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
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
While proving that “virtual immersion” is indeed possible, and while I do genuinely hope to inspire language learners over the coming months, no matter what language you are learning, what will be motivating me to keep going on a day to day basis will be the fact that I’m going to travel Japan next year.MORE
Time to reveal what my fun part-time language mission for the summer is, and you may be surprised by how genuinely practical it is!! Basically, rather than learn a new language, as I normally tend to do (or maintain my current languages, which I am doing anyway this summer), I’ve decided to learn a new […]MORE
After last week’s announcement, you should know that I had an intensive project to re-activate my Hungarian! The reason I was doing this was to prepare to go back to Budapest to attend the Polyglot Conference, and I had a great time at it, but I did want to make sure I was using some Hungarian outside of it. In this post, I’ll say how both the mission and the conference went!
Firstly, I had signed up for six hours of Hungarian spoken lessons via italki. While I had blogged that I would be putting about ten hours into the project, once again my super-secret project in Berlin was consuming my time, and I barely had 10 minutes before each lesson to quickly revise things. So in total, I had about 7 hours of exposure time to Hungarian before arriving.
I find that because I am so busy on another project, if I don’t actually schedule a lesson, then I can keep putting off the work, so I’m really glad I did put aside that time in advance. Busy or not, when you know you have another person scheduled to talk to you, you’ll make the time!MORE
It’s time to raise the dead!! My secret mission that is taking up the vast majority of my time in Berlin continues (don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it when the time is right! For now, it’s so secret that I can’t even give clues as to what it is or when I can […]MORE
with a pretty successful Polish mini-mission behind me, tomorrow I am flying to Oslo!
Of course I plan to be a respectful tourist and be fully capable of ordering food, asking directions, being polite, and giving basic info about myself, all in Norwegian.
However, since I am not under any pressure to do something else (my trip to Warsaw was specifically to speak at TEDx, and preparing for that talk took time out of the 5 hours I had planned for polish, knocking it down to only 2! The talk went well, and you can see a cool visual representation of what I was saying in the image above that was drawn while I was saying it!) I think I will actually manage to do five full hours of preparation this time! 🙂MORE
As you saw last week, I challenged myself to take five hours to learn enough Polish to help me get by on my brief visit to Warsaw.
In the end, I didn’t actually do that as planned… because I was so busy preparing for my TEDx talk (which will be completely different to the other one I gave, but still with the same topic of encouraging adult language learners – online in the next month or two), and working on my secret 3-month contract, that I only had two hours total time to invest into learning Polish.
Despite having even less time than I initially planned, I was pleased to learn what I needed and can even share the results with you on video!MORE
On Wednesday, I’ll be arriving in Warsaw to give a TEDx talk. Unlike the first one I gave, which was completely made up on the spot and only the second time I ever had a stage to myself like that, this time I have been preparing for it in advance and want to give a completely different but really powerful talk that could inspire many language learners. It should hopefully be up on Youtube in a month or two!
I’ll only be in Poland for 3 days, but I’m going to have a unique mission this time of giving myself 5 hours to cram for Polish to become as effective a tourist as I can be! Right now, I don’t know any Polish at all (other than likely common vocabulary that many languages share), and I’ve been too busy with a full time contracted job I have here in Berlin (much more on the top-secret reason I’m in Berlin later) as well as preparing my talk over the last week.MORE
This has been a very interesting project!
I started back in September, with three months to intensively learn the language while in Brazil, and then spent January and February travelling through Egypt (ultimately not doing more than a couple of hours intentional work on my Arabic level, although getting lots of practice), and if you check out the above completely unedited, and unscripted conversation, you can hear what my Arabic sounds like!
Unlike in my other videos, where I was focusing much more on an interesting message that the native speaker could share with the world, this time I did most of the talking, but had a very special guest interview me – the first person I ever spoke Arabic with! It’s got an almost poetic conclusion to the mission that I should finally meet her just before I leave! I found Amera on italki in September, and she is one of the teachers I stuck consistently with all the way through to December.MORE
I woke up groggy, still trying to snooze off a sleepless night of New Year’s parties, looked out my window and could see that we had just flown over a small bay of some sort that showed the Mediterranean sea part of my journey was done. Our flight had just entered Egypt, and it […]MORE
My three months are officially up! In a few hours I’ll be getting a flight back to Ireland to spend Christmas with my family, then heading to Germany for a few days to celebrate the New Year in Esperanto with some good friends as always. Then, a few days into January, I fly into Egypt, […]MORE
Here it is; my official two month point in Arabic! Subtitles in English, Arabic and Portuguese via Youtube.
I had initially planned to go to the Egyptian consulate in Rio, to finally speak the language for the first time in my life in person, but there were issues in setting up a meeting there. Luckily, I randomly ran into an Egyptian-American, Ahmed, at a Couchsurfing meeting!
I decided to only speak English with him then and ask him if he’d be up for recording a video with me. We still spoke English before recording the video, so he had no idea what my level would have been at. The reason I did this, was so you could literally see the very first time I genuinely spoke the language face-to-face with someone in my life, the moment after I pressed record.
Sharing this key moment is good for tracking my progress, since I know people are curious about such important milestones of the mission, (unlike some friends of mine, I don’t tend to have a camera on my head to catch such moments in cognito!) but obviously breaking into Arabic suddenly, after not speaking it for over a day since my previous Skype session, meant I didn’t have quite the ideal kind of flow I’d like. In future, I’ll speak in the relevant language for several minutes before recording, so I have this flow.MORE
Today’s video marks the half-way point of my mission to learn Egyptian Arabic to fluency in 3 months, while in Brazil. I’m talking to 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.MORE
My “Learn Egyptian Arabic in Brazil” week 2 project update. Here I have no script to refer to, and I recite the entire seven minute script from memory. There are a LOT of mistakes, but I like to think I am at least coming across as a bit more confident than the previous week.MORE