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VIDEO: “Improving Reading and Comprehension” (Polyglot Gathering 2014)

My main talk at this year’s Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was the one that I was most preoccupied with. I thought that delivering it just a week after I’d finished my exams would also provide a good opportunity to reflect on my past four years at Oxford, and the particular language learning skills that my time there had allowed me …

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 …

Where to find Yiddish in Israel

I returned from Israel a few days ago, and arrived into the midst of one of the longest heat waves that London has ever seen. Temperatures are soaring to over 30 degrees every day, and the city is even starting to take on that laid-back Mediterranean feel that I loved so much about Tel Aviv. After a month of intensive studies, …

Jerusalem: City of Gold, and of Yiddish

Tucked away under the flyover approaching Jerusalem from Tel Aviv are a handful of dilapidated, abandoned stone houses, clinging to the side of the hill, covered in weeds  and scattered with rotting supermarket trolleys. With the exception of a few snakes and squatters, this area has long been deserted. It’s a village called Lifta, and it tells a story not …

Searching for Yiddish in Tel Aviv

I’ve been in Israel for nearly a week now, and I’ve really been taking full advantage of what the country has to offer. I’ve eaten falafel and hummus every day, my afternoons have been taken up with the beach, and I’ve spent tranquil evenings on the mirpesset (balcony) watching the sun set over the Mediterranean sea. In many ways this cosmopolitan …

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Israel and the Balkans: getting ready for the summer

The summer is nearly upon us, and that means that we’re in for an exciting few months on RawLangs. You may have noticed that technically this is a “Language and Travel” blog, and you may wondering why we’ve had a lot of posts about the first, but not so much about the second. We’ve had a heavy year so far …

YouTube video: How to learn Yiddish with Dr. Khayke Beruriah Wiegand

I’ve just put up this brand new interview with my Yiddish teacher Dr. Khayke Beruriah Wiegand. We talk about how to go about learning Yiddish, through or classes or independently. She also gives some really powerful reasons why people should learn the language. We filmed the whole thing in Yiddish and I’ve put up English subtitles as well. Enjoy!

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 …

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 …