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Now's the time to learn the secrets of effective language learners:

        - Step-by-step guides for how to study a foreign language
        - Strategies for improving your speaking and understanding native speakers
        - Tips for remembering vocabulary, overcoming shyness, and staying motivated!

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3 particles that will make your Chinese sound more natural

I’m really happy to feature a guest post today from Judith Meyer.

Judith is currently working on, a free Chinese course which learns your individual strengths and weaknesses and generates custom-tailored exercises just for you.

Now here’s the exciting part! There is currently a campaign going on to raise money for the creation of more levels of the course. The aim is to eventually run all the way up to the HSK 6 (equivalent of C2… or super advanced!!!).

If you like the site and would like to get involved, please consider donating towards the creation of more lessons. The campaign runs until Wednesday this week! Enter Judith…



Are you among the growing number of people learning Chinese?

Beginner-level Chinese is quite easy. You can just put words together, forget about grammar… and it’s usually OK!

It can end up sounding quite clinical though, devoid of emotions or inflections. What’s more, you can’t rely on sentence melody to convey your state of mind either. Tones are difficult to get right, and Chinese sentence melody is different anyway.

So what’s the quickest way to add flavour to your Chinese?

Here are three words that will have a huge impact. Continue reading…

28 Insane Japanese Conversation Starters

japanese conversation starter

Many people who live in Japan report finding it difficult to strike up conversations with Japanese people. I did too, when I lived in Tokyo. Here’s why: I didn’t have the necessary language level  The Japanese don’t really have a culture of talking to strangers…at least not in the same way as we do in […]

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9 things not to do when studying vocabulary

9 things not to do when studying vocabulary

Today we have a great, straight-talking guest post on learning vocabulary from Dani Maizner, who I was lucky enough to meet in Berlin this summer! Dani is a passionate language learner from Austria who enjoys the great variety of languages in the world. You can find more information about her and her language projects on […]

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Learning Egyptian Arabic Grammar – Week 3 Summary

arabic grammar

This is a summary of the 3rd week of my project to learn Egyptian Arabic. Until this point in the project I’ve avoided any study of grammar, choosing to focus on vocabulary instead. I have quite a laissez-faire approach to studying grammar, but curiosity finally got the better of me this week and I started […]

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How 7 months of learning Spanish changed my life

learn spanish ecuador

I’m very happy to host a guest post today from a talented writer, Beth Hobson, who caught my attention earlier this year with her honest and engaging writing over at We were talking about her experiences learning Spanish in Ecuador, and how hard she was finding it. Then one day, I received an excited message saying: […]

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Egyptian Arabic – Week 2 Summary

egyptian arabic

This is a summary of my 2nd week of my project to learn Egyptian Arabic. In week 1, I prepared a self-introduction, looked up some useful vocabulary to talk about myself, and started to learn some of the vocabulary by starting a flashcard deck. I had planned a conversation with a native speaker, but they […]

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The Arabic Chat Alphabet – A cool alternative to the Arabic Alphabet!

franco arabic alphabet

As I started to learn Egyptian Arabic last week, I began to hear about a special form of writing, used mainly by young people. Called the Arabic chat alphabet (alternatively the Franco-Arabic alphabet, or ‘Arabizi’ عربيزي), it’s an alternative to the standard written Arabic that uses the Latin script. It’s an interesting product of the online […]

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Egyptian Arabic Week 1 Summary

olly berlin

So here I am, at the end of my first week of learning Arabic. To say that it went by quickly would be an understatement! My first thoughts are that I wasted the week. It’s funny how we have a tendency to focus on the negatives when it comes to our own accomplishments! Instead, I’m […]

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21 principles for learning a new language

language learning principles

So you want to learn a new language. What do you do? I have certain language learning principles that I strongly believe in, and I thought I’d share them with you here. These principles are things that, through a lot of trial and error, I’ve found work for me, and they guide me through the first few months […]

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Interview: How to learn Egyptian Arabic in Cairo

how to learn egyptian arabic in cairo

The Arabic language is complex… in more ways than one!Although I’ve only just started to learn Egyptian Arabic (including my first video in Arabic!), I’ve already got a ton of questions about it! That’s why I’m really excited to be able to put all my questions to Arabic expert Donovan Nagel, who writes over at the […]

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