Posts in category

Foreign Languages


The Kindle as a Powerhouse for Language Learning: Hacks and Review

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The Best Gift Ideas for Language Learning: Spanish, French, Chinese, and Anything Else

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Look up foreign-language words without blocking your reading flow, then export and learn your vocabulary list to make them yours. Over the years I’ve been using a Kindle to learn languages, I’ve very gradually uncovered hacks and tools for efficient vocabulary building. But this article will throw them all at you, right here, in one …

One of the annoying, charming things about language is that definitions are squishy; there’s no one perfect definition. Each speaker of the language will have a slightly different idea of what “bread” tastes and looks like, for instance, or about whether a “soirée” is classier or tackier or more passé than a “party”. This is …

I’ve been constantly learning, teaching, and maintaining various languages over the last two decades and so was certainly aware of Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever as a website, book, and now, app. I’m a long-time avid language learner, but there were still plenty of new hacks for me to experiment with in Fluent Forever. In fact, …

I’ve compiled dozens of strategies from scientific studies on language learning from multiple resources over the years, and I may as well make them public for you here, dear language voyagers. This includes hacks for learning more quickly and efficiently, as well as for retaining what you learn over the long term. As we’ll see, …

Got a special someone in your life who wants to take on a new language? Here’s a look at how to give the gift of learning a foreign language — what works best, what is the most fun, and what will be the most motivating as the receiver sets out on their journey. Why take …

A screenshot from a recent class. My Anki decks for memorization are on the left, and on the right a Skype session with one of  my favorite Serbian teachers from Italki. I record some of the new words and phrases from each class into my Anki decks. A Skype lesson with my self-teaching guide close at hand I’ve …

One lovely evening a ways back, U. Michigan students were served cocktails, then tested on their ability to learn Thai pronunciation. The tests were performed double-blind, and the cocktails contained varying amounts of alcohol (some, secretely, had none). Finally, science was poised to say how much exactly you should drink before attempting to pronounce new foreign …

Learn to speak languages with without pesky bullshit like comprehension or communication.

When hungover, Germans speak of howling cats while Icelanders’ phrase literally means to have the God of Thunder’s hammers in your brain. Iberian languages refer to the undertow; apparently the land’s regurgitation of water to the sea is evocative. Latin Americans show a great linguistic range in their post-bacchanal gloom, using Spanish or native words for …