Do you speak more than one language?
Whenever I spend time abroad, I’m always struck by how encouraging the locals are of any effort to speak their language. While eating out in Sicily earlier this year, for example, I successfully asked for ‘burro’ (butter) in Italian. There was actual applause from the waiting staff. “You speak Italiano”, our server announced, as if I had just translated Ulysses.
Still, I can’t help but feel crippled by my inability to speak any language but awkward, clumsy old English.
Here are three easy (and free) ways to start learning another language today:
BBC Languages offer free lessons and courses online.
Learn10 automatically generates ten new words every day, selected from the 1000 most common English words.
Live Mocha allows you to join an online learning community. You earn points by helping others to learn English, which you then use to ‘buy’ lessons in another language.
To master the non-verbal communication, one of my Italian friends sent me this handy guide to Italian hand gestures from the New York Times. He claims it’s completely accurate!