Why Perfect is the Enemy of Good in Language Learning

This morning I had a much needed break from work and discovered a truth about life in general and language learning specifically. Even though I live in Germany, I work for an American company that follows the American holiday schedule. Today is the American holiday of Labor Day, so I got to stay home while […]

Why Smiling is Vital When Speaking a Foreign Language

I’ve heard people say that Americans smile too much, and that it feels phony. For sure, here in Europe, I’ve discovered that people are generally more reserved. I live in the Swabian region of Germany, and the Swabians in particular have a reputation for being gruff. At my local supermarket (Edeka),  for example, going shopping […]

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of italki

A couple months ago I stumbled across a new website called italki, which describes itself as a “language learning social network.” On italki, you can meet strangers from all over the world and practice your language via one of three arrangements: Language exchange – Meet someone who speaks the language you’re learning, who also is […]

How Many Vocabulary Words a Day Should You Learn?

With languages, I definitely tend to use a lot of what I call “organic” learning methods. Actually using the language–reading, listening, speaking, and writing it–is vital in the language acquisition process. That doesn’t mean, though, that I never study. Almost every successful language learner I’ve ever met sits down and studies. Specifically, they study vocabulary […]

Three Reasons to Fail Often During Language Learning

Well, it’s probably not the best thing in the short term. But if you “fail forward”–that is, improve from the experience–then it’s one of the best things you can do to succeed in the long term. My friend John from Leith Literary recently linked to a great article in the New York Times titled “Why […]

Seven Ways to Stay Motivated in Your Language Learning

Three weeks ago, I admitted I was losing steam with German. But instead of giving up and saying auf wiedersehen to German forever, I went on a 21-day project to find my lost motivation. No, this isn’t phoney baloney blog hype. I’m not just trying to tell you a good story. I was seriously getting […]

Languages and Their Effect On Your Personality

Everyone knows the massive benefits bilingualism has on brain function, making it easier to learn a third language and even staving off dementia. But what about a second language’s effect on personality? More and more studies are showing that second languages can affect a person’s perception, resulting in changed actions and personality than when speaking […]

Learn Mandarin Chinese Effectively: 3 Outstanding Tips from Students

Well, we talked with some people we know who are learning Mandarin in China, and they shared some great tips: 1. Try a second tier city. Living in a second tier city is becoming more popular with many students of Chinese. From interviews we undertook with foreigners living in Chongqing, they said that there was […]

4 Reasons to Forget About Your Language Aptitude

I hear this a lot: “I’m not good with languages.” I hate it when people say that, because most of the time, they’re using this as justification not to try. I’m not here to tell you what to do. If you don’t like languages, you don’t like them. If you’d rather be doing something else, […]

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