Category Archives: Special Guest Speaker Series

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.

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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!

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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!

Bem-vindos to the latest Portuguese installment of our ongoing ‘Polyglot Austin”  blog series, where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity while taking an interactive approach to language learning.

Through our beginner and intermediate Portuguese videos below (subtitled, with full transcription provided!), we introduce you to Bruno Vinezof, a Brazilian native and founder of the incredibly soulful rhythm & percussion group Maracatu Texas.

Practice your Portuguese while you learn more about this afro-brazilian percussion genre infusing Brazilian culture into Atx.  Did you know you can join Maracatu in Austin??  Check out their lively performances and classes .

Also! Read on to see how you can win an 8-week Portuguese class at Brazil Day Austin 2014.

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Austin boasts an especially strong and colorful Brazilian music scene. Que lindo maravilhoso!

What an enriching experience learning about the history and culture of  “Maracatu” which conveys, specifically, the rhythm of Northern Brazil.   In the past, in the era of slavery in Brazil, the Maracatu groups crowned a black king and queen who would be the communicators between the Portuguese slave owners and the black community to which they belonged. These traditions are still honored in Marcatu groups today.

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An array of alfaias, a type of Brazilian drum, artwork in themselves!

Watch, listen, read transcripts  – have all kinds of fun!  Then,  answer our questions (em português) 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.  Then, 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 

Beginner Questions

  1. Pernambuco fica em qual região do Brasil?
  2. Bruno conhece países nas Américas, e mais um continente. Qual é o outro continente?
  3. Que tipo de instrumentos músicas Bruno toca?

Intermediate Level

J: Pode descrever o lugar onde você cresceu? / B: Eu cresci numa cidade chamada Olinda. É uma cidade muito antiga, com mais de quatrocentos e setenta anos. Olinda tem muito casarões antigos, e é uma cidade com muita música, e o carnaval é muito famoso. CLICK HERE FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT 

Intermediate Questions

  1. A cidade de Olinda tem quantos anos?
  2. Para Bruno, qual é a diferença mais importante entre a música brasileira e a música dos Estados Unidos?
  3. Think about the following two phrases: O Maracatu “veio para o Brasil com os escravos,” and “servia como um intermédio.” Why does Bruno use the preterit in the first phrase, and the imperfect in the second?

We thank our friends of  Morena Soul, the lively, fun, locally grown Brazilian-music band for introducing us to the Brazilian scene in Austin.  Meet them here, in our first Portuguese blog entry and be sure to follow their performances as well (schedule).   What dynamic people, groups and strong bonds that unite Portuguese-speaking musicians in Austin!

Like the sounds and cultural richness of  Brazil and the fast-paced rhythms of samba?  Don’t miss Austin Samba (the largest Brazilian cultural organization of its kind in the US) present the largest celebration of Brazilian music and culture of the year at their event ‘Brazil Day Austin 2014‘!  Dance, drink, eat, practice your Portuguese AND!!!…. enter to win an 8-week  Portuguese language class with Freestyle!  Come meet us at our table there and enter a drawing (free!) to win!

Last, but certainly not least, if you love practicing your Portuguese, make sure BRAZILPOD is in your repertoire!

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!

Fall I Session starts 9/2, join us for a free trial class or Saturday ‘cafe’ – info@freestylelanguagecenter.com

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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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