The more I study and reflect on my language studies, I have semi-regular realizations about myself and how things work. The most recent is a simple one: A lot of this language learning stuff is as much about what not to do, as what you actually do.
Do you ever find yourself putting off your study? Or perhaps you go through times where you study manically followed by days of doing nothing? Don’t worry. You are not alone!
Procrastination is a common problem. It affects us in many areas of life, including language learning. I am going to break down the issue piece-by-piece and show you how to solve it. Fortunately, the cure is an easy one but it requires some self-reflection.
In this installment, I share some pointers to give you a better study experience for learning languages. This isn’t gospel, just our informed opinion after having studied Asian languages for over a decade. Feel free to follow the parts that vibe with you and discard the rest. With that caveat in place, let’s get started!
We have already established that studying on your own is best, but what’s the optimal way to dive into a completely new language?
The secret lies in attacking the language from many different angles. This is not an original idea. In fact, I borrowed it from a personal hero of mine, Barry Farber. His method works!
If you are anything like me, you like to get value for money when you buy something. Whether it is for groceries, electronics or flights abroad, I tend to shop around and select the best deal. For most of us, this is just a reality of living within financial limits. Language learning is no different. Today I am going to share some tips for saving money on your quest to linguistic glory.
Do you ever feel like all your time and effort studying your target language hasn’t amounted to much? Ever feel frustrated with your progress? Well, join the club! Once you pass the intermediate threshold, it gets harder to judge your growth in the language. You are entering what I refer to as intermediate fatigue. It’s one of the bumps along the road to mastering a language.
What’s intermediate fatigue?
Continue reading “It all adds up! (Or how to master a foreign language)” »
The first book I ever bought for learning Japanese was a kanji book. This was long before I had visited Japan or knew any Japanese. Little did I know that my long battle with learning the kanji had just begun. To the beginner, there is something intimidating about the prospect of learning these characters. To many, memorizing 2000 seemingly random squiggles to reach functional literacy sounds like an impossible undertaking.
Continue reading “Learn Japanese kanji the smart way” »
This is the first post in several about how to learn a different language on your own. Is it possible to learn “difficult” languages like Japanese or Chinese by self-study alone? Absolutely. We did it and so can you! This post tells you why determined self-study beats language courses every time.
Continue reading “How to learn a different language with self-study” »