How many syllables are there in a Haiku?

Some of us learnt in school English lessons about a Japanese verse form called the haiku. We learnt then that a haiku contains a fixed number of syllables (17), divided into 3 lines: 5, then 7, then 5. Our English teachers encouraged us to experiment using that form in writing short, pithy verses in English.…… Continue reading How many syllables are there in a Haiku?

Is Russian difficult for English speakers?

I’ve sometimes heard people describe Russian as a difficult language for native English speakers. It is, indeed, a little more difficult for such learners than languages related more closely to English, such as other Germanic languages or the Romance languages. On the other hand, it is probably less difficult for them than completely unrelated languages.…… Continue reading Is Russian difficult for English speakers?

The Scandinavian languages

The Scandinavian Languages are members of the Germanic family within the broader family of Indo-European languages. The ancestral language, North Germanic (Common Scandinavian), began to divide from the Germanic group around 500-800 CE and then to split into East Scandinavian (the Kingdom of Denmark, the southern two thirds of Sweden and adjacent parts of Norway)…… Continue reading The Scandinavian languages

Mnemonics in language learning

Mnemonics can help in learning languages. Here are three I learnt at school. German: Fudgebow This mnemonic is of the 7 basic prepositions that take the accusative case: Für: forUm: aroundDurch: throughGegen: againstEntlang: along (actually a post-position, it generally follows the noun, all the others precede it) Bis: untilOhne: withoutWider: against (not to be confused…… Continue reading Mnemonics in language learning