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

300 Words for Functional Fluency : Miss Swanson’s Elucidating Experiment

Is the starting point for functional fluency a list of the right core words? Photo by acscom from freeImages.com

Decrepit, dusty old language learning books from bygone days are a guilty pleasure of mine. And sometimes, the most obscure, long-forgotten tomes throw up some shining treasures. Leafing through one such volume this week week, I stumbled across a fascinating… Continue reading

I Get So Emotional, Bébé : Using Positive Emotion to Improve Vocabulary Recall

Streamers

That positive emotion enhances learning seems intuitive to us. How much more do we learn feeling motivated and wired, compared to those times we try to cram when feeling flat and uninspired? Unsurprisingly, there is a heap of research that… 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