Hey there! Long time no see. My previous health issues did not vanish as quickly and as thoroughly as I had hoped they would, so I’ve been unfortunately neglecting my duties as a language blogger. For that I apologize and hope (sincerely) that we can let bygones be bygones and continue our journey together down the ever challenging (but also ever rewarding) path of language learning bliss. In other words, I’ve been sick (really sick) and haven’t been able to update this blog in awhile, but I’m getting better and hope to keep this up on a regular basis again.
tldr; I was sick, I’m back.
Are you using online language exchanges to practice speaking in your target language? If so, are you taking full advantage of this amazing learning tool? In this post, I’ve got some advice for getting the most out of your online language exchange. I’ll also compare and contrast a language exchange with an online tutoring session to help you decide which is right for you.
This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Part 1 can be found here.
What Can I Do To Start Thinking in My Target Language?
You can start using these exercises really at any time. They are probably most beneficial at the A2 level, but even an A1 should see some benefits. Keeping in mind that this is a marathon not a sprint, here are my recommendations for learning to think in your target language:
How to “think” in a foreign language is one of the most asked (and therefore most blogged about) questions in language learning. So, if there’s so much out there, why do I feel the need to write about it here? Do I have anything new to add? I feel like I do.
Do you have a plan when you sit down to study your language(s)? Do you know how long you are going to focus on one textbook, video, or CD before moving on the next topic? Do you know what comes next? If not, this post is for you. I have found that an effective study plan combined with some decent time management skills can accelerate you language learning drastically. I’m going to show you some techniques for creating an efficient study plan as well as a few good time management tips that will improve your language learning right away.
Hello everyone. I know many of you have been waiting for an update on the Indonesian mission. Unfortunately, I have been in pretty bad health for the last 2 weeks and have not been able to get moving on the mission. It is a chronic condition that I hope to have more under control in the next week or two. Right now, however, it is very difficult for me to study due to mental and physical fatigue.
So, I am announcing that the Indonesian Mission will restart on 7/1/14 and will run until 1/1/15. I am still excited and am really looking forward to the experience.
Thanks for understanding! I love you guys.
Earlier this morning, I was browsing through some language forums and I came across a post by a relatively new language learner asking for advice on Mandarin Chinese. He had been studying Mandarin for about 6 months (same as I have) and his problem was lack of progress with his conversational skills. Here was the exact quote that inspired me to write this post:
“My main teacher helps me learn via textbook which does suit me quite well but doesn’t progress at the speed I would like to (especially since I have difficulty getting more than 1 lesson a week due to my work schedule). I have tried other teachers who I first ask to have a basic conversation with in Mandarin, but we end up having the same conversation over and over, so I’m great at introductions, but can’t say much beyond that because most of my other lessons have been about ordering food in restaurants and living essentials. They are less about just being able to have a good discussion with someone.”
I see this a lot in first time language learners and less often in experienced learners. This (to me) is a fundamental mistake that can conceivably double or triple the amount of time it can take to learn a language when your goal is conversational fluency. So what was my advice to this discouraged fellow learner?
Hi there. Today, I am beginning a 6 month language fluency mission:
The language? Indonesian.
The goal? Conversational fluency by 12/1/14.
Indonesian conversation with friends via Skype
The wonderful folks at learningindonesian.com, Shaun and Cici were gracious enough to provide me with a free lifetime Premium account in exchange for an honest, no punches pulled review of the service. It is my intention to be as honest and as critical as I would be if I were paying for the service, so rest assured I am NOT trying to sell anyone on the program, just to provide an honest assessment.
For those of you interested in following my mission, I will be posting weekly update posts discussing the language, my progress and the learningindonesian.com program. I will include “Indonesian Mission” in the post title to differentiate them from my standard “universal” language posts.
Am I going to drop Mandarin, Spanish, or German? Not at all. I am going to continue working on all of my languages everyday. This will be an excellent way to hone my time management skills. I imagine it will also require some serious effort to maintain my motivation for all four through the next six months.
I am going to begin tonight with the first audio lesson, and I will report back on 6/8/14 with a full update. I am very excited about this, and I look forward to the challenge!
Hey there language learners! I was lucky enough this week to be interviewed by Chris Broholm for the Actual Fluency Podcast. For those of you unfamiliar with the podcast:
“The Actual Fluency Podcast is a Podcast for language learners who want to be inspired, informed and entertained on a weekly show. The show will go live every week and feature some of the top minds in language learning along with other interesting guests that have high value to inspire and motivate you to take your passion for languages to a whole new level.”
Some past guests on the podcast include such big names as Steve Kaufman, Olly Richards, Judith Meyer, and more! It’s a very relaxed, casual, conversational style interview that was a tone of fun to record.
So, check it out and let me know in the comments what you think!
I’ve managed to go 2 1/2 years without writing a post on the topic of “How long will it take me to learn ____?”. Truthfully, I could go another 2 1/2 years without addressing it and I would be just fine. However, I continue to see this question asked on Language forums, in Facebook groups, on Twitter, and in my email. Somehow being able to quantify things like this just seems to be part of human nature. Well, I’m going to talk about this in depth and answer (or at least try to shed some light on) this question once and for all!