Unmissable Language Links – December 2013 & January 2014 (Bumper Tết Edition)

Các bạn ơi, chúc mừng năm mới! Happy Lunar New Year!

This Friday is the lunar new year, or as it’s known in Vietnam, Tết. 2014 is the year of the horse, an icon of patience and persistence (very relevant to language learners!). The year of the horse is believed to be a year of rapid development and prosperity. I wish you all the best for the year ahead!

PS. Remember you’re now a year older.

Around the webWithout further ado, here’s my pick of unmissable language learning articles from around the web from December 2013 and January 2014 – combined in a bumper edition for end of the lunar new year.

  • Prozac for Language Learning: Language-Learning Burnout Prevention and Treatment

    “Language-learning burnout is a serial killer of dreams. You’re not the first and certainly not the last sufferer of it.

    Lots has already been spoken and written about it. To get a really balanced view, it’s best to take that into account, and then add a little of your own sauce to it.”

    – Noel van Vliet on Smart Language Learner

  • Chinese Listening Practice: Why and How to Get Started

    “Has this ever happened to you?

    You proudly say something in Chinese to your friend.

    They reply, but you don’t understand their answer.

    Awkward situation ensues.

    Well, don’t feel bad. Being much better at speaking than listening is a common problem. I’ll help you address it by suggesting several concrete solutions that can help you practice and improve your Chinese listening ability immediately.”

    – Olle Linge on FluentU Chinese Learning Blog

  • How to use Virtual Assistants to make your own foreign language materials

    “What’s wrong with foreign language textbooks? Nothing – we need them for certain things, especially to learn the basics. But there comes a stage when we start to get tired of formulaically learning new things and we want to use our new language for something more interesting.


    For about a month now, whenever I sit down to study Cantonese, I don’t open my textbook. Instead, I fire up one of my favourite Hong Kong dramas – The Seventh Day. I watch one episode of the drama only, but I don’t follow the English subtitles. Instead, I follow it through with the script, which I had specially transcribed for me by a virtual assistant.”

    – Olly Richards on I Will Teach You a Language

  • Spanish by the Numbers: Goals for 2014

    “When I first started learning Spanish, I counted minutes. It made sense at the time, but as my level changes, so do my needs as a learner. My aim for this year is massive input and output, using mainly native materials.


    I’ve made up a simple low-tech tracking sheet with four tables with numbered cells, one for each skill. The only tracking I’ll need to do is colour in a square every time I work on something.”

    – Stephanie on To Be Fluent

  • Which type of language learner are you?

    “I believe hiring a language tutor is a decision to be taken lightly. It’s not the same as language exchange, and not the same as teaching yourself a language.


    Having worked with a large group of students both in 1-to-1 environments, my recommendation is not that this lesson format automatically works for everyone. Some people dislike the pressure of the situation, others will want to focus on meeting many other learners. But ultimately, here are three learner types which do very well in this type of lesson. Do you recognise yourself?”

    – Kerstin Hammes on Fluent Language Tuition

  • Easing yourself into reading novels in Chinese

    “I don’t know about you, but I know started reading novels in Chinese way too late. This was partly because I thought it was scary and more difficult than it actually was, but also because I lacked a good approach and a strategy to overcome the difficulties reading native material implies.”

    – Olle Linge on Hacking Chinese

Happy reading!

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