Home > Learning Material > Foreign languages special: interview with a multilingual speaker (featuring multilingual guest star)

Foreign languages special: interview with a multilingual speaker (featuring multilingual guest star)

In this special lesson I speak to a multilingual speaker (my mum) about learning and speaking foreign languages. Please see the notes below for explanations if you do not understand something.



 Which languages have you learned? Why?

My mum learned French and Spanish at school and university, going onto work in French and Spanish-speaking countries. She started French and the next year chose to study Spanish. She realised she enjoyed languages and so picked up Latin.

Latin is recommended for learning most of the romantic (European) languages, although it might not be so relevant for English.


Why did you learn to become multilingual?

It was something that emerged when my mum understood she enjoyed foreign languages.


When studying, what were your favourite activities and which were most useful?

My mum recommends focusing on vocabulary – writing words down and keeping a record to revise and memorise. Note new words as you first come across them. Learn them in groups or themes.

Also foreign radio and films. She used to do exchange visits with French and Spanish students. (This means that she would go to live with their family for a short time to learn more and they would come to live with her as well – a language learning exchange.)


How have you used your language skills in life? (What jobs?)

My mum taught Spanish translation in the UK then trained as a bilingual secretary and worked in an export department before joining a large organisation where she was able to do an exchange job in Madrid with a Spanish colleague.


What advice do you have for everyone learning English as a foreign language?

Absorb as much as you can. Listen to the radio, write down new words and study hard. Meet native speakers, form conversation groups. Most importantly, enjoy it.

Would you recommend learning foreign languages?

Absolutely, to learn and understand about other cultures and engage with new people.

Find foreign correspondents to communicate with and write to so that you can practise.

You can use websites like http://www.busuu.com/enc/, http://www.livemocha.com/ and http://www.interpals.net/.


Please see this article for more information about how speaking multiple languages can benefit your career and earning potential: http://fairlanguages.com/big-bucks-for-language-learners-bilinguals-earn-more-money/

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