Intonation Training: From Yam-Yam to Yia Sou

Intonation adds a thousand different colours to speech. Coloured glass. Image by Simon Jackson on FreeImages.com

When you meet me, one of the first things you notice is probably my accent. Despite being embedded in Scottish life for over a decade, there’s still an unmistakeable Midlands lilt that persists. The vowels have flattened out to something… Continue reading

Unhiding African Languages : Redressing the bias

Kigali Conference Centre. Image by By Raddison - https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-kigali, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74779948

It is fairly uncontroversial to state that we live in troubled times right now. Try as many of us might to separate languages and politics, it is impossible to keep our neat, studious worlds sealed from the social shifts taking… 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

Social Bookending : Scripting conversation start and end points for better flow

A row of old books. Image from freeimages.com

Tim Burton tells us that every story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or was it Jean-Luc Godard – or even Aristotle? Anyway, whoever – and whenever – it was, they had a pretty solid, if obvious,… Continue reading

Eating my way back to Greek

The Parthenon at the Acropolis, Athens. Image from freeimages.com.

Sometimes an old, long-neglected language project will rise up and demand attention again. “Remember me, old friend?” The reasons can be many. But the call can be hard to resist. Over the past few weeks, my former passion for Greek… 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

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

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