Weekly language learning roundup – September 22, 2014

Language learning roundup 22 September 2014

This week we have details about free online course, an article about learning languages as an adult, and a reminder about one of my posts.

I hope you find them interesting and useful 🙂


A beginner’s guide to writing in English for university study

This free course is presented by the University of Reading via the FutureLearn website.

It will help you learn how to use English for study at university or college and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.

It starts on the 6th October 2014 and lasts for five weeks. You’ll need about three hours a week study time for this course.

It’s aimed at non-English speakers who have studied some English. You should have a minimum level of IELTS 4.5 or equivalent.


List of English comparatives

Last week I made a list of 100 English comparatives, which also shows you how to form comparatives, with example sentences to show you how they’re used.


Are you too old to learn an new language?

Do you think it’s more difficult to learn a new language as you get older? Or that it’s too difficult?

This article in The Guardian discusses research that suggests that although we’re never too old to learn something new, it is harder to learn new things as we get older because the brain becomes less able to change itself in response to new experiences.

So, some aspects of language learning may get  as we get older, but others, such as learning new vocabulary, may get easier.

The article quotes Albert Costa, a professor of neuroscience, who says picking a new language’s vocabulary is much easier for adults than learning the rules that govern its grammar or syntax. But older leaerns are less likely to have good pronunciation or accent, since the phonemes of a language are picked up much more naturally by children.

What do you think? Do you find it more difficult to learn new things as you get older?

And if you’re learning a new language, do you find learning the vocabulary much easier than the grammar?




  1. Hey Angela,
    First, I just want to say thanks for the great weekly roundups you’ve been putting together over at the Botanical Linguist. I’ve been getting a ton of value from them and from a lot of your other articles.

    I’m writing to let you know about a new piece of content I published that shows language learners how they can use Social Medias to learn a new language.

    I’ve found this strategy particularly effective to bring highly valuable content in another language into your social feeds. You can read the post here: http://www.gospeaky.com/blog/learn-a-new-language-by-using-facebook-twitter-and-youtube/

    I thought you might like to add it to your weekly roundup.

    Either way, keep up the great work!
    Cheers, Ludovic.
    P.S. Would love to know what you think about the post?

  2. I think the thing about really learning languages is having a way to use them. I read things written in French and Spanish regularly, so I have the vocabulary–but don’t converse in French, so speak very badly and don’t understand well. I’ve studied other languages later in life and not found it hard to pick up vocabulary or grammar, but since I don’t actually use those languages, they don’t stay with me. (If I read song lyrics printed in Irish I’ll remember at least some of the words I theoretically learned, but don’t ask me how to say anything.)
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