18 Oct

Monsieur tALK goes to the Show

It’s big, it’s fun, it happens once a year: the Language Show Live came to London this weekend, and Monsieur tALK would not have missed it for the whole world! This year, the lime on a bike has made so many new Twitter friends who are into languages (sometimes known as #mfltwitterati) that he decided to go and see some of them at the show.

Sadly, he didn’t get to meet them all, and can only apologise for it, but he met two of them in particular, which he was very pleased about. And he also met some other people who came to chat to him, intrigued to see a lime in an emerald beret and carrying baguettes walking the aisles of the show!

The first peeps Monsieur tALK got to meet were the good FlashSticks® people. If you have not come across them yet, you’ll be able to read my review of the cool concept and app VERY soon! Monsieur tALK met the young and enthusiastic team, and especially Francesco and Lauren. It is so good to finally put faces to names after communicating for so long on social media. It is equally fabulous to see so much energy in this young team, all wanting to share their love for languages with as vast an audience as possible.

Having barely walked away from the FlashSticks stand, Monsieur tALK heard his name being called out by someone he recognised immediately: the delightfully animated Nathalie Paris, who drives a massive mobile library around the north of England, bringing the joys of French to hundreds of school children through reading, story telling and a lot of fun…

There were so many other people to meet and talk to that I cannot do them all justice through this short blog, so suffice is to say that Monsieur tALK was very happy to see them all. You can follow the links within this blog to the various platforms where you can find the lime’s friends, so please drop in to say hello!



C’est énorme, fun, et se passe une fois par an: le Language Show Live était à Londres ce weekend, et Monsieur tALK ne l’aurait manqué pour rien au monde! Cette année, le citron vert à vélo s’est fait tellement de nouveaux amis sur Twitter qui s’intéressent aux langues (plus connus sous le nom de #mfltwitterati) qu’il avait décidé d’aller faire un tour au salon pour en rencontrer quelques uns.

Malheureusement, il n’a pas pu tous les voir, et s’en excuse, mais il en a rencontré deux en particulier, ce qui lui a fait très plaisir. Et il a aussi fait la connaissance d’autres personnes, qui sont venues lui causer, vu qu’elles étaient intriguées de voir un citron vert en béret avec des baguettes sous le bras se déplacer dans les allées du salon!

Les premiers à passer sur le radar de Monsieur tALK furent les bonnes gens de FlashSticks®. Si vous n’en avez jamais entendu parler, vous pourrez lire ma revue de leur concept et de leur app super cool TRÈS bientôt! Monsieur tALK a dit bonjour à la jeune et enthousiaste équipe, et surtout à Francesco et Lauren. C’est vraiment sympa de finalement associer des visages à leur nom, après tant de communication sur les médias sociaux. C’est tout aussi fabuleux d’être témoin de tant d’énergie parmi cette jeune équipe, tous ne voulant que partager leur amour pour les langues avec une audience aussi vaste que possible.

Ayant à peine quitté ce stand, Monsieur tALK a entendu son nom crié par quelqu’un qu’il a immédiatement reconnu: la superbement animée Nathalie Paris, qui est normalement au volant d’une immense bibliothèque ambulante dans le nord de l’Angleterre, apportant les joies de la langue française à des centaines d’élèves à travers la lecture, les histoires et beaucoup de jeux…

Il y avait tant de personnes à rencontrer et à qui parler que je ne peux pas tous leur rendre justice dans ce blog trop court, mais il est suffisant de dire que Monsieur tALK était très content de tous les voir. Vous pouvez suivre les liens dans ce blog, qui vous mèneront aux diverses plateformes des amis du citron vert, alors s’il vous plait, passez leur dire bonjour!

07 Oct

Another guest!

Dear friends and readers, we have another guest on the blog. I asked the very clever, über tech-savvy and all-round fab man that is Rob to tell us about his experiences as a language learner, and after you read his wonderful piece, you will want to watch his vlog or contact him on Twitter… Here he is :


Being asked to write a blog as a non-blogger is a little difficult. Yes I create video content but it’s mainly an escape from my bad spelling and punctuation, plus it also enables me to ramble. The written word is something I have always loved but never been too eloquent with.

So enough of the excuses, I suppose I should get down to my story. Who am I? Well my name is Rob, and I am a self confessed language learner. I have been learning French now for over 2 years and although I am not yet to a level that I could call fluent, I am quietly confident that if dropped into the middle of a French speaking nation I could make myself understood.

My love of language started as a small child, one of my first memories of being fascinated with language was sitting in the Happy Eater (a very cheap 80s restaurant in the UK) and pretending to speak in a foreign tongue. This is something that carried through my childhood and I remember loving to listen to languages I couldn’t understand although I didn’t really know why.

Then I started high school at 12, and started having German lessons. Unfortunately this is where my story takes a dive, as because of low self image and lack of self belief, I thought, and had been told, that I was pretty bad at English, and so when difficulty hit I was never one to push through. I just gave up.

Now my English was always on the low side, the education system at that time in the UK taught nothing of basic grammar and then when grammar was discussed in English it was something I always thought was well over my head.

This all worked against me when it came to learning German! When you are taught a language, things have to be explained and those things are normally explained via grammar terms. So I fell right back into the black hole of “I don’t understand because I am stupid”. Truly believing I would never understand I started to flounder and unfortunately I missed out on a great opportunity to learn German.

So what happened? What changed? Well I grew up. I realised the things I believed about myself were not true and, because I am actually quite a logical person I reasoned that I could actually do it and would like to… So after a few dips into other things like BSL, Greek and Hebrew I finally took up the challenge of French.

Other than being able to count to 10, I had no knowledge really of French, but I started out on the intrepid adventure! 2 years later I have learned more than French, not only did I get a stronger base in the dreaded grammar, I actually found that it was one of the most fascinating things about the language learning process.

So what are my reasons for learning? If you follow anyone with an interest in language learning or someone who has learnt one or more languages, they will tell you that motivation and persistence is what makes your language learning successful, and I would have to agree. My motivation started as the dislike of the apathy for language that most English speakers have. There is a very big case of “well, the world speaks English, so why should I learn x”. This ignorance really saddens me and so what’s the best way to do something about that? Well it’s to do something about it yourself.

After that initial feeling, I love learning about cultures, I love the fun of idioms and grammar. I love food, I also love realising why people who have learnt English sometimes say things in what seems to be a strange way. Using one’s own grammar structures in a new language always brings a smile to my face and really shows how the brain is hardwired in its native tongue.

Language learning is part of my soul now, I have big plans to learn as many as I can for as long as I can – I’m not looking to become the best polyglot on the planet, but I am looking to grow in knowledge and understanding of people and cultures and to hopefully inspire people into learning new languages by showing them that if I can do it, anyone can.

We live in a vastly colourful world of expression, through our advanced tool of language. And what an amazing place to explore!

03 Oct

A very special guest!

Dear friends and readers, this week, I have a treat for you. I have convinced a dear friend of mine to write a little something for you from the point of you of a lover of languages and student of French. So without further ado, I give you A Polyglot Mum:

So here I am, sitting on the sofa at the A Polyglot Mum headquarters, writing a guest piece for the formidable Arnaud, whom I met over Twitter and has, over the last few months, become a firm friend and mentor, not to mention my Skype French conversation teacher.  It is a privilege for me to write for Arnaud in my capacity of languages student but I have to admit I am wracking my brains nervously to be remotely interesting so not to send you all to sleep, but perhaps it’s too late for that anyway!

So I’m Leila, and as my blog by-line says, I’m a mother, language learner and coffee drinker… I might have to put geek on the end of that, as am also currently going through a Star Wars-athon with the kids!

Languages have always been a passion for me, ever since I started learning French in secondary school way back when. Although I grew up bilingual speaking Farsi and English at home, I never really had too much exposure to European languages (although I knew who Alain Delon was!) and most of my time was taken up studying pianoforte from a very young age. There was no time for anything else. French was the first language I was introduced to in school and although I knew the usual words such as bonjour and au revoir, I promptly fell in love with it after hearing the musical nuances and beauty more and more in each word.

A year later, we also began learning German and that was it. Languages had burrowed their way into my heart and I went on to do the usual standard G.C.S.E. exams and at that point I would have gone on to A level but my parents made a big life decision and we moved… to America.

After a senior year studying Spanish over there, things took a different turn. I loved languages, yes, but there wasn’t really a huge push for anyone to learn them over there and so because I didn’t carry on, when I returned to the U.K. a few years later, I made a few decisions that changed my path (and my major to biochemistry) but not ones I regret at all, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t gone that way.

Fast forward a few decades and the usual life situations, I found myself at a point where I could finally devote some time to doing something I wanted to do. I tried my hand at a few different things. Food is also a passion of mine but having had my whole life embroiled in the restaurant family business; it wasn’t something I was going to commit to. The children were now old enough to entertain themselves and after much soul searching, I decided to get back into learning languages. Of course French would be on the list, I had managed to speak a little each time I visited France over the years so there was no question there and after a few conversations with the Open University, it was decided I would take Spanish as well.

I began reading for my degree in 2012 and chose The Open University for premium distance learning, and am now studying my final French module alongside Upper Intermediate Spanish. Because I am a little insane, I also sometimes study a bit of Dutch, but only sometimes, as spare TIME has become a very valuable commodity.

So there you have it, in a couple of years, I will have made the achievement of a lifetime, for me anyway, but there are so many more languages to learn too…Who knows? Maybe German and Italian will be next!