Week 3: The verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’.

Welcome to Week 3 of the Kick Start Languages 10 Week Course! This blog accompanies my Week 3 YouTube video which was released yesterday so if you haven't seen that yet check it out here:

If you have been doing 25 minutes a day of language learning for the last two weeks you should be immensely proud of yourself! This is a huge achievement! By now I'm hoping that you've got the numbers 1-10 nailed, that you can have a bit of a basic greetings based conversation and that you're beginning to feel confident on the numbers 11-20 and the question words. If so, that's AMAZING! Take this! This is a huge win! Even if you haven't quite managed to learn every day you'll still be making progress. However, Week 2 was the last chance where you could 'get by' with a bit of blagging. You now need to decide to double down your commitment if you have been skipping days here and there. Keep working on those habits and strap in for the ride! It's not going to get any more 'difficult' from now on but the cumulative impact of not doing your conscious and unconscious learning daily will start to really add up as we move into Weeks 4 and beyond to the point where you'll start to feel 'behind'. Don't let this happen. Keep on top of things and you've got this! So, what's Week 3 all about?

Firstly, whatever language you are learning this week you need to consciously focus on learning how to say: How do you say...... (thing you want to say) in ........ (language you are learning)?


I'm learning ..........(language you're learning) can you say that again more slowly please?

These two phrases will prove really useful because they will give you the ability to have confidence of asking actual practical questions in the language you are learning. Given that so many people speak English quite a few conversations with people outside English will be with people who can help you out so it great to have a way of asking them to do that in their language without having to resort back to English! In addition, by telling people that you're learning you will remind them to keep things nice and simple and this will really help you to understand them. Whack these sentences into Google Translate and get started! However, at this stage you can choose to go for the more simple version of: 'I'm learning..... repeat slowly please' and that's totally fine too! I don't want you to feel overwhelmed with this because learning these sentences is not actually the primary aim of this week so don't get too bogged down with this task. The main aim of this week is to ensure that you get started in your quest to learn the verbs 'to be' and 'to have'.

If you, like me, were part of the generation of people who didn't get taught grammar at school learning verbs can seem really daunting. However, it really doesn't need to be. Firstly, you need to know that a verb is a 'doing word' so that means that there also needs to be something 'doing the doing'. That something is identified by what's known as a 'personal pronoun'.

In English the personal pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we and they. Your first job is to learn what they are in the language you are learning. Most languages have all of these categories and many also have a 'formal' you (I love the fact we don't have on in English as I hate 'social niceties'!) and a plural you. This one is actually a really useful word and a real 'miss' in the English language if you ask me although the Scousers and many Irish people have it in 'yous' though which I think is an ace word!

Once you know what is doing the doing you need to know what they are doing! The verbs 'to be' and 'to have' are two of the most important verbs because they denote the state of 'being' and 'possession'. That means once you can say the equivalents of 'I am...' 'You are...' and 'He has...' 'They have...' you are well on your way to having the basic building blocks of loads and loads of sentences. Obviously at this stage you won't know how to complete those sentences as you don't know many adjectives yet but that is all to come! For now just get used to how the verbs look and sound. Go onto Google or YouTube and type in 'Learn the verbs 'to have' and 'to be' in .... (insert language)'. You'll find tonnes of stuff to help you with this. This job is much, much easier in some languages than others (Spanish has two forms of the verb 'to be' and you need to learn them both and work out which needs to be learnt when!) but that's always the way with languages. Some bits are easier than others in different languages and often languages that are hard in some ways are easy in others. Just crack on with it! As usual there is some help if you are learning French, Spanish, Italian, German or Dutch so click on the 'What language are you learning' link on my menu about this blog post to find out more. Having said that, learning verbs is a very personal pursuit so it really is up to you how you choose to learn these verbs! You do not need to have totally nailed them by the end of the week but testing and retesting yourself on them for at leat 10 minutes every day will be crucial.

As well as consciously working on these verbs and the sentences I mentioned earlier don't forget to practice all the skills you were working on in Weeks 1 and Week 2. Never forget that you're banned from counting in English and keep up those conversations in your head where you tell yourself that you speak the language you are learning! This will keep priming your brain to believe you're better than you are which will boost your confidence and keep you motivated. Also, do not forget about unconscious learning too! Keep listening to as much music as possible! Don't worry about 'learning the songs'-just enjoy them! It will pay massive rewards in the long run!

That's all for this week guys! Let me know how you're getting on in the comments on here, on YouTube or on any of my social media platforms!

Good luck with all your language learning you legends!


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