15 Jan 2017
People often say to me, “Steve, you’ve obviously got a talent for languages, that's why you’ve learned so many. Good for you, but I could never do it.”To which I say, to myself at least, why don’t you try doing it the way I do it? Maybe, rather than a question of talent, it’s a matter of the method that I use. What is my method? It’s really quite simple. It’s the relentless pursuit of [...]Read more Learning a Language Means Acquiring Words
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
20 Nov 2016
Many of you have heard me say before that the three keys to language learning are motivation, the time you spend with the language and your ability to notice what’s happening in the language.Some language learners aren’t motivated, so they don’t spend the time or develop the ability to notice and they don’t learn. That’s to be expected. But there are many people who are motivated, who do [...]Read more Having Language Difficulties? It’s Time to Believe in Yourself
12 Nov 2016
To learn any language takes an awful lot of motivation. So if the child of an immigrant is very motivated to learn the language of origin, or heritage language as it is often described, because he or she wants to talk to family members, that’s great. However, if they’re not motivated to do so […]Read more Should Kids Learn their Heritage Language?