If you really wanted to learn a new language, what would you be doing right now to make that happen?
The thing with language learning, and really with any goal or desire we have in life, is that we spend a lot of time thinking about what we want and talking about what we want, but way less time actually doing anything to get us towards that goal.
This isn’t news. People want a lot of things that they never do anything about. We all want to be in better shape. We all want to start eating healthier. We all want to learn new languages. So we start crafting these plans in our minds to start these projects “soon” or “tomorrow” or “next year” or “when we go to Paris” … and what ends up happening is that this mental process of “planning” actually tricks us into thinking that we’re on track towards our target, when in reality we have not yet taken a single step.Read the Rest!
Today, July 10th, is my 32nd birthday! But it’s also my 11 year travel anniversary.
Back in 2003 I left Ireland this day with no return ticket, and 132 months / 574 weeks / over 4,000 days later, I’m still on the road with no home or place I can call a base. Everything I own in the world weighs 23kg/50lb and comes with me.
On my 8 year travel anniversary, I wrote my site’s most popular post ever by sharing the 29 most important life lessons I learned while travelling the world. And last year on my 10 year anniversary, I took those top-10 life lessons and presented them in a professionally edited video to summarize my travels visually.
This year, I’m doing something different and sharing my most practical tips on how you can keep up long-term travel like I have, without winning the lottery (or having a mega savings). All throughout my travels – for over a decade – I’ve paid my way from money I earned while travelling.
For a while now, I’ve been working on something new that you may have picked up on when reading the blog, but that I’ve never officially announced, because it wasn’t quite ready yet!
But after months of creating, researching, recording and planning, I’m very proud to tell you all about my new premium website for Language Hackers, Fluent in 3 Months PREMIUM.
Thanks for the support!
Your support has allowed me to keep working to improve my website and develop new and better Language Hacking materials.
And while I really appreciate all the support from sales of my print-book, I should make it clear that these sales do not support my site.Even though my book is an international best seller, it has actually costed me much more than I’ve earned from it. Traditional publishing is not practical for making earnings (I knew this long before the book ever touched a shelf), and I did it solely to inspire a whole new group of potential language learners that I can’t reach through online means.
Sales of my digital products are what always keep this site afloat, so thank you very much for that Read the Rest!
Yesterday, HUNDREDS of people started a new language project and posted a video of themselves speaking their new language on day 1.
Why? Because I just created a (completely free) video course on how to start a new language from scratch and have a conversation within a week.
I call it Speak in a week, and you can join this intensive course by signing up here (if you aren’t already part of the Language Hacking League - otherwise you would have already received the first videos).
Lauren, myself and the Fi3m team have been extremely busy behind the scenes for quite some time (while travelling almost every 2 days mind you), getting this incredibly in-depth course to speak your target language ready for everyone, and we are finally launching it this week. We are so excited and the initial test run has been absolutely amazing!
It’s called the “Speak in a week” course, and consists of a daily e-mail for 7 days with everything you could possibly need to know to have your first conversation with a native speaker of the language in less than a week from now. The conversation will be very basic, but your first step to launch you forward in your progress if you feel you can’t get properly started.
And it’s completely and utterly free.
Incredible results already from just day 1!
While this is a one week long course to have an actual conversation with a native speaker, I do maintain my “speak from day 1″ attitude, and make day 1 about creating your first output in the language that others can see. This is way more powerful than speaking aloud to yourself, because you are speaking to other people.
Even taking that first step and letting others see and hear you say “Hi, my name is X, nice to meet you, bye” can make a world of a difference!
You can see the hundreds of results of just that first day already right here on the official uploads page. It really is incredible to see so many people share their first ever public outputs of the language! It’s one big collection of beginner learners supporting one another
Please visit that page and offer encouragement and feedback (especially if you see your native language spoken by people for the first time in their lives, or if you see that someone is learning the same language as you!)
Here is just a sample of some really cool uploads:
Sign up to join in on the fun!
Once again, here is that sign-up box. This will also give you weekly language news (more on that soon) that is tirelessly researched by Fi3m member Joseph, with contributions from myself and the rest of the team, from around the entire web.
If you have already been enjoying the weekly course so far, share your thoughts in the comments below
Time for the final update on Lauren’ss 6-week-challenge! She successfully completed her mission, and was able to socialize, make new friends, and have fun in Esperanto. You can see it all happen in the above video.
I’ll hand the blog over to her, to share her thoughts:
The 6 biggest lessons from learning to speak my first non-native language
1. Everything seems impossible at first
I still remember how inept I felt during my first hour of study when everything was unclear –how the language sounded, what each word meant. But with time I started to notice the patterns and got used to the sounds. I feel like going into my next language project, I’ll be more aware that those feelings are just temporary, and be able to push through them much better.
2. I get bored quickly
Moving forward, I’m going to plan to make switching up my language practice part of my routine. I got bored at first when I tried to practice the same materials (Lernu, Anki, Memrise) for several days in a row, so it was really helpful to have Benny there to suggest alternatives. But he doesn’t speak the next language I plan to learn though, so I will have to find alternatives myself
For my next language, I am going to take Polyglot Kent’s suggestion and try to incorporate memorizing the lyrics to songs in the language, which sounds like a really good way to help words stick in your mind.
3. It helps a LOT to have something or someone holding you accountable
The first time someone “friended” me on Memrise, I studied on Memrise twice as much that week. Just seeing their study points add up on the Memrise scoreboard motivated me to put more points on my scoreboard, too. And of course, having a weekly video to make was SO helpful in making sure I didn’t put off study time. I suggested to Benny that I need to have a language “sponsor” to help me stay on track. Which brings me to my next lesson:
4. Talking to someone on Skype for the first time was extremely intimidating
Before my Skype chat last week, I was really, really, really nervous. I don’t know why, I just was. And from knowing how I felt at that moment, I don’t think there’s anything I can say to help anyone else who experiences the same “pre-talk” nerves that I did. But what I can say is this: once the call started, I was fine. And my language partner was very nice.
And I’m really glad I did it! I feel like now I really understand why more people don’t “speak from day one” because it is really scary. But just try to push through it! Or find a language sponsor who will guilt you if you don’t!
5. Skipping study days sets you back
Studying for 3.5 hours twice a week is not the same thing as studying for 1 hour every day. I really feel it’s important to expose yourself to the language at least a little bit every day or else you’ll end up spending time in your study sessions remembering what you learned last time.
6. Teaching yourself a new language makes you feel really good
I really like the idea that I don’t need to rely on anyone else to teach me a language, but that anyone really can just get online and teach it to themselves. I found people to chat to for free on Lernu and I found my Skype partner through an Esperanto Facebook group. And I feel confident that I will be just as able to guide myself in learning my next language as I was to in Esperanto. I am really, really excited to see what I can achieve moving forward!
One last thing:
I will definitely continue to improve my Esperanto!
If anyone is wondering whether or not I thought learning Esperanto was “worth it” – definitely, yes. The community is extremely welcoming, the language is really fun to use, and studying it taught me a lot about how to learn a language in general. I’ve already started reading a book in Esperanto called “La Krimo de Katrina” and after that I plan to read the Esperanto version of Harry Potter!
Thanks Lauren! And of course, she will be using Esperanto as a springboard to help her learn her next language, which we’ll announce next week
We are now just a few days away from the Polyglot Conference that marks the end of Lauren’s 6-week project to learn Esperanto, and she’ll get a chance to use it to make new friends!
Because of that, rather than throw her in the deep end, in this last video I put her face-to-face (digitally) with an Esperanto speaker she didn’t know and she had to make conversation. Unlike in the last video, she only prepared a couple of questions, but most of her dialogue is spontaneous.
Considering we had some connection problems, I think she did a great job and is more than ready to meet Esperanto speakers. Let us know your thoughts in the comments
Time for another weekly project update! We have been really busy this week since getting to Amsterdam (fun things coming on the blog very soon!) so we focused the video on a chat with Lauren.
Since the first conversations we tend to have with new people we meet tend to be predictable, I told Lauren some example questions I’d like to ask her and she prepared her answers in advance. This kind of conversation may be the kind she may have on meeting someone and using the language for the first time, so it’s really helpful to know what she wants to say in advance.
Even spontaneous conversations can follow similar patterns, and as beginner learners we can take advantage of that! Read the Rest!
This last week was a pretty crazy one! We left Ireland by driving to the ferry port, getting a ferry (with the car) across to Wales, driving to Manchester, flying from Manchester to Cherleroi, getting a train to Brussels, and then on to Bruges, and finally in AMSTERDAM. Wow!
To mix things up a little, I passed the commentary microphone over to Lauren this week! She prepared what she wanted to say and wrote it all out herself. I only glanced at it, so a few minor mistakes may have snuck through but you can hear how she is doing to use the language with a prepared script. You also get to see how we got around studying without Internet (since we rely on websites like Lernu/Memrise a lot), and see some funny moments in our interactions.
Check it out and enjoy this week’s fun update! Looking forward to your comments as always
My award winning current Youtube channel, with real live examples of me using my target languages, several viral hits, as well as cultural and travel updates through other languages:
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See the guy at the top-right and in the main image of all posts (other than guest posts)? That's me Benny! I have been travelling for almost a decade, while discovering new cultures and learning new languages and encourage others to try to learn their target language too. You can read more about my story and about this website here.