A New Language: The Gift You Give to Others

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday” When I was five years old, I spent four months in the Philippines with my mom’s family. It was…

Broken Eggs, Jean-Baptiste Greuze
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How to Get Over Being a Language Failure

Man. I’ve been a language failure with my last couple projects. I had two big goals recently: pass the ATA German-to-English translation test and reach the A2 level in Tagalog in 15 weeks. I failed twice! Last weekend, a letter came in the mail saying I didn’t pass the translation exam. I had translated two…

View from Cairo Tower
By Martin Steiger, CC0, Image Source

Why In-Country Language Classes Are Beneficial

The very first article I wrote here gave several reasons not to take a class. It set the tone for the website. I wanted to focus on strategies for people who study alone, like I do. I also wanted people not to think of a lack of a class as a hindrance, but rather as…

Prizren, Kosovo. Image Source

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,…

My desk got a little messier.

Review: Tuttle Tagalog Materials

When I started out with my current Tagalog project, I approached Tuttle Publishing. They specialize in Asian-themed books, and since Tagalog is an Asian language, they seemed like the right people to talk to. So they sent me some stuff to review–that is, free swag. And not just one book, but several: Elementary Tagalog: Tara,…

By Alf van Beem [CC0], Image Source

The Radio in the Background Trick

This post is about listening to the radio, which is a pretty basic activity. So in one sense there’s no “trick” to this. But there is something specific I do to make listening to the radio more useful–and this has made a big difference in the quality of my exposure to the language. The Importance of…

For the record, this isn't a picture of me. I haven't had that much hair since the 90s.
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Managing the Chaos

Hi guys. Very quick update on the site. I started a new job recently. And honestly? I’m exhausted. We’re in a busy phase of our project, so I go home at night absolutely drained. I’ve also been volunteering and writing fiction, both of which have been good for my soul. And yes, I’ve been making…

There are multiple words to describe the Egyptian dish Koshari, but "delicious" is all that comes to mind for me.

Five Ways to Learn Adjectives

Adjectives–words that describe people or things–are vital parts of any language. They modify a sentence’s meaning, sometimes significantly. Take the sentence “My husband put a sock in the dishwasher,” for example. If you say, “My funny husband put a sock in the dishwasher,” the meaning changes a little. If you say, “My estranged husband put a sock…