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Ten ways to fix your language exchange

Language exchanges are a really popular way to practise your languages. They’re free, they’re fun, and a great way to really get to know someone who shares your passion for learning languages. But sometimes there’s a catch. Although many language exchanges start out strong, they can quickly run into some problems. If you don’t prepare or plan for these, your exchange could come to a very …

YouTube video: How to learn Yiddish with Dr. Khayke Beruriah Wiegand

I’ve just put up this brand new interview with my Yiddish teacher Dr. Khayke Beruriah Wiegand. We talk about how to go about learning Yiddish, through or classes or independently. She also gives some really powerful reasons why people should learn the language. We filmed the whole thing in Yiddish and I’ve put up English subtitles as well. Enjoy!

The key to success in learning languages

It’s a question that gets asked a lot: “What’s your secret?” “How do you do it?” “What methods do you use?” However it’s phrased, when it comes to learning languages people are all after one thing: how to go from being mono- to multilingual, and how do it in as short a space of time as possible. The fact that …

The ‘Mother Tongue’: A brief introduction to Yiddish

Speaking at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest last weekend, I took the opportunity to give some air time to a particular language that might have dropped a little from the agenda. Yiddish (also known as מאַמע-לשון / ‘mame loshn‘ – the ‘mother tongue’) has never been studied to any great extent outside Jewish communities, and now it is under even more threat, as people …

Ten ways to learn Greek for free

The internet has changed how we learn languages, such as Greek, forever. Suddenly all sorts of resources are available for free, wherever you are in the world, and companies such as Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur are having to really struggle to stay competitive and justify their extortionate prices. But that doesn’t mean that it’s always obvious how you can put …

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 …

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 …

Deciding to learn a language: which one is for you?

One of the biggest dilemmas facing language learners is choosing which one. For some people, this may be a fairly straight forward decision, while for others it can be difficult to know where to start. In this post I’m going to talk briefly through some of the things you should consider before embarking on the learning process, which will hopefully …