Synonyms: your shortcut to fluency

There is a lot of debate about what we should understand as “fluency” when learning a new language. Can you measure it by the size of your vocabulary? Is it how well you know and use the grammar? Or is it just how confident you sound and feel when speaking your new language? These are all possible interpretations. I’ve always …

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 …

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 …

Can you learn languages without studying?

This is the dream. You turn on some kind of signal which you then listen to throughout the day, throughout the night, at work and at home. It teaches you how to speak a language. You listen to it every day. After weeks, months, years, suddenly you’re fluent. And you didn’t even notice it. Unfortunately, this is probably the kind …

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 …

How do languages change the way you think?

Nearly everyone who is multilingual talks about languages changing the way they think. My great aunt, well into her nineties, speaks five languages completely fluently (although she now tends to speak all of them at the same time), and once said to me with great conviction “Chaque langue est une autre personalité” – each language is another personality. This stuck …

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 …

All you need to know about Afrikaans

Seeing as it’s Christmas, I thought I’d share with you all something very special. This is going to be the first in a series of posts about specific languages, in which I will go through some basic background info, crash-course some grammar, give you a few example phrases and put up lots of pretty pictures on the way. Today’s language …