README

This blog is about learning how to learn languages better and faster.

It started with some questions:

  • What’s the best way to start learning a new language?
  • What’s the fastest one can possibly get fluent in a new language?
  • How can one stay motivated studying independently?
  • Why would someone be silly enough to want to learn so many languages?

So far I’m convinced that language learning is at least as much about cultivating a kind of self awareness and honesty as it is about any particular studying technique. Learning a new language can be daunting, especially in the beginning. Guilt and feelings of should easily replace actual practice. So I’m not only interested in language learning per se, but also in developing the kind of self-honesty and open-mindedness that’s required to keep making progress. The best polyglots I’ve met have this in common: they are curious about the world, and learning languages clearly gives them more joy than stress.

How to read this blog

This is a language learning journal. A lot of the posts are unstructured ramblings about whatever I am thinking about or whatever challenge I’m going through on a particular day in my language journey. I wouldn’t recommend reading all these ramblings to anybody except maybe my future self.

If you’re interested in language acquisition, though, there may be something here for you. First read this post about language acquisition, and then check out the resources page.

What I am doing

In August 2016 I started trying to learn German. At first I thought I was just going to study German as hard as I could for a month, and hope that when the dust settled I’d have made some sort of progress. Then I learned about acquisition theory and realized a month of studying wasn’t going to cut it. Instead of doing that, I spent the month setting up a practice that I hope will get me to some significant level of acquisition in, say, six months.

Why did I start with German? Sure, there are a lot of other languages I want to learn just as much. But German is one of those languages that a lot of people say is hard, definitely too hard to learn in six months. Wanting to prove these unspecified people wrong helps motivate me.

Since then, the months have gone as follows:

August – German (1) (starting from scratch)

September – French (2) (starting from A2)

October – Traveling in France, continuing French

November – Korean (3) (starting from scratch)

December – Traveling in the US, continuing German & Korean

January – Indonesian (4) (starting from scratch with a “language marathon”)

Teamwork!

Does this interest you? Let’s help each other. What resources or learning methods have you tried? What’s been working and what hasn’t? Why do you learn languages? How do you stay motivated? Leave a comment!