Pot pourri : my week in languages

Pot pourri

Pot-pourri is a lovely French term, usually applied to a mixture of herbs and spices, or fragranced wood chips. I’ve appropriately appropriated the French for this week’s blog post, which is a bit of a mixed bag. The past seven… Continue reading

From iTalki to real life: meeting your online teachers

Meet you teachers over a coffee or three!

Language lessons via Skype have been an important learning method of mine for some time now. Thanks to sites like iTalki, learners can now connect with teachers across the globe. But however much experience you have with online classes, there… Continue reading

Studying closely related languages can be a help, not a hindrance

A forest of trees - a good analogy for the trees and branches of closely related languages

Studying two or more languages can be a challenging undertaking. But when they are closely related languages, instinct suggests that the similarity could be a source of confusion. “Don’t you ever get mixed up?” people ask. And, truthfully, from personal… Continue reading

A GCSE Too Far? Giving Languages Their Point Back

Preparing for GCSE means copious notes!

Following this week’s GCSE results, there has been the usual seep of comments putting a downer on languages in schools. Simon Jenkins’ Guardian article¬†presented a particularly cynical version of this view, which provoked (no doubt as intended) some thorny reaction.… 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

Teaching to learn: boost your studies by helping others

A classroom ready for teaching

The idea of learning through teaching is nothing new. We find the idea in an old Latin proverb, docendo discimus (by teaching, we learn), possibly handed down to us from Seneca the Younger. The premise is simple: being able to… Continue reading

Time to learn? Fitting languages into busy lives

Time is precious

As a language geek, I’m often asked: “how do you find the time?”. My answer: most of the time, I don’t. Most self-directed learning is an imperfect process. Adults don’t have time to subdivide their day into neat lesson-shaped slots,… Continue reading