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How I Shall Tackle a 15min Vietnamese Conversation in 90 Days

I have decided on my next goal: I want to be able to have a 15 minutes conversation in Vietnamese in roughly 90 days from now. Right now I know zero Vietnamese: not even the pronunciation, not even "hello". However, I have experience succeeding in language challenges. This is my action plan:

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14 Tips for Learning Languages (+ 14 language video)

Which language should you pick? How to stay motivated? Is it bad to learn more than one language at once? How to memorize vocabulary? How to keep improving when you're already at a high level? ... I get a lot of questions about learning languages. Here are my top 14 tips in a handy list. Watch the video below in order to hear me expand on each idea. To make it more interesting, I have recorded each section in a different language, 14 languages in total.

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Learning Foreign Writing Systems

I love learning foreign writing systems so I developed my own method for it. It involves teaching each letter one by one and immediately practicing it by reading words that are recognizable even in a foreign script, for example city and country names, international words, loanwords and so on. The order of letter introduction is optimized so that even if you only learned 2 or 3 letters, there are already words you can practice reading and with each new letter you get tons of additional reading practice.

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Lernu la Ukrainan alfabeton

Mi ĵus remalkovris kurson kiun mi verkis antaŭ la IJK en Kyiv. Ĝi instruas la cirilan alfabeton por la ukraina lingvo tiel, ke Esperantistoj povos poste legi afiŝojn, menuon de picejo, stratindikojn kaj similajn aferojn. Jen ĝi:

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Progress since January this year

3 / 25 Foreign books read, i. e. excl. German + English
51 / 750 Total hours of lang. study

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

Summary of 2015 and Goals for 2016

2015 was a great year in terms of personal success, but not such a great year for my language studies. While I did reach a conversational level in Hebrew, having started from scratch in January and putting in 160 hours, I did not reach my goal of 750 hours of language study across all languages this year, I only did 632 hours. Also, I missed my reading target of 50 books by a long shot, having read only 37 books this year. At least the language spread of them was good: apart from English and German books, 3 books in Spanish, 2 each in Italian, French, Esperanto and Dutch, 1 in Modern Greek and 1 in Chinese.

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Language Plans for the Summer

The Polyglot Gathering was a huge success. It's inspiring to be among so many people who love languages. I never took that for granted, because in my hometown near Düsseldorf I often felt like a freak for wanting to learn a lot of languages. Well, if I'm a freak, there are hundreds of them and we're getting stronger. ;-)

What I found particularly motivating was to see people who are way better than me. Sometimes I get discouraged: at 13 languages (admittedly some of them quite weak), is it really possible to go much further? Can I hope to bring more of them to fluency? Read more...

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