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

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

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

Laughs for Linguists : Polyglot Picks for Edinburgh Fringe 2019

The Edinburgh Fringe is a great opportunity for language lovers to get some target language entertainment! Image from freeimages.com.

The Edinburgh Fringe is back! And, in what has become a Polyglossic tradition, we have leafed through the flyers and brochures to compile our polyglot picks for #EdFringe 2019. There is something on offer for every language aficionado, with culturally… 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

Textual Time Machine: Turning to the past for motivating target language texts

Alphabet Texts

Gary Barlow and Margaret Thatcher accompanied me on my language learning this week. This surprising turn of events was thanks not to celebrity friendships and psychic messages, but rather a lucky stumble across a treasure trove of motivating target language… Continue reading

Language idols: inspiration amongst friends

Surround yourself with symbols of your target language culture, like the cherry blossom of Japan

Sometimes there are people who happen upon a language learning system that just works. Sometimes it’s planned, sometimes it’s accidental. But those people are great sources of inspiration and ideas for people like us. As an example, I’ve always been… Continue reading

Living the language learning dream

Melodi Grand Prix 2018

I’ve written recently about learning a language through your interests. By binding your life’s passions with your learning goals, something special ignites. Living the dream as a language learner is all about throwing everything into it, about living life to the… Continue reading

Berlin, where have you been all my life?

Icon of Berlin, the Fernsehturm, seen from Alexanderplatz

Language learning isn’t finite; it’s a lifelong process, and isn’t meant to have an end. As such, languages never count as ‘finished’ or ‘learnt’, but require upkeep and maintenance. With this in mind, I’ve been planning some exciting mini-trips to… Continue reading

Context has your back: Why it’s OK not to understand everything

Context can help language learners in familiar situations abroad, like the coffee shop

I have a confession to make. I failed miserably in my foreign language last weekend. But it was still fine. Context had my back! Before you feel sorry for me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. We fail in our native… Continue reading