Thinking of Living Abroad? 4 Books to Read

Here’s two modern classics and two contemporary books from people who found temporary homes in Europe. Each book gives a flavour of the local language, illuminates the culture and history, and lets you imagine how it would be if you started over in a new land… George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London This was one of my favourite books as a teenager … Continue reading Thinking of Living Abroad? 4 Books to Read

How Far Can Duolingo Take You?

“Spider versus Bear”, “I am the cheese”, “the police are after me”: Duolingo is iconic for its gameified style, its colourful badges and its weird mess of vocabulary. The randomness is no more. The massive new changes for the Spanish and French courses introduce a more traditional topic structure, which brings them in line with scores of other programmes, including Babbel, Memrise, Mondly and Busuu. … Continue reading How Far Can Duolingo Take You?

The Language Phrasebook Millenials Actually Need

Traditional phrasebooks don’t reflect life in 2019 so here’s some small talk for our era… “Ist deine Wohnung so groß wie ein Kühlschrank oder pendelst du drei Stunden pro Tag?” Is your apartment the size of a refrigerator or do you commute three hours a day?  “¿Quieres destruir los medios de producción?” Do you want to destroy the means of production? “Scheisse, was hat er gerade getwittert?” Shit, what has he tweeted now? “No, no puedo comprar una casa, como demasiado aguacates.” No, I can’t buy a house, I eat too many avocados. “Ich ziehe … Continue reading The Language Phrasebook Millenials Actually Need

Listening: A How-To

Of the four language-learning pillars, listening is most likely to induce panic. Speaking, reading and writing can all be done at your own pace, but you can’t pause native speakers or hit “x0.5 speed”. Classic example – Tina Fey’s 30 Rock character trying out her high school German #hubcap? Hearing the real language has to happen, but you have to manage it carefully. I had to study French and German between … Continue reading Listening: A How-To