One of the most popular and well-known tools for learning a language online is Duolingo. Duolingo is completely free. I actually interviewed the founder of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, back in 2012, just a few months after Duolingo launched. You can watch that video here (it’s in Spanish, so make sure to turn on English […]MORE
Meet Maneesh Sethi. Maneesh is a friend, an inventor, and a fellow language learner (he has been a DJ in Berlin, and spoken on stage in Italian, among other things) with a very particular passion… For years, he has been obsessed with solving the problem of maintaining motivation that we all face in trying to […]MORE
You can learn a lot about how language works by studying how software-engineers approach the challenge of speech-recognition. In the early days of the field, engineers theorized that getting a computer to recognize speech was merely a question programming a large database of word recordings into it. For example, get a speaker to say the phrase “I can’t wait to watch this Kickstarter video!”, and the machine would be able to link the phrase with the sounds from its database and tease out the coMORE
What comes to mind when I say the words “goal setting”?
a) Yes! I’m there!
b) I never bother
c) I know it’s important, but…
I’ve known people who fall into all three camps. Some people seem to have a natural ability to set goals and stick to them. Others just get started and don’t bother with goals.
But when it comes to language learning in particular, I suspect there’s a fairly large number of people who fall into the last category.
I’m a classic example of this. I’m great at setting goals – I can set goals and decide how I’ll achieve them all day. Sometimes I actually do 🙂 But, inevitably, after a certain period of time, I fall off the log. I can’t, or don’t, follow through.
Happens every time.
I have massive respect for people who are strong at goal setting and have the stick-to-it-iveness to follow through. But what happens if you just don’t work that way?MORE
It’s the feeling of stagnation, like sitting around and waiting for something to happen because you know you’ve been putting in the work.
It’s what happens when you feel a huge rush of demotivation because you’re really tired of studying this language every single day and not seeing much of a return for it.
Benny Lewis has definitely hit them before and so have thousands of other language learners.
BRICK WALLS. At the end of the day, some get through them and some don’t.MORE
Karen who runs Immersia offers these words of encouragement – I love seeing the same realizations from such a wide range of people, and am happy to share hers with you today, especially since she has such an interesting and different background. Over to you Karen: ——— I was born in the Ukraine and my […]MORE
Can you believe this is my first ever blog post about Russian? Very timely with how much it’s in the news lately, David, who has his own travel blog where he documents his and and his Russian girlfriend’s travel adventures, wrote to me with some encouraging words about this language. On another fun side-note, someone […]MORE
“Japanese is really freaking difficult.”
“Japanese is really freaking vague.”
“Japanese is really freaking illogical.”
These statements have three things in common.
Let’s be honest. I can take it. Americans aren’t exactly known for our foreign language ability. Often, we speak English and we simply expect the rest of the world to do so as well. There are many reasons why this problem has developed, but that’s not the purpose of this article.
As with all stereotypes there is both a bit of truth here as well as many exceptions. I’m an American diplomat (or Foreign Service Officer as we’re officially known) and it is not only helpful in my job to learn foreign languages, it is required.MORE
When I tell people that I am trying to learn Iñupiaq, the native language of my hometown in Northern Alaska, invariably I hear a long, drawn-out, “Whyyyy?” “Not many people speak the language, so what’s the use of learning it?” “Almost all the people who can speak English anyways, right?” “I thought you were a white guy?”
All these questions are of course ridiculous and to prove all the naysayers wrong, here are 5 reasons why learning an endangered language is not only a supremely gratifying endeavor, but it’s one that can be done more easily than you think! I have experienced this by attempting to learn Iñupiaq, but these reasons can apply to any endangered language!MORE
Let’s share another “Why a supposedly hard language isn’t as impossible as you thought” type post! This time from Cantonese native speaker Brian, who has guest posted here before and who organizes the Add1 challenge. One of the challengers, Jan, took on Cantonese for his project and you can see the result where himself and […]MORE
As you all know, I like to delve into interesting cultural observations as I travel, as the local culture, and especially time with its people, is what travel is all about for me. Other than speaking with people (the general focus of this blog), there are so many ways to explore other cultures, one of […]MORE
Tomorrow I’ll be updating you on my Japanese project, but until then though, I want to 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. It’s an […]MORE
Today’s guest post is from Zack, (@zackjsimon) who is a long-term reader of the blog and has sent me this guest post idea for a concept that you all know I like to write about for as many languages as I can! Considering French is considered by some to be among the world’s “hardest languages” […]MORE
The issue of parents teaching their children comes up often and I’ve even had someone guest post on the blog about it before. That’s great if you speak the languages yourself, but what if you are monolingual and still want to give your child the best possible head start in this wonderfully global world?
Christine, who blogs at AlmostFearless and who has been travelling with her husband since 2008, has thought long and hard about this while she raises her own son, and is even writing a book about the experience. If you want to help out, see details at the end of the post. Otherwise, enjoy her take on what parents can do to help their children learn languages that the parents themselves don’t speak fluently yet!MORE