Tag Archives: #englishlanguage

The ‘Active’ Language

The ‘Active’ Language

In this blog post I talk about the inner workings of a language and the fact that we ‘act’ with every word we utter! 🙂



It is really important to understand the inner workings of a language, the differences between the way the languages are structured, the way the language ‘thinks’, and the attitude of the language: elements of a language that we hardly talk about while teaching-learning it.


I think it is very difficult to learn a foreign language without starting to comprehend the history, the cultural thinking, and the specific ideas  all that’s behind the language. It is because languages ACT!


At university I read a book that made me think about how a language truly works. The book I read was How to Do Things with Words: Second Edition (The William James Lectures) Paperback – September 1, 1975 by J. L. Austin (Author) See the video links to a series of lectures on the subject at the end of this post. Learn more about the book here (click)


While reading this book I understood that a language is much more than a bunch of words that we struggle to remember and make sense of!


As language teachers we often talk about learning the ‘living language’. But we rarely discuss what it actually covers. Learning the ‘living language’ means becoming familiar with everything that the language ‘does’. A language does not only express ideas. With speaking words we also carry out acts that have impact on our lives and that of others.


I give you an example.


During the marriage ceremony, you actually ‘ get married’  by saying ‘I DO’. These two words bond you to another person in body and soul until ‘death do us part’.


If you have heard of affirmations, I am sure you understand the above. When you repeat your daily affirmation’s you affirm ‘good’ in your life, you ignite different parts of your consciousness to act in accordance with the ‘messages’ you convey to yourself through the affirmations. 


When you daily affirm that ‘I can learn something with easy and joy!’  your mind gets the message and start creating the new pathways in your brain that are aligned with this message.











Crossing the bridge

Crossing the bridge

In this blogpost I talk about the importance of mastering the courage to cross the bridge of uncertainty.


“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Christopher Columbus



Crossing the bridge over the river of the unknown is challenging, saying the least. Most people who study a foreign language never cross this bridge. I call it the bridge of uncertainty. These students never manage to leave their mother-tongue behind. They keep on translating ‘into’ the new language from the original language.


During the language learning process we all cross a bridge from our mother-tongue over to the other language. We must leave the safety of a known territory for the unknown one. While crossing the bridge we become more and more familiar with the new land, it is part of the process. We must have faith and confidence in ourselves that whatever it takes we will arrive to the other side.


As we are crossing the bridge, the ‘homeland’ moves into the background, we start feeling a distance now, and so we find ourselves outside of our comfort zone.


Leaving our original language behind means exactly the way it sound: if you want to speak a foreign language, you must leave your original language behind completely. By crossing the bridge, you no longer think in your original language, neither are you the same person who started this journey.


When you start thinking in the new language without translating from your original language, you have arrived. You have crossed the bridge of uncertainty.


From now on, you can cross the bridge back and forth any time you like without being outside of your comfort zone. You have acquired a new language completely.


If you want to ‘ lean’  English with me, get in touch by clicking on the pictures below.

The emotional component

The emotional component

In this post I discuss how our emotional state and attitude can hinder the language learning process.



So, I have studied quite a few languages over the years. For a while, I could speak some then they sank into oblivion because I did not use them.


There is one language that I have never learnt to any degree, apart from being able to read the written text without understanding it, which is Russian.


I studied Russian for over 11 years. I had at least one 45 min lesson per week semester after semester without any results.


Well, it is true to say that language teaching at that time in Hungary was in its infancy. Languages were taught with something called the Prussians method or grammar translation method that is only fit to teach ‘dead’ languages. The focus is on academic understanding of the language rather that speaking it.


“17th, 18th, 19th C – The ability to read and translate classical texts gave rise to the ‘grammar-translation’ method (first known as ‘Prussian Method’ because of German roots – e.g., Ploetz and Seidenstuecker); reading & writing paramount;” Source and read more click here


Looking back, the mode of teaching was not the main issue. I think it was that my grandma did not like the Russians, she disagreed with the fact that Russia ‘silently’ occupied the country and that we were forced to learn Russian so we can communicate with the invaders. My grandma often told me that the Russian soldiers had done much more harm to civilians than what the Germans had ever done . The horrors of the Holocaust distorted our vision and we failed to see the cruelty and the genocide of different strata of society in the so called ‘Soviet block’.


So, the main reason why I never learnt Russian was my loyalty to my grandma whom I loved dearly.  I have never experienced anything but kindness and friendship from Russian people I have met. I am very sorry that I did not learn the language when I had the chance to do so.


My emotions got in the way.


I think it is important to notice how we feel about the language that we are attempting to learn. Disliking the language we are studying makes it really heart to learn it.


I still strongly believe that anyone can learn any languages they wish to. However, if we emotionally reject the language with some reason or another, it will probably make it very harder for us to learn it.


In my observation, there are two ways to go around this problem. We can look at the issue in the face and become aware of the problem. When we know what we are dealing with, we can create strategies to overcome it. Alternatively, we can ignore the emotional issue which may prevent us from ever attaining our goal: speaking in that language.


If you want to ‘ lean’  English with me, get in touch by clicking on the pictures below.