Never Skip Two Days in a Row

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Drop me a line on Twitter.

Language learning can be fun most of the time, but it’s still a tedious process, requiring months and years of our lives.

It takes burning motivation and unyielding willpower to spend all that time polishing one skill: understanding a foreign language.

Sadly, a lot of people miss on constant motivation, and even more on willpower — including me, and probably you, too.

How to make up for those drawbacks?

Read on »

Weekend Links: March 6

What a shame. No posts for two weeks straight. And it’s spring already. Time flies!

The first post in today’s collection is just about that: how to start again after a looong break. Dive in :)

How to Restart after a Hiatus by J.

A timely and extremely relevant article, which is actually a guest post at Andrew’s I bet quite a large percent of language learners worldwide have found themselves skipping one day because of being busy, another on account of being tired, and another week, and quite possibly another month.

After a month of not learning a language, not starting Anki (or what have you), not speaking unfamiliar sounds you feel devastated — and guilty.

In the article J lays out the precise steps to overcome this condition and restart your studies with new enthusiasm, this time keeping it steadily burning.

Polyglot Project Podcast episode #0 by David Mansaray

David (whom you definitely should subscribe to if you haven’t yet) has teamed up with the editor of The Polyglot Project Claude Cartaginese. Never heard of it? The Polyglot Project is a rather extensive compilation of autobiographies and golden advice from both aspiring and renowned polyglots, sharing their experiences of language learning, and how it changed their lives. A captivating read, by the way, and for a great price: free. Be sure to download your own copy, here’s the link to the site again: The Polyglot Project.

So, let’s get back to David and Claude. They’ve teamed up to create an extension of the Project, interviewing polyglots and remarkable language learners “on air.” This is the first episode, episode #0 to warm up and discuss forthcoming interviews, don’t miss it!

A NOT To Do List for Successful Language Learners by John Fotheringham

Various how-tos and lists regarding language learning flood the internet (this blog not an exception). John from has taken a step further and posted a NOT To Do List, which I’m happy to share with you. All the ten points he’s highlighting are highly relevant, and I’ve seen many people, including myself, trespassing against those — it never ends well.

I’m glad some of the points align nicely with what I’m talking about on Semantic Victory. John’s also written a comprehensive Japanese guide. I haven’t checked it out yet, though, but have a look anyway.

Why do people procrastinate? by Philip Perry

Procrastination! What a pleasant pastime! What a productivity hog! We all know we should pursue useful activity, like language learning, exercising or house cleaning, but somehow end up in front of the TV watching yet another soap opera, or in the swampy depths of Facebook. We all for anything as long as we don’t need to do something unpleasant.

In this short post Philip shares his take on procrastination in direct connection to language learning. Check it out!

Okay, this time my next post on Tuesday is scheduled, so see you next week :)

Weekend Links: February 20

As usual, the week was exciting. I’ve came across a number of talent and strength classifications, implying that all people are different and their strengths are imprinted from birth. I’ll be reflecting on this in later posts.

In terms of blog posts, the week wasn’t so great as the last one, but there’s still something worth sharing, so have a look :)

One Month In Italy by Randy the Yearlyglot

Randy, who is learning a different language each year, has spent a month in Italy, visiting quite a number of cities.

Italy turned out to be controversial, and I’ve read the post with interest. Maybe you’ll like it too :)

Spanish Sentence Starters and Filler Words (Muletillas): The Grease of the Language Gears by Andrew

This a mightily useful post about… well, you see it all in the title. On top of that, examples are hilarious, so make sure to check it out!

6 easy ways to roll your R by Benny Lewis

Useful tips for pronouncing R in many languages from Benny the Irish Polyglot.

I would also suggest research on your target language phonology, if you have problems with pronunciation.

Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English! by Robby Kukurs

Another great post from Robby, in which he focuses (obviously) on speaking on the phone, and seeming fluent in the process.

What I like about Robby is that any of his posts can be used for any language you’re studying: the methods are essentially the same! Don’t miss it, these tips are really valuable.

That’s all for today. Hope you’re having a great weekend. See you next week!

Think Images Not Words

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Tell me what you think on Twitter.

Language learners of all ages use word lists to learn foreign words. Are they as effective as they seem?

Word lists, however simple they are, are deceptive. Without you noticing it, they change the way you speak and think, making your speech in foreign language slow and hesitant.

What to do? How to avoid this?

Let’s look in detail at how thoughts become words.

Read on »

Take Action!

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Meet me on Twitter.

Life today is too hectic and fast-paced for anyone willing to achieve a goal.

If you’ve set your language learning goal according to the guidelines in the post “Set Smart Goals — or Else!”, it is measurable.

Measurable goal means you can track it. Want it done? Do track it.

Read on »

Weekend Links: February 13

Hi everyone! This week was busy, as usual, but a bit more so: I have a short e-book in the works, and I hope to finish it by the end of the next week. It will contain both new material and variations and additions to the published material. I’m excited about showing it to you and hope you’ll like it.

Today, as every week on Sunday, I’m sharing the most interesting blog posts I’ve come across during the week. Enjoy!

Read on »

Gesture Your Way to Fluency

Written by Yuri Karabatov. See what I have to share on Twitter.

All people gesture when they speak: gestures help get the meaning across almost as well as words.

Gestures, however, are much more than that. We can use them not only to convey meaning, but to learn it.

You can literally gesture your way to fluency.

Let me show you how.

Read on »

DIY Language Immersion

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Drop me a line on Twitter.

I have good news: you mustn’t go to another country to immerse into your target language. You can do that at home, for free.

Immersion is when a foreign language cloaks you: you hear it, you see it, you speak it, you write in it.

This is the blueprint for the DIY language immersion project.

Read on »

The Value of Distractions

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Argue with me on Twitter.

Life is too full of distractions nowadays. When I was a kid we had a little Emerson radio and that was it. We were more dedicated. We didn’t have a choice. ~ Stan Getz

We fall for distractions every day. Distractions hinder our progress towards the final result, like speaking a foreign language.

Fortunately, we can turn this disadvantage of human nature into a powerful friend.

We will not avoid distractions, we’ll embrace them instead and make them useful.

Read on »

Weekend Links: February 6

What Any Foreign English Speaker Can Learn from Benicio Del Toro by Robby Kukurs

This post is totally worth reading and immediate action on what you have read. Robby teaches fluent English, but don’t let that confuse you: the advice he gives is fit for any language you may be studying, be it Spanish, Russian, French or any other.

Robby explains that speaking fluently does not mean a lot of what aspiring language learners believe it does: fast speech, no pauses in mid-sentence, search for proper words. He gives exact solutions to problems you may encounter when speaking, which, I repeat, work for any language.

All in all, I believe you have clicked through by now and read Robby’s excellent post. If you haven’t, do it now — I’ll wait here :)

Five Top Tips for Reading in a Foreign Language by David Mansaray

David is a blogger from London writing about himself exploring the world and exercising new approaches to everything — which I like!

David’s challenge for 2011 is dramatically improving his level of Spanish, and currently he is reading books, which is not to easy. In the post he shares some solid tips which, surprisingly, let us have a glance at his motivation for study. Don’t forget to check out the comments, we had a little talk there.

Music and TV for homework? Really? Yes. Sí. Oui. Да. نعم by Susanna Zaraysky

This week is surprisingly generous for excellent posts. This one is from Susanna Zaraysky, who speaks seven languages — self-taught by her own method.

Basically, according to her method, language learning should include a lot of music: singing and learning songs, and a lot of listening on the whole. I won’t explain everything here, so just click through and enjoy Susanna’s own explanation and further instructions.

Coincidentally, a couple of days ago I have read an article “Musical protolanguage: Darwin’s theory of language evolution revisited”, which is a bit long and over-academic, but still extremely interesting — I suggest that you read at least part of it. So, its author discusses Darwin’s theory, that before coherent speech there was music, and human speech is directly related to birds’ singing — how’s that? Don’t deprive yourself of this knowledge and take the time to read the article.

I hope you’ve had a great weekend! Next week, as usual, will be fun, so see you next week!