Language Quirks and Perks

What are some unique or quirky things about learning or teaching the language you learn or teach? I’m not talking so much about things like “the language has seven conjugations” or “there’s no past tense”–though those things are fun, too–as about extra-linguistic things like “I can’t find many other people learning the language” or “For some reason, […]

“The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”

My father likes to give people self-improvement books, and he’s discerning enough that they tend to be worth reading. The latest is Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It’s about not just simplifying and de-cluttering, but developing both the skill and the constant habit of identifying and pursuing what is important, which, McKeown says, […]

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 […]

Why it matters that this blog speaks to teachers AND learners

Most language education sites target either teachers or learners. This one targets both. Why? After all, it’s not really good for business: Teachers may decide that the articles about reading habits and other language learning routines aren’t relevant to them, and people learning languages on their own may decide the same about the posted lesson plans […]

Use Can-Do Statements–just not like this.

The introduction to the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, increasingly used in U.S. schools, features this helpful clarification: These Can-Do Statements describe the specific language tasks that learners are likely to perform at various levels of proficiency. (p. 2) What this means is that, if you tell me Kendra is an advanced speaker of Polish, I can reasonably infer, […]

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, […]

What Is “Unconscious” Acquisition in the Classroom?

If you’ve read or heard much about input-based theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), you’ve probably come across the idea that acquiring another language happens “subconsciously” or “unconsciously” under suitable circumstances. You may also have seen this process of acquisition–basically, the journey from being someone who doesn’t know a particular language to being someone who does–contrasted with other processes […]

Partnering with Express Fluency in August!

Elissa McLean of Express Fluency has just announced a set of exciting language-learning and teacher-training programs taking place this August in beautiful Brattleboro, Vermont. Among the options are three featuring yours truly: A Latin intensive course for anyone who has always wanted to learn Latin or whose past experiences learning Latin didn’t make it stick. This will be quite […]