New How-To video series: Language Learning resources (& 6 week Esperanto challenge)

anki

After months of book tours, and enough of a work backlog that I’ve had to hire full-time help, it’s finally time for me to get back into making videos again! :D

Since this year I’ve decided to focus on improving the languages I already know, I wanted to give you a look into the process of how I go about slowly improving my languages over the long term, maintaining them, and pushing myself into mastery in my top languages.

As such, I’ll be making a heap of new videos that I can produce with much more consistency than I ever did during my hectic intensive learning projects!

After months of book tours, and enough of a work backlog that I’ve had to hire full-time help, it’s finally time for me to get back into making videos again! :D

Since this year I’ve decided to focus on improving the languages I already know, I wanted to give you a look into the process of how I go about slowly improving my languages over the long term, maintaining them, and pushing myself into mastery in my top languages.

As such, I’ll be making a heap of new videos that I can produce with much more consistency than I ever did during my hectic intensive learning projects!

MORE


Learning Spanish over 11 weeks: Well edited video showing progress of two learners

Update to my Japanese project coming tomorrow! Until then though, I thought I’d share this excellent video by my friend Scott Young, who has guest posted here and whose Spanish project I introduced you to 3 months ago. This video was edited by Vat, who was also learning Spanish intensively. I think it’s an amazing […]

Update to my Japanese project coming tomorrow! Until then though, I thought I’d share this excellent video by my friend Scott Young, who has guest posted here and whose Spanish project I introduced you to 3 months ago. This video was edited by Vat, who was also learning Spanish intensively. I think it’s an amazing […]

MORE


Benny’s first time speaking Japanese in person? Not quite! [video at Manga Hall event]

benny japanese 3

Note: While I was initially aiming for 3 months, unfortunately preparations for my published book took up all of my time and I had to end the project at this 2 month point. Summary of the project is given here, but this video below represents the end point of the 2-months that were intensive in […]

Note: While I was initially aiming for 3 months, unfortunately preparations for my published book took up all of my time and I had to end the project at this 2 month point. Summary of the project is given here, but this video below represents the end point of the 2-months that were intensive in […]

MORE


Benny’s Japanese: Skype conversation over the half-way point [+ new language discussion channel]

photo

This week, I can finally do what I had wanted to do last week and give you a full example of how my conversations tend to be going, right now a little after my half-way point in the Japanese project!

At this stage, I can handle straightforward question and answer exchanges pretty well, but my grammar and vocab still need serious improving, and will continue to be the focus for the next weeks. I’m also not so confident about explaining a concept for a few minutes and did a really poor job at describing what “Couchsurfing” was, especially when the lack of important vocab held me back.

As well as this, my accent and pronunciation need lots of improvement. I’m aware of such issues, but they will definitely take the back seat to higher priorities for now.

This week, I can finally do what I had wanted to do last week and give you a full example of how my conversations tend to be going, right now a little after my half-way point in the Japanese project!

At this stage, I can handle straightforward question and answer exchanges pretty well, but my grammar and vocab still need serious improving, and will continue to be the focus for the next weeks. I’m also not so confident about explaining a concept for a few minutes and did a really poor job at describing what “Couchsurfing” was, especially when the lack of important vocab held me back.

As well as this, my accent and pronunciation need lots of improvement. I’m aware of such issues, but they will definitely take the back seat to higher priorities for now.

MORE


Very quick look at Benny’s current Japanese level. Suggestions (with whom, about what) for longer upcoming video updates?

quick

Sorry that this video is so short! Starting next week, I’ll get back into weekly updates until the end of the project with maybe just one break (so that’s six more videos up until the week my 3 months runs out), but I hope this teaser snapshot shows you more or less how I’m doing right now!

The reason the video isn’t longer is because my Skype recording software crashed after 4 minutes, which is a pity because Yuri asked me interesting questions and we had a real exchange (you only hear her say a couple of words in this video), discussing how my parents visited me here in Valencia.

Sorry that this video is so short! Starting next week, I’ll get back into weekly updates until the end of the project with maybe just one break (so that’s six more videos up until the week my 3 months runs out), but I hope this teaser snapshot shows you more or less how I’m doing right now!

The reason the video isn’t longer is because my Skype recording software crashed after 4 minutes, which is a pity because Yuri asked me interesting questions and we had a real exchange (you only hear her say a couple of words in this video), discussing how my parents visited me here in Valencia.

MORE


English words in Japanese [music video with Japanese learners]

benny japanese2

Wednesday was my one month point in the three month Japanese challenge, so to really make my mark I wanted to record one last video with a prepared script before I get into recording spontaneous Skype (or in person) chats for the next two months. To really make it count, I decided to record a music video!

This video is quite an oddity because it is entirely in Japanese… and yet many of you who will have never learned any Japanese will understand quite a lot of it even without reading the lyrics that are edited into the video. And that’s because the video is made up entirely of words Japanese has borrowed from English, but said as closely as possible to the Japanese pronunciation (written in the Katakana script every time).

Wednesday was my one month point in the three month Japanese challenge, so to really make my mark I wanted to record one last video with a prepared script before I get into recording spontaneous Skype (or in person) chats for the next two months. To really make it count, I decided to record a music video!

This video is quite an oddity because it is entirely in Japanese… and yet many of you who will have never learned any Japanese will understand quite a lot of it even without reading the lyrics that are edited into the video. And that’s because the video is made up entirely of words Japanese has borrowed from English, but said as closely as possible to the Japanese pronunciation (written in the Katakana script every time).

MORE


Tour of my home in Japanese after learning it for 2 weeks!

tour

A little tradition I’ve kept up since starting the blog, is to give you a video tour of almost every place I temporarily call home! For instance, in English I showed you my penthouse in Rio, my lovely flat in Medellín, the flat around the corner from the Danube in Budapest, and the beach cottage […]

A little tradition I’ve kept up since starting the blog, is to give you a video tour of almost every place I temporarily call home! For instance, in English I showed you my penthouse in Rio, my lovely flat in Medellín, the flat around the corner from the Danube in Budapest, and the beach cottage […]

MORE


How to keep the conversation in your target language, even as an absolute beginner [Video of Benny Skyping in Japanese]

week1skype

Please note that this article was written in September 2013. In a change to my initial plan to wait a month before uploading conversations, here is my 10-day update – a video entirely in Japanese, and absolutely and utterly non-scripted (apart from the intro). I simply messaged my Facebook page, targetting just those in Japan, […]

Please note that this article was written in September 2013. In a change to my initial plan to wait a month before uploading conversations, here is my 10-day update – a video entirely in Japanese, and absolutely and utterly non-scripted (apart from the intro). I simply messaged my Facebook page, targetting just those in Japan, […]

MORE


You have to start somewhere! My first few days learning Japanese [+video of day 3, reading Kana]

kana1

As you know, earlier this week I started my project to try to reach fluency in Japanese in 3 months! As promised, I am going to be uploading very regular updates of my progress, and when better to do that than by recording my first attempt at a Japanese only video, just three days after […]

As you know, earlier this week I started my project to try to reach fluency in Japanese in 3 months! As promised, I am going to be uploading very regular updates of my progress, and when better to do that than by recording my first attempt at a Japanese only video, just three days after […]

MORE


“Hacking language learning”: My new and improved TEDx talk that includes the best polyglot videos online. Please share!!

tedxwar

I really hope this new and improved TEDx talk will get lots of views, inspire many new language learners and even be considered to be used in the main TED stream to ultimately reach millions!

Even though you may be well aware of my language learning advice, this video shares a new aspect of why I failed at my first attempt to learn Spanish which I have not discussed on the blog yet, and I go through the five most commonly used reasons why adults don’t learn languages and explain ways around them. It also includes clips of the most impressive polyglot videos online within the talk!

I really hope this new and improved TEDx talk will get lots of views, inspire many new language learners and even be considered to be used in the main TED stream to ultimately reach millions!

Even though you may be well aware of my language learning advice, this video shares a new aspect of why I failed at my first attempt to learn Spanish which I have not discussed on the blog yet, and I go through the five most commonly used reasons why adults don’t learn languages and explain ways around them. It also includes clips of the most impressive polyglot videos online within the talk!

MORE


“Skype me maybe” – Inspiring music video sung by 17 polyglots in over 30 languages

miniskype

After a LOT of work to prepare the lyrics, round people together, send way too many emails, have contributors pick verses and languages, give them feedback for several different takes, blend it all together, get through the immense task of video and sound editing, and making sure everyone was happy with it… “Skype me maybe” is finally ready for the world! :)

As you can see, the storyline is that I’m a hopeless language learner, ready to give up, when 16 of the Internet’s most famous polyglots show up to give me some encouraging words… in the tune of Carla Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe” that was popular this year, and inover thirty languages. Yes, it’s as crazy and as good as it sounds! :)

After a LOT of work to prepare the lyrics, round people together, send way too many emails, have contributors pick verses and languages, give them feedback for several different takes, blend it all together, get through the immense task of video and sound editing, and making sure everyone was happy with it… “Skype me maybe” is finally ready for the world! :)

As you can see, the storyline is that I’m a hopeless language learner, ready to give up, when 16 of the Internet’s most famous polyglots show up to give me some encouraging words… in the tune of Carla Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe” that was popular this year, and inover thirty languages. Yes, it’s as crazy and as good as it sounds! :)

MORE


Mission update: There are no quantum leaps in language learning progress – but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprint!

44days

Today’s video marks the half-way point of my mission to learn Egyptian Arabic to fluency in 3 months, while in Brazil. The above video shows how I’m doing after 44 days, and you can follow along with the basic interaction by activating the subtitles in English, original Arabic, or Portuguese.

Unlike in the previous video, this time I tried to interact much more with the person I was talking to.

Today it was Henry, an Egyptian who lives in Australia, and it was the first time we ever talked. He’s a reader of this blog, and offered to let me record our Skype conversation.

I’m glad to say that I understood over 80% of what he said to me (although of course, he was speaking slowly and basically for my benefit). I think I explained my points more or less at a good enough level considering I’ve only been learning the language for about 6 weeks, although I am indeed speaking very choppy and could have used much better words.

Today’s video marks the half-way point of my mission to learn Egyptian Arabic to fluency in 3 months, while in Brazil. The above video shows how I’m doing after 44 days, and you can follow along with the basic interaction by activating the subtitles in English, original Arabic, or Portuguese.

Unlike in the previous video, this time I tried to interact much more with the person I was talking to.

Today it was Henry, an Egyptian who lives in Australia, and it was the first time we ever talked. He’s a reader of this blog, and offered to let me record our Skype conversation.

I’m glad to say that I understood over 80% of what he said to me (although of course, he was speaking slowly and basically for my benefit). I think I explained my points more or less at a good enough level considering I’ve only been learning the language for about 6 weeks, although I am indeed speaking very choppy and could have used much better words.

MORE


Translation: Frequently Asked Questions for translators (video in French with subtitles)

trad

This video was actually recorded two months ago, just before I left Brussels. I had the chance to finally meet up with Christine Schmit in person – she is the one who translated the Language Hacking Guide to French (here is the sales page in French for “Domptez les langues étrangères”). She is from Luxembourg, but made the trip to spend a few hours with me. You can see more about her on her site Languages and Translation.

As you may already know, I worked as a freelance translator for several years myself too – specifically just for technical documents related to my specialisation of electronic engineering. You can read in detail about my background before getting into it, and how I managed to start my location independent work as a translator.

This video was actually recorded two months ago, just before I left Brussels. I had the chance to finally meet up with Christine Schmit in person – she is the one who translated the Language Hacking Guide to French (here is the sales page in French for “Domptez les langues étrangères”). She is from Luxembourg, but made the trip to spend a few hours with me. You can see more about her on her site Languages and Translation.

As you may already know, I worked as a freelance translator for several years myself too – specifically just for technical documents related to my specialisation of electronic engineering. You can read in detail about my background before getting into it, and how I managed to start my location independent work as a translator.

MORE


Your ego is the reason you are not speaking the language (My 3 week video: speaking with a native)

Week 3

One thing that separates the men from the boys in language learning is: Can you let go of your ego?

Perfectionist and elitist learners will never accept being perceived as less than geniuses the entire time, so they will never expose themselves to sounding “stupid”, as they may perceive it.

I learned a long time ago that speaking like “Tarzan” is an absolutely necessary stage to go through, so you get used to using the language in SOME way. You learn to get used to the embarrassment and get on with learning quicker.

In this video, you see me desperately trying to explain the simple sentence “I’m recording this Skype call” at first, and then later find a way to work around not knowing how to say “go out”, by saying “in the street”, rather than give up and say it in English.

One thing that separates the men from the boys in language learning is: Can you let go of your ego?

Perfectionist and elitist learners will never accept being perceived as less than geniuses the entire time, so they will never expose themselves to sounding “stupid”, as they may perceive it.

I learned a long time ago that speaking like “Tarzan” is an absolutely necessary stage to go through, so you get used to using the language in SOME way. You learn to get used to the embarrassment and get on with learning quicker.

In this video, you see me desperately trying to explain the simple sentence “I’m recording this Skype call” at first, and then later find a way to work around not knowing how to say “go out”, by saying “in the street”, rather than give up and say it in English.

MORE


Interview in Irish (as Gaeilge): Raidió na Life, modern Irish use and how I got into the language myself

rnal

[Quick reminder: the next language mission will be announced in the Language Hacking League email list next week! Enter your email in the top-right of the site to find out in advance of the blog announcement] Check out today’s video interview with Diarmuid Ó Mathúna from Raidió na Life, and don’t forget to click Youtube’s […]

[Quick reminder: the next language mission will be announced in the Language Hacking League email list next week! Enter your email in the top-right of the site to find out in advance of the blog announcement] Check out today’s video interview with Diarmuid Ó Mathúna from Raidió na Life, and don’t forget to click Youtube’s […]

MORE