We had ten days of “deep and crisp and even”-ish snow here in London, but, as I write this on Christmas Eve, I’m afraid we’re back to the seasonal norm: rain and dank grey skies.
But not to worry! It’s still festive enough here at Howtogetfluent Towers. 🎄 🎄 🎄
I do love a bit of Christmas kitsch, not least the light-up holly berry number that augments the mantelpiece in the dining room each year:
In this post, let’s keep it festive, with five fun Christmas foreign language practice ideas to spice up your language learning in the last days before Christmas (because we’ve none of us got anything else to do at this time of year, right?) 😉
Idea one: master the Christmas menu
What’s on the menu for a typical Christmas meal in your target culture?
In 300 words in your new language, describe the elements of the main meal. For a different slant, find the recipe for a typical dish (in the language, mind!).
Extra sprinkle of spice: try making the recipe… or even the full meal.
Idea two: write about how they spend Christmas
How are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day typically spent in your target culture?
Go for a 300-word composition again. You could flag any big points of contrast with what you know back home.
Extra sprinkle of spice: introduce one of the traditions that you’ve discovered into your own celebrations this year.
Idea three: read the Biblical Nativity
Locate the story of the birth of Jesus from a standard modern version of the Bible in your target language. Yes, you do remember correctly: Matthew 1:18 to 2:12 and Luke 2:1 to 21.
Read, mark and inwardly digest both the vocab and the grammar.
Exotic spice: find a classic, older translation in your language and compare the differences.
Idea four: learn a Christmas song
Find the lyrics of a Christmas carol or a popular modern Christmas song in your target language. Try to get hold of an audio version as well, for example on YouTube or Spotify.
Work through the lyrics and listen to the audio.
Large pinch of spice: perform the song for your family or (if you’re feeling bashful) just for yourself into your phone’s voice recorder or video camera.
Idea five: explain some Christmas pictures
Find five images of items that are typical of Christmas in your target culture (excluding food). I”m thinking wreaths, candles, a model nativity…plastic holly, even!
Write a couple of short sentences to describe each picture (about sixty words per pic).
Extra sprinkle of spice: obtain one of the items to decorate your own home. Ok, maybe it’s a bit late for that now…so how about just printing off some of the pictures and hanging them on your fridge door to get you in the mood?
Whichever one of the five Christmas language practice ideas that you choose, you could then consolidate by using what you’ve done as the basis for a conversation and feedback in your next one-to-one with your tutor, exchange partner or with a friend or relative who speaks the language.
If the culture of the language you’re learning doesn’t do Christmas, no problem!
Try out similar activities for the next big festival that they do celebrate, instead.
Just some ideas, but I hope you’ll give one or two of them a try.
Even if it has to wait until after the Christmas rush.
Merry Christmas! Nadolig Llawen! Frohe Weinachten! Joyeux Noël! Buon Natale! Kellemes Karácsonyt! Hyvää Joulua! Cчастливого Рождества! Feliz Natal! Eguberri On! Selamat Natal! Gleðileg Jól! Kαλά Χριστούγεννα! メリークリスマス!