Departures_Paris_CDG_2009

The pain of learning languages in immersion

When I was at Oxford, studying was something you did on your own. There were lectures if you wanted or the odd compulsory class, but apart from that it was up to you to force yourself to sit down and work. We had meetings every now and then with our supervisors to see how things were coming along. Especially in …

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 …

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 …

Russian culture: re-encountering the clash

My Russian visa arrived today. It still feels like a monumentous achievement when you open that scruffy grey envelope to be reunited with your passport and then flick through the pages until you find it sitting there, safely glued in, your name mutated into Cyrillic and then back into Latin (I am now Aleksandr Dimitris Djordj Roulings again), your entry …

Returning to Russia

When my mother came to visit me in Russia for the second time exactly a year ago, I had already been living there for five months, and as she emerged through arrivals at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, I greeted her decisively, but affectionately, with “Welcome to the mad-house.” It just so happened that the British Airways flight from London had …

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 …