Semantic Change : The Double Lives of Cognates

Search those etymology dictionaries for evidence of semantic change! Picture from

When I was young, I was a very silly girl. Not in the familiar, modern sense, of course, but in the long-lost meaning of those two words in English: a happy child. Semantic change – words taking on new meanings… Continue reading

Franchise Hopping for Fun Televisual Language Learning

Vintage TV set for franchise hopping! Image by

This week I’ve been practising my languages alongside tuneful trolls and celebrity sambas – all thanks to a bit of franchise hopping. International rollouts of TV franchise successes are nothing new. I remember my excitement in the early noughties on… Continue reading

Downtime : A Self-Improvement Christmas

Banff and Macduff Harbour - what a great place for some downtime.

As the year winds down, many of us find ourselves in this quiet in-between time, wedged between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. That little sandwich of calm is felt more keenly than ever this year, with many back in… Continue reading

Feeding the Pidgins : Perfectly Imperfect Communication

Pidgins - or pigeons? Picture by Lozba Paul,

One of the language learning lifelines that has kept me going during lockdown is our little Gaelic chat circle that meets weekly on Zoom. We started off as an in-person pub chat group back in January, but as normal life… Continue reading

Christmas Gifts for Language Lovers : 2020 Edition

Christmas is coming! Make it a language learning one.

It’s here again! And if you’re struggling for Christmas gifts for language-loving friends (or yourself!), you’re in the right place. Let me fill you in on a couple of the more exciting goodies 2020 has to offer. Virtual Christmas 2020… Continue reading

Oculus Quest 2 : Virtual Language Hopping

Oculus Quest 2 : Screenshot of a street in Rome in the Wander app

You can bend almost anything to language learning. And this week, I’ve been using that excuse to justify numerous hours of VR gaming. I recently gave in to my curiosity and plumped for an Oculus Quest 2 headset. Admittedly, it’s… Continue reading

Playing Anki Tag : From Plain Lists to Topic-Based Fun

Searching by tag in Anki

Anki users, do you tag your cards? If the answer is no, then perhaps you should think about adding this natty little superpower to your vocab decks. It’s not only a good habit, but it can turn plain old Anki… Continue reading

Stupid Questions : Learn to Love Getting Stuff Wrong

Lots of question marks. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Image by Kerbstone,

“There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” That nugget of wisdom, often attributed to Carl Sagan, reminds us to keep seeking knowledge, even if we make (sometimes very public) mistakes. And nothing feels more public and exposed than whole… Continue reading