Lindsay Does Languages

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World Cinema Club: October Film – Ponyo!

Woah, September, where did you go?! So that happened. We’re in the middle of September, guys! That means the leaves are starting to fall from the trees, the nights are drawing in, and it’s time to announce next month’s World Cinema Club selection!

I’m very excited at the moment because my French course is so nearly over. That means I’ll have from October to Feburary to give my other languages a bit of a brush up…and maybe learn another…but more on that very soon. Right now, I want to share October’s film choice.
Ponyo! This is truly one of my favourite films. It’s just…Too. Darn. Cute. Seriously, you’ll enjoy this one. Even if you think “oh, but it’s for kids!” I’d highly recommend giving Ponyo a chance. So head out and pick up a copy, or find it on Netfilx, and grab some popcorn (or sushi) because this will keep a smile on your face as the nights draw in. I’m so looking forward to seeing what you all think of Ponyo at the end of October!

In the meantime, have you checked out September’s film, Delicatessen? The discussion post will be coming your way at the end of the month so if you haven’t had a chance to watch yet you’ve still got a couple of weeks!

Do you have any great suggestions for World Cinema Club? I’d love to check out your film ideas – just share them below and I’ll add them to the list!

Reasons Not To Learn A Language

No, don’t worry! I haven’t gone crazy – I still love languages! Allow me to explain…

So this week I came across an article on the internet called “Reasons why we should not learn foreign languages”. Reasons not to learn a language? I was confused. I had to read it. So I did, and I was even more confused. How?! Just what?! That doesn’t even make sense! I needed a rant, and it came in the form of this week’s video. Enjoy!

So what do you think? Do these reasons hold any ground? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Blogging and Vlogging Workshop with Khameleon Kompany!

Exciting news today! The lovely ladies over at Khameleon Kompany have invited me to present a blogging and vlogging workshop. Yay! I’m so pleased to be collaborating with Billie and Kirsty and their team to bring this to the local area. So what’s it all about? Let me fill you in…

The workshop aims to give you an introduction into blogging and vlogging for business. Over the course of three and a half hours, I’ll give you insights into how I’ve build my brand online so far and how I’m continuing to keep it growing, as well as lots of enjoyable activities to get you started on the road to writing your own blog and making your own videos. Not only that, making them work for you, and your brand.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday 30th September from 10.30am to 2pm at Newnham Village Hall, not too far from Daventry, Northants and costs £25 including lunch.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches to a very special workbook that you’ll be given for free at the workshop. We’ll work through some activities together and the rest will be handy information to help you get started once you’ve left feeling inspired!

Psst! Did you see a sneak peak over on Instagram earlier this week?

I hope to see you there on the 30th! If you’re planning on coming, please register your interest right here on the Facebook event. Alternatively, if you don’t use Facebook, email me and I’ll make a note!

If you have any questions, please don’t be shy! Just ask in the comments below or email me at lindsay[at]doeslanguages[dot]com.

8 Uniquely Scottish Words

Scotland. Potentially on the brink of independence from the UK. But are the Scottish different when it comes to language? Today I want to talk about 8 of my favourite uniquely Scottish words.


Meaning: little

wee scottish english words lindsay does languages blog This is one of my favourites! My grandparents are Scottish and when I was younger, they used to make me laugh by saying “In the name of the wee man!” whenever something shocking (or not really shocking – mock shock) would happen.


Meaning: know

ken scottish english words lindsay does languages blog Ken is one of those words that creeps up on you when you visit Scotland. You hear it and you think you’re mishearing it, then you hear it everywhere and you realise it must mean something!

Och aye

Meaning: yes

och aye scottish english words lindsay does languages blog If you ask someone in Edinburgh where the toilets are and they say ‘aye’, please do not wee (oh yes, that means small now!) urinate on their eye…they’re just trying to help!


Meaning: idiot

bampot-eedjit scottish english words lindsay does languages blog The Scots have a great way of talking about stupid people without sounding too rude. Bampot and eejit? I don’t think I’d be as offended as I would if someone called me a mother******* ******ing *****er.


Meaning: pretty

bonnie scottish english words lindsay does languages blog Such a cute word! Definitely not one to be offended by!


Meaning: potato

tatties scottish english words lindsay does languages blog On Burn’s Night in Scotland, you’d be treated to haggis (we all know what that is), neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes)!


Meaning: to babble

haver scottish english words lindsay does languages blog We’ve all heard this song, right? And we’ve all sung along something like “If I get drunk, well, I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you, And if I mhavmah?!”. Well now we know what it means! Yay!


Meaning: pale

peely-wally scottish english words lindsay does languages blog When you’re ill and you look ill, a Scot might describe you as peely-wally (and me too, I always use this one!).

What Scottish words do you love? What’s your favourite from the words above? Share them in the comments below!

VACANCY: Spanish Tutor – could that be you?

As I’m sure you know by now because I’m super excited about it, I’m moving house soon! This means I will no longer be able to continue teaching my current “real life” students. I have been looking locally to find someone to take over my Spanish lessons in the Daventry area when I move but have so far been unsuccessful in my search. Sigh.

There must be someone out there! Maybe it’s you?

spanish tutor job vacancy daventry lindsay does languages blog
The role in question is very flexible dependant on the suitable candidate’s wishes and experience. You can have complete control over the lessons and I have nothing to do with it, full control over lessons but using my resources, or if you wish, I can plan lessons for students and you can simply teach.

This would be a paid part time role. At present, I have 7 young, and eager, and lovely Spanish students aged between 3 and 7 (and a couple of older ones!) in the area per week who are hoping for a new Spanish tutor when I move, as well as an additional number of students on my waiting list should the suitable candidate wish to expand and teach more.

No teaching experience is necessary but a passion for languages and an interest in working with children is essential.

You are very welcome to contact me for more information on the role if you’re local to the Daventry area and might be interested in this position. Please email me at lindsaydoeslanguages[at]gmail[dot]com to find out more. I look forward to meeting you!

Language Quest: My Francophone Thoughts

Bonjour! Guess what? I enjoy French again! Hooray! I wanted to give you a quick update today and share some interesting things I’ve learnt so far about ‘Francophone Culture’ (if that’s even a thing…ooo…)

For my final dissertation, I’ve been given the option of 6 questions. The question I’ve picked to answer is, in a nutshell, “Is there one Francophone culture or multiple Francophone cultures?”. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, there’s a pretty obvious answer there!

I’ve started by reading around the topic to give myself a wider knowledge than just my own brain and I’ve learnt about some interesting ideas. Just to be clear, this isn’t my essay and I’m not asking for help, although of course your opinions are welcome in the comments!

Tiken Jah Fakoly

Ok, I have an addiction. French reggae. I love this guy so much. Partly because he fits perfectly into my essay plan and partly because his music actually has meaning. There ain’t nothin’ goin’ down, and ain’t nobody yellin’ timber. Tiken Jah Fakoly is an Ivorian who sings in French. Ok, so that’s Francophone, right? But he’s pretty much dissing France, colonization and all that jazz in 90% of his songs. So is that still ‘Francophone’?

What is ‘Francophone’ anyway?

Francophone is often used to describe someone or somewhere or something ‘French speaking’. This would mean that ‘Francophone culture’ was culture from French-speaking countries across the globe, including France. However, some folks (by ‘folks’ I mean essay writing chaps who probably have a lot of letters after their names) claim that ‘Francophone’ means someone or somewhere or something that uses the French language but isn’t from l’Hexagone. Whether the term includes France or not, how can countries so diverse share a culture purely based on their language?


Yes, the French (and Belgians to a lesser degree) did their fair share of colonisation, and yes, this spread their language across the world to these countries now considered ‘Francophone’. However, if you compare somewhere like Vietnam, where the French were beaten in the First Indochina War by the Viet Minh, with somewhere like French Polynesia, where citizens vote in the French elections, the impact of colonisation surely can’t be similar enough to group them together as having one culture.

Francophone cultures

With the definition of the term ‘Francophone’ being disputed, how could you claim there is one ‘Francophone’ culture? To me, the answer is clear: there are a multiple of cultures within the French speaking world, some of which may not even be directly influenced by the French way of life, even if their existence is due to French colonisation. For example, if someone takes all you have, when they disappear and leave your country in a mess, do you aspire to their way of life, those who attacked you and took your freedom; or do you look to the past, to your ancestors who created what was before the French?

This still poses an interesting question – why do people like Tiken Jah Fakoly express themselves in French when their message is so rooted in their own, in this case African, culture and almost ‘anti-French’? That’s what I intend to get to the bottom of in my dissertation. Bring it on!

Have you studied something similar? Do you have any thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments!
And, a reminder, as I said above, this is not my essay, rather a collection of a few thoughts buzzing around right now that I wanted to share. I am not looking for answers, I merely wish to share what I’ve found with you lovely people!

American English vs British English

Over the summer, my sister (who makes cool stuff over here by the way) had a friend, Emily, staying. Emily is American. About a month into her stay I realised I was completely missing an opportunity to exploit her Americanness and make a video about it. And thus, this video of American English vs British English was born! Hurrah!

It’s a bit longer than my usual videos but I’ve cut it down from 40 minutes of footage. Editing is tough!

What did you think of the video? Let me know in the comments!

12 Top Tips for Teaching on Skype

Teaching on Skype has quickly become a big part of my business. It’s a valuable part too – I can go from one lesson to another without the risk that’s always there with “real life” lessons of getting stuck in traffic. This means I can teach more. Instead of one lesson 3-4 then 4.15-5.15 then 5.45-6.45, I can work from 3 straight through to 6! Giving me an extra 45 minutes to catch up on some work, teach someone else, or even finish earlier! Brilliant!

With the likes of italki becoming bigger and more essential language learning resources by the day, teaching online is big business. So today, I wanted to share with you my top tips for teaching on Skype.

1. Good equipment

diary and laptop language learning lindsay does languages blog It doesn’t matter if your laptop is old or your headset is your gaming one. The important thing is that your equipment works, and when I say equipment, that includes Internet connection. Likelihood is that your provider can’t always guarantee 100% perfect connection but make sure it’s as good as can be. You wouldn’t expect your mechanic to fix your car with a spanner from Poundland, would you? That said, I’m not trying to put you off! Go for it and make the best of what you have now to see if it’s right for you before investing big time.

2. Good resources

When I started my business, one thing I was adamant about was making my own resources to set me apart from the competition. This is still something I do today. Having a good, solid base of teaching resources will make your job a lot easier.

Teaching online though also means you have to think outside the box a little bit – it’s no good having boxes of beautiful flashcards when your student can’t touch them! Focus your attention on Powerpoints, PDFs and Word documents – all things you can display and share easily with your online students. Check out my Pinterest page for some ideas.

3. Twiddla

My absolute essential for “real life” teaching is a whiteboard. Obviously, this is tricky to use via Skype. Thankfully, I discovered Twiddla! It’s an online whiteboard tool that you and anyone who you share the link with can see and edit at the same time. Perfect for awkward explanations you just can’t do with words and emoticons!

You can also view webpages together and write all over them, as well as upload images and documents. Very useful for you, very interactive for the student.

4. Screen share

Skype seems to have recently opened up it’s screen share option to everyone (I’m pretty sure it used to be a premium feature). This is perfect for online tuition! Sometimes, Twiddla doesn’t load Powerpoints very well, on those days screen share is perfect. I’ve also found it useful when trying to explain to new italki students how to confirm lessons or book new ones.

5. Always keep moving forward

gifboom bike riding gif language learning lindsay does languages blog Once you’ve found something that works, don’t sit still! Constantly look for ways to improve your teaching, keep making resources as well as updating the ones you already have.

6. Treat your students well

Consider your students as your employer as well as your customer, after all, they are the ones paying you and without them, you have no job. Make each student feel special by remembering what they like, what they don’t like, what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. If it helps, you could use a little notebook to keep track. Of course resources can be reused for different students, but from time to time, I love making resources with specific students in mind!

7. Take advantage of the Internet

There is almost no point teaching online if you’re not going to do this! The Internet is there so use it in lessons. Ideas include using a Google Image search to explain word definitions, searching the Internet together (on Twiddla) for relevant information and making use of online dictionaries as a last resort.

8. Mix your media

There’s so much stuff out there that it seems a shame to constantly give students the same source to work with. Use videos, audio and articles as stimuli for conversation. Podcasts, news, YouTube, social media, whatever you use, focus on real examples of the language and keep it fun and interesting! Sending these before the lesson will not only make you a keen and professional teacher but also give your students a chance to prepare any questions beforehand. Why should they pay for your time and then spend 5 minutes watching a video they could have done before the lesson?

9. Plan!

Once you’ve got your resources, both technical and teaching, you can begin to plan lessons! I find it useful to have a few back up lessons plans for situations like if a new student books a lesson the very next day and you know nothing about them and you know you won’t have time to prepare anything. Be prepared. Like a scout.

10. Promote yourself

white board girl on a bench language learning lindsay does languages blog When you’re all set up and ready to go, you can begin to promote your services. Don’t do it until you’re ready – there’s no rush! Facebook, Twitter, blogs, italki…basically the Internet! One of the joys of teaching online is that you can offer your services to anyone anywhere. Don’t waste your time or money pushing leaflets through doors or paying for an ad in the local paper. Look wider. Be nice. Sell yourself. But not like a lady of the night.

11. Enjoy it!

After all, if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? Teaching online isn’t for everyone and sometimes you’ll want nothing more than a day away from being huddled inside with your screen and your headset. A full day of Skype tuition can be tough. Which leads nicely to the next tip…

12. Look after yourself

jumping summer girl language learning lindsay does languages blog If you want to make this a big part of your income, then chances are you’ll be spending a lot more time online than you do now. You have to consider this. Plan in regular exercise and get yourself outside! If your work is being on the Internet talking to people then playing your Xbox will have no positive relaxing effect. It’s just the same.

I hope these tips are useful for you if you’re planning on expanding into teaching online. It’s a relatively young industry so it’s a very exciting time to get involved. If you’re a student, be sure to sign up for Skype lessons with me beginning this Autumn! There’s not many spaces left! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you! Good luck!

Can We Write Laughter?

Language is, always has been, and always will be, constantly changing. A little like technology. But when it seems technology is advancing so quickly, does language adapt itself at the same speed?

I remember way back when in 200*cough cough* and I was the proud owner of a Nokia 3210. The shops were overloaded with the likes of “A Dummie’s Guide To Text Talk” and “C U l8r: How 2 Txt”. I totally made those titles up, but you get the idea. We wanted, nay, needed, to know how to talk to each other wth shrt wrds 2 sy mre + py less 4 txts. And, inevitably, before long, teachers, parents and everyone else over the age of 25 was blaming texting for corrupting the spelling of the youth. Corrupting or changing? Well, that’s a debate that can be had another day.

Point is, texting changing language, dramatically. Round about the same time as texting, e-mail reared it’s head in a big way, which also contributed its fair share to language change. Both of them paving the way to a future (currently a now) with more people reading and writing than ever before, but not in the traditional sense. ;) Ooo, see how that winky smiley just make that sentence sound flirty? I’m not flirting with you, I promise. ;)

So then with texting and emailing, these punctuation aided smiles began emerging. Expressing emotion, earning themselves the title of emoticons. When you write, it suddenly becomes easier to tell your reader how you want things to be read. :( Now you think that I think that’s a bad thing, right? Just because I put a little sad face. Or a colon and a bracket depending on which way you look at it.

And you can put your own personal twist on this! Do you give your smileys a nose? :- ) A square mouth? :] Or a non-head-tipping ‘meh’ quality? ‘__’

Another thing that strikes me as being super personal is the way we laugh in writing. Lol. Rofl. Haha. Hehe. LOL. Roflcopter. Bahaha. Just to name a few I’m sure. Then to contrast, we have the super personal ways we interpret it when people say them. I’ll give you a little example, my granddad always ends a text with “LOL gdad xx”. Is he laughing out loud in a demonic Bond villain kind of way before completing his message or chuckling before signing off? Well, no actually. Turns out he means ‘Lots Of Love”.

So you see, it’s a minefield of abbreviations, three letter acronyms, and emoticons out there. But laughter is the one that really gets me. Do you think we can express laughter through writing? Can we write laughter? Do different ways of writing laughter come across as sarcastic? Now, I don’t know the answer to this, or even if there is one. Also, if English isn’t your first language, how do you express laughter in your native language? I’d love to get your opinions – what do you think? Lol. Just kidding. ;) Now I’m flirting. :o Now I’m shocked. Ok, I’ll stop now. Over to you!

Learning English: Infinitive vs Ing

Getting to grips with the basics of a language is one thing, getting a hold on the nitty gritty advanced grammar that will blow natives away is quite another.

Currently, I have a wonderful array of pretty awesome English students with a pretty awesome level of English. It’s got the the point where we’re discussing those nitty gritty advanced grammar intricacies to take them to the next level. Yay!

One thing that’s come up this week is when to use the infinitive and when to use the ‘ing’ form. Infinitive vs ing. Eek! If you can say both “I hate playing football” and “I hate to play football”, why can you say “I enjoy playing football” but not “I enjoy to play football”. English, have you been at it again? Inventing crazy ways to confuse us all? Tut tut.

Well, I’ve put together a handy little reference sheet to help you. Although it doesn’t necessarily explain why (sometimes you just have to nod and smile), it does explain when and how. You are very welcome to pin it, print it, save it, share it, blow your nose on it. Although I’d prefer if you didn’t do the last one. Enjoy!

infinitive vs ing info graphic english language learning grammar verbs lindsay does languages blog

Also, I’ve been hard at work compiling a playlist over on both 8tracks and YouTube of songs that use the infinitive and songs that use the ‘ing’ form. For when it all gets too much but you know you should still be working.

English Verbs: Infinitive vs -ing. from LindsayDoesLanguages on 8tracks Radio.

So, over to you, what baffles you in English? What would you like me to explain to you? Would you like video explanations over on YouTube? Let me know in the comments!