The ONLY way to speak a language


There are thousands of ways to learn a language; Pimsleur, LingQ, Livemocha, Rosetta Stone, lots of studying, silently absorbing (click the links to see why I don’t fully recommend learning these ways). There is also SRS, image association, singing along to your favourite songs, and lots of other things that I do recommend. You can […]


29 life lessons learned in travelling the world for 8 years straight


This blog post was written on my 8 year travel anniversary in 2011. In 2013 I celebrated my TEN year travel anniversary with a much more visual representation of the top ten lessons learned in travelling the world, including the absolute best footage from my travels, and you can hear me speak out the lessons […]


Another myth busted: Northern Europeans DON’T only speak English to you


  There are many myths about language learning that I’m trying to dispel as nothing more than lazy excuses on this blog. The fact that you are too old, your destiny (genes, background etc.) is against you, you can’t afford to travel and there are no opportunities to speak where you live or systems to […]


Ask WHY first (not how/what): the most important issue ignored in language learning


In years of constantly comparing the many successful vs unsuccessful language learners to see what really makes them different, I can share another huge realisation with you today. Many of the major questions most people start asking themselves in language learning are, in my opinion, things that should be coming much later in the priority […]


The Pareto (80-20) principle in language learning


Being a perfectionist when it comes to language learning is one of the main reasons so many people never end up using a language they’ve studied. They are paralysed by the thought of making a mistake. They don’t know all the words & all the grammar, therefore they “can’t” speak yet. It’s sad how much […]


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


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 […]


6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer [video]


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: […]


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


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 […]


Perfectionist 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 […]


Unleash your confidence


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 […]


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


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 […]


The importance of experimentation over blind faith


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, […]