Review: The Pleco App

A Review of Pleco: The Chinese Dictionary To call Pleco a “Chinese dictionary” is like calling Google “a search engine”.  It’s really so much more.  In this review of Pleco, I hope to demonstrate why this app is not only the best on the market, in my opinion, but also why it deserves a place […]

32 Lessons That Language Learning Has Taught Me.

Language learning can be a frustrating and rewarding roller-coaster ride.  It’s never boring and it’s all about keeping an open mind and an even temper.  I’ve learned a lot the last few years and I continue to learn more every day.   That said, I am proud to present to you the 32 most important […]

Why Language Isn’t Math. How Language Learning is Different.

Math, History, Science, Language. Which of these don’t belong? All four are universally recognized as core subjects of education at virtually any level. To answer the question, Language does not belong on this list. Now, before anyone launches off angry emails or tweets, I want to make it known that I am NOT advocating against […]

How many words to fluency?

I’d like to discuss a topic that actually comes up quite a bit among both beginning language learners and polyglots alike. I’m talking about the age old question: “How many words do I need to know to be fluent in a language?” Obviously this is one of the most subjective questions you could possibly ask, […]

How to Start Producing – Transitioning from Input Only

So, you started learning a language. You’ve been diligently studying vocabulary and grammar. You’ve been working on your listening skills and perfecting your pronunciation. Maybe it’s been 2 weeks, maybe it’s been 2 months. Regardless, you have decided that you are ready to start speaking and/or writing. The massive input phase has been fun, but […]

Speak From Day When?

The Eternal Debate.This is a topic that really gets language learners riled up.  I mean REALLY riled up.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many flamewars I’ve seen on various language forums start up over this exact topic.  Normally the language learning community is a very tolerant and level-headed bunch, but typically that […]

The Importance of Listening in Language Learning

(repost from 2012) If you have been following my German learning at all, you may remember my first “real-life” encounter with a native speaker.  If not, here it is: “There we were, about 10 of us, just chatting away, drinking our beer and somehow it came out that one of my co-workers spoke fluent German.  […]

Getting The Most From Your Language Exchange

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 […]

Crafting the perfect language lesson for you

When it comes to learning a language, I think we can all agree that one size does NOT fit all. People learn languages for so many different reasons: To travel to the Country, to talk to a friend or co-worker in their native language, to learn more about the culture, as a personal challenge, intellectual […]

How important is good pronunciation in language learning?

How important is proper pronunciation early in  the language learning process? If you ask me, the answer is VITAL.  Mispronouncing phonemes in your target language right off the bat is one of  the biggest mistakes I think learners can make. There are basically 2 schools of thought on this topic that I have seen: You don’t […]