[This is my 50th post! Hot dog!] Old news– back in 2005 (I think) Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant, claimed to have learned Icelandic in a week for a documentary called The Boy with the Incredible Brain. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it (you can find the whole documentary on YouTube): My Icelandic… Read More Can You Learn a Language in a Week??
Language learners want so badly to quantify their progress. I’ve experienced this, and I still do experience it. The pressure is real, and it’s hard to escape in a culture where it’s in vogue to acquire measurable skills that lead to something useful. I’ve got my gripes with this utility-only mentality. People shy away from certain academic… Read More Speaking and Writing? Not Unless You Want To!
Time and time again, I want to learn the smaller languages, ones that don’t happen to be popular in the U.S. or in most of the world. I’ve been dabbling in Latvian lately, and it’s such an interesting language. At first listen, I thought it sounded similar to Russian even though I was aware it’s… Read More The Unfortunate Inaccessibility of “Unpopular” Languages
I wrote about extensive and intensive reading a while ago, and I’ve come to realize that I do something very similar with my listening practice. Listening to your target language is incredibly important. I’ve heard so many language learners talk about how it’s so much easier to learn how to speak than it is to listen.… Read More Active vs. Passive Listening: How I Use Both to Practice Languages
As I’ve detailed before, I’m a big fan of self-education of all stripes. I think the world is just a much cooler place if we view it as something to explore and discover. So, whether you’re an academic geek like me, or you just want to learn a practical skill for work or a hobby,… Read More Self-Education 101: How to Teach Yourself Languages and Anything Else!
When I’m curious about a new language, the first thing I do is YouTube search “[language] folk music/folk song.” I love doing this– I feel like old, traditional songs open a small window onto a foreign culture. Here are some of my favorites– beware the deluge of YouTube links! [Latvian] [Japanese] [Yiddish] (a depressing but… Read More Why Traditional Music Inspires My Language Learning
wanderlust: n. A very strong or irresistable impulse to travel. Within the context of language learning, wanderlust refers to the desire to flit from one target language to another, usually without having achieved one’s goals in the previous language. In this age of productivity, I think we automatically assume that wanderlust can’t be a good thing– after… Read More Embracing Wanderlust