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How I Spent 700+ Hours on Languages Last Year

After publishing my Summary of 2014, a lot of people have been asking me how I managed to spend 749 hours on languages last year. This is my answer.

To achieve a goal like this, you need three things: tracking, obstinence and inventiveness.

Tracking

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Duolingo: Esperanto coming soon!

Esperanto_Coming_Soon_Duolingo
Have you heard of the latest language-learning website that's sweeping the globe: Duolingo? It was founded by Luis von Ahn, previously best-known for creating Captcha, those boxes on the Internet where you have to type a mangled word to prove that you're human.

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7 Ways that Computers Changed How We Learn Languages

If you are learning a language today, chances are that your study sessions are looking vastly different than they would have even 10 years ago. This is a part of our daily life that has been radically transformed by the digital age.
The revolution came in 7 waves:

  1. digitalization
  2. multimedia
  3. auto-correction
  4. social integration
  5. personalization
  6. gamification
  7. computer language teachers

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6 Tips for Working with a Tutor

Skype language tutor
Spending a lot of time actively using your target language can do wonders for your progress. At the beginner level, a tutor is the best investment you can make. So without further ado, here are my tips for having a successful language tutoring experience:

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Progress since January this year

0 / 30 Foreign books read, i. e. excl. German + English
50 / 750 Total hours of lang. study

(This is manually updated, so not always up to date)

Summary of 2014

2014 was a very successful year for me. Here's the big summary, including how many hours I spent on which languages, how many books I read, and all my biggest successes of the year.

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Practising 13 Languages

In 2010 I had the idea to record a yearly video of myself speaking all languages I could remember, switching rapidly from one to the next, as the ultimate test of speaking ability. Then I could compare my ability from one year to the next. Obviously with enough preparation anyone can appear to be fluent in any language on video, even a language they haven't studied yet, so in order for this to be a good indicator, the rules would have to be no preparation, no edits, no cuts, no retakes.

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What do Polyglots do for Fun?


This year I organized my first major conference: the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. It turned out a study in how polyglots like to have fun, with nearly 230 participants from 35 countries coming together for 4 days of program. Until now, I had only organized smaller meet-ups or done minor work for bigger conferences (like organizing the "JES al novuloj" scholarships for the Junulara E-Semajno). Then, Richard Simcott suggested at last year's Polyglot Conference in Budapest that there may be no European polyglot event in 2014, and I decided to pick up the slack.

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