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Adam Grant

Can You Be Spontaneous in a Second Language? (Part II)

Do Some Investigation Ok, so the last point was a bit vague for you. What you need to do in this case is to investigate the culture involved in your new tongue. Do they like to joke about certain things, are they big drinkers or do they like to talk about food or the weather(…)


Can You Be Spontaneous in a Second Language? (Part I)

One of the biggest problems I found when I started learning Spanish was that I lost my spontaneity. I don’t mean that I was ever a living-life-on-the-edge sort of guy who would jump on a decrepit motorbike and head off to the jungle with a second’s thought or a look at a map. Actually, I(…)


Why Learning a Language Is Like Riding a Bike (Part II)

You Never Forget People always say that you never forget how to ride a bike so I guess it must be true. The same principle applies to foreign languages as well. I went more than a year without using Spanish after I had learned it and when I then moved to Spain I hadn’t forgotten(…)


Why Learning a Language Is Like Riding a Bike (Part I)

If you are thinking of learning a second language but aren’t sure whether it is going to be too difficult for you then you might want to compare it to something you have done in the past; like learning to ride a bike maybe. It turns out that these two tasks have more in common(…)


Roll Up for Some Great Foreign Flicks (Part II)

La Vita e Bella I watched the Spanish translation of this multiple Oscar winner but it is, of course, Italian. I loved this film so much that I considered learning Italian just to be able to watch it in the language it was filmed in. I think that all films (like books) lose something in(…)


Roll Up for Some Great Foreign Flicks (Part I)

I just read that the shortlist of foreign film nominees for the Oscars have been announced for the next event. I am going to come right out and admit that I haven’t seen a single one of them yet. Still, it seems like a good time to think of some foreign flicks which could help(…)


Knowing the Right Words Can Save Your Life (Part II)

Snakes in Spanish I spent a while doing some voluntary work in Ecuador and one of the local guides spent an hour explaining to us about the different types of local snakes which we would have to look out for if we didn’t want to lose a limb. None of us understood a word of(…)


Knowing the Right Words Can Save Your Life (Part I)

Learning a second language is a great hobby but could it save your life as well? Of course it couldn’t. Or could it? Well, I was having a think the other day about a few serious and a few not so serious situations in which this could be the case. Here are some of the(…)


What Will Your First Foreign Conversation Consist Of? (Part II)

A Food Demand One of the chaps I was with in Ecuador had gone to Chile first and said that he gone all three days barely eating as he didn’t know how to ask for anything. If this is true (and I doubt it) then he certainly made up for it with some prodigious eating(…)


What Will Your First Foreign Conversation Consist Of? (Part I)

I learned my first words in Spanish in Ecuador but I have to confess that I never had a real conversation in my new language there. I was travelling with other Brits and never really got into a situation where I could speak to the locals for any length of time, although I did once(…)