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

Great accent, shame about the rest!

Accent - sometimes you can be too good! Image by Betty Miller from FreeImages.com

How is your accent in the language you’re learning? I’m pretty pleased with mine. In fact, I think it might be a little too good. Before the eye-rolling starts, let me explain. This isn’t an embarrassing lapse in modesty and perspective.… Continue reading

The Accent Challenge : Develop 3D Listening in your Foreign Languages

Accent and dialect (like Doric Scots) lend colour to language- and learning opportunities to linguists. (Image from freeimages.com)

Of all the characteristic features of regions, few lend as much colour and hue as local accent. And, fresh from a weekend in North East Scotland, I’ve had another chance to ponder this as I soak up the distinct Doric… Continue reading

Doric Scots: Treasure Trove of Nordic Gems

Shipwrecks in Scotland (from freeimages.com). Perhaps Doric was spoken aboard these vessels?

As language learners, we often focus on cultures that are far-flung. With our eyes and ears fixed on the far away, any richness around us can end up playing second fiddle. But occasionally, when you take a moment to pause,… Continue reading

Dialect deviants? Celebrating linguistic diversity

Dialektboka (The Dialect Book) from Norway

Spoiler alert: the language you’re learning probably isn’t the language people are speaking. Thanks to dialect, you might be surprised when you chat with your first native speaker. If you’re not prepared for it, the surprise can be disconcerting at best, and demoralising… Continue reading