Irregular English and How It Got That Way

Happy International Mother Language Day! My mother language, or “mother tongue” as we say in the US, is English. This is fitting for a linguist. Not because it is currently a so-called lingua franca, but because it is a very mixed-up and promiscuous language, vulnerable to nearly any language it comes in contact with, mixing its many linguistic influences, sometimes …

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Langjam: Studying Swedish When You Only Have Four Days

  Hej allihopa! This weekend I participated in Sandra Schellhase’s Language Jam social media challenge, in which participants have four days to study a language which they are randomly assigned. I was so happy to get Swedish! I’ve always been a bit of a Scandinavia-phile, and some of my family lives in Sweden too, but I always felt guilty about …

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10 Ways to Improve Your Accent in a Foreign Language

Working on your accent? So am I — in six languages. As a native speaker of English and an adult learner of Spanish, French, Mandarin, Korean, Indonesian, and ASL, I’ve had my fair share of phonetic struggles, from Mandarin tones to that rolled Spanish “r”. But guess what? There are concrete steps you can take to improve your accent, especially …

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Le défi de se filmer pendant 30 jours

Prefer to read this post in English? You can find it here. Pour le 28ème jour du défi de se filmer pendant 30 jours, j’ai décidé de parler du défi lui-même, et de pourquoi je pense que c’est une très bonne façon d’apprendre une langue étrangère. Le #30dryc est, pour les participants, le défi d’apprendre une langue étrangère en s’engageant …

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What You Need To Learn a New Language

Apps, textbooks, and tutors will definitely form the basis of your language study. However, without the right frame of mind, it will be hard to actually design and follow through with your study plan. Here are some things that will help you create an optimum environment for language learning, and guess what? They all cost you $0. CURIOSITY Mark Twain …

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The Languages Of Hawaii

Since my husband and I live in Korea, and my parents and sister live in California, this Christmas we decided to convene smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on an American island called Hawaii (or, as the Koreans might call it, the American Jeju 😉 ). Before our trip I figured I had better bone up on Hawaiian …

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#30DRYC: How To Use Challenges as Motivation in Language Learning

We’re at the end of the 30-Day Record Yourself Challenge, in which language learners are recording themselves speaking in their target language for at least a minute every day. It has been challenging to keep up, but I’ve found it an invaluable method for language learning, and I’ll tell you why. The #30DRYC is the brainchild of linguistics student Aaron …

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Self-Study Starter Kit: Mandarin Chinese

Want to learn Mandarin? You’re not alone. In the last decade the number of English speakers studying Mandarin has skyrocketed as China grows in prominence, and as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan claim their rightful places on the global stage. Here’s your free starter kit, everything you’ll need to fall in love with the Chinese language: some online resources which …

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Self-Study Starter Kit: Korean

Want to learn Korean? Fascinated by its legendary grammar, or just want to understand BTS and BlackPink? Even if you’re just here for the k-pop, you can definitely study Korean on your own. Here’s your free starter kit, everything you’ll need to fall in love with the Korean language: some online resources which I have found to be particularly helpful. …

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 A Note About Being a “Woman in Language”

Why we women in language should stop apologizing for our abilities, and learn to love the word “polyglot”.   Recently, the New Yorker published a fascinating article about hyperpolyglots. It was wonderfully researched, with great color. But one line caught my eye: “An extreme language learner has a more-than-random chance of being a…male.” The author Judith Thurman does not cite …

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I’ve learned 9 languages, all after the age of 21.

Hello world! My name is Sara Maria Hasbun, and I’m an American linguist who has struggled with learning languages my whole life. Despite being half-Salvadoran, I grew up monolingual, as we only spoke English at home. High school Spanish was particularly frustrating. I could memorize the conjugation tables and pass all the tests, but could not speak a word. I …

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