BlogArchive by Category "Learning Languages"
24 Apr 2017
To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy language learners resemble each other. They develop a passion for the language they are learning. Each unhappy language learner, on the other hand, finds his or her own reason to be turned off. I got turned on to French flair long ago and my passion for French has stayed with […]Read more Why learn French? Six Reasons
30 Jan 2017
Language learning is essentially a subconscious process. I saw these words in a LinkedIn post from a group I belong to that includes language teachers. The topic of discussion was how grammar instruction and error correction don’t have as much impact on language learning success as is traditionally imagined. This is a concept that […]Read more Learning Languages is a Subconscious Process
22 Jan 2017
I had lunch earlier this week with a college professor who is head of the Asian language department in a large university here in Vancouver. He told me that a majority of students who enrol in Asian languages quit after the first year. I was surprised to hear that. Then I did some research […]Read more Language Goals and Frustrations
9 Jan 2017
What are the similarities and differences between Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and how should we go about learning them? To what extent can learning one help you with the others? Let me share my experience in learning these three Asian languages. Mandarin Chinese: Intense and Structured I spent almost a year studying Mandarin full time […]Read more Differences Between Chinese, Japanese and Korean
1 Jan 2017
In Stephen Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he gives advice for people in many aspects of their lives: advice for managers, for business people and for people generally. His advice can also be applied to language learners, and here’s how.Read more The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Language Learners
25 Dec 2016
Conversation implies a two-way exchange of language. Therefore, reaching a conversational level implies quite a high level of comprehension of the language so that we can understand what is being said to us. That means in order to converse properly we need to prepare ourselves.Read more How Long to Get to a Conversational Level in a Language?
19 Dec 2016
From time to time English teachers contact me and ask if I can write or record something that will motivate their students to work on their English. Here’s what I told a group of students from Siberia whose teacher reached out to me. Languages Mean Opportunities People often want to know the best language to […]Read more Why English is Important
11 Dec 2016
I don’t think it takes any special talent to learn multiple languages. Some people may do better than others, but everyone can do it. Some may pronounce better, some may have a larger vocabulary, different people have different interests, but everyone is capable of doing it. It’s an extremely rewarding thing to do.Read more Learning Multiple Languages at Once: Is It a Good Idea?
4 Dec 2016
When I wrote my book The Linguist: A Personal Guide to Language Learning, I began with what I called ‘The Parable of the Crooked Tree’. The author of the parable was Zhuangzi, an early exponent of Taoism, a school of Chinese philosophy from over 2,000 years ago. I referred to Taoism on a number of occasions in my book. Zhuangzi’s basic principle in life was to follow what was natural, what [...]Read more How to Learn Any Language Effortlessly
27 Nov 2016
Of course, language learning success depends mostly on the learner. But what about external factors? What does a keen language learner need most of all?The answer is interesting language content. What constitutes interesting content will depend on each learner, and even on the changing interests of each learner. But the best way to learn another language is through interesting content, [...]Read more The Best Way to Learn Another Language? From Interesting Content