Learning a new language can be a daunting task. Why not make it less stressful by doing it with others? Not only can it give you the extra motivation that you might need to pursue your language goals, but it could also become an enjoyable experience for all participants.
Language learning can increase family bonding time, connect you with others from around the world and also demonstrate the importance of continued learning throughout life. Picking up a new language is no longer solely tied to a written task. In the twenty-first century, the possibilities are endless! Have a look below for some ideas on how to improve your language skills.
Label your house!
Although it is a very simple way of developing vocabulary, it is also a very effective one. Label the everyday items in your home and watch how quickly people can begin to recognise these items. Soon you will have the first 100 words under your belt to set you in the direction of your language learning goals.
Listen to Music
Discover an artist who sings in the language you are learning and check out their playlists on your favourite music streaming application! After you have heard the song a few times, have a read if the lyrics and look up any words you don’t the meaning of. Keep listening until the words start to sink in!
Change the language settings on your phone!
Think you know how to use your phone? Try changing the language to the one you are leaning! (Just make sure you remember how to put it back if you need to!)
Turn a family holiday into a language holiday!
Language holidays allow time for family bonding whilst developing skills. Here at Maltalingua, we offer family packages for parents and children alike. Our lessons are based on active communication through engaging tasks which allow learners the opportunity to practise their language skills in a structured environment. The family can study in the morning and spend the afternoon exploring all the Malta has to offer. To join our family programme this summer of 2019 and learn English under the sun, make sure to visit www.maltalingua.com.
As more and more parents strive to improve the education of their child, language schools have become a popular choice. That’s why Maltalingua, EAQUALS-accredited school and voted Best Language School in Malta 2018, should be first on your list. Maltalingua is situated on the island of Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. Encouraging students to study during their summer holidays can be difficult, we know! But presented with sun, sea and adventure, what child can say no?
Maltalingua offers a variety of lessons for children aged 7-17. Lessons focus primarily on language learning through active communication, interaction and participation. This allows for students to engage in activities, roleplays and many speaking tasks. Students are given the opportunity to use the grammar and vocabulary which they have studied. The school day is divided between interactive, communicative English lessons in the morning. The afternoon also includes daily excursions and exciting activities around the island.
Students get a taste for language learning both inside and outside the classroom. Every afternoon, students are encouraged to join exciting activities! These include sightseeing, developing new skills, meeting other students and learning more about what Malta has to offer.
Language learning is a fantastic skill. It can open doors for future career paths. Allowing children and teenagers the opportunity to study abroad means diversity and adventure. Maltalingua boasts a dedicated and professional team of native English teachers from around the world. To join us this summer of 2019 and learn English under the sun, make sure to visit www.maltalingua.com.
Without vocabulary we would not be able to express ourselves or communicate. As we all know it is very difficult to remember new vocabulary so teacher Abbie is here to help you out! She has different tips and tricks on how to remember new vocabulary quickly and easily.
- By using the new vocabulary immediately and putting it in to context as a personal story we build a picture of the meaning and we make the word come to life and make it relevant to us.
- Flash cards are a teacher’s best friend. They are perfect to show exactly what a word means. By seeing a visual representation of the word, we are able to connect the word to a real thing. By playing memory games with pictures and words we can practise pronunciation by say the word out loud and matching words to pictures. Try playing flashcard games against your friends. It brings an element of competition to learning and will motivate you to remember the words.
- Collocations will help you use your new vocabulary in different ways. Some words can be used in different contexts. By learning the collocations, this will help you to know how to use the word in the correct context and make yourself sound more like a native speaker.
- The visual thesaurus is a mind map of words and synonyms that link to your new word. This can require a little bit of extra word-work as you have to think of as many words that are similar to your new word as possible. However, in the long run it will help you to broaden your vocabulary collection.
- Challenge yourself! At the start of every day choose 5 new words to use throughout the day so that you are aware of how to use the words in natural real life scenarios.
Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about -ed endings here.
Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.
Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about preposition mistakes here.
Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.
There are over 150 prepositions in English, so it’s no surprise that we sometimes confuse them, although only 70 of these prepositions are used on a daily basis in spoken / written English. Still, that’s a lot of prepositions! Prepositions are important as they show the relationship between people, objects, and places. This blog lesson will look at common preposition mistakes and is aimed at students learning English at Intermediate (B1+) level or above.
1. ‘in’ or ‘at’ (for places)
We hear and see many mistakes with these two. However, there’s a trick to remembering them. Notice how at is used for a point and in is used for inside places.
- I’m at work in my office. (work is the point; the office is inside the building)
- He’s waiting for you at the cinema. He’s in the lobby, waiting to buy some popcorn. (the cinema is the point; the lobby is inside the cinema)
Common uses of at include the station, the doctor’s, the shop, school, home, work, university. We often use in for countries and cities, such as Malta, England, Paris, New York.
2. ‘to’ (for travelling)
Look at these three sentences:
- I’m going to France next week.
- Bill has never been to
- Tania came back / returned to Paris last night.
Notice the preposition to in all 3 sentences – Many people make the mistake of using in instead. Generally, we use the preposition to with verbs like ‘go’, ‘come’, ‘return’, ‘have / has / had been’ (perfect forms of ‘to be’) to talk about travelling and going to places. Keep in mind that with places like home and words like inside / outside, upstairs / downstairs we don’t use to:
- Michael went outside for a cigarette. (not ‘Michael went to outside for a cigarette.’)
- Tina came back home earlier than usual. (not ‘Tina came back to home earlier than usual.’)
3. Misusing ‘of’
A common mistake is ‘It depends of…’. The correct preposition here should be ‘It depends on …’. Try and think of other verbs that take on. Common verbs include focus, rely, work and based.
- It depends on whether I’m tired or not.
- Tonight, I’m going to focus on the vocabulary I learned in class.
- Even though we’re older now, my brother and I still rely on each other.
- The latest movie is based on the last book.
4. Prepositions for comparisons
When we compare people, objects or places, we can use functional word phrases such as ‘…be the same as…’, ‘…be different from…’ and ‘…be similar to…’. Notice the prepositions highlighted in bold.
- This house is the same as the last one.
- My T-shirt is different from
- Maria’s phone is similar to
5. Talking about ability
When talking about ability, with adjectives like good, great, amazing, bad, terrible, useless, hopeless we generally use at, NOT in. These are some example sentences using these adjectives:
- I am really good at speaking English. (not ‘I am really good in speaking English.’)
- John is really bad at (not ‘John is really bad in sport.’)
- They’re useless at playing football. (not ‘They’re useless in playing football.’)
6. Talking about fears
When talking about fears, with adjectives like afraid, scared, wary, terrified we generally use the preposition of, NOT from. Here are some example sentences using these adjectives:
- Mia is really scared of (not ‘Mia is really scared from spiders.’)
- I’m absolutely terrified of (not ‘I am absolutely terrified from snakes.’)
7. ‘for’ or ‘since’
When using the present perfect to talk about actions / states that started in the past and continue up to present time, you might need to use a time phrase to show how long the action lasted. A common mistake here is the incorrect use of for or since. Have a look at the following sentences:
- I’ve been a teacher at Maltalingua for 3 years
- I’ve been a teacher at Maltalingua since
The two sentences have the same meaning, but for describes the duration of time, while since shows the point in time when the action began. We use for with phrases like ten years, ages, a while, some time, and we use since with phrases like 2015, last month, the beginning of the year, I got married.
- We’ve had this cat for
- I haven’t studied basic mathematics for a while, this is going to be challenging!
- I haven’t driven down this road for some time.
- James has been working as a part-time shop assistant since last month.
- I’ve lived in London since the beginning of the year.
- We haven’t taken out these old photos since we got married, this will be fun!
8. Talking about work
We can use a variety of prepositions with the verb work, like in, for, as, with. Look at this example sentence:
- I’ve been working as a teacher for the last 3 years. I work for Maltalingua, in a school. I work with my colleagues and with students of course.
Notice how we use as to talk about my job, for to talk about the company, in to talk about the place / building and with to describe the people you come into contact with every day.
9. Talking about times of the day
Don’t forget that we use in for the morning, the afternoon and the evening but at for night. For example:
- I wake up in the morning.
- I eat lunch in the afternoon.
- I watch TV in the evening.
- I go to bed at
10. Talking about modes of transport
When going from place to place, we normally use by for most modes of transport. The exception is when you describe walking, because you go on foot.
- I go to work by
- We’re travelling by
- He’s getting to Italy by
- James went to visit his grandmother on
Similar to the problem with by and on in Tip 10, keep in mind that we say by one’s self and on one’s own.
- I’m here by
- I’m here on my own.
Now that you have a better understanding of prepositions and their uses, if you have any comments, tips or tricks on how you learn and memorise prepositions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Make sure to check out our videos for a fuller explanation, given by our CELTA-qualified teachers.
Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about substantive nouns here.
Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.
Today we look at how to use substantive nouns: The brave and the free, the young and the old, the Maltese and the Welsh. How do these words that are usually adjectives suddenly look and behave as if they were nouns? Read more to find out!
This lesson is aimed at students learning English at Upper-Intermediate level or above.
It’s not uncommon to have words in English with more than one function. A lot of words have a different word structure for the adjective, noun and verb forms (ex. creative, creativity and create) and a lot of words have the same word structure, which in different contexts can be both a noun and a verb form (ex. text, drink). However, with the words above (and others) the word can change its form by simply adding the definite article ‘the’.
the + brave = the brave
So, by adding ‘the’ to the word ‘brave’ you get ‘the brave’. This refers to a group of people. The adjective is now considered to be a substantive noun. Generally speaking, substantive nouns are used for two main purposes:
- To refer to groups of people in society
- The poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer.
- The land of the free and the home of the brave.
- In many ways, the young have a lot to learn from the old.
- To refer to nationalities
- The Maltese are famous for their hospitality.
- Paper was invented by the Chinese.
- When you go to Prague, make sure to try some of their beer. The Czechs are famous for it.
There are a few things that you should consider when using substantive nouns.
1. Any of these substantive nouns can be replaced by removing the article and writing people after.
the Chinese + the – people = Chinese people
- In many ways, the young have a lot to learn from the old. = In many ways, young people have a lot to learn from old people.
- The Maltese are famous for their hospitality. = Maltese people are famous for their hospitality.
2. We can’t use substantive nouns to talk about one person. Substantive nouns always used for a group of people. In fact, nationalities are often used to make generalisations about people from a certain country or to talk about stereotypes.
3. A lot of nationality words can be used in their plural form, particularly ones ending in -ian, -an, -n, as well as many ‘irregular’ nationalities (i.e. those that don’t end in -ish, -ese, -ian, -an, -n). Some examples include the Americans, the Argentinians, the Czechs, the Poles and the Turks.
4. Remember that substantive nouns are always followed by a plural verb.
Besides their main uses as described above, substantive nouns can be found as titles of books, film and musicals. Some popular examples include The Twits, by Roald Dahl, a famous British author; The Incredibles, a popular animation movie, The Long and the Short and the Tall, a play by Willis Hall and The Miserable, commonly known as Les Misérables, a popular musical.
Now that you have a better understanding of substantive nouns and their uses, if you have any comments, tips or tricks on how you learn and memorise substantive nouns, please feel free to leave a comment below. Make sure to check out our videos for a fuller explanation, given by our CELTA-qualified teachers.
Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about irregular verbs here.
Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.
How many times have you been speaking in English and got stuck when you had to think of the past form of a verb? Regular or irregular? What’s the irregular past form? Are the past simple and past participle forms irregular too?
If these are the sort of questions that stop you from sleeping at night, then this is the lesson for you! This lesson is aimed at students learning English at Pre-Intermediate level or higher.
In English there are thousands of verbs you can use, but just over 350 of these are irregular. Even though it looks like a lot, it’s not that many in comparison to the thousands of verbs out there. The problem is that most of these irregular verbs are high frequency verbs (common verbs which we use every day). This article will give you all the tips you need on how to learn and memorise them. Don’t forget to check out the videos too!
- All irregular verbs are equal, but some are more equal than others
Start with the most common verbs first. Above all, start with be (was / were, been); have (had, had); do (did, done) and go (went, gone). The first three are especially important since besides their function as main verbs, they’re also auxiliary verbs and therefore are used to build different forms in English. Other common verbs include make (made, made); eat (ate, eaten), get (got, UK: got / US: gotten), come (came, come) and give (gave, given). More common verbs are listed in the Irregular Verbs – Part 2 video above.
- Check the verb form
When learning new verbs, always check if a verb is regular or irregular and if it’s irregular, learn its past simple and participle form. As Abbie mentioned in the Irregular Verbs – Part 1 video, put your irregular verbs into sentences or short stories so that you can memorise them.
I eat apples every day.
I ate a burger for dinner last night.
I’ve never eaten sushi.
- So many great memories..
If you’re serious about learning irregular verbs, you’re going to need to do some memory work. You should learn slowly and memorise irregular verbs. Eventually, they will become second nature to you and you won’t have to think about the different forms when you use them. As discussed in the Irregular Verbs – Part 2 video, this doesn’t need to be boring or hard work. Make it fun and memorable. Here are a few tips mentioned in the video:
- Test a partner who’s also studying English or ask them to test you
- Find online games and activities
- Make your own ‘flashcards’ with the infinitive verb on one side and the past simple / past participle on the other side, then test yourself or a friend
- Write irregular verb infinitives and past simple / participles on cards, cut them up and play matching games to improve your memory
- Test yourself constantly, practice makes perfect
- Learn to say it right
Pronunciation can really help you. It might seem like there’s no order or logic behind irregular verbs. However, there are categories of verbs that go together. This is either for spelling or phonemic reasons, meaning their past simple and/or participle forms look or sound similar. In the Irregular Verbs – Part 2 video, three main categories are mentioned:
- Verbs that don’t change form
- cut, let, put
- Verbs that have the same past simple form and past participle form
- feel (felt), hear (heard) and bring (brought)
- Verbs that have a different past simple form and past participle form
- break (broke, broken), write (wrote, written), drink (drank, drunk)
- Change it all around
Take some of the most common irregular verbs and turn them into phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are extremely common in English, you find them everywhere. A way to do this is by looking up an irregular verb in the dictionary and looking at which phrasal verbs can be formed from that verb by adding a preposition or prepositions, for example:
The plane took off half an hour ago. (take off)
I decided to take up football as a hobby. (take up)
I took out the rubbish last night. (take out)
Now that you have a better understanding of irregular verbs and their irregular rules, if you have any comments, tips or tricks on how you learn and memorise irregular verbs, make sure you leave a comment below. Make sure to check out our videos for a fuller explanation, given by our CELTA-qualified teachers.
Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about passive forms here.
Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.
What are the passive forms? Have you ever thought about why the passive forms are used in English? Why so many speakers are confused by them? Let’s chat about that.
This video is aimed at students studying English at level B1+ or higher.
Consider the following passive sentence:
“The 100m record in athletics was broken in 2009 by Usain Bolt.”
Why is the passive used in this sentence? Passive forms may be used for a number of reasons:
- The subject is not (as) important: Consider what is most important – the person or the fact that the record was broken? The record is definitely very important since it’s a significant event that only happens rarely. Therefore, the record takes importance and is used as the subject of the sentence.
- The subject is obvious: Imagine that you’re an athlete or a runner – you know who Usain Bolt is, and therefore you don’t need to mention who actually broke the record.
- The subject is unknown: We know that the record was broken, but we don’t know the name of the record-breaker.
In all three cases, you can show who / what did the action (the agent) by adding them to the end of the sentence (“…by Usain Bolt.”).
Now that we’ve looked at why we use the passive, how is the passive formed? A lot of students get confused here because knowing and applying the passive means having a good idea of grammar tenses. In short, to form the passive we always need 2 things: a form of the verb ‘to be’ and a past participle (‘-ed’ for regular verbs, the third form for regular verbs).
Take a look at the active sentence below:
“Usain Bolt broke the 100m record in 2009.”
In this sentence, the main verb ‘to break’ is in the past simple form “…broke…”. To form the passive we use the past form of ‘to be’ (‘was/were’) and the past participle of ‘to break’ (‘broken’), giving us the sentence:
“The 100m record was broken in 2009.”
For other forms of the verb, use this as a general guideline. Notice how ‘broken’ (the past participle) remains the same regardless of the tense:
Present Simple: am/is/are + past participle – “Records are broken every year.”
Present Continuous: am/is/are being + past participle – “New shoes are being created to break the record.”
Present Perfect: has/have been + past participle – “The record hasn’t been broken since 2009.”
‘will’ future: will be + past participle – “The record will be broken sometime soon.”
‘going to’ future: am/is/are going to be + past participle – “The record is going to be broken soon.”
Situated just five minutes walk from some of the most highly recognised diving schools in Malta, lies the classrooms of Maltalingua. This, as well as the exceptional climate, allows students to turn studying the English language into an exciting holiday. By day, students have the opportunity to delve into the world of English language learning in a friendly and relaxed classroom setting. Whereas by night, exploring the many feasts which adorn the Maltese streets.
Early morning classes at Maltalingua allow students the time to study whilst providing them with the opportunity to explore the natural underwater wonders of Malta and its sister islands. You will have the chance to practise your English in a real-world setting. All three of the islands offer an abundance of reefs, wrecks, and caves suitable for all levels of diving.
Since the collapse of the iconic Azure window in 2017, adventurers have been travelling from all over the world to dive through the famed film set often associated with TV series such as Game of Thrones. Spread in a range of 16 to 100 feet in depth, the arch has fallen into an array of canyons and passageways which would appeal to those who want to explore the underwater world.
Across the island, you will find other stunning diving locations such as Għar lapsi. The vibrant blue waters of these shallow caves offer beginner divers a chance to explore at a pace convenient to them. Um al Faroud, a ship which was sunk in 1998, is situated on the shores of Għar Lapsi. The ship covers a large area which is home to a variety of fish and marine life.
If your preference is to upskill whilst on a language holiday, there are numerous schools offering internationally recognised diving qualifications at a competitive rate. The flexible classroom times at Maltalingua allow students to dictate their own schedule, with the possibility for intensive or private 1-1 lessons available from early morning until late afternoon. Private lessons can be tailored to suit the individuals’ needs and could incorporate the language of diving.
Whether your beginning to dive or you are a pro, combining language learning and diving in Malta really is the dream combination!