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Why I’m mixing up Hungarian with Hebrew

Mixing up languages is a question that comes up quite a lot. Many people are concerned about how to seperate languages in their heads, how to avoid embarassingly speaking one instead of the other, and how to reassure themselves that they can actually speak lots of different languages at the same time, rather than just their native tongue plus whatever’s …

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VIDEO: “Improving Reading and Comprehension” (Polyglot Gathering 2014)

My main talk at this year’s Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was the one that I was most preoccupied with. I thought that delivering it just a week after I’d finished my exams would also provide a good opportunity to reflect on my past four years at Oxford, and the particular language learning skills that my time there had allowed me …

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VIDEO: “Afrikaans Basics” (Polyglot Gathering 2014)

A few weeks ago I attended the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, where I gave two talks: the first being a basic introduction to Afrikaans for those interested in learning it, the second about improving your reading and comprehension. The first of those is now available! Unfortunately for this talk I was placed in the smallest room which had no video …

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Life after University

It’s been nearly eight months since my last post. In that time I haven’t learnt any new languages (although I’ve acquired a number of new books for my collection), but nonetheless I have been very busy! Instead I have been working very hard on my German, Russian and Yiddish, I finished my degree, and gave two talks at the Polyglot …

Language learning never stops, and that’s why I’ve stopped (for now)

I remember I came home one day in Yaroslavl, after another idyllic day spent eating cabbage pies in the mid-April snow, to find my flatmate at the kitchen table buried in a pile of grammar books with sheets of vocabulary written out all around her. I asked her what on earth she was doing – the test wasn’t until Monday. …

Synonyms: your shortcut to fluency

There is a lot of debate about what we should understand as “fluency” when learning a new language. Can you measure it by the size of your vocabulary? Is it how well you know and use the grammar? Or is it just how confident you sound and feel when speaking your new language? These are all possible interpretations. I’ve always …

YouTube Video: +1 Japanese Challenge Week 1

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I’m taking on the challenge of learning a brand new language: Japanese! I’m not doing this alone though, to make sure I stick to my goals and achieve as much as I can with the limited amount of time I have, I’ve joined the +1 Language Challenge, set up by …

What is a polyglot?

I took a little break over the summer, so I haven’t been updating this site regularly. Although I have been posting to the RawLangs Blog Facebook page and Twitter, I thought it was time to start blogging again. I’m going to start off by addressing a question that has been on my mind for a while. What is a polyglot? If you …

Studying languages at university: an essential foundation for life

Oxford University student Aurora Dawson-Hunte responds to Belinda Parmar’s recent claims in the Guardian newspaper that people studying for language degrees are “wasting their time”. Aurora studies French and Russian, and has experience working in the French technology sector and Russian oil industry. She believes all of this is because of her choice of degree. Belinda Parmar is trying to encourage girls to get into …