Monthly Archives: December 2006


Tomorrow I’m off to Cuba for a two-week holiday, so there probably won’t be any more posts on this blog until I get back next year. I’m going on a tour with a small group and will be travelling all over the island and visiting such places as Havana, Trinidad, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba, […]

Travel 40 Comments

Maintaining multiple languages

A recent post on The Linguist discusses an interesting idea for maintaining one’s abilities in various languages. The idea is that you load up your mp3 player with audio files for the languages you want to maintain and/or improve, then you set it to randomly repeat them. The files could be language lessons, podcasts, audiobooks […]

Language, Language learning 5 Comments

Why you no understand?

Although I’m very used to hearing English spoken by non-native speakers, I do sometimes have difficultly understanding some of what they say. This is often because of mispronunciation and/or misplacement of word stress. Sometimes people have to repeat a word several times before I work out what they’re trying to say. The same happens to […]

Language, Language learning, Pronunciation 11 Comments

Slavic similiarities

While talking with a Bulgarian contact today, we were discussing the conjugation of the verb ‘to juggle’ in Bulgarian, as you do, and I was struck by how similar Bulgarian verb endings are to Czech ones. Below is the present tense of this verb with the Bulgarian on the left and the Czech on the […]

Czech, Language, Language learning 18 Comments

Practice makes perfect

I’ve been chatting with a number of people in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Japanese today. After many years of neglect, my command of these languages is gradually improving. My Mandarin is more or less fluent, though there are many gaps in my vocabulary, which I’m doing my best to fill. Some of the people I’ve been […]

Language, Language exchange, Language learning 32 Comments

Name the country

In which country might you hear these languages? Language 1 Language 2 These are both minority languages in this country, one of them is indigenous, the other was first brought to the country by immigrants in the 17th

Language, Quiz questions 12 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a news report in a mystery language. Can you identify the language? Hint – this language is spoken by a relavtively small number of people in a number of European countries.

Language, Quiz questions 25 Comments

Are you going ganja, yaar?

A new series of BBC Radio 4’s fascinating programme about language, Word of Mouth, started this week. One of the things they discussed was Hinglish, a blend of English, Hindi, Punjabi and other South Asian languages spoken in India and by people of Indian origin in the UK, and elsewhere. In the UK, British Indians […]

General 5 Comments

Unknown language

Can any of you work out what language they’re talking and singing in this clip? This is isn’t exactly a quiz, as I don’t know the answer myself. Someone just sent me this clip and asked me if I knew this language, but unfortunately I don’t, so I was wondering if any of you can […]

Language 27 Comments

Word of the day – výslovnost

Výslovnost is the Czech word for pronunciation, and appears in this week’s Czech lesson. I’m currently working my way quite slowly and thoroughly through Colloquial Czech and am spending a week or two on each lesson. I don’t move on to the next lesson until I’m familiar with all the slovníček (vocabulary), mluvnice / gramatika […]

Czech, Language, Language learning 8 Comments
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