Why adults are better learners than kids (So NO, you’re not too old)

child

Kids are great! I was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for several years in several countries, teaching mostly children, and I could see how quick they were at learning a second language. Of course, who of us doesn’t want to go back to our childhood, when things were simpler and the world […]

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6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer [video]

volare

Now I can finally share this video with you – it combines clever ASL videos I keep seeing online that sign lyrics to songs (one example shared here), with my need to have the entire Internet hear me sing in as many languages as possible 😛 I give you, 6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer: […]

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Communicating without words – my fun non-spoken train ride in India

train

Words. Who needs them? Of course, if you want a really high academic level in a language then learning vocabulary, by whatever way you do it, will get you there. Most exams will test you on your memory capacity for even some obscure words that you’ll never actually need in real life. And some people […]

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Perfectionist paralysis

paralysis

Perfectionism is usually thought of as a desirable quality to have. You can’t get better than “the best”, right? Well, in my opinion perfectionism is among the worst possible attributes a person can have if they really want to achieve anything in life. Yes, high standards are important, and yes, if what you do is […]

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Unleash your confidence

UYC

People know I feel that confidence is an absolutely crucial part of generally improving your life and especially for being able to speak languages well, but it’s been pointed out that I have a somewhat insensitive way of telling people to be more confident. I feel that the slap-in-the-face approach of telling people not to […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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… Human Beings 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, […]

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The Captain Jack Sparrow approach to language learning

pirates2

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 […]

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