Category Archives: language learning

Bengali is coming to Duolingo… sort of

Duolingo Bengali Bangla

I’m a big fan of the language learning website/app Duolingo, which I’m currently using to brush up on my French and pick up a bit of Spanish.

But I have long wished that Bengali would be added to the list of languages it offers, joining Vietnamese, Turkish and the usual European suspects.  Continue reading


What’s the best way to learn vocabulary?


The British Council recently uploaded a series of YouTube videos as part of its language learning campaign.

One of them – see below – takes aim at vocabulary and provides some practical advice on how to increase the number of foreign words you know, clearly a vital step down the path of learning any new language.

As the videos’ star, Alex Rawlings, puts it: “Learning new languages is about learning new words.”

Continue reading

The first 1,000 words are the hardest?

Dictionary of the Frisian Language - Word archive

In the flurry of New Year-themed campaigns – drink less, exercise more, be a better person, etc – there was one that particularly caught my eye this year.

International education and cultural charity the British Council put its weight behind a language-learning drive, calling on Brits (notoriously resistant to anything other than the ‘talk slowly and loudly in English’ method of communicating when abroad) to include learning a foreign language in their 2016 resolutions.

There’s no specific Bengali angle of course, but the campaign’ broader message and tips should resonate whatever language you’re studying. Continue reading

A UK language shortage, but no priority for Bangla, Hindi et al?

The cliche about how the British communicate aboard – speak loudly, slowly … and in English – may not be entirely fair*, but the county still doesn’t value language learning.

At least that appears to be the message from a new report by business lobbying body the CBI, which says there is a growing need for people with language skills.

Somewhat typically there is no mention of Indian languages, though it’s difficult to see how, at least from a business perspective, there would be a need to prioritise Hindi, Bengali etc when not only is English the second most spoken language language in India, but the alternative is deciding which of the 18 or so official languages to pursue. Continue reading

Why don’t more people learn Bengali?

Bengali - Bangla learning resourcesThis picture might lead to you believe otherwise, but English-speaking learners of Bengali are not blessed with an over abundance of resources. Continue reading

Day of Multilingual Blogging (বাংলা)

Day of Multilingual Bloggingআজকের আমি বাংলা ভাসাে বলোগ করব | কেন আজকের? আজকের এক দিন পকষে অনেক ভাসাে বলোগ করা | নিশচয় খুব ভালো ভাবে বাংলে লিখটে পারিনা, কিনতু চেশটা করব |

অনেক কথা লেখা করতে পারিনা, আমার দুটি ছেলে ঘুম থেকে উটেছে | ছেলে এক তেলেভিসন দেখা ছিল এবং একন এ লিখতে পড়তে করছি | ছেলে দুই খেলছে – এ সুধু শিশু কাজেই আকারের সঙ্গে খেলছে |

এখন ব্রেকফাস্ট করব | একটু পরে ছেলে এক স্কুলের কাজ করে (হাতের লেখা এ অঙ্ক) সাঁতার কাটার বিঘিতে যাব | Continue reading

Languages for the 21st century

If you’re looking to prepare yourself linguistically for the coming decades you’d best steer clear of European tongues.

That’s the message from The Guardian, whose Languages For The 21st Century series began today with Japanese and will include the so-called ‘BRIC’ countries of Brazil, Russian, India (represented by official language Hindi) and China.

The seven-day run of phrase books continues tomorrow with Arabic and then continues with Mandarin, Hindi, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish.

It looks like the phrasebooks, plus audio conversations, will be put online pretty much in their entirety and you should be able to find them all here in due course.