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. …

Why learning a language is like meeting the in-laws

Language learning is about a lot more than just learning verb tables. Anyone who has spent years studying one will tell you that still, every now and then, there are times when it feels like you’ve made no progress at all, that there are still misunderstandings, there are still words you’ve never heard of, and you still sometimes get a …

Reviving my Russian: where next on the path to fluency?

I did know that I was going back to Russia. I had surrendered two A4 sheets of personal information and paid £85 for the priveledge to the Russian Visa Centre in London, waited nervously a whole week for its return with a shiny brown sticker, and  had been monitoring the weather forecast to help decide whether or not to take …

How to learn languages by speaking English Part 2: German

Following on from my previous post about Russian, here is a quick sequel about German. I think German’s a great language, and is probably one that has shaped my life the most. I’ve been studying it since I was 14, and have chosen to carry it on at university. I love Germany and I love Berlin, and in two years …

How to learn languages by speaking English Part 1: Russian

Having English as your native language can be both a good and a bad thing. The main advantage is that in most places in the world, there is a strong chance that there will be someone who speaks some form of English, which makes travel and business ten times easier. However, the disadvantage is that often people will be reluctant …