Taming the Steamroller
Communicating Compassionately with Non-Native English Speakers
By Molly Clare Wilson

A useful article about communicating compassionately with people who are less fluent in a language you speak well. Excerpt: 

This one is hard but very important: try not to guess the sender’s emotional state. Tone seems off — too abrupt, too vague, too direct? Salutation or closing is a little weird? Word choice seems funky, or maybe way too strong? (A colleague emailed me that she needed a document “desperately”, which I did my best to interpret as “I really need this document ASAP” instead of “I feel a deep, painful longing that will not be fulfilled until I get this document”.) You absolutely have to ignore this and focus on the content. 

Above all, do not tell the other person that their communication style is off-putting. Take a deep breath and have some empathy: apart from the subtleties of expressing emotions in a non-native language, different cultures have very different norms about how much of that emotion should even be reflected in business communication at all. A savvy French friend told me, “Happy Americans send really happy emails; annoyed Americans send pleasant emails. Happy French people send happy emails; annoyed French people send neutral emails. Happy Germans send pleasant emails; annoyed Germans send annoyed emails.” If you’re reading an email and trying to tell whether a non-native speaker is happy or annoyed, you are really shooting in the dark. 

Want to know how they feel? Until you get used to their style, you’ll probably have to do a lot of asking. For example: “Was it a problem for you that I didn’t communicate this deadline earlier?” “Did you think the overall quality of the report was okay?” “Was it all right with you that I started this meeting without you when your train was late?”

Read the whole thing.

This points to a hidden benefit in learning other languages: increased empathy for non-native speakers of a language you already speak well. Sometimes I can say to myself after a few minutes of conversation, “Ah, it feels like this person’s English is around the level of my French [or my Spanish, which are at different levels]. Even though I don’t speak their native language, I can do some of the communicative strategies that I really appreciate when people do them with me in that language.” 

The point about over-inferring tone from text also reminds me of a conversation I recently had about whether ending a text with a period indicates that you’re angry. The person I was talking with said they’d been told they sounded annoyed, but “They know I’m an old person – look at all this grey hair! Why would people assume I know how to communicate something that subtle in a text?” 

Do not underestimate the power of practicing your target language often. I learnt French as a young kid (before I was right), but stopped using it almost entirely in highschool, despite going to a french school haha, and as a result I have an accent now that I never had.
Please, please, please, practice, even if you’re at an advanced level. You can always forget a language.

Three Pieces of Advice for Speaking Your Target Language In the Early Stages

This is 100% opinion from my personal experience, particularly intended for those who are nervous to start speaking in their target language. Different things work for different people, ecc. I’m just offering what I have learnt from what I have been through, ecc. you get the picture.

1. Start with a deep breath and simple greeting like “hello/good morning/afternoon/evening”. Kind of a no-brainer I guess, but it always puts me more at ease to start with hello and a smile whether I’m ordering a coffee at the bar, asking for advice/directions or meeting people.

2. Fillers are absolutely your best friend, learning them will buy you precious time to remember that word you’re searching for. For me, finding the equivalents of “ummm….”, “so…..”, “well…..”, “y’know….” and “like….” was a useful place to start.

3. Asking for help can seem like an intimidating prospect, however I’ve learnt that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re not sure of a phrase you’ve come across or you’re struggling to pronounce a particular word, I’ve found that the action itself of asking a native speaker (politely and in appropriate moment of course) reinforces the answer in my memory much more meaningfully than simply checking the dictionary - not to mention the added bonus of potentially making a new friend!

This has been a friendly reminder that You can do this!

langblr psa

ive heard lots of people doing the langblr accent tag in german who have translated question 7. have you ever been mistaken for a native speaker of your target language? as wurdest du jemals für einen muttersprachler deiner zielsprache verwechseltthis word usage is incorrect
i couldnt find an explanation for it until @pycckuu​ suggested that it could be because they used google translate. i decided to check and lo and behold..

yes google translate can sometimes be useful for getting the gist of a text in a language u dont speak but it is renowned for being unreliable even when it comes to single word translations

there are two ways to say to mistake someone for someone in german

jn/etw für jn/etw halten - to assume sb/sthg is sb/sthg / to consider sb/sthg (to be) sb/sthg
ich habe ihn für muttersprachler gehalten, weil er so einen guten akzent hat
i assumed he was a native speaker because he has such a good accent
er hält mich für dumm, nur weil ich die lösung nicht finden kann
he assumes that im stupid just because i cant find the solution
ich halte mich für die kinder verantwortlich
i consider myself (to be) responsible for the children

jn/etw mit jm/etw verwechseln - to confuse sb/sthg with sb/sthg
roman und heiko werden oft miteinander verwechselt, weil sie zwillinge sind
roman and heiko are often mistaken for one another because theyre twins
ich habe die lehrerin mit meiner mama verwechselt, wie peinlich!
i confused the teacher with my mum, how embarrassing!
sie müssen mich mit irgendjemandem verwechseln
you must be mistaking me for someone else

if ure looking for a reliable online german dictionary i can recommend linguee pons langenscheidt collins and

tldr pls dont use google translate as a dictionary


El poliglotismo se puede definir como la habilidad o capacidad de dominar o haber dominado múltiples idiomas.

La Real Academia Española define políglota como:

1. adj. Escrito en varias lenguas.

2. adj. Dicho de una persona: Versada en varias lenguas. U. t. c. s.

Según la etimología de esta palabra, “políglota” viene del griego antiguo πολύγλωττος (polýglottos) formada por de πολύς (polýs = mucho) y γλώσσα o γλώττα (glṓssa o glṓtta = lengua) y se refiere a un individuo que habla distintos idiomas o al texto que se encuentra desarrollado en numerosas lenguas.

Con estos conocimientos podemos ver que todavía queda mucho tela que cortar y que existen muchas opiniones sobre lo que es ser un políglota, ya que no existe su definición absoluta.

Algunas personas se consideran políglotas si hablan su lengua materna, saben hablar de manera relativamente fluida un segundo idioma y están aprendiendo un tercero. Otras, en cambio piensan que se necesita hablar con fluidez más de 4 idiomas para considerarse políglota.

No existe un examen mágico que te diga que si llegas a un nivel de fluidez ya eres políglota y esto es causa de polémica entre lingüistas y personas que simplemente aprenden idiomas por satisfacción propia o hobby. Unos dicen que un nivel B2 es suficiente mientras que otros dicen que es necesario un nivel C1 o C2 para considerarse políglota.

Otro punto importante es “Cuántos idiomas se deben manejar para ser considerado un políglota o hiperpolíglota?”

Bueno, de acuerdo con 1, 2  podemos decir que una persona:

  • Monolingüe: es una persona que habla un solo idioma de manera fluida
  • Bilingüe: es una persona que habla dos idiomas de manera fluida
  • Trilingüe: es una persona que habla tres idiomas de manera fluida
  • Multilingüe: es una persona que habla más de dos idiomas, pero normalmente se usa para referirse a una persona que habla cuatro o más idiomas de manera fluida
  • Políglota: es una persona que ha dominado con un nivel alto varios idiomas
  • Hiperpolíglota: es una persona que ha dominado seis o más idiomas

Ya que no existe una regla standard entonces todos pueden tener sus propias opiniones y diversidad de pensamiento.

Ahora te queda a ti analizar y sacar tus propias opiniones sobre lo que es ser un políglota y si te consideras uno.

Decidí hacer este post porque casi nunca se encuentra información sobre estos temas en español, espero que te haya servido de ayuda este contenido y espero tu feedback.

YAY to my first post!!

thanks @rahaflearns for all your support

Personally, I think there’s a lot of elitism on langblr… or maybe just in language learning in general. Myself included, we want to be highly proficient in our target languages and beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. I’ve written a whole post about making mistakes, but I want to show you something else:

Out of sheer boredom tonight I took Duolingo’s English Test. It’s priced at $49 for the full certification but I took the free practise one and this was my result. I’m ‘proficient’ in English. I’m somewhere between 78% and 84% ‘fluent’ in English according to Duo. Let’s bare in mind that I am also a native English speaker and I speak English literally every day in my life. I’m a university student with a BA degree that included classes in English Literature. Trying to be modest, but I consider myself to be ‘educated’. 

I’ve said before I’m not a massive fan of duolingo’s fluency tracker [see this post], so obviously I’m taking no notice of this slightly disappointing result. But I think it’s a good wee reminder that just because I speak English fluently, to a native, educated level nonetheless; I’m still going to make mistakes in it (and trust me I do all the time!!), so I should really apply this mentality to my other languages. 

Lesson #74: If, In Case:

만약 - in case, if
(으)면 - verb ending for ‘if’

Verb stems ending with vowel - 면

Verb stems ending with ㄹ - 면

Verb stems ending in consonants - 으면


지금 자면 - If I sleep now

만약 지금 자면 - If I sleep now

내일 밤에 비가 오면 - If it rains tomorrow night

만약 내일 밤에 비가 오면 - If it rains tomorrow

지금 공부하면 - If I study now

만약 지금 공부하면 - If I study now

Though both sentences are the same - using 만약 at the beginning of a sentence makes it easier to understand that sentence is conditional!

For past tense add the 았/었/했 before 으면 to make the past tense clause!
Create future tense by using (으)ㄹ 거면!


먹었으면 - If I ate

샀으면 - If I buy

볼 거면 - If I an going to watch

공부할 거면 - If I am going to study

I might post some sample sentences later when I write some down!

As always guys, I am not a tutor, teacher, fluent or native speaker. I learn on my own and post these lessons to help others learn!

Thanks guys!

15 German verbs I've learned recently, #5

verzichten - to go without
wegputzen - to wipe away
wirken - to work, have an effect
aufstellen - to install
ausklingen - to die away
gelten - to be valid
lodern - to blaze
ausstechen - to cut out
beiseitelegen - to lay aside
errichten - to establish
drapieren - to drape
stapeln - to stack
anzünden - to light, set fire to
ausrangieren - to throw out
etw. entfachen (+akk) - to spark sth, provoke

Catalan is the 9th more spoken language in the European Union, with more speakers than Swedish, Danish, Greek, or Finnish.

And still it is not an official EU language.

Source: el català en xifres


vlees = meat
fish = vis
chicken = kip
beef = rundvlees
pork = varkensvlees

egg = ei
cheese = kaas
pasta = pasta
soup = soep

sugar = suiker
salt = zout
pepper = peper
oil = olie

fruit = fruit
orange = sinnaasppel
tomato = tomaat
strawberry = aardbei
lemon = citroen
lime = limoen
banana = banaan

wine = wijn
beer = bier
coffee = koffie
tea = thee

plate = bord
meal = maaltijd
breakfast = ontbijt
lunch = lunch
dinner = middageten
supper = avondeten

vegetarian = vegetariër
food = eten
thirst = dorst
hunger = honger
yummy = lekker