Phonetics Mismatch – Why We Mispronounce Foreign Languages (And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter)

A picture of a mouth articulating. Accurate phonetics gets us close to sound native. Image from freeimages.com

This week, I had the great news of an offer to study towards an MSc in Linguistics. And, keen on preparing well for a good start, I started working through a couple of the set texts. First up: phonetics and… 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

Blinkist : one-stop knowledge shop with some language-learning gems

Blinkist offers condensed summaries of hundreds of books.

If you use any social media platform, you can’t have missed them lately; those bold and brash ads, featuring ever-so-slightly smug millennials stating “I read four books a day” and similar. Yes, Blinkist has been on a marketing offensive in recent… Continue reading

Pace and pause

Sunbeams in a forest - pace yourself and go for a walk!

We’re human beings, not machines. And sometimes, it’s importance to acknowledge that fact by respecting your learning pace, and building in opportunities to pause. I’ve written before on the topic of learner burnout, and it’s definitely a topic that bears… Continue reading

Speaking without words: optimising your target language with non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication, such as hand gestures, are just as vital as speaking when it comes to real-life language use

Sticking to your target language isn’t always easy. But it’s a rule worth sticking to. Denying yourself the luxury of speaking your native language is vital in building up mental ingenuity and spontaneous, flexible thinking as a linguist. However, it… Continue reading

Memory tricks to SUPERCHARGE your language learning!

A model of a human brain, seat of the memory

Memory is a serious business. It’s a sport, which even has its own world championships. And this is nothing new, either; experts and sages have been teaching memory master techniques for centuries. New research confirms that there is nothing new… Continue reading

Scrapbooking, linguaphile style

Digital scrapbooking can be a wonderful way to link your language learning to real-world memories

As a linguist, I love travel. I love that act of putting myself out in the world. I love immersing myself in the unfamiliar. And I love interacting with everyday objects from other cultures and systems, the ephemera that are… Continue reading

Change, society and the language learner

Change may be accelerated by societal pressures.

Language never stands still. As learners, we study a moving target. The only constant is change. It’s something that hits you when you learn from old textbooks. Many old, forgotten language courses still have mileage in them, especially if you like… Continue reading

Speaking tips from the emergency room

An ambulance attending an emergency; driver speaking in the window

There’s no doubt about it: speaking can be hard, especially when you’re beginning in a foreign language. You have all the usual mental juggling of remembering vocabulary and grammar. But on top of that, there’s the social pressure of performing live. In… Continue reading