Why the perfect language-teaching bot might be a long way off … And, some good apps to use while we’re waiting for it

Posted by Andy D. on 8/23/19 11:00 AM

“Alexa, teach me French!”

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Tags: French, language learning

21st Century Spanish-Language Films You Can Stream Right Now

Posted by Edgardo on 1/7/19 3:43 PM

We all know that one of the most important aspects to learning a language is exposure.  However, if you're not living in a country that speaks the language you're trying to learn natively, exposing yourself to native speakers can be incredibly tricky!

Luckily, in the age of Netflix and Amazon, you can immerse yourself in language through movies, and there are many wonderful 21st century films that will help you strengthen your Spanish!  We encourage all of our novice and intermediate Spanish learners to stream the following films, and then complete the crossword below to test your knowledge.

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Tags: Spanish, language learning

How to Hold on to a New Language After a Long Break

Posted by Will T. on 11/20/17 4:31 PM

Ever find yourself at the beginning of another school year, in the language classroom, and unable to utter a word? It’s common to all second- (and third-, etc.) language learners, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips on how to keep up a new language during a long break from study.

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Tags: language learning

Verbified nouns: Engaging with cultural cliché[é?]s through language study

Posted by Emma C. on 1/20/17 4:13 PM


A Confounding Caption

While meandering through a shopping mall last week, waiting for my husband to emerge from the battlefield that is the men’s dressing room, I stumbled upon a most curiously named store. To avoid incurring undue amounts of commercial ire and for the sheer purpose of explaining the flurry of ensuing reflections, let’s simply say that the store was called Beautéé. The French-inclined portion of my brain immediately seized upon this title. Granted, part of the store’s name is a cognate that most English speakers would grasp without too much prodding or hinting. On a purely visual level, Beautéé is indeed very close to beauty – and therefore in the eye of the beholder after all! The central cluster of letters b-e-a-u that is common to both words provides a strong foothold for our divining minds to clamber between one conclusion and the next.

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Tags: language learning, ESL

What’s the International Phonetic Alphabet and What’s so Great About it?

Posted by Tyler Lau on 10/12/15 10:00 AM

IPA will help you with English, but also for learning any language!

Nope, it’s not the beer, though that’s pretty great too! The IPA stands for the International Phonetic Alphabet and is a standardized way to write down the sounds of any language. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But we’ll see how this system captures nuances of sounds in the world’s languages and why this is a great tool not only for understanding English, but also for learning any language.

You might have seen transcriptions before that almost look like English, but not quite, like the following for the word ‘casing’:

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Tags: language learning

Should I Become a Linguistics Major?

Posted by Tyler Lau on 9/30/15 10:00 AM

In a previous post I explained what, exactly, linguistics is, and provided an introduction to its different branches. Now I’m asking: why should you become a linguistics major?

Reason #1: To gain a better understanding of English (or any language!)

Linguistics seeks to understand how languages work. Even just an introductory linguistics course can unravel much of the mystery and rules of language, and can enlighten you on features of the English language that you might not have even been aware of.

Here's an example:

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Tags: language learning

A Review of Duolingo: Is it Really Worth Your Time?

Posted by Tyler Lau on 8/31/15 11:00 AM


Meet Duo, the Duolingo mascot!

Interested in learning a foreign language in a fun, low-pressure way? Addicted to your smartphone? Duolingo might be the app for you! As an avid language learner (avid to the point where I’m now pursuing a Linguistics PhD), I was thrilled to discover an app that allowed me to learn languages passively without feeling like I was devoting all my time to it.

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Tags: language learning

How to Learn (and Retain) Foreign Language Vocab

Posted by Tyler Lau on 6/1/15 3:45 PM

Julie Andrew knows a thing or two about mnemonics

Learning vocabulary in a new language can be a really daunting task, especially when you think about the thousands (and that’s probably an understatement!) of words you have to learn. But language learning doesn’t have to be all boring rote memorization. In fact, unless you want to forget all these words the next day, it’s better not to just memorize blindly. In this post, I’ll introduce a few tricks you can use to efficiently learn and retain vocabulary. Psychological research has shown us that we learn best by association, so that’s what I’m going to preach here: 

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Tags: language learning

The Language Tutor: How to Learn a New Language

Posted by Juan Rivera on 4/27/15 10:16 AM

There are better ways to learn how to speak a foreign language

Having the capacity to speak multiple languages has shown not only cognitive advantages but also has become an important skill to make your résumé more competitive. In my experience both as Spanish language tutor and in trying to learn a third language, I have found three fundamental qualities that help make the whole learning process a smooth one.

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Tags: language learning

The Language Tutor: How to Learn a Language from Your Living Room

Posted by Andrew Gray on 2/13/15 1:26 PM

Imagine if you could learn a language like this. Well, you can!
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Tags: language learning