What's this?

Exactly 100 words's worth of language learning reflection daily

Friday, 1 March 2019


Have I written about Language before, here? Well, yes, obviously 'language'. But possibly not 'Language', although over the years my thinking has moved in that direction.

I envisage the creation of Language as a area of study. And so at school you might do Maths, English, Science but now also a subject called Language (in the singular).

Languages like English, French, Japanese would then belong to the realm of Applied Language. 

'Language' would consist of what? 

In my opinion, general principles, acquisition methodology, and blue sky research based upon the thinking of people Stephen Krashen, Frank Smith and several others.

Monday, 18 February 2019


Borrowing from Freddy Mercury: “I want to be free” (from false dichotomies).  

I’ve come to the conclusion that Krashen’s ideas, while sound, are at the end of the pendulum’s range. They need to for us to be able to discuss them as separate and new. 
But in reality, there’s a spectrum of thinking. There are points of balance that for each person must decide about various aspects. 

It’s not between No grammar and All grammar. It’s some grammar. It’s not word lists learned consciously or unconsciously. It’s a mix of the two.

So it’s about figuring out where one stands.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019


My bed-time reading last night was Hold On to Your Kids co-authored by Gabor Mate. In it, I came across something interesting relevant to language learning. 
Attachment provides power-assisted learning - how delightful it is, many people have found, to study a new language when in love with the charming instructor! Whether we know it or not, as parents and teachers we rely heavily on attachment to make models out of us.
 So perhaps them premise of Maeve Binchy's Evening Class was not as far-fetched as I originally thought. Perhaps I ought to work on attachment starting the new semester.

Monday, 28 January 2019


In India, I once read M.M. Kaye’s Far Pavillions. Yesterday—36 years later—I  pick up her autobiography (part 2), Golden Afternoon from a Lilliput.

Kaye returned to India after 9 years of English public boarding schools. She describes her dismay at having lost the language that she had expected to retain like knowing how to ride a bicycle.

She descibes Hindustani that the populace spoke as being a mixture of Arabic, Pushtu, Farsee (becoming Urdu) and Hindi. Ah, what memories this observation evokes!

Time to delve once again into my own stew of languages that I wish to stir.