Everyday Triangulation : Three Sides to Every Language Story

Triangulation - a polyglot approach to language learning. Image by Nils Thingvall, FreeImages.com

A study colleague popped up in our group forum this week, sharing an interesting resource. It was a set of quiz flashcards for the current term’s Swahili vocabulary. But it came with a triangulation twist. It was a Swahili-Spanish set,… Continue reading

Time for Some Maths : When Language Learning Gets Numerical

Multiple clocks - and multiple ways of telling the time - require maths. Picture by Odan Jaeger, FreeImages.com

Swahili has been occupying my mind a lot recently, and for good reason – I’m waist-deep in a postgrad beginners’ module on the language (and thoroughly enjoying it). But just when I thought studying something outside my language comfort zone… Continue reading

Building Blocks for Faster Fluency

Building Blocks. Image by Jeff Prieb, FreeImages.com.

The highlight of my language learning week was a short, spontaneous dialogue in Swahili. Before I get too big for my boots, I should add that it was about buying bananas, and wasn’t based on fact. Rather, it was invented on… Continue reading

Battle of the Owls: Duolingo vs. Glossika

Owls chatting. Photo by Ross Dismore, freeimages.com

You have to hand it to the owls. For a start, they’re wise. And they love learning. Well, at least in educational lore, having long been considered symbols of all things academic. They make very apt representatives for our language… Continue reading

Swahili Safari: First Steps on a Brand New Language Journey

Northern Rift Valley, Tanzania. Swahili is one of Tanzania's national languages. Picture by Barbara Schneider of freeimages.com

I’ve been saying for a while that it’s high time I diversified my language outlook. And as of on cue, the chance fell into my lap this month. My MSc Linguistics programme includes a 20-credit introductory Swahili module. Asante! Swahili… Continue reading

Intonation Training: From Yam-Yam to Yia Sou

Intonation adds a thousand different colours to speech. Coloured glass. Image by Simon Jackson on FreeImages.com

When you meet me, one of the first things you notice is probably my accent. Despite being embedded in Scottish life for over a decade, there’s still an unmistakeable Midlands lilt that persists. The vowels have flattened out to something… Continue reading

Automatising Self-Discipline : From Zero to Two Hundred Posts!

A bit of self-discipline and soon you'll be celebrating with fireworks. Image from freeimages.com

This post is a particularly special one for Polyglossic. It marks two hundred weekly posts since the site launch almost four years ago. And the secret to that unbroken run? The old trick of repeating a new habit to the… Continue reading

Phonetics Mismatch – Why We Mispronounce Foreign Languages (And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter)

A picture of a mouth articulating. Accurate phonetics gets us close to sound native. Image from freeimages.com

This week, I had the great news of an offer to study towards an MSc in Linguistics. And, keen on preparing well for a good start, I started working through a couple of the set texts. First up: phonetics and… Continue reading

Building in Margin as Language Learners : Restful Gains for Real-World Brains

Mountainous landscape - build some margin into your life and breathe in the fresh air. Image from freeimages.com

Do you have enough margin in your life? Margin is that bit of extra time you choose not to fill. It is the calendar slack, the breathing space, the room to manoeuvre – the opposite of ‘too busy’. It became a… Continue reading