Learning a Foreign Language: the Ventriloquists Lesson

The main feature you have to master, in order to call yourself a ventriloquist, is to speak without moving your lips. It is not that difficult. There is a trick, of course. The sounds M, B and P make your lips move, as make the sounds V and F but in a lesser way. So, in order to be a ventriloquist, you should ban any word with m, b or p inside and avoid to pronounce f-v words. If your name is Mabel or Patrick, choose a stage name!

Try to say where you come from. Try right now. It is the best way to understand how it works exactly. "I come from...". No, your lips are moving. Try again: "I was born in..." Far better! You are almost a ventriloquist.

There is a competition of this kind among teachers; for example: How to express "I have lost my cell phone and my credit card near the 4WD garage" in Latin. (I agree, Latin teachers are, well, Latin teachers.)
It is very alike the game you played in the schoolyard: you had to answer to a lot of questions using such required word but avoiding such other. Remember! It was not easy to place "rhinoceros" while avoiding "zoo" when asked: "Where were you on Sunday?"; nevertheless, you managed to! You were a gifted ventriloquist and avoided the m-b-p word "zoo".

In your own language, you use circumlocutions to exclude certain words. In a parallel step, speaking a foreign language is learning how to use circumlocutions in order to avoid some words: those you don't know.

Think of the words you do not know as your m-b-p words.

Do not try to pronounce m-b-p words without moving your lips, you would spend precious time for nothing. Do not fight against obstacles, get round them. Ventriloquists do not master the movements of their lips, they choose their words.

Whatever language you choose to learn, there are always several ways to express something.

Gabrielle Guichard, a French teacher who can be reached on GabrielleGuichard.com and listened to on FrenchPodcasting.com

In The News:


Language made obligatory for senior British officers
Financial Times
The British army may have fewer troops stationed abroad than at any point in the last century, but new plans aim to fashion a more internationally engaged and culturally aware officer corps by making language skills obligatory for senior ranks. From ...


Sarnia Observer

Common sense says clean up your language
Sarnia Observer
I am not talking about the odd curse word between two people having a quiet conversation, or the yelp of someone who has hit their thumb with a hammer. I'm talking about the many conversations I hear on a daily basis by adults in schoolyards, in ...


How To (Really) Learn A Foreign Language While You Sleep
Forbes
Researchers from two Swiss universities wanted to know if they could enhance the learning of words from a foreign language by exposing people to the words during non-rapid eye movement sleep (NonREM sleep) – the deep, dreamless sleep period that ...


Telegraph.co.uk

Welsh language theatre launches translation app for English speaking audiences
Telegraph.co.uk
"People will go and see an opera in French or Italian but wouldn't think about going to see a Welsh language piece. So it's trying to entice people to make that leap." The 2011 census showed 19 per cent of the Welsh population could speak the language, ...
Welsh theatre company launches translation appBBC News

all 2 news articles »

VHS recognizes language leaders
Vineland Daily Journal
To qualify for induction, students must earn an “A” final average in all courses of their language of study for 2½ years and earn a “B” or better final average in all other academic areas during the same time period, according to Jacqueline Alvarez ...


Why we need to mind our language and avoid getting into a pointless war of words
Irish Independent
Of all the pieces of folk wisdom in the English language, this one has to be among the most misleading. Names do hurt. Words can be very cutting weapons. Bones will often heal faster than damaged human psyches. And, at all events, verbal violence is ...


Plymouth Herald

Dyslexic councillor says Cornish language road signs could prove dangerous for ...
Plymouth Herald
A DYSLEXIC councillor says plans to introduce dual language road signs in Cornwall could prove a hazard to drivers who have trouble reading. Conservative councillor Tom French, for St Austell Bay, asked Bert Biscoe, Cabinet member for transport ...

and more »

Language champions to roll out a class act
Times Colonist
This is why a Victoria group is raising funds and awareness for a series of language classes taught by Seymour in late summer or early fall. The classes are a continuation of popular a session offered last year and will be run in Victoria, Duncan and ...

and more »

Variety

Use of Racist Language in BBC's 'Top Gear' Broke U.K. TV Rules, Regulator Says
Variety
LONDON — U.K. media regulator Ofcom has ruled that an episode of BBC motoring show “Top Gear” shot in Burma broke British broadcasting rules through its use of a racist term. The show has a massive audience worldwide, and Guinness World Records ...
Ofcom Rules Jeremy Clarkson 'Deliberately' Used Racist Language in Top Gear ...International Business Times UK

all 78 news articles »

The Independent

Learn a new foreign language (with no words...)
The Independent
Scholastic opinion varies on the percentage to which body language is part of human communication. But verbal communication needn't be the only alternative. Fascinatingly, there are still places where people are actually not lost without words.

Google News

Online IELTS Preparation - Why Does It Make Sense?

Because IELTS is a difficult test. While most agree that... Read More

Teaching English in Greece - What Do You Need to Know?

The employment situation can be quite uncertain for newcomers to... Read More

Can You Understand English?

There is a lot of talk about making English the... Read More

English Slang For Perplexed Tourists

I watched the British version of 'Big Brother' recently. That's... Read More

7 Words Americans Should Stop Using Until Further Investigation

Relationship: Here is a word that is used to qualify,... Read More

Japanese Kanji Learning: Short-Cuts to Rapid Mastery (Part 1)

What? Kanji can be learned quickly? This seems an impossible... Read More

Learning a Foreign Language: the Ventriloquists Lesson

The main feature you have to master, in order to... Read More

Learn to Speak Basic Chinese (Mandarin) Words and Phrases

The Chinese Language and dialectsEach province, each city and even... Read More

Learning a Foreign Language: Learn from the Blind

In a previous article, you read that to establih your... Read More

Japanese Kanji Learning: Short-Cuts to Rapid Mastery (Part 2)

In Japanese Kanji Learning: Short-Cuts to Rapid Mastery Part 1,... Read More

Chinese Pinyin or Hanyu Pinyin Overview

Chinese Pinyin is the romanization of the Chinese "written sound".... Read More

Learn Italian in Italy

You can combine your love of the Italian language with... Read More

What Does an Interpreter Do?

Many people get confused as to the difference between an... Read More

Mexican Living: Todays Obsession

I would like to talk about one of my many... Read More

GROUSE ... GROUSE ... GROUSE!!!

I realize that we here in the United States consider... Read More

English Language Sputtering Online Like an Old Ford!

Sad, but true. Just about everywhere you look online, the... Read More

Learning a Foreign Language: the Psychological Factor

When it comes about learning a foreign language, many people... Read More

Learn Italian for Free

Italian is one of the most widespread languages in the... Read More

Teaching English in Mexico: A Decent Living?

What's more disappointing than a person who makes a promise... Read More

Bridging the Language Gap Using Bilingual Picture Books

There are more than 39 million Hispanics live in the... Read More

Learn Italian in Your Hometown

Are you interested in learning the Italian language right in... Read More

Second Language Competence Beneficial but often Misunderstood

Second language learning has associated with it many types of... Read More

Preschool Spanish

Why an EarlyAGE 2nd Language?Research indicates that from ages 1... Read More

How Ronzoni Italian Foods Helped My Dad Learn English

My dad likes to say, he was made in Italy,... Read More

Speaking Spanish To Increase Mind Power

Our "mind power" is largely in the way we use... Read More