Building Blocks for Faster Fluency

Building Blocks. Image by Jeff Prieb, FreeImages.com.

The highlight of my language learning week was a short, spontaneous dialogue in Swahili. Before I get too big for my boots, I should add that it was about buying bananas, and wasn’t based on fact. Rather, it was invented on… 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

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

Dabbling to joy : allowing yourself guilt-free language exploration

Dabbling with languages is like trying all the sweeties! Image from freeimages.com

For many, August is the month of holidays. This year, I made it my month of dabbling! Planning, routine and system are crucial in language learning. But there should always be time for a bit of ranging and roving. Dabbling –… 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

Foreign language reading: books that speak to your heart

Lots of books - nice reading material!

Building fluency beyond the basics requires regular, plentiful exposure to your foreign language. And there are few easier ways to get that exposure than through reading for pleasure. As a lover of books, however, choice can pose a problem. Faced… Continue reading

Give yourself a break! Fluid language learning planning for busy people

Language learning during busy times can be a bit of a blur. (Image from freeimages.com)

How was your November? Mine was busy. Very busy. As fulfilling and rewarding as they usually are, work, family and friends ended up filling nearly every minute. And, if you’re like me, you’ll find that life, in these busier moments, can… Continue reading

Coaching and languages: the travelling partner you need?

Language learners are used to working with others. These tend to be language specialists: teachers, conversation exchange partners or fellow students. But support in learning languages does not have to be in the target language. Not convinced? Well recently, I’ve… Continue reading

Talking to yourself: tap your inner voice to be a canny language learner

A chamber of mirrors - reflective, just like talking to yourself can be!

Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, some say. But it’s actually the hallmark of the very canny linguist, too. Ask most experienced language learners, and they will tell you that the secret is speaking, speaking, speaking. But… Continue reading