iTalki Isolation Blitz? Here’s how to make the most!

Three plush monkeys in the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil poses. Image by freeimages.com

Armed with a bunch of loose ends and a clutch of free evenings, I have been spending quite a bit of time on iTalki over the past few weeks. In order to avoid bankruptcy, I tend to go for community… 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

Audible Again : Rediscovering Lost Love

A book lying open with its pages fluttering. Image from freeimages.com.

Don’t you love a good online subscription? Netflix, Evernote, Amazon Prime – these language learner-friendly platforms have earned their monthly fee many times over for me. But I also love good value, and I won’t let myself to sign up… Continue reading

New joy from old DVDs : The resources under our noses

Boxsets of DVDs on a shelf

Do you ever get the resource itch? That hankering for new books, DVDs and other resources in your target language, however many are still unfinished on your shelves? Well, I get this a lot. And lately, it has been particularly chronic.… Continue reading

The Listening Monster: Language teacher tips for taking the sting out

Listening can be one of the most challenging skills in a foreign language. Image from freeimages.com.

Same objectives, different worlds – the polyglot and school classroom teaching communities strive for identical goals, but it often feels like they are leagues apart. It’s a perfect match waiting to be realised, as both have so much to learn… 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

Revisiting beginner resources for an accent audit

Beginner CD resources can help you audit your accent as an advanced learner. Image from freeimages.com

We all have languages we are proud of, languages we’ve worked hard at over the years. I count Norwegian as one of those. One I chose, rather than had thrust upon me at school, it’s something I’ve kept chugging away… Continue reading

The Accent Challenge : Develop 3D Listening in your Foreign Languages

Accent and dialect (like Doric Scots) lend colour to language- and learning opportunities to linguists. (Image from freeimages.com)

Of all the characteristic features of regions, few lend as much colour and hue as local accent. And, fresh from a weekend in North East Scotland, I’ve had another chance to ponder this as I soak up the distinct Doric… Continue reading

Five ways to maintain variety in your language learning

Variety adds a bit of a colour to your learning. (Image from freeimages.com)

Routine and regularity are cornerstones of language learning. But if your structure is too rigid, you might find yourself tiring of the same old, same old. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to work some variety into your language learning plan… Continue reading