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

Eating my way back to Greek

The Parthenon at the Acropolis, Athens. Image from freeimages.com.

Sometimes an old, long-neglected language project will rise up and demand attention again. “Remember me, old friend?” The reasons can be many. But the call can be hard to resist. Over the past few weeks, my former passion for Greek… Continue reading

It’s the Little Things : Serendipity and Lockdown Learning

A picture of a little yellow flower. Image from freeimages.com

It’s the little things that keep us going in challenging times. And no exception this week, which brought a tranche of serendipitous rediscoveries that kept the housebound language learning ticking over, preserving at least a modicum of precious lockdown sanity.… Continue reading

Baking up a distraction

A picture of a freshly cooked chocolate brownie. Image from freeimages.com.

Such a thoroughly  strange week draws to a close. The first of many weeks, no doubt, by the end of which strange will be normal. After the first run of stay-at-home social distancing, I expected to have blitzed my languages.… Continue reading

Audible Again : Rediscovering Lost Love

A book lying open with its pages fluttering. Image from freeimages.com.

Don’t you love a good online subscription? Netflix, Evernote, Amazon Prime – these language learner-friendly platforms have earned their monthly fee many times over for me. But I also love good value, and I won’t let myself to sign up… Continue reading

New joy from old DVDs : The resources under our noses

Boxsets of DVDs on a shelf

Do you ever get the resource itch? That hankering for new books, DVDs and other resources in your target language, however many are still unfinished on your shelves? Well, I get this a lot. And lately, it has been particularly chronic.… Continue reading

The Listening Monster: Language teacher tips for taking the sting out

Listening can be one of the most challenging skills in a foreign language. Image from freeimages.com.

Same objectives, different worlds – the polyglot and school classroom teaching communities strive for identical goals, but it often feels like they are leagues apart. It’s a perfect match waiting to be realised, as both have so much to learn… Continue reading

Gaming to fluency – language immersion in the Apple Arcade

Gaming for language learners: Cat Quest II for the iPad on Apple Arcade

Nothing like a bit of fun and games, is there? Of course, for most of us, language learning is the fun and games. But what if we could turbocharge that a little? I’d been mulling over the idea of getting back… Continue reading

Achievement on our terms: language learning as the joy of exploration

Clontarf, Dublin: achievement is often about the journey, not the destination.

If ambition drives you to excel in a field as (traditionally) academic as languages, chances are you are achievement-oriented. Striving for success – however we choose to measure it – is part and parcel of loving the polyglot craft. Achievement… Continue reading

Lovely Leaflets: Making the most of foreign language tourist ephemera

A stash of tourist leaflets and guides in various foreign languages.

What have I been doing this week? Well, apart from obsessing over topping Duolingo’s new global leaderboards? Mostly, I’ve been hacking my way through reams of foreign language leaflets and tourist material I’ve amassed over the past few months of… Continue reading