The Durells

This is good Sunday night television as it’s relaxing and idyllic. It’s set on Corfu in the 1930s. It features Greek conversation between the natives but also Lesley Durrell.

Sometimes you just need something that isn’t intellectual to practice on. The speech isn’t very distinct but there are subtitles to help. Normal speech tends to be quick and you only catch the most accented words. This can be problematic so going with the gist can be useful since this is only for enjoyment. However, the problem comes when you need to put this into real life. I will hopefully get better this year but as I’ve learnt this isn’t something you can rush. It happens at its own pace.

Do you have any tips that you use to increase your foreign language learning abilities?




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Athena Minerva

A place for me to write about things that concern myself and the world around me. Please check out my page on Amazon after you have finished my blog or drop me a line at

7 thoughts on “The Durells”

  1. Don`t be afraid of making mistakes. I am very lazy (I don`t like to study books only and to memorize…thus, my grammar is poor) and playful. I used to learn my language skills by try & error and listening to native speakers. Thus, for me it worked just to try to communicate – preferably face2face….I had many good laughs, when I was misunderstood. It helps more to develop a feeling for a language than memorizing huge sets of rules you cannot recall quickly enough as soon as you talk to somebody. My Mandarin teacher in Shanghai used to give me little tasks like exchange money/cash in a bank, research the prices of fruit, take a taxi and try to explain the taxi driver the direction…and so on. I made very good experiences with the locals who have been very helpful. We have had great fun. Another trick of mine is reading comics and watching commercials on TV. The latter helps to improve your listening skills – and in most cases you understand the content / context quickly…and the commercials are broadcasted repeatedly. I am like a parrot but of course, everybody has got his individual learning style.

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    1. Thankyou for your helpful tips. I have talked to taxi drivers and been shopping for many different items. I have also been into bars/restaurants to order items. It’s conversation I struggle with as it’s so unstructured. It also tends to be full of slang. When people go off the beaten track I become lost.

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      1. I suppose, the solution is: Practice, practice, practice…and patience.
        But I know these situations too, of course. It might be helpful to focus on conversations of smaller groups or one-to-one talks.
        And I used to ask if I couldn`t follow. If you are in a good, welcoming company, some body will be of help giving you an intro into the topic or translate unknown vocabulary or describe the atmosphere / tenor of the conversation. The latter has been one of my major challenges because it is not only about an exchange of infos but of emotions too.

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  2. I love that show. It is simple and enjoyable, but I guess life too at its best is simple. I remember the quote “Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes”, haha, which Larry said at some point [not his quote originally I think].

    Regarding tips on learning languages, I agree on several of the tips already given: Don’t fear making mistakes. I think that is one of the biggest tips overall in life. I often notice how the most successful people are usually the ones who make most mistakes, but the key is that they continue nonstop despite their mistakes.

    The only advice that might be even better is: Remember to have fun. If you just keep having fun, everything else will work itself out.

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