Monday, December 18, 2017

10 Resources for Improving Your Language Learning Productivity by Chris Richardson

When learning a new language, you have several essential skills to improve. Most of all, you’re focused on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. That’s what all language learning programs revolve around.

What about productivity? It’s an aspect of the language learning journey we often tend to ignore. We expect the structured program to give everything we need to learn the language. However, the effort we put into this goal on a daily basis is crucial for developing all language skills. 

Productivity is all about learning more in a shorter period of time. How do you boost it? Here are 10 resources that will get you on the right track.

1. Forvo

With Forvo, you listen to the way words are pronounced in your target language. The recordings are by native speakers.

How does this improve your productivity? Forvo gives helps you understand the genuine speech. With regular practice, you’ll master the foreign language much more effectively.

2. Couchsurfing

You will truly become a fluent speaker of a foreign language when you hang out with natives.

Thanks to Couchsurfing, traveling doesn’t have to cost much. You can connect with people from your country of interest as well as welcome other travelers into your home. They will help you learn some of their language, too.

3. Google Calendar

You’ll become a fluent speaker only if you turn language learning in your daily routine. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student or a worker; you can always find some space for this practice during the day.

Use Google Calendar to plan each day really carefully. You'll need at least half an hour for learning new words, phrases, and grammar rules every single day. This practice should also include writing, listening, and speaking.

This is a book that every foreign language learner should have in their home library. It helps you develop a strategic approach towards this process. The author explores the most common issues that language learners face and provides effective solutions.

5. Amazon

Speaking of books, you have to read more of them. Start with children’s books in your target language. These can help you boost your vocabulary and master grammar in its most essential form. From there on, you can continue with books written by local authors. This can help you understand the culture of the country, too. Where do you get these books? Amazon is the answer.


What about the writing part? How do you get more productive? If you work with professional writers, you’ll understand the essay format easily. Plus, they can clarify grammar and vocabulary issues for you. Essay Geeks puts you in direct contact with talented writers. 

7. Skype

What if you can’t afford to travel? Well, there’s another way to connect with native speakers. Use Skype! Your friends online can make you a more effective learner by correcting your mistakes. You can listen to proper pronunciation and practice with them. Practice is the best way to improve how quickly you learn. 

8. Italki

Do you find it difficult to connect with native speakers via Skype? Are you too shy to introduce yourself and start a conversation? This is where italki can help. This is a platform where language learners from all around the world come together to connect with native speakers. You’ll still use Skype to talk, but connecting with new people is much simpler.

In addition to native speakers for practice, you can also find native language teachers on italki. They will give you one-on-one lessons, which will definitely make you more fluent in your target language.

The Internet is a source of endless distractions. Instead of spending half an hour learning, you end up scrolling through Instagram for an entire hour. That has to stop!

Strict Workflow is a Google Chrome extensions that will block all distracting websites for 25 minutes. You’ll use those 25 minutes for learning. Then, you’ll get a break of 5 minutes. You can use it to scroll to Instagram or do whatever you want before you get back to learning.

10. Duolingo

Duolingo is both a language learning and a productivity tool. When you’re learning a language on your own, you absolutely need a structured program. Duolingo gives you that structure. You get learning modules and practice sessions. It encourage you to work every single day, too. That’s how it makes you a more productive learner. 

Have you ever wondered how your productivity affected the language learning process? It’s crucially important! Your approach helps you learn the language faster and more effectively. Fortunately, there are tools that will amplify your productivity. Have you tried some of them? Do you have another tool to suggest? Share your ideas!                                                                                                           

Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of November 2017

Here are our favourite stories about language from last month. Let's dive straight in...

10: 6 Steps To Listen Your Way To A Better Accent In Any Language on I Will Teach You a Language

If you're struggling with accurately replicating the accent in your foreign language, this article shows you how to do it by just listening. While it only features 4 steps when we first published it on our Facebook Page, two more steps have been added. This article just keeps on giving.

9: Kazakhstan Is Changing Its Alphabet - Here's Why on The Independent

This article covers the news that Kazakhstan is looking to adopt the Latin alphabet. While the country has traditionally used the Russian Cyrillic script, decisions have been made to use the same alphabet as many countries in the West do in order to improve the country's global integration.

8: J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' Translated To Scots, Marking 80th Language on NPR

Harry Potter fans north of the border (if you're in the UK) should rejoice at the news that the first book has been translated into Scots. You should listen to the interview on NPR to hear a sample of it.

There's been a lot of buzz about Google's headphones and how they'll do away with translators by giving everyone access to live interpreting wherever they go. However, as Business Insider found out, they're not ideal.

While you wouldn't say that the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic script are the same (Kazakhstan is looking to change from the latter to the former, after all), there are a number of characters in both that have very common roots. In this article, you'll find out why there are so many similarities between human writing systems.

5: No more middots: French PM clamps down on gender-neutral language on The Guardian

The French language's latest controversy comes in the form of gender. French is now trying to include gender-neutral versions of words to rectify the problem with middots, a punctuation mark that looks like a full-stop but in the middle of a line. Traditionalists, including the French PM, are not happy.

4: Five languages Brexit Britons should learn on Financial Times

Without trying to speculate on the future of the UK, it's fair to say that it probably wouldn't be able to survive as an isolated nation like North Korea. This means that languages are still going to be useful in the future and here's an interesting article on which languages might be useful for those in the UK.

If you're like me and you hate business English, you should definitely check out this article. Unfortunately, it looks like the ridiculous use of English employed in offices and boardrooms around the country isn't going anywhere, though.

Which is the most spoken language in the world? Should you just count native speakers or should you consider how many people speak it as a foreign language? What about those who learn the language as a foreign language? There are a lot of questions to answer just to answer a seemingly-simple question. This article aims to address a few of them.

1: A ‘critical juncture’ for language learning in the UK on Times Higher Education

Our most popular article this month was on the future of learning languages in the UK. As you may have heard, the UK is leaving the European Union. With a potentially-massive political shift occurring, the UK has a lot of questions to answer about how it's going to conduct itself in the future and how it teaches foreign languages is one of the biggest questions.

Were there any great language articles in November that we missed? Feel free to tell us and our readers about them in the comments below.

Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Get Better at Speaking a Foreign Language by Brenda Berg

Learning a foreign language can be difficult at the best of times and it’s thought that the older we get, the harder it gets. However, thanks to the internet, there are tonnes of resources readily available at the click of the button that can help us learn a new language in ways that was never before possible.
To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know to help you improve your ability to speak a foreign language.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with anything in life, the only way you’ll be able to learn to speak a language fluently is to set aside the time to practice. This means practising every day, even if it’s only for half an hour some days. Any practice is better than no practice.

Video Conferencing Software

Programs like Skype have never been more accessible to people all over the world so why not use this to your advantage? By using social media and video chat, you can connect with like-minded people from around the world who may speak another language and want to learn yours.

“This is a great way to learn as you can then speak to each other, teaching each other the language as you go. This is a great way to learn about someone else’s culture, and you might even make a new friend!” Martin Dulmer, language tutor at Academized.

Smartphone Apps

To list all the language learning smartphone apps for both Android and iOS would take all day (although the best are listed below). However, there's definitely an app out there that that'll work for you.

Simply head over to the Play Store or the App Store, search ‘language apps’ and simply see what comes up! You can start with the best and easy apps such as HelloTalk and Memrise. But that’s not all great apps you can find.

Watch Foreign Media

Thanks to the internet, you can now have access to all kinds of films, movies and TV series from around the world, directly to your computer. By streaming them to your TV, you can learn how to speak a foreign language.

Imagine watching Spanish TV all day every day instead of English TV? It’s actually a great way to learn, especially if you’re watching something that you know in English because you already know what they’re talking about. With YouTube you can even choose what to watch.

Using Conversation Clubs

Much like searching for an individual online to speak to or using social media, forums, and chatrooms, you’ll also be able to find lots of conversation clubs that you can join to chat with locals from all over the world.

These can be a great way to meet other people, make new friends, learn about a new culture and learn a language!

Using Tools & Resources

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of resources online to make speaking a new foreign language as easy as possible. Here’s a few to get you started.


This is a comprehensive language learning website with 12 unique languages to get you started. In addition to speaking help, you’ll also be able to practice reading and writing.


Babbel is home to over 15 language training programs and is very heavily in the visual learning styles, using pictures and photos to help you remember words and sentences.


This is a free blog you can use to improve your grammar in English and other languages.


With over 26 languages available, DuoLingo is one of the most popular learning platforms and is used by people all around the world. You can even learn on the go while using the app.

Flashcard Apps

There are plenty of flashcard apps and websites out there that can help you to learn how to speak a language quickly and fluently with flashcards. Write down a sentence that you want to remember or learn and then writing the English version on the other side, making it super easy to have all the information you need in one place.

As you can see, there are so many options available to you when it comes to improving your language speaking skills when using the internet. All you need to do is find the one that works best for you.

Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Oxessays and Paper fellows. Brenda is also a part-time educator and Editor in Chief at Big assignments
She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at

Monday, November 27, 2017

How Social Media Can Help with Learning Languages by Rachel Summers

No matter how old you are, learning a second language is one of the most valuable things you can do. Having a second language can enrich your life, improve your job prospects, and even put you in touch with more friends around the world.

However, these days it feels as though you just don't have enough time to keep up with a new language skill. There is a solution though, in the form of social media. Here's how it can make learning a language much easier and convenient for all kinds of learners.

Why Use Social Media?

Think about why you haven't learned a new language yet. You probably thought "I just don't have enough time in my day to properly study a language". However, how much time every day do you spend on social media? The answer, probably, is a lot.

That's not to say that you should quit social media to focus on your studies. There's a lot of benefits of using it to stay connected with your loved ones. Did you know that you can use it to stay connected with your language studies too? It's a lot easier than you'd think.

Which Social Media Sites Should You Use?

OK, so you can use social media to keep up with your language studies. Which networks should you use? Here's a shortlist of the platforms you should be looking into:

Facebook: Facebook is the platform that most people use, so there's a lot of learning opportunities there. If you're a teacher, you can create a page that your students can 'like', and then update it frequently in your chosen language.

Youtube: This popular video hosting platform has a huge amount of resources already on there that you can use. There's teaching videos that will guide you through different aspects of the language, and there's also videos by 'vloggers' that you can watch to get a feel of how the language is spoken naturally.

Tumblr and other blogging sites: Blogs are a great way to learn more about a language. Tumblr is one of the best platforms to use, as you can read blogs in a bite sized. There's lots of language blogs, such as Omniglot and State Of Writing, that you can follow too to learn more.

Pinterest and Instagram: These image-based sites are some of the best ways to use flashcards and other visual learning aids. If you learn better with visual tools, then this could be the best way of learning a language with social media.

What Are the Benefits of Using Social Media?

There's a lot of reasons why social media can be a great way of learning a new language. As you've seen above, you have a lot of choice when it comes to the platforms you use and the way you learn. It's not just this that makes it a great way to learn, though.
"Using social media makes you accountable for your learning. You'll be showing others online that you're learning, and they'll see if you fall off the wagon. If you're the kind of person that's motivated this way, then it's a great way to learn." - Liam Orwell, Author at Reviewal 
As well as this, you'll be able to easily document your learning with social media. This is especially true if you use a social media platform that allows you to organise your writing with hashtags or other organisational tools. If you want to go back to something later, it makes it very easy to find it.

Finally, social media, of course, helps you connect with other people. That's its primary function, after all. The best way to learn any language is connect with others who speak that language. Social media makes it easier than ever to connect with people all over the world, so take advantage of this.
As you can see, social media is one of the best ways to learn a new language online. Start looking for resources on your preferred platforms, and you'll see that you're picking up new vocabulary in no time at all.

Rachel Summers is a freelance writer whose passion is helping students get the most out of their learning journey. She started out as a writer and journalist in the newspaper industry, including Best British Essays, before breaking out to go freelance and follow her own passions. Her writing is designed to help you get the most out of college. You can find her blog here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

How to Learn Languages with Super Mario

Since I love both games and languages, I've often tried to bring the two together. When I was teaching English, I always ensured that my classes played as many games as possible. In this article, I'm going to talk about how games influenced how I planned my lessons and how Chinese poetry influenced these games.


Let's start with Kishōtenketsu. This is a type of narrative structure mainly used in Chinese poetry which includes four parts: Introduction (ki), development (shō), twist (ten), and conclusion (ketsu).

In the first part, you introduce the characters, setting, and any other important information. This information is developed in the second part without introducing any major changes. Something unexpected happens in the third part of the narrative before the conclusion wraps everything up with the ending or resolution to the story.

Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World | Nintendo

Kishōtenketsu's narrative structure was highly influential when it came to level design in Super Mario 3D Land, which was released in 2013 on the Wii U.

The game's director Koichi Hayashida stated how he'd used Kishōtenketsu to influence how levels were designed in the game. Every time a level included something a player had never seen before, they'd need to learn how the mechanic worked. However, Hayashida didn't want to explicitly tell the player what they needed to do with boring text boxes and tutorials, he wanted them to learn what to do. Games are supposed to be fun, after all.

In short, a level introduces a new mechanic to the player. The player then gets to play around with the mechanic in a risk-free environment. After all, you don't want to punish a player for doing something wrong when they don't yet know how to do it!

Once the player is familiar with the mechanic, they're given a chance to prove they understand it with a challenging twist before finally given a chance to reach the flag and generally show off their new skills.

If you'd like to see how this applied to the game, I'd recommend watching this video on it:

Language Lessons

When I heard this, I was inspired by the method they used to teach players and thought I could apply it to how I taught my classes. There were two main rules that I applied to the lessons based on this design philosophy: focus lessons on one concept and always follow the four steps.

The first rule ensures that students have a clear goal that they can be tested on at the end of the lesson. Never introduce multiple grammar points in a single lesson! You can still use grammar points and aspects from previous lessons, though.

The second rule means that students are introduced to a new concept, can then play around with it (without any risks), are tested on the concept, and then given an opportunity to show off what they've learnt before they go home.

Here's an example of how a lesson would go:

1: Introduction: Quickly establish what the focus of the lesson is going to be. While you can explicitly tell the students what it is, I preferred giving students an example and letting them identify the focus of the lesson themselves.

2: Development: This is when the students are given an activity to practice the new grammar point. I often enjoyed doing this with pair work where students are free to make mistakes in a safe environment and don't feel pressured about getting it wrong.

3: Twist: Now's the time to test the students. This doesn't mean that you actually have to give them a test, though. As I said earlier, I loved playing games in class which can be just as effective at challenging students to think about the objective as well as verifying whether or not they've assimilated the new knowledge.

4: Conclusion: As the class finished, things became more relaxed. This was our "flag" moment. I'd give the students opportunities to use what they'd learnt in the lesson just before they left the class. This was great because it would boost their confidence and have them leaving with the objective they'd just achieved fresh in their minds.

I guess all that time spent playing Mario wasn't completely wasted!

Monday, November 13, 2017

5 Reasons You Have to Learn French!

While I've never stopped loving the French language, a recent trip back to Paris has has made me somehow love the language even more. If you're thinking about learning to speak French, here are my 5 reasons why choosing to study French is a decision that you'll never regret.

1: It's a Beautiful Language

While this isn't the reason that French is known as a Romance language, it definitely should be! Searching for "the most beautiful languages in the world" will very show you pages and pages of results in which French tends to come out on top.

Furthermore, the French language is made to sound beautiful. When you ask French speakers why there are certain grammatical rules and exceptions, they'll often tell that it's because it would sound "ugly" otherwise. They're seemingly obsessed with ensuring that their language remains number one!

2: It's a Popular Language around the World

French is only the 18th most spoken language in terms of native speakers but it jumps up to 10th place when you account for total speakers. This means that by learning the language, you're opening up a whole world of francophones to speak to in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Additionally, there's a wealth of French-language cinema, music, and literature for every budding francophone to sink their teeth into. You'll never be bored on rainy days with French!

3: It's a Popular Official Language

While learning to speak the world's 10th most popular language mightn't appeal to you, you should never underestimate how widely French is actually spoken. French remains relevant in the modern age thanks to just how many groups and organisations with French as an official language. The French just love setting up clubs!

In addition international union organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, every sporting federation seems to have French as an official language. If their name begins with an "F" like FIFA (football), FIBA (basketball), FIA (motorsports), FIDE (chess), expect to see French as an official language!

If you decide to learn French, you'll be creating opportunities to work at so many different companies and organisations!

4: It's a Language that's Widely Taught

Since French is still one of the world's most popular second languages, there are classes almost  everywhere. In the UK, for example, it's still the most popular language at GCSE. However, fewer and fewer students are opting to study it. This means that if you're from the UK and you decide to learn French, you'll be joining an increasingly exclusive club!

Furthermore, there are French language resources almost everywhere! It's not hard to find websites and books for learning French and there are plenty of places where you can get classes, too!

5: It's an Important Language

While some people may disagree, there are plenty of indicators that the French language is still important and will remain to be for the foreseeable future. The British Council sees French at the 3rd most important language for Britain's future (after Spanish and Arabic). Learning French could do wonders for your career, too!

What do you think? Do you have any other reasons you should learn French or do you think there's another language we should be learning? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Our 5 Favourite Ways to Learn Languages Outside of the Classroom

Lessons can be a great way to learn a language. However, if you're like me, you may struggle in traditional learning environments such as a classroom. This doesn't mean that you should just give up on learning a language altogether. There are plenty of ways to learn a language outside of a traditional classroom environment and in this article we'll have a look at a few of our favourite methods.

1: Self-Study

Even if you struggle to learn in a classroom, you can still use all of the resources you'd find in one. You could always sit down with a grammar guide and go over the rules of your new language without the pressure or stress some students can feel when surrounded by other students. You might respond better to using the resources in the comfort of your own home or in a cafe you like.

2: Apps, Websites, and Games

If you're looking for a different way to learn languages, apps, websites, and games are an interesting approach. While it's unlikely that you'll become fluent just by using these types of resources, they can be useful for learning the basics and gaining enough language skills to start conversing with real people.

3: Language Exchanges

Language exchanges are when two people that speak different languages meet up to help each other learn a foreign language. A native English speaker who'd like to learn French could meet up with a native French speaker who wants to learn English, for example.

You can go for lunch, a coffee, or even a beer (if you're old enough!) and spend half your time speaking the language you want to learn and the other half speaking the language your partner wants to learn.

4: Private Tuition

You can hire a private language tutor to help you learn a new language. There are many students who struggle while learning in a normal classroom alongside other students but excel when given one-on-one tuition.

You're much less likely to feel silly asking a question when you're the only student in the class. A private tutor can also customise every lesson to your needs and will work with your strengths and weaknesses in order to get the most out of your potential.

5: Immersion

Our final and favourite method for learning a language is probably the most obvious one. If you're constantly surrounded by people speaking the language you want to learn, you'll inevitably pick it up. Rather than studying for a few hours a week in a classroom, you can turn every minute of every day into an opportunity to improve your language skills.

Do you have any suggestions for learning a language outside of the classroom? We'd love to hear them! Tell us your favourite methods in the comments below!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of October 2017

Let's have a look back at the best stories from around the month of October.

Why is Argentine Spanish seemingly so different to a lot of the other dialects of Spanish? It might have something to do with Italian. Find out more in this article.

If the first article in this list whet your appetite for learning Italian, you should have a look at this article on learning Italian. The article covers the different approaches to learning Italian and the best ways to tackle it.

8: 6 Epic Translation Fails on BBC

We can't stress enough how important getting a good translation is. However, if you feel like having a laugh at when it goes wrong, you should read this article.

7: Why We Hate the Word 'Moist' on SciShow Pysch

This video on psychology has a look at the reasons behind most people's aversion to the word "moist" which regularly tops lists of the most hated words in English.

6: Mimic Method Review: Will You Sound More Like a Native Speaker? on Fluent in 3 Months

If you're thinking about trying the Mimic Method, you should read up on it on in this article. It comes highly recommended!

5: Professional translators aren't worried about Google's language-translating headphones on Business Insider

Following the news that Google's pixel buds can translate between a number of languages, it turns out that most translators and interpreters aren't starting to look for new jobs.

4: An argument over the evolution of language, with high stakes on The Economist

There are plenty of linguists who agree on when human languages developed. However, there's one who completely disagrees and says that languages evolved at the same time as humans did around 1.9m years ago.

For those learning French, this is an article you have to read. There are plenty of tips and tricks for those wanting to improve their accent.

2: Google’s translation headphones are here, and they’re going to start a war on The Guardian

With Google's new translating headphones, there's the risk of translation errors cropping up. What's the risk when this happens? This opinion piece on them has the answer.

1: 30+ Blogging Vocabulary Terms in French on Eurolinguiste

Our most popular language piece of the month comes from Eurolinguiste. If you're into French and would like to learn more about the terms they use for blogging, you should definitely give this article a glance.

If there are any other articles or links that you think we should have included, feel free to tell us about them in the comment below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Five Secrets to Speaking Any Language Fluently by Louise Taylor

We’ve all listened (with varying degrees of envy, depending on our own linguistic abilities) to those who’ve been raised bilingual switching effortlessly between two languages as they converse with friends and family members. Perhaps they can flip from without a moment’s notice from Japanese to English. Perhaps they’re even good enough to offer professional English to French translation services (or translation to and from any other language) and build an entire career out of their linguistic ability.

Whatever the language, fluency in two or more tongues is a wonderful thing. Sadly, for most of us – in the English-speaking world, at least – it doesn’t come naturally as part of our upbringing. 

For most people, mastery of a second (or third, or fourth) language involves a great deal of time learning endless lists of vocab and spending countless hours practicing conjugating verbs – two areas of language that those raised in bilingual homes barely have to give a second’s thought to as they grow up and naturally absorb the languages they hear. 

Grammar and vocab are two essential elements of speaking any language proficiently. However, they’re not the only relevant factors – they are simply two of five items that one must master in order to achieve fluency. As such, we here explore the five secrets of speaking any language fluently, to help speed along your studies and sharpen your linguistic skills. 

1. Grammar

Mastering grammar is essential if you are to speak a language fluently. It is the cornerstone of being able to communicate with any degree of sense. As such, painful though it may seem at times, getting to grips with those dratted irregular verbs is an indispensable part of the process and one that you need to ensure you commit sufficient time to. 

2. Vocabulary

There’s a reason that teachers assign their pupils lists of words to learn, in their first language as well as any other – it’s another essential component of language mastery. The more words you know, the closer you are to fluency. It’s as simple as that. 

If you’re learning another language, therefore, make sure your brain is as exposed to as many new words as possible. Write a list of food items and stick it on the fridge. Read through it every time you open the fridge. As soon as you’ve learned the list, replace it with a new one. Do this in every room in your house, so that you have plenty of opportunities to learn. Bite-size chunks like this should help you to absorb new words every day, particularly if the words are relevant to the room that you’re in, so your mind can build associations to help it remember. 

3. Accent

This is where language learning can be really fun. Accent is a core part of learning to speak another tongue. A superb accent will allow you to do justice to all those hours spent learning lists of words and grammatical quirks. However, attaining the right accent isn’t always easy. 

Babies are born with the ability to speak with any accent imaginable, but lose the skill as they grow up. Studies have shown that part of that loss relates to the way in which we hear sound. Somewhere between six months and a year old, children lose the ability to distinguish between similar sounds that we don’t hear very often. Those exposed regularly to the sounds can still tell them apart, but those with limited or no exposure lose this skill (the English sounds ‘ra’ and ‘la,’ the Chinese ‘shee’ and ‘chee’ sounds and the Spanish pronunciation of ‘p,’ ‘b,’ and ‘v’ all fall into this category). 

As children lose the ability to distinguish between sounds they aren’t exposed to, it becomes harder for them to recreate those sounds. If you didn’t grow up being able to roll your Rs, you’ll have a harder time learning to do so than those who have done it since childhood. 

Research has shown how strong the link between hearing an accent and imitating one can be. If you can imitate an accent, you’re more likely to be able to understand the person speaking to you with that same accent – the brain attunes itself to understanding faster. That’s why practicing your accent when language learning is so important. 

When it comes to accent practice, anywhere will do. Pop in a language CD or tune in to a foreign language radio station whenever you’re driving and chatter along with it. Train your ear to listen to each distinct sound and repeat those sounds over and over. Practice whenever you’re alone, whether it’s in the bath or while you’re making a sandwich. Teach your mouth and your ears to feel their way around the language you’re learning. And if you can’t quite pronounce a particular sound, don’t give up and settle for an approximation – keep going until you’ve perfected it!

4. Immersion 

If you want to speak a language fluently, immersion is key. Textbooks are a great resource, but learning is about more than reading books. Look around you and consider all of the ways in which you are presented with your first language. Then try to recreate that with the language you’re learning. Whether it’s the songs you hear or the videos you watch of the recipes you use to cook your evening meal, try to do as much of it as possible in the new language. 

Linguistic immersion of this nature is a wonderful way of seeing a language from another angle and picking up information that you will struggle to find in books. Does your new language use imperial or metric measurements, for example, when it comes to ingredients? And in either case, how are the measurements abbreviated? Understanding this level of detail is all part of achieving fluency, but it’s an area where vocab lists are of only limited use. You need to experience a language from multiple perspectives in order to understand it fully. 

5. Culture

Culture, too, is a key part of learning a language. This is particularly true when it comes to keeping up with languages as they evolve. In English, ‘corporation pop’ has just been added to the dictionary as slang for ‘water.’ It’s not a term that you’re likely to find in any textbook that teaches English. Most of those who teach English to speakers of other languages probably don’t include it in their syllabus either. To appreciate why ‘corporation pop’ refers to water, you need to understand the office culture of chatting by the water cooler for a few minutes and the social role this plays within companies in the UK.

Understanding the popular culture references and idioms in any language means having a feel for its culture, from ancient traditions to current trends. Magazines and newspapers, both online and offline, are an extremely useful resource in this respect. Keeping up with current developments can reveal a great deal about a country’s culture, morals, standards and more. A decent delve into its history can also be extremely revealing.  

So there you have it – the five key elements of learning to speak a language fluently. If you’re currently studying another tongue, make sure that you incorporate all five of these components in your studies if you want to achieve fluency faster.

Louise Taylor is the content writer of the Tomedes Translation Blog.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Best Word Game Apps 2017 by Michael Gorman

Word games are a perfect fit for today’s crazy lifestyle. They sharpen your vocabulary, train your brain, and provide entertainment whenever you feel like exercising your mind. Because of these great benefits, there is no shortage of word games for both Android and iOS.

If you are new to word games, you will find something interesting in the list of word games below. All of them are free and you can play advanced levels without having to pay anything.

1. Word Cookies

The first game on our list challenges players to create a number of words from a set of letters. They are contained in a special pot below the screen and you have to swipe around them to create solutions. If a player exceeds the number of words in the task, the game rewards them with coins. These helpful items can rescue in difficult situations by providing hints.

Word Cookies are available for both Android and iOS

2. WordBrain

An awesome word game with a 4.4 rating on Google Play. WordBrain has pretty simple rules that frequent players will certainly recognize: a set of words is provided which should be used to compile a word. As simple as it sounds, higher levels in the game are difficult enough to keep you playing for hours. People working with words often find them awesome for training.

The player’s development system in WordBrain is also amazing. A user starts with an ant with the smallest brain weight and ends with a unicorn with the heaviest. Additionally, the players can choose to play in different languages (15 languages with 700 levels per language).

Get WordBrain on Google Play Store or App Store to begin becoming a brainiac!

3. Wordscapes

If you have a nature-themed wallpaper as a background on your computer, you will want to grab a few from this game. Every level is played on a stunning nature background to help the player relax. The rules are simple: crossword-style structures on the top of the screen need to be filled by words which you put together by swiping a box on the bottom. The bonus system rewards the player with hints that help to complete more complex levels.

Wordscapes has in-game ads but they are unobtrusive and displayed only between levels. So, if you are ready to challenge yourself in this game, get it for your Android or iOS device now.  

4. SpellTower

This app was named the best by 148Apps' 2011 Best App Ever Awards, and for a good reason. The main idea is to create words from a jumble of letter tiles to clear the entire screen before a complete refill. This task is pretty addictive and SpellTower has confidently survived the test of time to become a true classic of the word game genre.

Five modes for are available for single player including puzzle mode, extreme puzzle mode, rush mode, debate mode, and tower mode. If you feel like playing against your friends, switch to the multiplayer battle mode and let the game begin!

SpellTower is available for download for both Android and iOS as well. 

5. Wordfeud

The first truly multiplayer word game on our list deserves special attention. Wordfeud is played by more than 30 million people all around the world which makes it one of the most popular in this genre. The purpose of the game is to create and place words on the 15 x 15 tile board and earn as many points as possible.

To try your skills against an opponent, a player can challenge them in a mini-competition. You can also play against your friends and even chat with them! Wordfeud has a high rating (4.4 on Google Play Store and 4.8 on App Store), so it will definitely become one of your favorite word game.

Install it for Android or iOS to begin playing.

6. Word Search

The last item on this list is another true classic of word game genre that many people love. The title of the game pretty much reveals the task: the players need to find words hidden in the board. Hundreds of puzzles will keep you playing for a lot of time and enjoy this great game. If you’re stuck playing a difficult level, the app gives you hints to make sure you advance to the next level.

Also, you will love Word Search for a lack of in-app purchases and little obtrusive ads between levels. If you have an Android device, you can get it on Google Play Store for free. iOS users are welcome to download it from the App Store.

Any Favorites?

Are you interested in trying some of these games? Well, have fun playing and training your brain! All of them are free and available for both Android and iOS, so you can download them today!

Michael Gorman is high skilled editor and proofreader who currently works at Awriter. He is proficient in blog writing and online freelance networking. Feel free to contact him via Facebook .

If you have any word game apps to recommend, tell us about them in the comments below.

Monday, October 9, 2017

How To Develop Speaking Skills Through Reading by Adela Belin

Learning to speak the another language can be an extremely rewarding process once you get the hang of it. People who've just started learning a language tend to get nervous when they have to speak. This can hamper their abilities when it comes to speaking. While a lot of people in the world can read another language, many struggle when it comes to speaking.

While reading and speaking are often seen as different skills, you can improve your speaking through reading. The more you read, the better you will speak. Here are a few ways in which you can improve your speaking skills through reading.

Read Aloud

Reading aloud is a "classic" way to increase your speaking skills. Since every writer has their own tone and rhythm, if you pick up a book and read it aloud, you'll inevitably pick up this rhythm. If you keep doing this with different kinds of books from different kinds of authors, you'll get a feel for each author's rhythm. This can help you speak the language in a more natural and expressive way, rather than like a robot.

Make a Note of New Vocabulary

Reading is the best way to build vocabulary. Avid readers have a broader vocabulary and therefore are therefore better at expressing themselves. When you read, keep a notepad next to you. You can use this notepad to jot down the new words that you come across and their meanings. You should also go back over the new vocabulary once or twice a week.

Join a Book Club

Reading together in a book club is a great way to build a community of language learners. Join a club (or start one yourself) where you sit together for a few hours, read a few chapters, and then have a discussion. This will not only enhance your speaking abilities while reading but also let you practise speaking.

Reading is one of the best things in the world. In addition to being fun, it can help you master a language.

Adela Belin is a private educator and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers. Feel free to contact Adela on G+.

Do you have any techniques for improving your speaking? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Monday, October 2, 2017

7 Brainy Benefits to Learning a Foreign Language by Arthur Berner

Why Learn Foreign Languages?

There are plenty of studies that support studying a foreign language. There is proof that a bilingual's brain functions differently to that of a monolingual and is more adaptive to change. Don't forget that adult learners can easily achieve the same level as their younger rivals in the same period of time and enjoy the same benefits of language learning.

1. Boost Your Brain

Intense language learning uses different areas of the brain in different ways. This helps your brain to become more efficient and adaptable. Studies show that bilingual students tend to perform better in tests than their monolingual counterparts.

2. Multitasking

The ability to switch between two languages also makes you better at multitasking. Language learners are able to dedicate their attention to a variety of different tasks.

3. Reduce the Risk of Dementia

The consumption of new information and brain activity involved with learning a foreign language has also been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia.

4. Mending Memories

Although the brain isn't a muscle, it sometimes seems to act like one: the more you exercise, the better it works. When you study a language, you need to remember a lot of information including words, rules, conjugations, etc. This brain exercise can help you improve your memory overall.

5. Observation Skills

Bilinguals tend to be more observant, focus on details better, and also distinguish relevant and important information better than a monolingual would.

6. Problem Solving

When you study a second language, you regularly need to think laterally. This process can help you become better at solving both verbal and non-verbal problems.

7. Learn More About Your Own Language

Studying the details of a foreign language can help you better understand the same concepts in your own language. These skills will help you to communicate and write better in your mother tongue.

Arthur Berner is a professional freelance writer, SMM expert and online business growth consultant at 10 page papers. He's an expert in SEO, copywriting, establishing social media presence, guest and blog post writing, viral marketing, and video content production.

Monday, September 25, 2017

10 Things to Do If You Find Learning Languages Way Too Difficult by Rachel Bartee

Language learning is an exciting adventure but at the same time, it can be a mind-boggling process. However, it’s not a sprint race but rather a marathon. You need to invest a lot of time and efforts in this project and that’s mostly why many people find language learning way too difficult.

For that reason, only 7% of college students in America are enrolled in a language course. That doesn't mean that you should despair and give up. Remember that the more languages you know, the more human you are. With each new language you learn, you enrich your personality and extend the borders of your self-awareness. At the same time, language learning even boosts academic achievements

Bearing all these things in mind, you should never give up trying to master a foreign language. Here is my list of the 10 most practical things that can help you while studying. 

Start Off Slowly

The easiest thing you can do while learning a new language is to give up because you plunged into learning and exerted yourself too quickly. What you should do is to prepare yourself for a long studying period and don’t expect huge improvements in the beginning. Be patient and learn gradually. 

For example, you could begin by learning only a dozen basic words each day. This may sound silly but you’ll actually learn a lot of words that way in only one month. After all, keep in mind that it takes only around 500 words to reach the A1 language level.

Set Clear Objectives

Whatever you do, you should set the personal objectives and follow the plan you have created. It’s the same with foreign languages – you should decide how long it will take you to become fluent or how many words per month you would like to learn. Additionally, you can narrow down the focus. If your mission is to become a football coach in France, you can start simply by learning the sport-related expressions and phrases.

Practice Regularly

Our brains often resist new things or things that we don’t want to let in. The same is with a new language. This seems like the unfathomed deeps you may be afraid of. However, after several repetitions our brain starts to accept it as something familiar, something that is usual and common. So the clue is making it regular and regular practice makes perfect in everything. 

Combine Reading with Writing

Reading is one of the essential activities in this process. Seeing the language working in context helps you grasp it more effortlessly. You should take a few books or magazines and read them every day. Of course, don’t engage in heavy philosophy at first but instead begin with the simplest texts that more or less match your current knowledge. While reading, you can always stop, consult a dictionary, and check the new words. Dan Wilson, a writer at, you should write a small review or summary of what you read using the key phrases and structures in the book. This activity really upgrades your knowledge. So try it out!

Join Online Communities

In the Internet era, it's easy to find a lot of interesting online groups where language students exchange opinions and ask others to help them while learning. The good thing about this is that you can find many people who used to be in the same position like you. They'll understand your confusion and explain things even better than real-life tutors. At the same time, you won’t feel ashamed to make mistakes in front of the peers, which is a common problem among language students.  

Play Online Games

Today, many courses in all areas of expertise accept gamification elements as the natural part of their syllabus. Games are interesting and keep the students engaged, while it is very easy to adopt new knowledge using this mean of studying. Online language games can help you big time to develop language proficiency, so make sure to use this learning method. It won’t feel like you're really studying but you'll gain a lot of knowledge in the meantime.  

Listen to Music and Watch Movies

You probably enjoy listening to foreign music and watching dubbed films. This is a great way to learn a foreign language because it really makes you relaxed. You don’t have to understand everything and you can always look up any word you find important. You can learn new phrases and adopt the accent and pronunciation of native speakers.

Furthermore, music and video materials are great tools to find out more about the culture of any given country. This is an important step in the language learning process. The best thing is that you can choose the genre you like so it won’t feel like too much of a burden.   

Engage in Conversations

You can't master a foreign language by avoiding one-on-one discussions and group conversations. It always feels awkward when you stand in the middle of a group and don’t exactly know what is going on but this is the phase that you must go through. Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat something or even to re-phrase their sentences. If you want to learn, you'll occasionally need to swallow your pride and be ready for some confusing moments every now and then. 

Test Your Knowledge

With all these steps being taken, it's obvious that you're going to make good progress. Testing your knowledge every now and then is a great way to see how you're improving. There are a lot of online language proficiency tests that you can take for free so don’t hesitate to check them out. They don’t take too much time but they can give you an additional incentive to keep improving.

Reward Yourself

There is one more way to nurture your learning enthusiasm: promise yourself a reward once the studying is over. Buy a ticket to visit a foreign country or organize a party. Whatever makes you happy will be a nice incentive while learning.

Language learning is an inspiring process but it also brings a lot of obstacles. In this article, we made a list of 10 interesting, effective, and practical ways to make the language learning process easier and more reasonable. Using these tips, you can overcome the most common difficulties that may occur along the way but feel free to give us your own suggestions in comments. 

Rachel Bartee is an ESL teacher and a freelance writer who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. Her life principle is “Always do more than you can”. Get in touch with her on Twitter.