useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

useful italian phrases

If you’re taking a trip to Italy, chances are you’re planning on doing some serious shopping. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for shopping in Italy…

Do you have a trip to Italy planned? Besides the delicious food, Italy has some of the best shopping in the world. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir for your loved one or some high-fashion duds for yourself, Italy has it all.

In this article, we’ll explore some useful Italian phrases for shopping as well as some general tips. Learning how to speak Italian will ensure that you’re getting what you want at the appropriate price.

But before we dive into these useful Italian phrases, below are some shopping tips to help make sure that your first shopping trip in Italy goes off without a hitch.

Italian Shopping Tips

From big-name fashion brands to antique mom and pop shops, Italy boasts some of the world’s best fashion and art. Use the tips below to ensure that you have a positive shopping experience.

  • Watch out for imitations: When you’re visiting cities with lots of tourists, for example Florence, you might be tempted by the designer look-a-likes being sold on the street at bargain prices. Attento! (Watch out!) The police have been known to fine tourists and sellers alike for buying and selling these items. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably fake.
  • Look for the “Made in Italy” tag: The “Made in Italy” tag has been created to guarantee buyers that an item is authentically conceived, manufactured, and packaged in Italy. Look for items that have this tag so you can ensure that’s it authentic. What’s more, you’ll be supporting classic Italian workmanship.
  • Ask for a tax refund: If you’re making purchases that are taxed with the VAT (value-added tax), ask the shop owner for a tax refund form. This form enables you to receive a refund at the airport. The standard rate of this tax is 22%, so you stand to save quite a bit!
  • Remember to pack light: Resist the temptation to pack five pairs of shoes or three pairs of jeans. You’ll want to leave enough room in your suitcase to bring back the souvenirs and clothing you purchased. However much you think you need to pack, cut it in half.
  • Brush up on your bargaining skills: Brush up on your bargaining skills to get fantastic deals. Chances are you’ll have better luck in smaller stores or if you’re buying more than one item. Don’t get too greedy; start with a small discount and go from there.

Useful Italian Phrases for Shopping

When you first enter a shop, the salesperson might greet you and ask how they can help. You can respond by telling them one of the following phrases:

  • Cerco… (I’m looking for…)
  • Vorrei… (I would like…)
  • Ho bisogno di… (I need…)
  • Avete…? (Do you have…?)

If you’re looking for a specific clothing item, one of these words may be just what you’re looking for:

  • L’ abbigliamento (clothing)
  • La camicia (shirt)
  • La gonna (skirt)
  • Il vestito (dress)
  • I pantaloni (pants)
  • Le scarpe (shoes)

If you’re looking for accessories, try one of these Italian words:

  • La collana (necklace)
  • Il braccialetto (bracelet)
  • L’ anello (ring)
  • La cintura (belt)
  • La sciarpa (scarf)
  • I guanti (gloves)
  • Il portafoglio (wallet)
  • Gli occhiali da sole (sunglasses)

Once you’ve spotted something you like, here’s a phrase you can direct toward a shopkeeper

  •  Posso provare questi articoli, per favore? (Can I please try these items?)

Once you’ve tried them on, you might want to discuss the fit with a salesperson. Here are some useful Italian phrases to use:

  • Mi sembra troppo… (It seems too…)
  • stretto/a (tight)
  • allentato/a (loose)
  • grande (big)
  • piccolo/a (small)
  • Come mi sta? (How does it look on me?)
  • Mi piace… (I like… [for a singular object])
  • Mi piacciono… (I like…[for a plural object])
  • Non mi piace… (I don’t like [for a singular object])
  • Non mi piacciono… (I don’t like…[for a plural object])
  • Mi può portare una taglia più grande/piccolo, per favore? (Can you please bring me a bigger/smaller size?)

If you’re thinking of buying a particular item and want to discuss price, use the following Italian phrases;

  • Quanto costa? (How much does it cost?).
  • E’ caro. (It’s expensive.)
  • E’ economico. (It’s inexpensive.)
  • I contanti ( money)
  • la carta di credito (credit card)
  • lo scontrino/la ricevuta (receipt [informal/formal])
  • la borsa (bag)

Learning Italian before your trip will definitely come in handy–especially when you’re shopping. Use the useful Italian phrases above to ensure that you have an enjoyable shopping experience.

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

Post Author:
 Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!


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100 ways to be the perfect piano parents

25 Tips for Supporting Your Young Musician [Infographic]

100 ways to be the perfect piano parents

Parents, wondering how to best show your support as your child starts music lessons? Read on for a round-up of the best tips from piano teacher Rhonda B., plus a few other prominent piano bloggers…


So you’ve enrolled your child in piano lessons. End of story, right? No. Learning this challenging instrument — or any instrument, at that — will require a long-term commitment of at least a few years. It takes teamwork to make it happen.

My student Mallory’s mother, Christy, understands this. A couple of months ago, she asked for a consultation during lesson time, and explained her concerns that her 13-year-old daughter seemed to be losing interest in lessons. The three of us agreed to concentrate on making practice times consistent and holding Mallory more accountable. Mom, student, and teacher cooperated toward a mutual goal.

Since the consultation, Mallory’s practicing has improved 100%. This helps her to enjoy lessons and to progress more quickly. She recently nailed her assignment piece, a rendition of “Maple Leaf Rag.” Sweet success! And it happened because a concerned mom walked the extra mile to lend a hand to her struggling daughter.

Kids need their parents’ assistance, encouragement, understanding, and occasional firmness to help them master their music assignments and progress. This is especially true of young beginners — ages 5 to 7 — but also for students of all ages. Mom and Dad can help even if their knowledge of music is practically zero.

You, too, can achieve the status of a perfect piano parent. Here are 25 suggestions for helping kids learn piano and showing your support.

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support in Lessons

Is your child nervous about taking lessons? That’s normal! Ensure a smooth start with these tips…

Start at the right time. Consider if your child is really ready for piano lessons. Although some teachers will take students at very early ages, there are general guidelines for the best age to start piano lessons.

Don’t choose a teacher they don’t relate to. If your child doesn’t like his or her music teacher, this may reflect negatively on the experience. If your child is complaining about their teacher, ask them to share what they don’t like about them. Listen without trying to convince them differently. (via The Child Whisperer)

Stay in close touch with teachers. Keep your instructors informed of what’s happening at home. They can adjust their expectations, change the music, revise the lesson format, switch to better times or days, and more.

See if you can get involved. Check with your teacher to see if he or she suggests sitting in on the lessons — this works for some kids, but not for all.

Consider taking piano lessons at the same time. Be a terrific role model by practicing what you preach, and show your children that you are as human as they are when it comes to making mistakes. Bonus: Playing duets together can be a great way to bond!

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support at Home

Helping kids learn piano begins with a supportive home environment! Here are some tips…

Ask questions about what your child is working on. Listen to some of the assigned composers’ music on YouTube together. My student Aiden’s mom helped him find a ragtime version of “Everything Is Awesome”… which got her son really excited about the song.

Make sure your child has the right resources & books. Talk to your child’s teacher and ask about getting a theory book to accompany the lesson book. There’s a good chance that your teacher will suggest one to begin with. If not, ask for one. (via KeytarHQ)

Encourage other family members to applaud your child’s efforts. Positive attention is a great motivator. (via FamilyEducation)

Listen to music at home and in the car. It really doesn’t matter what you listen to – rock, country, classical, pop, or indie – what matters is that you let your kids see you bebopping along to it. Encourage singing and dancing as much as possible!

Head off burn-out. Kids may need to push through a tough stage, but at other times, a reward can help. For my student Matthew’s outstanding lesson last week, for example, his mother treated him to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Realize that it’s a process. There usually isn’t fast progress, but if students consistently practice, they will see wonderful results over time. This really is a case where slow and steady wins the race. (via Laura, Laura’s Music Studio)

Be especially supportive when they have a bad day. Music lessons are hard and get harder every week. While your child may be picking up their lessons at a fast pace, they won’t always. There will come days when your child has a tough time learning something and gets frustrated. Explain everyone has a tough day or two from time to time and to be patient. Help them through it. (via Piano Wizard Academy)

If there’s a growing attitude problem, try to identify the heart of the issue.
Does Kaitlyn really hate the piano, or is she frustrated because she can’t seem to master the B section of “Musette”? What’s the real issue?

Be wary of unrealistic expectations. People often vastly underestimate how difficult music can be. It’s best to have as few expectations as possible, and take every development as a gift when it comes. (via The Wise Serpent)

Don’t ‘help’ in ways the teacher hasn’t asked you to. For example, don’t write the names of the notes in the music for your child. (via Elissa Milne – from her article 15 Things You Need to Know About Supporting Your Child Learning to Play the Piano)

Encourage your kids to compose their own songs! Being creative in this way is not only fun, it instills deeper music intelligence, fosters general life skills, and increase self-confidence.

Piano Parents Tips: Handling Practice Time

Not sure how to motivate your child to practice? Here’s what you need to know…

Set up the right environment for practice. Make sure your kids are practicing in a comfortable place, with all the supplies they need. Here’s a great resource from AMP (the National Association of Music Parents).

Establish a practice routine. Explain that practicing is non-negotiable… like completing math homework or eating vegetables or tackling chores. Make it doable by insisting on regular practice times when students are rested and alert.

Consider using the phrase “playing time” rather than “practice time.” (via FamilyEducation)

Establish daily musical goals. For example, instead of saying that 30 minutes of practice is enough regardless of what is achieved, you might say, “Today the goal of practicing is to play the first eight measures of your piece without any mistakes.” (via PBS Parents)

Game-ify your child’s practice, such as with the ideas in this article from NPR.

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support at Recitals

Piano recitals are the perfect opportunity for your child to show off what he or she has learned! Increase your child’s confidence with these tips…

Take advantage of performances. Nothing motivates student practicing like preparing to play publicly, whether it’s a formal studio recital, sharing a piece in music class at school, or jamming with the church’s youth band.

Encourage the whole family to attend! Fill the crowd with friendly faces to fend off nerves and make your child feel especially excited about performing.

Prepare your child for mistakes before the recital. Tell a funny story about a time when you flubbed something or suffered a pratfall. Make light in advance of any looming catastrophe. Make it clear that a mistake is “no big deal.” (via The Happy Piano Professor)

Verbalize your support. All students wonder sometimes: is all their practicing worthwhile? Does anybody care about it? Are they sounding better than they did a year ago? A thoughtful, positive comment from a parent can help them persevere.

20+ Tips for Parents How to Support Your Young Musician

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Learning to play a musical instrument, especially one as difficult as piano, requires teamwork. Students learn and practice. Instructors teach, guide, and gently prod toward excellence. Moms and dads enforce practicing, support the instruction, and stay attuned to their children’s struggles and victories. Together they form a win/win/win team, thanks in part to the perfect piano parent’s involvement.

Want more tips? Check out Anthony Mazzocchi’s book, The Music Parents’ Guide: A Survival Kit for the New Music Parent.

Teachers and parents, what other tips would you recommend for helping kids learn piano? Let us know in the comments!


Rhonda Barfield has taught piano for 20+ years in two piano schools and now at her home studio. She has a B.A. in Music Education from Culver-Stockton College, and studied post-graduate piano with instructors at Truman State University. Rhonda operates Listening House Studios in St. Charles, Missouri with her son and business partner Eric. Book lessons here!

Photo by Michael Cisneros

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how to hold a violin bow

How to Hold a Violin Bow: Step-by-Step Guide [Pictures]

how to hold a violin bow

Learning how to hold a violin bow is vital skill. Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares some tips and tricks on how to master this important violin technique…

Oftentimes, the most difficult part of learning how to play the violin is mastering proper bow technique, as it can feel very unnatural for beginner and intermediate students.

While it can be frustrating, learning how to hold a violin bow is extremely important–especially for those who are just starting violin lessons. After all, the movement of the bow is what creates the sound of the violin.

With proper bow technique, you can essentially produce whatever tones, strokes, and dynamics you want. However, if you have trouble controlling the bow, you’ll end up making a squeaky or unsavory sound.

The foundation of a great bow technique is all about how you hold the violin bow. The correct bow grip will give your right hand and arm flexibility, power, and control, all while eliminating tension.

So what’s the secret to gaining the proper bow grip? Below is a step-by-step guide on how to hold a violin bow the right way.

Step One: Make a Bunny

To get an idea of how to hold a violin bow, practice making a bunny with your right hand.

  • Start by making the shape of the letter C, with your fingers and thumb curved.
  • Then, touch your thumb to your middle finger and ring finger to create the chin and nose of the bunny.
  • Next, raise your pointer finger and pinky (keep them curved) to create the bunny ears.

This is the basic shape of the bow grip. Practice making this hand formation until it becomes second nature.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Two: Place Your Thumb

When learning to properly place your right hand, it’s helpful to hold the bow stick with your left hand. Be careful to not touch the bow hair with your fingers.

First, place your thumb on the underside of the bow stick, next to where the frog ends. Usually, there will be a small space between the frog and the leather or wire finger grip. That’s the spot where you want to place your thumb.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Three: Place Your Middle Finger

Next, the middle finger is placed opposite the thumb on the bow stick, with the ring finger placed right next to it.

Let your middle and ring finger relax so that they curve over the top of the bow and rest on the frog. The placement should feel similar to when you made the bunny.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Four: Place Your Pinky Finger

Then, place the tip of your pinky on top of the bow stick, slightly away from the ring finger. It’s very important that the pinky is curved so that it points down onto the top of the bow stick.

Otherwise, if the pinky is held straight, you’ll lose a lot of control of the bow.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Five: Place Your Pointer Finger

Finally, place your pointer finger on the finger grip, contacting the bow close to the middle knuckle. Keep the pointer finger curved and pointing slightly back toward the other fingers on the bow.

If all your fingers are placed properly, you should be able to press down through the tip of your pinky and make the bow go up. This hand position may feel unnatural to you at first, but over time it will become automatic.

how to hold a violin bow

Exercises for Strengthening Your Bowing Hand

When you’re first learning how to hold a violin bow, your wrist and fingers might become sore or tired, as you’re not used to using these particular muscles.

Implement the following exercises into your existing practice routine to help strengthen your bow hand and improve your overall violin playing.

  • Repetition: Repeating a certain motor task helps with muscle memory. Try making 10 bow grips in a row, going through all the steps at once. By the fifth or sixth repetition, chances are you will no longer need the pictures or explanation to guide you.
  • Crawling: Holding the violin bow vertically in your right hand, start to crawl or inch your fingers up to the tip of the bow and back down without the help of your left hand. This exercise will help strengthen and improve flexibility in your fingers.

Having a good bow grip is an excellent step toward becoming a better violinist, so keep working with your violin teacher on your bow grip until you master it.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches violin, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo by Luis Hernandez

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Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

There are numerous Italian dialects spoken throughout Italy. Below, Italian teacher Liz T. shares the six most popular Italian dialects…

In the big boot of Italy, there are dozens of Italian dialects. In fact, almost every region has it’s own unique accent.

While the literary Italian language is used throughout the country for law, business, and education, many people still use their region’s original Italian dialect.

While it’s not necessary for you to learn every Italian dialect, familiarizing yourself with the most popular accents could come in handy when you’re traveling throughout Italy.

Below is a breakdown of some of the most common Italian dialects. Review the list to help you recognize accents on your next trip to Italy!


Milanese is not actually classified as a form of Italian. Rather, it’s a dialect of the Gallo-Italic sub-group that is closely related to French and German.

Similar to French and German, Milanese uses two additional vowels “ö” and “y” and subject pronouns are doubled in the second and third person.

For example, the standard Italian phrase “Tu non sei” (You are not) is pronounced “ti te seet no” in Milanese.


Spoken in Venice and the surrounding areas by over two million people, Venetian derives from Latin and Greek.

The Italian dialect is used mostly in informal contexts. For example, the standard Italian word “Farmacia” (pharmacy) is pronounced “Apoteca” in Venetian.


Florentine is the most standard Italian dialect, commonly used by people under the age of 35. The dialect uses nicknames of words. For example, the standard Italian word, “Formaggio” (cheese) is pronounced “Cacio” in Florentine.

The further south you travel, the more heavy and harsh the Italian dialect becomes. Also, because there are many immigrants that settle in Florence, there are several different sounds that influence the accent.


In Romanesco, there are several deviations from standard Italian. For example, “il” turns into “er” and “gli” or “I” turns into “li“.

What’s more, the letter “j” is pronounced as “i“, whereas in the other Italian dialects it’s not. Typically, the letter “j” will appear in between two vowels or at the beginning of a word followed by a vowel.


In Neapolitan, a lot of vowels and endings are dropped. For example, the standard Italian “Piove” is written as “Chiove” in Neapolitan and “Ci veddiamo dopo” is written as “Ce verimm’ aròppo

Also, many traditional Italian songs are written in this dialect, including the popular song “O sole mio”.


Sicilians talk with such a thick accent that people often mistake the dialect as a completely different foreign language–and they are right! Sicilian doesn’t derive from standard Italian. Rather it has linguistic elements from Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, Spanish, and more.

What’s unique about this Italian dialect is that plural endings of nouns end in “i“, no matter what the gender.

Mastering these Italian dialects can be tricky, but with the help of your Italian teacher you can practice speaking, reading, writing, and hearing these dialects together!

Bona furtuna! (Now, can you guess this dialect?)


LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

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Essential French Vocabulary - Words for Your Online Life

Essential French Vocabulary: Words for Your Online Life

Essential French Vocabulary - Words for Your Online Life

The French have their own set of words for the online world. Tutor Tyler S. shares how to type French accents, helpful phrases for email, and more!

In the most recent decade, technological advances have affected languages all over the globe. Thanks to these advances, it is easy to communicate with others over long distances at the touch of a button.

The internet and high-tech mobile devices have given rise to many new, abbreviated word forms. One example is the way the French use their own abbreviated language for social media and texting.

This article will help you modernize your French skills for a world where people text, email, and use social media, plus you’ll learn how to type accents on the daily!

How to Type French Accents

There are a lot of ways to type accents using a computer keyboard or mobile device. Here is how to type accents in French using Mac, PC, Android, or iOS.

1. How to Type Accents on a Mac

Accents are easy to type when using a Mac. Below are the common keystrokes. Remember to have the caps lock on when typing uppercase characters.

Àà – Press the [`] symbol and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [a].

Èè – Press the [`] symbol and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [e].

Ùù – Press the [`] symbol and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [u].

Éé – Press [e] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [e] again.

Ââ – Press [i] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [a].

Êê – Press [i] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [e].

Îî – Press [i] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [i].

Ôô – Press [i] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [o].

Ûû – Press [i] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [u].

Ää – Press [u] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [a].

Ïï – Press [u] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [i].

Üü – Press [u] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [u].

Ÿÿ – Press [u] and the [options] key at the same time. Then press [y].

Œœ – Press [q] and the [options] key at the same time.

Çç – Press [c] and the [options] key at the same time.

How to Type Accents on a Mac

2. How to Type Accents on a PC/Windows

Accents are slightly tedious to type on a PC/Windows operating system. But, it does get easy once you’re in the habit. As long as you have the list below, on either a sticky note or in a word processing file for reference, you will be fine.

À – Hold [ALT] and type 0192

à – Hold [ALT] and type 0224

 – Hold [ALT] and type 0194

â – Hold [ALT] and type 0226

Ä – Hold [ALT] and type 142

ä – Hold [ALT] and type 132

È – Hold [ALT] and type 0200

è – Hold [ALT] and type 138

É – Hold [ALT] and type 144

é – Hold [ALT] and type 130

Ê – Hold [ALT] and type 0202

ê – Hold [ALT] and type 136

Î – Hold [ALT] and type 0206

î – Hold [ALT] and type 140

Ô – Hold [ALT] and type 0212

ô – Hold [ALT] and type 147

ΠРHold [ALT] and type 0140

œ – Hold [ALT] and type 0156

Ù – Hold [ALT] and type 0217

ù – Hold [ALT] and type 151

Û – Hold [ALT] and type 0219

û – Hold [ALT] and type 150

Ü – Hold [ALT] and type 154

ü – Hold [ALT] and type 129

Ÿ – Hold [ALT] and type 0159

ÿ – Hold [ALT] and type 0255

Ç – Hold [ALT] and type 128

ç – Hold [ALT] and type 135

How to Type Accents on a PC

3. How to Type Accents on Android/iOS

Accents are extremely easy to type using most smartphones. To type an accent using your phone’s touchscreen keyboard, simply press down on the letter you want to accent and hold your finger over that same letter. A small menu will appear over the letter you selected, and various accented versions of that letter are included in that menu.

To select an accented letter, slide your finger while still holding down on the touchscreen in the direction of the letter you wish. You will see that the letter selected is darkened so that you know it is selected. Once selected, release you finger from the touchscreen, and the accented character will be typed into your current message.

For example, if you hold your finger over “u,” the following set of accented letters will appear over your finger on most smartphones: ū, ú, ù, ü, û

French Vocabulary for Email

Below is the basic structure of a typical French email. Each number on the left-side column represents a basic part of an email. Below the example email is an explanation of the email’s basic part and other suggestions for improving your vocabulary.

(1) Chère Mme Blanc,

(2) Je suis tre desole, mais je ne peux pas attender a votre classe aujourd’hui. Je suis malade, et il faut, que j’aille au docteur.

(3) Merci,

(4) [Your Information]

1. Information of the Addressee

This is the section where you want to correctly address the person you are emailing. Assess the level of formality you need to use, and use the addressee’s correct title if applicable. Here are more words you could use in this part of the email:

  • Cher = Dear _____, (for addressing a man)
  • Chère = Dear _____, (for addressing a woman)
  • Prof = Professor (as a title)
  • Mr or Monsieur = Mr. (title)
  • Mme or Madame = Ms. or Misses (title)
  • Mlle or Mademoiselle = Ms. or Miss (title)

2. Your Message’s Information

This section simply contains the information you wish to convey in your email, such as the example used above. This example sentence is a notification to Professor Blanc to excuse the addresser of the email, because he or she is malade (sick).

3. Thank You/Farewell

This is the section where you want to either thank the addressee for their time, or write other farewell messages, like we do in American email etiquette. Here are some common phrases used by the French:

  • Cordialement = Cordially
  • Merci = Thank you
  • Sincèrement = Sincerely
  • Meilleurs salutations = Best regards

4. Information of the Addresser

This is the section where you provide your personal information, such as your name, your telephone number, your address (if pertinent), and your email address. Here is an example:

Meilleurs salutations,
Pierre Dubois
80 Rue Saint-Louis
78001 Versailles, France

French Vocabulary for Social Media

Here is a useful list of commonly-used words from the online world of social media.

* les médias sociaux = social media

* le net = internet

* l’ego-portrait = selfie

* le statut = status

* la page web = web site

* ajouter a la liste d’ami(e)s = to add to your friendlist

* amiradier = to unfriend

* chatter = to chat

* la publication = post

* envoyer un poke = to poke

* J’aime = Like (as in the button on Facebook)

* Je n’aime plus = Unlike (as in the button on Facebook)

* l’accueil = home page

* la bôite de réception = inbox

* la discussion instantée = chat

* suivre sur Twitter = to follow in Twitter

* le tweetage = tweeting

French Vocabulary for Social Media

French Vocabulary for Texting

And last but not least, we have abbreviations commonly-used by French when texting. The French call these type of words “textos,” which, in English, are abbreviations similar to “lol” or “brb.”

Texto Francais English

bjr Bonjour Good Morning / Hello.

bsr Bonsoir Good evening.

C c’est… it is…

A+ à plus later

a2m1 à demain see you tomorrow

ALP à la prochaine until next time

auj aujourd’hui today

BCP beaucoup much; many

2 ri 1 de rien   you’re welcome

Koi 2 9 Quoi de neuf? What’s new?

Texting in French

Using these words will make you sounds très moderne in the world of French communication. Also, it is nice simply not to be confused when you encounter a texto or technological jargon. Practice using the new French vocabulary from this article, and you are sure to increase your understanding.

Ct pour auj. À bi1to!  😉

(C’est tout pour aujourd’hui. À bientôt! – That’s all for today. See you soon!)

Have you come across any interesting French vocabulary online, in email, or in a text message? Share it with us in the comments below!

Tyler S.Post Author: Tyler S.
Tyler S. teaches in-person Spanish and French lessons in Minneapolis, MN. He received his Bachelor’s degree in German and linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and has experience working as a teaching assistant and private tutor with TakeLessons since 2008. What’s more? He can speak 7 different languages! Learn more about Tyler here!

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5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

5 Fantastic and Free Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

There are so many strategies for teaching Spanish to kids, but there’s one element that should always be there: fun! Read on as tutor Breeana D. shares 5 Spanish websites for kids to bookmark!


It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the numerous websites on the Internet that claim to help students learn Spanish. Below are several websites that your child can visit daily and expect to discover something new and exciting each time. All five of these Spanish websites for kids include activities that are fun for children — and free for the parents!

1. OnlineFreeSpanish

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

OnlineFreeSpanish is one of my personal favorites! Based on your child’s familiarity with Spanish, you can choose the difficulty level by selecting beginner, intermediate, or advanced. The site also includes 19 lessons that are precursors to several activities and captivating games. Parents can even print out coloring pages related to each of the lessons! Your young scholar will learn vocabulary relating to farm animals, the seasons, emotions, schools supplies, and more.


5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

ABCYA teaches elementary school students (Grades K-5) a multitude of subjects. On their Spanish page, you will find two exciting carnival-like games to enhance your child’s skills. Spanish Word Bingo has 11 categories to choose from, which feature more than 200 vocabulary words. Spanish Word Toss also has 11 categories to choose from, including animals, months of the year, and transportation. These games are recommended for learners in first grade and up, but they can be enjoyed by learners of all ages!

3. Digital Dialects

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

Digital Dialects is great for older, middle-school-aged kids, and Spanish is only one of the many languages that it teaches. Students can practice their greetings, verbs, conjugations, units of time, and more through these fun games.

4. PBS

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

PBS is well known for its learning programs, and this is no exception! The “Oh Noah!” videos are sure to build your child’s Spanish vocabulary. Learners will discover the Spanish language through activities, games, and videos along with the relatable star character, Noah, who lives with his grandmother in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood. Spanish vocabulary is included in each of the activities and the games. Your kids will learn about colors, tools, and even chores.

5. Rocklingua


Rocklingua is a multi-faceted learning site run by teachers, musicians, animators, and computer programmers. Through songs, games, worksheets, videos, and even a picture dictionary, your child will build his or her foundation in the Spanish language by learning practical words and concepts. The free songs and games are clearly labeled, and other learning opportunities on the site are available for purchase.


Keep in mind that all of these websites, though great resources, are not lessons. In order for your child to be truly involved in learning the Spanish language, he or she will need a Spanish teacher. These websites, though, are great supplements to help your child practice the material taught by his or her tutor. Your tutor may also have additional recommendations, such as Spanish learning apps, for making practice fun and engaging. Enjoy!

Breeana D.
Post Author:
 Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

Photo by Donnie Ray Jones

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Studying French Verbs: Le Futur Antérieur


If you’ve studied French verbs for a while, you probably know about le présent, le passé composé, l’imparfait, et le futur. You may also know something about reflexive verbs and verbs of motion, and their particularities in the passé composé. You may even be familiar with le passé simple.

What happens, though, when you want to describe an action that hasn’t happened yet, but that will be complete before a particular action or time in the future? In English, we use the future perfect tense to describe this. For example:

1) I will have done my homework by the time I go to sleep.
2) The construction will be finished before school starts.
3) They will have left for the concert before my friend arrives.

In French, the equivalent tense is the futur antérieur, or the anterior future. Like the future perfect in English, it defines a particular point in time in the future and looks back towards (but not past) the present. The sentences above would, using the futur antérieur, translate to:

1) J’aurai fait mes devoirs avant que je m’endors.
2) La construction sera fini avant la rentrée.
3) Ils seront partis pour le concert avant que mon ami arrive.

The construction of this tense is very similar to the passé composé. In the futur antérieur, there are the same two parts: The auxiliary verb (avoir or être) and the past participle.

Choose the auxiliary verb in the same way as you would for the passé composé. It will usually be avoir, unless the main verb is a verb of motion or a reflexive verb. In those cases, use être. Now instead of conjugating the auxiliary verb in the present tense, conjugate it into the future. Here is a review of their future forms:

avoir être
j’ aurai je serai
tu auras tu seras
il / elle / on aura il / elle / on sera
nous aurons nous serons
vous aurez vous serez
ils / elles auront ils / elles seront

Now form the past participle in the same way you would for passé composé. Remember to check for gender and number agreement if the auxiliary verb is être. Then put the two together, and you have the futur antérieur. Look back at the examples above in French to see if you can recognize how the verb was formed. Then look at the examples below:

1) Tu auras assisté au concert quand j’arrive.
2) En août, je serai restée a San Francisco depuis cinq ans.
3) Ils auront rendu leurs livres à la bibliotèque avant la fin de l’année.


Now try a few of your own.

1) Elle _________________ (marcher) cinq kilometres tous les jours cette semaine.
She will have walked five kilometers every day this week.
2) Quand nous arrivons, ils _________________ (cuisiner) un repas delicious.
When we arrive, they will have cooked a delicious meal.
3) Apres nous vacances cet été, nous _________________ (aller) en cinq pays différents.
After our vacation this summer, we will have gone to five different countries.
4) Tu _________________ (se laver) avant 8h si tu veux partir a l’heure.
You will have washed yourself before 8am if you want to leave on time.

Now check your answers :

1) aura marché
2) auront cuisiné
3) serons allé(e)s
(Use the extra “e” only if you are imagining a group with all girls.)
4) te seras lavé(e)
(Like #3, use the extra “e” only if you imagine you are speaking to a girl in this sentence.)

If your passé composé and future tenses are solid, hopefully this wasn’t too difficult. If you did well on the first two but missed #3 or #4, consider also whether or not this was due to a need to review verbs of motion or reflexive verbs. If you are doing well, now that you have an introduction, try using the passé antérieur as you speak and write with your friends, classmates, and colleagues.

For more help studying French verbs, work with a one-on-one tutor. French tutors are available to work with you for live online lessons, or in your home depending on location and availability. Search for your tutor now!


CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!



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Drummer’s Gear Guide: A Crash Course on Cymbals


As you’re learning drums you will acquire new gear like drum sticks, drum sets, and cymbals. It’s important to understand how drum equipment can influence your sound, and it’s helpful to have the appropriate information to make smart buying decisions. Here, Edmond, OK drum instructor Tracy D. gives you a crash course on cymbals…

Your cymbals make up a complex, beautiful mix of voices. As you develop, your ears will crave more nuance and depth from your instrument(s).

When it comes to cymbals, there are important things for you to consider like tonal color, size, finish, and application.

I will explain these factors and introduce you to brands  to help you find the right cymbals to suit your needs.


  • The raised center of the cymbal is the bell, and the bow is the area between the bell and the edge; you will use all of these surfaces when you play.
  • Higher quality cymbals are made of bell bronze (an alloy of copper, tin, and silver) usually called B20.
  • Entry-level cymbals are typically made of a B8 (92 percent copper, eight percent tin) alloy.


  • Lathing produces the concentric circles on its body, and the width – or lack of, affects the sound.
  • Hammering also affects sound by adding depth, dryness, and complexity.
  • The finish (brilliant, natural, or raw/unlathed) will also affect the sound (brighter to darker) and tend to accentuate the following qualities: glassy or shimmering (brilliant), steamy or simmering (natural), or complex and dark (raw).
  • The size and weight of the cymbals will affect the sound in terms of decay (the duration of time before the sound terminates) and volume.
  • Smaller, thinner, and usually with a flatter bow = quick or fast-decaying. Larger, heavier, and usually with a pronounced bow = “washy” or long-decaying, and will produce higher volume. A cymbal that is very dry and quick may be described as “trashy”.

All of these variables influence the overall effect, and several different options make it possible to create a customized palette.

Cymbal Types and Applications

There are several different types of cymbals that make up an expressive set, and each has a different, sometimes overlapping use:

  • Hi hats: Usually 13- 14 inches, have bark and bite. Hi hats keep the clock ticking; they have attitude and are tremendously expressive.
  • Crashes: Anywhere from 14- 22 inches, they add drama, mark transitions, and act as the loud speakers. You will most likely want several of these.
    • Splashes: Usually six – 12 inches, these are great for quieter passages or quick punches.
    • Rides: Generally 20 to 22 inches, rides range from articulate to washy. They carry bridges and choruses. They are prominent voices in jazz, and the bell is used quite often.
    • Effects: These come in all sizes and they can be Chinas, stacks, perforated, cup chimes, etc. They are your color instruments.

Now, let’s look at a few well-known brands. Remember, a cymbal series is like a family that plays well together.


sabian b8 pro

Sabian B8 Pro – photo from Sabian

Sabian offers the B8 and B8 Pro series, among others. These are bright, entry-level cymbals.

Higher-quality cymbals in the brighter range include the AAX, AA, and Paragon series.

The darker series are the HH and HHX.


zildjian zbt

Zildjian ZBT – photo from Zildjian

Zildjian’s entry-level lines include the ZBT and ZHT (bright).

Higher-quality brights include the A Custom, or the K Custom in the dark range.


meinl brilliant

Meinl Byzance Brillaint – photo from Meinl

Meinl offers the MCS at the entry level (bright) and on the upper tier, the  bright Byzance Brilliant.

The Byzance Dark speaks for itself.



photo from Paiste

Paiste offers the PST (bright) and others, at the entry level, and the more refined Signature Precision on the brighter side.

The complex Signature Dark Energy rounds out the range.
While you can get a picture of a cymbal’s sound from online sources, nothing beats first-hand trials when making your selection. Consider how the cymbals will interact with your drum set, and know that the room will affect the sound, as well.

You may choose to stay within a specific series or mix it up a bit for a more customized sound. Either way, enjoy the process and have fun!

What type of cymbals have you tried? What did you like about them? Let us know in the comments below!

Get started with your drum lessons today, find a drum teacher near you! 

Photo by j_arlecchino

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!


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Japanese Lessons

How Much Are Japanese Lessons: Investing in Your Education

There are many benefits to learning a new language, but learning any new skill comes with a cost. People often ask “how much do Japanese lessons cost?” Here is a monetary breakdown from language tutor Carol Beth L

Learning a new language – or any new skill – can be expensive. Expenses will vary, however, from language to language and area to area. Japanese is reputed to be one of the most expensive and time-consuming languages to learn, since it’s so different from most other languages worldwide.

As you go about your quest to learn Japanese, be ready to set aside some money for associated learning expenses.

Japanese Lessons 1

This cost will depend a lot on what options are available in your area, the cost of living/education, and whichever class/tutor you choose. A college class at a four-year university will probably be more expensive than a class at a community college, and a tutor in a big city like New York or San Francisco will most likely be more expensive than those in less expensive areas of the country.

That said, bigger cities are also more likely to have more options available. In some smaller towns or rural areas, online classes may be one of your most accessible options, simply because few Japanese tutors live immediately in your area.

Typical tutor costs can vary from $20/hr to $70/hr or more. Semester-long classes will likely cost a few hundred dollars. The length of time you find yourself setting aside money for classes or tutoring also depends on how fast you progress and the level of proficiency you seek to acquire.

If you want to attain a higher level of proficiency, you will probably spend more than someone seeking basic proficiency because you will be taking lessons or classes for a longer period of time.

Japanese Lessons 2

There is a saying that time is money, and you will need to set aside some time to spend studying.

As an English speaker, this time will be relatively greater, since Japanese is so different from English and other similar languages.

Your time investment will also increase proportionally as your target proficiency increases. Most people can progress quite quickly under the right conditions. Nonetheless, don’t underestimate the required effort.

Japanese Lessons 3

Don’t expect your teacher to provide all of the necessary learning tools. You will need a book (or perhaps several), and you may even need CDs or other language-related materials.

Be ready to spend anywhere from $30 to $100 for initial expenses. As time passes, you may want to purchase additional materials, such as a Japanese-language films, anime, manga books, and other reading materials.

Japanese Lessons 4

When learning a new language, it’s important to provide yourself with learning opportunities outside the classroom. Perhaps your city has a Japantown or an annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Or, perhaps there are opportunities for conversation groups, possibly through a site like

Such activities can help you learn more quickly and thoroughly. These activities provide a social element to learning, and can also help you learn about cultural elements you may not experience in a class.

Nonetheless, these extracurricular activities do come with a cost. Even for an event with no entry fee, there may be incidental costs — food or drinks during an event, transportation, and so on.

While difficult to provide a precise cost for Japanese-language education, these areas provide a general overview of what to expect. Learning Japanese takes time and effort, but accurate expectations will make the process much easier.

Ready to get started? Search here for a Japanese tutor near you! 

Carol BethPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She also studied Japanese in high school and college.  She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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Quiz - What Genre Were You Born to Sing

Quiz: What Genre Are You Destined to Sing?

Gypsy jazz. Hip hop. Americana. Rock. Pop. Country. Opera. There are so many styles of music, and so many amazing songs to sing in every genre.

So, which style of music should you devote your craft to? What kind of music were you born to sing? Are you a pop princess or a country songstress? Are you an opera baritone or rock star? Take this quiz and find out!

So the next time you ask yourself “What song should I sing?”, consider a staple from one of these genres.

Choose a song that stands out to you, and work with your voice teacher to refine the style.

Don’t have a singing teacher yet? Start your search on, where you can find instructors who can teach you online or right in your neighborhood. You can even search for teachers who specialize in certain genres, like Broadway singing and country singing. Your voice coach will give you the guidance you need to transition smoothly to a new style on your musical journey, or just help you sound even fiercer in the one you’ve chosen!

Heather LPost Author: Heather L.
Heather L. teaches singing, piano, and more in St. Augustine, FL, as well as online. She studied opera and piano at Westminster Choir College, and performance art and improvisational acting at East Carolina University in North Carolina. Learn more about Heather here!

Photo by xmascarol

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