Blog Archives

Unmissable Language Links – May 2014

Around the webSo much great content is written about language learning every month. Here’s my pick of unmissable articles from around the web.

Happy reading!

  • 9 Questions To Ask Your New Language Tutor

    “Working with a language tutor is something I can recommend for any language learners, especially introverts, because you’ll just get more out of the intense environment and focused attention.

    Even if you have never worked 1-to-1 before, you can easily to use it as a booster, for example before an exam or as a quick refresher after a quiet spell.

    But it’s important to get the chemistry and expectations right from the start, so take account of the following key points.”

    Read more

    – Kerstin Hammes on Fluent Language Tuition

  • 5 tips for remaining in control when speaking a foreign language

    “Most language learners have felt anxious at one time or another. I remember the first time I had to buy train tickets in China, I had to stand in a long queue at the station, and I was wondering whether the ticket seller would be able to understand what I was saying. As I got closer to the front of the queue, I got quite nervous! Fortunately, though, I got the message across fine!

    Whether you are just starting to speak to native speakers, you have to make a phone call in a foreign language, you have to make a speech in public or you just don’t feel that confident, here are some tips to help you stay in control.”

    Read more

    – Chris Parker on Fluent in Mandarin

  • Teaching Yourself a Language? Then Act Like a Teacher!

    “Even if you’re the model student, you need to act like the teacher once in a while. Why?

    Teaching is a profession for a reason — it takes thought and effort to effectively impart information to others. A lot of this time and effort manifests itself in a little something called lesson planning. A lesson plan is a road map not only of what needs to be learned, but also how best to learn it and how to check for comprehension at the end of it all. If you’re only playing the role of student, you’re probably not thinking too much about the “how,” but you should be.”

    Read more

    – Meaghan on Transparent Language

  • Planning my language projects

    “I created this plan some time ago in order to organize and keep track of my language learning projects. In this blog post I would like to give you some suggestions for your own planning and therefore I just guide you through my plan step by step and you can pick what fits best to you. ”

    Read more

    – Dani on I simply love languages

  • Although if you’re not a natural planner, don’t feel like you have to plan everything. In fact, you can change your life 13 minutes at a time.

    Set a timer for 13 minutes and have a go at that scary task – reading a Vietnamese article, start writing or tackle some flashcards.

    “Just start with 13 minutes, and see what happens.”
    – Nicole Antoinette

Over to you: What was your favourite language learning article this month? Or what was the top tip or piece of advice you discovered in May?

Unmissable Language Links – April 2014

Around the webSo much great content is written about language learning every month. Here’s my pick of unmissable articles from around the web.

Happy reading!

  • How to Bring Up Lagging Speaking Skills – Foreign Language Advice

    “I’m pretty sure that it’s a natural part of language development. I’m reasonably certain that you develop the ability to recognize language before you develop the ability to produce it.

    So what do you do when your speaking skills lag behind and you want to bring them up?”

    Read more

    – Ron Gullekson on Language Surfer

  • Why good feedback matters and how to get it

    “Feedback is an integral part of learning a foreign language and there is no doubt that we need it to improve. While it’s certainly possible to learn a lot with simply a lot of exposure to the language, both when it comes to spoken and written language, it’s very hard to increase accuracy in speaking and writing without feedback.”

    Read more

    – Olle Linge on Hacking Chinese

  • Language Practice: Why You Don’t Need A Native Speaker

    “What if you have NO native speaker to talk to? Does that mean you will stop learning a language?

    I’m not advocating that you avoid native level input and natural sources of your target language. They are what makes it come alive! By all means, make full use of Italki, social media and your own network to find a good language buddy, but please note the following:

    You don’t actually need a native speaker to practice with.”

    Read more

    – Kerstin Hammes on Fluent Language Tuition

  • Think in another language without translating

    “One of the things I have become aware of is to what extent “learning naturally by immersing yourself in a language” works. Is it possible to speak a foreign language “naturally” rather than having to consciously “translate” from your native language?”

    Read more

    – Chris Parker on The Polyglot Dream

Over to you: What was your favourite language learning article this month? Or what was the top tip or piece of advice you discovered in April?

Unmissable Language Links – March 2014

Around the webSo much great content is written about language learning every month.

Here’s my pick of unmissable articles from around the web, from the practical to the inspirational.

  • Whatever Your Dream May Be, Start Today

    “Seeing him living his dream up on that stage made me reflect on the many things I had dreamed of doing but had been too scared or lazy to begin. Inspired by his example, I started improv classes a few months ago and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life! Thank you Joe for the much needed kick in the ass.

    What are your dreams?”

    – John Fotheringham on Language Mastery

  • 12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time — The Only Post You’ll Ever Need

    “This definitive guest post by Benny will teach you:

    • How to speak your target language today.
    • How to reach fluency and exceed it within a few months.
    • How to pass yourself off as a native speaker.
    • And finally, how to tackle multiple languages to become a “polyglot” — all within a few years, perhaps as little as 1-2.

    It contains TONS of amazing resources I never even knew existed, including the best free apps and websites for becoming fluent in record time.”

    – Benny Lewis on The Blog of Tim Ferris

  • The top secret resource famous multilinguals use to learn many languages

    “The problem here, however is that the method is not important to learning languages. Don’t get me wrong, choosing the method that works for you is important for learning, and there are many steps one can take to improve language learning, but it’s just not as important as this secret resource.”

    – Chris Broholm on Actual Fluency

  • Extensive Reading for Building Vocabulary

    “The question: Can you build up your foreign language vocabulary by simply reading a lot?


    There’s a ton of research and anecdotal evidence out there that tout the benefits of extensive reading.


    The nice thing about being a blogger and not a scientist is that I get to use a little common sense and personal experience with all this.”

    – Ron Gullekson on Language Surfer

  • Are You Wasting Your Time Watching Foreign Language Movies?

    “By the end of this post, you will have a much clearer idea of the true benefits of watching movies in a foreign language. (Warning – it’s probably not what you’re expecting!)”

    – Olly Richards on I Will Teach You a Language

Happy reading!

Unmissable Language Links – February 2014

Around the webSo much great content is written about language learning every month. Here’s my pick of unmissable articles from around the web in February.

  • 8 Ways To Win The ‘Language Power Struggle’

    “A ‘language power struggle’ is the term that has been unofficially been adopted to describe the phenomenon where two people from different linguistic backgrounds, each learning the other’s tongue, engage in a battle of wits to determine which language will be used for the exchange.


    Here are the methods I use to win the battle! I’ve ranked them in order of their effectiveness.”

    – Dan on Chinese-Breeze

  • The Only Real Language Learning Hack

    “Language learners have jumped on the bandwagon and are looking for shortcuts. “What’s the best method?” “How can I learn Spanish in a week?” “Which app will teach me Japanese the quickest?”

    In the digital age everyone is looking for shortcuts.

    I’m going to put forward the case that shortcut is the one thing you should be avoiding at all costs.”

    – Olly Richards on The Mezzofanti Guild (guest post)

  • Kickstart Your Japanese: Get Disturbed

    “After living in Japan for 18 months I had made very little progress. Despite speaking five languages fluently, Japanese was eluding me. I was too busy living my life and spending the little study time I did put aside on low-impact activities.


    Making progress from a place of stagnation involves changing the way you look at language learning and, most importantly, unlearning the bad habits you’ve already picked up.”

    – Olly Richards on GaijinPot (guest post)

Over to you: What was your favourite language learning article this month?

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!