Playing Anki Tag : From Plain Lists to Topic-Based Fun

Searching by tag in Anki

Anki users, do you tag your cards? If the answer is no, then perhaps you should think about adding this natty little superpower to your vocab decks. It’s not only a good habit, but it can turn plain old Anki… Continue reading

Stupid Questions : Learn to Love Getting Stuff Wrong

Lots of question marks. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Image by Kerbstone, FreeImages.com

“There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” That nugget of wisdom, often attributed to Carl Sagan, reminds us to keep seeking knowledge, even if we make (sometimes very public) mistakes. And nothing feels more public and exposed than whole… Continue reading

The Power of One Deep Breath

Sunlight through the clouds. Image from FreeImages.com

Content, content, content. So often, the sole focus is on what we study. We hear a lot less about the setting, the timing and the flow. But these can have a huge impact on learning success. And something as simple… Continue reading

Keep tabs on your efforts with language learning report cards

A clipboard. Image from freeimages.com.

Now, if you hadn’t noticed, I am a complete control freak. But in a good way… honest! Well, most of the time. And especially when it comes to language learning. The “good way”, of course, mostly involves tracking how regularly and effectively… 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

Be fallible! Building resilience as a language learner

Accept yourself as a wonderful, fallible human being. Image from freeimages.com.

Human beings are fallible. We all make mistakes. But our natural instinct is often to feel shame, and try to hide those mistakes. And so, this week, I give you the pep talk I would have loved as a newcomer… 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

How Many Languages Should You Learn At Once? [Spoiler: it’s up to you!]

How many languages should we learn at once? How many pieces of the jigsaw do you need? Image by Gary Fleischer on freeimages.com.

Every so often there is a ripple in the polyglot ocean, and that old, bebarnacled behemoth “how many languages should you learn at once?” rises to the surface again. A couple of social media posts on that perennial debate caught… 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