New Language Mission: Spanish through LR (Listening – Reading) Method

Hello! As many of you know, I’ve been hard at work for the last few months on writing and marketing new language related books. It’s been a roller coaster and I am ready to dive back into some real language learning again and today is the day I’m going to start a new language challenge!

So, the new challenge is to learn Spanish to a true level of conversational fluency utilizing only the LR Method, AKA: the Listening Reading Method. The LR method has been around for awhile and has a few fans who are adamant about its effectiveness. It is also, however, looked upon with quite a bit of skepticism in the language learning community as it seems to be fairly difficult to find very many people who have actually tried it and reported on its results. In fact, I routinely see questions on forums, Reddit, and Facebook groups asking about it with little to no real responses. I’m going to change that.


What exactly is involved in this Spanish language challenge?

I am going to dedicate 40 hours over the course of the next 30 days to using only the LR method to learn Spanish to conversational fluency (approx: B1-B2 CEFR level). The book I am going to use is “The Poet” by Micheal Connelly. I have both the English and Spanish texts as well as the audiobook in Spanish. I plan to:

1. Listen to the Spanish audio while following along with the English text. (18.5 hours)

2. Listen to the Spanish audio again, while following along with the Spanish text. (18.5 hours)

3. Relisten to only the Spanish audio of my three favorite chapters. (3 hours)

At the end of the challenge, I am going to record a 30 minute iTalki tutoring session with a Spanish native speaker who is familiar with CEFR levels and ask them to asses my Spanish.

I will use no other reference materials, books, audio, or video involving Spanish for the next 45 days.

What is my Spanish level now?

My current level of Spanish is approximately A1. I know maybe 100 words (outside of cognates)in Spanish and a few dozen basic phrases here and there. I am not functional at the moment. A few years ago, I could function around A2, but haven’t used any Spanish for at least 2 years at this point.

I truly have no expectations at this point and have absolutely no idea whether or not this will prove to be even the least bit effective. I will post updates at least once per week.

Wish me luck!

Tips For Developing Fluency Early

eaieoG9c4I know, I know. I used the F word. Well, for the remainder of this post, I’m defining fluency as fluidity of verbal speech. I am not defining any level of competency or functionality, just the ability to speak at a fluid, even, and unbroken pace. Therefore, the purpose of this post will be to help you develop a natural, easy, and fluent-sounding speech pattern in your target language early in the learning process.

Before I jump into the post, I’d like to share the reason that I feel like this is an important piece of the language learning puzzle. Two and a half years ago, when I started learning German, I hit the books and flashcards hard. Within three months I had memorized over 1000 words and could recite lots of obscure German grammar points. By six months, I was over 2000 words and could write large paragraphs with good speed and accuracy. I could also “kind of” hold a conversation… My speaking was ok. I could say anything I wanted to and get my point across with no problems. I wasn’t lacking vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation. My problem was my “fluency”. I stopped and started and “ummm”ed and stuttered and stammered and basically sounded uncomfortable speaking the language. Fortunately, I was able to overcome these issues in the following months and would say I’m pretty comfortable with my oral abilities these days.

What follows are some tips I’ve picked up that really work for me. Hopefully you find some gems among them:

Read More

A Tale of Two Learners – Colloquialisms and Their Place in Language Learning

I have two friends (impressive, right?) who both “speak French”.  Interestingly enough, these two friends struggle mightily to communicate with each other on even a basic level in French.  Obviously one or both of them don’t REALLY speak French, right?  Wrong.  They both are at fairly advanced levels of French and both would be considered “conversationally fluent by my definition (and by most other French speakers).  So, what’s the deal?  How is it that they can barely communicate even basic concepts to each other in French?  Let’s examine each in more detail: Read More


Language Learning Goals for 2014- Mandarin, Spanish, and Indonesian

Hello fellow language enthusiasts!  It’s about that time.  In this post, I’d like to lay out my language plans for 2014.  This will be an ambitious year indeed as I look to add THREE (3) , yes III, languages to my “speaks conversationally” list, bringing the total to 6.  What do I consider “conversational fluency?  Good question.  Here is a quick and dirty explanation of what I consider conversational fluency and consequently, what I aim for on my personal language missions: Read More