Monday, January 29, 2018

How Studying Artificial Languages Can Help You Learn Natural Ones by Ann Baker

An artificial language, also called a conlang, is one created by humans instead of one that naturally develops over time. They are often used for artistic purposes and many artificial languages in your favorite TV shows and movies were created by linguists and have real grammatical structures. This means you can learn to speak the languages from your favorite works of fiction or even use them to aid your natural language studies. Here’s how studying artificial languages can help you learn natural ones.

Studying and Applying Grammar

You have to study natural languages in order to create a conlang. Linguist David J. Peterson, who created Dothraki and Valyrian in Game of Thrones, has studied over a dozen languages. Though he had material in George R. R. Martin’s books series to work off of when creating Dothraki, he was inspired by multiple natural languages, including Russian, Turkish, and Swahili.

However, if you take the opposite approach and study a conlang first, you’ll begin to understand linguistic structures, which is knowledge you can apply to any language. For example, the Atlantean language from the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire has seven grammatical cases for nouns. Many natural languages — including German, Japanese, and Greek — have multiple noun cases. Though Atlantean cases differ greatly from German ones, understanding what cases are and how they work as a grammatical structure can benefit you when learning another language.

Inspiration and Determination

If French class has got you down, reinvigorate your studies by examining an artificial language. Learning about an artificial language from a beloved fictional work can put personal studies in a new, more fun context. Use your interests to your advantage! The more interested you are in learning a language, the more diligent you will be about practicing and studying it.

Take that newfound enthusiasm and study. Once you learn a second language, your brain will be more receptive to learning a third (and fourth, and fifth). Learning another language is good for your brain, and it doesn’t care if you’re studying Russian or High Valyrian. Luckily, you can find courses in both.

Be diligent when working toward your linguistic goals. If you’re teaching English abroad and don’t want to be “that” person, study your host country’s language. If you want to watch The Lord of the Rings without the subtitles on, study Elvish. Conlangs are as real as natural languages, and studying them can benefit you in similar ways. 

And if you really want to take your language skills to the next level, try creating your own artificial language. Think about everything, from root words to punctuation to verb conjugations. You’ll gain a newfound appreciation and perspective for studying all languages.

At the end of the day, learning a language should be fun! Don’t be afraid to learn whichever language you’re passionate about. Just keep in mind that if someone can learn Klingon well enough to write an opera, you can learn any language, whether it’s “real” or not.

Ann Baker is a writer, language lover, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog and binge-reading fantasy novels.

Monday, January 22, 2018

9 Top Tools to Help You Learn a New Language by Jennifer Scott

Learning a new language from scratch is no easy feat. Whether you’re learning from the comfort of your own home or trying to dive in at the deep in by moving to another country, it’s safe to say that you’ll still want all the help you can get.

Well luckily, there’s plenty of help about. You may have heard of Rosetta Stone or Google Translate, but these aren’t the only options available to you when it comes to broadening your verbal horizons. Here to get you off on the right foot are nine essential tools and apps you can start using today!


To kickstart our list, we’ve chosen an absolute winner when it comes to learning a new language. Available online or on your preferred smartphone, DuoLingo is a unique approach to learning a new language.

What makes it so special is not only giving you the ability to learn words and phrases, you’ll also learn how to read effectively, translate quickly and match sentences to images for super-fast memory recall.

Essay Services

More commonly referred to as BAW, this is a custom writing service that allows you to translate any length of content into another language.

So, whether you’ve written out a list of phrases that you want to try and learn next, or you want to speak to a professional language writer, you can find all the services on their website.

Via Writing

Learning a language isn’t all about speaking in a conversation; it’s also about being able to read and write when you need too. 

Via Writing is a blog dedicated to sharing information on how to write accurately, no matter what language you’re learning about. Whether you’re looking for writing rules or tips, there’s a post here for you.

Top Canadian Writers

Similar to Best Australian Writers listed above, Top Canadian Writers is a service that dedicates itself to finding and reviewing the best writing services on the Internet.

This means you can find a dedicated language learning service that suits what you’re looking for perfectly, without having to waste your hard-earned money on a scam site.


Livemocha is a complete and utterly compelling online language learning community. There are over 12 million users on the website, all from 200 different countries with a total of around 38 different languages to learn.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to follow videos, chat with community members and partake in live classes in the language of your choosing. 

Cite It In

When you’re teaching yourself how to learn a new language, you’ll want to take notes and reminders from your learning experience to help you remember everything. When taking notes, it can be very wise to make a note of the resources where you got the information.

To do this easily, you can use this free online tool to quickly and professionally add your references and citations in a readable format for future reference.

Australian Reviewer

One of the most effective ways to learn a language is using flashcards. These are typically small cards, like playing cards, with something in English written on one side and then the language you’re trying to learn on the other. 

However, instead of buying a huge set with might not include what you’re looking for, why not try creating your own? To make this super easy, use this website to find a service who can do it for you.


Speaking and writing a new language isn’t all about the words you’re learning, it’s also about the grammar that you’re using. No matter what language you’re learning, this is a vital element that you can learn all about using the posts on this blog.

Easy Word Count

Sometimes, it’s hard to start motivated when you’re trying to do something new like learning a language. Instead of missing your goals, set a target to write and learn 500 words a day. This isn’t 500 individual words but more like 5-6 sentences or phrases a day. Use this free online tool to set a daily goal to achieve.

Jennifer is a business developer working in different areas of education, technology, security and various types of online marketing. Prior to business development, Jennifer was consultant at Deloitte and managed security service providers and developers for a wide range of security solutions.

Monday, January 15, 2018

How to Memorize Words in a Foreign Language by Amber Wilson

While learning a new language is always good for you, it can turn out to be a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like there are just too many words and they seem to go in in one ear and out the other.

So, what can you do to make those words to stick to your mind?

Professional dissertation writer Joanna Satchett says that concentration is key to learning new words and phrases. 

Here are some interesting ways and useful techniques that can help you boost your memory and become the polyglot you always wished to be. 


It might sound like a bad idea to listen to music while trying to concentrate. However, it all depends on what type of music will you listen while you study.

It is scientifically proven that certain kinds of music may send you into a state of meditation and relax your brain that way which will help you concentrate and stay focused. The important thing with this technique is that you listen to instrumental music at a reasonable volume. Classical music is one of the best genres for this.


Another scientific fact is that some foods can have a good influence on your mental state and improve your brain functions.

Nuts are great for improving concentration. It doesn’t matter which ones you prefer they are rich in omega-3, zinc, and iron, which will help you concentrate and memorize those foreign words and phrases. A handful should be enough.

Caffeine is also good for concentration. It enhances certain memories and its effects  can last for up to 24 hours. This can  help you spend more time studying. Caffeine also has a calming effect on your mood which will make you more enthusiastic towards studying.

If you don't like coffee, don't worry, there are plenty of products containing caffeine like black tea or dark chocolate.

Interesting fonts

You should use unusual fonts when printing your study material. If you make words you're trying to learn harder to read, you'll make them more memorable. Try using different fonts or colors and make these words bigger than the rest of the text.

Mental Associations

This technique requires from you to make mental associations to the words you wish to learn by using images or other words. For example, draw a simple picture of a house or your street and on every object on that picture you can write a word that is used for it in a foreign language. This can make the words far more memorable.

You should take time to learn vocabulary as it's a crucial part of understanding foreign languages. These techniques should  improve your concentration and help you study. Whether you are a college student, an interpreter or just willing to learn a new language, improving your concentration will pay dividends next time you study.

Amber Wilson is a content strategist and a technical writer with more than 10-year experience as a thesis editor. She is an expert in educational technologies and game-based learning.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Languages Online: The Best of December 2017

Happy new year, everyone! We're back this year with a look at the very last month of last year. As per usual, we have our monthly look at our 10 favourite articles, posts, or news stories from around the web. Let's get to it!

Given that it's January, you might have a resolution to learn a foreign language (or another!). With this in mind, 5 Minute Language put together a list of great advice for you.

9: A totally tubular guide to the language of Stranger Things on Oxford Dictionaries

If, like me, you watched the second season of Stranger Things, you'll have no doubt picked up on some of the interesting slang and vocabulary they used throughout the show. In this article by Oxford Dictionaries, you can see just where some of the series' most important vocabulary and expressions comes from.

8: 23 Fun German Interjections: from Ätsch to Igitt! on Fluent on 3 Months

Whether you're learning German or already an expert, it never hurts to learn how to express interjections for joy, surprise, or happiness and this article has a good selection of them!

While we often say that languages are dead or living, you probably wouldn't think that biology could help that much, right? Wrong! There's an argument for using 'evolutionary trees', a tool from conservation biology, to help us save languages that would otherwise be on their way out.

6: Language of the Rohingya to be digitised: 'It legitimises the struggle' on The Guardian

The stateless Rohingya people in Myanmar cannot use digital communication in their own language since there's no digital version of their writing system (unlike the Latin alphabet you're reading now). However, plans to give them a digital script of their own could greatly help them as well.

5: 14 of my Favorite Quotes About Language on Eurolinguiste

If you've just started learning your first foreign language, this is one post that you should definitely consider looking at. If you're struggling with the language that you're currently learning, take inspiration from some of these great quotes.

4: Learn a Language By Reading: 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps on Fluent in 3 Months

If you're an avid reader, here's some great information for how you can use reading materials in order to help you learn a language.

There are a lot of language learning resources out there. Luckily for you, this article on Eurolinguiste has advice on choosing the right ones.

2: The battle to make French a “gender-neutral language” is emphasizing the country’s inherent sexism on Quartz

The debate on whether the French language needs a gender-neutral form rages on and shows no signs of slowing down. Now people are wondering just how sexist France is a result. An interesting read.

1: Wales launches strategy to double number of Welsh speakers by 2050 on The Guardian

Our top article of the month focused on the Welsh language and efforts to make this minority language more widely-spoken as part of a number of government programmes in the UK.

If there were any great articles or or resources we missed, feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.