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Language Learning Quick Start Guide

The holidays are wrapping up, New Year’s resolutions have been made, and you want to learn a new language. That’s awesome! You can absolutely do it. People from all over the world, from all walks of life have learned second or third languages, so there’s no reason to think you can’t do the same. In…

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Should you study words individually or in chunks?

If you’re trying to learn vocabulary, should you study individual words or chunks of words? What I do: Study both! (By the way, some people say you shouldn’t make an effort to learn vocabulary words at all–that you should pick up words naturally during communication. But I firmly believe that at least a little dedicated…

St. Pauli Theater - Hamburg, Germany
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Project Update: 90-Day Push

I’ve been spending the last three months getting ready to take the ACTFL German reading test. You can read why in my original post. Here’s a quick update. 1. I gave myself an extra three weeks and scheduled the test the second week of January. I just felt like I wouldn’t be quite ready by…

Simple but complicated, like the prince himself
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Four Easy Foreign Language Texts That Aren’t That Easy

When you get started learning a new language, it’s natural to want to jump into reading books and watching TV shows as soon as possible. That’s great. In fact, I recommend it. Most people realize they’re not going to read philosophy books or listen to university lectures right off the bat, so they look for…

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The “Secret” to Learning Any Language

Man, that’s an ambitious title, right? Well, I’m about to give it to you, the secret to learning any language. It doesn’t matter which language, what your language aptitude is, how much money you have, where you live. You can learn any language if you apply this secret. But first, send me four easy payments…

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The Grammar Wheel

All right, my last post caused quite a stir. It went viral, was seen by over 20,000 people on Facebook, and was shared hundreds of times. As a blogger, I’m thrilled. And surprised. But I’m also a little concerned that the post was taken out of context—both the context of my site and the context…

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Bloom’s Taxonomy and Language Learning in 500 Words

Longtime readers might know that in my day job–the one I go to when I’m not blogging or fighting crime in Gotham–I develop documentation and training. Lately, I’ve been creating classroom curriculum for technical trainers. Something I’ve had to become somewhat familiar with is Bloom’s taxonomy. The taxonomy is so influential in educational circles that…

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21-Day Bursts of Language Learning

All right, confession time: I’m not feeling too confident about hitting a B2/C1 level in German reading by mid December, and I’m anxious about being able to pass the test and reach my goal. I’ve made a ton of progress in the last six weeks. My overall German comprehension is much, much better than it…

Shirakawago Japanese Village
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Chill Out with Text Levels

Do you select which texts you read and listen to based on how “hard” they are? I suppose I do, to an extent. But going forward, I’m going to tone that down. In fact, I suggest the following for all of us: Don’t pay too much attention to text levels. If you’ve been around language…

Sign outside the Facebook HQ entrance.
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Create a Language Immersion Environment with Facebook

Yeah, Facebook is dying–at least that’s what the news keeps saying. But I spend a lot of time on there, and many of my friends do too. So I don’t really think it’s going anywhere for a while. And okay, admittedly, that headline is a little sensational. Yet I’m torn. On the one hand, I…