The Habit Trap: Becoming the master of your routine (and not its servant)

A wooded path - image from freeimages.com.

It was all going so swimmingly. There I was, walking that trusty path of habit, happy as a lark. You know, that path I always go for a stroll along. Know it like the back of my hand, I do! Then… Continue reading

Speaking without foundations (and putting it right)

Speaking is like a skyscraper. Aim high, but watch your foundations too! Image by createsima on freeimages.com.

As I sit at the station tapping away at Anki, I’m impressed at the level of the vocabulary I’ve reached: interactive, futurism, equality… All those lovely advanced words! I enjoy a moment of language learner pride, before I remember that… Continue reading

À la modal : how these little nuancing verbs can fix your fluency

Modal verbs can lend colour to your speech (image from freeimages.com)

I have a nerdish love of verbs. For me, it’s where it all comes together in language. They are sentence glue. Conjugate them, and you can hang the rest of the sentence from them like on the branches of a… Continue reading

Meta-learning: relearn how to learn with a new language mini-project

Meta-learning - know your brain (Image from freeimages.com)

Dia duit! That’s Irish for hello – which, despite a million other things, I chose to start dabbling in this week. Unlike other come-and-go language projects of mine, it’s not a former language I’m returning to. In fact, I knew zero Irish… Continue reading

Five Ways to Stick to Language Learning Resolutions

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

We are well into the New Year now, and – if you are like me – you probably have a list of language learning resolutions as long as your arm. But doesn’t cold, damp January feel like the longest and… Continue reading

Dear Diary… Get personal with language learning through journaling

Journaling, or writing a diary, can be a wonderful tool in your language learning kit.

Sometimes you just have to let it all out. To that end, journaling, or keeping a regular record of the important events in your life in writing, is as old as the hills. From the Latin diurnalis (‘of the day’),… Continue reading

Getting Polyglossic with Glossika : Making Language Learning *Massive*

Headphones - perhaps to listen to Glossika with! From freeimages.com

I’ve always liked the ‘mass sentences’ approach for supplementing and boosting your language learning. The idea is that you take a huge corpus of quality, target language sentences, and use them as your source material. It’s a quick route to massive exposure. It’s… Continue reading

Managing Anki decks with options groups

Keep your language learning colourful - change things up from time to time.

Well, the football didn’t go England’s way this week. Commiserations, fellow polyglot fans who were also hoping. But when anticlimactic gloom ensues, sometimes you’re motivated to very productive distractions. I’ve spent a useful chunk of time this week optimising my Anki… 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

Voice in my head: developing polyglot personalities

Open mic, ready for your voice

If you learn more than one language, there is one question you hear more often than any other: how do you avoid getting mixed up? There are many answers to this. But one key strategy, for me, is developing a… Continue reading