Conducting an Experiment… Mwa ha ha!

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So as a language learner and language teacher (and of course, avid Polyglot Blogger extraordinaire 🙂 ), I like to try out new methods and tricks of language learning from time to time just to see what’s fun and/or efficient.  I share a video a few weeks back from a self-described PolyNot who discussed the role of vocabulary in language learning and how one actually needs a lot less words than one thinks in order to start reading a new language.

This got me thinking.  Yes, in theory, in most languages, the first 100 words can really take up a large percentage of text.  Some studies suggest that in English that first 100 words makes up as much as 50% of text.  (Let that sink in friends, it’s a big number.)  One might think they’d found the Holy Grail of language learning hearing that.

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But (there always is one) the one thing those studies seem to neglect to mention is that most of those words are function words– that is conjunctions, linking verbs, prepositions, articles, etc…  All the words that are more difficult to define and that your brain doesn’t grab onto as easily- in fact it often just skips them when you’re reading because it doesn’t need them too often.  So the question becomes HOW do we make use of this knowledge in a legitimate way?  If we read big pieces of text, we may recognize the words but not have any sense of meaning.

The answer came to me like a lightning bolt.  Small pieces of text… in everyday language… oh my gosh did somebody say TWEETS?!?

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So for the last 3 weeks I’ve started an experiment that I call “A Tweet a Day” (clever titles are my specialty as I’m sure you are all aware by now ;).  Here is how I went about it.

First I found a list of the 1000 most high-frequency words in Japanese.  (Okay I cheated a smidge in that I had a friend of mine who is much more skilled at Japanese find me said list because I trusted his judgement.  I suggest you use this cheat if you have the choice.  If not and you are concerned about finding a quality list, hit me up with your language of choice and I’ll help you find one.)

I then decided that each week I would add 10 words and ONLY 10 words to an Anki deck.  Studies show that most people really only retain 5-10 words max a week in terms of new vocabulary over the long term.  I have a very good memory so I went with 10.  If memorization is a struggle for you, I suggest you start with 5.  Remember, a lot of these beginning words are function words, and therefore aren’t going to come as naturally.  (You can also use old school flashcards or a different SRS system of course.  If you don’t remember what an SRS is, refer to this post I made earlier this year.)

Then each day I logged into Twitter and found a tweet.  I try to just choose one of the early ones on my feed for the day, but as I follow a news group, they tend to monopolize the feed so sometimes I just pick a random Twitteratti that I follow and go with an earlier one from their direct feed.  I can hear the panic already: “How do I find people to follow if I don’t know the language yet?”

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I suggest finding music artists and sports stars first, as well as maybe 1 major news outlet.  Usually if you do a quick Google search of the country of your language (or one of them) and the word “musician”, “athlete”, or “news”, a Wikipedia article or two will lead you in a solid direction.  After that, Twitter will often send you lists of suggestions to follow.  I tend to click on ones with interesting pictures- I can always UNFOLLOW them if they turn out to be stupid.  (Yes, you CAN unfollow- social media need not consume your soul with overwhelming amounts of information to read!)

(I’d stick to only one news outlet solely because those suckers post A LOT.  BBC Mundo and NHK flood my newsfeed to the point that I can’t find anyone else by skimming it.  They are, however, solid sentences with actual correct grammar, so they have their pros as well as their cons.)

Lastly I copy and paste the Tweet into a OneNote Journal I set up for this purpose.  You could physically copy it down, which would actually be good for your memory, but I’m lazy hehe.  I then break my reading into 3 steps.

FIRST, I do a cold “read” on the tweet.  I label this pass 1 and I attempt to mark/translate any words I know off the top.

SECOND, I run through my Anki flashcards (if I have any due that day).  I then take a second crack at translating what I can of the tweet.  This usually includes writing a quick guess at what the gist of the Tweet probably is.

LASTLY, I get a Google translation of the tweet. I know I know, Google translate is not always accurate and if you have a better option, use it.  Sometimes I ask the aforementioned friend for a translation but he’s got a life and isn’t always available. Usually for 140 characters or less, Google can manage something that I can draw a solid translation from.  I then make a few notes to myself about what I understood, what I misunderstood, and whether I’m making progress.

Today, after having only entered 30 words thus far into the deck, I managed to translate half of a news tweet correctly.  I may have looked something like this:

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The best parts of this?  At 140 characters, I’m not overwhelmed by trying to read something with such little vocabulary knowledge.  It also takes me less than 10 minutes generally to do all the above steps, with about 20 minutes on the day I put in new vocabulary.  It’s simple, it’s daily, and it’s practical.  Yes, you will run into slang and bad grammar but to be honest, that’s part of learning how to speak and interact like a native speaker.   I’m finding it a fun addition to my language learning routines.

So that’s my current language learning experiment in progress.  I’d love to hear if any of you have any such experiments underway and what the results have been.  Feel free to inbox me with that or any other feedback and suggestions.  Until then, Polyglot out!

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Original Article Posting can be found here.  Originally posted 06/17/14.

Language Binging- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

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Hello, my name is Colleen and I’m a language addict.

     Yes, you read that right.  I confess- I’m hopelessly addicted to linguistic play in multiple tongues.  I crave grammar charts and vocabulary lists.  I lose my mind over multi-lingual adaptations of my favorite Disney tunes.  I can’t help but organize the language learning materials every time I visit Barnes & Noble.

Normally, I manage to keep my addiction under control.  I stick to one language at a time and take small sips occasionally throughout the week.  But now and again, I find myself on a language binge.

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What is a language binge, you ask?

I define it as the period of time when one goes a bit “language” happy.  For myself, I consume loads of material in a variety of languages in a very short time.  This week for example, I’ve cycled between my Japanese study materials, ASL videos, Spanish telenovelas, and of course, standard English input.  Beyond that, I find myself perusing Italian learning blogs and contemplating French words, and wondering if Swahili is really my best choice for an African language.  In short, I’ve been going overboard in my language studies.

The question I put forth today then is:  Is this a bad thing?

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  My loyal followers can probably guess my answer by now… it depends.

     A friend of mine and I were discussing this recently.  He’s been finding himself poking here and there at a variety of new languages, while still focused on learning Mandarin.  Korean and Spanish both have his eye but he hasn’t decided to commit yet.  He wondered whether by spending time looking at new languages if he was hurting his Mandarin study.  After all time spent looking up the Korean writing system or discussing Spanish verb conjugations is time he’s not spending studying his current language, so it’s wasted, right?

Not necessarily.   We talked about it, as I’m in a similar space right now.  And we both came to a conclusion- looking around at other languages was actually helping re-invigorate our interest and appreciation for the languages we were currently working on.  In turn, this meant we not only put in our daily study time on our current languages, but also approached the time with more enthusiasm and drive.  Personally, I get more out of my learning if I’m excited about it.

 image(I mean, look at how excited these two are!  Don’t you just want to join their thirst for knowledge?!?)

    You see, when you’re a linguaphile (someone who adores languages and their structures in and of themselves), you sometimes get bored looking at the same language day after day.  You love your language, you do.  But the verb conjugations just won’t seem to stick or you swear you’ll never draw those ideograms quite correctly.  Taking a break to look at another language can help remind you why you became interested in the first place.

Sometimes it can even lead to random breakthroughs.  Personally I finally learned to roll my “rr”s in Spanish after learning to sing in Italian for a Solo & Ensemble piece.   Comparing the honorifics and social niceties of Korean may help you better grasp the system in Japanese.  Or maybe you’ll just learn a cool new word- libélula is a particular favorite of mine. 😉

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So what’s the downside to a language binge?  It can turn into language burnout if you aren’t careful.  You can actually get sick of all that new as quickly as you got excited.  Moreover, you can become overwhelmed.   You can convince yourself that you are going to actively learn all the languages right now!  And then become very frustrated when you realize you probably can’t juggle that many tongues at once.

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The key is to use your language binge wisely.  Let it be a source of excitement and wonder but don’t let a few days of exploring turn into obligatory daily web searches.  When the binge stops being fun, it stops being useful.  The same is NOT true of steady language learning.  There will be days when you don’t feel like doing flashcards on your target language, but should recognize that it’s good for you to do them anyway.  But a binge is different- it’s an opportunity to try on a bunch of different linguistic systems but not necessarily buy any of them right then.  And that’s why when the fun is gone, it’s time to go home while you still have your wallet and your dignity.  Your target language will be waiting there, a cup of tea and an understanding smile ready to greet your return.

Hope you all are reaching your Polyglot Potential this summer.  Thanks for reading and never forget- POLYGLOT POWER!

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Original Article Posting can be found here.  Originally posted 06/09/14.

Where on Earth Do I START?

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First of all- welcome all you lovely new followers!  While not British, the only word that comes to mind to describe how I feel about all the attention my last post received is chuffed.  It’s a fine word for it- Martin Freeman would approve.  I hope you continue to find my posts useful or at least entertaining.

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You have decided to learn a new language.  You are committed- you are willing to shell out some financial resources (within reason), you have carved some time into your hectic schedule, you have set a goal and by golly, you achieve your goals.  You are good to go!

That is, until you walk into a bookstore and stare blankly at the rows and rows of language learning materials.  Or you do a Google Search and find a dozen sites and that’s not including the advertised ones.  If this is your first rodeo, you don’t have the first clue what gear and get-up you need.

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Please allow me to be of service.Here are my suggestions.

1.Start simple.

When I first started being interested in languages (and had disposable income), I bought every resource imaginable.  I stored dozens of websites in a folder in my bookmarks list.  I even checked out every library book I could find.  The result?

I was so overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information that I didn’t really absorb any of it.

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If this IS your first rodeo, I suggest you start with ONE good source, maybe 3 at the most.  That doesn’t mean don’t dabble with others- just don’t commit beyond your means and in this case your means are your study time and your brain’s maximum intake.  As you find a rhythm, you’ll learn how to navigate more smoothly between various sources and use resources appropriately.  But in my experience, too many resources at the beginning is similar to too many cooks in the kitchen.  You get frustrated and distracted and before you know it, you’ve burned the sauce.

2. Get the RIGHT resources

I am a public school teacher.  I am someone who learns best in a classroom environment.  Therefore I DO advocate getting a quality textbook.  Why?  GOOD textbooks do the following:

  • Structure learning in a format similar to how the brain takes in linguistic information (i.e. it puts the morphemes and syntax structures in an order that linguists have come to call the “natural order” or the order your brain would learn them in under immersion circumstances.)  This means you are more likely to actually retain the new structures because you’ve learned the ones your brain sees as prerequisites first.
  • Blend vocabulary and grammar together.  New language learners tend to get completely focused on one or the other.  In my opinion, your adult brain needs both.  You don’t need to spend 5 years deducing the grammar from a series of authentic sentences- you can speed it up.  Likewise, learning all the grammar in the world may make you able to explain how a language works, but it won’t get you speaking it.  You need both to optimize your language learning.
  • Offer a variety of practice strategies and activities.  These can be especially useful if you have a language learning partner but aren’t sure where to start with conversational practice.  Trying some of the book exercises and discussing your answers together can help improve your recall and the depth of your comprehension of new content.
  • Make you aware of cultural information.  While not a substitute for authentic material and situations, textbooks often include snippets of real literature, information about famous persons, and notes on cultural quirks and customs that are unique to the area that speaks your new language.  These can be both useful and interesting and may give you ideas on where to look for more information, both on your language and its culture.

What do I mean by a GOOD textbook?  Well, that could be a post all on its own.  Without going off on too much of a tangent, I suggest looking at what textbooks local colleges and high schools are using.  Take note of the copyright- make sure it is within the last decade as linguistic research has radically changed how textbooks are organized now.  Current textbooks, such as Avancemos for Spanish, are much more skill-based and culture rich than their predecessors.  You can often find used copies of books online.  They may be a bit pricey, so do your research first.  However, a great textbook is well worth a few extra dollars.

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(I highly recommend Japanese in Mangaland and  corresponding workbook.  It is fun and well-structured.) (For any language, I am not a big fan of the For Dummies or Everything About series.  Both tend to put too much grammar into one chapter and do not provide enough opportunities to reinforce the material.  But to each their own.)

 

 

You will also eventually need a good dictionary.  This could be in the form of an app with today’s technology, though I admit to still being a fan of my old hardback copy.  (I’ll explain why in another post.)  There is a lot of controversy over whether one should use a target language to native language dictionary or a dictionary IN the target language (i.e. Webster’s but with Spanish definitions).  Personally I think both have their uses and especially if you are going the digital route and can find such resources for free or cheap, I suggest getting both.

3.Use social media wisely

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Social media can be a great way for you to get a daily dose of your language, even when life throws you a curveball and you can’t study.  I set my Facebook into either Spanish or Japanese at all times.  (Word to the wise- take a mental note of how many lines down the “Account Settings” button is before you do this.  It will help if there is a vital reason you need to change it back.)  My cellphone is also in Spanish.  This means every SINGLE day (heck let’s face it, almost every hour), I am confronted by some foreign text.  The great thing?  My brain quickly STOPS thinking about it as foreign text.  It starts seeing a puzzle to solve and eventually recognizes words without me even realizing I learned them.

Twitter and Tumblr are two other great sources.  Follow 1 or 2 people that are either native speakers of your L2 or who offer something in it.  There is a great tumblr blog called Spanish-quotes that takes popular English quotes and translates them.  That can be a great positive start to your day and your learning.  On Twitter I follow musicians, sports stars, news sites, and so forth to get a daily dose of language.  The news sites can be especially useful in your growth in language, as they often link to actual articles so that as your vocabulary improves you can start increasing your reading exposure.  Don’t sell those celeb tweets short however; many of those can teach you about modern slang and “texting” type writing skills you WON’T find in any textbook.

4.Balance your materials

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I said it earlier in my pro-textbook rant but I’ll repeat.  You NEED to balance grammar and vocabulary.  Having both WILL increase your efficiency in language learning.  It is important to note however that YOUR balance and MY balance may look different.  I am a very grammar driven person and so my balance is probably 60-40, with grammar leading the way.  I have friends who hate language rules and their balance looks more like a 30-70 split with vocabulary clearly winning.  I stress that you tweak your program until you find the balance that feels right for YOU.

You also need to balance your skills.  Try to get yourself using all 4- listening, speaking, reading, and writing- as soon as possible.  A good book will likely promote this, but if you find yourself struggling, check out italki or a similar site for ideas to work each skill.  Youtube is filled with listening opportunities, PalTalk and Skype are filled with native speakers to connect with, and there are e-pal matching websites all over the web.  Reading material is a news or Wikipedia search away. (Or check out LingQ which has tons of reading and listening material.)  Use your tools- but don’t let them use you.   Find one or two you like, make your habits, and keep it simple until you are ready to add more.

Don’t become paralyzed by the sheer abundance- recognize that banquets are great, but you don’t have to stuff yourself to the brim.  Take what you want now- the rest will still be there later for you to partake.

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5.Follow your OWN gut

This is easily the most important on the list.

You may be reading this thinking “But I freaking HATE textbooks.  I like mess, I like jumping from one thing to the next.  I have lots of native input available to me and that is where I want to start.”  You want to know how I respond to that?

More power to you.

The MOST important thing you must do as a language learner is to take charge of your own learning.  You have to be intrinsically motivated for this- it’s a lifelong process and while external factors may help light the fire, only you can stoke the coals.

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This means you have to know yourself well.  Know how you learn and how you need to organize your time and materials.  Do you need to schedule study sessions or assign yourself tasks?  Do you need lots of grammar and slow and steady increase of vocabulary?  Or do you prefer to flood yourself with words and reference grammar as you go to help parse it all out?  Do you need to keep a binder of your notes, with tabs for vocabulary sections and grammar concepts and skills input practice?  Do you even NEED to take notes?

For me personally, I need about 60% grammar at the beginning and 40% vocabulary in terms of my direct instruction.  I need simple skills practice spread out over a reasonable length of time.  I challenge myself to do ONE thing with my languages daily but I don’t assign a time or specifics to which thing I do what day.   I keep a notebook and my materials together and do often use highlighters and tabs to color code my work.  If I can, I attend a class.  At minimum, I find a language partner.  THIS is what works for me.  BUT it’s not what works for everyone.  My friend who I’ve often mentioned before is a much more solitary learner.  He is not one for taking notes or book instruction.  He is one for diving into authentic material head-on.  He is, paradoxically to some people, also a HUGE grammar nut.  He is a big fan of processes like shadowing and constant audio input.  He had successfully taught himself Japanese BECAUSE he KNOWS what works for him.

I give you my advice from my own experiences both as a learner and a teacher of languages.  But I would be amiss to not request that you use them only as you yourself see fit.  I hope this gives a bit of clarity to anyone lost in the overwhelming sea of “where do I begin?”  Here, my friend, have a life preserver.

And then?  Just keep swimming. 😉

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Original Article Posting can be found here.  Originally posted 03/31/14.

Laws for Linguists

So by now some of you lovely faithful readers have got to be thinking:

“Okay, the inspirational, touchy feely stuff is great BUT how about something practical?  Something I can actually apply!”

Well, I do aim to give the people what they want. 

There are a lot of websites out there that will give a list of guidelines and practices to learn a language.  Every polyglot has their mantras and I’m no exception.  So today,  I’m sharing my list of language learning rules to help you get started.  Next week, as a follow up, I’ll share how I organize my language learning, especially when I first start.

**Disclaimer**
EVERYONE is different.  Some of you may disagree with these rules or my organization methods and to you I say Kudos.  Way to figure out what works best for you.  That is not only awesome, but also I’d love to hear about it so I can share more helpful information with our fellow polyglots.  All I ask is that you share your opinions and tips in a tactful manner.  Thanks!

MY RULES FOR PERFECTING YOUR POLYGLOT-NESS

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1.  10 minutes a day is better than an hour a week

If you take away nothing else, please take away this.  I know SO many people who buy a dozen language learning resources, sign up on countless websites, join 50 social media groups, and go on a language BINGE because by golly, they have DECIDED to learn this language NOW!  While an initial binge is understandable (and frankly unavoidable if my own past endeavors are any indication), it is not, and I repeat, NOT sustainable.  A four hour binge on Saturday becomes 2 on Sunday, then half an hour on Monday, and before you know it, it’s been a month and you have to blow the dust off your lovely books and re-set all your passwords.

Set a REASONABLE amount of time per day to work on your language.  I recommend no more than 30 minutes when you are starting, and be satisfied with yourself if you manage at least half of that with consistency.  Because my friends, THAT is the key- consistency.  Language is a daily practice, not a test to cram for, so make it part of yours.  I promise reading 1 tweet a day will gain you more in the long run than a once a month binge session with those Rosetta Stone CDs.

(A lot of people find they benefit from time-boxing or task-boxing various aspects of language learning.  For more information, check out this blog.)

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2. Balance your input

If you REALLY want to be solid in your target language, you need to balance all four skills.  That means you need both listening and reading input, and you need practice in both speaking and writing (typing is acceptable in this modern era, though for unfamiliar scripts I do recommend some handwriting practice).  Fortunately, access to all of these is relatively easy to find nowadays.

 “Oh yeah, right.  I want to learn Gleepglop the language of Cave People of Biddledoo.  Where on earth am I going to find this stuff?”

Even for obscure languages, it is AMAZING what the internet has managed to put together.  To find resources, here is a short list of ideas:

  • a) Check out livemocha.com .  You can love or hate their language classroom setups, but bottom line, they CAN connect you with native speakers of a wide variety of languages.  Many are more than willing to help and some may want your assistance in learning your native tongue.  You get to gain a skill and build karma helping someone- talk about a win-win.  UPDATE: Livemocha closed last year, but a new website is in its place: www.hellolingo.com.  I have not checked it out much, but it does appear to be a good language exchange site.  I also recommend italki because you can hire professional teachers, community tutors, or find free advice from fellow language learners.
  • b)  Check out Wikipedia.  That front log in page?  It lists a TON of language options.  Do all of them have a bunch of articles?  No.  Is it a start?  You bet.
  •  c) Go to Google Translate and learn a few words.  It’s not perfect, I realize this.  But if you can learn the word for “news”, you’ll be on your way to both audio and reading input in short order.

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3.  Find SOMEONE to practice/learn with

This goes along with the last one, but merits its own mention.  Languages are about interaction with one another.  It is VERY difficult, though not impossible, to do it all on your own.  If you can, make friends with a native speaker.  Again the above resources (as well as more I’ll share over time) can help you do that even over a great distance.

If not, see if you can find a friend who also wants to learn your language.  While native input is great, even someone at your own level can be a great help.  Generally, no two people have the same strengths and sometimes talking about points of a language that you find confusing with someone else can bring great clarity.

If no one in your immediate circle is interested, turn to social media.  Tumblr and Facebook are both great starting points for finding people interested in your language.  Share ideas, resources, frustrations, etc…  E-mail, instant message, Skype if you feel comfortable.  Part of this whole adventure is communicating with new people, and while it may be a bit scary at first, I promise you’ll be glad you did.

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4. Make it fun

If all your language learning becomes is reviewing flashcards and staring at grammar charts, you will likely burn out quick.  (Unless you are an uber grammar nerd, in case carry on my brother/sister!)  While both of these may be necessary from time to time, try to inject pieces of fun into your language learning.  You enjoy Facebook and Twitter anyhow?  Put Facebook in your target language or follow some celebrities on Twitter in your new tongue.  Love Manga or fanfiction?  Search for Manga raws (those in the original language) and try to puzzle out a word or two.  Search on AO3 by your target language- you MIGHT even find a translated copy so that you can compare the version in your L1 to that in your L2.  Listen to silly vlogs, watch god-awful but heart-touching telenovelas, find a comedian or two.

Find the fun in language study and you’ll seldom have to search for motivation.

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5. Don’t Buy it to Shelve it

I mentioned this in my first blog but I will probably continue to beat this particular horse.  PLEASE do NOT spend your hard earned cash just to fill your bookshelf with a bunch of resources you don’t use.  I’ve done it and my wallet likes to remind me often.  If you find a resource you think can help you, by all means GET IT.  But recognize quality  over quantity.  It is often better to spend $50 on a really good resource than $10 on a slapped together phrasebook.

 AND there are LOTS of really great free resources which can keep your costs low.  Hello Internet and Thank You!  🙂

If you need help picking out a good resource, try checking out reviews online or look for the fellow polyglot in the language section.  You can always recognize us- we are the ones RE-ORGANIZING the section because some moron put the Hebrew book in the Chinese section and the Arabic book in ASL section and … well, you see where I’m going with this.  Even if we haven’t studied your language, we probably can judge a book by its table of contents, illustrations/diagrams, and other features.  We love to help newbies, so feel free to ask!

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6. Keep it Real, Yo

Let me state that as a Spanish Language teacher, I am actually a big fan of textbooks.  I think they can be invaluable in helping someone who is overwhelmed with the concept of learning a new language organize their studies and give them a general pathway.  That said…

Authentic material is an ABSOLUTE MUST if you want to learn your language right.  You need to be exposing yourself to native speech and text as soon as possible.  Fortunately, Mr. Internet is happy to serve.  I strongly recommend YouTube videos and Tweets to the new language learner- they’re short and manageable, easily fitting in the 10 minute every day time slots I mentioned earlier.  News articles and videos are also great sources, as well as television websites in your L2.  (These often feature short commercial trailer type clips of shows as well as synopses and reviews.)  Find something that intrigues you and check in regularly.  Authentic input helps you get beyond the formal language of the textbook into the everyday colloquial speech you will more likely encounter.

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7. Check in with Your “Why”

A friend of mine was recently discussing his Japanese study with me.  He told me how he had started learning Japanese so he could better understand the various Anime shows he loved so much.  Yet as his study progressed, he found himself watching less and less Anime.  He also found himself often starved for motivation to continue with his study.

“I spent all this time learning this language FOR THIS PURPOSE.  Then I didn’t use it.  How dumb was that?”

Why did you pick this language in the first place?  For work, for fun, for a significant other?  Did you like an aspect of the culture or want to travel to this place?  Whatever your why is, make sure it is intricately tied into your language practice.  Post a travel brochure in your study area, whisper a sweet nothing to your partner once a week in their native tongue, read about that unique cultural attribute in your new tongue (or a mixture thereof).  Keeping your why an integral part of what you are doing will help you keep your eye on the prize and sustain motivation.  I’m glad to report my friend is watching more Anime again and finding study easy once more.

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8. Remember, the Tortoise Won

We live in a world of instant gratification.  We want something, we go after it, we get it (or we don’t), we move on.

Language learning doesn’t work that way.

You are going to have days where it seems like every single vocabulary word you’ve bothered to learn just flew out of your head.  You are going to have times when the grammar doesn’t make sense, or you’re tired and stressed from your job and don’t want to put in the time, and you WILL have days (or even weeks) where you say “To hell with this” and ignore your lovely language in favor of socializing, TV, or other distracting pursuits.

 This is OKAY.

It’s important to remember that learning a language is a lifelong endeavor.  You’ll never be perfect, never know every single word, not even in your own native tongue.  And if you think about it, that really takes the pressure off.  You have the rest of your life to learn this and so, if today is bad, you CAN come back tomorrow and get it right.

This is NOT an excuse to skip a week of practice.  Rather, it’s a recognition that there is no finish line to race toward; only slow and steady progress toward a series of goals you set for yourself.  That’s how you learn a language.

 

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A cool pic of fellow (and far more famous) Polyglot Benny Lewis.

I don’t claim to be an expert, just a fellow polyglot reporting from the trenches.  These worked for me; I hope they can give you some guidance.  I’d love to hear from any of you about your own “language learning” rules.  Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

Live Long and Polyglot On, Ya’ll.  🙂

 

Original Article Posting can be found here.  Originally posted 03/25/14.