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

Let’s Talk “Failure”

Language learning can feel full of setbacks if we start with super-high, new-year style goals. In an ideal world, you take up studying, speaking and writing in Spanish, and 18 months later you’ve got a mountain of vocabulary and speaking confidence. Most online resources – including bloggers like me – don’t often acknowledge lost motivation and ‘lost’ skills. Instead of goals, here’s my language failures and ‘abandoned’ languages: French ||My first – … Continue reading Let’s Talk “Failure”