Agnieszka Murdoch

About Agnieszka Murdoch

Blogger, translator and language coach.

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Speaking – it’s tough! We’re all in the same boat, though. You’re not the only person who’s feeling that way. It takes courage to get started. It can be overwhelming. But… I’ve got good news for you – you can do it! When I moved to France in 2007, I thought I had what I needed. I’d been learning French for about four years at that point. I could easily read novels in French, including Victor Hugo and Marcel Proust, and I was also getting into graphic novels. I had a lot of vocabulary – both formal and informal – […]

Overcome the Fear of Speaking in 3 Easy Steps

You don’t have time for language learning, right? Let me tell you something – you don’t need huge amounts of time to make progress in the language you’re learning. There are plenty of things you could be doing to move your learning forward, even if they only take five or ten minutes. The philosophy behind 5-Minute Language is that you can learn languages even if you have a busy lifestyle. Too many people feel held back by their other commitments and they put off learning until they’re free. Will they ever be free? Will they have more time? Maybe the […]

10 Language Learning Activities That Take 5 Minutes or Less

4 essential strategies for english learners
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably hoping to become a better English learner. That’s great! With this in mind, I’ve written this article which sets out four essential vocabulary learning strategies that will help you become a more fluent and confident English speaker. Read on to find out what they are! 1. Learn collocations Collocations are two or more words that usually go together. These combinations of words sound natural and ‘right’ to native English speakers. That’s why it’s important for you to learn them – they will help you speak more clearly and fluently, and the people you […]

4 Essential Strategies for English Learners

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1. Wanting to learn a language for no reason whatsoever Yes, I’m learning Haitian Creole. No, I’m not going to Haiti. And I’m not married to a person from Haiti. And I’m not working with people from Haiti. I just like the sound of their language!  2. That feeling when you walk into a language bookshop And it’s like walking into a sweet shop as a child. It’s magic. 3. That feeling when you’re watching a foreign film and you spot a mistake in the subtitles They always mistranslate X – they should know better! 4. The urge to buy […]

10 Things Monolingual People Will Never Understand

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Hey you, language learner! So you want to learn a language fast?   Well, let me tell you something: I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Which one do you want to hear first?   Let’s start with a little bit of good news then.   You can learn a foreign language faster than you think. It doesn’t take years to learn a language.   You’re probably thinking:   ‘But I’ve been learning French since secondary school and I still don’t get it right.’   ‘So why does it take years to complete a university degree in a […]

How to Learn a Language Fast

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How to Learn a Foreign Language? How to learn a foreign language? This question is a big one – I’m sure you’ll agree with me! However, in order to break it down and provide you with at least a little bit of an answer, I’ve created a video listing my top 5 ways to succeed as a language learner. Check it out and let me know what you think! And, if you’re not subscribed to the 5-Minute Language YouTube channel, here’s your chance to do so! It only takes a second 🙂 In the video, I refer to my article […]

5 Ways to Succeed As a Language Learner

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  In the last year or so, the internet has been flooded with blogs about productivity, smart thinking, smart learning, optimising your routines, increasing your effectiveness, developing good habits and so on, and so on.   This seems to be a trend that’s here to stay – it can be applied to the way we work, the way we eat, the way we organise our daily lives, and, of course, the way we study foreign languages.   Put procrastination in the closet because you won’t need it for a while (or, ideally, ever again!).   Being productive is good but… […]

Are You Too Strict With Yourself When Learning Languages?

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The European Football Championships start in France this week and it’s a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about the participating countries and their languages. That’s why I’ve created a fun infographic that lists the 24 participating countries and their names in the main languages that are spoken in each one. So, if you’re watching any of the games with people who are from another country, you may find this infographic useful when cheering their team on! Have fun and good luck to your team! A little disclaimer – I know that each of the countries below has […]

Euro 2016: The 24 Countries’ Names in Their Main Languages [Infographic]

How to choose language learning resources You want to start learning a new language and you’re wondering where to start. Or maybe you’re already learning but would like to move up a level and need some resources which are more challenging. I’m sure we’ve all been there before. I recently started learning Japanese and I was in this exact same situation – I needed some resources! There’s a sea of resources out there – both paid and free – and it’s difficult to choose what’s best for you, especially when you don’t have any experience of learning the language you […]

How to Choose Language Learning Resources

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Free Webinar: How to Learn Vocabulary Guys! I’m hosting a free webinar on how to learn vocabulary effectively! It’s on the 7th of June 2016 – very soon – and I’m very excited! I’m going to focus on three crucial aspects of learning vocabulary effectively: Memorisation (with tips for those of you who struggle to remember new words) Putting new words to work straight away Recalling new words from memory when you need them Want to know more (or even join me for the webinar!)? Sign up through the link below! There will be a special bonus for those of […]

How to Learn Vocabulary: Free Webinar

Polish noun genders: how to recognise and learn them Polish noun genders are something that you may be confused about but fear not – I’m about to give you an easy-to-digest introduction to what Polish noun genders are all about! What’s a noun gender? A noun gender is a quality of a noun (such as an object or a person, for example) that denotes whether it’s feminine, masculine or neutral. I know this sounds weird when you’re a native English speaker and haven’t learned a language that has genders before… Let’s start with the obvious ones: The word ‘woman’ in […]

Polish Noun Genders: How To Learn Them

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Learn Foreign Languages Effectively   Over the past year, I’ve been working on a huge project which is all about you guys. I code-named it Project Dragonfly.   I’m really, really excited to finally be able to tell you what it’s about!   Do you remember when you first started learning languages?   Do you remember what difference it made to your life?   Do you remember how that felt?   I’m sure you do! It’s an amazing feeling that we, language learners, share.   And that’s why I’m here – to help you recreate this feeling over and over […]

Language Learner Pro: Launch

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Want to be a language teacher, language app developer, translator, or anything else that involves using languages in your job? Take a look at the five essential skills you will need to be successful in a language career, and some tips on how you can develop them! Listening skills Good active listening skills will help you win friends and become successful in any career. Active listening is about showing you care, empathising with the person you’re listening to, and building productive relationships with people. If you’re working in languages, here’s how being a good listener can help you: If you’re […]

5 Skills That Will Make You Successful in a Language Career

The 12 Most Common Mistakes Language Learners Make This post is not about making language mistakes. It’s about mistakes relating to your learning process as you learn a foreign language. Making mistakes is fine, and it’s a necessary aspect of learning anything. I still remember the first ‘flat’ cake I baked – it was burnt on the outside and undercooked inside. I’ve gone a long way since that day and my cakes are much more fluffy now. However, if I continued to set the temperature in my oven too high, I’d be reducing my chances of baking delicious cheesecakes. Do […]

The 12 Most Common Mistakes Language Learners Make and How to Fix Them

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How to choose which words to learn in a foreign language I recently started learning Japanese – a language I knew nothing about. ‘Where do I start?’, I thought to myself. What words should I be learning? I’m sure you often ask yourself a similar question whenever you pick up your vocabulary notebook or plan your vocabulary learning sessions. How to choose which words to learn in a foreign language? My experience of learning languages shows that in a lot of language learning settings, a very traditional approach to learning vocabulary is favoured. This approach involves learning sets of easy, […]

How to Choose Which Words to Learn in a Foreign Language

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Do you sometimes feel that something hard to define is stopping you from making progress in the language you’re learning? Do you feel that you’re putting in the effort but things are not working out as you would want them to? Perhaps you’re bothered by limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are things that we make ourselves believe, and which constrain us in some way or stop us from achieving our true potential. Let’s take a look at some limiting beliefs that many of us may sometimes hold. By naming them, you can take your first step on the way to getting […]

6 Things Successful Language Learners Never Believe

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How to Learn Japanese My latest language mission (which I started about four weeks ago so it’s not really my new year’s resolution) is to learn Japanese. I’ll be travelling to Japan in March and I’d really like to be able to get to a stage where I can: Introduce myself, say where I’m from and understand my conversation partner’s response Have a basic conversation about what I like, ask my conversation partner what they like and understand their response Ask for information (e.g. a food/drink recommendation in a restaurant or whether a tourist site is worth visiting) and ask for […]

How to Learn Japanese: New Year’s Language Mission

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We’ve got three days of 2015 left! Have you started making your new year’s language resolutions yet? It’s always good to look ahead but it’s equally important to look back at the things you’ve achieved this year, and I’m sure there’s a lot! I’ve been thinking this week about all the language-related things I’ve done this year and thought I’d share with you my fourite language hacks that have helped me move my language learning forward this year. Let’s get started! Mnemonics for learning vocabulary The one language learning technique that’s completely revolutionised (I’m serious!) the way I look at […]

My Favourite Language Hacks of 2015

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How to sound like a native speaker? If you prefer to watch a video about this topic, then here it is! Don’t forget to subscribe to the 5-Minute Language Youtube channel and give this video a thumbs up – thank you! If you’d like to read my advice in detail, here it is! When I moved to England for the first time, I really wanted to sound like a native. I felt very strongly that my ability to speak without my native accent was the one and only goal to aim for. I wanted to be part of the crowd. […]

How to sound like a native speaker in a foreign language

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Free resources for learning French I’ve come up with the ultimate list of over 60 free resources for learning French for you guys! I only chose the ones that I thought looked super-useful and that also had a pretty decent user interface. You’d be surprised how many websites there are out there from the early days of the internet… Don’t worry – I didn’t include any of them! Let’s get started! By the way, I loved my holiday in France in 2012 – I can’t believe I haven’t been back since! Here’s me at a book market in Lille: General French […]

60+ Free Resources for Learning French

A few months ago, I surveyed you guys about the type of content you’d like to read on 5-Minute Language. Many of you told me you’d like to see more reviews of the various language products available out there. Here’s the first one in the series – a review of Benny Lewis’ Fluent in 3 Months Premium 2.0. Enjoy! Language hacking and immersion You won’t be surprised when I tell you Benny is all about language hacking and immersion – changing your mindset to maximise your learning, making mistakes, ‘smart’ learning and, of course, speaking from day one. That’s why I […]

Fluent in 3 Months Premium Review

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How good are you at ignoring distractions when learning languages? If it’s something you’re currently struggling with, check out my eight tips on how you can improve your focus when learning a foreign language – hope they will help you stay focused! 1. Clear away mental clutter Switch everything off for 15 minutes and get a piece of paper and a pen ready. Lie down, close your eyes and relax. Catch all the thoughts that come into your head and write them down as they come in. Capturing them on paper means that your brain won’t be desperately trying to […]

8 Ways To Improve Your Focus When Learning a Language

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Would you like to become a more productive language learner? Below, you’ll find 12 things that ultra-productive language learners do differently. Hope some of these strategies will help you achieve your goals! 1. They get ready for tomorrow today Productive language learners finish their learning sessions by preparing for their next one. Procrastination can often be a result of not knowing where to start. That’s why preparing a topic you’re going to work on next time during your current learning session can be beneficial. Do it whilst you’re motivated and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate next time it’s time […]

12 Things Ultra-productive Language Learners Do Differently

5 things to do every Sunday
Sundays are great for maximising your language learning potential. Check out these five things that all language learners can try in order to improve their chances of language success. As with anything, do the things that make it right for you – feel free to adapt this list to suit your individual needs! 1. Review last week’s progress Looking back over the week just gone will give you a chance to evaluate how much you’ve learned. Sundays are a great time to do this because they’re more relaxed, and being relaxed makes you more reflective. Ask yourself the following questions: What […]

5 Things Language Learners Should Do Every Sunday

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1. They focus on communication We all aim for a perfect balance between fluency and accuracy when speaking a foreign language. We want to be fluent and speak fast, and not make any language mistakes at the same time. Sometimes, though, it’s good to just focus on communication. Try making getting your message across your main objective when speaking, instead of trying to get things right 100% of the time. Confident foreign language speakers frequently change their focus this way, which helps them relax a little bit and not be angry when they make small mistakes which don’t affect communication. 2. […]

8 things confident foreign language speakers do differently

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I’ve asked you guys (on my Facebook community page) whether you have any questions about language learning that I could answer. Thank you to everyone who submitted their questions! They’re exactly the kinds of questions I often asked myself when I first started learning languages. I’m going to answer them below, space permitting, but if you’d like me to provide more detailed answers, please let me know in the comments below. Let’s get started! What are your favourite techniques for learning vocabulary? My two favourite techniques are probably learning vocabulary in context through reading, and mnemonics. I tend to read […]

Top tips for learning languages: Q&A

language motivation vlog
What’s the Millennium Bridge got to do with language learning? I’ve written a post recently about how to stay motivated when learning language. If you need some more language motivation, though, here’s my latest vlog, which provides just that! The Millennium Bridge is a suspension bridge in London, UK. How is that related to language learning motivation? Watch the video below to find out!   P.S. Do you know somebody who’s lacking motivation to learn a foreign language? I would really appreciate it if you could share this video with them! 🙂   Share with other language lovers

Language motivation vlog: the Millennium Bridge

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Understanding spoken language is probably one of the more difficult aspects of learning a language. It doesn’t just involve understanding the individual words that make up the language. Other factors that affect your understanding include the accent the person is speaking with, the clarity with which they pronounce sounds, their individual style of speaking, but also environmental factors such as noise created by different people speaking at the same time. So how can you improve your listening skills in a foreign language? There are the usual methods, such as watching films without subtitles, listening to podcasts or songs, or watching […]

How to improve your listening skills in a foreign language

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How to set SMART goals for language learning Have you heard people talk about SMART goals before? I’m sure you have – the internet is full of articles about goal setting and how it can make things better. And believe me – it can! SMART goals are a very useful tool when learning a language, and I’m about to tell you why. And I’m also going to tell you how to set SMART goals effectively to ensure you’re constantly moving closer towards your dream – fluency in the language (or languages) you’re learning! Why SMART goals? First, let me tell you about a […]

How to set SMART goals for language learning

I’d like to share a personal story with you today. The idea came to me when I was working on my recent blog post with tips on how to stay motivated when learning a language. Staying motivated is tough. We all sometimes procrastinate, to a certain degree, but that’s easy to overcome with some minor tweaks to the way we go about our day. What’s more difficult to overcome are the emotional barriers that might be preventing us from achieving our language learning goals. The story I’d like to share with you starts in Sheffield It’s a city in the north of England where […]

You are an unbreakable language learner

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Motivation is an important element of the language learning process. For each of us, language learning motivation is linked to something slightly different but I will try and give you some universal tips on how to stay motivated when learning a foreign language. Hope you’ll find them useful! Check out my video on this topic as well and don’t forget to subscribe to the 5-Minute Language Youtube channel! 1. Develop your internal language learning motivation Some of us are motivated by rewards – having a delicious piece of cake or a glass of wine to celebrate an achievement like learning […]

How to stay motivated when learning a language

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You may have heard about the power of positive affirmations in improving personal effectiveness but how can this technique help you in becoming a successful language learner? Read this article to find out how to learn a language with positive affirmations! What are affirmations? Affirmations, or positive affirmations, are short powerful statements that you make to yourself to reinforce your belief in your ability to achieve something. You can repeat them every morning or every evening, or write them down and come back to them on a regular basis. When learning a language, it could, for example, be the following […]

8 ways to use positive affirmations for language learning

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The following post is from Paul Martin, an English teacher who lives in Argentina. Paul writes on behalf of Language Trainers, a language teaching service which offers foreign language level tests as well as other free language learning resources on its website.  Over to you Paul! They say that TV rots your brain, but for the foreign language learner, your television (or computer!) is an invaluable asset that you can use to put your language skills into high gear. Apart from being entertaining, TV shows contain an enormous amount of dialogue which will introduce you to how native speakers really […]

Jump-start your language skills by watching TV: a 4-step guide