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How to overcome your fear of speaking

24 maj 2011
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Woman with panicked look on her face
"I want to speak but I'm afraid!" Photo by Nate Steiner.

No matter how well you know a language, you can't communicate with anyone if you're afraid to use it.

While it might not seem like this has anything to do with language learning, this is a problem that affects a lot of people. Even me!

For a long a time, I was afraid to speak the languages I was learning (Polish and Russian). I still have trouble getting the courage to speak in certain situations (ex. on the telephone) or with certain people. It isn't something that I got over immediately, but I've slowly improved over several years.

Read more to learn how I got over my fear of speaking and how you can too!

What I want BiblioBird to become

29 mar 2011

BiblioBird is a web application for learning languages that I designed based on my experiences learning Polish.

Until now, BiblioBird has been a personal project of mine - but I have much bigger dreams for it! I want BiblioBird to become a community project in which anyone can participate, similar to Wikipedia, for example.

To facilitate this, I've recently released the code that powers BiblioBird as Open Source. I am now working on some new features that will facilitate contribution from the new community!

Read more to learn about BiblioBird and what I hope it could become!

Vlog: Pomóżcie mi tworzyć wolny serwis do nauki języków!

25 mar 2011

Zwracam się do Was o pomoc z BiblioBirdem! Konkretnie z testowaniem nowych funkcji. Proszę dołącz do zespołu BETA!

Oto jest wątek na forum dla programisty.

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The three ingredients for successful language learning

15 mar 2011
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Some recipes have many ingredients. Language learning only has three! Photo by Anthony Georgeff

What's the difference between a successful language learner and an unsuccessful language learner?

Is it talent with languages? Nope! Last week I wrote that talent isn't necessary to learn a language. So, what then?

The three ingredients for successful language learning are time, motivation and an effective method.

With these three things, anyone can learn any language successfully.

Read on for more information!

You don't need talent to learn a language

8 mar 2011
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(I recorded a video in Polish about the same topic. It's one of my favorite videos of all time! Especially the ending. ;-))

Girl doing gymnastics
Wow, that's talent! Or is it? Photo by Chrissy Wainwright.

Many people believe that you're either born with a talent for learning languages or you're not.

What's more, most people believe they lack this talent only because they were unsuccessful at learning a language in school. They may believe they are already hopeless - so, why even try?

Luckily, this is completely untrue! You don't need innate talent to learn a language!

Read more to find out why.

Vlog: Jak wygląda efektywna metoda nauki języka obcego

5 mar 2011

Po tym filmiku o trzech potrzebnych składnikach nauki języka obcego (czas, motywacja, efektywna metoda), bardzo dużo ludzi zapytało mnie o ten ostatni składnik. W tym filmiku opisuję jak wygląda efektywna metoda nauki!

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Language learning is more like karate than math

1 mar 2011
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Become a language ninja! Photo by Joey Gannon.

In school, languages are taught kind of like mathematics, but with letters and words instead of numbers. But learning a language is not like learning math!

Language learning uses entirely different brain functions and requires completely different processes to learn.

In fact, learning a language has more in common with learning karate than studying mathematics!

Read more to find out why!

Immersion tips: How to meet natives

22 lut 2011
Woman diving underwater
Dive into the culture! Photo by Elena Lagaria

We've all heard stories about someone going to a foreign country for a year and coming back able to speak the language "fluently." (I don't like that word, read this article to find out why.)

But immersion in a foreign country doesn't mean you'll automatically learn the language!

I've heard many more complaints from people living abroad who, despite being surrounded by the language everyday, don't seem to learn it. One problem is that they end up speaking their native language most of the time, rather than meeting new people and engaging them in real conversation in the language they are learning.

So, how can you meet new people in a foreign country and get the most out of your immersion experience? Read more for tips!

Vlog: Polityka w Stanach Zjednoczonych

19 lut 2011

Dzisiaj mówię na temat amerykańskiego systemu partyjnego i ciekawych dziejów politycznych w moim stanie Wisconsin.

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What to do when you don't know a word

8 lut 2011
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Panic button
Is it time to panic? Photo by Mikel Manitius.

As I've written previously, learning vocabulary is the biggest challenge in language learning: there are almost an infinite number of words to learn!

Inevitably, you will be in a situation where you need to use a word that you don't know.

What should you do? Panic? ;-)

The short answer: circumlocution. The long answer: read the rest of this post!