Category Archives: Spanish

POLYGLOT AUSTIN: OUR MULTILINGUAL, MULTICULTURAL CITY!

Bienvenido!  to another interactive guest post; this one in Spanish from our friend Fernando Nieri!

In our continuing efforts to connect the many cultures and languages in Austin, we invite Austinites who’re native speakers of  French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese to share an idea, a place, an art, a product – or anything of particular interest to them – in writing in their native language.   In the Freestyle way, we invite all (both our students & readers of the larger ATX community and beyond) to interact w/us here. We won’t grade you too harshly if your answers are in English…and who knows? there may be a prize for those in Spanish Voila!  magnífico! 

We’re thrilled to put a spotlight on our long-time amigo Fernando Neiri, a model, health enthusiast and Austin business owner ‘extraordinario’!

Fernando also owns the award-winning creative studio 'Notices'

      Fernando also owns the award-winning creative studio ‘Zoticus’

Read about Fernando, one of his favorite recipes and how to make it  – all in Spanish!

Mi nombre es Fernando Nieri y nací en Lima, Perú. En enero del 2000 decidí venir a Austin a estudiar Inglés para luego ir a la universidad y obtener mi maestría. Dentro de mis pasatiempos favoritos están pasar tiempo con mi familia y amigos, cocinar, hacer ejercicios y viajar.

Hace tres años decidí matricularme en clases de Crossfit. Fue ahí cuando aprendí sobre la alimentación Paleo. Como uno de mis pasatiempos favoritos es cocinar, empecé a modificar mis recetas para convertirlas en paleo. Empezó como un pasatiempo pero hoy en día es mi manera de cocinar. Desde que empecé a comer solo frutas, verduras y carnes (de animales al pastoreo) he visto un gran beneficio en mi vida.

Estoy seguro que si deseas darle una oportunidad a la alimentación paleo encontrarás muchos beneficios. Es por eso que con mucho gusto los invito a probar esta receta de panqueques hecha con ingredientes naturales y considerados paleo. Espero que la disfruten!

If you’re interested in learning more about Fernando’s creative studio ‘Zoticus‘ you can contact him at info@zoticusdesign.com

PANQUEQUES DE PLÁTANO CON COMPOTA DE FRUTAS

Panqueque Paleo

     Panqueque Paleo

Tiempo de preparación: 10 minutos
Tiempo de cocción: 10-15 minutos
Sirve: 8 panqueques

Ingredientes

  • 3 plátanos
  • 2 huevos
  • 3 cucharadas de harina de coco
  • 1 cucharadita de extracto de vainilla
  • ¼ cucharadita de bicarbonato de sodio
  • ¼ taza de leche de almendras
  • Canela al gusto

Instrucciones

  1. Agregar los plátanos en un procesador de alimentos y hacerlo puré.
  2. Añadir los huevos y mezclar.
  3. Añadir la harina, extracto de vainilla, bicarbonato de sodio, canela y mezclar.
  4. Añadir la leche de almendras.
  5. Caliente una sartén grande a fuego medio. Una vez que la sartén está caliente, añada de 2-3 cucharadas de la mezcla en la sartén. Cada uno de los panqueques serán de aproximadamente 3 pulgadas de diámetro. Cocine ambos lados del panqueque.
  6. Una vez que los panqueques estén hechos, sirva de 3 a 4 panqueques por persona y vierta la compota de fruta sobre los panqueques.

COMPOTA DE FRUTAS

Opción 1: Compota de Bayas

  • 4 Fresas
  • 5 Frambuesas
  • ½ taza de arándanos azules

Preparación:

Coloque las bayas en una cazuela pequeña sobre calor medio alto. Una vez que las bayas surtidas comienzan a ablandar, añada 1 cucharada de miel y triture las bayas con una espátula. Retire las bayas del fuego y deje reposar por 5 minutos antes de servir.

Opción 2: Compota de Manzana y Durazno

  • 2 manzanas
  • 1 durazno

Preparación:

Corte las manzanas y el durazno en pedacitos pequeños. Colóquelos en una cazuela pequeña sobre calor medio alto. Agregue 3 cucharadas de agua. Triture y mezcle con una espátula. Retire la compota del fuego y deje reposar por 5 minutos antes de servir.

¡Delicioso! Now it’s your turn…answer these in the comments below.  Correct Spanish could get you a sweeeet Freestyle discount…!

  1. Cuál es tu pasatiempo favorito (/preferido)?
  2. Qué puedes comer si quieres seguir una dieta paleo?
  3. De qué consisten las dos compotas?

And don’t forget to join us for our Open House, Friday, Aug. 28th 6pm-8pm 801 Rio Grande St. Austin, TX 78701. Meet our team of teachers and register for the fall session (9/8-11/24) with a great deal and fun free swag!  Our  proven language model and methodology is not only effective it’s fun. We pride ourselves on our pedagogy & 2nd language acquisition skills as well as on the connections made in our language learning community. Language is 100% about connecting people!

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Polyglot Austin: Our Multilingual and Multicultural City!

Bienvenidos to the next Spanish installment of our ongoing ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series, where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity while taking an interactive approach to language learning! In this post we are thrilled to introduce one of our favorite guest speakers: Fernando Nieri, a model, health enthusiast and Austin business owner ‘extraordinario’!

Practice your Spanish and interact with us here for a chance to win more FREE language with us at FLC in ATX! Read on to see how.

collage fernando

As a Peruvian-Italian, Fernando enjoys eating buena comida. He thrives on the Paleo diet, which we got to learn about when he visited us as a guest speaker last summer.  Eating healthy is something that Fernando feels passionate about, and when it comes to food he lives by a simple rule: “eres lo que comes.”

Grab yourself una copa de vino (‘the great fluency builder’) and practice your listening comprehension, reading and writing through our video interviews– all while learning more about Fernando! ¿Estás listo?

Beginner Level

Beginners, to get the most out of this exercise, watch it first without sound, while reading the subtitles.  Then, watch the video again with sound. See how multiple viewings of segments of the video improve your reading & listening comprehension. Be sure to answer the questions here in our comment section for a chance to win 4 Spanish Saturday conversation ‘cafes’! Our teacher will get back to you en español! 

Beginner Questions

1. ¿Por cuanto tiempo vivió Fernando en austin?
2. ¿A que se dedica Fernando?

Intermediate Level

To get the most out of  this level, we suggest first listening to Fernando while watching the video. Then read the full transcript in Spanish, followed by another pass of listening / watching. How much more do you understand after reading the transcript?

Click HERE for full transcript (‘show more’ section of video)

Intermediate Questions

1. ¿Por qué decidió Fernando a cambiar a paleo?

2. ¿Qué aconseja Fernando a las personas interesadas en probar paleo?

If you’d like to practice your Spanish more, please come in for a FREE trial to any of our “Saturday Cafes” or Classes.

Fernando is also the owner of the award-winning graphic design company ‘Zoticus Design'(http://www.zoticusdesign.com/) located here in Austin. As part of his summer guest speaker talk, Fernando created a paleo guide en español for our students, muchas gracias! Be sure to like them on Facebook for updates!

collage paleo

The Freestyle Lifestyle

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Using language in context! Students at our wine tasting, in the classroom & at our Spanish Salsa dance party!

Our one-of-a-kind approach to second language acquisition uses technology and interactive media in a way that brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we continue to revolutionize language learning: Summer Session May 18 – June 24, Fall Open House Friday, Aug. 21st.

Gracias for interacting and practicing with us! Answer the questions below in our comment section, and one lucky reader will be chosen to win 4 Spanish Saturday ‘cafes’!

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Polyglot Austin: Our Multilingual, Multicultural City!

Bienvenidos to the next Spanish installment of our ongoing ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity while taking an interactive approach to language learning!

Meet Eugenio del Bosque, Director Ejecutivo of the local Austin non-profit, Cine Las Americas.   Watch these beginner and intermediate-level videos as Eugenio explains (en español) what he does at Cine and the challenges Cine faces – subtitled, transcripts provided!

 

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An international event that unites amazing films, talented filmmakers and passionate audiences in Austin, Texas

 

De veras amamos Cine!  Freestyle + Cine = Match made in heaven!  Our friends at Cine Las Americas work day in and day out to bring Latin American films—films made by or about Latinos or indigenous peoples of the Americas—to life in ATX.  Not only do we love how Cine promotes multiculturalism in our city by “creating a truly Pan-American cinematic experience”, their predominantly Spanish language films (some Portuguese), like Memorias de un soldado and Mateo, engage our students all year long, offering great language practice and development.

Film is absolutely our favorite medium for language acquisition – ¡Gracias, Cine!  Just ask Keeley Steenson, the Outreach and Operations Manager of Cine, who is also one of Freestyle’s Spanish students; La extraordinaria Keeley is in our intermediate series which embraces the cinematic approach to language learning.

 

Eugenio del Bosque, a presenter at our annual ‘Summer Session Guest Speaker Series'

Eugenio del Bosque, while busy running Cine, graciously offers his time to our students at our annual ‘Summer Session Guest Speaker Series’

 

¡Vámonos!  Watch, listen, read transcripts  – have all kinds of fun!  Then,  answer our questions (en español) in the comment area; one of our teachers will get back to you.

Beginner Level

Beginners, to get the most out of this exercise, watch it first without sound, while reading the subtitles.  Entonces, watch the video again with sound. See how multiple viewings of segments of the video improve your reading & listening comprehension.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT (in ‘about’ section)

Questions:

1. ¿En qué trabaja Eugenio? 

2. ¿Qué le gusta a Eugenio de Austin?

Intermediate Level

Q: ¿Me puedes describir un día típico para Ud., para ti en el Cine las Americas? / Eugenio: Bueno lo que a mi me gusta de Cine las Americas es que no hay un día típico, como es una organización sin fines de lucro, es una organización que nos dedicamos a la promoción del cine y de las artes. Siempre hay algo nuevo. Típicamente es mucho trabajo de oficina, mucha cuestión de comunicación con la audiencia, con los miembros, con patrocinadores; números, siempre contabilidad y presupuestos; postulaciones para apoyos de gobierno y corporativos y bueno, siempre las películas ¿No? Siempre buscando películas ó tratando de ver películas.

Q: Y ¿Cómo consigues las películas?    / Eugenio:  Bueno las películas, nosotros abrimos una convocatoria para el festival, siempre estamos tratando de ver películas pero para conseguir películas nuevas…

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT (in ‘about’ section)

Questions:

1. ¿Qué tipo de organización es Cine Las Americas?

2. ¿Qué es una convocatoria? Por qué Cine las Americas abre convocatorias?

3. ¿Cuántas películas al año ve el comité de Cine las Americas?

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Have we mentioned how much we love Cine?!  Have you seen their Hecho en Tejas  film panorama?! They even have after-school programs that provide “a bi-lingual space to bring the tools of media creation and distribution to a widely diverse group of students within the Austin Independent School District and beyond.”  Talk about diversity in the community! We can’t think of a more worthy organization in Austin to support!  If you also want Cine to continue to bring Austin multicultural cinema,  be sure to support their ‘Save Cine Las Americas’ campaign by August 31st!

The Freestyle Lifestyle

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We do language learning a little differently at Freestyle!

Our one-of-a-kind approach to second language acquisition uses technology and interactive media in a way that brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we continue to revolutionize language learning: NEXT Open House Fri. Aug. 22nd 6pm-8pm at 801 Rio Grande!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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“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!

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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”!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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

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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!

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Even at SXSW, caped polyglots can swoop in at a moment’s notice…

It appears that the city of Austin has survived yet another edition of the South by Southwest film and music festival.  For the residents of our fair city (apologies to Click and Clack), SXSW is usually tackled with either of two strategies:  one) you embrace one or both weeks of the schedule and avail yourself of the “We never stop serving” audio and visual buffet, gorging on as much as your ears and eyes can manage; or two) you resign yourself to a mini-hibernation, avoiding the clustering crowds, time-devouring traffic and cacophonous chaos, fleeing like Arthur and his noble, questing knights from the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, with your own rousing chorus of “Run away! Run away!”

An added bonus of Southby is the sheer amount of entertainment available to the polyglots of central Texas, to the residents and visitors from afar that call Austin home or pit stop.  Films from the world over, music from every corner of the globe (a strange expression to be sure, given the inherent roundness of said globe), and in enough languages to make Austin even more international than it already is.

Our adventure begins with two intrepid heroes–a Francophone whose obsession with music is probably only exceeded by his taste for wine and love of literature (played here by your humble servant, etc. etc), and a friend and Freestyle Spanish instructor, Jennifer, with her own penchant for the magical realism of literature (fancy a cup of Garcia Marquez?) and passion for the language of Cervantes that has taken her to Spain and Costa Rica.

Their experiences during this magical, yet real, festival couldn’t have been more different.

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Jennifer fell into the second camp, the Monty Python-esque denizen of Austin who longed to avoid the “nasty, big, pointy teeth” of SXSW.  One night during the festivities, curled up with what I am led to understand was a mighty smooth bottle of Cacique and a some sort of crochet project in hand, she was, as she put it, “coerced out of hibernation.”  The means of coercion are no secret, and I remember her specifically saying “luckily coerced.”  Her roommate Jacob had met the performer in a bike marathon about a year ago, and had never seen her perform.  It only took a little bit of convincing (though I’m not sure if the carrot was financial, fun or a government mandate), and he convinced Jennifer to hop on a bike and pedal to the venue, in typical Austin fashion.  Apparently, participation in bike marathons gives you mad dope bike skills, so Jennifer’s pedaling was wind-like, a hustle to keep up. Jacob, next time give the girl a break!

Off she went to see a show.

As for myself, I usually pitch my tent in the KOA of festival embracing.  If I had the money, and could afford the time off, I would, every year, brave the riot-proportion crowds and obnoxious, steroid-enhanced Austin traffic to see as many films and concerts as my little brain and body could handle. (Yes, there would be bathroom and food breaks, but I’m given to understand one can live off food from a drive-through window or street cart for weeks before any real health risks kick in.  Most movie theatres and concert venues have restrooms, so that would be settled, and Axe commercials have convinced me of the efficacy of their products.  Women, commence flocking!) I had decided on one show in particular to see, weeks in advance.

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Jennifer went, (coerced, wink wink nudge nudge) to see an artist new to her, Gina Chavez, a singer-songwriter based here in Austin, whose music shifts between English, Spanish and bilingual iterations.  As if that wasn’t enough internationalness (hooray for neologisms!), Ms. Chavez is also Austin’s music ambassador to its sister city in Japan, Oita.  To hear Jennifer describe her, “Her voice has that deep ethereal swagger that makes one want to sing along and is backed by Latin beats that make it impossible not to move.”  The venue was packed, with no room for the dancing often inspired by Gina’s jams, like “Embrujo,” so the crowd was relegated to clapping and grooving to the music on stage.  Lest you think the audience simply stayed a passive observer, Gina had everyone singing along to “El Sombrero Azul,” a cover song by Ali Primera, written for Salvadorans as a song of lucha [struggle] during the civil war.

As for my show, I went to see Baloji, an emcee originally from the Congo, now living in Belgium.  I’ve been listening to his music for several years now, and the concert did not disappoint.  The crowd was electric.  But the French take-away from the night sprouted from a much more benign incident.  My friend Jaclyn, during one of the sets, met a guy from Africa who had a band of his own.  Then, she told me about him and his group.  He sounded cool, so a quarter of an hour later, crossing him in a doorway, I introduced myself, invoking my friend as our one degree of separation.  After I asked him from where he comes in Africa (“The Ivory coast!”) he told me briefly about his group, Aciable. (From their site, aciable:  pronunciation: ah see ah blay  (language: Bahoulee, an ethnic group of Ivory Coast in  Africa.)  meaning 1. Joy and dance.  2. African-inspired dance band based in Austin, Texas.). I was intrigued, but the brief conversation stopped there.

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Just a few (ten? fifteen?) minutes later, I found myself in the men’s room, dutifully staring down the wall from my strategic positioning in front of the urinal.  In the corner of my eye, the door opened, and in steps the Ivoirian–strange that I asked the name of his band, but not his.  As luck would have it, he sidled up to the urinal next to mine.  To heck with time-honored protocol in the men’s room, I will speak again to this man! In French! “La Côte d’Ivoire, hein?” [the Ivory Coast, huh?] The slightly higher pitch of surprise in his voice, “Vous parlez le français alors?” [So you speak French?] My response, as ever in these situations, is, “Bien sûr!” [Of course!]  The conversation continues as we exit les toilettes, and I learn that Aciable is, in fact, an Austin-based band, much like Gina Chavez.  I verify the name of the band (whose site I later find on the googlenets), hand him my card, and tell him I look forward to seeing him again.  In French, of course.  Jean-Claude, if you’re reading this, on se verra bientôt!

Jennifer, on the other hand, was fortunate enough, after the set, to eventually talk to Gina, the Spanish flying off her tongue like Mexican fruit bats taking flight. Their conversation lasted longer than mine, substantive, packed full of vowels and minerals, sprinkled with idioms.  Gina remembered Jacob from the bike marathon (ah the benefits of exercise!), yet Jacob seemed surprised that Gina remembered him and, as if starting a surprise loop,  she seemed surprised that he was surprised by that. And that’s not surprising.  She talked to Jennifer and Jacob about being the music ambassador and how it’s going to be a continual post, with the current ambassador taking the new one to Japan for introductions, passing the mic, so to speak, from one to the next. She was incredibly sweet and wanted a picture of Jacob and Jennifer with her. In a subsequent email after the encounter, Jennifer learned that Gina recently performed a benefit concert for her El Salvador college fund and plans a summer Boat Fiesta to continue to raise money for the cause. It seems that whatever the  Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch was that convinced Jennifer to come a’questing during SXSW led her to the Musical Grail that is Gina Chavez. She told me, “I feel fortunate to have met Gina, and it’s wonderful to know a talented artist with such a kind heart.”  She’s definitely a fan now, and she’s hoping to convert you, too.  Here, just see for yourself.  A tune by Gina Chavez via Jennifer’s introduction:

“If you’re just starting out learning Spanish or don’t speak a bit of it, try listening to “Miles de Millas,” a bilingual tune that will amaze you no matter what language you speak!”

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Though Jennifer may have had the more glamorous night, I am no less excited about my toilet talk.  Whichever way it happened, it’s just further proof that anywhere, anytime, the super powers of multilingualism can swoop in to carry the day.

For more information on Gina Chavez, visit http://www.ginachavez.com/

For more information on Aciable, visit http://www.aciable.com/Home_Page.html

A Great deal of thanks and credit goes to Jennifer, without whose story I would not have been able to write this post! Merci mille fois! Muchas gracias!

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Language Learning is the Swiss Army Knife of Knowledge…

For when you don’t have a Galactic Hitchhiker from whom you may borrow a Babel Fish…

Han Solo understood Chewbacca’s Wookiee language and the speech of Greedo, a Rodian (Thank goodness or Han would’ve only had a bit part in A New Hope!).  Jabba the Hutt understood English (but still didn’t heed Luke’s warning!). And C-3PO, that loveable goldenrod, was fluent in over six million forms of communication!

Image Copyright Stanley Chow

John Malkovich and Johnny Depp know more than English.  Emma Thompson does, too.  Penelope Cruz has made a career in both Spanish- and English-language films.  Gérard Depardieu makes films in France and Hollywood.  Samuel Beckett, an Irishman, Eugene Ionesco, a Romanian, and Milan Kundera, Czech, all wrote in French, their second language.  And Haruki Murakami wrote the first lines of his debut novel in English, then translated them back into his native Japanese, finding his voice along the way.

It’s what separates the Fleming Bond from the Hollywood Bond.  It’s what makes Jason Bourne way cooler than both.  What’s “it,” you say? Why, speaking more than one language. Being a polyglot.

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You know the old joke: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. Three? Trilingual. One? American.

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Mandarin is spoken by over 1 billion people.

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According to CBS news, Barack Obama, at a town hall meeting in 2008, said, despite having spent part of his childhood overseas, “I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing!”  Days prior he was reported saying, “It’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup, right?”   When Mr. Obama championed the idea of Americans learning another language, his opponents jumped to criticize, deride and worse.  His response?  “You know, this is an example of some of the problems we get into when somebody attacks you for saying the truth, which is we should want children with more knowledge.”

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Skittles.

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G. Tucker Childs, in his 2003 An Introduction to African Languages, declares that there are more than 2100 languages spoken on the continent.

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Whenever I’ve told someone that I speak French, I’ve never been met with, “Holy Cow! Are you kidding!?  Why on earth would you want to speak another language?”  Very often there is the refrain of “Oh man, that is so cool!  I wish I spoke another language.”  Sometimes a rousing chorus of “Wow, I studied [insert language here] in high school but I don’t remember anything except [insert “hello” or “please” or random curse word from previous language].”  There is the occasional stunned silence, usually for people who aren’t sure how to respond, but they often follow up with a question about how I learned it, or where or why.  And then there are those who, despite having no background in learning another language, still try to relate:  “Wow, that’s great.  I have an uncle who had a step-daughter from his second, no third, marriage, who took French in junior high.  She really liked it.”

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Did you know that Spanish is the de jure or de facto language in some 23 countries around the world, on four continents? 

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There are a million reasons (I know because I’ve counted—#1, to communicate) to learn another language.  Gaining cultural competence and awareness, and improving one’s ability to think and reason notwithstanding, learning another language allows us to better know our mother tongue (Oh, how many students I’ve had who didn’t understand English grammar until we studied French grammar.).  It leaves us with the ability to travel far-off with the magical power to experience a more authentic Spain or France, a more personal Senegal or Columbia.  It bestows upon us even more ways to express ourselves and, better yet, know and understand ourselves.  For music fans, it is your gateway to an exponential number of new favorite bands that you won’t ever hear on the radio, so no  more listening to the same misses over and over and over.  For movie buffs, your DVD collection will grow, your bank account shrink, and Friday Film Nights will never, ever be the same.

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French is the official language (or one of several) of 30+ countries around the world, used unofficially in even more, spoken on five continents, and figures among the official languages of dozens of international organizations.

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Living in Austin, I find myself in the car quite often.  By which I really mean, all the time.  When I’m not listening to KUT, the local NPR affiliate, I have CDs constantly playing music.  You may not think this terribly unusual, save one detail.  Almost without fail, those discs are playing French music.  Or African Music.  Mostly likely hip hop.  In my mind, the soundtrack of Austin isn’t Sara Hickman, Alejandro Escovedo or Brownout (though I listen to them!), but IAM, Saïan Supa Crew, Magic System and Sexion d’Assaut.  And, full disclosure, listening to what surely seems out of place to everyone but me, I always do two things.  One: At stoplights, when the weather’s nice, I open the sunroof and the windows and turn up the music.  When people stare, I know I’m cool, and I secretly wait for them to ask me what I’m playing. Two: Every time I hear a Sonic ID on KUT, I automatically imagine it’s me on the radio, talking about how my soundtrack to Austin goes back and forth between Morning Edition, All Things Considered and French Hip Hop.  Other drivers will listen to this same Sonic ID and think, “That guy must be so cool.”  The ID ends with me singing along to something fun, like Magic System.

My therapists say my delusions completely lack grandeur.

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Learning languages is a Swiss Army Knife for knowledge.  It makes you smarter; it makes you cooler.  It opens the world to you in ways you haven’t even imagined.  It bridges cultures and continents; it links one human to another.  And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, that link turns romantic, then you woo someone in their language, and they you, in yours.  That’s probably worth the price of admission right there.

An Attempt at Internet Dating

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I’ve got Japanese and Arabic on my list. What language do you want to start learning today?

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