Speaking a Language on Vacation – Just Let Me Practice!

The dark truth is this: your vacation is probably not the best way to get language practice. Usually. If you travel alone to rural areas of South America, you will probably get the opportunity to speak a lot. If you go with friends to Spain, you’ll be speaking English with your group and most locals you meet will speak English with you as well. What … Continue reading Speaking a Language on Vacation – Just Let Me Practice!

What’s Wrong With “Nice”?

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”?

Language Shortcuts: Foreign Words for Busy People

English is fabulous, but it doesn’t have a word for everything. Some concepts can be expressed better, or at least faster, in another language.Here’s some shortcuts and curiosities from French, German, Spanish and Swedish: Y’allIn English, if you want to talk informally to a bunch of people at once, how can you address them? You’ve got “you”, or maybe “you guys” or maybe “y’all” (accent … Continue reading Language Shortcuts: Foreign Words for Busy People

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?

Delving into Denglisch

English can be found everywhere in modern German. It varies depending on location, environment and person, but you regularly hear things like “sorry”, “happy”, and “das Meeting”. This is perfect, right – the more English that gets absorbed into German, the less vocabulary you need to be understood. The catch, though, to this linguistic invasion, is the homegrown Denglisch which has to be reinterpreted. Here’s … Continue reading Delving into Denglisch