Tag Archives: culture

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 Multicultural & Multilingual City!

Bienvenue to the next French installment of our ongoing ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series, where we celebrate our city’s cultural diversity while taking an interactive approach to language learning. Rewarding on so many levels! Practice your French and interact with us here for a chance to win more free language practice with us at FLC in ATX! Read on to see how.

Through our video interviews in French below, we’re thrilled to introduce one of our most dynamic Freestyle students, Barbara Baeyens.  A true polyglot, Barbara speaks not only the 3 official languages of Belgium (Dutch, French and German), but her English is parfait as is soon to be her Spanish. Oui, c’est vrai!

French is the 2nd most spoken primary (Belgian) language, used natively by almost 40% of the population.

An Austinite of several years, Barbara works dans le domaine du logiciel (in software). Learn more about her and what she loves (le soleil!) and doesn’t love about Austin in these beginner and intermediate level videos (beginner, subtitled in French; intermediate, full transcription provided, pas d’excuses!)

Bon, alors, au travail! grab yourself un verre de vin (‘the great fluency builder’, n’est-ce pas?) and practice your listening comprehension, reading and writing – all while learning more about une femme francophone à Austin. C’est super génial! 

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 French Saturday conversation ‘cafes’! Our teacher will get back to you en français bien sûr

Beginner Questions

1. D’ou vient-elle? spécifiquement …

2. Qu’est-ce qu’elle n’aime pas à Austin?

Intermediate Level

To get the most out of  this level, we suggest first listening to Barbara while watching the video. Then read the full transcript in French, followed by another pass of listening / watching. How much more do you understand after reading the transcript?  Et n’oubliez pas de répondre à nos questions! 

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

Intermediate Questions

1. Comment gagne-t-elle sa vie? C’est à dire, elle fait quoi dans la vie en tant que boulot?

2. Qu’est-ce qu’elle a étudié et pourquoi?

We are over the moon proud that Barbara chose Freestyle for her next language journey.  She started her Spanish with us Fall 2014 and never misses an opportunity to practice and put her Spanish to use in our various wine tastings, dance lessons, art tours….she’s showing US how it’s done!  #gopolyglot!

We just want to know one thing, Barbara, which language next?!  And what is YOUR favorite aspect of being able to speak all these languages?

If you’d like to practice your French more, please come in for a FREE trial to any of our “Saturday Cafes” or Classes. We also invite you to join us at Chez Nous  for an evening of classic French food and conversation en français. 

Additionally, think about joining us March 7 pour une journée entière (!) en français. Austin based Sojourne Tours is partnering with us to bring a private tour of Austin through a French perspective. We’ll be touring various French businesses, restaurants, and will learn more about the Texas-French connection, including a stop at the Bullock Museum to look at the shipwreck La Belle.

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: Spring Session starts March 23-May 12!

Merci for interacting and practicing with us! Answer the questions below in our comment section, and one lucky reader will be chosen to win 4 French 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 MULTILINGUAL, MULTICULTURAL CITY!

Welcome to another installment of Freestyle Language Center’s “Polyglot Austin” series, where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity, while taking an interactive approach to language learning!

In this entry, we feature Italian native Daniela Marcone, owner of Andiamo Ristorante, the most authentic Italian restaurant in Austin. Take a culinary journey with us, and practice your Italian!

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Daniela Marcone (left) compra verdura fresca al mercato.

Located at 2521 Rutland Dr, we celebrate  Andiamo Ristorante for its commitment to fine ingredients and authentic Italian fare. Owned by Naples-native Daniela Marcone, Andiamo serves and prepares food exactly how it would be done in Italy.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare … Che bonta’!

Watch and listen to our interviews with Daniela to practice your Italian. Before we get started, go ahead and grab your favorite vino, the great fluency builder…First things first! To get the most out of this language learning tool, as step 1 read the transcriptions for general context. Step 2, hit play and as you listen, if needed, stop to review. See how multiple viewings of segments of each video improves your reading & listening comprehension.  To practice writing, answer some questions below in Italiano (maybe time to refill that glass first?…) and you’ll hear back from our teachers! Let’s listen, va bene?

Beginner Level

Q: Come ti chiami?A: Mi chiamo Daniela Marcone.

Q: Di dove sei?A: Sono di Napoli.

 Q: Hai famiglia qui ad Austin?A: No, sono da sola qui ad Austin.

 Q: Cosa ti piace di Austin e del Texas?A: Direi, Austin e’ una citta’ abbastanza liberale. Considerando lo stato del Texas, ci sono molte persone che hanno viaggiato quindi hanno una mente molto piu’ aperta circa la cultura, il mangiare, le lingue, i viaggi e mi trovo molto bene con questa dimensione di Austin.

 Q: Cosa ti piace fare quando hai tempo libero?A: Mi piace dedicare il mio tempo libero a delle organizzazioni senza scopo di lucro. Quindi mi piace fare la volontaria, stare a contatto con la natura. amo i cavalli, i disabili, i bambini, quindi dedico il mio tempo libero a quelle cose e ovviamente ai miei animali quando ho tempo.

Intermediate Level

Q: Benissimo! Quando hai deciso di diventare proprietaria di un ristorante? / A: Quando mi si e’ stata presentata l’opportunita’ perche’ non era la mia intenzione o nei miei piani di vita.  Quindi e’ semplicemente capitato.

Q: Descrivi com’e’ una tipica giornata per te. / A: Direi che, essendo proprietaria di un ristorante, i tempi al mattino sono ben diversi da quelli di ogni altra persona perche’ si inizia relativamente tardi.  Mi sveglio, mi prendo cura dei miei animali.  Non devo essere al lavoro fino alle 11 del mattino e quindi la giornata per me inizia abbastanza tardi.  Alle 11 si inizia a lavorare.  Amo il contatto con il pubblico, quindi mi prendo cura dei miei clienti fino alle due.  Il mio pranzo e’ abbastanza tardi, quindi io inizio quando gli altri finiscono, e poi di solito il pomeriggio faccio delle commissioni per il ristorante.

FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT, CLICK HERE & look in video description

Questions – Answer in ‘comment’ section below to hear back from our teachers:

Beginner:

1) Che mestiere fa Daniela?   
2) Perche’ a Daniela piace Austin?  

Intermediate:

3) Che cosa le manca di piu’ dell’ Italia?   
4)  Che cosa ha studiato Daniela in Italia?   

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: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

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Polyglot Austin! Our multicultural, multilingual City

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

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In a melting pot like the city of Austin, with a  variety of cultures around every corner, we are always in earshot of molte lingue . 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 esercitare!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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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

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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. *

 

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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!

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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.

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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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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/

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