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Why are some people good at learning languages?
Or not so good?
Is it motivation, memory or experience?
These things can make a difference. But many of the people I know who speak several languages also share certain personality traits
Guest Post by Kerstin from Fluent Language
The school subjects you hated leave scars.
I have so often told new people that I work with languages and I teach German, just to hear them say “God, I was terrible at
Having a conversation in Spanish can feel scary at first.
There are so many things that could go wrong!
- You forget a word or some grammar mid-sentence.
- You don't understand what they said to you.
- They reply in
You know those "Giovanni checks into a hotel" style dialogues you find in most Italian textbooks?
They're ok if you want to pick up a few polite phrases for travelling. But not so great if you want to actually
A few months ago, I decided to try and become fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
I made a plan.
Looking at people who'd already done it, I worked out that it'd probably take me around 1500 hours. If I
Have you ever noticed how cheesy the dialogues in French textbooks sound?
They use the same words and grammar as French people do in real life, but something doesn't sound quite right.
One of the reasons is that textbook
Lots of people say they speak a foreign language better after a drink or two.
It seems logical.
One of the trickiest things about speaking a language is the nerves and alcohol lowers inhibitions.
But does drinking really help you
What’s the difference between a Spanish learner and a native speaker?
There are obvious things, like pronunciation and grammar.
But there’s another difference that people hardly ever talk about. Little words that Spanish speakers use all the time, but that
Reading, listening, speaking and writing.
As a language teacher, I’m supposed to tell you that they’re all equally important (a bit like not having a favourite child).
Between you and me, I have a favourite. One that’s more important than
You’re walking along the streets of Paris and you see a delicious croissanty thing in the window of a boulangerie.
You don’t know what it’s called, but you know you want one.
So you let the sweet smell
You know that dream where you're standing in front of lots of people and you suddenly realise you're naked?
Everyone’s staring at you.
An intense panic squeezes your chest and makes your hands and voice go all wobbly
In August 2008, I had an Italian lesson that changed my life.
I'd already taken two years of Italian classes, but I still couldn't have a basic conversation. Back then I hated languages (and wasn't any good
Guest post from learntherussianlanguage.com
A day barely goes by without hearing about Russia on the news. Often you see an interview with a Russian official – do you understand what they’re saying without the subtitles/translation?
If you don’t
Guest Post by Ermy Pedata
Once my English friend invited me to a karaoke night. I accepted straight away.
I love karaoke so it was going to be fun for sure, I thought.
Little did I know that at the
I know, I know, it's not a very sexy title.
I thought about something more tantalising like: "Learn Chinese in 5 minutes a day" or "speak Chinese like a native in 8 weeks".
But those would be false promises
Listening to native Spanish speakers is a humbling experience.
They blurt their words out so fast, sometimes it's impossible to keep up. And it can be discouraging - after all that studying, shouldn't you be able to understand
Have you ever spoken to a non-native speaker of your language and been blown away by how well they spoke it?
Aside from good pronunciation, there's one thing that always makes my jaw drop when I hear foreign
Ever tried reading in a foreign language?
It sounds like a lovely idea.
Fix yourself a hot drink, dive under a blanket and snuggle up with a translation of Harry Potter.
What it actually looks like when I try reading
There are lots of things you probably should be doing.
Exercising more. Eating less junk. Learning that language faster.
You know who laughs in the face of should?
French people don’t do gyms. They wash croissants