Polyglot Austin: Our Multilingual, Multicultural City!

Freestyle Language Center believes in language learning through relevant cultural context. This ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series shares the unique cultures, stories, and experiences of the multilingual people who call our city home while providing opportunities for language practice and learning!

In this entry we feature Morena Soul, a local band that brings a variety of traditional Brazilian beats with ‘modern musicality’ and a global perspective to the local music scene. In the live music capital of the world, stroll through Downtown Austin on almost any evening and hear the rich sounds of live music, frequently in other languages, bursting from restaurants and bars.

971566_1393866307524278_192493825_n

Go Polyglot! Practice your Portuguese and get to know Morena Soul!

morena soul

Freestyle was lucky  to have Morena Soul perform at one of our Polyglot Dance Parties! “Obrigada” to Angela Loyd for her fabulous “passista” dancing.

Watch and listen to the videos below for an interview with Sarah and Frank  as they share a bit about themselves and their music. Interact with us: test your Portuguese and answer the questions below!

Beginner Level

Q:Estamos aqui com a Sarah e com Frank que tocam no Morena Soul e a gente está muito feliz que eles estão participando de um evento no Freestyle, e a gente tem algumas perguntas para vocês. Sarah, de onde você é? /  Sarah: Eu sou do  Rio de Janeiro. Q: E você, Frank?/ Frank: Eu também sou do Rio de Janeiro, só que eu me criei em outra parte do Brasil.
Q: Em qual parte?/ F: No nordeste Brasileiro.
Q: Ah, que legal! Então tem influência carioca, e nordestina também. /F: Carioca e nordestina.  Carioca do Rio de Janeiro e nordestino do nordeste.
Q: E o que vocês fazem, em termos de trabalho?/ S: Eu trabalho na Apple. / F: Eu também trabalho na Apple.
Q: E porque vocês vieram para Austin? / S: Eu vim para Austin para fugir do frio de Nova Iorque / F: E eu vim para Austin para fugir da confusão de Miami/ S: Ele está me copiando!
Q: Já estão americanizados! E o que vocês gostam em Austin? / F: Eu gosto de tudo.  Mais eu gosto muito da cultura de Austin por ser um lugar bem diverso, e muitas etnicidades, muitos países, e gosto muito do clima também, e das pessoas.  As pessoas em Austin são mais calorosas. /S: Eu gosto do tamanho da cidade.  Eu acho que é uma cidade que não é nem muito grande e nem  muito pequena, então você tem a infra-estrutura de uma cidade grande, mas a sensação que você está morando numa cidade pequena.  E eu também gosto da parte cultural.
Q: E na parte cultural, como é que vocês se envolveram com a música? / S: Saudade do Brasil!
Q: E o que vocês mais sentem falta do Brasil, da comida?  Número um. / S: E a família.
Q: A comida e a família.  Os amigos.  Esta coisa de Austin ser mais caloroso, é mais caloroso em relação a outras cidades americanas, né? Mas o Brasil, é bem mais caloroso de qualquer cidade daqui.  As pessoas, a cultura, os amigos. / S: Os churrascos, os fins de semana.

Intermediate Level

For the intermediate interview transcription see our Youtube channel.  url

Write your answers in the comments below – our teachers will get back to you!

Beginner Questions

  1. De onde a Sarah é? E Frank?
  2. Sarah e Frank trabalham para a mesma empresa.  Qual empresa é?
  3. Por que é que eles vieram para Austin?
  4. Por que a Sarah gosta tanto de Austin?  E Frank?
  5. Eles têm saudade de quais coisas do Brasil?

Intermediate Questions

  1. Quais instrumentos Frank toca? E a Sarah?
  2. Como é o público brasileiro nos concertos?
  3. Como é o público americano nos concertos?
  4. Qual é a vantagem de tocar musica brasileira aqui nos Estados Unidos, em relação a tocar no Brasil? Qual é o desafio?

Muito obrigado to Morena Soul for letting us share their stories!  Want to see them live? Check out their events calendar for weekly showtimes!

Up next, French in Austin! Who would you like to see interviewed? Comment below with suggestions. Merci!

The Freestyle Lifestyle

Our methodology incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we seek to revolutionize language learning: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

1524668_683349931717425_123500953_n

At Freestyle, we take pride in doing things differently, just like the city we call home!

Follow our blog for more interactive language fun! Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below.

Tagged , , , , , ,

POLYGLOT AUSTIN! OUR MULTICULTURAL, MULTILINGUAL CITY

Freestyle Language Center believes in the idea of learning through relevant cultural context. Our ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series serves as an extension of that idea as we highlight people from around the city to learn more about the cultures and languages of our community!

The Great Multicultural Tapestry of Austin

The Great Multicultural Tapestry of Austin

In this entry of our signature ‘Polyglot Austin’ series, we’ll feature two individual ‘threads’ that contribute to this great multilingual, multicultural tapestry that is Austin.

Watch and listen to the videos of two Austinites from different parts of Latin America who work in two distinct fields. Then read the video transcriptions to strengthen tu español!   Entonces, leer our questions & post your answers (in español) in our comment area; one of our teachers will get back to you. ¡Vamanos!

1) Beginner Level – Edith Rodriguez

Let’s start with Edith Rodriguez from Mexico. Edith is currently pursuing a degree in social work while interning at The Equal Justice Center.

“Mi nombre es Edith Rodríguez. Ah, llevo aquí 20 años viviendo en
Austin. Ah, nací en México, en la Ciudad de México y lo que ahorita
estoy haciendo es pues, soy estudiante, horita con mi certificado en
ah, trabajo social. Y horita estoy haciendo un internado en el Centro de Justicia e Igualdad.

En un día típico me levanto por la mañana, desayuno, ah, el desayuno
sabroso de mi madre. Ah, también, ah, me alisto para venir, para ir al
Centro de Justicia e Igualdad. Y después llego a casa, ah, busco trabajo y algunas otras, ah, cosas por el Internet y acabo un poco de leer, de estudiar y después me acuesto a dormir.

Si pudiera ah, viajar en cualquier…a cualquier lugar en el mundo..ah,
sería viajar a Italia, especialmente a la ciudad del Vaticano. Me
encantaría ir a ver todas las…la catedral y…y el Vaticano si se pudiera.
Ah, especialmente los miércoles escuchar al Papa y disfrutar de esa
cultura italiana.”

2) Intermediate Level - Joel Maysonet

Now we’ll listen to Joel Maysonet, videographer & editor from Puerto Rico.  An Austinite with a vision, Joel is the owner of ‘La Brega’, a unique business that “is about bringing together compelling storytelling and new media technology”!

“Hola, mi nombre es Joel Maysonet, soy de Puerto Rico, tengo 33 años y llevo en los Estados Unidos aproximadamente 10 años. Aquí en Austin lo que hago es…soy un editor y videógrafo para producciones de video.

De Austin lo que me gusta es…es la cultura, ¿no? Eh y a lo que me
refiero es, eh, un estilo de vida que…que quizás vas más a tono con…
con mis intereses culturales, eh, de las artes, eh, culinarios, que hay
muchos tipos de restaurantes y la vida en general. Una vida así más…
más juvenil, liberal, eh, que pues va más con…conmigo, ¿no?

Si pudiera ir a cualquier lugar del mundo habrían dos lugares que me
gustaría ir. El primer lugar sería India, India me atrae mucho la cultura, eh, la comida y pues no conozco suficiente y me parece un país tan grande. Con tantas, eh, con tanta diversidad cultural que si pudiera ir a cualquier lugar me gustaría ir allá.

El otro lugar que me gustaría ir, eh, sería a Francia que no he podido ir todavía y me gustaría ir a Francia porque mi…aparentemente mi apellido es francés y me gustaría ir para Francia para ver de dónde viene el apellido Maysonet, que no tengo la menor idea. Y pues supuestamente viene de allá y pues quisiera ver si me encuentro a algún Maysonet en la calle por allá.”

Muchas gracias a Joel and Edith for letting us share their stories! Readers, now it’s time to test yourself and answer some preguntas in the comments section! 

Preguntas sobre el video con Edith:

  1. ¿En qué ciudad nació Edith?
  2. ¿Qué hace Edith antes de acostarse?
  3. ¿Qué lugar quiere visitar Edith en Italia?

Preguntas sobre el video con Joel:

  1. ¿Qué aspectos de la cultura de Austin le gustan a Joel? ¿Estás de acuerdo con él?
  2. ¿Cuál es la razón principal por la cual Joel quiere visitar la India?
  3. ¿De los dos países que quiere visitar Joel, ¿cuál elegirías si pudieras ir mañana? ¿Por qué?

The Freestyle Lifestyle

Our methodology incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we seek to revolutionize language learning: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

Austin, a new global player!

Follow our blog for more interactive language fun! Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Polyglot Austin! Our multicultural, multilingual City

Showcasing our diverse city…with an abundance of language learning opportunities! 

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 3.14.57 PM

In a melting pot like the city of Austin, with a  variety of cultures around every corner, we are always in earshot of moltos languas . Through our blog, Freestyle Language Center reaches into the community conducting engaging interviews in Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese. This enables us to connect with a wide range of interesting polyglots, from business owners to fellow film buffs, while we embrace and learn from their native language and culture! Read on and esercitatevi!

multilingual

No hiding from this polyglot community!

Talking to local business owners, professors and even the average Giuseppe on the street about their everyday life in Austin provides the perfect opportunity to enhance our language learning.

The first of our interview series stars Italian Marco Silvestrini, an up-and-coming local business owner from Fabriano,  a small town in Italy in the region of Marche. Visit and Like their Facebook page to stay up to date on flavors and deals! Keeping Austin Cool!

marco2

Marco shares his passion for gelato and brings a taste of Italy to the heart of Austin with a new gelateria called “Dolce Neve.”

Here are our beginner and intermediate videos accompanied by an Italian transcription. Watch, listen and respond to a few questions. Add your answers to our comment section and our Italian teachers will get back to you!

1. Beginner Level:

Q:  Come ti chiami?/ A: Ciao! Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: Di dove sei?/  A:  Sono itailano, di un paese del cento dell’Italia chiamato Fabriano.
Q: Che fai come lavoro?/ A: Sto aprendo una gelateria qui ad Austin.
Q: Qual è il tuo passatempo preferito?/ A: Mi piace fare sport. Mi piace fare passeggiate per i boschi e mi piace andare in bicicletta.
Q: Cosa ti piace di Austin? / A: Di Austin mi piace che ci sono molte attività che possono essere svolte all’aria aperta: è possibile andare a visitare i parchi, è possibile fare una corsa per Lady Bird Lake, o anche fare un giro in canoa.
Q: E del Texas, cosa ti piace? / A:  Il barbeque!
Q:  E cosa ti manca dell’Italia? / A:  A volte mi manca il cibo. E la famiglia e gli amici.
Q: Hai famiglia ad Austin? / A: Sì, mia sorella vive qui insieme a suo fidanzato.
Q:  Descrivi una giornata tipica per te/ A: Tipicamente la mattina la dedico per volgere attività lavorative: mandare email, chiamare venditori. A pranzo un buon piatto di pasta e nel pomeriggio ancora un po’ di lavoro. Poi ci vado in palestra. Poi se riesco, esco con gli amici la sera.

Domande:
1. Che lavoro fa Marco?
2. Quali sono alcuni aspetti della vita ad Austin piacciono a Marco?
3. Com’è una giornata tipica per Marco?

2. Intermediate/Advanced Level:

Q: Come ti chiami?/ A: Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: E di dove sei? / A: Sono italiano di un paese nel centro dell’Italia, chiamato Fabriano… famoso per la carta. Un vecchio paese medioevale.
Q: E perché sei venuto qui ad Austin?/ A: Sono venuto qui per lanciare un attività: sto aprendo una gelateria insieme a mia sorella Francesca e il suo ragazzo Leo.
Q: In Italia, dove hai studiato? / A: In Italia ho studiato a Milano presso un’università chiamata Politecnico di Milano dove mi sono laureato in ingegneria meccanica.
Q: E qui ad Austin, perché vuoi aprire… lanciare questa gelateria? (Translator’s note: I meant to say either “aprire la gelateria” or “lanciare quest’attività” but it seems I became a bit tongue-tied in the moment.) / A: Perché ritengo che Austin dal punto di vista economica sia una città che offre opportunità per crescere, le persone che vivono ad Austin sono decisamente amanti del buon cibo. Spero che piacerà anche un buon gelato italiano. Dal punto di vista personale è un posto ideale dovere vivere. Amo le persone che vivono ad Austin!
Q: Sono d’accordo… sono d’accordissimo. Quali sono gli aspetti più difficili di questo tipo di lavoro, di questo mestiere? / A: Le incertezze e il fatto che non puoi veramente pianificare le attività, che non sai mai cosa succederà nella giornata e non sai cosa succederà in un’ altra giornata. Dipendi molto da altre persone e le altre persone a volte hanno altre attività che devono condurre in parallelo. E bisogna aspettare, aspettare, aspettare.

Domande:
1. Per quale motivo si è trasferito ad Austin Marco?
2. Secondo Marco, quali sono alcuni vantaggi che una città come Austin offre a chi lancia un’attività? Sei d’accordo?

A big grazie mille to Matteo Rabatin for his contribution to the interviews and transcriptions, and to Candice Pilkinton for her assistance.

Keeping Austin Local, Weird and Multilingual.

bats

Our methodology at Freestyle incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us and try a free class or Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm)!

Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Embracing Subtitles; the Road to Fluency

This is not your mother’s pair of jeans, nor your father’s Oldsmobile… this is language learning in the 21st century! It’s pop culture, y’all. It’s slang and everyday language, it’s the fun path to fluency.

greeenmachine_pop-culture

Don’t let subtitles scare you! Get over your fears and hesitations; don’t be too cool for this kind of school.

Films use language in real-life situations enabling the learner to grasp the meaning and sounds of colloquial expressions at the heart of everyday language while experiencing cultural contexts… all while entertaining!

Sit Back and Enjoy the Amusement of Subtitles!

Subtitles can uniquely create humor, adding a pure comedic touch. Take this clip from the comedy Airplane for example with two men speaking jive, obviously English… but is it? Check out the video to see what all the hoopla is about!

Subtitles are humorous! Enjoy… and embrace them!

When learning everyday jargon in a foreign language, we can’t all go about faking it like Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds! Watch as Brad Pitt is thrown off entirely by the fluency with which Christopher Waltz’s character speaks Italian; subtitles enhance the comedic effect.

To Swear or Not To Swear? No Matter, It’s Idiomatic!

To go about one’s day, one needs an understanding of common lingo, or street talk. Don’t tell your mother we told you, but swearing is a huge part of cultural context, colloquial language! Every language has modern slang that defies literal meanings. For example, non-native speakers of English wouldn’t know the flexibility of using swear words such as *hore, bi*ch and *ss without watching films such as this American high school parody, Mean Girls in their native language subtitles.

Embrace, even if you choose not to personally swear like a (bilingual) pirate!

Similarly, we see the French word putain used everywhere, rarely in a literal context.  But we would not know that without seeing how it’s used in everyday language, ie… scenes in films! With film, we grab the cultural meaning behind the language. Watch this clip of Jean Dujardin accepting his Oscar for Best Actor. Did you catch that slip at the end? “Ouah, putain, genial, merci, formidable, merci beaucoup, I love you!”

French films teach us quickly that putain, a high-frequency swear word (but harmless, really) appears just about anywhere in most French sentences.

Global Speak; It’s all Relative

We, as Americans specifically, need to get over our fear of subtitles. People use them all around the world for varying purposes.

27FRIEDMAN-articleLarge

Subtitles carry the potential to be an international game-changer in poverty, status and education.

Millions of people in countries around the world embrace subtitles with no hesitation as a means to improving their everyday life. See this NY Times article on how learners use subtitling to further their education and career and to make global connections.

Even in the realm of entertainment, the entire world seeks to connect to Hollywood and Bollywood films and they do so with subtitles in their native language!

subtitles_mkv

Let’s eradicate the misconceptions we tend to have while dealing with subtitles in film; they’re useful and globally accepted!

The Science, The Backbone Behind It

Acquiring language through a medium such as film is not only fun and entertaining, but multiple studies have shown it’s a driving force for second language and culture acquisition.

As renowned linguist and second-language acquisition expert Stephen Krashen once said “language needs to be fun!” Language acquisition works best when the input is interesting and compelling to us, so much so that we forget we are immersing ourselves in another language!

ideas head tree

“The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input’ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear.” -Krashen.

Rod Ellis, a leading theorist in 2nd language acquisition, elaborates:  “Successful instructed language learning requires extensive 2nd language input…where 2nd language needs to become the medium as well as object.” Film is the medium, and an entertaining one at that! SO, pull yourself out of the humdrum routine of hours with flashcards and intensive studying. Although these methods help in retaining information, the delight and entertainment of film best supplements them.

Plenty of science revolves around it, but the ultimate goal is to have fun while you’re learning; your brain will do all the work! While watching foreign film, in the midst of having fun, you increase your metalinguistic awareness, unbeknownst to you. Qu’est-ce que c’est  metalinguistic awareness? It’s simply the ability to think of and be aware of language in relation to its cultural context, that language has specific functions and rules. Furthermore, multiple viewings of a foreign film also increase awareness of important paralinguistic elements: body language, gestures, facial expressions, loudness, tempo….all features highly important to communication in another language.

One of the most renown (and local!) language specialists, Dr. Garza, Director of the Texas Language Center of the University of Texas, provides an important pedagogical framework for the use of video and film in the classroom. See Dr. Garza as he explains how video and film, as authentic texts, contain the possibility to develop language learners into “active learners”. He states that the application of technology such as video, film, internet, etc. may hold the key for language learners to go from competence to proficiency, i.e. to make great strides along the road to fluency!

The Freestyle Way

Freestyle’s unique methodology incorporates foreign film in our curriculum in a step-by-step process that allows significant realization of linguistic and cultural meaning. We study relevant vocabulary themes and intermediate to advanced grammars entirely in the context of a specific, chosen film; here’s a quick break down of our process:

1. Watch the film in target language with English subtitles; this provides semantics (meaning)

2. Work thoroughly through target language subtitles and/or transcribed dialogue of film over the session; this provides lexical and syntactic information (vocabulary and word order)

3. Watch the film in segments with no subtitles;  this provides phonetics (sound/pronunciation/listening)

4. Witness a significant boost in listening, comprehension and speaking ability!

Additionally, Freestyle is proud to incorporate Austin’s own ITAL in our classes! Transmedia specialist Sergio Carvajal-Leoni, in collaboration with Austin-Based Filmmaker Romina Olson and UT Award-Winning Italian instructor Antonella Del Fattore-Olson, created ITAL, a digital channel that blends entertainment and education to teach Italian language and culture. The entertaining ITAL videos are intended to expand students’ knowledge of contemporary Italian culture while helping them to increase their vocabulary and oral competency. As you can see in the video that follows, part of ITAL’s instructional component is reflected in the use of subtitles – sometimes in English, others in Italian – to emphasize how new vocabulary is used in everyday conversation.

HINT: This fall, intermediate Spanish students will be studying Spanish through Volver, intermediate French through the romantic comedy Heartbreakers, Portuguese through the comedy The Man Who Copied, Italian through the dramedy The Last Kiss!  Come visit a class for FREE.

Additional Tip! 

Try practicing with subtitles by choosing a tv show/film you enjoy watching in your native language with your target language subtitles. For example, the American hit romantic comedy, Two Weeks Notice (Sandra Bullock / Hugh Grant), like many U.S. shows and films, offers both French and Spanish subtitles.

We hope you see the many varied reasons to embrace and enjoy subtitles so that your road to fluency will be smoother and more enjoyable.

Happy Trails on Your Journey to Fluency

Accepting subtitles in foreign film will allow you to grasp a whole new realm of knowledge  that would otherwise only be receivable via physical interaction in the actual country.
Seize the power of film to help you obtain the gift of gab in your target language and join us at Freestyle to further develop your language learning in a relevant, fun and social context!

The idea that language learning is rote and boring is defunct in the 21st century!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lights, Camera… Language!

Arts & Entertainments and Film: Our last installment of the Summer “Games” continues with a multicultural and multilingual look at cinema around the world. Take a sneak peak! Freestyle’s methodology embraces film and subtitles to widen and deepen everyday/colloquial language.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Challenge yourself with a few of these videos and clips, test your comprehension. Want more?! See our teacher’s “Favorite Films”.

Spanish: “Eat, Love, Learn”

Our Spanish students watched the Mexican film Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate), a masterpiece filled with memories of the old Mexico and the magical realism, or lo real maravilloso, that is so prevalent in Spanish novels and films. After reading the following summary, you’ll see a list of preguntas used to guide our discussions after watching the film. These activities improve both auditory and oral skills as well as critical thinking in a second (or third or forth!) language!

Esta película está basada en una novela del mismo título escrita por Laura Esquivel. La autora adaptó su obra para el cine y en 1992 Alfonso Arau realizó su producción. Los personajes principales son Tita (Lumi Cavazos), Pedro (Marco Leonardi) y Mamá Elena (Regina Torné). La historia ocurre en México a finales del siglo diecinueve y los primeros años del siglo veinte. 

Preguntas:  

1. ¿Quiénes son los personajes principales?  

2. ¿Qué temas explora la película?

3. ¿Qué representa la cocina?

From a sensual Mexican film, we moved into the broader territory of Latin American films. Do you know the difference between Latin American cinema and Latino cinema? Listen to Cine Las America’s director Eugenio del Bosque explain en español. Transcription below.

Bueno y aquí se pone un poquito más complicado. Esto que les voy a hablar es un poco la diferencia entre el Cine Latinoamericano y el Cine Latino que es el que se hace acá en los Estados Unidos. Por lo general el cine Latino que se hace en los Estados Unidos, y luego está esta parte en inglés. Yo creo que lo más obvio que podemos decir del Cine Latino es Robert Rodríguez, que todos lo conocemos en Austin.  Que no ha hecho más que yo creo que una película en español. Eh, ¿El mariachi está en español, verdad?

Looking for more? Teacher’s Favorite Film:

1. Todo Sobre Mi Madre, 1999: A Spanish-French comedy and drama that deals with complex issues such as AIDS, faith and existentialism.

French: “Voyage à une culture exquise”

Voyagez with us and découvrez what our French classes explored in the literary and cinematic world of La France. Activities included reading and interpreting les poèmes de Baudelaire, learning poetry terms — le thème, la rime, le ton, etc.– after which they wrote their own collaborative poems en français using the entertaining game of Cadavre Exquis

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

À une passante

La rue assourdissante autour de moi hurlait.
Longue, mince, en grand deuil, douleur majestueuse,
Une femme passa, d’une main fastueuse
Soulevant, balançant le feston et l’ourlet

Poem Continued…

From Baudelaire to Omar Sy, these two greats really are intouchables! Lisez un resumé du film:

La relation entre deux hommes issus de milieux différents : l’un, d’origine sénégalaise, vivant en banlieue parisienne, qui vient de purger une peine de six mois de prison et l’autre, riche tétraplégique, qui a engagé le premier venu comme auxiliaire de vie bien qu’il n’ait aucune formation particulière…

Your second mission, should you choose to accept it…

Regardez la bande-annonce (watch the trailer) of this award-winning French film, then fill in the blanks of the first few lines. Au courage! 

Je viens chercher _________________ par rapport aux…  _____________ ! …Assedic.

·  Comment vous vivez l’idée d’__________________? Ça ne vous gêne pas de _____________ sur le dos des autres ?

·  Ça va, merci, et vous ?

·  Vous pensez que vous serez quand même capable de _________________?

·  Vous en avez de______________ ! – J’en ai tellement que je suis prêt à vous ________________________ pendant un mois ! Je parie que vous ne tiendrez pas ________________________!

·  C’est un truc de ___________ ça ! – Non, mais, vous avez fini de jouer, là ?

·  Et, mais en fait, vous __________________________ là ?

Teacher’s Favorite Films:

1. C.R.A.Z.Y., 2005: A recent work from our French speaking neighbors of Quebec

2. La Grande Vadrouille, 1966: A timeless French classic featuring the great comic actor Louis de Funes

3. La Haine, 1995: A black and white, suspense-filled drama has become a cult classic in France and around the world

Portuguese: “Viajar e descobrir com o filme”

Central Station, a touching drama in Portuguese, takes the viewer around Brasil, offering a rich view of culture as well as language. After watching the following trailer, you’ll see a list of perguntas used to guide our discussions after watching the film.

1. Dá um pequeno summário do enredo do filme.

2. Dá 3 adjetivos para descrever cada personagem.

3. Quem são os personagens principais?

Teacher’s Favorite Film:

1. Bossa Nova, 2000: A romantic comedy about several interwoven love stories taking place in Rio de Janeiro

Italian: “Eat, Love, Watch “

UT educator Antonella Del Fattore-Olson and two Austin-based filmmakers Romina Olson and Sergio Carvajal created ITAL, a digital channel that blends entertainment and education to teach Italian language and culture.  The entertaining ITAL videos are intended to increase students’ vocabulary and oral competency in a fun relevant way, which is why Freestyle will be adapting them as excellent teaching tools!

As you can see in the video that follows, part of ITAL’s instructional component is reflected in the use of subtitles – sometimes in English, others in Italian – to emphasize how new vocabulary is used in everyday conversation.

Teacher’s Favorite Movie:

1. La Vita e Bella, 1997: A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.

That’s a wrap!

The Summer “Games” Series may be over but continue to follow us for yet another exciting blog installment. Love the idea of foreign films but feeling intimidated by subtitles? Stay tuned for our next series, “Embracing Subtitles”!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Mexican, The Caveman, The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

Continuing with our Summer “Games”… This post provides lots of “food for thought!” AND an opportunity to practice your Spanish, French and Portuguese! Our Food & Wine theme, both delicious and fun, included tantalizing  recipes and vocabulary. The guest speakers added another interactive dimension. For anyone who was not able to attend, let us transport you to our week of culinary delights… 

Spanish: “The Mexican: Comida Fresca y Margaritas!”

Our very own French student and polyglot, native Mexican Victor Martinez, shared his familial love of cooking with only the freshest of ingredients.

Yo creo que una de las principales características de México es la comida. Tradicionalmente la gente come comida fresca, lo que hay en temporada. Mi abuela no tenía refrigerador, ella iba al mercado todos los días, compraba lo que estaba fresco y eso comía la familia.*

 

All comida fresca best complimented by an authentic margarita perfect for the summer heat!!

Margarita

Recipe: 3 partes tequila (100% agave)

2 partes licor de naranja (patron citrone)

1 parte jugo limon

Miel de agave al gusto

____

Going back a few millennia…

Spanish: “The Caveman: La Paleo Dieta”

These days it seems like everyone is on some kind of dieta, but have you ever considered the Paleo Diet? This “Caveman” approach is a modern nutritional plan derived from ancient times. It includes pescado, carnes, huevos, verduras, frutas y nueces.

Peruvian-Italian and cross-fit enthusiast, Fernando Nieri shared his estilo de vida, which encourages healthy and nutrient-filled eating. “You are what you eat.”

La lista que les di muestra todas las frutas, verduras y carnes que puedes comer. Lo importante es si vas a comer carne, si se puede comprar carnes de animales que comen pasto o carne orgánica. Hay mucha gente que dice que la carne es mala, consumir mucha carne es mala para tu cuerpo, pero yo creo que el problema es cuando consumes carnes que tienen hormonas y muchos aditivos. *

 

____

Ready for dessert? Les macarons et le gâteau du diable arrivent !

French: “The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

French native, world traveler, macaron expert, owner and chef of Cinnamon’s Bakery, Chef Loïc Duchesne spoke about his boulangerie et ses macarons délicieux. This crunchy and irresistibly-colored petit dessert is a French classic.

Macarons

Chef Loïc even took the time to share his recette with us! Listen as he explains the baking process.

Pour les macarons: sucre en poudre, amande en poudre, blanc d’œuf, sucre cristallisé… on mélange la poudre d’amande et le sucre en poudre, et bat les œufs en neige avec le sucre. On mélange les deux en même temps et après on a une pate à macaron qu’on va presser sur une plaque avec un papier. On laisse croûter pendant une demi-heure, on double les plaques.  Après une demi-heure, on les met au four  pour 8 minutes et demie.  On sort un peu d’eau sous le papier; 3 min. on enlève les macarons, et on met la crème à l’intérieure, on recouvre le macaron… et voila! *

 

Our next treat is Chef Alain Braux’s gâteau au chocolat fondant. Sinfully delicious and gluten-free, his cake can be found at People’s Pharmacy. Customers call him le diable for creating his chocolate confection… 

Bien que ce ne soit pas le Gâteau du Diable, il est vraiment tentant. Vous avez été prévenus!

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

____

Portuguese: “Comida Brasileira em Austin” 

Mocotó and vatapá and caldo verde, oh my! Portuguese students focused on learning about gastronomia de Portugal e do Brasil. Both countries’ gastronomy borrows from various sources, such as the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and indigenous areas. Some essential spices and cooking staples include piri piri (small chili peppers), cinnamon, saffron, açai and olive oil.

Students presented their favorite comida to the class em português. For an authentic taste of Brazil closer to home, we recommend Rio’s Brazilian Café.

Here are our top picks:

  1. Appetizer: Pão de queijo, small yucca & cheese “breads” (gluten free!)
  2. Entrée: Estrogonofe de Frango, a traditional Brazilian chicken and mushroom stroganoff
  3. Dessert: Pudim de Leite, one can never go wrong with flan and fresh whipped cream!
Pão de queijo

Pão de queijo

How did you do? Need translations? Comment below!

Continue to follow us as we explore the upcoming themes: Arts & Entertainment and Movies. We will foray into the worlds of Cine Las Americas, ITAL, and the French music scene at SXSW!

 

*In the translation/transcription periodic nuances occur relating to the difference between speaking and written.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let the Summer “Games” Begin!

Ready, set, GO! We’ve kicked off our Summer Session with our “Special Guest Speaker Series” in a range of topics such as Sports & Fitness, Earth & Environment, Food & Wine, Art & Entertainment, and Movies. This Summer reflects Freestyle’s unique model of learning languages through relevant social events.

olympic-logo4

The speaker series particularly highlights culture which plays a critical role in the comprehension of your target language. Follow along with us as we venture deeper into the cultures of Portuguese, Spanish and French. We will showcase a wide range of experts on a variety of topics, with guests from Olympic athletes to French chefs.

This week’s guest speakers engaged our students in all things Sports & Fitness, starting with Brazilian native and futebol fanatic Karina Marcela Gotuzzo.

Portuguese: “The Ginga”

Karina explained (em português, claro!) the fanaticism of Brazilian soccer.  The basics of the game – the teammates and the soccer ball – come together on the field but the “ginga” or soul is what completes it. “Ginga” is the “springiness” and balance on the field . It has turned into an art and a form of language through which Brazilian society can express their passion.

697345-brazilian-soccer-fans

Passionate fans, talented players and the richest soccer history in the world… Benvindo ao Brasil!

Read, listen and watch for yourself as Karina explains ginga.

É a tal da ginga, do molejo, este balanço tão particular que já tornou o Brasil cinco vezes campeão mundial.

This is the ginga, the springiness, this particular balance so that Brazil has become the world champion five times.

Leaving the soccer fields of Brazil, let us transport you to Mexico.

Spanish: “A Good Kick”

Meeting an Olympian is not an everyday occurrence, but it is something we got to do on Wednesday! Leo Manzano is a native of Mexico, a proud Austinite and former Longhorn.  His specialty in the 1,500 m and the mile took him far, earning him the Silver Medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Watch this clip and follow along as he explains his signature kick.

“Un buen cierre es un “good kick.” Entonces, miré hacia el lado y estaba rebasando al chavo con 200 metros, pero lo estaba rebasando en línea 2. Usualmente no se rebasa en la línea 2 porque estás corriendo más de cuando estás en la línea 1.”

“A “buen cierre” is called a “good kick.” Then, there were only 200 meters left and I was passing another runner, but I was passing him on lane 2. Usually you don’t pass someone on lane 2 because you end up running more than when you pass someone on lane 1.”

This past week, our French students have been building their français by learning about some unique sports found en Europe. From the casual la marche nordique to the intense parkour, there is something for everyone. 

French: “Parkour et plus!”

Here are our top picks:

  1. (Nordic) walking/faire de la marche (nordique) : A resourceful way to work out le système cardio-vasculaire because of its easy access to people of all ages, not to mention that it is the most economical sport, only requiring a comfortable pair of tennis and a pair of Nordic walking sticks if you choose. Bougez un peu! NordicWalking3
  2. Parkour : For those seeking more adrénaline, parkour has more than enough to go around! It was originally called le parcours (the course) which derives from parcours du combattant, the classic obstacle course training method used in the military. This extreme yet graceful sport that is often practiced in urban areas involves la course à pied, la varappe/l’escalade, la balançoire, la voltige, le saut périlleux and la reptation — whatever suits that particular environment. The goal is to navigate des obstacles while moving quickly and efficiently and maintaining as much momentum as possible.

parkour-hd-162697

A favorite vocabulary word of the week was franchir : whether crossing the finish line or overcoming the fear of speaking in the target language, the same concept can be applied! Practice and persistence are key.

Stay tuned for our upcoming take on next week’s theme of Food & Wine… Chefs, Paleo Diets and pâtisseries galore!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

French fare in the heart of Texas

French food is one of the most globally celebrated cuisines,  infinitely rich in cultural and historical influences. Offering des plats rustiques et élégants, world famous desserts and pâtisseries, French flavors and influences abound in cuisines around the world. It’s because of that diversity that we’ve put together a list of our préféré French and French-inspired restaurants in Austin. Bon appétit!

Elizabeth’s Street Cafe

Elizabeth’s Street Cafe: 1501 S. 1st St. Austin, TX
http://elizabethstreetcafe.com/

For those who want a taste of the French influence on Vietnamese food, head over to the dynamique et mignon Elizabeth’s Street Cafe on S. 1st. This cute restaurant offers Vietnamese classics and some of Austin’s best and most authentic French pastries. Here are our top picks:

1. The croissants- In any shape or form they are, hands down, the best in town. We’ve used them for our popular Saturday “cafe”…délicieux!

2. Broiled escargots- Tender escargot with an Asian twist. Instead of the usual butter and garlic, they use a Thai basil curry butter, served with a baguette.

3. Bánh mì- Our favorites are the grilled marinated pork, and the house speciality of chicken liver, mousse, pork pâté, and roasted pork…Ooh la la!

Flip Happy Crêpes

Flip Happy Crepes: 400 Josephine Street, Austin, TX.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flip-Happy-Crepes/77132682069?fref=ts

Crêpes, thin- like pancakes enjoyed as either crêpes sucrées (sweet) or crêpes salées (savory), are often served from street vendors. Flip Happy Crêpes offers some of Austin’s best original and unique crêpes, and what’s more Austin than serving something unique and fantastique from a trailer? Here are our favorite crêpes:

1. The Ham and gruyere cheese and green onions, a perfectly French combination.

2. Nutella and bananas (or strawberries) a classic enjoyed by children as well as adults.

3. Roasted chicken, mushrooms, cheddar, and caramelized onions. Hearty yet simple.

Lenoir 

Lenoir Restaurant: 1807 South 1st Street
All photos from http://lenoirrestaurant.com/

Lenoir is the creation of culinary husband and wife power team Jessica Maher and Todd Duplechan, and despite only being open for less than a year, it has already created a reputation for amazing locally produced French-inspired food. This cozy space (which only seats around 30!) is dreamlike and eclectic in decoration and menu (which changes seasonally), with it’s menu featuring dishes from “field, sea, land and dream”. Here are our top picks to fall in amour with.

1. From the “sea”  try the poha-crusted fish, butternut curry, pomegranate and corn.

2. From the “land” try the delicious crispy rabbit terrine, sweet potatoes, watercress and orange salad.

3. And lastly, this “dream” dish of chocolate brioche pudding, coconut sorbet, rum raisins and pecan crunch.

Justine’s Brasserie 

Justine’s Brasserie: 4710 East 5th Street, Austin, TX
https://www.facebook.com/Justinesbrasserie?fref=ts

 And finally, a list of French restaurants wouldn’t be complete without the très tendance and très français Justine’s Brasserie. Not only is the food extraordinaire but so are the cocktails. A must try is their soixante-quinze, or as we know it the French 75 ( gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar), a sip seems to immediately transport us to Paris. Here are our top dishes:

1. Soupe à l’oignon- French onion soup.

2. Ratatouille – Classically prepared à la Provençal, c’est superbe!

3. Moules frites- Mussels and fries.

C’est magnifique!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our pick of the best authentic Latin American and Spanish food trucks in ATX

With Otoño weather finally here, we thought we’d help warm you up with some caliente Latin American and Spanish cuisine. What better way to enjoy this weather than with some of the best auténtico dishes from Austin’s intuitive food truck scene.

Miguel’s. The Cubano, Tapas Bravas, Art of Tacos

Recently the rest of the U.S. has jumped on Austin’s food truck bandwagon with mobile food trucks rolling out from every other state. Long gone are the assumptions that food trucks only offer questionable hotdogs and peanuts, today’s food truck’s are fresh, funky, and everything that makes Austin, Austin. Here’s our pick of the best authentic Latin American and Spanish food trucks.

For those who want to a taste of Spain we recommend Tapas Bravas located on the chida y divertida Rainey Street.

Tapas Bravas- 75 Rainey St Austin TX 78701. Photos from Tapas Bravas Facebook.

As the name indicates this food truck offers Spanish style tapas, which are warm/cold appetizer sized dishes. The estupendo thing about tapas is that it invites people to share food AND a conversation. Our top picks:

1. Croquetas- Deep fried chicken & serrano ham croquettes

2. Pimientos piquillos rellenos de queso de cabra y piñones- Goat cheese stuffed piquillo peppers with pine nuts and honey.

3. Catimpalitos a la sidra- pan fried mini churizos in cider glaze

4. Sangrias on Wine Down Wednesday! Not to be missed, it’s BYO-Wine and for $7 you’ll get a start up kit to make your own Sangria pitchers! Ok, technically not food but the fruit must count… right?

—————————————————-

For those who want to experience Cuba and feel the revolution! Vamos to Miguel’s. The Cubano for some of the most auténtico, sabroso y creativo Cuban food Austin has to offer.

Miguel’s. The Cubano.-611 Trinity ST Austin, TX 78701. Photos from Miguel’s. The Cubano. Facebook

Our top picks:

1. The famoso El Don sandwich- Slow-Roasted Eden Farms pulled pork, caramelized Onions, cilantro and mojo served up on fresh milled bread and lathered in smoked chili aioli

2. De La Noche sandwich- Local Berkshire Ham, slow-roasted Eden Farms pulled pork, baby swiss cheese and pickles served up on authentic homemade Cuban sweet bread and pressed to perfection.

3. Yuca Fries with Mojo and Meat- Yuca fries served with choice of sherry-pimiento-garlic chicken, braised brisket, or slow-roast pulled pork

4. Maduros- Caramelized plantains served with a crema for dipping

—————————————————-

Last but not least, the taco. While Austin may be chock full of taco trailers that bring you everything from authentic to creative fusion, a simple taco is sometimes the best. And if you haven’t already filled up on Tapas Bravas (or had a couple drinks afterwards roaming Rainey St.) check out The Art of Tacos.

Art of Tacos- 75 Rainey St Austin, TX 78701. Photos from Art of Tacos Facebook

Simple, fresh and delicioso. Our top picks:

1. Ground beef and potatoes taco

2. Fajita chicken quesadilla

3. Al pastor taco

Buen apetito!

We’re so lucky to live in a city with such varied culture and language. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall Italian Food & Wine!

One thing we, as Americans, tend to think of  regarding Italy, is passion. Italians treasure , and indeed are passionate about, their rich culture and heritage which traditionally center around  food and wine.

Romance & passion in Italy

In Italy, the cuisine reflects regions as well as the seasons. In Fall, communities in northern Italy celebrate truffles and mushrooms, so much so that the internationally famous Alba truffle festival takes place over 7 weekends (7! Over 14 days of truffles! Now that is passion for truffles. What decadence!) White truffles are an exquisite and expensive ingredient found mainly near Alba, and in the piedmont region.

White truffles in Alba, Italy

In Italy’s southern regions, chestnuts are the celebrated ingredient of Fall. In the town Fagnano Castello, in the Cosenza region, the annual festival called the  “Sagra Della Castagne” celebrates the chestnut harvest, to nearly mythical proportions.

Sagra Della Castagne (Festival of Chestnuts)

The Italians use chestnuts and truffles in ways we would have never dreamed. Check out a few recipes we’ve selected:

RECIPES USING WHITE TRUFFLES/CHESTNUTS:

Taglierini Con Tartufi Bianchi / Taglierini With White Truffles:

Serves 4

1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large fresh sage leaves, torn into 4 pieces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 lb. taglierini
2 oz. white truffles

1. Rub a small saucepan with garlic clove. Over low flame, melt 6 tbsp. of the butter. Add sage and salt and pepper, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, letting the butter bubble, but being careful not to let it toast.

2. In a large stockpot, bring ample water to a boil. Salt generously and add taglierini. Cook pasta until al dente, then drain thoroughly. Toss pasta with sage butter in a large, warm serving bowl. Cut remaining 2 tbsp. butter into pieces and add to taglierini, tossing again to bind pasta. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. At the table, shave approximately 1⁄2 oz. white truffles over each serving.

(Credit: Christopher Baker)

Castagnaccio/Chestnut cake

Serves 8

3 T sultana (golden) raisins
1/2 lb chestnut flour
2 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling the pan and drizzling on top
pinch of salt
4 t sugar
2 to 2 1/2 c cold water
3 T pine nuts (pignoli)
a few sprigs of rosemary
1. Soak the raisins for a few minutes in a small bowl with warm water.
2. Mix the chestnut flour, oil, salt, sugar, and water (I used 2 c, but you can add a little more according to your taste and the consistency of the batter).
3. Drain the raisins and mix them into the batter, along with the pine nuts.
4. Pour the batter into a greased 9″ diameter pan, 2″ deep. The batter will not rise during baking, so if you have a slightly different size pan on hand, that is fine too.
5. Sprinkle the rosemary sprigs over the top of the batter and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
6. Bake at 400 F for 1 hour. You’ll know it is ready when the surface is covered with little cracks. Cool, turn out onto a plate, and enjoy!

(credit: http://www.epicurious.com user marzipan4)

Buon appetito!

Castagnaccio/Taglierini Con Tartufi Bianchi

For us Austinites, check out this authentic Italian restaurant:

Andiamo Ristorante:

Fall Special: “Pumpkin Ravioli in brown-sugar and sage sauce.” Also, check their menu for more fall dishes…delizioso!

2521 Rutland Drive Austin TX 78758

http://www.andiamoitaliano.com/About_Us.html

-And a few other Italian restaurants:

Vespaio:

1610 South Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78704

http://www.austinvespaio.com/vespaio/vespaio.html

La Traviata Italian Bistro:

314 Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701
http://www.latraviata.net/

Carmelo’s: 

504 East 5th Street, Austin, TX 78701
http://carmelosrestaurant.com/

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers