Archive for the Category: Pronunciation

Tuning into languages

Yesterday I did an interview on Skype with a student of linguistics in Germany who is writing a thesis about acquiring native-like pronunciation in foreign languages. I talked about the methods I used to try to do this – listening, mimicing, learning about the phonology of a language, recording my voice and comparing to native […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language learning, Music 3 Comments

Reflections on the Polyglot Gathering

I got back from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin late on Monday night. I travelled by train the whole way, which is a bit more expensive than the plane, and takes a few hours longer, but I prefer to travel this way, and you see more. The journey went smoothly, apart from the train from […]

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Multilingual musicians

A Sardinian friend of mine, Elena Piras, knows six languages (Sardinian, Italian, English, Scottish Gaelic, French and Spanish) and sings in most of them, plus a few others, including Scots, Bulgarian and Georgian. Here’s a recording of a performance from earlier this year in which she sings in Sardinian, Scots, English, Scottish Gaelic and Bulgarian. […]

Also posted in Bulgarian, English, French, Georgian, Italian, Language, Music, Sardinian, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Songs, Spanish 2 Comments

Changing accents

I heard an interesting discussion on Radio Cymru recently about accents. They talked about Welsh, and English, regional accents that have negative associations for people from other regions, or that people find difficult to follow, and whether they would change their accent to make it easier for others to understand them, and/or to avoid the […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 8 Comments

Fluent Forever

Today we have a guest post by Gabriel Wyner. Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you a project I’ve been working on to help folks learn languages faster. To help introduce it, let me give you some background on myself and what I do. I’m an opera singer, and for my career, I needed […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 1 Comment

The importance of stress

Last night at the Polyglot conversation group a friend who is learning Welsh told me about the difficulties he had when trying to buy a train ticket to Dolwyddelan, a small village in the Conwy valley in North Wales. None of the ways he tried to pronounce it were understood by the ticket seller, so […]

Also posted in Language, Welsh 7 Comments

Accent and ego

According to a study at the University of Haifa, the strength of your accent when speaking a foreign language depends, to some extent, on how much you like and respect the person you’re talking to. Your position in relation to the other language also affects your accent, something the article calls ‘language ego’. I’ve noticed […]

Also posted in Language 15 Comments


I went down to Cornwall for my sister’s wedding a few days ago and heard some interesting English accents on the way. While waiting on Bristol station, for example, I heard some people talking in unfamiliar accents that might have been Bristolian. At first I wasn’t sure what language they were speaking – it certainly […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 16 Comments

Foreign accents

At the moment I’m writing an essay on the acquisition of foreign pronunciation. There seems to be a widespread belief that people who start learning a language at an early age are more likely to speak it with a native accent, while those who learn languages as adults tend to speak them with foreign accents. […]

Also posted in Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics 20 Comments

Language learning and accents

Today we have a guest post by Jeff Foster. Without a doubt, I am a language enthusiast. My goal is to become fluent in 3 languages by the time I graduate from high school. Those languages are Spanish, Italian, and Russian, in addition to English obviously. Using my Spanish class in school as a base […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 1 Comment
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