Language Learning

My Language Learning Methods

नमस्ते! As some of you may know, I’ve recently decided to pick up Hindi again after taking a Hindi language class in uni two years ago. I have to admit that I haven’t done anything to improve (or even remember the few things I did already know) in those two years. But now that I’ve graduated, I have some more time on my hands and want to use that time productively. So, I’ve started working on Hindi on my own!

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to always learn languages in a class, be it in middle/high school or at uni. But this time’s different, I have to do this completely on my own, and I had no idea how to learn a language by myself! After some trial and error, I’ve found some methods that work for me, and I’ll be explaining those here.

Language books

This might be the most obvious one, but it’s one of the best options out there for me. A good textbook explains grammar, gives examples and exercises, and has good vocabulary lists for you to learn. Textbooks are especially great when you’ve already used them in a class and know how to work with them. I’m using the same textbook I used in my Hindi classes, and I’m working through it at a good pace.

However, there are some cons to using a textbook. First of all, it can be boring to work through. Most textbooks are very theoretical, so it can feel like you’re not getting any actual practice in. Secondly, the grammar’s only explained once, so if you don’t understand the explanation, you can’t just ask a teacher to explain it to you. You’ll have to research everything you don’t understand by yourself, which can be annoying. Lastly, textbooks can be expensive! The textbook I use for Hindi was pretty affordable, but the books I used for Japanese were not.

Series and Films

A fun way to immerse yourself in a language is by watching series or films in your target language. It can be as simple as watching it with subtitles in your native language or in your target language. This helps with your listening skills, as it helps you get used to the sounds of a language. It’s also a fun little confidence boost when you can pick out and understand some of the words.

A great piece of software to use when you watch a lot of Netflix is Language Learning with Netflix. It’s a great extension that allows you to watch Netflix with subtitles in two languages at once and allows you to compare the words. If you’re not sure what a certain word means, just hover over it and you get to see its meanings! It’s a bit complicated to set up and use, but once you’ve got it going, it’s incredible!

Example of the Language Learning with Netflix interface on a show in Hindi
Example of the Language Learning with Netflix interface on a show in Hindi

I’ve also used the extension in my work as a private tutor and summer school tutor, to teach English in a more fun way than just textbooks. It allowed them to compare the subtitles while still being able to understand what was happening. I’d fully recommend this extension to anyone!

Language Exchange Sites/Apps

If you’re tired of not being able to use the language you’re learning, a language exchange site can be a good option. There’s plenty of apps and sites where you can find a language exchange buddy. I personally use the Language Exchange subreddit and HelloTalk regularly, but there are many other options! I suggest you try out a few and see what works well for you.


I’m not a big fan of Duolingo when it’s used on its own, but it has its good points. Duolingo is great for on the go, you can practice even if you only have a few minutes available. It’s a great app to improve your vocabulary, and the point aspect makes it a fun little game between friends. However, using Duolingo as your only learning method is not going to get you far. Duolingo teaches you certain phrases and how to substitute words in those phrases, but there’s no grammar whatsoever. The app is great for vocabulary, but please use it in conjunction with a grammar textbook.

That’s all I have to write about language learning methods for now! I’ll probably write another article with more methods I like using in the near future, but that’s for another time. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and until next time!


New Domain and Languages!

I’ve recently upgraded my blog to an actual hosting service, which includes a new domain! You can now find my blog on! With this upgrade, I’ve been making some changes to the blog, including multi-language support! Hover over the flag in the menu (at the top of the page), and you can choose which language to view the blog in!

Right now, only English and Dutch are available and not all pages and posts are translated yet. However, I’ll be working on that bit by bit over the next couple of months! Having a blog in multiple languages has so many benefits over just having one language. First of all, it makes perfect sense for a blog about translation to be available in multiple languages. Secondly, it makes the blog accessible to people who might not speak English well or at all. The final benefit I’ll name is that it keeps me actively involved with the languages I speak, as I’ll be translating the site myself!

I’m incredibly excited about these changes, and this brings me one step closer to building this blog to where I want it to be! Thank you for reading, and until next time!


Pun Analysis 2: Are you hitting on me?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another pun analysis! This week, I’m looking at a pun translation from a manga called Takane no Hana nara Ochitekoi! This is not a manga I’ve read or plan to ever read, but this pun was very useful for my thesis research. I’d like to show it to all of you, as well as my analysis on this pun.

In Japanese, this pun revolves around the word tsukiatte (付き合って), which is used by a student asking out his classmate, and means please go out with me. The girl, however, interprets this as a different meaning of tsukiatte (突き合って), which can mean something like please hit me or let’s hit each other. This is a homophonous pun, as the words used in the puns have different meanings and different spellings but share the pronunciation of tsukiatte.

The pun in Japanese

In the English translation, the translator translated both forms of tsukiatte (突き合って and 付き合って) according to the meaning the kanji give them, and not to the double meaning of the pronunciation of the word. This removed the pun, but the translator added a note explaining what the pun was in Japanese. This is what we call a Pun to Non-Pun translation, with usage of an editorial technique (in this case, a translator’s note to explain how the pun works in Japanese).

The pun in English

I would personally try to keep a pun in the translation, possibly using the English phrase “to hit on someone.” This still gives ambiguity if used correctly and also matches with the Japanese meanings of tsukiatte.

How would you translate this pun? Leave a comment and let me know! This post is a bit shorter than my usual ones, but these analyses are pretty short. I have more pun translations available, and I will analyze them all eventually, so check back regularly!


Pun Analysis 1: Punk Bicycles

A few weeks ago, I promised to show some puns and their translations, and analyze them in a blog post. The past weeks have been busier than I expected, so I haven’t had the time to properly write for my blog, but I fully intend to keep that promise, so here’s the first pun analysis! This pun is from the Nintendo game Earthbound/Mother 2.

In the Japanese version of the game, the bicycle shop is called Panku (パンク), which can mean either punk or flat tire. This is a homophonous pun involving the double meaning of the word panku, combined with the fact that it is the name of a bicycle shop owned by a typical punk guy. The translators used a Pun > pun translation here, using a similar bicycle-related pun that also covers the meaning of the word punk.

The English translation for this bicycle shop is Punk-Sure. This is a pun in multiple ways. First of all, the name of the shop sounds almost identical to the word puncture, which is another possible translation of the word panku. This is a paronymous pun, as Punk-Sure and puncture have similar, but not identical spellings and pronunciations. Secondly, the name Punk-Sure involves the word punk, which again refers to the store’s owner. Lastly, going back to the word puncture, this is very closely related to the name of the shop in Japanese, as a puncture (Punk-sure) usually results in a flat tire (panku).

That’s all for this post! I’ll analyze more puns over the next couple of weeks, so check back regularly!


How A Growth Mindset Can Help You Learn A Language and How To Develop One… — World Linguistics

I recently came back from my week at the summer school, where I taught English, and one thing I taught my students relates to mindsets. I explained the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset, and how the latter helps with language learning. I just saw this post written by the people over at World Linguistics which explains really well how a growth mindset can be used to learn a language, please check it out!

Have you ever wanted to learn a language but have gotten frustrated while learning it because it seemed so daunting? If so, you’re not alone. If you are struggling in a language class or if you are just struggling to teach yourself, I have news for you. It isn’t impossible! It actually is possible, and […]

How A Growth Mindset Can Help You Learn A Language and How To Develop One… — World Linguistics


How to translate: Puns part 2

Around two weeks ago, I wrote a post on translating puns, mainly focusing on the different categories and some strategies you can use while translating puns. That post was mentioned and used as a source by Nicholas Rossis here, and his post was reblogged multiple times. So, I’ve decided to elaborate on pun translation a bit more, and show some more strategies you can use. I will follow up on this with more posts, showing a pun that has been translated from Japanese to English and explaining the strategies used by the translators.

I will be using the following acronyms in this post:
ST: Source Text, the original text in its original language, and
TT: Target Text, the translated text.

Once again, I will make use of Dirk Delabastita’s work, which differentiates between significant or intended wordplay and non-significant or unintended wordplay. Unintended wordplay is, according to him, best omitted from the target text to prevent the text from looking clumsy, but intended wordplay and puns should be preserved in the translation.
These are the strategies he mentions, and the ones I will use when analyzing puns in upcoming posts:
• Pun → Pun translation,
• Pun → Non-pun translation,
• Pun → Zero translation,
• Pun → Related rhetoric,
• ST pun = TT pun,
• Non-pun → Pun translation,
• Zero → Pun translation, and
• Miscellaneous editorial techniques.

Pun → Pun translation involves replacing the ST pun with another pun in the TT in the same setting, but with different linguistic structure and wordplay. Pun → Non-pun translation involves translating the pun in a way that keeps one of the ambiguous meanings and discards the other.

Pun → Zero translation cannot be called a translation, since the part of the ST containing the pun is completely removed from the TT.

Pun → Related rhetoric is not a true translation, but the usage of another form of wordplay, like alliteration or metaphors, in the same setting as the pun. This still keeps some form of wordplay intact, albeit not as a pun.

ST pun = TT pun is a reproduction of the same pun, barely changed or edited. This can be possible because the SL and TL are very similar, as in the example he gives of the Disney movie The Aristocats. Due to the similarity of Dutch and English, the movie title The Aristocats
can simply be transcribed to Dutch as De Aristokatten. This is the most direct of the translation
options, but not possible in every case. If a pun uses loanwords from the language you are translating to, you might also be able to use this translation strategy.

Non-pun → Pun and Zero → Pun translations do not directly involve translating puns, but they create puns in the TT where there are none in the ST, possibly as a way to compensate for removing a pun earlier in the text. Miscellaneous editorial techniques that can beapplied are using footnotes and comments to explain that there was a pun in the ST and why it was omitted.

Using these translation strategies as a guideline, I believe that there is an appropriate translation for almost any pun, and I will show how these strategies are employed by translators in my next few posts. I wrote about pun translation from Japanese to English for my BA thesis, so I will be using the sources and examples I researched for that as a basis for the posts. I hope you’re all looking forward to it as much as I do! And in the meantime, if you want to practice translating puns, go to the Pun Generator and try translating those puns!


Delabastita, Dirk, and André Lefevere. 1996. Wordplay and Translation: Special Issue, Dedicated to the Memory of André Lefevere (1945-1996). Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.