Language Book Club: A One-Day Sale and Event with Language Authors

Have you put tomorrow's date (Jan 30) in your diary? The whole day will be filled with fun and learning, giveaways and special deals during Language Book Club, our Facebook event.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US

Here are All Discounted Books

Just a few of our discounted books on the day..

Just a few of our discounted books on the day..

The following books will drop their prices for one day only. (Note I can't guarantee this and am informing you based on their promise, so no, you can't sue me if there's no deal to be found. I can promise you that my deal goes ahead.)

This is my own guide to acquiring vocabulary and never forgetting it, and I'm making it FREE for the day. Look out for my bonus deal at 11am GMT in the Facebook event.

You know about Anthony Metivier from my review of his language learning course here on Fluent. He's obsessed with memorizing things! If you want to build memory palaces and learn how to get great at remembering words, Anthony can help.

Benny Lewis's book takes the message from his blog and makes it even more accessible for anyone: Language learning is possible. You don't need money or years, you can get started straight away.

Russian Step By Step means textbooks written by really passionate teachers. I've had the pleasure of working with Natasha and Anna, the ladies behind this fab series recently, and can't recommend their commitment to Russian teaching enough. They teach what normal people need to know - not scholars.

In this book, Ben writes about attitudes and methods for successful French learning. It's a quick and simple read and will help any French learner over the common road blocks.

This is a whopper! Jared and Diana from Speaking Latino are offering 12 books as a huge bundle helping you discover Spanish from Argentinia, Chile, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Have I missed one?

Pick up this book by Olly Richards to discover more about why you keep forgetting foreign language vocabulary, and how to be better at it.

For independent learners and teaching parents alike, this book provides a solid foundation to language learning. It focuses not on courses, but stories - the fun way to get unblocked!

This is a novel set in Northern England, and written both for English and Chinese learners. Aidan O'Rourke has crafted a captivating story.

And Here is the Much Anticipated Schedule

Get your questions ready, join our Facebook group and event, and tomorrow you will be able to live chat with all of the following authors. All these times are in GMT.

10:00 Benny Lewis

11:00 Kerstin Hammes

12:00 Olly Richards

13:00 Benjamin Houy

14:00 Speaking Latino (Jared Romey)

15:00 Anthony Metivier

17:00 Chris Broholm

18:00 Kid World Citizen (Becky Morales)

19:00 Mystery Guest (tbc)

20:00 Aidan O'Rourke

Support the Organisers

By now, you've probably become aware that we're not just holding the event to make money. There are so many discounts and so much organisation involved in these kinds of events that I simply have to take a second and ask you guys if you could possibly spare $1 to support us?

If your answer is yes, then here are a few ways to do it:

1. Boost my Patreon Campaign for anything you can afford at all

2. Support Chris Broholm on Indiegogo

3. Use our Affiliate links so Amazon can pay us like 0.05% of what you buy

All the links above are affiliate links and go to Amazon.co.uk, so if you do buy through these you're giving a tiny cut to Fluent too at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you in advance for all your support. It really means a lot to us! I want to make more podcast, run more language events and create courses for you guys but it is impossible without paying the rent and the website.

See you guys tomorrow!

New Podcast: Chris Broholm on Challenges, Information Overload and Book Club (and the Owl!)

In Episode 12 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast, I interviewed a fellow podcaster! Chris Broholm is a language learner with a big mission: 10 Languages in 10 Years!

Listen to our interview to find out more about

  • Who everybody's favourite owl is!

  • How Chris built up his own support community of inspiring language learners through the Actual Fluency Podcast

  • Whether there is a best way to approach language learning methods

  • What to think about when you set yourself an ambitious goal like Chris Broholm's 10 Languages in 10 Years

  • The importance of bewaring information overload

  • The language learning method that you absolutely must try out

  • And why trying it out is all that we can tell you to do!

As long as you’re doing something, you’re doing it right.
— Chris on Language Learning Methods
www.languagebookclub.com

And most importantly...

We talk about Language Book Club and how much we're looking forward to it!

Article of the Week

Duolingo is Getting More Serious by Kay Alexander on Fair Languages

Tips of the Week

Chris chose Tip 1 as his favourite, because goal setting is still WAY undervalued in learning a new language.

  • Tip 1: set your chosen Fluency level (travel fluent, job fluent?)

  • Tip 2: Be a historical linguist

    • Word origins and vocab divergence can help with remembering words

    • Look up "etymology"

  • Tip 3: Sprint with the Language Challenge

Tips and Links from this Podcast

Support the Creative Language Learning Podcast through Patreon - from just $1!

Actual Fluency Indiegogo Campaign

The italki New Year Challenge: Study 20 Lessons and Win

Actual Fluency Episode 32 with me talking about how to be an independent online teacher

Handbook of Russian Affixes

Russian in 10 Minutes a Day by Kristine Kershul

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

“If I Were a Boy”: What Happens if French, Spanish and German Girls Share an Idea

Today I have a guest post for you here on Fluent, hopefully giving you insights into language learning through musics in a wholly new way. What if you didn't just watch "Let it Go from Frozen in 25 Languages" on YouTube. How about learning about how different languages use grammar to all express a common theme?

My guest Paul writes on behalf of Language Trainers, a language tutoring service. You can find some of their resources at languagetrainers.com and also email him at paul@languagetrainers.com.

img ©instyle

img ©instyle

It’s a question we’ve all thought about at least once -- if you woke up one morning and discovered that you were suddenly of the opposite sex, what would you do? Incidentally, this rhetorical situation has so thoroughly plagued pop singers around the world that they’ve been prompted to write songs about it! Indeed, there are popular songs titled “If I Were A Boy” in at least four languages -- English, Spanish, French, and German.

Unsurprisingly, the hypothetical male versions of the women who sing these catchy pop songs have different goals -- where Beyoncé is focused on doing right by her woman (“I’d stand up for her”), French songstress Diane Tell is more concerned with material goods (“Je t'offrirais de beaux bijoux” / I’d offer her beautiful jewels). And German group Fräulein Wunder has a slightly less glamorous set of goals, such as peeing with no hands (“Und nur zum Spaß freihändig pissen” / And piss with no hands for fun).

But regardless of whether their fantasies involve romance, riches, or going to the bathroom, these ladies all share one thing in common: their music gives us a great reason to practice the subjunctive. Yes, that’s right: an unintended side effect of these gender-bending tunes is that they give us learners a perfect chance to see the second conditional in action. So without further ado, let’s deconstruct the rich grammar lessons underlying the Spanish, French, and German versions of “If I Were a Boy”.

Spanish: Si Yo Fuera un Chico by Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s original English-language song “If I Were A Boy” was so popular that she translated and re-recorded a version en español for her Spanish-speaking fans. Since then, it’s been a hit in Latin America and Spain, as well as among students trying to learn the second conditional in Spanish. Let’s take a look at what Beyoncé would do if she were a boy.

Si yo fuera un chico / If I were a boy

Sé que podría saber / I know that I would be able to know

Comprender mucho mejor / How to better understand

Lo que es amar a una mujer / What it means to love a woman

Poignant, Beyoncé! But even more than being a sweet sentiment, these lyrics give us a great chance to learn the subjunctive in Spanish. Note that she uses the past subjunctive of “ser” (to be) -- fuera -- to indicate that the situation is hypothetical, or at least very unlikely. And later, she uses the conditional form of “poder” (to be able to) -- podría -- to indicate something that she would do if circumstances were different.

Who knew that Beyoncé was not only a queen of American pop music, but also a professor of Spanish? To find out what else Beyoncé would do if she were a boy, as well as to hear some more examples of second conditionals in Spanish, listen on here.

French: Si J’étais Un Homme 

Diane Tell is a French-Canadian singer who is arguably the one who started it all: in 1981, she became well-known throughout Canada and Europe when she released “Si j'étais un homme”, a solid three decades before Beyoncé’s version. Though Diane is a little more keen on material goods than Beyoncé (she goes on to write about expensive jewels, perfumes, and flowers), the message is the same: she would be very romantic if she were a man. In fact, at the end of the song, she proclaims:

Ah ! si j'etais un homme / Oh! If I were a boy

Je serais romantique… / I would be romantic…

And thus we encounter another great chance to brush up on our second conditionals. In French, like English, the second conditional is used to describe impossible or improbable situations. Here, it’s formed by taking the imperfect first-person tense of “être” (to be) -- ètais -- to express that the situation is not real. Then, like in Spanish, the conditional form of “être” -- serais -- indicates the same sentiment that “would” expresses in English.

To hear the rest of Mlle. Tell’s imaginative ideas, hear the full song here.

German: Wenn ich ein Junge wär

The spunky ladies of German band Fräulein Wunder do away with the sweet, romantic notions in the Spanish and French versions of the song, and instead zero in on the really important topics: Playboy, beer, and Kampfsport machen (combat sports). But despite the fact that their version of “If I Were Boy” is decidedly more vulgar than the others (making it a great song for learning German swear words), a G-rated grammar lesson can still be found within the profanity.

Wenn ich ein Junge wär / If I were a boy

Ich würd mit meinen Kumpels raufen / I would scuffle with my buddies

Ich würd mein’ nackten Hintern zeigen / I would show my bare butt

Amongst the fighting and flashing, some grammatical rules emerge: the subjunctive II is formed by adding an umlaut to the imperfect form of the verb -- so “war” becomes wär. This indicates that the situation described isn’t real. Then, the conditional: like English, German uses an entire word -- würd -- to express the sentiment of “would”; likewise, the verb that follows is in infinitive (uninflected) form, as we see with raufen and zeigen.

Some of Fräulein Wunder’s lyrics were too explicit for me to write about here, so prepare yourself, and listen to their entire song by clicking on this link (warning: parental advisory!).
 

Learning Grammar Through Music

As these ladies’ songs have shown us, music is a great way to enjoy yourself while picking up important grammar points. Given that songs are often written in common, colloquial language, they’re also great for learning phrases and sayings that you wouldn’t learn in class. For more foreign-language music ideas for language learners, check out these extensive suggestions. And don’t forget to sing along -- that way, you’ll be getting in some speaking practice as well! (Though, please -- be mindful of your surroundings when singing along to “Wenn ich ein Junge wär”.) Happy listening!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

How I Travel Europe: The Train from England to Germany

Have you ever stood in the security queue at your airport, realising with a bolt of anger that you're about to have to hand in your big bottle of expensive shampoo? Or been troubled by fear of flying, wishing for solid ground in the middle of turbulence? In today's article, I want to talk about train travel, an alternative way of getting around. My own journeys take place in Europe, and I have taken trains in more than 12 European countries. If you're interested in trying it out, here's how to make it as easy and affordable as you can.

The Place of Travel Talk in Language Learning

As a blog that is mostly dedicated to language learning, I usually stay away from outright travel tales. It's important to encourage language learners out there that you can totally do this without ever leaving your town. But at the same time, language and travel have the same goal. They're about opening doors and showing us what's out there in the world. Most of us language learners are motivated by the thought of going to new places and meeting new people. And as an experienced traveller, I've got a few stories I can share. Today I'm kicking off the travel tales with my tips on train travel across my continent.

Train Travel...

In the age of high-speed everything, you'll likely tell me that there's no reason to spend 20 hours on trains when you can just fly to the same place in half the time. Train travel is slower and more expensive than flying. I've heard all that. But every now and then when you take a sip of the tea you made at home (no liquids restrictions) and enjoy a view of a carnival parade or lovers' argument on a platform, you realise what makes the train so special.

Train travel can be romantic, relaxing and enjoyable. So today, I want to share some tips with you on how to get a good deal and make your journey in record time. My own trip from Lancaster to my German village was done in only 13 hours this year - counting door-to-door this rivals air travel quite closely. To get a great trip like that organised, here are the essentials:

How to Book a Train Across Europe

You can read about any country's detailed booking process on the amazing Seat 61 website. For this article, I will focus only on the countries regularly involved in my own journeys: UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France. All of these four countries except the UK have national rail companies, making it easier to get yourself booked onto their journeys. They are Belgian Rail, CF Luxembourg, Deutsche Bahn and SNCF. Within the UK, you will have to book a ticket with a local provider, but those are easily found through ticket vendor sites like National Rail.

Easiest Booking Process

Here is the booking process that I have established over the past years. It's pretty reliable and allows you to book from anywhere.

Step 1

Look up your best connection through Deutsche Bahn. Their trip planner won't sell foreign tickets, but the connections it brings up are really reliable and it's seemingly got access to all of Europe's connections.

Step 2

Get train prices. You book a large chunk of your journey as a connected ticket through Eurostar or the SNCF Rail Europe site. The site will want to sell you tickets in your own currency, which means you may miss out on better rates. Here's a link to its UK-focused site.

Step 3

To make sure you are getting the best rates, look up individual ticket prices with each provider separately. This means opening a few tabs in your browser and keeping an eye on the running total of your costs, but it can save hundreds. I use the following websites when I'm doing this:

If there is no significant advance booking discount to be had, I often buy my tickets on the counter just before I hop on the next train.

Step 4

Before you make your final purchase, look into getting discounts such as Interrail cards, the German Bahn Card or the British Young Person's Railcard. Each of these cards costs money at the start, but usually pays for itself within 1-2 journeys.

For Visitors to Belgium

If you're making a journey from the UK to or from Belgium, consider buying a ticket that includes same-day travel to "any Belgian station". These can be booked through the Eurostar website and might save you both money and hassle. The train conductors are surprisingly well informed when it comes to knowing where exactly the Belgian border ends and will happily sell you a supplementary ticket.

For example, travelling from Brussels to Luxembourg, this ticket will pay you up all the way to Arlon. When you travel from Brussels to Cologne, your border station is Aachen Süd.

Tips for Your Travel Day

Train travel can be a pain at times, so ensure that you are taking a few steps to make your journey as fun as possible.. If you are spending a full day on trains, make sure that you have allowed enough time to make your connections. Allow for at least 20 minutes of connection times, and take advantage of your train manager - if your train is running late and you're worried about missing a connection, they can often help out by notifying the train you are connecting to or giving you a "hop onto the next one" stamp.

Overall, it pays to be flexible. Trains will be late, missed, cancelled. No one really travels three or more countries by train for the sake of efficiency, so instead make sure you have allowed plenty of time and a bit of budget in case you have to stay over somewhere last minute.

Eating

It may also be worthwhile to plan to eat in the buffet car (I recommend the German ICE for this) or book first class travel, because when you are lucky, you only pay £20-£40 more. Half of this cost will pay for itself in all the free water, wifi and food that first class entitles you to (Virgin Trains are the best providers here). Without planning your food breaks, you may find that your 40 minute connection time has been shredded to bits by a late arrival, and run around scrambling to find a muesli bar.

And finally, a Note for Language Learners

A photo posted by Kerstin (@dartogreen) on

Train travel is an absolutely perfect opportunity for practicing your language skills and meeting new people, and this particular itinerary is a language lover's dream. Announcements on international trains are routinely made in at least two languages, for example on the Eurostar it's English, German, Flemish and French.

The languages spoken can vary within one country, so be respectful and remember that a rail employee is not your practice buddy. For example a Belgian person won't always appreciate being addressed in French by all tourists as much as you expect them to. For the sake of a smooth journey, service employees are at least bilingual. Some train stations will also have different names in the country's official languages, so watch out before you miss your stop. (That pesky Brusssels Midi station is called Brussel Zuid in Flemish, for example.)

I've actually got plenty more tips on train travel, some of which might be useful expansions into the next blog posts here on my travel writing corner. Hope you liked it!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

You're Invited: Language Book Club on 30 January 2015

Today I get to share with you what I have been hinting at for a few months now (you may have noticed on my Twitter account. You are invited to a one-day language book party!

Chris Broholm and I are organising the first ever online Language Book Club. The event is going to be a one-day celebration of languages and language learning, with experts and authors from around the globe being there for you to answer questions.

And that's not enough. It's a book club after all, and so each and every one of those authors is going to be discounting their books for you. I hope you'll join us. Just to give you an idea, I'll be featuring a very special deal on The Vocab Cookbook all day long.

Language Book Day

Throughout the day, we'll be featuring a schedule of experts who will pop in to answer questions, host discussions, give away prizes and run little competitions. I'll be posting the schedule here on the blog, and also over on the event page. Yes, it is a Facebook event and you will need a Facebook account, but if you don't want to join the mighty FB you can also join us on Twitter using #langbookclub.

Learn a new language, soak up a wealth of expert knowledge on language learning and grab a big bunch of books for huge discounts.

To join, click yes on the event page, because we will be sharing information every day in the run-up to 30 January 2015.

Please share this event with all your language learner friends, because we want to make it available to as many people as possible.

Some of the Books Included on the Day:

All of the following links go to Amazon, but there will be even more promotions on the day on our experts' own websites. Why not bookmark your favourites today so you can get them first thing on 30 January?

I'd love to hear whether you're excited about joining the event, and what kinds of questions you want to ask. No matter if they're about publishing a book, learning a language or mastering a tricky vocab point: We're here for you!

My New Year Language Challenge: Totalmente Italiano

Now that the new year has begun, I bet you're feeling fired up to take more language lessons, spend more time studying and set all kinds of new goals. And as a language tutor, you know where I stand on the issue: You should at try working with a 1-to-1 tutor. Good language teachers are the ultimate key to unlocking language learning.

While italki is certainly not the only place for you to find a good tutor, they are definitely one of the most encouraging. For 2015, italki is relaunching the Language Challenge. Sadly I'm too busy to get involved this time, but I've found a fearless roving reporter in my friend Tanja. Tanja is taking the Challenge and reporting on her Italian learning progress here on Fluent, and hopefully you'll feel encouraged and get involved in the Challenge too. You can read more below and sign up until Jan 31st.

italianlearning

Something New - Learning to be Fluent

My name is Tanja, and I have loved languages ever since my very first English lesson, aged 10, but sadly never turned into a “polyglot”. At school, I also took French and Latin while trying, at the same time, to teach myself Spanish at home, with tapes and a book (yes, tapes). At uni, I finally did an intensive Spanish course, followed up by a fairly advanced course in Girona. Ever since, I have been trying to boost my French and Spanish skills, to no great avail. My main achievement is that I own a lot of books in the languages. Some of the French ones I have even read. I also started courses in Swedish, Dutch and Ancient Greek, but never got past greetings.

Fluency

Fluency, for me, has a lot to do with speaking. I have come to realise that I am simply not fluent in more languages because I am too worried to make mistakes. Of course that’s wrong - after all, I moved to England aged 18 and therefore personally experienced that immersion works. I am a certified TEFL-teacher, I have been teaching classes for decades, not a single lesson passes in which I don’t tell my students that it’s okay to make mistakes. One of my students was “healed” from not speaking when I told her to pay attention to how many times a day, she can’t think of a word in German, doesn’t finish a sentence etc., in her mother tongue. I know the tricks of the trade, I understand how learning progresses, and I am aware that knowing a language isn’t just about being able to read books in it. My retirement vision of living in a house in France (with a big library) has long been marred by the realisation that I won’t be able to negotiate the contract and that my wine-fuelled discussions with my imaginary lovely neighbours will likely never happen if I don’t say more than “Bonjour, madame!”

So why Italian?

In the late summer of 2014, I decided to learn Italian from scratch. Though I still wanted to become fluent in French and possibly Spanish eventually, I made a choice. This time, I would go about it differently. I wouldn’t repeat and revise what I had already studied several times over the course of twenty years, but would start over. I wanted to apply all that I knew about language learning, and I wanted to give the communicative approach - basically, the belief that it is essential to speak and hence, communicate, from the very beginning - another try. Having had a very grammar-focused language education, this was bound to be hard for me, but it would be okay, especially because the other approaches clearly hadn’t worked.

I can’t say I have always wanted to learn Italian. In fact, I never wanted to learn Italian. I thought it was too similar to French and especially Spanish and it would confuse me more than help. I refused to holiday in Italy because it seemed more useful to go to places where “my” languages were spoken - but when in Spain or France, I very rarely used them. Nonetheless, I was fascinated by Italy: the history, the culture, the writers, recently even the politics were of great interest to me. After all, with the Front National being so successful in France, I might have to move my retirement home to Tuscany. Bonus: Italian food is glorious. So in August, I vowed to a friend that I’d learn Italian, and become fluent - fast.

What I Tried

Once the idea had hatched, I checked out the language very theoretically. I also booked a trip to Rome for New Year. By then, I wanted to be able to speak well enough. I tried to find a tandem partner via Couchsurfing and sort of did, but we never managed to meet up. It was a busy September, so I didn’t do much except practise on Duolingo. My plan was to fit a course into my full-time job schedule, and I had my eyes set on one that would be Fridays from 2-6pm, starting mid-October. This was meant to get me to B1-level in a semester. Shortly before the course was to commence, I bought the set course books. Then it was cancelled. This was the point at which I’d normally move on to another hobby - but not this time. I had made a promise to myself and further decided it would be good for my own teaching to feel like a newbie for a change. I searched online and found an offline teacher. The first time I sat in front of R., I was able to say absolutely nothing, Duolingo notwithstanding. I got homework though, and three days later, I had already improved. By the next week, I could write sentences in two tenses. I was hooked, but felt like I was doing most of the studying by myself. I then, having first registered in October, decided to actually use italki. In November I had my first trial sessions - both were very good, and in addition to being super-supportive, my second teacher somehow got me to talk.

How I Learn

So far, since late November, I have had one offline lesson a week (90 minutes) and one to two italki-sessions. I will be participating in the italki language challenge from January 15th, so that’ll mean three hours a week on average. In addition, I study some of the grammar we talk about in the classes on various websites (e.g. scudit.net, http://parliamoitaliano.altervista.org). I also use my prematurely purchased course book, especially for the offline course. My teacher on italki prepares Anki cards for me after every lesson. I downloaded free Italian Kindle books (though I haven’t read them yet) as well as some learning guides. Since I already know a decent amount of French and Latin words, I have assembled lists of cognates - there are several online for English speakers. I hope these will be more helpful when my grammar has improved a little. Apart from human interaction, my favourite exercise so far is writing just a few sentences a day into my new Italian calendar. In the next few blog posts, I will reflect on how well I am getting on with the different tools.

So far, so good

I think it’s going well - I am determined to succeed in the challenge, if only because Kerstin so kindly gave me the opportunity to share this adventure with you out there. After only four weeks of learning, I am able to understand a lot of Italian - and I always got the pizza I wanted in Rome. A presto!

Quick italki Language Challenge Overview

  • For this Challenge, Tanja is committing to taking 20 hours of language lessons between Jan 15th and Feb 28th - that's just 6 weeks!

  • All lessons count, even free community ones, so you can try out as many tutors as you like. This is about building a habit.

  • Learn ANY language at all - maybe even get to level C2 this time!

  • There's also a reward, as italki is giving away 400 ITC to successful takers at the end.

Sign up to the italki Language Challenge or simply learn more here.

Authentic German Words We Learnt on Our Holidays

Happy new year, everyone! I hope that you have been able to enjoy a Christmas break that was restful and you're feeling ready to tackle the challenges that 2015 will bring.

Stuttgart and German Regions

Personally, I have had the luxury of taking two weeks off and travelling around in Germany. It was great to visit Stuttgart as a tourist for the first time, and to walk the snowy streets imagining that this country is where we could live one day. And of course my fiancé made great progress as a German learner!

If you have never been to Germany before, you may not be familiar with the idea of Lokalkolorit, the local flavour of each region. With a country as diverse as ours, this extends to the languages and dialects spoken in particular. For example, Stuttgart is the capital of Schwaben, a region known for its frugal mentality and delicious Spätzle (OM NOM NOM). It is also the home of Mercedes, Porsche, and Äffle und Pferdle. This the cutest German cartoon classic, complete in Schwabian dialect.

Are you a Bananen or a Hafer person?

Words You Just Don't Learn in German Class

For your enjoyment, here are a few local words and observations from Stuttgart and the Mosel Valley. You can read more about these here.

  1. In Schwabia, anything that is a -chen (a little thing) in other German regions is now a -le. For example, Häuschen is Häusle.
  2. The German word for weak coffee? Or even worse, barley cup? Muckefuck (masculine). No really.
  3. When you've put on a few pounds because you have been very indulgent, Germans call this Hüftengold (neuter). The closest English equivalent we could find was "love handles".
  4. I have no idea why my father would have possibly taught the next word to my fiancé, but just in case you're ever in the Moselle and want to call a woman a nagger, call her en Geij (pronounced "ern Guy"). This means "a violin" (eine Geige) in our local dialect.
img ©christian cable

img ©christian cable

I wish you all a great start into 2015, and here on Fluent I want you to look out for two awesome things coming up soon: The Italki Challenge and the Language Book Club!

Language Linkfest: December 2014

Wow, we're at the end of the year! I really hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful holiday break, and are beginning to put together first plans for the new year.

Fluent's 2014

fluency

2014 was huge for Fluent Language Tuition, because I published not one, but two books. If you are among the wonderful supporters who have read and rated these, I want to let you know how awesome you are. You can continue to get those books of course - here are some Amazon links:

Fluency Made Achievable in the US Store

Fluency Made Achievable in the UK Store

The Vocab Cookbook in the US Store

The Vocab Cookbook in the UK Store

The Audiobook on Audible

I recently blogged about having to close my online store, but if you do want to get a PDF/epub format, or even the popular Combo Pack (a box set of both books plus the audiobook), then email me and I can sell it manually. I'll find a way to bring the store back next year, promise!

My language learning in 2014 has ceded to building up my new business as a coach for other world-changers, but I did revive my French and continue to make progress in Russian in the earlier half of the year. For 2015, I'm considering committing more time to Russian by taking the next italki Language Challenge. I've also found a great new book, Russian Step by Step. Have you tried the challenge or the book?

fluent-best2014

Best Language Articles, December 2014

New Things to Purchase!

You may remember Jade Joddle? She was my podcast guest in April and spoke about introversion and speaking challenges. Jade has just released her first full online course, over at Udemy. Check out the Introvert Cure.

Flashsticks now do box sets!

Have a WONDERFUL start into the new year, everyone! I'm going to be spending two weeks in Germany over the holidays, with a flying visit to Stuttgart to eat as many Spätzle as I possibly can.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

[Announcement] Why I have to Close the Fluent Bookstore

I know that today's blog post is "housekeepking", but please read through it as a sign of your support to Fluent Language. I waited over a week for the situation to improve before I posted it, but there seems to be nothing on the horizon.

From January, I am sorry to say I will close my website's shop (hopefully just temporarily) because the tax system is going crazy (here's a good video explanation, in case you are also a small online seller). I am so bloody angry and sad about this right now.

What this means

You will not longer be able to get my books, worksheets or the Combo Package from my website directly. This also means no more easy promos or discount codes for Fluent, and no more packs of alternative formats for your iPads and Nooks. 

I won't even be able to send you thanks and cards (buying on Kindle means I don't know who you are, only Amazon does). 

In short, this sucks and I'm sad about it.

What can you do?

If you have been wondering whether to buy my books from me directly, then get them NOW! 
Here are the purchase links:

Make sure you also buy other ebooks, apps and games directly from their suppliers before the end of the year. I'll definitely keep you up to date if this changes. There are many complaints. I would love it if you could sign the following campaign for all 264,000 of us.

This is not a sales campaign, but simply a note to let you know that I won't be able to offer you the cool stuff I have had on the website until now.

Here's how to Support People like me:

I would love to know more from you about whether you have encountered this problem yourselves, or whether you have your own little e-business and are similarly affected. This blog took some courage to publish (what if I'm wrong?), and I am so grateful if you read this far. You're super appreciated. Have a discount code (COMBOMEUP for the box set), while you still can!

And I wish you..

A happy, wonderful Christmas. You guys have made 2014 a great year for me as a blogger, and I truly feel that Fluent inspired thousands of language learners.

With gratitude

Kerstin

My Wishlist: A Gift Guide for the Language Lover in your Life

Are you gearing up for the holidays? Listening to wonderful Christmas Market music? Enjoying the mulled wine? Oh, you're rushing around the shops trying to find gifts for your polyglot friends! I know how you are feeling - it was me who desperately googled Gifts for Developers and Coders earlier today. I nearly bought my man a Netduino, but could not quite figure out what that even is.

So if you're still undecided and need help for language lovers, here's my list for 2014.

1. Foreign Language Fridge Magnets

I am so jealous of anyone who has these, because my fridge is at floor level and I have nowhere to stick them. You can get these in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese (I only found the kids' edition), Yiddish, and..erm..Maths. Hey, it's a foreign language to me!

2. Travel Inspiration Calendar

All language learners dream of exploring the world without any restrictions, and there's nothing like a daily daydream to keep us going. Back in Germany, I would cover my desk in at least two Sehnsuchtskalender (usually "Scotland" and maybe "Iceland") every year. These days, I'm all about the vintage travel posters.

3. An Awesome Dictionary

There are never enough dictionaries on a language lover's shelf and a good dictionary will forever blow apps out of the water. While I don't want to recommend any particular ones, I would advise you to go for the biggest you can find. If you want to get a German one, I'd recommend the brands Langenscheidt, Pons and Duden. Or if your giftee is a beginner and about to travel, then check out this Language Map.

4. Quickstudy Guides

I was very excited when I discovered these super detailed laminated grammar sheets in the Notre Dame University Bookstore in South Bend earlier this year. Fun fact: It's the Hammes bookstore. 'Cos that's how we roll.

Quickstudy guides are the most practical reference sheets EVER. I've seen them in lots of languages, and personally bought myself copies for German and Russian. Another great recommendation would be this one: Common English Pitfalls and Mistakes.

5. Travel Translator

travel translator

No one wants to waste a lot of money on roaming fees when they're exploring the world, and often the signal in remote places is too unreliable to use your phone as a dictionary. Enter the Travel Translator. This magical device works like a phrasebook, speaks 12 languages and helps you out when you're REALLY stuck..or just tired of translating for your lazy friend.

6. italki Lesson Credit

italki credit

I would list a bit of italki credit at the top here, so your giftee can buy themselves a few live lessons, but don't forget that every great independent teacher will also sell you a gift certificate so that you don't have to go through a marketplace.

7. Online Courses

You can also give an online course as a gift.

How about Fluent's own course in French Grammar? Here is a 50% Discount voucher for you.

Or Jade Joddle, friend of the blog, has a special new course called the Introvert Cure, which you get at 70% discount through this link only.


    You can get the full set of suggestions from my Pinterest board:

    All the Amazon links in this article are affiliate links, but if you want to support Fluent directly, please check out my Patreon. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.