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. …

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 …

YouTube video: techniques for learning vocabulary

I’ve made a new YouTube video in which I talk about three different techniques for learning vocabulary: contextual, visual and associative. I’ve been using these techniques for learning Hungarian, which I’m trying to do in time for the polyglot conference in Budapest next month. Vocab learning is something that I get asked about a lot, and it’s a very difficult …

How do you learn languages?

I often tell people that I learnt to speak Russian at the kitchen table. This is, of course, a shameless lie. I attended eight hours of language classes a week with 10-15 hours of homework on average and vocabulary lists of sometimes up to 1000 words, did this for an entire year before revising for, sitting, and having to pass …