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:
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.
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!
How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?
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! So, how long does it take to learn a language? Let’s find out.
With so much talk recently about speaking, listening and writing, my old friend reading was starting to get a complex. Well, if you are a fan of reading (like myself), this is the post for you. I’m going to talk about a few ways to use reading to boost vocabulary, grammar, and even motivation. As usual, I am going to preface this post with a disclaimer that the information contained in this blog is what works for me. One size does not fit all, but I honestly believe that anyone can find something in this post to help them with their language quest.
Anyone who has followed this blog for very long should be well aware of my opinion on what the most important thing that anyone MUST have to successfully learn a foreign language. In case you are joining me for the first time, it’s motivation. In this post I’m going to talk about what I do when de-motivation strikes, as it invariably does to everyone at some point.
I’m passionate about language learning. I devote enormous amounts of time and energy to not only learning languages myself, but also to researching ways to help other people learn more efficiently and more creatively. This has been my passion for several years and although it is rare, I have certainly hit a couple spots in the journey where I seemed to have lost the motivation and the passion. The first time was devastating. After recovering from that, it has been easier for me to get back on track following subsequent “bumps in the road”.
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 now you’re ready to reap the benefits of your hard work and start actually producing something. Ok. So, what next? The answer certainly isn’t the same for everyone, but I can tell you what works for me. Read More