Cool things about Serbian

  Dobar dan! Occasionally I get a linguistic itch, and it never makes sense. Recently I booked a trip back home from Vietnam via Europe, with plenty of long stops in a number of places I’ve never been. The trip itself will span several cultures, from Athens, to Istanbul, to Belgrade, then around the Balkans […]

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Learning Vietnamese with Duolingo

So, finally I am back attempting to learn Vietnamese. First, I want to take stock of the reasons why this language has been so difficult. I’ve found two categories my faults  and the language itself: My faults: Things I have total control over and can fix easily. I’m a lazy chump and haven’t put in the effort. I’m […]

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Learn a Language? Yes, you CAN!

I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time someone said, yeah, but you’re good at languages, it’s easy for you. It seems like the vast majority of people consider language learning to be something mystical, unattainable. Polyglots, even bilinguals, are viewed with aw. To be fair, we can be a weird lot, but that’s […]

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The Right Way to Speak A Language

cover Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash Often people seem to believe that there is a right way to speak a language. If you’re from North America, you might find the English spoken in the US Midwest to be more or less “neutral”. If you’re from the UK, you may believe that the most polished form is […]

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Borrowed Words

It seems to be a fad, at least in Korea, but I suspect in many languages, to borrow words from “hip” languages. I’m not sure what establishes a language as hip, exactly, but a better word doesn’t currently spring to mind. Photo by Ameet Dhanda on Unsplash We know this as history fact. We can see it in […]

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Native Speakers Don’t Exist

Maybe. Or not quite. This might be an exaggeration but it’s meant to provoke, and to illustrate a common theme of misaligned expectations among language learners. It was during a workshop with a group of sales consultants for an EFL course that I essentially blurted out this sentence – the title of this blog – […]

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