Most adults fail to learn a foreign language no matter how many years they sit in a classroom or live where the language is spoken because they spend nearly all of their study time learning “about” their target language instead of the language itself. This is the critical difference between “studying” and “learning”.
Randy is on a mission to learn a new language fluently every year. His current project is Italian, with Lithuanian as a side-project saved for weekend fun. Randy has his language-learning head screwed on tightly, and I firmly agree with his contention that learners can reach “conversational fluency” (the ability to talk with native speakers on a variety of topics) in a year if you spend enough time doing the right things. As we both have observed, most learners neither spend enough time nor do the right things.
“OK. Everyone knows that quote by Woody Allen or whoever about showing up. You know, 80% of winning is showing up. Well, Woody Allen, that daughter-dating scoundrel, lied to you. The truth is 80% of winning is showing up is a bunch of bull! Because, in fact, 100% OF WINNING IS SHOWING UP. I mean it. Thats all you have to do. Show up. Be there. And it will take care of itself.” —Khatzumoto, AJATT
“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.”
In his own words, Dr. Orlando Kelm is “a lucky guy” professionally. Not only does he get to spend his time with two languages (Spanish and Portuguese), but he also the Associate Director of Business Language Education for the UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research, a part of the McCombs School of Business. In our interview, Dr. Kelm shares what he believes to be the 6 most important factors in effective language learning.
With 11 languages under his belt, Steve Kaufmann is an extremely accomplished language learner. His extensive language learning wisdom in shared in his book titled The Way of the Linguist: A Language Learning Odyssey and his online language learning system called LingQ. In the interview, we discuss what Steve believes to be the 7 most common misconceptions about language learning, how to learn Mandarin effectively, and the role of a good teacher.