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How to choose your next language

One thing that’s fascinating about polyglots is their lists of languages. All of them have one, and each of them is totally unique and tells a very different story. Some seem logical, focusing mainly on Asian or European languages, while others seem to have a bit of everything. But how do polyglots decide which languages to learn, and how do …

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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 …

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 …

Polyglot Conference 2013: Looking back on Budapest

I’ll always remember that week leading up to the Polyglot Conference in Budapest as one in which I was extremely nervous. When I first heard about it from Luca Lampariello and Richard Simcott, whom I met in Italy in November, my initial reaction was that it was nuts. Firstly I couldn’t believe that two people would want to take on …

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 …