Learning a language: Don’t just listen, interact!

While listening to audiobooks and podcasts, watching movies or playing games will definitely help you learn a language faster, it's still slower than if you are using it to communicate with people. I'm not saying these things aren't worthwhile, just that we need to interact with people to cement the language in our heads. But not all of us … [Read more...]

Learning Japanese without a teacher

I learnt Japanese successfully, mostly on my own using japanesepod101.com, the Pimsleur audio programs, a few textbooks noted below, and a handful of iPhone apps. How long did it take?Within just a few months of starting to learn Japanese, I was able to travel around Japan alone for a month, with the help of a travel phrase book and a dictionary. … [Read more...]

Daily language learning hacks

If you are like me, your language learning motivation waxes and wanes, with the weather, with a changing daily workload and social appointments, and with tiredness and stress. Recently, my workload has increased, and I'm running around like a headless chicken chasing appointments, sometimes every single day of the week. It hasn't left me with … [Read more...]

How to be an independent learner

Have you ever sat through a class, been bored out of your mind, and not remembered anything that was covered? I have, many times! It can be a combination of a dry topic, how the topic is being taught, how the other students in the class are participating, the stuffiness in the room, and even how you are feeling at that particular time. The … [Read more...]

Dealing with language learning burnout

Does working through that textbook seem like an awful drag? Or perhaps a conversation class fills you with dread? Do you prioritize cleaning the toilet or do other unappealing tasks above cracking open your flash cards and drilling? Do you want to throw the towel in on your language learning journey and just give up? If you said yes, … [Read more...]

An (un)welcome immersion in language

Immersion really is key to fast language acquisition. But only when you keep using it afterwards! A recent (planned) week-long stay in hospital showed that I can, in general, function in German. I did study a bit harder leading up to this stay, as I knew it would stretch my abilities. I did not know some of the 'nicer' expressions for bodily … [Read more...]

Free ESL podcasts

There is a great selection of English podcasts for learners. But there are also many not-so-good, irregularly updated and expensive subscription podcasts out there. The following are the best of the best free ESL podcasts, from podcasters who have been around for years, consistently delivering excellent material to English language … [Read more...]

The two things you need to learn languages easily

Most of my current English (EFL) students are adults. Some progress quickly, others struggle for each step. Some are studying for university or their jobs, others for travel, and the remainder for the community bonding they get in each class. The ones that progress the fastest are those who are curious about English, and those who are not … [Read more...]

Can you learn a language fast with language hacks?

People learning a new language typically search for ways to make their journey easier and faster. Learning any language requires time and perseverance. Learning it more quickly requires no fear of making mistakes, and for you to already know how you learn - your learning style. Language 'hacks' are ways that you can maintain motivation, … [Read more...]

New words

How many new words do you learn each day? How many new words do you want to learn each day? Learn 10 new words today! Look for words in a dictionary at random. Read a news article on the BBC and learn the words you don't know. Open an English book to a random page, not the words you don't know. Write a few sentences using the … [Read more...]