Rolling with It as a Language Learner in a Random World

Fluffy dice in a car. Picture from freeimages.com.

Ever noticed how life throws opportunities at you as a language learner – just not always the ones you had imagined? So it transpired again at this year’s Language Show Live. The long-running show is an annual outing for the… Continue reading

Speaking Bingo Sheets for Snappy Active Vocab Recall

Bingo could be good for your speaking, too! Image by Michiel Meulemans on FreeImages.com

When it comes to making vocabulary stick in memory, there are few more effective methods than actively working new material in your speaking practice. Regularly engaging with new words and phrases in a foreign language is constructive recycling. They gain… Continue reading

Battleground Duolingo : Sun Tzu’s Art of Language Learning

The Terracotta Warriors would no doubt fare very well on the Duolingo leaderboards.

Duolingo aficionados cannot have not have failed to miss the recent frenzy over competitive leaderboards. Perhaps you have – no doubt luckily – escaped the red mist and hidden sensibly away from the hordes. Instead, you might have recognised it… Continue reading

Personalise your vocab routine with Tatoeba custom lists

Printing letters. Image from freeimages.com

Often, on a learning journey, you find your way back to a trusty old path travelled a while back. And recently, I have found my way back to the mass sentence site Tatoeba in order to solve a very particular… Continue reading

Vocabulary cross-platforming : make your DIY language learning data work harder

A computer screen (image from freeimages.com)

A major feature of language learning in the digital world is the abundance of tools for building and testing your own vocabulary banks. Anki, Quizlet, Educandy, StudyBlue, Cram… There are all sorts of platforms for collecting and drilling the words… Continue reading

Building linguistic muscle memory with Duolingo

An owl. Probably not the Duolingo one, but I'm sure they're friends. (Image from freeimages.com)

I achieved not quite a lifelong dream this week. Let’s call it a months-long dream. I finally reached level 25 in German on Duolingo! When the moment of glory came, it was more with a fizzle than with fireworks. As the… Continue reading

Talking to yourself: tap your inner voice to be a canny language learner

A chamber of mirrors - reflective, just like talking to yourself can be!

Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, some say. But it’s actually the hallmark of the very canny linguist, too. Ask most experienced language learners, and they will tell you that the secret is speaking, speaking, speaking. But… Continue reading

Essential habit-forming apps for language fluency ⏰

Building languages into your daily routine as habit is the first step to polyglot success!

Efficient learning hinges on habit. A little, every day, will go a long way. “We become what we repeatedly do” writes motivational mogul Sean Covey, and this could not be truer for linguists. If you want to become a polyglot,… Continue reading

Berlin, where have you been all my life?

Icon of Berlin, the Fernsehturm, seen from Alexanderplatz

Language learning isn’t finite; it’s a lifelong process, and isn’t meant to have an end. As such, languages never count as ‘finished’ or ‘learnt’, but require upkeep and maintenance. With this in mind, I’ve been planning some exciting mini-trips to… Continue reading

Let’s get physical: Language learning through fitness

A row of fitness bikes for physical engagement in the gym

If you subscribe to one of the many theories of learning styles, traditional classroom or book-based language learning might seem a bit unimaginative. They hit all the familiar targets: visual, auditory – tactile, even, if you use devices or props… Continue reading