Perfectionism and the Control Monster

Perfectionism pushes us to strive for order, but perhaps a little chaos is sometimes helpful. Image from freeimages.com

Perfectionism is a wily demon. And it stalks the language learning community with a particularly bloodthirsty enthusiasm. Halloween seems the perfect time to address this perfidious little monster lurking in our midst. For while it can tempt us to embrace… Continue reading

Everyday Triangulation : Three Sides to Every Language Story

Triangulation - a polyglot approach to language learning. Image by Nils Thingvall, FreeImages.com

A study colleague popped up in our group forum this week, sharing an interesting resource. It was a set of quiz flashcards for the current term’s Swahili vocabulary. But it came with a triangulation twist. It was a Swahili-Spanish set,… Continue reading

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

Task Logging: Realise You’re Smashing It

Shooting Stars : Logging can help you reach for the skies with your language learning! Image from freeimages.com

If only we’d all be a little kinder to ourselves. I read it all the time on social media: fellow language learners beating themselves up for not studying harder, longer, more often. It seems like everybody feels they’re not doing enough.… 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

Language Jam on Ukrainian Toast

Jars of jam. Image by freeimages.com.

What did you have for breakfast this morning? For me, it was a large dollop of Ukrainian jam on toast. I know, that makes two weeks in a row that I’ve written about food. But this time, it was purely… 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

Calendar blocking: a little book to bust your rut

A new calendar means new language learning resolutions. But how to stick to them? (Image from freeimages.com)

Oh, how the days of a new year sometimes seem to melt into an ambling, amorphous mess. From the high hopes of resolutions to the January Blues, language learning motivation can be in short supply in this cruellest of months.… Continue reading

New year, new goals: a language resolutions toolkit

A firework mid-display! Image from freeimages.com

New year, new decade. And time again for lots of New Year language learning resolutions and great intentions. Twitter is awash with plans, hopes and dreams from language enthusiasts far and wide. We certainly know what we want out of 2020.… Continue reading

Disembodied Voices : Using TTS as a Native Speaker Boost

TTS can lend your learning some robotic voice magic. Image by Oliver Brandt on FreeImages.com

Native speaker modelling is a prerequisite for learning to speak Modern Foreign Languages. But when listening materials are scarce, or you struggle to find exactly the material you want to learn, then text-to-speech (TTS) can lend a helping hand. Text-to-speech… Continue reading