Learning a Language Means Acquiring Words

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 [...]
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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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The Best Way to Learn Another Language? From Interesting Content

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, [...]
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Having Language Difficulties? It's Time to Believe in Yourself

Having Language Difficulties? It’s Time to Believe in Yourself

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 [...]
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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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