Language ability obviously starts in the brain, so we should do everything we can to maximize this organ’s blood flow, plasticity, and functionality. Fortunately, there are three guaranteed ways to do just that…
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If an adult fails to learn a foreign language (and most do), most of us assume they simply don’t study hard enough or just aren’t good at languages. It’s certainly true that some learners are lazy, and given the same methods, certain folks tend to pick up languages faster than others. But neither of these is the real issue; both are but symptoms of the underlying problem: 1) Crappy Methods, 2) Crappy Materials, and 3) Crappy Attitudes.
To do lists seem like a good idea in theory, but they have one major disadvantage: there is an infinite number of potential to do items. With this in mind, Timothy Ferriss, best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek (and a speaker of 6 languages), recommends “not to do lists” instead. Since they isolate a finite set of behaviors that are getting between you and your goals, they are far more effective than traditional to do lists. This tool applies perfectly to language learning, where most learners waste a lot of time on ineffective methods, bad materials, and counter-productive attitudes.
Disregard everything I have written or said since beginning this blog and the Language Mastery podcast. Ignore every single one of the 150,000+ words in my Master Japanese guide. There is only ONE way to learn a language…
Benny Lewis, the Irish Polyglot, and Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef, discuss language myths, and how to learn languages quickly using the 80/20 rule.
Skritter has been on my radar for quite some time, but the need to sit at a computer was less than ideal. With the release of their iOS apps, however, Skritter has finally been given the touch-based format it deserves.
Are you a parent seeking ways to improve your child’s future academic and professional prospects? Read on to see how being bilingual can give your children a leg up in today’s hyper-competitive world.
From surviving Nazi internment camps to teaching French to Hollywood stars, Michel Thomas was truly an amazing man. Read on to learn more about his life and his unique language learning approach.
In this guest post, writer Estelle Shumann discusses the effects of English on world education, culture, and ideology, and how some consider the prominence of English a form of neo-colonialism. What’s your stand?
In his excellent TEDxRanier talk, Chris Bliss posits that “Every act of communication is an act of translation” and that great comedy can “translate deep truths for a mass audience”. I couldn’t agree more.
Paulino Brener is one of the few people I know who’s managed to successfully blend all of his passions into one. In our interview, he discusses creative ways to harness one’s passions in language learning & teaching.
In my interview with Jason West, the creator of English Out There, we discuss the weaknesses of traditional English schools, methodologies, and materials, and how his approach aims to overcome them.
Language schools can be a wonderful place to learn more about your target language, meet fellow learners (who can become both study partners or even lifelong friends), and get your linguistic and cultural feet wet before (or even while) immersing yourself in a new culture and foreign tongue. However, language schools can also be a major impediment to the very goal you go there to achieve: learning a foreign language as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may come as a shock to those who have been conditioned to believe that classrooms are the only place, or at least the best place, to learn a language. Read on to see the top ten disadvantages of formal, classroom-based language learning.
Check out this beautifully illustrated talk about how to learn foreign languages using the Pimsleur approach. No, I don’t believe you can learn a language in 10 days, but you can certainly get started in one, and Pimsleur is a good way to help get your brain and tongue used to a new language.
Chinese characters are arguably the most intimidating part of getting started in Japanese or Chinese, but I believe they can also be the most enjoyable if tackled correctly. This article shares the tips, tools, and psychology you need to master kanji and hanzi.
Arkady Zilberman, creator of Language Bridge and a former simultaneous interpreter in Russia, addresses what is perhaps the greatest impediment to adult language learning success: cross-translation to and from one’s native language.
If you are learning Spanish on your iPhone, Brainscape’s Spanish! app is definitely worth checking out. Read on to see why.
In the video, Harvard’s Steven Pinker discusses the great mysteries of language and human nature, backed up by the amazing whiteboard illustration of RSA Animate.
The Polyglot Project, a collection of language learning tips from polyglots and language enthusiasts across the globe (including yours truly), is now available as both a physical book on Amazon and as a free PDF download. This tome of language awesomeness contains over 500 pages of language learning goodness from 43 authors!
Just as the printing press democratized access to the written word, ebooks are again revolutionizing how information is produced, distributed, and consumed, offering language learners a more portable, affordable, and time efficient way to learn.