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 …

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 …

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 …

What is fluency, and how to attain it?

One of the biggest preoccupations that language learners have is attaining fluency in their target language. Fluency is upheld as the holy grail of language learning, and many feel that they cannot claim to speak a language until they speak it “fluently”. This attitude is reflected in media coverage of polyglot-related stories, with headlines claiming that people speak so many …