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Focus: 5 Tips to Learning a New Language

Most of us, in one way or another, have experienced or may experience learning a new language. The reasons can be as varied and as numerous as the languages there are to learn.As with learning any new skill, learning a new language is not easy and can be a very daunting task. Be sure to take with you tons of motivation and patience as you go. And hopefully to lighten andbrighten up your learning experience, read on for some tips to guide you in your language-learning journey. 1.  Know your…

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Still Learning from Lester Bangs

In the late nineteen-sixties, when rock criticism was first coming into its own as a discipline, it was a fairly macho, druggy, godless scene. There were no real precedents for the work, and even fewer institutional guideposts, which meant that the possibility for true ingenuity was high. The critic Lester Bangs, one of the form’s chief architects, wrote ravenous, intimate screeds that were predicated, always, on the quixotic but beautiful idea that music can save your life. His work—which appeared in Rolling Stone, Creem, Playboy, and the Village Voice—hinged entirely…

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Learning to stop tormenting ourselves is an art we can all learn

Stop meditating, instructs Fabrice Midal. In fact, don’t just stop it, f–k meditating. While you’re at it, f–k trying to be calm, f–k obeying, f–k being wise. Messy lives can be happy lives. Photo: Stocksy It’s unusual advice coming from a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris who has practiced meditation for 25 years and taught it for 15 years. But, Midal insists that all the directives in our lives have become about ‘bettering’ ourselves; they are performance or achievement-based and instead of liberating us, end up becoming constraints…

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Learning to accept my daughter's obsession with Disney princesses

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose passion for pink was so intense that she steamrolled her princess-averse parents and ushered in a period of tulle and tiaras that would have been unimaginable just a few years earlier. It was so over the top that Cinderella might have pretended to hurl. But this story has no ending – at least not yet. For a time I (the mother in this fairy tale) worried it would end badly. I imagined that the princess obsession was a prelude to…

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At 57 I decided to enter the tech industry. It was a steeper learning curve than I imagined.

Five years ago, at 57, I decided to turn my life of experience in career management into my first software company. Perhaps I was naive, but it didn’t occur to me that I would face ageism or sexism in this new venture. This was the “innovation sector” after all – surely it would be full of progressives? I met many remarkable people who were very supportive, but I also learned that there is a small but pervasive section of tech with a distinctive ‘bro culture’ – who hadn’t really encountered someone of my background before. At an early funding pitch, I was told outright: “Anne, you need to be 35, male and cutting code to…

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Tamsin Greig on learning a 97-page play in two weeks

Tamsin Greig is in a new play. Nothing particularly unusual about that, you’re probably thinking. But Labour of Love, which opens this week, has involved a particularly intensive rehearsal period for the actress. Tamsin had to stand in at the last minute for Sarah Lancashire, who pulled out of the project due to illness. Which meant that when Tamsin took over the role, she had to learn an entire play… in two-and-a-half weeks. “I just lent very heavily on Martin [Freeman, her co-star],” the actress told BBC Radio 4’s Front…

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Learning to Love Dill, Russia’s Ubiquitous Herb

When I first travelled to Russia, on a summer program in college, I had very little grasp of practical Russian vocabulary. In school, I’d spent two years studying the language, but the curriculum had focussed on grammar, taught through modified excerpts of nineteenth-century literature. While I could recite a verse of Pushkin and challenge someone to a duel, I did not yet know how to ask for food at a store or restaurant. During my first moments in Russia, on a dusty bus from the Kazan airport, as road signs…

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