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Language Hacking tips for English speaking travellers (My TBEX talk)

| 44 comments | Category: learning languages

Here it is! My first time ever speaking in front of such a large audience!

The video is 30 minutes long and covers some tips and encouragement that I’ve mentioned on the blog at various times and which are covered in much more detail in the Language Hacking Guide of course. Since the audience was mostly travellers, I focused on short-term abilities to speak while in the country.

I was worried about how it would go or if I’d get through everything, and in the end I only covered a third of my notes before I went to questions! 30 minutes flew by!

As well as giving this talk I was also on two panels (for two full hours on the same day), talking about branding and working within a niche to help people interested in growing their website. It’s been a hectic weekend for me! But once I was done contributing, I was very glad to spend time with some amazing people, and good friends of mine. There are far too many to list!!

Many thanks to TBEX (Travel Blog EXchange) for putting on such a great weekend, and for giving me this fantastic opportunity to attempt to get through to so many influential people (other bloggers, many of which have wide audiences), and convince them to stop making excuses and just speak the language of the country they are visiting! I’m already hearing some success stories from those at the event who have been trying out my tips and I look forward to sharing their stories with you.

I’ve had a great two weeks in North America, here in Vancouver for this event and also in Portland for the “World Domination Summit”. I’ve met some incredible people, and it’s great to mingle and party with similarly minded people and other bloggers. We talk about many different topics, but in our own way we are trying to use the Internet as our own little platform to improve the world.

After these two weeks of speaking English, it’s time for me to get back to some language hacking, and start the next mission (on Thursday) ;)

Hopefully this is the first of many such talks I’ll give – I can already see a few ways I can improve on it for next time. If you have any thoughts on the talk, let me know in the comments below!

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  • http://matadornetwork.com Carlo Alcos

    Hey Benny…was nice to finally meet in person. I really enjoyed your talk, one of the highlights of tbex for sure. Keep up the great work! Peace.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Was great to meet the Matador team finally!! I love your site and look forward to contributing to it again soon ;)
      Great meeting you personally as well. We’ll talk more at another similar event I’m sure! Thanks a lot for the kind words about my talk – I hope those at TBEX will share it with others to encourage people to learn languages!

  • http://bangbangsquest.com/blog Alecia @ Bang-Bang’s Quest…

    Benny, I just wanted to say congratulations on your talk!!  Look at you go!  I’ve been reading your blog for a while and bought your guide but this is my first comment.  HI!  :) 

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks a lot Alecia!! Great to see you comment here – thanks for the support and best of luck with your language learning mission :)

  • Anonymous

    Great talk Benny! I specially liked the Jack Sparrow comment :D

  • Anonymous

    Great talk Benny! I specially liked the Jack Sparrow comment :D

  • Anonymous

    Great talk Benny! I specially liked the Jack Sparrow comment :D

  • Anonymous

    Great talk Benny! I specially liked the Jack Sparrow comment :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001897225670 Jack Chakerian

    Nice speech! I liked the Clink glass method….although you did say “Esperanto is the easiest language in the world.” (25:40)…so are there easy and hard languages???

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      No. There are easy languages and easier languages. That’s all ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001897225670 Jack Chakerian

    Nice speech! I liked the Clink glass method….although you did say “Esperanto is the easiest language in the world.” (25:40)…so are there easy and hard languages???

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001897225670 Jack Chakerian

    Nice speech! I liked the Clink glass method….although you did say “Esperanto is the easiest language in the world.” (25:40)…so are there easy and hard languages???

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001897225670 Jack Chakerian

    Nice speech! I liked the Clink glass method….although you did say “Esperanto is the easiest language in the world.” (25:40)…so are there easy and hard languages???

  • http://twitter.com/adamobader Adam Bader

    You did great Benny! You are an inspiration :-)

  • http://twitter.com/adamobader Adam Bader

    Btw, have you ever thought of adding a forum to the site? It would be great to have a place to share language learning tips with everyone and get feedback! Or maybe something else like a social networking section of the site where people can find other people to practice with! 

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks Adam – glad you enjoyed the talk :D

      I’m going to experiment with a forum – I already have it all set up and will open it to a few select readers and see how active it gets. If it works well I’ll make it open to everyone.

      There are several aspects of my forum that I would have it very unique compared to other language learning forums. I have some unique ideas, and a section for finding other people to practice with will be one of them! :)

      • http://twitter.com/adamobader Adam Bader

        That’s great, let me know If you need my help. You already got my email, I’m the dude who proof-read the Arabic version of your book! 

        Keep it up! 

      • http://profiles.google.com/yaelibd Yael BD

        Congrats on the talk!! You look like you were enjoying the experience too, which is great. I know you made the point on the blog many times but I liked that you gave examples of how learning a language helps you connect with people in the country you are traveling/ living in, I think that’s the most enjoyable aspect of learning a language… not mastering verb tables :D

        A forum could be very cool, especially if there’s a place for finding people to practice speaking and give positive support… I only know of the “learn any language” forums, though I suppose more must exist.

        • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

          That’s an excellent forum, but I plan to have other aspects to mine ;) Coming soon!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I will very likely be learning Mandarin, but not this year. After Turkish, I’ll get back to American Sign Language. Next year I’ll be going further east and if travel plans allow it, then I’ll devote 3 months to Mandarin :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I will very likely be learning Mandarin, but not this year. After Turkish, I’ll get back to American Sign Language. Next year I’ll be going further east and if travel plans allow it, then I’ll devote 3 months to Mandarin :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I will very likely be learning Mandarin, but not this year. After Turkish, I’ll get back to American Sign Language. Next year I’ll be going further east and if travel plans allow it, then I’ll devote 3 months to Mandarin :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I will very likely be learning Mandarin, but not this year. After Turkish, I’ll get back to American Sign Language. Next year I’ll be going further east and if travel plans allow it, then I’ll devote 3 months to Mandarin :)

  • http://leakygrammar.com Gavin

    Awesome Benny, looks like you have a talent for public speaking.  Nice bear hug at the end:) It was interesting to hear your story of getting into language learning and the things that kept you from using the language. Motivation definitely is a big one, and has always been the major issue for me.  The Jack Sparrow analogy was pretty funny too.  Good luck with Turkish! 

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks Gavin, glad you enjoyed it! :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks Gavin, glad you enjoyed it! :)

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting and inspirational! Great job. =D It was hard to understand you in some parts because of the sound quality, though. Maybe you should put subtitles on this?

    Also, sorry this is off-topic but you mentioned being vegetarian… So I’m wondering if you’ve ever written a post about living as a vegetarian in different countries? I’m a newly-converted vegetarian, and I also plan on traveling extensively. But I’ve been wondering if it might be more difficult in some places than others.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Glad you enjoyed my tricks and explanations :) I have been told that in Scandinavia it’s similar to how it would have been for me in the Netherlands. Yes, they will speak English to you, but it’s because they are genuinely trying to be helpful. They will not prevent you from learning your language if you really try.

    Great to see people enjoying my talk!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/MidlifePassion Peggy McPartland

    Great presentation, Benny! I love the idea of just not speaking English. It’s brilliant! It’s so easy to fall back into English when struggling in another language or the other speaker starts speaking in English. I’m heading to South America for a couple months this fall and am making the commitment that I won’t speak English – at all! Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      That sounds great, but start NOW. Speak Spanish BEFORE you travel so you hit the ground running. Waiting until you arrive is something I do for the sheer adventure of it all; it’s not efficient if you know that’s the main place you’ll be travelling to.

      Once there, *keep up* your routine of no English and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      That sounds great, but start NOW. Speak Spanish BEFORE you travel so you hit the ground running. Waiting until you arrive is something I do for the sheer adventure of it all; it’s not efficient if you know that’s the main place you’ll be travelling to.

      Once there, *keep up* your routine of no English and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      That sounds great, but start NOW. Speak Spanish BEFORE you travel so you hit the ground running. Waiting until you arrive is something I do for the sheer adventure of it all; it’s not efficient if you know that’s the main place you’ll be travelling to.

      Once there, *keep up* your routine of no English and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      That sounds great, but start NOW. Speak Spanish BEFORE you travel so you hit the ground running. Waiting until you arrive is something I do for the sheer adventure of it all; it’s not efficient if you know that’s the main place you’ll be travelling to.

      Once there, *keep up* your routine of no English and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time :)

  • http://achievingextraordinarysuccess.com Robert Hickman

    Awesome talk Benny. I think the main point here are not being stuck up with perfectionism and finding a passion in what you are learning, rather than learning for its own sake. While I’m employed as a programmer, I rarely ‘know what I’m doing’, and just work things out as I go along. If something, works, people don’t really care how perfect it is in the real world.

    The following article was written after watching your talk, and discusses learning methodologies, check it out if you like:

    http://achievingextraordinarysuccess.com/2011/06/21/rapid-leaning-methods-succeeding-clue/

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks for the article Robert! Great to see you winging it :)

  • Sickb

    hey, this is my 1st reply here, i just want to say to big THX to Benny for found out my path, and create my determination. Im sink deeply into “uderground” of english, changed interfaces, watching TV, movies, reading articles, newspappers. After 1 week of this immersion i feel i improoved my English a lot. THX a lot!

    At this moment movie dont work.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      Youtube video is still working fine for me. You may have problems your end.

      Glad you’re enjoying the site and best of luck with your English!

      • Sickb

        yes was my mistake, i just use “Watch on Youtube” option and working fine. Thx for you advice.

        Need to see your older posts on this blog, because all news i allready know : ), ofc i waiting for fresh news too. 

        Cu

  • http://de.wetours.com Thailand Reisen

    Thanks, those are interesting tips! I’ll use them for my language practice!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198050075 Bridget Gibson

    Please keep doing what you are doing.  You are an inspiration for me and my efforts not to give up speaking and learning German!

  • Sonam Kapoor

    This is really a superb talk video ever, i just say Thanks to Benny for sharing this awesome post with us.  it sounds good.