Time for the final update on Lauren’s 6-week-challenge! She successfully completed her mission, and was able to socialize, make new friends, and have fun in Esperanto. You can see it all happen in the video at the bottom of the post. But first, I’ll hand the blog over to her, to share her thoughts: […]MORE
We are now just a few days away from the Polyglot Conference that marks the end of Lauren’s 6-week project to learn Esperanto, and she’ll get a chance to use it to make new friends!
Because of that, rather than throw her in the deep end, in this last video I put her face-to-face (digitally) with an Esperanto speaker she didn’t know and she had to make conversation. Unlike in the last video, she only prepared a couple of questions, but most of her dialogue is spontaneous.MORE
Time for another progress update on the makings of a new polyglot… from scratch! We are recording literally every single second of language learning and use of the language, so the greatest realizations can be caught on camera.
The goal of this week was initially to get comfortable using the language in other senses, like communicating via email with people.
I have been coaching Lauren, rather than teaching her, and wanted her to get exposure to Esperanto in as many ways as possible other than talking to me, to give her similar conditions to any other learner. I rarely ever translate things for her, and mostly answer her questions with another question to help her find the answer herself better.MORE
If you’ve been learning a foreign language for very long, you’ve probably heard the “conventional wisdom” that having native-speaker lover is the best way to advance. You might even have had the thought yourself. Believe me, when I was living in Russia and feeling cold and lonely, there were moments when I thought that if only I had a Russian boyfriend, I would not only be less lonely but I would also learn so much more.MORE
People are always asking me which courses I use for my language learning projects, and what books I recommend, as if product choice is some huge determination in how successful you will be in learning your target language. What if it’s really just throwing money at the problem?
The solution isn’t to get as many courses as possible either – I ran a survey a while back, the results of which showed me that people who buy less materials are actually MORE successful in language learning!
Rather than spending time figuring out which courses work best for them, they just pick one, work with it and use it, while focusing much more on some kind of interaction with real natives (or native content) to improve their level. Your energy is better spent on doing something active with your language, not with your product/book research.MORE
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
In a change from my initial plan to wait a month before uploading conversations, here is my 10-day update in Japanese. This video is entirely in Japanese, and absolutely and utterly non-scripted (apart from the intro). I messaged my Facebook page, targetting just those in Japan, and Junpei offered to let me record a chat […]MORE
In continuing the summer series of guest posts, today’s is from Emily, who blogs over at The Babel Times. Her interesting suggestion is about how she learned German from children while living in Switzerland! People often complain that you feel like you are being judged when with adults, and while this is simply not the […]MORE
My US travels continue for a few weeks, so I am happy to accept guest posts with interesting or inspiring stories! If you have a cool idea message me on this page (but please read the guest post criteria first). This one was a story that is all too familiar from successful language learners, but […]MORE
Today’s guest post is from Mariola Czupowska, who blogs at the Language Wanderer. She is from Poland and was recently inspired to learn Norwegian! She set herself an interesting challenge of recording videos in the language, and used a trip to Oslo to motivate her to make even more progress. I found her story interesting […]MORE
I’m a musician, and I advocate learning language with your ears instead of your eyes. But I often get pushback for this view: “You can’t just assume that everyone is an auditory learner like you. Personally, I’m a visual learner so I can’t learn a language unless I can see it.” This seems like a reasonable […]MORE
I came across this strange video on a break (from my top secret project). It depicts an episode of Law & Order as if it had chickens/roosters instead of people (from an episode of the funny show “Robot chicken”). Because of that, the dialogue is nothing but gibberish clucks.
And yet, it is incredibly easy to follow what is likely being “said”, especially if you happen to know the format that Law & Order episodes tend to take. Which “clucks” did you understand?MORE
Note: This review used to discuss the free chat-roulette aspect of Verbling. It was a genius idea, and they used it to launch their site, but sadly this feature that made them so famous was removed, and now it’s a site based around paid lessons, although it does have some limited free chat room functionality. I […]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, Livemocha & 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 […]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