learn-language-blog

The Linguist’s Blogroll: 20 Cool Blogs for Learning a Language

On the hunt for the best language learning blogs on the planet?

Well, I’ve found 20 of the very best, and they’re yours for the taking.

Let me clarify—these aren’t just informative resources.

They’re not just filled out with basic, lifeless facts and obvious advice.

They’re the type of blogs that are perfect for enhancing your language studies, sure to entertain you while also really getting the ball rolling on your learning of one, two or more languages.

They’ll help you pinpoint the right techniques and give you specific, tried-and-tested ideas that you can apply to your own acquisition of languages.

They can also give you great insight into the language-learning tools and resources that’ll work best for you.

I know you can hardly wait to start reading, but before the blogroll, let’s quickly look into some important points about learning a language through blogs.

Learn a foreign language with videos

How to Use Language Learning Blogs to Your Advantage

Their Mistakes, Your Gain

When it comes to learning, the folks behind these blogs are likely a good number of years and a good number of languages ahead of you. And they’ve made a whole lot of mistakes as well and so are now in a position to dish out some really important firsthand insights and tips. Don’t waste this opportunity: Gain from their personal experiences. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel yourself because there are people who took the language journey ahead of you.

Consider these blogs to be like travel journals for people, like yourself, who will follow and take the same trip.

Read their language stories, and stand on the shoulders of giants. Start from a better place than they had when they were starting out.

Their Methods, Your Maybe

This is the antithesis of the previous point.

You shouldn’t necessarily take everything experienced learners tell you hook-line-and-sinker. In fact, most of the folks behind these blogs would probably be the first ones to tell you that there’s no one best way, no foolproof method to fluency. They’re just telling you what worked for them and what didn’t.

We all take different roads to the same destination. And learning a new language is as much about learning about yourself as it is about learning new ways of talking. You have to decide which insights, tips and tricks from these posts resonate with you. You can’t read blogs and consider them dogma. You have to make your own decisions. You have to actively participate in your learning.

Their Suggestions, Your Action

Speaking of actively taking part in your learning, realize that you still have to actually do the dirty work: talking with native speakers, putting vocabulary into memorable contexts, finding language learning partners, researching special points of grammar, learning about the culture, etc.

You have to get moving, get speaking, actually open your mouth in the target language. You can’t just be sitting around all the time reading all these blogs. You have to actually put into daily application the tips and techniques these bloggers dish out. It’s not enough to “know” these tips. You have to live them.

So also consider these blogs as traveling companions. It’s nice to have them along, but you actually have to take the literal steps in order to reach your destination.

Now that you know how to learn best with these blogs, let’s move on to the blogs themselves!

20 Awesome Blogs That Actually Help You Learn a Language

The Mezzofanti Guild

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

The Mezzofanti Guild is named after the Italian hyper-polyglot Cardinal Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti, who’s considered to have been fluent in more than 35 languages.

The guy behind the blog is the famous Australian polyglot Donovan Nagel, who speaks English (native), Egyptian Arabic, Korean, Russian, Irish, Ancient Hebrew and Greek.

Like many other bloggers in this list, his unquenchable passion for languages became the raison d’être for the blog, providing motivation to power through the time-consuming task of writing great content for readers and language learners.

Speaking of great content, are you currently experiencing a learning plateau? Read his post “How to Easily Get Beyond Language Learning Plateaus” and discover how to get over those psychological humps.

5-Minute Language

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

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For anybody who always says he’s too busy to be learning a new language, Agnieszka Murdoch has set up a blog that contains posts that can be read in five minutes. The blog is eminently practical and actionable because “how to” articles take up almost half of the content available.

Agnieszka is a living testament that it is indeed possible to learn a new language while maintaining a busy lifestyle. She’s learned several languages while having a full-time job. And, if she can maintain a blog, run webinars and hold language masterclasses and still continue to be a language learner herself, then there’s really very little excuse for the rest of us.

And in that vein, why don’t you read her post “12 Things Ultra-productive Language Learners Do Differently” and pick up learning gems that you can apply in your own journey. (And check to see if you indeed finish reading it in under five minutes!)

FluentU Learner Blogs

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

As you may already know, FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

But FluentU not only houses the web’s best collection of authentic language learning videos, it actually has a growing family of blogs that cover the world’s major languages:

They not only feature insightful posts from language experts and top language learners, they’re also fat with links to the best resources out there for learning languages.

So whether you’re setting your eyes on Chinese, Spanish, French or German, the FluentU team has got you covered with some very practical and actionable information that’s sure to be effective in your linguistic endeavour. And even if you’re not learning one of the above languages, you can still find plenty of insights and tips on our general blog for all language learners right here.

Here’s just a small sampling of language-specific posts from FluentU’s bloggers:

Actual Fluency

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

This blog came about as a way to chronicle a person’s linguistic journey. And what started out as an exercise in personal improvement is now a top resource for language learners around the world, inspiring disillusioned learners to continue along the path despite the leaps and hurdles along the way.

Kris Broholm is down-to-earth, honest and relatable, and his articles reflect this. The blog is a good starting point for those who want an extensive description and explanation of the leading language learning products and programs available today.

Read his review of Benny Lewis’s “Language Hacking: German” to learn what he thinks about the product.

I Will Teach You A Language

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

Gutsy name for a blog. But maybe you would be a little more than self-confident if, like the blog owner—Olly Richards—you could speak eight languages. You’d probably be doing something right. And you probably couldn’t be stopped from shouting your secrets and sharing them with mere mortals.

Olly is dishing out the 411 on the things that worked and are working for him. The guy is very personable and actually very down-to-earth. The blog does give you great language tips, techniques and tricks, but more than that, Olly’s posts are quite personal and you get the sense that he’s really opening up on what he, as a language learner, is going through, sharing with you the ups and downs, the triumphs and defeats of the linguistic journey. The effect on the reader is that of quiet inspiration.

His uploads are fat with content and well thought-out. He even has videos for you. In this one, he explains to beginners the specific routines he uses when learning languages.

If you love learning from Olly, then you might also want to try out his latest and greatest course offerings, like Conversions, Grammar Hero or the Uncovered series (covering popular languages with targeted course options like French Uncovered, Spanish Uncovered, German Uncovered and Italian Uncovered).

The Conversations course is designed to get you to conversational mastery within 90 days, so you’re speaking like a native faster than you thought possible. Grammar Hero is a must for anyone who struggles with the building blocks of languages. And the Uncovered courses are longer-term programs to take students from beginner to intermediate levels with 100+ hours of study time and interactive learning modules that harness the power of storytelling and imagination.

Speaking Latino

Language Focus: Spanish

You know the saying “the best way to learn something is to teach it”? Well, here’s where you begin to distance yourself from the pack, because this one’s actually a blog for teachers of Spanish.

And the most rocking thing about this one are the teacher materials, activities and resources that you find in the blog. You’ll get access to topically structured lessons that you can actually use for yourself. And because they’re often intended for young beginners of Spanish, you can be sure that you’ll have no difficulties in digesting the material.

Instead of making the study aids yourself, you can just get them here. So in essence, you are your very own teacher and you cut out the middleman. In the post “7 Spanish Songs for Kids to Sing Along With,” you’ll find catchy tunes that’ll make learning Spanish seem like a vacation.

Mandarin HQ

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Language Focus: Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin is spoken natively by around 873 million people, and over a billion as a second language. If you want to add yourself to that number and learn the language, you don’t want to miss this blog co-founded by Angel Huang.

Mandarin HQ sets out to bridge the gap between the kind of Chinese you read in textbooks and the kind of Chinese you hear in the streets. So in the posts, you’ll read about grammar, vocabulary and phrases as they’re used in day-to-day communication. The lessons and posts have a rubber-meets-the-world flavor and will get you to a place where you can have meaningful conversations with other speakers.

Good thing about this is that you won’t just be reading texts—their videos actually allow you to hear how the language sounds. For example, in the “The 5 Most Common ‘Yes/No Questions’ Foreigners Get Asked in China,” you have a video showing you how the questions might be thrown your way in real-world situations.

Alex Rawlings

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

In 2012, in a competition run by Harper Collins, this blog’s founder was named as the most multilingual student in Britain—after being tested for fluency in 11 different languages. So if there’s someone who can claim that he’s especially good at languages, it would be Alex Rawlings.

His posts, such as “Catalan or Spanish: Deciding which language to speak in Barcelona,” are a breeze to read. If you read them out loud, they’d be quite conversational. And he’s really “blogging,” folks, not just writing language lessons. He really lets you in on his thought processes and opens up on the struggles in his journey, which is ultimately motivational for us, his readers, who might not be so gifted. Just knowing that somebody like Alex struggles with language makes our fumbles more bearable. This blog will make you feel that, as well as teach you some pretty neat language learning techniques.

Omniglot blog

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

If you’re just really in love with languages, then you should check out this blog. It’s for people who simply love words, in whatever tongue they may be. It contains the linguistic musings of Simon Ager, a Welsh guy who spends serious time making great content for the blog.

You’ll find information that’ll make your day. The blog talks about things like why the Japanese say もしもし (moshi moshi) when answering the phone or what the Scots call “ATM machines.”

Most other blogs here are centered on speaking the language—teaching you, for example, how to ask where the nearest train station is or how to say “Do you come here often?” This blog stands apart in that, in addition to all that, the written form of the language is given its time to shine. So if you want to know the world’s alphabets, writing systems and scripts, Omniglot will be your best bet.

A Polyglot World

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

Here you’re entering the world of “polyglots,” guys and gals who seem to be freakishly great at absorbing different languages. But in this world, you don’t feel like an outsider, but a welcomed member of the gang, even if you’re still working on your first foreign language.

You’ll get posts like “The 9 Habits of Highly Effective Polyglots,” where you’ll learn language learning tips from the world’s best polyglots as they share what worked for them and what pitfalls to look out for.

You’ll also read their inspiring stories and come out believing that you, too, can be a polyglot, or just tame that language you’ve had your eyes on for the longest time.

Multilingual Living

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Language Focus: General/multiple languages

This one’s a blog for parents. (I can already hear you saying, “Hey!”)

Maybe you happen to be a parent, but if you’re not and have no immediate plans of being one, you might not be able to see, on the surface, what this blog could do for you. But the thing is, with blogs like this, as with teacher blogs, you get to see the behind-the-scenes of the learning process. Because you’re using a third-person perspective, reading posts about how to best raise a multilingual child, the veil of language learning is pulled back and you get a meta-education that puts you in a better position to pick the learning system, method or technique that works for you.

Explore the blog and you’ll realize there’s so much in here that can resonate with you. The post “Why Should Parents Talk to Their Children in Their Native Language?” is just one example.

Create Your World Books

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

If you love reading, if you love to travel, if you adore languages and if you’re interested in how music and songs can be tools in language learning, then you’ve hit a great four-point combo with this blog.

It’s from Susanna Zaraysky, who’s been featured in major media outlets from CNN to the BBC. She’s a writer, traveler and language learner. And perhaps you can add to the list “social observer” and philosopher.

Besides posts that reveal her intellectual bent, you’ll come away realizing how important learning a language really is, how it enriches your life as a whole, opening opportunities and building bridges where no connections formerly existed. Zaraysky’s post about linguistic snobbery and how it blocks language learning perfectly exemplifies this philosophy.

Language Mastery

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Language Focus: General, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese

This blog is from John Fotheringham, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who also happens to be a linguist and author and has been teaching languages for over 10 years.

Immersion is a big deal, but posts like “Myth: You Have to Move Abroad to Learn a Language Well” explain why you don’t need to move to China to learn Chinese. This blog lets you in on the ways you can learn a language without breaking the piggybank. You’ll get a fun trip to language-land, sans the boring textbooks, being nudged instead towards the creative use of technology for that much-needed immersion.

Reading the posts here, it’ll be impressed upon you that you don’t need to be “gifted” in order to learn a second or a third language. You only need the right tools and the right attitude. And the right tools come aplenty in this blog.

Speaking Fluently

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

Here’s something from a guy who has studied 40 languages. (Listen to him speak in 16 of them.) Imagine what he could teach you.

Well, he’d be the first to say that there’s no one learning system that trumps all of them. So you’ll not just get a list of tricks in learning, although there are plenty of those in the blog. You’ll also get to explore the different facets and issues in learning a language. And by reading the blog, you’ll get a bigger picture and a deeper understanding of languages in general.

Read his post “What’s a Rusty Language?” and better understand how to scrape off the “rust” in your non-native tongue.

Oui, c’est ça!

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: French

This one’s from “Marie,” who admits that the idea of the blog came to her when she saw that many online French learning materials were written in French, and thought that something ought to be done about it. While not dismissing the immersive nature of authentic material (she’s known to write entries exclusively in French from time to time), she sought to create a blog that’s fun, practical and accessible to English-speaking learners.

Her post “How to Pay at the Restaurant” is a good example of the flavor of this blog.

She’s a seasoned French teacher from Canada who has taught the world over. And when I say the world over, I mean Japan, British Columbia, Seattle, Costa Rica and Morocco. You know you’re in good hands when the lady writing the blog you’re reading has a master’s degree in French literature and a B.A. in the French language.

German is easy!

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: German

Now it takes serious guts to say that “German is easy.” And yet those are the very words on this blog’s homepage.

But don’t be intimidated. The blog is from a fellow language learner who’s now teaching to others the lessons he’s learned over the years. It has sections like “Word of the Day,” which is a great vocabulary builder, “Work Out,” where your German gets tested and honed with activities and exercises and “Cool Links,” which gives you a portal to some pretty awesome German language learning content.

Read this post where he adeptly expounds on the German word alle (all).

And know that this blogger doesn’t take himself too seriously—as when he revealed his love for yawning, saying “Sometimes when I have a headache I keep yawning for half an hour straight and they go away.”

Becoming Italian Word by Word

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: Italian

Learning a language one word at a time is certainly a good idea. And you’ll learn not just vocabulary and grammar on this blog. You’ll get the whole shebang.

This blog gives you a look into the rich Italian culture, its different facets and features. Dianne Hales is the dame behind it. She wrote a book entitled “La Bella Lingua,” which has so contributed to the promotion of Italian language and culture that she was conferred the title of “Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) by none other than the Italian president.

But just to be assured she doesn’t let the accolades go to her head, take a look at the down-to-earth post “Washing Up in the Italian Language,” where she dives into the mystery of why there are no washcloths in Italy.

All Japanese All The Time

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Language Focus: Japanese

Here’s the simple but deeply philosophical tagline of this blog:

“You don’t know a language, you live it. You don’t learn a language, you get used to it.”

That sums up what the blog, and its author, Khatzumoto, is all about. That and the philosophy of “taking everything that schools do that sucks and…not doing it. And then doing other stuff, that doesn’t suck, instead.”

The blog is approachable with its language, even rambling sometimes, but it’s actually very deep and intelligent. You get the sense that the person behind the posts is someone who has a strong affinity for books and stays for hours at cafés reading.

It’s also very practical, providing lots of tips for Japanese language learners. For example, this post on vocabulary lists gives you tips on using them correctly.

Lingholic

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: General/multiple languages

Lingholic was designed to be a place for polyglots and language learners to congregate and help each other out. Its accompanying blog reflects this vision and contains helpful tips on learning languages in general as well as some language-specific tricks and techniques.

In addition to the usual serious posts that are bursting with language hacking tips, articles like “10 Things Non-language Learners Will Never Understand” and “8 Signs You’re a Language Learning Addict” seem to say, “Hey, everything’s going to be just fine!”

Lingholic was founded by Canadian Sam Gendreau, an active and inspiring character in the language learning circuit.

Hangukdrama & Korean

learn-language-blog

Language Focus: Korean, Japanese

You get a double hit with this blog, which contains tips and resources on two rich Asian languages that are increasingly having an impact on the international scene: Korean and Japanese.

This blog is over five years old and houses around 1,000 posts—from personal stories of learning languages to resource recommendations. It’s run by Shanna, a Singaporean girl who took it upon herself to study these languages. She writes some posts in Chinese and others in Korean, but most are in English.

In “Self Study vs. Foreign Language Lessons,” she talks about the pros and cons of “self-study” and “formal lessons.” It might prove instructive for how you’re going to manage the task of learning a foreign language yourself.

 

There you go! 20 of the best language learning blogs out there.

They’re yours for the taking.

But as always, don’t forget: You have to actually do the dirty work!

Don’t just read these blogs, live them.

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