Digress Fast, Digress Often

Remember, when I told you to switch textbooks or activities as often as possible? Here’s the link to the post to refresh: Learn Just for Fun.

This technique is somehow counter-intuitive and contradicts common knowledge about focus and effective work.

Don’t worry, it’s backed up by science.

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Concentration Burnout

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Contact me on Twitter.

We all know the benefits of concentration and focus. Leo Babauta explained everything about focus in his book “focus”. I recommend that you read the free version at focusmanifesto.com.

Focus and distraction-free environment produce amazing results in a short time.

As with all things, too much focus and concentration for long periods of time can do more harm than good and significantly hinder your progress.

Fortunately, you can fight fire with fire and reverse unwanted effects.

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Mt. Native Accent

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Follow me on Twitter.

Most people starting on a new language want to reach conversational fluency. Well, it’s obvious. A little bit less of them want to have a polished near-native accent as well.

That’s a great goal, but few of them see how hard a road awaits ahead. Attaining near-native accent is far from a walk in the park; it’s hard work, totaling to hundreds of hours of study time.

Aspiring foreign language speakers, nevertheless, believe that a short audio-course will leave them chatting perfect [insert language here] in no time. Surprisingly, they are more or less right.

Let’s have a more detailed look on native accent and decide for ourselves if we need it all that much.

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Weekend Links: January 30

This week was hectic, and I didn’t have as much free time as I wanted, but there’s a lot in stock for next week, so don’t unsubscribe yet :)

Today, as usual, I’m sharing some of the most interesting articles I’ve come across during the week. All of them are a treat to read; click through to get all the goodness.

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Learn Just for Fun

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Follow me on Twitter.

Study is hard work,” school taught us. “Dare to bash the granite of knowledge!

This attitude to knowledge became ingrained in our souls: chalk, ink and sweat. As a finger-smashing ruler, it stops us doing the impossible.

Succumbing to the calm of TV and remaining ignorant is easier.

It’s high time to banish this conspiracy of difficulty from our minds.

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Weekend Links: January 23

Today I’m sharing only two posts, but they are both a treat to read. Hope you enjoy them as I have!

Learning grammar… do I have to? by Benny Lewis

Benny, who studies a new language every three or even two months, shares his thoughts of an experienced polyglot on the matter of learning grammar from the start — or skipping it altogether. Click through to get all the goodness. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the comments, there are some valuable thoughts worth reading, too.

I totally agree with him that, as he puts it, “grammar is useful for making a language sound correct, but not for actually getting started”. That’s true. In my Japanese studies I avoid grammar as such, focusing on model, real-world sentences instead. Grammar for a beginner’s level is so simple that I pick it up as I go, not even having a second glance on it.

Глагол недели. Брать — взять. by Yulia Amlinskaya

You must have already guessed that the post is in Russian. Yes, it is, but it’s intended for the learners of Russian. By the way, Yulia’s blog Russificate is on the top ten list on bab.la in the category “Language Teaching”.

Yulia does a great job of explaining how to use one of the most common verbs in Russian, which means “to take”. Moreover, the post is complete with audio, examples, all the verb forms and even a short exercise with answers. Learners of Russian: don’t miss it.

See you next week. I hope you’ve had a great weekend!

The Best Language Learning Method

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Follow me on Twitter.

Bookstore shelves bend under the weight of a myriad of language courses, complete with CDs, textbooks, phrasebooks, flashcards, workbooks, etc. Even more YouTube videos are longing to be seen, revealing the secrets of learning any language in ten minutes or fewer.

This is a quick post to make you look around and take off the customary pink glasses. Okay, black ones are good, too.

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7 Sure-Fire Ways to Overcome Language Learning Block

Written by Yuri Karabatov. Follow me on Twitter.

Time comes when you loathe the very thought of learning a language. But once you enjoyed it so much! Where has all the love gone?

I can name reasons, the most common is being bored with the same routine repeated over and over. Routines kill joy. Another one is studying the wrong material, either too hard or dealing with topics you don’t like, or don’t need.

Here’s how to reclaim the joy of learning.

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Weekend Links: January 16

Let me share with you the most interesting and inspiring posts I’ve come across through the week.

Why it doesn’t matter whose or what method you follow by Benny Lewis

Benny reasonably states that although there is a score of language learning programs and methods out there, there is no guarantee any of them will work for you personally. You have to try out some of the for yourself and find out which works best. If none does, make your own method.

Remember: there is no placebo. All people are different, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. That’s why there are so many methods around: each of them actually works for someone.

Always Think This Way by Julien Smith

This is a small, but inspiring post. “I am better today than yesterday, and I will be better tomorrow. I am a champion standing over my former self.

Don’t Compare Your English With Others! by Robby Kukurs

Though Robby’s post concerns English, the same is true for any other language you are studying, so be sure to read it. In the post he explains that you should not be discouraged at someone who speaks better than you, but you should learn from them instead.

Besides, they may be just enthusiastic about one topic and speak fluently within its limits, while being at a loss in conversations about other topics. All in all, there will always be someone who speaks better than you, and there’s no point in pitying yourself about the fact. You should be confident and learn from your mistakes to be better next time.

GED Test at Franklin Virtual High Schools

Take the GED test confidently by properly preparing with the education professionals at Franklin Virtual Schools.

They say it’s the fastest and lowest-cost way to pass a GED, which is, on top of it, is completely online. Have a look if you’re considering taking a GED test.

High School Diploma at Jefferson High School Online

If you need a high school diploma, look no further. Come visit Jefferson High School Online today!

Third challenge for 2011: learn to speak Turkish by Randy

This year Randy, who is writing at Yearlyglot, will be learning Turkish. His goal is to become fluent in the language over the course of one year. If you learn Turkish, follow Randy’s posts to get tips and advice. In the post he explains his reasons for choosing Turkish.

Next week will be fun, so subscribe to updates via RSS or E-mail. I also post updates on my Twitter and Facebook fan page.  See you next week!

Spaces Are Futile

Japanese writing system is hard enough by using several thousand kanji, why make it even harder? Yet it is: in Japanese there are no spaces between words.

Any text is just a string of kanji mixed with few punctuation marks and kana. Moreover, it comes in two flavors: a left-to-right horizontal string of characters, and a top-to-bottom, right-to-left vertical one.

Let’s look at a simple example.

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