Do you find yourself using the same adjectives over and over again? Even when I’m speaking English, I find myself describing experiences as “good”, “nice”, “really good” or “okay” and feeling like a stuck record. Is it a problem for language learners? I can feel like a bit of an idiot if I describe everything in Spanish as “bueno” or “interesante”, but how much does … Continue reading What’s Wrong With “Nice”?
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
“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?
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
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a language exchange event or meet up, you might find yourself spending little or no time talking to native speakers. This can feel like a bit of a shame, but it’s an experience shared by anyone in a language course, when the teacher is the only native speaker in the room. What can you gain from practising … Continue reading Lessons from Other Learners