Why my destiny was to never speak Spanish and how I did it anyway

spanish

It’s easy to look at someone who already speaks a second language and just think that it comes naturally to them. Perhaps if you see something like the video of me sharing my salsa learning experience in pretty good Spanish, you might think that speaking Spanish was just my destiny. I’m “naturally talented” with languages […]

It’s easy to look at someone who already speaks a second language and just think that it comes naturally to them. Perhaps if you see something like the video of me sharing my salsa learning experience in pretty good Spanish, you might think that speaking Spanish was just my destiny. I’m “naturally talented” with languages […]

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The most important thing to think about before doing something important or nerve-wrecking

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You see the native speaker of your target language, that girl/boy you like, an important person you admire or you could be moments away from clicking “send” on an important e-mail or job application, or pressing that last digit to make an important phonecall. And then it starts: the self-doubt, the reasons you’ll fail and […]

You see the native speaker of your target language, that girl/boy you like, an important person you admire or you could be moments away from clicking “send” on an important e-mail or job application, or pressing that last digit to make an important phonecall. And then it starts: the self-doubt, the reasons you’ll fail and […]

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The importance of experimentation over blind faith

experiment

As an engineer with a scientific background, I am quite sceptical to wild claims, in life, explaining how the universe works, and in language learning. Even in the days of ebooks and smartphones we still apply backward centuries-old thinking to concepts that should have died out long ago. While some would call it closed mindedness, […]

As an engineer with a scientific background, I am quite sceptical to wild claims, in life, explaining how the universe works, and in language learning. Even in the days of ebooks and smartphones we still apply backward centuries-old thinking to concepts that should have died out long ago. While some would call it closed mindedness, […]

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Introducing the best language learning system in the world: HB 2.0

strike_a_pose

What’s the best language learning system? So many people keep asking me this question, so I want to settle it once and for all. It’s not Rosetta Stone or LiveMocha, it’s not Pimsleur, it’s not LingQ, it’s not any book you can find in your local library, or any podcast that you can download. If […]

What’s the best language learning system? So many people keep asking me this question, so I want to settle it once and for all. It’s not Rosetta Stone or LiveMocha, it’s not Pimsleur, it’s not LingQ, it’s not any book you can find in your local library, or any podcast that you can download. If […]

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Why it doesn’t matter whose or what method you follow

sly

No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s learning a language, trying to become a writer, starting a business etc. it seems like everyone these days has a step-by-step layout about precisely how you can succeed in it. It’s hard to decide which one to follow, especially when some of them conflict with one another. That’s […]

No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s learning a language, trying to become a writer, starting a business etc. it seems like everyone these days has a step-by-step layout about precisely how you can succeed in it. It’s hard to decide which one to follow, especially when some of them conflict with one another. That’s […]

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The engineering mentality for language learning, being ready & input vs output

engineer

For those of you who don’t know my background, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering and actually worked as an engineer several times. Perhaps you would think that it’s hardly the pre-requisite for becoming a full time language hacker, but I actually feel that my engineering background has been a big contributor for […]

For those of you who don’t know my background, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering and actually worked as an engineer several times. Perhaps you would think that it’s hardly the pre-requisite for becoming a full time language hacker, but I actually feel that my engineering background has been a big contributor for […]

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Fake it ’till you make it

king

In about a month I’ll be starting the first of several intensive missions of 2011 to learn to speak a new language well starting from scratch. It will be totally unrelated to any language I’ve learned to date, and yet I’ll be speaking it confidently from day one. How can I be so confident about […]

In about a month I’ll be starting the first of several intensive missions of 2011 to learn to speak a new language well starting from scratch. It will be totally unrelated to any language I’ve learned to date, and yet I’ll be speaking it confidently from day one. How can I be so confident about […]

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The shy delusion

introvert

This is another post that is going to ruffle some feathers, but it has to be said. YOU ARE NOT SHY. Stop describing yourself as such. How can I be so bold as to claim that almost nobody reading this is actually shy? Well, because everyone says they are shy. Sound contradictory? When pretty much […]

This is another post that is going to ruffle some feathers, but it has to be said. YOU ARE NOT SHY. Stop describing yourself as such. How can I be so bold as to claim that almost nobody reading this is actually shy? Well, because everyone says they are shy. Sound contradictory? When pretty much […]

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The best investment you can make to learn anything

halloween

Every day I get several e-mails asking me what the “best” language learning course is and my answer to what they should “invest” in is always the same: People If you want to speak a language well, the amount of money or quantity of course material or choosing the “best” one to invest in, or […]

Every day I get several e-mails asking me what the “best” language learning course is and my answer to what they should “invest” in is always the same: People If you want to speak a language well, the amount of money or quantity of course material or choosing the “best” one to invest in, or […]

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The Captain Jack Sparrow approach to language learning

pirate

Of all the idols to have when learning languages (I’m sure there are plenty of amazing polyglots throughout history), mine is quite an unlikely one: Captain Jack Sparrow (from Pirates of the Caribbean). As far as I know, his character doesn’t even speak any foreign languages, but he has all the traits I feel are […]

Of all the idols to have when learning languages (I’m sure there are plenty of amazing polyglots throughout history), mine is quite an unlikely one: Captain Jack Sparrow (from Pirates of the Caribbean). As far as I know, his character doesn’t even speak any foreign languages, but he has all the traits I feel are […]

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Your worst enemy on the path to success? You!

confidence

Whether your goal is to lose weight, save money, or speak a language, out of the many obstacles you will encounter on your path, the biggest one by far is you. In a language-learning context I see people spending countless hours on forums and even the few blogs like this one to get the latest […]

Whether your goal is to lose weight, save money, or speak a language, out of the many obstacles you will encounter on your path, the biggest one by far is you. In a language-learning context I see people spending countless hours on forums and even the few blogs like this one to get the latest […]

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Speak! Or stop pretending you want to

speak

If you read different sources to see what language ‘experts’ have to say about mastering a language, you’ll get such vastly different advice that sometimes it’s hard to know which one to apply. Listen a lot even when you sleep, read all day, study thousands of words of vocabulary before you are ready to speak, […]

If you read different sources to see what language ‘experts’ have to say about mastering a language, you’ll get such vastly different advice that sometimes it’s hard to know which one to apply. Listen a lot even when you sleep, read all day, study thousands of words of vocabulary before you are ready to speak, […]

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How to learn a language in hours, not years

bigben

  I get told so many times that someone has been studying Spanish/French/Japanese/etc. for five, ten (or whatever) years. Despite this, in most cases, if they tell me how many years they have been studying it, it’s usually a precursor to “but… I don’t speak it!” This is usually to justify how hard their language […]

  I get told so many times that someone has been studying Spanish/French/Japanese/etc. for five, ten (or whatever) years. Despite this, in most cases, if they tell me how many years they have been studying it, it’s usually a precursor to “but… I don’t speak it!” This is usually to justify how hard their language […]

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What’s the hardest language to learn in the world?

hardest

If you’ve come here to find a detailed explanation categorising down to precisely one answer, or a small list of the toughest languages, then stop reading the post right now. I’m not in the business of discouraging people so if you are looking for some more discouragement, you’ve come to the wrong place! The term […]

If you’ve come here to find a detailed explanation categorising down to precisely one answer, or a small list of the toughest languages, then stop reading the post right now. I’m not in the business of discouraging people so if you are looking for some more discouragement, you’ve come to the wrong place! The term […]

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The ONE thing that will ultimately lead to success

one

After years of investigating what separates successful language learners from unsuccessful ones, I believe I have found the one thing that those who ultimately succeed and speak the language fluently, all have in common. It’s not the course materials they use, or their ability to travel, it’s not a particular aspect of their “method”, it’s […]

After years of investigating what separates successful language learners from unsuccessful ones, I believe I have found the one thing that those who ultimately succeed and speak the language fluently, all have in common. It’s not the course materials they use, or their ability to travel, it’s not a particular aspect of their “method”, it’s […]

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