Monthly Archives: November 2007

Teacher shortages

According to an article I found today, the numbers of students studying Arabic at colleges in the USA has been increasingly significantly since 9-11. At the same time, there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in the numbers of qualified teachers of Arabic. In some areas, potential students of Arabic have been turned away due to […]

Education, Language, Language learning 3 Comments

Mandarin learning – a fad?

Is the current craze for learning Mandarin Chinese a misguided fad? An article in The Economist I found today suggests that it might be. Mandarin is now taught at over 400 secondary schools in the UK, and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust would like to see it made part of the national curriculum. Around […]

Chinese, Language, Language learning 18 Comments

Sounds familiar

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been learning the Polish version of Silent Night (Cicha Noc). While trying work out how to pronounce the Polish, I noticed that some of the the Polish consonants are similar to those found in Mandarin Chinese. For example: Polish c [ts] = Mandarin c, as in 次 Polish ć […]

Chinese, Language, Polish, Pronunciation 6 Comments


podictionary – the podcast for word lovers, is a blog I came across today which provides “a word, dictionary etymology & story daily”. The site covers one word a day and provides details of its meaning, etymology and tells a story related to the word. There is also a podcast of each post. Today’s word, […]

English, Language Comments Off on podictionary

Name the language

Here’s a text in a mystery language and alphabet. Any ideas which language or alphabet it is?

Language, Quiz questions 10 Comments

Language quiz

Here is a recording of a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is and where it’s spoken. Clue: it sounds like a language that’s probably familiar, but isn’t that language.

Language, Quiz questions 15 Comments

Word of the day – uśmiechnięta

Today’s word, uśmiechnięta, means ‘smiling’ in Polish, and appears in the Polish version of Silent Night: Cicha noc, święta noc, pokój niesie ludziom wszem, A u żłóbka Matka święta czuwa sama uśmiechnięta, Nad Dzieciątka snem. Nad Dzieciątka snem. The singing group I go to at the Hammersmith Irish Centre in London will be performing (for […]

Language, Music, Polish, Words and phrases 8 Comments


When studying a language, or anything else in fact, it’s easy to get distracted as there are often so many other things vying for your attention. If your mind isn’t focused on your studies, you don’t tend to take as much in or to remember it later. In this interview, Tim Ferriss explains how he […]

Language, Language learning Comments Off on Concentration


The other day the editor of Lingro contacted me asking for comments on his site, which describes as a multilingual online dictionary and language learning site. The dictionary part can be used to look up words in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Polish. You can also open a webpage, Word doc, PDF or text […]

Language, Language learning, Translation 3 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 14 Comments
%d bloggers like this: