How do you get language practise when native speakers are genuinely hard to come by? Simple idea, but very effective: Find other learners My friend Brandon initially had this very issue with his project to learn Icelandic. It’s a country of just 300,000 people, and they are not so likely to be on language […]MORE
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
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
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
Today’s guest post is from my friend Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt), who wrote here earlier about How to travel the world like Indiana Jones. He has extensive travel experience, and his book How to travel the world on $50 a day has just been published today. If you are in any of these cities, […]MORE
Today I’m ready to share one of my favourite discoveries for learning a language; italki. I’ve reviewed several websites in the past, such as LingQ, Busuu, DuoLingo, and paid courses such as Rosetta Stone. They each have advantages and disadvantages, but my conclusion is generally the same, that you can’t beat the best language learning […]MORE
I’ve spent 3 hours today looking like this, and currently have a splitting headache. To contrast with yesterday’s post, where I talk about comfort in the language in the pre-fluency stage, I thought I’d give you another glimpse into the huge amount of discomfort I’m also going through a lot of the time. Since I […]MORE
Sometimes on this blog, I like to ask really stupid questions (or make stupid statements) in the post title, and then explain how idiotic I think the question is in the first place within the actual post, and explain an alternative way of looking at it. This is one of those times! I’ve been getting […]MORE
One understandable misconception from people when they first arrive on this site is that I would think it takes exactly three months to learn a language. To me the question and answer “How long does it take to learn a language?” “X months/years/lifetimes” is ludicrous, as it leaves far too much undefined and only […]MORE
One of the biggest questions I get when I encourage people to just speak, no matter how bad your grammar is and how few words you know, is “What will I talk about?? They’ll just get bored and angry with me!” This attitude is quite strange because it presumes a level of rudeness of foreign […]MORE
Today’s guest post is from Aaron G. Myers. I met him while in Istanbul and he had some interesting ideas about language learning that he blogs about regularly, so I thought they’d be worth sharing here! Off you go Aaron! One challenge language learners face is in retaining the immense amount of new information taken […]MORE
There are thousands of ways to learn a language; Pimsleur, LingQ, 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 argue […]MORE
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 speak […]MORE
OK, so you have put in the time and can now speak a language at a confident level. But maybe the course that helped to get you there has ended, or your stay abroad is over and it’s time to go home. What do you do to make sure that you don’t forget that language? […]MORE
Let’s face it; being able to speak multiple languages would be really cool. But can it be done by the average person without getting really confused? When I was living in Spain, still only able to speak English, I hung out with a Brazilian who absolutely wowed me as he switched between people at our […]MORE