Our Top Ten Reads from the Summer

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Over the summer, we took a bit of a break (we swear), but we also kept reading and sharing some interesting articles. Here are our favourites from the summer (in no particular order):

  1. These guys challenged themselves to learn French in just one week! Although they didn’t become fluent, they used several different methods to master the language and got pretty far along considering that they were doing this in addition to their day jobs. Read the article and watch the video here.

  2. You’ve likely seen some of those lists about words that have no English equivalent; like the notorious Dutch “gezellig,” which means something like an existential cosiness. These types of words can make translation quite difficult, making it significant for people to speak more than one language—so they’re able to understand these types of nuances and untranslatable words. Read on.

  3. This article focuses on the importance of grammar in language-learning. Although grammar is essential, it’s also important to remember than you can learn grammar through practice and listening! As the article states: “View grammatical accuracy as a destination rather than a starting point.”  

  4. A linguistics professor explains how people’s personal associations with a language affect their perception of that language. For example, did you have a French-speaking au pair as a child who was very loving and nurturing? If so, then you’re likely to have a positive association with the French language. Read more here.

  5. These researchers outline some of the hurdles–and essential elements that language-learning courses must tackle–when acquiring a new language: anxiety, beliefs, cognitive abilities, motivation, learning strategies, learning styles, and willingness to communicate. We felt really good about this because we believe that our Reverse Studyology method helps to tackle these hurdles head-on! 

  6. The Netherlands voted this parking garage as the best building of the year… Not impressed? The Dutch are known for their efficient design and water management—and this building accommodates both: the garage is hidden under dunes that help to protect the seaside city from threatening rising sea levels as well as hide a necessary yet typically aesthetically unappealing urban structure: 

  7. English words seem to crop up in various languages, including—as noted in this article—Norwegian, as well as Dutch. This is more because of the context of the “hipness” of the word than because there isn’t a good Dutch alternative. In other words, these English words are often imported from American TV shows and the “coolness” or trendiness of them would be lost if they were translated into Dutch. You can find a list of (some!) English words adopted into the Dutch language here and quickly expand your Dutch vocabulary.

  8. It is pretty commonly known at this point that children are language-learning machines, even from a very young age. As this post from the Linguistic Society of America points out, even before children utter their first word, they’re learning. Amazing! 

  9. Language learning—and learning in general—can and should be fun! According to research from Michaela Sambanis at the Freie Universität Berlin, play can be an extremely effective way to learn, especially when learning a new language. 

  10. Okay, this last one isn’t “reading” per se, but give us a break, okay? It was summer. We got lazy. We watched a video. In this video, Patricia Kuhl explains the linguistic genius of babies, who are little, miraculous sponges of language acquisition. 

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