How can we learn a language when we're stuck at home in the crisis? This week's post begins with a quick catch-up on my life here in "semi-lockdown" London. Then, let's think about how to learn languages at home during the coronavirus crisis. I'll give you some top tips from time management and across all four language learning skills. If you want it visual, the vid embedded at … [Read more...]
Transform your German by Summer 2020?
Are you a German learner who's been learning the language for a while and who's covered a lot of the basics? Are you ready to take focussed action to power yourself up as an "independent user" of the language and transform your German between now and the summer? Over in the Howtogetfluent Email Club, I've been talking to quite a few of you who've reached German "upper … [Read more...]
Minority language dialects: a challenge for learners?
If you've heard that your minority language has a variety of dialects, which one should you learn? How should you respond if you hear that there are lots of dialects and that "some native speakers can't even understand each other"? What does the "standardisation" of a language even mean? In this, the fourth post in the series on learning minority languages, let's … [Read more...]
Sound more fluent: nine tricks
I favour a long, slow game in language learning, but I'm still up for a good short cut. If, that is, it's actually effective. Here are nine quick fixes to help you sound more fluent in any foreign language, however you feel inside. Let's put a spring in your step when you're speaking! Keep your toolkit to hand Learn what I call your toolkit phrases from the very … [Read more...]
What’s the best language course for you?
If you're studying a popular foreign language you'll be faced with a wide choice of potential self-study textbooks (or their electronic equivalent). This post is for you if you've found yourself wondering what's the best language course for you. It's also for you if you haven't! The thing is, there are wide differences in approach out there that you need to be aware of before … [Read more...]
Reading in a foreign language. Enough of stories? Time for the facts?
When we're looking for things to read in our language, we'll often think in terms of stories. After all, stories can draw us in and keep us turning the page. They stimulate our imagination and provide context to help us remember. If we're still beginners or at the lower intermediate level, we might go for children's books or grab a "graded reader" (a text written - or adapted … [Read more...]
The Polyglot Gathering: learner “takeaways” review
This year the Polyglot Gathering took place in Bratislava for the third (and final time). If you saw the daily vlogs I made from the event (or my reviews and vids from previous years), you'll need no introduction to this language lovers' conference-cum-celebration. In the vlogs there are many brief shots from inside different talks but my main concern was to convey the … [Read more...]
Two language tango: a new four-week learning sprint (Basque/Japanese update)
For the next four weeks my language learning will change gear. I'm upping the time that goes into my focussed study of beginner's Japanese and intermediate Basque. It's a summer learning "sprint" or, if you like, a two-language tango. (Scroll down for vid). If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I'm nearly seven months into a project to learn basic Japanese in advance … [Read more...]
How to choose a language school abroad in 2023
Updated 11 Jan 2023 By Gareth Leave a Comment (Edit) How do you choose a language school abroad in 2023? That's the subject of this post, the second of a mini series of two. In this post, the focus is on the typical full-time (or part-time) group course held “in country” for any period from, say, a week or two up to a couple of months. In the first post, I weighed up … [Read more...]
Group language course abroad? For and against in 2023
Why go on an intensive, group language course abroad? If you decided to, how do you choose a foreign language school? Now that (in most places) the worst of the pandemic is past, you may be thinking of spreading your wings again later in 2023. This post, the first of two, we get to grips with the first of these two questions. The focus is on the typical full-time (or … [Read more...]