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Should you move to London or Berlin?

Berlin is the city I keep trying to move to, but something stops me every time. This time I got as far as booking flights, arranging interviews and securing accommodation for my first six weeks when an irresistible opportunity came up which meant that in the end, I’m staying put in London. I’ll talk more about that in another post, …

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How to read in a foreign language

Feeling fluent feels great. You can go anywhere, say anything, do everything and live your life exactly as you would normally, but in a different language. I’ve had a fair few fluency breakthroughs with my languages. The first was in Germany when I was 15 and on a two-week school exchange and suddenly realised I was speaking German. Another important …

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The pain of learning languages in immersion

When I was at Oxford, studying was something you did on your own. There were lectures if you wanted or the odd compulsory class, but apart from that it was up to you to force yourself to sit down and work. We had meetings every now and then with our supervisors to see how things were coming along. Especially in …

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How to ‘defrost’ the languages you used to know

“Why are you in Spain?” somebody asked me recently, their face exploding with indignation. “Don’t you already claim to speak Spanish?” Like every question that eventually turns into a blogpost, it was difficult one to answer. Yes, I speak Spanish. I started studying by myself when I was 15, I impressed a teacher at school who let me join her …

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How to choose your next language

One thing that’s fascinating about polyglots is their lists of languages. All of them have one, and each of them is totally unique and tells a very different story. Some seem logical, focusing mainly on Asian or European languages, while others seem to have a bit of everything. But how do polyglots decide which languages to learn, and how do …