memory and language learning

Language and Memory

I am starting to believe that memory is not that important when it comes to language learning.   I have recently started learning Greek. Most of the words are completely unfamiliar to me, and not related to languages that I already know. As I start to get a toehold in this world of new and […]
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Why English is Important

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 […]
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How to Learn Any Language Effortlessly

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 [...]
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How To Improve Your Speaking Skills

You are unlikely to learn to speak a new language perfectly, but perfection should not be your goal. Your main goal should be effective communication. I am not perfect in any of the languages that I speak, but I can communicate. And whenever I communicate in another language I'm satisfied. I also know from experience that my ability to speak and to pronounce well will only improve with time, [...]
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Active And Passive Vocabulary In Language Learning

What is active and passive vocabulary? A learner's passive vocabulary is the words that they understand but don't use yet. Active vocabulary, on the other hand, is the words that learners understand and use in speaking or writing.When learning a language, should we focus more on developing an ability to speak or on building up our understanding of the language? This is a common question [...]
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French for Beginners – What You Need to Know

French was my first love when it comes to languages. In fact, there’s an expression in French: “On revient toujours a son premier amour." It means you always go back to your first love. I love French; I love all the languages that I learn, but I have a special affection for French. I highly recommend learning French for beginners. There’s a whole world that you can access so much better if [...]
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