Many people, even if they’ve only learned one foreign language, may only visit the country where the language is spoken once a year or once every few years, so it can be hard to maintain or improve those language skills. Not being able to maintain a language can lead to something many multilingual people fear: language attrition, or the weakening or loss of a language. In my case, I claim to have 16 languages, and so language attrition is a concern.
Tag Archives: Language learning
16 October 2016
9 October 2016
You are unlikely to learn to speak a new language perfectly, but perfection should not be your goal. Your main goal should be effective communication. I am not perfect in any of the languages that I speak, but I can communicate. And whenever I communicate in another language I’m satisfied. I also know from experience that my ability to speak and to pronounce well will only improve with time, as long as I remain alert to what I hear and read, and how I use the language.
2 October 2016
In my view, there are three divergent approaches, in terms of their emphasis or principal focus, to language learning. This is true whether we learn in the classroom, online or on the street. One approach focuses on input, another on output, and a third on what I would call shortcuts and some people call language hacking techniques. These language hacking techniques include grammar study, studying vocabulary lists and phrase books, heavy use of Flash Cards, ”deconstructing the language”, memory techniques and so forth.
18 September 2016
Can I become fluent in a foreign language? If your answer to this question is no, then you are best to stop trying. If you don’t believe that you can reach the destination in your journey, why start? On the other hand, if you believe you can become fluent in a foreign language, you are well on your way to achieving fluency.
11 September 2016
In order to speak English well you need to learn how words are used and how they come together to form phrases and sentences. Only a lot of listening and reading can help you learn this. You need to train yourself to notice how the words are used when you listen and read.
4 September 2016
As people who speak multiple languages, polyglots like to use those languages; we like to see how we do. But there is an element of performance. Are you better than me? Am I better than you? For some people that’s fine. I think a lot of us are very happy, in fact, when we hear somebody speak better than we do.
28 August 2016
What is the hardest language to learn? It’s a question I’m asked often. Here I reveal the answer from my experience and give advice and tips on how to get the most out of your language learning, even if that language is a tough one.
21 August 2016
Many of us are watching the Olympics in Brazil. Despite all of the bad reports that we always get in the lead up to any Olympic Games – some British newspaper called the 2010 Vancouver Winter games the worst Olympics in the world ever, then there were all the problems with toilets in Sochi and now pollution in Rio – it looks like actually things are proceeding swimmingly, so to speak.
People ask, if I go to Brazil, can I communicate? What language do they speak? First of all, some may not know that Brazilians speak Portuguese. There’s no Brazilian language, there is Portuguese.
14 August 2016
Good language learners notice what is happening in a language. They notice the sounds of the language, and the structure and the vocabulary. They notice as they listen and read. They notice when they use the language. How can we train ourselves in the ability to notice, in order to become good language learners?
8 August 2016
Hello everyone, a few weeks ago I had a great conversation via Skype with Lindsay Dow. I wanted to share the transcript from that video here:
Steve: Hi, Lindsay. I’ll let you have a glass of water because you’re going to be doing a lot of talking. I’m very happy to be able to talk to Lindsay Dow of Lindsay Does Languages and maybe you can start by explaining what it is that you do.
Lindsay: Okay. Thank you very much, Steve. Hello, I’m Lindsay, as Steve said. What I do is quite a mixture of things. I teach languages, I teach English, French and Spanish, but I also learn them myself…