1 Trip, 3 Tips (aka Lessons from Holland)

No, I haven’t been in Holland ever since my last post almost three months ago–the longest break, by far, in the youngish life of this blog. But my return from a week in the Netherlands gives me a good way to halt the hiatus. (If you’re curious about actual reasons why this blog has been so […]

The Focused Filler, a Simple Language Learning Habit

This is a simple refinement of my Tricks and Triggers for Opportunistic Language Learning. Those are great, but even they call for some advance planning to be of optimal use. As the academic year has begun and projects have been rolling in, I’ve needed to make my opportunistic language learning even simpler and more automatic. […]

Greek Resources for Indwelling

Recently I’ve received several requests, both in person and through the Contact page, for my recommendations for learners of Ancient Greek who want to take advantage of the brain’s ability to process meaningful spoken and written language and who want to employ some of the habits celebrated on this site. This post highlights several resources–books, recordings, and […]

PlusDelta – a simple tool for daily reflection

During last night’s #langchat, several teachers mentioned their desire to engage in more regular and more formal self-reflection next year, and to help their students do the same. Here I share a simple tool, PlusDelta, that my students and I have found tremendously useful for reflection. It works for people learning on their own, too. […]

No subtitles, TL subtitles, L1 subtitles…?

Both teachers and learners recognize the potential of target-language film and TV for boosting proficiency–witness this vast collection of teacher resources for El Internado or lists of Spanish language dramas recommended for learners. But many wonder what role, if any, subtitles should play. Rather than declare one option golden, I want to share some possible reasons for and […]

I’m gonna watch TV anyway

I have a lot of stuff to do today. I’m gonna watch TV anyway. My to-do list includes creating two conference presentation proposals, making the final edits on an article, tutoring a doctoral student in our final session before she takes her comprehensive reading exams tomorrow, preparing for tonight’s session of a course I teach about language teaching, […]

Tricks and Triggers for Opportunistic Language Learning

If you’ve seen the Savvy Language Learner infographic or read many posts on this site, you know that I find a system of routines and triggers indispensable for living in your target language when you’re not living in an immersion setting. In 2016, frequent travel and closely bunched projects have convinced me of the need for even more vigilance […]

The Bummer about ‘Acquisition’ (Part 2)

In the last post, I lamented that the distinction between acquisition and learning that developed in 20th-century academia is prone not only to misunderstanding, but also to misrepresentation. In this post, I point out some deficiencies in the term acquisition itself and suggest another way of picturing the process. Bummer 2: ‘(Second) language acquisition’ suggests the transfer of a commodity […]

The Savvy Language Learner (infographic)

There are lots of savvy language learners with different interests, different personalities, and different opportunities, but there are two things they pretty much all have in common: Savvy language learners consume large amounts of well-chosen content. Savvy language learners engage in both scheduled and opportunistic habits. Check out this infographic–or indwellfographic–for a handy overview of wise principles pertaining to […]

After the Honeymoon (#DEVOLSON)

We’ve all learned what you get if you multiply any number by zero. What’s not in the 3rd grade math curriculum, though, is that you also get the exact number of minutes I slept last night. I’ve never slept well, or much, despite having received medical and other professional attention, but this month sleep has been to me as a snow leopard […]