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

Avoiding the Translation Crutch in Language Learning

A page from a German dictionary with the translation of various words. Image from freeimages.com.

I was on a mission this week: to minimise the interference of English translation in my language learning. You are probably familiar with the scenario – that slow, faltering, stoppy-starty feel to conversation in a language you are learning. In… Continue reading

Task Logging: Realise You’re Smashing It

Shooting Stars : Logging can help you reach for the skies with your language learning! Image from freeimages.com

If only we’d all be a little kinder to ourselves. I read it all the time on social media: fellow language learners beating themselves up for not studying harder, longer, more often. It seems like everybody feels they’re not doing enough.… Continue reading

Language Lessons from a Song [Eurovision 1993 : Cyprus]

Eurovision Cyprus 1993 - the song Μη σταματάς

Bravo, inventor of the three-minute, throwaway pop song. Not only does it provide a little well-needed escapist entertainment, but it also doubles as a fantastic little language learning tool. I’m far from the first language learning aficionado to use music… Continue reading