What They Say And What They Mean

By Sanjana Shukla

Idioms started off by having literal meanings (‘Graveyard Shift’ and ‘Dead Ringer’ have particularly interesting, and sometimes, gruesome histories; see this article). Thankfully, the meaning of many idioms have since evolved, and are now completely disconnected from their respective origins.

It’s not just English that can boast such idioms, every language on the planet will have a phrase or a saying that might find similarities with an idiom from another language; but translate it literally, you could find yourself succumbing to a bout of the ‘chuckles’.

Here are some idioms from different languages, whose literal translations hold as much sense as English idioms do, to non-native speakers:

#1: Idiom 1

Listen to the pronunciation (in Chinese), here.

#2: Idiom 2

Listen to the pronunciation (in Polish), here.

#3: Idiom 3

Listen to the pronunciation (in Russian), here.

#4: Idiom 4

Listen to the pronunciation (in French), here.

#5: Idiom 5

Listen to the pronunciation (in German), here.

#6: Idiom 6

Listen to the pronunciation (in Spanish), here.

#7: Idiom 7

Listen to the pronunciation (in Portuguese), here.

#8: Idiom 8

Listen to the pronunciation (in Hindi), here.

#9: Idiom 9

Listen to the pronunciation (in Italian), here.

#10: Idiom 10

Listen to the pronunciation (in Swedish), here.

Know any other crazy idiom translations? Share them with us!

Visit Albert Learning for more fun with idioms!

Play Vocabulary Games With Albert Learning-2

Play word games, duel in vocabulary challenges and much more on our FunZone

Welcome to your second week in the ‘Word of the Week’ series! With a new word each week, learn its history and current usage, while using it in a sentence in daily conversation. 

Are you up for the challenge? 

Let’s go!

Word Of The Week-4th September 2018




Petrichor is a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.


Two Australian researchers came up with this word in 1964 while writing an article for a nature-related magazine.

Why does the earth smell like this?

During dry periods, certain plants exude oils which are absorbed by soil and rocks. When it rains, this oil along with another compound is released, causing that distinctive smell.

Listen to the pronunciation here.

How it is used (Not common parlance): 

There was petrichor rising up from the grass.


Now Your Turn!

Slip this word into daily conversation, and make it seem effortless! Tell us how it goes in the comment section below.

Learn Spanish With Song Lyrics

By Sanjana Shuklaadult-african-blur-813940

Watch this blog post here.

A song is like a favourite blanket—cuddle with it on long nights and lazy days. It can also be like a new relationship—thrilling and heart pounding every time you hear the beat. Or it can be an old friend—offering you comfort and a shoulder to lean on when you need it the most.

Whatever your reaction to music and songs, you cannot deny that it is intrinsically linked to many aspects of your life.

Here’s another reason to love songs (and their lyrics)…they help you study languages!

Think about it…

1- Everyone loves music. Different kinds, but they do like something. So it isn’t hard to turn on the radio and boogie while learning languages.

2- It isn’t textbook learning. It isn’t black and white, or on paper. It isn’t put forward as ‘study material’. These songs were created for enjoyment (and commercial success). What learning you can get out of it, depends on what you hear.

3- If you make a mistake, mispronounce something, or caterwaul like a cat trying to serenade another, no one’s there to see it. Your learning (and subsequent noise pollution) remains private.


While Spanish is easier on a native English speaker’s tongue than French, it still takes some getting used to. To assist you on your language learning journey, here are some songs (I think) are perfect for Spanish language students:

(I have divided the songs level-wise.) (For more information on the ‘levels’ of a language, read this post.)

For Beginners:

Katy – La Risa De Las Vocales

Sung for a children’s competition in the 80s by an adorable little girl named Katy, this song has other versions by other singers, but I like this one the best. The singer’s voice is accompanied by funny expressions and onstage antics, making it a very endearing watch.

Sample This: Las vocales, las vocales, son invitadas de honor,

y el rey cuenta chistes blancos uno que otro de color

Why I recommend this: A cute little singer belts out lyrics in a song that is all about vowels—what more do you need?

Shakira: Sale El Sol

Famous for her English hits like ‘Waka Waka’ and ‘Wherever Whenever’, her Spanish songs are just as popular, with ‘Sale El Sol’ making my list because it reminds me of her original sound.

Sample This: Porque uno y uno
No siempre son dos

Why I recommend this: Learn numbers (‘uno’ meaning ‘one’, dos meaning ‘two’), and basic vocabulary to go with the positive, almost hopeful message (‘Sale el sol’ means ‘the sun rises’).

For Intermediate Learners:

Álvaro Soler – El Mismo Sol (Ft Jennifer Lopez)

The feet-tapping music is a complement to the dual lyrics in this remixed version by Álvaro Soler and Jennifer Lopez. With half the lyrics in Spanish, and the other half in English, this song keeps you from being overwhelmed with too many words at once.

Sample This: Los celebration, no matter where you came from
We’re all under the same sun
Y bajo el mismo sol

Why I recommend it: The words ‘amor’ and ‘sol’ (meaning ‘love’ and ‘sun’) have been repeated so many times during this song, that you could probably identify them in your sleep. This duet is a wonderful bridge from beginner to advanced, helping you ease into the level.

Enrique Iglesias: Súbeme La Radio

Don’t let the peppy beat fool you, the lyrics are as mushy as they can be! Enrique talks about drowning his pain for his lost love in alcohol—inadvisable—and ordering people to get him his radio (that’s what the title means).

Sample This: Ya no me importa nada 
Ni el día ni la hora 
Si lo he perdido todo 
Me has dejado en las sombras

Why I recommend this: Pronunciation (radio might be written the same, but is said very differently ‘raa-dio’), and imperative sentences make their presence known throughout the song (‘Tráeme el alcohol que quita el dolor’ means ‘Bring me the alcohol that takes away the pain’).

*Note to the reader: While the song is worth listening to, we do not recommend nor support underage drinking or alcoholism.

For Advanced Learners:

Bomba Estéreo: Soy Yo

With a rhythm that won’t be out of place at a club or a party, and lyrics that encourage people to unapologetically love themselves, is it any wonder that this song made my list?

Sample This: Y no te preocupes si no te aprueban

Cuando te critiquen tú solo di

Soy yo

Soy yo

Why I recommend this: Revise your verbs (‘caí’ is ‘fell’, ‘riendo’ is ‘laughing’, etc.) and your Present tenses:

Present Continuous Tense (Presente Continuo in Spanish): ‘Sigo caminando’ translates to ‘I keep walking’.

Simple Present Tense (Presente Simple in Spanish): ‘Cuando más te pega fuerte’ translates to ‘The harder you get hit’.

Nelly Furtado: Manos Al Aire

One of the first original Spanish songs sung by a North American singer to hit #1 on the Latin Billboard chart, it talks about “the dynamic of a relationship and the everyday fight to be a couple” according to Furtado.

Sample This: Tu, que pierdes el control

Hablando en alta voz

Why I recommend this: Revise pronouns ‘tu’ (you), ‘yo’ (I), along with negative sentences like ‘Tu no me quieres entender’ meaning ‘You don’t want to understand me’. Also learn metaphors like ‘Hieres mi corazón’ meaning ‘wound my heart’.

Hint: You can turn on subtitles on YouTube if you absolutely cannot decipher the lyrics. Be careful, however, as subtitles will appear in whichever language you have selected as default.

*All YouTube song links are copyright and aren’t owned by me. You can also listen to these songs on Spotify, iTunes, and other music apps.

Which song did you prefer for learning Spanish? Have any more song suggestions? Write to us in the comment section below.

Read this article offline here: Learning Spanish Through Songs_PDF

Learn French with song lyrics here.

Play Vocabulary Games With Albert Learning

Play word games, duel in vocabulary challenges and much more on our FunZone

Welcome to your first ‘Word of the Week’ series! We’ll give a new word each week, with its history and current usage. Your challenge is to use the word in a sentence, in daily conversation. 

Are you ready? 

Let’s go!


Word Of The Week-27th August, 2018




The dictionary says it is ‘(an act of) treating something holy or important without respect’.


It originally meant the theft of something sacred, waaay back when in 1st Century BC. The Latin meaning means, however, any injury, violation, or even profanation of sacred things.

Israel: Ancient Israelis had lots of rules to safeguard anything they considered sacred, and punished anyone who caused destruction or violated those rules.

Greece: Sacrilege and treason went hand-in-hand for the Ancient Greece, with the destruction of places like temples being considered a crime against the country.

Roman Empire: Initially used for the theft of sacred things, this term soon broadened in view to include paganism, actions against the immunity of churches, and even Judaism.

*Content taken from Britannica.com

How it is currently used:

It would be a sacrilege to put a neon sign on that beautiful old building.

Now Your Turn!

Slip this word into daily conversation, and make it seem effortless! Tell us how it goes in the comment section below.


Visit Albert Learning for more fun and games while learning a language! Your first lesson is free! Hurry!

Learn French With Song Lyrics

By Sanjana Shukla

Singing along

Watch this blog post here.

Shake shake shake

Shake your booty…

…is exactly what you want to do after listening to a song you particularly like, don’t you?

Bopping your head, tapping your feet, swinging your hips, and doing a little shimmy around the room–this is only part of the response you have to music.

Dance earphones

Now imagine your reaction when I told you, you could even learn languages with music.


I know, I know, this is old news, so why am I extolling the virtues of listening to music while studying languages again?

There are extremely sound reasons people recommend it:

Reason 1: Unless you are made of stone, there is definitely some kind of music that appeals to you.

Reason 2: It is very different from a textbook. That very ‘differentness’ makes learning fun and bolsters your recollection of various words.

Reason 3: There’s no hesitation or self-consciousness if you make a mistake.

To help you on your language learning journey, I have compiled a list of songs which (I think) are perfect for language learners, across levels. (For more information on the ‘levels’ of a language, read this post.)

For Beginners:

Indila: Dernière Danse

One of the singer’s first singles, this song is must-listen on similar language learning lists everywhere, mainly because it has a tremendously catchy (and slow) beat, and because Indila’s melodious voice clearly enunciates each syllable (which, if you hear a French accent, you’d know was unusual!).

Sample This: Dans tout paris, je m’abandonne
Et je m’envole, vole, vole, vole, vole

Why I recommend this: Indila’s clear enunciation makes it fairly easy to get the pronunciation right. Bonus; the chorus is repetitive, ensuring you won’t have to constantly scramble to identify new words.


Khaled: Aicha

If you can ignore the fact that the singer, without any warning whatsoever, switches to Arabic near the end, this song is absolutely perfect for beginners. The singer serenades his beloved ‘Aicha’, begging her to notice him, love him. The song is also supported by a beat that is very easy on the ears.

Sample This: Aicha, Aicha, écoute-moi

Aicha, Aicha, t’en va pas

Aicha, Aicha, regarde-moi

Aicha, Aicha, réponds-moi

Why I recommend it: Understanding pronouns (pronoms in French) like ‘moi’, ‘toi’ and their conjugations, along with ‘Aicha’s’ responses make this song (translated into English):

Elle m’a dit: “Garde tes tresors,

moi je vaux mieux que tout ça

Des barreaux sont des barreaux, même en or

Je veux les mêmes droits que toi

(She says to me: Keep your treasures

I’m worth more than all that

Bars are bars, even if made of gold

I want the same rights as you)


For Intermediate Learners:

Joyce Jonathan: Ça Ira

Its quick beat (and rapid-fire lyrics) keep it from being in the same beginner level as Indila’s song, but the harmoniously sung chorus could belong to either level.

Sample This: Pardonne moi mes doutes et mes colères

Le temps fera l’affaire

Et toi et moi

Oh ça ira

Why I recommend it: Learn the French versions of idioms like ‘Time will do the trick’ (Le temps fera l’affaire), two meanings of the phrase ‘Moi je me dis que c’est toi/Et je me dis que c’est toi’, meaning ‘I tell myself that it’s you/And I tell myself you’re the one’, alongside conjugations of irregular French verbs (savoir, which means to know: ‘Je sais que tu y crois’).

Stromae: Papaoutai

A child wondering where his father has gone (Papaoutai is actually ‘Papa où t’es?’ which means “Where are you Dad?’) set to a lively dance beat is sure to mess with your head, and yet, this song makes my list every time. Why? Well,

Sample This: Où est ton papa?

Dis-moi où est ton papa?

Sans même devoir lui parler

Il sait ce qui ne va pas

Why I recommend it: Interrogation (Dis-moi où es-tu caché?- Tell me where are you hiding?), future simple interrogative sentences (Serons-nous détestables?- Will we be hated?), and parts of the body (pouce meaning ‘thumb’, doigts meaning ‘fingers’…) are just some of the things you will learn by listening to these lyrics.

For Advanced Learners:

Mika: Elle Me Dit

With an instantly upbeat and uplifting tune, this song is a winner already. Mix in lyrics that tell you to ‘dance, dance, dance’, and I’m betting anyone listening will be a happy camper.

Sample This: Elle me dit

Pourquoi tu te plains tout le temps ?

On dirait que t’as 8 ans

C’est pas comme ça que tu vas m’plaire

Why I recommend it: Learn informal terms for your (ta), me (me-said as ‘m-u-h’), and revise the future tense (Un jour tu comprendras-One day you’ll understand) while dancing along to Mika’s energetic and peppy song.

Shy’m: Si Tu Savais

When Shy’m (real name Tamara Marthe) released her single ‘Si tu savais’, little did she know that it would be her most popular song yet, sitting pretty at #2 on the French singles chart. Certainly rhythmic, this R&B/pop song’s lyrics will raise your vocabulary up a notch with words like ‘gravure marquée’ meaning ‘engraving art’, ‘gâcher’ meaning ‘mess’.

Sample This: Oh ton regard sur moi qui se pose et m’entraîne

Sur ton doux visage je devine les mots, les poèmes

Why I recommend it: The song title is a dead giveaway of the fact that it contains conditionals (‘Si’ meaning ‘if’). You can also revise how to create (and pronounce) negative sentences like ‘Et pas besoin de parler, tout est écrit dans nos yeux’ translating to ‘And there’s no need to talk, everything’s written in our eyes’.

Hint: You can turn on subtitles on YouTube if you absolutely cannot decipher the lyrics. Be careful, however, as subtitles will appear in whichever language you have selected as default.

*All YouTube song links are copyright and aren’t owned by me. You can also listen to these songs on Spotify, iTunes, and other music apps.

Which song did you prefer for learning French? Have any more song suggestions? Write to us in the comment section below.

Read this article offline here: Learn French With Song Lyrics_PDF

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Common Mistakes in English (Contd.) – Future Simple Tense

Simple Future Tense

In the previous blog I talked about the Present and Past Simple Tenses mistakes. In this post we’ll see how easy it is to get confused when using the Future Simple TenseAs you know (from my previous post) the Simple Present talks about events happening now, e.g. I am writing this post; the Simple Past talks about something that just happened.

The Simple Future Tense is used to describe events or things that MAY happen.

Here are ways in which sentences and grammar can go completely wrong and what to do to correct them. E.g. Read this conversation between two friends, Tanya and Danny.

Tanya: “Hey Danny, how are you?”

Danny: “Hey Tanya, I’m not feeling well.”

Tanya: “Oh my God! What happened?”

Danny: “My stomach hurts.”

Tanya: “Did you go the doctor?”

Danny: “No, I will went tomorrow.”

Tanya: “Ummm… OK, I’ll see you later, I guess… Bye!”

Needless to say, that conversation would have left Tanya wondering if Danny has already been or will be going to the doctor.

So, let’s see where Danny went wrong:

Tanya: “Did you go the doctor?”

Danny: “No, I will went go tomorrow.”

Therefore, the correct way to form the Future Simple Tense is:

‘Will’ or ‘Shall’ before the infinitive or basic form of a verb. Now let’s see some more examples. 

To Predict:

“I think it will rain tomorrow.”

“It looks like our team will win the championship.”

“We shall celebrate your birthday in style.”

To Promise:

“I will help you clean the house when I come home.”

“I will call you this weekend.”

To Decide:

“I will take a walk this evening.”

“Anna said she will call the doctor if she does not feel better in an hour.”

“He shall take the papers to the lawyer to be signed.”

Here are some more examples for an in-depth understanding:

1) I will visit my aunt next week. – Positive.

2) I will not visit anyone else next week. – Negative.

3) She’ll go with her friend to the mall. – Positive contracted (I+will=I’ll).

4) I won’t stay at my friend’s house tonight. – Negative contracted (will+not=won’t).

5) Will Sam take Mary to the park? – Positive question.

6) Shall we go for the 8 o’clock show? – Positive question.

7) Won’t you sit down? – Negative question.

Note to the reader: ‘Shall’ isn’t used so often in spoken English, it appears frequently in written text for effect or poetic licence.

Now that you’ve read the rules and correct uses of will and shall for Simple Future Tense, let’s see if you can make your own. Mark your replies in the comment box. Until the next article…