We’re well settled into the new year and we’re all full of hopes and dreams for the next 12 months – learning a new language, getting fit, changing our job, travelling more. Most likely in the first week of the year you were super pumped, ready to drop anything to stick to your main goal(s).
By the time the second week came however, you kind of settled in, relaxed the rules a bit and got back to some of your old habits. When January’s over, your goal will be completely forgotten like it was never there and you’re going to be thinking ‘how silly of me to think that I could learn Spanish’.
That can be one of the ways the future looks. Let’s take a different turn. Lets push through the phase when we want to give up and see what happens. The other road is familiar but wouldn’t it be nice to see what else can happen? What if you did learn Spanish this year? You could read books in Spanish, and you could talk to other Spanish speakers, and on your next holiday in Spain you could strike up a conversation with a stranger and end up making new friends.
Studies have shown that the human brain tends to value immediate rewards more than future rewards. When you set a goal or a resolution you are in fact making plans for your future self and it ‘s easy to imagine how your life can look. But, when the time comes that you actively pursue that goal most people choose immediate gratification and opt to do what they feel like in the moment.
Now that we understand how our mind works, it’s time to find ways to stop this from happening.
- Start slowly and build a ritual. Set yourself to practice for half an hour a day – that’s not too much to ask right? Offer yourself a reward after – if you’re learning a language with uTalk, the reward comes in the form of earning points and we all like to build up to a nice score, right?
- Put aside some of your other tasks. Obviously not work or eating but if you usually browse the Internet while commuting why not replace that with your main goal?
- Keep your eyes on the prize – never lose sight of your motivation. Look at pictures of beautiful Spanish landscapes and imagine yourself having a chat with the locals, or listen to Spanish songs and try to understand the lyrics.
I hope this helps you push through the temptation of giving up and will ultimately get you to your goal. And don’t worry about making mistakes; the only person who loses is the one that gives up, so no matter how slow you are going, it’s still better than if you weren’t doing anything.
And if your goal is to learn a language (or twelve…), there’s still time to join the uTalk Challenge!
Something a little different today, just because it’s Friday…
Like many of us, Steve will be taking on the uTalk challenge in January 2015, and he’s chosen to explain the reasons for his language choice in verse. As you do 😉
If you’d like to join Steve (in the uTalk language challenge, not the poetry), drop us an email with your chosen language over the next couple of weeks and we’ll let you know how it’s going to work. Good luck!
Last Monday I went into the EuroTalk office, had hardly taken off my hat
When Liz announced to all and sundry: ‘Now here’s a challenge and it’s no trap:
Pick any language from the uTalk App.
I don’t mind which, as long as you try;
You’ll have the month of January, no more,
To use the App and get damn good scores!’
OK, I thought, well … it’s got to be Thai.
Here goes, methinks: it’s a very fine tongue, and could just be a bit of fun!
I go there a lot, it’s lovely and hot, I like Bangkok, the people, the vibe,
But knowing no Thai is something I can’t hide.
It’s a bit of a challenge, it’s a question of pride
I’ll read a menu
In any venue
I’ll not freak out when someone phones
If I can only master those tones
That speakers of Thai use as a matter of course.
I’ll use the App to get damn good scores.
I won’t give up, I will not park it
I’ll have that chat with the guy at the market
To buy my stuff and interact.
I’ll learn some Thai from the uTalk App!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the USA, and around the world! Before we know it, it’ll be Christmas, and then we’ll be into 2015. Time flies!
Here in the EuroTalk office, we enjoy a bit of healthy competition, and with the new year approaching, we’ve decided it’s a good time to take some of our own advice and try learning a new language, using our uTalk app. We’ll all be taking on different languages, and competing against each other to see who can learn the most in the 31 days of January. What could possibly go wrong?
The rules are simple:
1. The winner will be the first person to score maximum points on uTalk in the language of their choice, or the person with the highest score on 31st January.
2. The language chosen can’t be one we already speak.
3. Competitors must start from zero points on 1st January.
4. To join the challenge, we’ll need to have access to an iPhone or iPad with the free uTalk app installed.
If you fancy taking up the uTalk challenge for yourself, we’ll be very glad of the company, so drop us an email with the language you’ve chosen, and we’ll send you over a code to unlock the Essentials upgrade (worth £6.99) so you can get started completely free on January 1st.
And in the meantime why not let your friends know which language you’re planning to learn? (There are 100 to choose from, but don’t panic – you’ve got a month to think about it!)
So far, our competitors include:
Ioana, who’ll be learning French
Nat, taking on Icelandic
Steve, who fancies a go at Thai
Al, tackling Chinese (Mandarin)
… and Liz, who took a while to decide but eventually settled on German.
Wish us luck!
This week on the 5th, 6th and 7th November, it’s the Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festival in Thailand, otherwise known as the Lantern Festival. After seeing some pictures and watching some videos, it looks like one of the most breath-taking festivals I have seen.
Yi Peng and Loy Krathong
Both of the festivals are a spiritual, ancient and sacred affair that invite new beginnings via spiritual cleaning. Yi Peng is where thousands of people gather to release Khom Li (Lit lanterns) into the night sky and make a wish, as well as paying homage to the Buddha. The sky is completely transformed into a wonderful and mesmerising spectacle.
The Loy Krathong festival is believed to be an ancient Brahmanic or Indic festival. Originally it was a ceremony where people paid their respects to three different gods known as Phra I-Suan (Shiva), Phra Narai (Vishnu) and Pra Phrom (Brahma). However, one hundred and fifty years ago it was adopted by Buddhists as a ceremony to honour the Buddha. Today people create small floating vessels made from banana stalks and decorated with incense, offerings, flowers and candles. They are then floated down the river and are meant to symbolise the drifting away of bad luck and misfortune. Many Thai people also see it as an opportunity to honour the goddess of water.
Did you know that over 60 million people speak Thai? Outside of Thailand, the largest concentration of Thai speakers is in Los Angeles where there are approximately 80,000 immigrants.
In terms of learning Thai, it is very important to get the tones correct. Within the language there are five tones:
It is very important to distinguish these tones, as getting them wrong may lead you to say something completely different to what you had intended. For instance:
ไมล์ [mai] – mile
ใหม่ [mài] – new
ไม้ [mái] – wood
ไม่ [mâi] – not
ไหม [mǎi] – silk
They all look like they should be spoken in the same way; however, it is the tone that differentiates the word.
This week we want to hear if any of you have been to Thailand and your adventures you had had whilst over there. Or maybe you’re learning Thai, and have some tips for our readers? Let us know in the comments!