Our articles about language learning

Browse the current views and trends in foreign language learning and share your own experience with our blog posts. 

Do boys need male teachers to learn a language?

Women tend to dominate modern foreign language departments in the UK, but what effect can employing male language assistants have on schools and their pupils? The British Council's Charlotte Ogilvie finds out.

How to sing your way to language success

"Singing forces you to open your mouth and chew on the words."  Professor Stokes of the Royal Academy of Music shares what songs can teach us about a language.

Which languages the UK needs and why

Researchers Teresa Tinsley and Kathryn Board give us a summary of the ‘Languages for the Future’ report, on which languages the UK needs to learn now.

Spanish: learning to speak the language of 400 million people

The British Council’s Catherine Mansfield explains why Spanish is the most important language for people in the UK to learn. 

Single Japanese words can contain whole worlds of experience

Matt Burney, British Consulate-General in Shanghai and British Council Area Director East China, shares how to learn an unfamiliar language as an adult.

Chinese: Complex tones and characters, streamlined grammar

The British Council’s Asmaa Ibrahim explores what makes Mandarin Chinese so fascinating.

Arabic: More accessible than you think

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, Arabic translator, tells us more about the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world.

Russian: beautiful, complex, and a window onto the unknown

Keira Ives-Keeler of the British Council in Russia ponders what gives Russian its romantic complexity.

Turkish: a fascinating structure and huge influence

Literary translator John Angliss shares his views on what makes the Turkish language such a delight to learn. 

The French language: precise, romantic, influential, close to English

Professor Michael Kelly OBE, Head of Modern Languages at the University of Southampton, describes the je ne sais quoi magic of learning French.

German and hipsters: the perfect match?

The British Council's Martin Steinmetz explains why German is a language for writers, thinkers and hipsters.

How good is Italian for business?

Sarah Giles shares why Italian is so much more than just a 'tourist language'.

Top tips on learning

Is living in a foreign country the best way to learn another language? Hannah Pearson, who’s working as an English language assistant in Mexico, shares her advice on immersing yourself in the language of the locals.

Top tips on teaching

Are you teaching English overseas? Or thinking of it? Charlotte Ogilvie, who taught English as a British Council Language Assistant, offers some practical tips in this two part blog.

Top tips on culture

'At first, the mix of Creole and French seemed daunting, but the result is that people are more accepting and open towards different accents.' Sarah Rainford, an English language assistant in Guadeloupe, explains why the experience is much more than just a beach holiday.

Why UK teachers should employ Language Assistants

They're young, enthusiastic and keen to share their language and culture with pupils. The British Council's Charlotte Ogilvie explains why language assistants are such an asset to modern languages departments in UK schools.