5 crazy ways to get over shyness immediately, no drink/drugs required

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My philosophy in language learning is, always has been, and always will be to Speak From Day One.

But for many people, this is terrifying! And because I have been talking so much about how effective I’ve found using Skype and language exchange websites, or in-person meetings early on in a language project to chat with native speakers right away, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about what to do if you’re too shy to speak from day one.

So today I’m going to answer these questions.

My philosophy in language learning is, always has been, and always will be to Speak From Day One.

But for many people, this is terrifying! And because I have been talking so much about how effective I’ve found using Skype and language exchange websites, or in-person meetings early on in a language project to chat with native speakers right away, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about what to do if you’re too shy to speak from day one.

So today I’m going to answer these questions.

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I’m severely deaf and partially sighted, but have learned 5 languages. Here’s my story

Julie

So, I’m Julie Ferguson and I have nothing on Helen Keller! I am, however, severely deaf and partially sighted.

My parents realised that I had a hearing problem when I was 2 years old, though I didn’t get my first hearing aid until I was 4. Unfortunately, when I was 4, nobody could understand me babbling away in my version of English, except for my mum and my brother. Apparently, I was bad. I couldn’t even pronounce my own name (it sounded like Ooee Fehuhoh).

I was sent to speech therapy for intensive work before I started primary school, and I remember working on all those weird sounds especially “spoon”. My particular hearing loss makes it difficult to hear consonants, especially s, h, and f.

So, I’m Julie Ferguson and I have nothing on Helen Keller! I am, however, severely deaf and partially sighted.

My parents realised that I had a hearing problem when I was 2 years old, though I didn’t get my first hearing aid until I was 4. Unfortunately, when I was 4, nobody could understand me babbling away in my version of English, except for my mum and my brother. Apparently, I was bad. I couldn’t even pronounce my own name (it sounded like Ooee Fehuhoh).

I was sent to speech therapy for intensive work before I started primary school, and I remember working on all those weird sounds especially “spoon”. My particular hearing loss makes it difficult to hear consonants, especially s, h, and f.

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Encouraging quotes, Chinese proverbs with original translations, and inspirational thoughts for language learners

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I asked those following my Facebook, twitter and G+ pages what their favourite encouragement quotes or short inspirational ideas were, to inspire language learners and got some real gems! I also did my own research online and tried to include some sayings on this blog that people have really enjoyed. And finally, I searched long and […]

I asked those following my Facebook, twitter and G+ pages what their favourite encouragement quotes or short inspirational ideas were, to inspire language learners and got some real gems! I also did my own research online and tried to include some sayings on this blog that people have really enjoyed. And finally, I searched long and […]

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Contextese – the most useful language you are already fluent in

benny&chicken

I came across this strange video on a break (from my top secret project). It depicts an episode of Law & Order as if it had chickens/roosters instead of people (from an episode of the funny show “Robot chicken”). Because of that, the dialogue is nothing but gibberish clucks.

And yet, it is incredibly easy to follow what is likely being “said”, especially if you happen to know the format that Law & Order episodes tend to take. Which “clucks” did you understand?

I came across this strange video on a break (from my top secret project). It depicts an episode of Law & Order as if it had chickens/roosters instead of people (from an episode of the funny show “Robot chicken”). Because of that, the dialogue is nothing but gibberish clucks.

And yet, it is incredibly easy to follow what is likely being “said”, especially if you happen to know the format that Law & Order episodes tend to take. Which “clucks” did you understand?

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Share your success stories with us! Leave a comment to potentially inspire millions of language learners!

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In my own success story, I consider all the many friends that I have made around the world, thanks to learning new languages, to be the coolest part by far and the force that drives me to continue and try to share this wonderful experience with as many other learners as I can. Today I […]

In my own success story, I consider all the many friends that I have made around the world, thanks to learning new languages, to be the coolest part by far and the force that drives me to continue and try to share this wonderful experience with as many other learners as I can. Today I […]

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The many reasons (32 so far) why we DON’T succeed in learning languages, and retorts for why we can. Let’s hear your reasons/solutions in the comments!

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Today’s post is my serious attempt to collect every possible reason why we don’t learn a language in list format, and to offer possible suggestions to overcome them, or to request your solutions to these problems! I will be updating this list to add new reasons based on your comments. (Note that in the post after this, […]

Today’s post is my serious attempt to collect every possible reason why we don’t learn a language in list format, and to offer possible suggestions to overcome them, or to request your solutions to these problems! I will be updating this list to add new reasons based on your comments. (Note that in the post after this, […]

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Fail fast and fail often: why many failures can be the key to success

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan As I wrote earlier in the week, my […]

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan As I wrote earlier in the week, my […]

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Oops! Logically analysing when something goes wrong, rather than resorting to excuses

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Over the years, I’ve had a lot of missions, goals, projects or whatever you want to call them (16 of which I’ve blogged about, so far) to learn languages and take on many interesting other objectives. Generally on this blog I try to see the good in what I can, and I consider each project […]

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of missions, goals, projects or whatever you want to call them (16 of which I’ve blogged about, so far) to learn languages and take on many interesting other objectives. Generally on this blog I try to see the good in what I can, and I consider each project […]

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The Language Gene delusion

jean

When you understand “language genes” to be something that some people have and you don’t, then you’re being ridiculous. I’ve seen this in many iterations: language talent, gene, skill, knack etc., and today I’m going to tell you why I think it’s all nonsense. The part of your genetic makeup that helps you deconstruct and […]

When you understand “language genes” to be something that some people have and you don’t, then you’re being ridiculous. I’ve seen this in many iterations: language talent, gene, skill, knack etc., and today I’m going to tell you why I think it’s all nonsense. The part of your genetic makeup that helps you deconstruct and […]

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Why getting mistaken for a native speaker is much easier than you think

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Someone thinking you are a native speaker of your target language is the holy grail of language learners. It’s something many of us dream about, but then sigh to ourselves that it’s just never going to happen. Well, today I want to burst that bubble and tell you that many people genuinely thinking you are […]

Someone thinking you are a native speaker of your target language is the holy grail of language learners. It’s something many of us dream about, but then sigh to ourselves that it’s just never going to happen. Well, today I want to burst that bubble and tell you that many people genuinely thinking you are […]

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Benny’s 3.25 month video: questions that waste your time

Here you go! My 3 month and one week Mandarin video! [Video also available on Youku. Click CC to enable captions in English, Simplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese] My interviewer is John Pasden, who writes at the 10-year-strong blog dedicated to all things Chinese-learning, Sinosplice. He is a co-host at Chinesepod (which I’ve been listening […]

Here you go! My 3 month and one week Mandarin video! [Video also available on Youku. Click CC to enable captions in English, Simplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese] My interviewer is John Pasden, who writes at the 10-year-strong blog dedicated to all things Chinese-learning, Sinosplice. He is a co-host at Chinesepod (which I’ve been listening […]

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When climbing any mountain, focus on the steps, not on how steep it is

machu

Back in December, I hiked a segment of the Inca trail over several days to eventually end up at Machu Picchu. This photo is of me looking on to Huayna Picchu (in Quechua, literally “the young peak”, where Machu Picchu is “the old peak”); about 400m (or 1,300ft) of vertical hiking that I still had […]

Back in December, I hiked a segment of the Inca trail over several days to eventually end up at Machu Picchu. This photo is of me looking on to Huayna Picchu (in Quechua, literally “the young peak”, where Machu Picchu is “the old peak”); about 400m (or 1,300ft) of vertical hiking that I still had […]

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Unnecessary elitist standards: get rid of them and fluency is yours for the taking

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When discussing language learning with people who have unrealistic standards for what they must have in their second language before they consider their level good enough, I’m left amazed at the screamingly obvious issues they don’t seem to be aware of: The elitist standards you require are something that we may not even have for […]

When discussing language learning with people who have unrealistic standards for what they must have in their second language before they consider their level good enough, I’m left amazed at the screamingly obvious issues they don’t seem to be aware of: The elitist standards you require are something that we may not even have for […]

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No pain no gain

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I’ve spent 3 hours today looking like this, and currently have a splitting headache. To contrast with yesterday’s post, where I talk about comfort in the language in the pre-fluency stage, I thought I’d give you another glimpse into the huge amount of discomfort I’m also going through a lot of the time. Since I […]

I’ve spent 3 hours today looking like this, and currently have a splitting headache. To contrast with yesterday’s post, where I talk about comfort in the language in the pre-fluency stage, I thought I’d give you another glimpse into the huge amount of discomfort I’m also going through a lot of the time. Since I […]

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The underestimated usefulness of pre-fluency (My 2 month Mandarin video)

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[Captions in traditional and simplified Chinese, as well as in English. Youku link for those in mainland China] Keeping up with the video-every-two-weeks plan, here is my two month point! After a bumpy start, where I hesitate a bit because of being quite aware of the camera, once I got used to it, you can […]

[Captions in traditional and simplified Chinese, as well as in English. Youku link for those in mainland China] Keeping up with the video-every-two-weeks plan, here is my two month point! After a bumpy start, where I hesitate a bit because of being quite aware of the camera, once I got used to it, you can […]

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