Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season. :-)
You may have noticed that I haven't published any articles for a few weeks. Instead I've been relaxing and reconnecting with friends and family. I've also been reflecting on my successes and failures from the previous year and thinking about my goals for the new year.
Like many people, I have tendency to set many, overly-ambitious goals for myself that are impossible to achieve. Have you ever done this? ;-)
That's why this year I've decided to systematically choose only ONE PERFECT language learning goal. To be "perfect" it should:
- Make a big difference in my language learning journey, and
- Be actually achievable.
In this article I present three simple questions that I used to choose the perfect language learning goal for me in 2013.
Don't make any more empty promises to yourself!
Read more and use the same questions to discover the perfect goal for YOU!
Motivation is probably the most important ingredient in successful language learning.
I frequently get comments to my articles and videos complimenting my perseverance and motivation in learning Polish. But even now, I sometimes have problems with my motivation!
I don't like to fail. Nobody does! Especially not publicly. :-)
However, sometimes you can learn more from the failures of others than their successes. It's easy to believe that someone was successful because they are "special" or have an ingrained talent. It's important to see their failures too!
Which is why I'm going to share a personal story with you about how my motivation failed - very recently, a few weeks ago.
Read more to find out how you can avoid the same pitfalls and renew your motivation!
Back in March I decided to write a FREE ebook about language learning for YOU, the subscribers of my blog, in order to thank you for your support over the years.
I planned the content based on over 1500 survey responses and HUNDREDS of emails and comments. By the time it was finally published in May, I can honestly say that it really was FOR YOU!
In the introduction, I write:
This ebook is for people...
- ... who have spent years in traditional courses but still can't order in a restaurant, watch a movie without subtitles, or have a casual conversation with a native speaker.
- ... who think that their course was too fast, too slow, or too boring.
- ... who think they don't have a talent for learning language. (But, in truth, no talent is necessary! What you need is a good approach!)
- ... who want to take control of their language learning journey and study using a method that will help them achieve their goal efficiently!
In short, this ebook is for normal people who want to learn a language. It's not for language experts or polyglots.
It's for the majority of us who have tried in vain to learn even one foreign language. Or for those who successfully learned one foreign language, but the process was so slow and painful they're looking for a better way to learn their second foreign language.
Today, I'm happy to announce an updated Polish translation and an audiobook version in Polish!
Read more in order to listen to the introduction and find out how to download the full audiobook (or PDF, EPUB or MOBI)!
Recently I've been so busy with Bibliobird and creating our product for learning English, that I had to put my Polish learning on hold.
I learned Polish mainly from reading and listening to books in Polish - but it's been MONTHS since I've read anything! And back in June I canceled all my language exchange meetings because I didn't have the time.
But now that our product is released, it's time to get back to Polish! I just got a new book (and audiobook!) based on a recommendation from a couple Bibliobird users: Cylinder van Troffa by Janusz Zajdel
Over the next four weeks, I'm going to be reading and listening to it using the method I describe in my FREE ebook while publicly sharing my progress.
Have you been thinking of reading and listening to something in English, Polish or whatever language you're learning? Read it along with me and share your progress too!
Two of the biggest challenges in language learning are:
- Getting started - it's sooo easy to procrastinate, and
- Staying motivated - REMEMBER: the only way to fail, is to give up!
I'm hoping that if we do this as a group project, it'll be a great excuse to start NOW! And sharing our progress with each other will help to keep us motivated.
Read more to find out about my plan and how YOU can participate!
After eight weeks of really intense work, we've finally launched "Real Life in the USA" - a paid package of texts for Bibliobird, designed to help Poles learn English while simultaneously learning about the USA.
(Normally, I write articles with language learning advice or information about American and Polish culture. Don't worry, we'll return to that next week!)
While everyone in the world is familiar with American movies and TV shows, these representations aren't 100% accurate! However, this is unfortunately how most foreigners form their impressions of the USA, Americans and our culture.
"Real Life in the USA" contains informative articles, fictional stories, interviews and natural conversations with native speakers, covering many topics from everyday life, including: work, education, crime, finding an apartment and many others (read more for the full table of contents!) - all through the eyes of real Americans!
These texts are in English, all include audio (some of it taken from authentic conversations!) and are prepared to be read using Bibliobird, a web application based on the method I used to learn Polish!
Read more for the details and information about getting a discount!
This is the sixth installment in my series of articles called "Things I Love About Poland," in which I discuss differences between Poland and the USA.
It's been awhile since I wrote an article in this series! Right when we got back from our last trip to Poland (in October 2010), I made a list of over twenty ideas to write about. :-)
I was hoping to visit Poland again in the fall this year, but with all the work we're doing on Bibliobird, it looks like that will be impossible. :-/
(BTW, our paid product to help Poles learn English - "Real Life in the USA" - is going to be launched on Monday, October 1st. Learn more here and get a discount!)
So, now that fall has come, I'm feeling a little nostalgic!
In my first article in this series, I wrote about one thing I love about going out to eat in Poland - and today I'm going to tell you three more!
Read more to find out what they are!
(Don't worry, this is an article with language learning advice! But I just wanted to let you know that my paid product to help Poles learn English - "Real Life in the USA" - is going to be launched on Monday, October 1st. Learn more here and get a discount!)
I personally learned Polish by reading and listening to the Harry Potter books in Polish. While a fantasty book like Harry Potter is great for learning general language, it won't be the best choice if your goal is to learn specialized language instead.
In my free ebook, I explain that you should pick content to learn from that uses the same type of language that you want to learn.
While that's great general advice, many people have trouble implementing it in practice!
In fact, I've received the following question so often that I decided it was time to write a complete article about it:
How can I learn technical language? I want to learn how to write computer programs and most of the materials and documentation are in English. Is it possible to use the same method you used to learn Polish?
Of course, there are no audiobooks for technical literature. But you wrote that listening is extremely important! How can I do it?
It's definitely possible to find good reading and listening resources for programming - and most other specialized language!
Read more to find out how!
Usually, I post articles with language learning advice or information about American or Polish culture. Today is going to be a little different.
Over the last two weeks, LinguaTrek (my blog) and Bibliobird (my web application for language learning) have been mentioned a number of times on the internet.
Here is a quick overview!
A review of my FREE ebook!
This e-book is of the same calibre as can be found in other e-products (like The Language Hacking Guide and Everyday Language Learner), but at a much more favourable price. Excellent content for free!
If you have a moment, I highly recommend taking a look at J.'s blog! There is a plethora of interesting articles about language learning but not only!
An interview with PolakPotrafi.pl
The crowdfunding campaign we did on PolakPotrafi.pl (like KickStarter.com in Poland) in order to presell our first paid product for Bibliobird was "one of the most spectacular successes in Polish crowdfunding!"
Yesterday, I did an interview on the PolakPotrafi.pl blog (in Polish) where I discuss the details of the compaign and what I believe allowed us to be so successful. The Google Translate version is pretty hilarious but it conveys the general idea. :-)
Read more for the two remaining peices of news!
Two weeks ago I gave some tips for starting a language exchange.
In the comments, someone wrote (translated from Polish):
It's easy to look for more language exchange partners if your native language is English. After all, the whole world is learning that language. What to do if no one wants to learn Polish (ed: this commenter's native language is Polish). I don't think I'd find even one Swede who wanted to learn Polish.
I've heard this opinion expressed many times before - basically every time I bring up language exchange.
I agree it's harder if your native language is less popular. But it's definitely still possible to find someone online!
Read more for three tips on how to find a language exchange partner online!
But unfortunately, this wasn't the topic of the ebook so I didn't discuss it then - which is why I'm trying to focus on it on my blog now (see previous articles).
Some situations are more difficult to speak in than others!
Two of the most difficult are:
- Over the telephone, and
- In group of native speakers.
Even though I've been learning Polish for over 5 years, I still personally have trouble in both of these situations. But the strategy I'm going to give you today helps tremendously!
Read more to find out what it is!