BlogArchive by Category "Motivation"
12 Jun 2018
I can speak 17 or so languages to varying degrees of fluency. Some I speak really well, like French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. Even in languages that I speak less well, like Swedish, German, or Russian, my accent is not too bad, people tell me.Read more Can We Learn to Speak a Foreign Language Like a Native Speaker?
15 May 2018
Traditionally, language learners have been divided into three groups: those who learn informally on their own, those who attend school, and those who do both. In a classroom environment, the teacher can assign tasks to the learner and provide some overview and even coercion to ensure that the learner carries out these tasks, regardless […]Read more Online Language Learning & Measuring Progress
8 May 2018
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?
23 Apr 2018
I have been asked to redo the recording for this podcast that I did over two years ago. Here it is again. This evening I have to give a short talk in Japanese to about 30 members of the Japan-Canada Chamber of Commerce. I am a Director of this Cha...Read more Learning a Language is Like Falling in Love
27 Mar 2018
13 Feb 2018
The goal of fluency in a foreign language can often seem vague and elusive. It is not always clear what fluency means. Those who have not experienced the feeling of achieving fluency in another language doubt they can get there, and doubt they would know if they did. Learners often feel they are not making […]Read more Meaningful Language Learning Goals
30 Jan 2018
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
2 Jan 2018
Can I become fluent in a foreign language? If your answer to this question is no, then you are best to stop trying. If you don't believe that you can reach the destination in your journey, why start? On the other hand, if you believe you can become fluent in a foreign language, you are well on your way to achieving fluency.Read more How Can You Become Fluent in a Foreign Language?
5 Dec 2017
I studied Czech a few years ago so my statistics at LingQ for that language are not current. However, the statistics from my recent Polish challenge illustrate the fact that we can learn or add to our “known words” total well over 100 words a day. In fact in the case of Polish (since I know other Slavic languages) it is over 300 words a day. You can learn 100 words a day, if you are willing [...]Read more Can You Learn 100 Words a Day?
22 Aug 2017
We live in the golden age of language learning. The Internet brings us an unprecedented cornucopia of language learning resources, tools, communities, exchange websites and more. We can buy audiobooks, ebooks, access online newspapers and magazines in the language of our choice. We can follow these resources on our iPhones and iPads, and have them […]Read more How to Learn Any Language: 7 Tips for Staying on Task