Welcome to my site! I’m Richard West-Soley, a linguist, perennial language learner and educational software developer based between Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.
I specialise in interactive language learning activities to support students of all ages. I use tools such as Haxe / OpenFL for HTML5, Swift / XCode and Java / Android Studio to create rich, engaging learning experiences.
I head the content development team at Linguascope.com, the UK’s most popular website for language learning and teaching in schools. Amongst the many apps I have worked on over the years are the highly successful Linguascope range, as well as a wide range of other tools for students.
Through Linguascope, my own e-learning projects and other providers, I have nearly twenty years of experience developing interactive, dynamic content for learners and educators. Additionally, I have provided training to other educators in many aspects of e-content creation.
And through Polyglossic.com, I indulge my love of writing about all aspects of language learning.
After switching on to languages at an early age, I won a place to read German and Spanish at Somerville College, University of Oxford. As part of my course, I was lucky enough to spend a year in Klagenfurt and Salzburg. There, I developed a deep fascination with dialect, picking up a little Kärtnerisch along the way.
My love of languages continues to dominate the everyday, and there is little I like better than getting lost in some obscure grammar or reader. The recent emergence of a polyglot / language-hacking community especially is a particularly exciting development. If only that had existed in my pre-Internet youth! I am always on the lookout out for a new linguistic challenge. My current projects include Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish and Scottish Gaelic, as well as maintaining my German and Spanish.
I am a passionate advocate of lifelong learning and personal development. In 2014, I was awarded my second undergraduate degree, a BSc in Social Sciences with Psychological Studies and Sociology with First-Class Honours from the Open University. Returning to formal studies as an adult has given me a completely new perspective on learning, which have, in turn, informed and improved my work in resource development and training.
In 2022 I gained an MSc in Linguistics with Distinction at the University of Edinburgh.
Beyond the languages…
I was born with a cleft lip, but was lucky enough for my birth to take place in a country where repair of cleft lips and palates is routine. Having that chance isn’t a certainty for many children, however, which is why I support Smile Train. This charity funds surgical teams in some of the poorest areas of the world, offering the life-changing reparative surgery to children who would otherwise have to grow up with an unrepaired cleft. If you are looking for a new international cause to support, Smile Train is a very worthy option to consider.
I am also a keen musician, and cannot be kept away from any piano in the vicinity! As a lad, I played all the way to Grade 8 under the tutelage of the brilliant teacher Gwendolyne Johnson. Music remains a very important part of my life today.
Oh – and I love Eurovision! 🎵