Conquering Babel – What’s stopping you learning a language? « The Blog Up North

Posted on 26/09/2011


Looking for a way to mark the European Day of Languages? Look no further, my friends. And perhaps by the time 26th September 2012 rolls around, you too could be participating in the Day of Multilingual Blogging.

via Conquering Babel – What’s stopping you learning a language? « The Blog Up North.

When I was at school I enjoyed learning languages. For some reason I had an aptitude for them, and I studied French and German. When I left school I abandoned them. Now, *mumble mumble* years later, I still remember enough to get by, but I’m nowhere near fluent and my attempts to speak the lingo in a foreign country mostly elicit sympathetic “at least he’s trying” smiles from whoever’s listening.

Today is the European Day of Languages, an initiative by the Council of Europe and the European Union to celebrate linguistic diversity and promote language learning.

So how about it? Have you considered learning a language before but stopped short? Do you worry you won’t be able to find your “level” or that your choice of course will be unsuited to your learning style?

Perhaps today is the day to set yourself the challenge!

To help guide you through the polygottal minefield there is a fantastic new book out, Conquering Babel, by Claire Handscombe.

Claire is a Brit who lives in Belgium, and has taught languages to adults for the best part of this century. She also works as a journalist and translator, and writes fiction under a different name. Or nom de plume as they say in France. (Get me…)

Conquering Babel is an easy to read, no nonsense guide on where to start when learning a new language. It advises the reader on what types of course are available, what to expect from them and even how you should manage your expectations. Claire’s experience in teaching languages comes to the fore when explaining the various types of course and how the way we learn language is structured. The book covers where best to pick up language and places to avoid. Even if you think you want to learn a language but don’t know which one, this guide will help you decide!

Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language is available for Kindle from Amazon and priced at only £2.29.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle – you can read Kindle books on PCs and other devices! You can also purchase the book in PDF form from Claire’s blog.

As an added bonus the book contains a code which entitles the reader to 10% off French or Spanish language lessons via Skype.

For more details on this book, visit the website at where Claire is running a competition to win a copy. But I suggest you buy it anyway.

Learn a language! Conquer Babel! Bonne chance!

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of Conquering Babel by the author. Want me to say that in Latvian? No? Good…

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