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 […]Read More Cool things about Serbian
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 […]Read More Learning Vietnamese with Duolingo
In the first part of this post I focused on one of the key areas of learning a new language: the need to be comfortable with ambiguity, to celebrate small wins. In short, it’s important to focus on what you can do and not what you cannot do. That was all very easy with Romance […]Read More Learning a language. Yes you CAN! (Part II)
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 […]Read More Learn a Language? Yes, you CAN!
“No minority writer, no writer of color, can claim that he or she accomplished anything purely on their own merit. We all owe so much to the collective struggles and activists that preceded us…” via Viet Thanh Nguyen on Winning the Pulitzer Prize — DiscoverRead More Viet Thanh Nguyen on Winning the Pulitzer Prize — Discover
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 […]Read More The Right Way to Speak A Language
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 […]Read More Borrowed Words
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 – […]Read More Native Speakers Don’t Exist
Sometimes you read something that has a way of getting into your head, and causing you to rethink a lot of assumptions, understandings and opinions that might otherwise pass completely unchanged. For me, one of those sometimes can be summed up into two ideas: cockroaches and social pressure, the implications of which I’m sure will […]Read More On Cockroaches and Performance Anxiety
This is the dilemma I face at the moment: whether to learn Thai. I’m not a fan of the language. I like tonal, don’t get me wrong. Tonal’s the spice of linguistic life. Really. Chinese tickles my tongue every time I play around with it. There’s just something about Thai, though, that doesn’t appeal to […]Read More To learn Thai, or not to learn Thai?