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Vlog: Grocery shopping in the USA!

5 Feb 2013

(If you're a subscriber and you didn't get an e-mail about this video, it's because you didn't selected "I'm interested in ... Life in the USA and American culture" or "I'm learning ... English" in your subscriber options.)

As you requested in the survey a couple weeks ago, here is a video in English showing daily life in the USA.

You asked for less videos where I'm talking to the camera and more out in the world. So that's what we tried to do!

Please let me know what you think of the video! Do you want more like this?

(Click here to help work on the subtitles or translate them into another language!)

Read more for a full transcript!

The key to understanding English tenses!

29 Jan 2013

Every language has some difficult bit.

It's that one aspect of the language that you'll be working on over and over again the whole time that you're learning it.

For English, it's verb tenses.

Counting the way the teachers usually do, English has 14-16 tenses. (There's many ways to count them!)

No matter what the exact number - the point is that English has a very complex verb system. I get TONS of questions from English learners about which tense is correct in a particular sentence.

A couple weeks ago, during one of our English lessons over voice chat, a learner (Hi Marcin!) asked me:

Why did you say: "I was using it as an example?" Why not: "I used it as an example?" You weren't talking about it very long - shouldn't it be past simple instead of past continuous?

The answer is actually quite simple. And it ISN'T a grammar explanation. ;-) Really! I won't need to draw a picture or show you a chart.

In fact, all this confusion comes from a fundamental misunderstanding about English tenses, which itself stems from years and years of teachers explaining the tenses in a particular way.

Today, I'm finally going to clear up this misunderstanding!

Read more to learn the key to understanding English tenses!

Big changes to my blog! (results of the survey)

22 Jan 2013

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey about what they'd like to see on my blog in 2013!

Last week I was feeling a little depressed that fewer people were reading and commenting.

But I received lots of good critiques on the survey - both positive and negative. It was sometimes difficult to read, but it's exactly that kind of honest feedback that I needed.

This week I'm feeling very optimistic that I can use what I've learned to make my blog even more helpful for you!

So, thanks again. :-)

Today, I'm going to share the results of the survey and announce some changes and future plans.

I spent a lot of time analyzing your responses and learned many interesting and unexpected things.

Read more to find out what they are!

A blog in crisis! What should I write about?!

15 Jan 2013

First of all, thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate it. :-)

Once a week I publish an article with language learning advice. I hope these articles are helpful in your language learning journey.

Lately, I've noticed that fewer people are reading and commenting. It isn't really a "crisis" - that was just a sweet-sounding title. ;-) But I'd like to turn this around before it becomes a real crisis.

I don't just blog for myself (although it is a lot of fun). I write these articles for YOU! If they aren't helping you make progress in learning a language - I'm failing.

Tell me how I can make my articles more helpful for you!

Please fill out this survey and let me know:

  1. What do you want more of?
  2. What do you want less of?
  3. What is your biggest problem with the language you're learning right now?

I'll use the results to decide what I should focus on in 2013! I think it's going to be a great year. :-)

Thanks in advance in advance for your help!

Get over your fear of speaking in a foreign language (without leaving your house!)

9 Jan 2013

Have you ever tried to speak in a foreign language ... but your mind just went blank?

Then afterwards the words simply came to you?

You are not alone!

Fear of speaking a foreign language is sooo common that psychologists have even given it name: Foreign language anxiety.

According to linguistic Stephen Krashen - one of the foremost experts on how humans naturally learn languages - this anxiety has a strong negative impact on your ability to use a language!

If you want to actually speak in the language you are learning, you will NEED to get over this fear.

However, it's almost never addressed directly in language learning courses!

Today, I'm going to give you some tips for getting over your fear of speaking (without even leaving your house)!

Read more to find out how!

Discover the PERFECT language learning goal for 2013! (3 simple questions)

1 Jan 2013

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:

  1. Make a big difference in my language learning journey, and
  2. 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!

Why my motivation failed (and how you can avoid the same pitfalls!)

4 Dec 2012

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!

Listen to my FREE audiobook about language learning in Polish!

13 Nov 2012
Cover of my ebook

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)!

Let's read in a foreign language! (a group project)

16 Oct 2012

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:

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!

Real Life in the USA (our product for learning English has launched!)

1 Oct 2012

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!