“I’d love to learn a new language, but I’m just terrible at it. Plus, the best time to learn a language is when you’re young.” People say this to me a lot. I can relate. When I decided to quit my job and take a sabbatical year, in part to regain my fluency in Spanish, […]MORE
True story: on a trip to France I walked into a coifferie believing that it would be a coffee shop A coifferie is not a coffee shop. It’s a hair salon. Boy did I feel silly. And a little guilty about my lack of French skills. Have you ever felt bad when travelling because of […]MORE
Last year was incredibly busy, but productive and fun. My little daughter had just turned two. She was enrolled in early development programs with a “Kindergarten is Too Late” approach. We had no nannies or grannies to help clean our apartment or feed a hungry husband (a standard set of responsibilities for a Russian housewife […]MORE
Today’s post is from Lauren, updating you on her plans for her Russian project, and discussing how she’s planning to start learning the Russian cases. Over to you, Lauren! It’s been well over 3 months since I started the Russian project, so it’s time for me to regroup and reflect. In the end, I was […]MORE
I’ve now been studying Russian for 2 hours a day for 6 weeks. In some ways, I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks. In other ways, I can’t believe it’s only been 6 weeks! I’m so pleased that I’m able to actually communicate in my “Tarzan” Russian with my teachers – some of which […]MORE
Two weeks into Lauren’s Russian in 3 Months mission, it’s time for her first update. She is on a mission to reach a conversational level of Russian by teaching herself, without any formal classes. In this article she’ll share the exact strategies she’s been using to fast track her Russian learning over the past 14 […]MORE
As you might already know, my partner Lauren is learning Russian. But she’s been making slow progress. Why? I suspect it’s because something really important has been missing from her project… A deadline. That changes today. We’ve decided to put Lauren on the spot and share her journey with all of you, by documenting her […]MORE
Since I’ve decided to reboot my Mandarin learning project, I got into regular Skype lessons and was aiming to use it while in Singapore. The video below shows this process of de-rusting my old Mandarin and reaching this first minor milestone! An overview of the video: 00:00 – 01:27 My first lesson back into Mandarin […]MORE
After devoting the majority of this year to meeting aspiring new language learners to give them my best advice face-to-face, I can now get back to focusing on my own goals! I am a strong believer in intensive missions at the start of language projects – it skyrockets us forward at what is undoubtedly the […]MORE
Time for the final update on Lauren’s 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 video at the bottom of the post. But first, I’ll hand the blog over to her, to share her thoughts: […]MORE
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.MORE
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.MORE
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.MORE
Time for another progress update on the makings of a new polyglot… from scratch! We are recording literally every single second of language learning and use of the language, so the greatest realizations can be caught on camera.
The goal of this week was initially to get comfortable using the language in other senses, like communicating via email with people.
I have been coaching Lauren, rather than teaching her, and wanted her to get exposure to Esperanto in as many ways as possible other than talking to me, to give her similar conditions to any other learner. I rarely ever translate things for her, and mostly answer her questions with another question to help her find the answer herself better.MORE
I have had many language learning projects myself, but this one is the first one that I get to document of another person. Lauren, my girlfriend, had the great idea that we should have the camera rolling every single second that she is studying, speaking, using or otherwise getting some kind of exposure to Esperanto.
Over the space of 6 days we had over seven and a half hours of footage, and I edited the best realizations down into today’s 13 minute video (above). I hope you enjoy it! This way you can see the gradual but definite progress of a genuine beginner language learner to a more confident speaker, from start to finishMORE