Zhuangzi’s Crooked Tree Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “This old tree is so crooked and rough that it is useless for lumber. In the same way, your teachings have no practical use.” Zhuangzi replied, “This tree may be useless as lumber, but you could rest...Read more Zhuangzi’s crooked tree
Even though I speak nine languages I am quite opposed to multiculturalism, or at least the ideology of multicultualism. The ideology of multiculturalism in Western countries promotes the position that immigrants should hold on to their ancestral c...Read more Multiculturalism
Some people learn faster than others. Some people pronounce better than others. Why is this? I am more and more convinced that it is a matter of attitude rather than talent. There is something that good language learners have in common. They can l...Read more The psychological factor
We had a conversation class tonight with about 20 English learners, in Blenz cafe on the corner of Richards and Hastings in Vancouver. It has been raining hard the last few days and I am concerned about the snow conditions in the nearby mountains,...Read more Conversation class
In strength exercises you need to work the same muscles repetitively in order to get stronger. Language learning is a little like that. Athletes in all sports do repetitive exercises to increase their strength. I have always found repeating effect...Read more Repetition gives intensity
I enjoy learning languages and I am sure one reason is because I have had success. I certainly enjoy learning languages more now than when I was a high school student learning French in Montreal in the 1950s. In those days I had no strong desire t...Read more Intensity is key
When I was 17 I could only speak one language. Now I speak 9. I am convinced that most people can learn to speak many languages. We are all potential linguists. I am astounded at how strongly people cling to the belief that they cannot learn. This...Read more Everyone is a linguist. Everyone has their price.
What is the most important thing and what is the most difficult thing in learning a new language? My answer is always vocabulary. You can express yourself with faulty grammar and less than perfect pronunciation. If you do not have the words you ca...Read more Grammar or pronunciation or vocabulary?
People always ask me how quickly they can "learn" a second language, like English for example. I always answer that it depends on your level, and whether the language you are learning shares a lot of vocabulary with a language you already know (It...Read more How long does it take?