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Behind the scenes in the EU’s 24 official languages

The European Union is the world’s most multilingual organisation. All 503 million citizens of 28 member states have the right to communicate with the EU in their own language, and to receive information in their own language too. In the European Parliament, all 751 MEPs also have the right to speak in their own language, and to receive a live …

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 …

Give us our language back!

I find it difficult to describe the true level of horror and dismay that I felt when I came across a news article about a recent proposal to make English the sole official language of the European Union. I find it even more difficult to come to terms with the fact that this has not come from the British – the famed …

The mathematics of language learning: finding formulas for your success

I’m sure nobody will be surprised to hear that at school I was appalling at Maths and Science. I realised at about the age of seven that it just wasn’t for me, and that the humanities were my calling. However, what I later discovered is that the two worlds are actually more similar than I’d first thought. When it came …

Ten proverbs and sayings to help you around the world

It’s taken me a long time as a language learner to come to terms with proverbs. I always resisted them for various reasons. They’re a pain to learn, they can sound silly and unnatural, and it’s often hard to imagine a scenario in which you’d actually use them. However, they’re actually a really important part of every language, and as …

Language learning resolutions for 2013

As it’s nearly February, I figured I should probably get some New Year’s resolutions. These are of course all to do with languages, but this time I’m taking a new approach to learning. The test is going to be to see how well it works. It was only when I started at university that I realised how much free time …

Multilingualism and literature: 10 authors who write in other languages

Is writing an internationally acclaimed, bestseller novel in a foreign language a mark of fluency? Following on from my recent post, I thought it would be interesting to list some of the many multilingual writers and novelists who write in other languages. What particularly interests me, is that many of these write in their second or third languages, of which …