Monday, 21 August 2017

4D Language Learning Experience for Tired Learners

When you feel like you are going to flip out if you do one more exercise training modal verbs, revise a set of new words one more time, listen to one more podcast or even watch one more episode of your favourite Top Gear, then it's probably time for you to take a break from your language study. And throw a party! How long have you not seen your bestie? Here you go, you need to treat yourself to some nice company of like minded crazy guys and gals.

‘Yay! Let’s party!’ I can hear you shout, toss your phone away, slam shut your laptop, hit off switch on your desktop and run to the nearest off-license. Whoa, whoa, hang on a minute, read the blog post to the end at least.

What I am suggesting is not a total ‘oh, what the hell’ style party with music blaring out of your windows, people jumping on your lawn like crazy and bits of food flying around in joyous food fight. I am not condoning this type of behaviour at all *serious face*. We are all mature adults with neighbours to respect, property to look after and responsible financial behavior to adhere to. And that closet for storing your bubble making machine and a collection of magic wands. Any other Tinkerbell fans out there? No? Never mind…

What I am saying is your party could be a language learning experience! Yay! A language geek party!

I am not suggesting though that you

- sing karaoke with your friends in the language you are learning;

- play charades guessing the name of the film you have recently watched in your target language;

- play Cards Against Humanity in the language you are learning (very NSFW game that comes in several languages, e.g. English, French, German free to download in PDF).

These are good party ideas if you want both to have a party and practise your target language. Well, and if your friends are learning this language too.

But in this case I am not suggesting these ideas. That’s too much of language going on again. And we are trying to have a break from it, remember?

What I am suggesting is making it a 4D language + cultural experience!

I am talking about enjoying a company of your friends (including those who don't speak your target foreign language) and sharing with them the traditional homemade food of the places where the language you are learning is spoken.

Are you in? Then...

Plan of Action

So, here is what you need to do:

- If you are learning more than one foreign language, choose which language you would like to focus on;

- If a foreign language you are learning is spoken in more than one country, choose which country’s cuisine you would like to focus on; you can even go more granular and choose a particular region of this country.

- Browse for recipes online;

- Put together a menu for your party;

- Invite your friends;

- Cook and party!

If you want to take it a bit further, you can decorate the room for your party with themed buntings, banners, flags and pictures. It’s easy to make all of these yourself if you have a colour printer at hand.

If you are feeling adventurous and your friends are in for some fun too, you might make it a costume party.

For suggested menus, costume ideas and decoration printable material, download our party packs at the end of this post.

You will find these party packs useful if you would like to skip the planning bit altogether. With suggested menus which include links to recipes and cooking videos, you can go straight to the cooking and partying bits!

Bonuses of the Language & Culture Party

When using recipes in your target foreign language, you will be able to learn or expand some specific vocabulary necessary for you to understand this content. For example, fruit, vegetables and other ingredients, kitchen appliances and utensils, cooking verbs, etc. If you would like to use recipes in English, to assist you with this specific vocabulary, we have the Cooking vocBlocks series. Our fruit and veg vocBlocks come translated into French, German, Russian and Spanish.

You learn better by doing, so the vocabulary you come across in recipes will be easier to retain in memory when you cook following these recipes. Even if you don’t cook too often using recipes in your target language, don't worry, you will have the advantages of spaced repetition exercises for the Cooking series vocBlocks so that you don’t forget these words in between your language immersion cooking experiences.

You will also learn about different measurements as not everywhere metric system is used. For example, some American recipes will use ounces, pounds, etc. Oh, and be careful with abbreviations. For example, tbsp (tablespoon) and tsp (tea spoon) are very similar when abbreviated, so if you put a whole tablespoon of chilli powder into a dish instead of a tea spoon it won't be fun. Though you will learn the difference between these abbreviations at once ;)

And the best bonus is that you will be able ‘to taste and smell the culture’ of the countries where your target language is spoken. It’s a bit like travelling to this country.

Just think, when you travel, what is it that you usually do after you are done with all the sightseeing for the day? Yes, you go out and eat! So, treat yourself to some tasty traditional cuisine and you will have this 4D language learning experience without leaving your house and with all your friends!

And if you put in a bit more effort and add the decorating step I was talking about above to your party scenario, you will have the sightseeing bit of traveling covered as well. Googling the most important landmarks, printing out pictures of them and putting them up on the walls will create the necessary ambience for your party. Plus you might have interesting conversations with your friends about these cultural treasures. Don't have time to google important landmarks? You can always use our downloadable party packs for ready available printable material to save you some time or as a kick start for your own ideas.

After the event you will be able to share your culinary adventures and cultural insights with your language partner(s), language group or teacher. So this party of yours will be a nice and fresh topic to discuss and boost your speaking practice.

Don’t be greedy! Share the cooking resources you have been using when learning your languages in the comments. Share your own language party ideas too!

Happy cooking and partying!

Click to download party pack: British Party

Click to download party pack: American Party

Click to download party pack: German Party

Click to download party pack: Russian Party

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