the next let’s say 30 days where you really think about okay, where am I stuck in English or what am I doing let’s say in English now? I’m working on removing ‘no’ from the end of my sentences just as an example out of thin air and you think okay, well that’s what I want to do. So, I want to– for the next 30 days, my focus is just on this. I want to speak without this. I’m going to practice lots of speaking.
And then when you have one little goal like that and you really think what do I want to do in the next weeks, it gives you the opportunity to think well, what am I actually going to do? Then you can get really specific about your actions and the different kind of small things that you will do. When you can do that, then it becomes much, much easier to find the time as well because you’re no longer thinking I have to learn all of English. You’re just thinking oh, I just want to practice some questions. I can take 10 minutes. Yes.
Ben: I love that. I love that. I have been saying similar stuff in the podcast in previous episodes about breaking it down into smaller bite-sized pieces. Just the other week, a student was talking about his schedule and how he got a spreadsheet because he was working shifts. So, like maybe two hours before work or an hour after work, he would just have it all mapped out, but the important thing and he was doing exactly what you were saying; sort of like assigning a task to each free space in his agenda–on his spreadsheet
So, when he sat down, like you said, he’s not going to just be like learning the whole of the English language. He’s just going to be focusing on practicing the use of articles, for example, and I think doing it this way especially for time-poor students they’re going to be able to fully maximize any free time that they do have and use it better. Also, it fits in with what we were saying before about developing a habit and trying to get it done daily rather than just a five-hour lump of time on a Sunday afternoon.
Kirsten: Absolutely and you know IELTS as a test, like most language-level tests, it kind of breaks it down for you already, right? Because it splits language into reading, listening, speaking, and writing and everything that I do and how I work, I keep recommending that to people. Just think– you don’t have to do I’m only going to do writing because if you’re having a language lesson, of course, you’re practicing your listening too, but just think like what am I going to do for my reading this month? What am I going to do for my listening? What am I going to do for my speaking? What am I going to do for my writing? So, you already have it broken down. You don’t even need to like come up with a magical structure because it’s already there. So, it’s even easy.
Ben: Yes, yes. I mean if the student is really struggling, they can maybe break it down for yes/no/not given or whatever, but the framework is there. You’re totally right. The other thing what you said before about it’s basically learning how to learn because at school it’s just presented to you on a plate and like you said, you just turn up.
I think this is really important because I know personally that I learn better if there’s a system or some kind of methodology or some kind of program to follow. I’ve got friends who will learn a language better just by reading those bilingual books, you know, the dual path and just by reading it and getting familiar. I know a friend of my dad she just loves diving into the grammar. She’s just a grammar queen and just loves it and devours it.
So, I think what’s really important is to figure out like how you learn and in your case, like you said, for you it’s the pronunciation, but just learning how to learn and being aware of what works for you on a personal level. This brings me on to the next question about routine. How could a self-study student build this? On your site, you talk about an instant routine. Can you tell us more about that?
Kirsten: You know they–I’ll tell you why I had to learn this and where it kind of comes from is because I tend to resist routine and I tend to resist– I resisted all of this like routine, goals, getting organized. No, no, no. I’m lazy. I am just as lazy as everybody else, but possibly more. So, I was resisting the idea of routine for a long, long time until I realized this thing about if I don’t have any kind of structure and if I don’t have any kind of system and if I just think well, I’m an individual and I’m going to trust my gut, then essentially, I don’t do anything because discipline goes out the window.
So, you have to find this balance between being an individual, but also being disciplined and that’s not easy. I did some reading– a few years ago, I read a lot of research around motivation in language learning because I was really interested in that and just generally how languages are learned. For a while, I thought about doing– I sort of half wrote a PhD application that I never sent and then it–
Ben: Why not? Sorry, go on. Sorry, carry on. We’ll come back to this later.
Kirsten: I know it’s still somewhere. It’s still somewhere. I think I lacked confidence academically. We don’t go there.
Ben: No worries. No worries.
Kirsten: It’s not so useful for the listeners, but we can talk about it. Anyway, so all this research that I read kind of brought me to a few conclusions and helped me come up with a way of getting organized for myself. The other way that helped me personally was the bullet journal method and to start like writing down a bullet journal. So, I started making myself all these different trackers and structures and eventually, I kind of put them all together and that’s what’s the language habit toolkit now, but for me, it was the process of organizing myself. That’s where it started.
What I found was that the three most important parts of having a routine for me is not like every Monday morning, every Tuesday– I don’t really– routine doesn’t have to mean schedule, but it does have to mean a disciplined structure. So, for me, the good structure for language learning is to plan, track what you’re doing; just keep an eye on what you’re doing and review. So, at the end of a month or at the end of three months or whatever, however fast you learn; maybe at the end of the week, sit down and do a review.
That was kind of what I worked on. Then I started sharing it with other people and that’s how my method, if you want to call it a method, was created. It’s not about you must [unintelligible 00:22:36.22]. You must do this. You must speak straight away. For me, it’s much more about how do you get organized so that you don’t stop?
Ben: Excellent point there, excellent. I’m going to ask you about motivation and language learning just because that seems very interesting what you just mentioned, but I’d just like to talk about goal-setting. I think goal-setting is a skill in itself because when you get into– I mean when I got into it, I was like awesome! Goal-setting! And I put all these like crazy goals and then at the end of the week, I’d only accomplished five of them and I feel like a loser, a complete loser. So, a friend said okay, set three goals and after that, everything else is a bonus goal.
Doing it this way it was just much, much more effective and much more enjoyable, but also I think what you said was really important is not beating yourself up about it and just accepting that okay, these are the goals. These are the bonus goals. If I don’t hit them, I’m not going to just throw the language– I’m not going to throw the dictionary into the bin. I’m going to give myself a little bit of leeway at least it when I’m getting started and then small steps and slowly those steps turn into paces and the pace turns into a walk and then before you know it you’re running, you’re sprinting, and you’re getting that momentum, which I think is another very, very important part.
So, motivation and language learning; what did you find when you were researching this, when you were jumping in, when you were in this?
Kirsten: One of the things that I found really fascinating was that motivation— two aspects about motivation. 1) It’s cyclical, so it kind of fuels itself. In other words, when you are feeling success, when you’re feeling a good result, you become more motivated. So, then you get more good results and then you get more motivated and then you get more good results and you get more motivated, right?
So, motivation it’s not some kind of magical thing that you have to– when people say I don’t have motivation after a period of long hard work, that’s natural. That’s normal, right? It’s not because you lack the willpower. It’s because you haven’t had a good experience for a while, which is why it’s so important to set your goals small because otherwise you don’t have success and then you think you’re being ambitious, but you’re just– it’s a recipe for disaster really. It just means you stop.
So, that was one thing and the other thing was that there are in a way two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic basically means the kind of things that come that are outside of you that you aim for. So, if you are– if you want to– Okay, so if your university says you have to have IELTS 6.5, then that is your motivation. That is something to aim for and that is one type of motivation.
If you now inside of yourself accept okay, I’m going to study for IELTS 6.5. That is my personal goal because I want to go to university and I see myself there and inside of me I fill all the goodness that my life will– I know what my life will feel like, that’s called intrinsic motivation and it’s generally more powerful and much more consistent. So, people find that when you are able to find motivation inside of yourself for learning languages, that’s when you succeed. That’s when you don’t give up and it really is true. Successful language learning they’re not magical. With eight languages, twelve, one language; it doesn’t matter. You are successful when you don’t give up. That’s the main thing.
Ben: Interesting. Yes. I usually ask why a certain student is– if I’m chatting with them online or emailing them and most of them it’ll be the extrinsic ones. I need IELTS to get into City of London University, for example. Every once in a while, it’s like I don’t need IELTS for anything. I just want to test my level and those ones who are taking it just to see how good they are at English or to see if they’ve improved, those would be the intrinsic ones, right? Is that right?
Kirsten: They are intrinsically motivated to achieve an external goal. So, the question then is like is getting to City meaningful to you? If you basically feel like I want to go to City to study finance because my mum really wants me to go to City to study finance, but really secretly, I want to do physics at my local. I don’t care. I don’t care about City. If you are that, then you will have a harder time motivating yourself, right? So, you have to find– and I usually call it a vision goal basically.
So, there is the vision goal. That’s not the task oriented one. That is really the one– the question is why is this meaningful to you? What makes it meaningful to you and also like who are you going to be when you’re successful? It’s very self-improving.
Ben: Yes, yes, yes. It like explains this– so maybe a student who’s got the goal of taking their family from Russia or from India, from wherever to live in Canada.
Kirsten: Yes. You have a vision. You have a big thing and if you think or you feel happy when you think about it and that’s a different kind of motivation. So, it comes from the inside even if it’s something outside that you want in your life.
Ben: Got you and it’s that motivation that you’re going to rely on and you’re going to use to sit down and write an IELTS task 2 essay about a subject that you really probably don’t care that much about, for example. Got you.
Kirsten: Good example, yes.
Ben: Yes, thanks and the other thing that I just want to remind the listeners about was the quick wins and just getting that momentum and getting in that positive feedback loop basically and just seeing how far you go and how you’re improving. Also as well, just as a side note that I think for some reason, I think a lot of us are hard-programmed to be sort of like negative and to beat ourselves up. I could ask anybody name me five faults you have as a person and they could instantly bam-bam-bam-bam five points. If I say any five good quality– five good personality traits you have, they’d be struggling and I think the default is to be negative against ourselves and this definitely translates when we’re learning languages.
So, I think we need to try and identify that when we hear it and not only recognize the errors but recognize the good points that we’re making. This is critical, as you’ve said just to keep that momentum, to keep the motivation high. All right.
So, next question: the language toolkit; this seems really interesting when I was looking at your site. Can you tell us about this, please?
Kirsten: The language– yes, language habit toolkit it’s called and it’s– people keep calling it the language toolkit, so maybe I should just rename one day, but it’s for building– the idea is it came out of this sort of a lot of reading that I did around habits and motivation. Okay. So, the language habit toolkit is a– it’s two things kind of put together.
So essentially, it’s my language learning method and I’m teaching it to you in this course that is kind of a course, but mostly built out of worksheets. So, like the professionally designed worksheets that I designed together with a friend who’s much better than me at graphic design. So, I came up with all of the structures and they’ve kind of pulled out of all the research that I did and they take you through– or everything that I was talking about today really. All this idea of planning really well, getting that focus, structuring what you’re doing so that you can also find the time and you can work out how to do it.
So, for example, there’s a weekly planner in there. So, if you have your week right in front of you, you can then go where does language learning fit in? There are different kinds of trackers because something I wanted to mention is like you said about it’s so important to be positive and it’s so important to look at ourselves at least neutrally, which is so hard already.
So, tracking is a great, great way of doing that and then– but it’s not just like okay, today I did this much. Today, I did this much. So, we track– in every of the templates, you track you’re listening, reading, speaking, and writing so that you can see which balance you naturally fall into because I find most people focus on the thing that they– either the thing that they find I am the worst or the thing that they like the most, but both ways, you don’t get balance. So, there’s a tracking system in there and then I guide you through a review process as well and it’s a whole sort of–
So, it’s a course that you can take that is very, very interactive. I didn’t want it to be you sit there and you have to learn, learn, learn. I wanted people to be able to take really quick actions straight away, which is why it’s very worksheet designed and it kind of takes you through the whole language learning process.
So, it helps you build that routine. It’s kind of like as if you have a planner that just kind of helps you along the way. So, if you have any kind of feeling where I find it hard to get organized or I don’t know what I’m doing or I don’t know if what I’m doing is effective, there will be something in there for you.
Ben: So, you can just sit down and get started straight away. You’re just following the next instruction, so to speak.
Kirsten: Yes, exactly and you do your routine and you don’t do somebody else’s routine. So, there are a lot of questions in there. It’s not the kind of course that you take where you don’t have to think because I don’t like that. So, it’s a good way for you to really start looking at evaluating your own language learning methods and kind of optimizing everything that you’re doing so that you can become a little bit more effective and you can get better results or maybe you could just have more fun, which to be honest, is the way to go to results in my opinion.
Ben: Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. If you’re enjoying it, you’re going to stick with it and you’re going to keep doing it. You’re going to come back and you’re going to be writing more essays, you’re going to be just progressing much faster because obviously, you’re going to be doing it more frequently. This is why I cringe when I see teachers just destroy the student and they’ll just say okay, you did this wrong, this wrong, this wrong and it’s like whoa! Give the guy a break. He’s just starting out. You didn’t say anything positive about them. Yes, I like this idea of the questionnaire and establishing what they did well and what they enjoy and also you said there are parts where they have to admit like what they need to improve. Is that right?
Kirsten: Yes. Yes. So, in the review process, you kind of look at like what worked over the last year, what didn’t work, how do I feel now and you also look at well, did I fall into– did I keep my study skills relatively in balance? The thing is really it’s not critical, but it encourages you and it gives you a structure for having an honest look at yourself and honest doesn’t have to mean negative, doesn’t have to mean scary. It’s just the way to move forward. Then out of that, the last thing we do is after this, you set some new goals so that you can go straight into the system again. So, it– you automatically– you’re always improving because you set some measures then you go and then at the end you’re like okay, what did I actually do? What worked? What didn’t work? And then there’s different– in the course, I give you different options for how to track depending on if you just want to check a box or you want to be writing down what you’re doing.
Ben: Very interesting. This is like TQM, no? Total Quality Management which like– No? So, you’re doing the question tasks– yes, have a look and it’s what like Toyota I think pioneered or Honda where they were just consistently and continuously improving and reviewing processes with the view to improve them. So, they just– yes and like after I don’t know if they did it in the same way, but it sounds very similar like they just review and say okay, how can this be done better? How can we improve this and then implement it, but continuously. That was the key; just continuously.
Kirsten: My husband works in– he’s a programmer. He works in software development, so he’s trained in Kanban and all those kind of methods and I think that influenced me sometimes because when I talk about my projects with him, I learn not that way and I come out of project management as well. So, there’s definitely a little bit of that there.
Ben: Okay. Interesting. Very interesting.
Kirsten: It’s a good way of bring– it’s a good skill to bring to language learning especially if you’re self-teaching.
Ben: Oh, definitely, definitely. I mean I think it’s absolutely critical if you’re self-taught or teaching yourself because if you don’t have the structure, you can just be diving all over the place and language is such a vast ocean as you were saying right at the beginning that you need to have a structured and organized approach. Otherwise, you can just drown in it literally.
Okay. So, Kirsten,
Kirsten: [unintelligible 00:37:22.27] motivation.
Ben: Sorry? We lost you there. Can you say that again, please?
Kirsten: [unintelligible 00:37:27.03] and also to set that vision so you do have the intrinsic motivation.
Ben: Exactly. That’s a very, very valuable point.
Kirsten: Yes, it’s a lot to balance.
Ben: The vision– yes, exactly. We’ve got the vision. I guess you could say– I don’t know if we just use an analogy of sailing. We’ve got the vision, which is sort of like the destination and how are we going to get there? We’re going to use the electronic mode or we’re going to use the wind sails and then we’re going to use the rudder, so to speak to steer it and without all of that in place, you’re never going to get to where you want to get to and without the self-correction along the route as well. Otherwise, it’s just like jumping into the pool with no orientation, with no sense of direction. It’s not going to be fun. Okay. So, we’re near the end and before you tell us more about fluentlanguage.co.uk, I want to ask you these questions about the Welsh language because I was a bit cynical when my friends sent me this, but do you know the word for ladybird?
Ben: Oh, that’s a shame. A hamster?
Ben: A badger?
Ben: Oh, okay.
Kirsten: I know the word for butterfly. That’s a good one.
Ben: Okay, tell me the word for butterfly.
Kirsten: It’s pilipala.
Ben: Pilipala and what does it mean; pilipala?
Kirsten: I don’t know. I didn’t know that it meant something in particular.
Ben: Okay, because I’m looking at this list in front of me and ladybird is [unintelligible 00:39:07.14] or something like that. I probably just butchered it, but it means short red cow apparently and then hamster is [unintelligible 00:39:20.20] which means–
Kirsten: [unintelligible 00:39:22.23] black pig?
Ben: Or fat cheeks. I’ve got here fat cheeks.
Kirsten: Okay. Oh, yes. Like [unintelligible 00:39:33.06]. Okay [unintelligible 00:39:34.12] that’s pigs [unintelligible 00:39:36.10].
Ben: Okay. Well, yes. The next one badger [unintelligible 00:39:40.00] which means earth pig.
Kirsten: Yes, [unintelligible 00:39:45.12]
Ben: Okay, so it is true. It is true because it has all these– yes, the words in English and the words in Welsh and then the translation of what it like literally means. Like freezer is [unintelligible 00:39:58.17] which is ice cell.
Ben: And skunk is [unintelligible 00:40:04.09] which is stink dog. Yes, there’s quite a few–
Kirsten: And you know library is [unintelligible 00:40:10.06] where you get the [unintelligible 00:40:12.00] again at the end G-E-L-L that you’ve just seen with the freezer because that means book cell.
Ben: Okay. All right.
Kirsten: [unintelligible 00:40:19.02]
Ben: When I was reading it, it just reminded me of what you were saying in the first call we had which wasn’t recorded about opening up a whole new level. It reminds me that languages open up this whole new level, a whole new universe. A whole new like special glasses into a culture, into a country. Okay, good. I’m glad I got some closure on that because I was thinking that can’t be true. I’ll ask Kirsten, but you confirmed it. So, fantastic there.
Kirsten: I mean I didn’t know any of the three vocab words that you asked me about, so bad performance.
Ben: Oh, no. We got there. We got there. You spotted [unintelligible 00:41:12.04] which was–
Kirsten: That is pig. That is pig, but when you think about it, ladybird is a weird–
Ben: Excellent point, yes.
Kirsten: –but in German, ladybird is Mary bug and lady is like Our Lady Mary, right? It’s a Catholic thing. When you say like the Church of Our Lady in German that’s often [unintelligible 00:41:33.01] so like a St. Mary’s Church.
Ben: Yes, that’s a good point actually and you can do the same with dandelion because dandy means sort of like good and happy and then you got lion and there’s like a happy lion, which is equally as insane as the Welsh one which is lion’s tooth [unintelligible 00:41:52.10]
Kirsten: Yes, [unintelligible 00:41:57.16] okay.
Ben: And then dragonfly. If you break it down as well, it is kind of weird and in Welsh it’s [unintelligible 00:42:09.03] which is servant of the snake.
Kirsten: Oh, I didn’t know that. Oh, this is great. This is great.
Ben: I’ll send this over. I’ll send it over after the call. Okay. So, just to finish off, can you tell us about your site and tell us why we should go there, what we can find when we go to fluentlanguage.co.uk?
Kirsten: So, fluentlanguage.co.uk is sort of my home on the internet. It’s a website I run. I have had this website for seven years and I’ve been blogging for seven years. So, there’s a lot of blog articles answering any kind of questions about language learning. Once a month, I check in and I share my own language learning progress or non-progress, but usually I find something good. There’s also a link to my podcast. We’ve got 160 episodes of anything and everything interesting from the world of learning another language and also you can find links to all of my language courses and if you’re a language teacher, also some stuff about becoming a language teacher and yes, if you want to hire me as a language coach, you can also do that through there. So, it’s all in one place.
Ben: Excellent. All right. Well, thank you very much, Kirsten, for coming on the show, for the ton of value and help and guidance and motivation for all the students.
Kirsten: Thanks for having me. It was so much fun. So nice talking to you.
Female Voice: Thanks for listening to ieltspodcast.com