The Book That Will Change How You See Language Learning (+ Clever Notes & Action Plan FREE)

One of the most common things I hear from language learners is

becoming fluent book

"what is the best way to do this?" You want to know how to learn a language, in as much detail as possible.

And it's hard to answer that question once and for all, for everyone. People are different, and no one's going to teach you good habits overnight. I know there are plenty of players out there telling you that their way of doing flash cards or listening to native content is the real answer.

But seriously, guys. What it really takes is that you learn to understand your own smart and capable self. That's where a book like Becoming Fluent comes in.

By the way, I've gone ahead and done a little bit of hard work for you guys. You can now click the button below and download my book notes for Becoming Fluent along with a fab little action plan template so you know what to do next.

What Is Becoming Fluent?

Becoming Fluent is an impressive book in the field of language acquisition. It's written with the scientific background expected from academics. But that doesn't mean that language learners cannot apply it to their lives: Throughout the book, the authors mix explanations and practical tips. The book is written for adult learners who want to conquer another language, and goes into the following topics:

  • What do you have to do to make sure you become a successful language learner?
  • How can you choose the right target language to study?
  • What are the best
  • How important is it to know the culture and norms of people who speak your target language every day?
  • How can you get better at memorising and remembering more?

Why It's Awesome

There are many language learning books out in the market that tell you all about how wonderful the author's methods are. Most successful polyglot-style books follow this system. The logic is that if following certain steps made the author fluent in another language, then you can do the same by copying the steps.

In Becoming Fluent, I detected none of this. The authors do work from their own experience in languages but never claim to know all the answers. Each chapter is based on a new aspect of language learning and gives a neutral summary of what the science says, followed by practical advice.

I've never used or endorsed the "copy a winner" approach, and I don't think it's quite how things work for language learners. Success in language learning is about more than just playing the game right. The more you learn and discover about yourself, your habits, your preferences and strengths in language learning, the more you will approach a real ability to learn any language quickly.

So for me, Becoming Fluent was an outstanding book about language learning because it doesn't tell you what exactly to do. This one is about empowering yourself to find your own perfect method.

What Wasn't So Great

Becoming Fluent is smart and thorough and scientific, which is a big rarity in language learning. It's great to read such a sensible voice in our field. The book comes at language learning from so many different angles that some great aspects get a little lost.

I would have liked the book's action-focused tips to be highlighted or separated from the main text, making it easier to find exactly how to put new insights into action. As it is, Becoming Fluent does require you to put in a few hours for reading, but this is time well spent.

My Favourite Parts

  • All of chapter 2, which addresses the many lies and misleading beliefs that we hold in our heads before we even start learning. If you can only listen read one part of the book, this chapter is going to make a massive different. It's a small window into how your brain trips you up.
  • This sentence in Chapter 3:

"The REAL test of how well you speak a language is how easily you communicate when you are using that language, and the pleasure you derive from speaking it."

  • The ideas behind common ground and the zone of proximal development, which are all about how you think of how good you are, how good other people are in comparison, and how you can get better step-by-step.
  • The focus on learning and speaking a language like an adult, not a kid or teenager. This focus builds great insights, for example the understanding that it's more important to be yourself in another language than to sound "exactly like all the native speakers".
  • The image of tutors and helpers as a Sherpa, i.e. Someone who's climbing the mountain with you, showing you the way, teaching you about the process as you're doing it.
  • The concept of cognitive overload, which explains exactly why and how and when you get tired.

Overall, I am very happy that I read Becoming Fluent and recommend you check it out too. I ordered my copy from the local library and am very glad that it's in their catalogue now. You can get your own printed copy in the same way, or order it from Amazon (here's the US link and the UK link).

Don’t forget, you can grab my full book notes (9 pages!) by clicking the button below. They also include your own action plan template and a checklist of books to check out, so next you can be prepared on your next visit to the library or to Amazon.

If you want to try a faster read gives instructions on what to do, try Fluency Made Achievable (which is written by me, so you will definitely enjoy it if you like this blog).

How to Learn a Language Using Snapchat (Podcast Episode 45)

Everyone's talking about social media, some people are talking about social media for language learning. In today's podcast episode, get the most specific advice possible as Lindsay and I guide you through the Snapchat app for language learning.

Listen to the episode:

Don't forget to catch the mention of our good friends at Flashsticks, the language learning post-it guys. You can purchase vocabulary post-it notes in 8 languages and get 10% off with the code KERSTIN10 - or just download the free Flash Academy app.

snapchat language learning

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media app for any smartphone. It lets you share photos or videos, and your snap only lasts 24 hours unless you make it a "memory".

Of course you can change the menu language, but with such strong visual focus that alone won't teach you a language.

It's designed for camera phones and not available on your desktop computer.

Why is it awesome?

  • It's easy, fast and low-pressure. In other photo social networks, you would be tempted to make every picture stunning and impressive and beautiful. But in Snapchat, you'll just play and learn in the process. What does that mean? No more shyness, no more reasons to avoid speaking!
  • It allows you to stitch things together into a story, so you can share a 5-second snap, or go ahead and combine several videos to show how you speak a foreign language.
  • For language learning, the new Memories feature is a way to track your progress. Record yourself speaking today, save the memory, and try the same thing in a month. You'll be surprised at your own progress!

How to Get The Most Out of This For Languages

You may have to set up a little system in order to get the most out of this, for example an evening review or a regular vocab routine.

1. Document
Lindsay studies every morning and documents her mistakes on Snapchat, while I am more spontaneous and use the system to show and share how languages pop up in my day.

2. Check and Correct Errors
One other idea is to practice what you want to practice, then check back and correct the errors that you made. We go into detail about how important it is not just to make the mistakes, but to correct the mistakes so that you can get better.

3. Make Yourself a Vocab Resource
As you go through your day, why not take pictures of all you see around you and build yourself a little daily vocab resource? You can save the story in Memories at the end of the day, or do an evening review to add the words to your vocabulary bank.

Great Accounts to Follow (Click for the Snapcodes)

Are You a Snapchat User?

If you use Snapchat for language learning (or not), leave us a comment and share your usernames and snapcodes.

Thank you guys so much for being podcast listeners, chatting to us on twitter (I'm @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages) and making your voices heard!

Get Free Language Learning Advice on the Creative Language Learning Podcast

Language learning is a wonderful journey, but it's also hard work and there's a lot of confusion out there.

You might be confused about methods, tips, tools and even which language you should tackle next. Imagine having two good friends who know what the deal is in this language learning journey, and who will be happy to help you out.

Sounds great, right? Here's how make that wish into reality - for free!

On the next episode of our Creative Language Learning Podcast, Lindsay Dow and I will be answering your a language learning questions, sharing your stories and hearing from listeners all over the world.

Right now, there is one thing missing:

We Want To Hear Your Voice

What would a feedback podcast be like if there were no listeners? Very empty! We don't want that, we want you guys to be part of the episode, making your own voices heard.

In return, Lindsay and I will put our minds to giving you the best language learning advice - or life advice if you have an international love dilemma, a question about studying abroad or any other question that needs the power of our combined years of language learning power.

You don't have to make an appointment to be a guest on our show - not this time.

Simply think of your language question, story or product recommendation, record yourself or leave a Skype voicemail, and we will be delighted to have you on our show.

Don't Know What To Ask?

Some intriguing questions from past shows included:

Why are you guys learning Korean and Welsh?

Which app should I use for finding cool language exchange partners?

Help! I'm learning 3 languages and I can't keep up. Do you have any tips?

You can tell us about your favourite language learning tool or app, or even email a picture of your phone's home screen to show us the apps you love using.

How To Send Your Message

You can submit your message to us anytime. Simply do one of the following:

  • go on Skype and leave a voice message for fluentlanguage
  • email us at podcast@fluentlanguage.co.uk - include a voice memo from your phone if you can, so we can feature your voice on the show
  • leave a comment on this blog post

Make sure you mention

  1. your name,
  2. where you're from and which languages you're learning

and then just go for it and ask your question, tell a story or recommend a language learning tool that you use regularly.

Remember: Your Review Makes a Difference To The Show

Podcasters always love it when they get reviews, and we here at the Creative Language Learning Podcast are no exception. Send us some love by subscribing and reviewing in itunes - right now we have reviews from Russia, Mexico, Germany, the UK, France and the USA.

Reviews really mean so much to us, we always share them excitedly when they come in. Here is how to do it in 3 easy steps on Apple devices:

  • Step 1: With your iTunes program open on your desktop, navigate to the iTunes Store and select Podcasts. If you're on an iPhone, open the Podcasts app.

  • Step 2: Search for the Creative Language Learning Podcast and click on our cover art (usually iTunes shows the grey image, not the orange one but we are the same show).

  • Step 3: Click on the "Ratings & Reviews" tab, then select "Write a Review".

  • Step 4: Apple may prompt you to log in, so go ahead and log in with your iTunes account.

  • Step 5: Once logged in, simply write your review and press “Submit”.

Thank you guys so much for being podcast listeners, chatting to us on twitter (I'm @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages and making your voices heard!

Five Tips For Beating Embarrassment When Speaking Another Language

We've all been there: You're up for half an hour of speaking practice in your target language, and right after you say hello, you notice the first mistake tumble out. Not good. Now they think you're an idiot, and you've forgotten the word for "bread" and while you're racking your brain that pause becomes longer and your cheeks are glowing red. Time for the ground to open up!

If all that sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. Millions of language learners experience embarrassment when it comes to speaking practice. Especially when you're trying out your language in another country, it's almost impossible to feel prepared.

My personal threshold for embarrassment seems to be pretty high in most social situations, I have also experienced that crippling sense of looking truly foolish.

I won't get into that one time on a Russian airplane where the air hostess shouted incomprehensible things at me, I smiled throughout with lots of "da, da"...and later found out that they had been debating whether I could safely fly considering they thought I was pregnant. The shame!

But fear not, I've got some good advice to share with you today.

If you're ready to start saying no to embarrassment when speaking another language, here are four tips to help you feel better:

1) Prepare Your Speaking Partner

Chances are you are already pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone by speaking in another language. There is no need to add further discomfort to your challenge by talking to someone who is unlikely to support you. Strangers at the ticket counter, crazy air hostesses and even strict teachers are not the right people to choose for conversation practice when you are suffering from social anxiety or embarrassment.

Instead, try and hold on to what makes you feel comfortable right now. It helps to share your worries with your speaking partner before you start having to speak your target language. If it's a tutor, this will prompt them to be more patient and hold back on the corrections. If it's a friend, it can remind them to slow down and let you build your sentences slowly.

This technique of preparing your partner will help both of you feel more at ease, and ready to tackle this challenge together.

2) Focus On Your Breath

When anxious sensations take hold, your body responds by tensing up, raising your heartbeat and even causing you to sweat and blush. That's the last thing you need when you are already worried about the many ways in which you're about to lose face.

Instead of freaking out about all the words you remember or forget, the best course of action is a simple calming exercise.

Focus on something that is real and constant, for example your own breath. Breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, retain your breath for 2 seconds if you can, and enjoy a long and restorative out breath for 8 seconds. Breathing exercises may not feel like the right tool for a foreign language panic, but you'll be surprised at how much language skill returns once that mental stormcloud is allowed to pass.

For more tips and techniques that help with overcoming stress and anxiety, try the SAM app on your smartphone. It's a little toolkit of instant self-help.

3) Build Up Your Filler Vocabulary

Filler sentences are a wonderful tool when you are getting ready for speaking practice. They're usually uncomplicated, short, easy to remember and very effective. Think of filler sentences as the extra cushioning that is built into conversations so each speaker gets some time to relax. In English, these are lines like "hold on", "let me think for a second" or "let me think".

As a little treat for the German learners among you, I've collected a bunch of fillers and stock sentences in the "Make Your German Sound Amazing" booklet, which you can download for free.

But what should you do if you haven't understood half of what your speaking partner just said?

You can buy yourself a little time by repeating the last words of their sentence, stretched out with some "Hm" sounds. This may tide you over until you can remember how to proceed, for example by asking them to repeat what they just said. It's perfectly acceptable for you to control some aspects of the conversation even if you don't know your target language very well yet.

4) Practice

Even if you follow every single one of the tips above, that feeling of embarrassment is unlikely to just dissolve into thin air. You may still feel discomfort in new situations, and it's still embarrassing to make mistakes. There's no way around this one: At some point, your only way is forward and right through the bad feelings.

Luckily, there is plenty of reward waiting for you on the other side, as you realize that your mistakes and awkward pauses did not cause the ground to open up and swallow you whole.

If you want to push your boundaries and go for speaking practice in a brand new situation, why not take advantage of your next trip abroad? We've got plenty of travel language tips on Episode 41 of the podcast.

Even better, put yourself into an immersion experience with other learners, for example in the Fluent German Retreat led by yours truly. These retreats aim to create a speaking environment that pushes your boundaries without embarrassment, helping you to realize how good you actually are.

It's Not Easy, But It's Worth It

These tips are just a few examples of the many small steps you can take to keep yourself from suffering crippling embarrassment in speaking practice. Keep yourself reminded that this is not easy, and the fact that you are even trying is a testament to your bravery.

And I promise you: The rewards of speaking a foreign language are just as great as you've imagined.

Have You Dealt With Embarrassment and Anxiety About Speaking?

If you've got a story you would like to share, go ahead and share it in the comments section for this post. I'd love to hear your own tips and experiences.

Podcast Episode 44: Be Like a Waffle (Language Learning In-Country)

waffles

Learning a Language In-Country

Learning a language where it is spoken is one of the Top 5 wishes on every learner's bucket list. In this episode, we explore stories and tips about language learning - including Lindsay's travels to Costa Rica, and what Kerstin's English was like on day 1 in England.

  • What's different between home learning and in-country learning?
  • The risk and benefit of having a "home library" for language learning
  • How can you build your in-country vocabulary?
  • Why having no choice is the single best thing you can do for your language skills
  • The three types of in-country learning: Short Stay, Mid-Stay and Complete Life Change
  • How to rank and assess your language level on the "Kerstin Cable Breakfast Food Scale"
  • German learners! Kerstin is inviting you to come to Germany and speak for a week at the Fluent German Retreat
  • Exactly what to do when people correct you as you speak another language
  • What does it mean when you start to dream and think in another language?

Listen here or download from itunes

Plus: Bonus Secret

We started off the show comparing a few Duolingo notes, and finally find out what happens when you finish a Duolingo skill tree.

Links and Resources from this Show

You Can Be On The Show!

Do you want to become a part of the Creative Language Learning Podcast? Then send us your feedback!

We would love you to record a voicemail on your phone and email it to kerstin@fluentlanguage.co.uk -- send us a question or a comment so you can be on the show.

Got Duolingo or Flashsticks Academy on your phone?

Then take a picture and send it to kerstin@fluentlanguage.co.uk or tweet @kerstinhammes and @ldlanguages #cllp to see your "learner phone" featured in a future show.

Please Support Our Sponsor

Episode 44 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast is kindly sponsored by our friends at Flashsticks. Check out their new app Flash Academy. It's a language playground offering you light lessons, games and quizzes. Go check it out for free at Flash Sticks and get 10% off everything at the site with code KERSTIN10.

5 Reasons Why You'll Love Learning German in The Mosel Valley (A Big Announcement)

Dear Fluent Reader,

I'm so excited about what I'm about to reveal to you, but first of all let me take a second to honour you as a reader of this blog.

For the last four years, I've spent over 1000 hours teaching the German language to learners all around the world.

I have had the privilege of writing this blog for you guys, recording the Creative Language Learning Podcast and connecting with incredible language learners. You were here when I quit my job, wrote my first book, published new courses. Pretty cool.

But you know what? We've never yet had the chance to meet in Germany.

A Bold New Step For German Learners

Here's what's happening: Fluent Language is going to be hosting the first ever Fluent German Retreat in October!

I am so excited about this - the event is where I'll be showing you live how you can switch into "Deutschmodus", make 10x the progress of a usual week and have an unforgettable experience.

This is the most daring teaching step I've ever taken, and I'd love for you to be part of it.

Of course I'm also hoping that it will be just the beginning, with more languages, events and retreats to follow.

Why a Retreat?

If you're a dedicated language learner, you probably spend dozens of hour staring at books and screens. I know what that feels like.

It is undeniable:

Every language learner reaches the point where they are sick and tired of repeating the same activities. The point where it's time to bring your language skills to life. You're lusting for a new experience, a language immersion that can offer that coveted German breakthrough.

You can take language courses. But as you already know, simply learning in a classroom isn't enough. It also isn't what I dreamt of offering you, because I have been dying to show you how awesome my Germany is.

With the Fluent German Retreat, you can sign up for an unforgettable week of language immersion right in the heart of German wine country.

This experience is about taking a break from your usual life, switching gears and entering your own German mode. I'll be leading the experience, building up your speaking skills, supporting you with my years of experience and knowledge.

Discover Germany's Hottest Destination

Our amazing location, the Mosel valley, deserves its own moment of attention on our blog, considering it must be one of Germany's most thrilling landscapes. It's truly special, and it's also my own home which I cannot wait to share with you.

Allow me to tell you more about what makes this place the best location for you to learn German:

  • This region is hot in traveller circles right now. It was #34 on The New York Times's list of 52 Places to Go in 2016. Imagine telling your friends about how you learnt German on a wild stretch of German river, sipping the wine that was grown there..
  • This is fairytale Germany! You'll get lost in the charming Gassen of Bernkastel, chat to winemakers at a wine tasting and disccover ancient Roman amphitheatres and city gates in Trier - all in your target language.
  • The city of Luxembourg - a Unesco heritage city and polyglot paradise speaking 3 official languages - is only 20 minutes away.
  • If you're the active type, I'll have some amazing hiking trails to recommend to you. And if you not, you'll love kicking back on a relaxing boat tour.
  • The Mosel has been renowned for the quality of its wines for thousands of years. It is wine heaven. And we've all heard that language learner's wisdom about speaking more easily with a glass of wine in your hand.

Ready to hear how you can join us on the Retreat and have that German breakthrough?

You Are Invited To This German Experience

  • Are you a German learner ready for a week of immersion, fun and relaxation?
  • Does the prospect of speaking German for 5 days make you feel energised and excited?
  • Do you want to start speaking to native Germans and boost your speaking skill by 50%?

If you said yes to these questions, then it's your perfect time to join the Fluent German Retreat.

There are only five places available, and at the current time the applications have opened and are coming in. So if you're interested and would like to secure your spot, make sure you complete the no obligation RSVP form quickly to avoid disappointment.

It's so exciting to have put this event together and to open it up for your applications. Let's meet each other in Germany!

Real Life or Online Language Immersion? There's Only One Way To Find Out...

Could you get the benefits of immersion even when you are unable to put aside a month to do it? 

This question is at the heart of Anthony's story, which is today's Fluent guest post. I love that he got involved with languages right from the start and really took home immersion to the next level by seeking out community meetings.

Ready to learn more about this? Over to Anthony!

I Learnt Spanish Using Two Different Immersion Techniques And Here's What I Found Out

A few years ago some friends and I decided we would spend a year saving up money for an extended trip to Latin America. It would be my first time outside of the United States. I planned on getting the most out of my first international travel experience and thought learning some Spanish would be a great idea. Long story short, the trip was canceled but I had already started learning my new language and began to fall in love with it.

Even without any travel prospects, I continued to practice my Spanish. 4 years later and I am fairly fluent and have had the opportunity to visit several Spanish speaking countries.

Before Spanish I had never tried to speak another language, so my learning experience was a bit bumpy at first. My language learning journey involved both real and virtual immersion. At different points I switched between the two, usually out of necessity. Looking back I have found some interesting differences.

In this post I use examples that apply best to beginners who can’t quite go for full immersion experience in another country. If you live near a major city you chances of find native speakers might better than you think.

Read on to find out how I made it work.

My Experience with Real World Immersion

When I first decided that I wanted to become fluent in Spanish, I had no idea how to start speaking the language. I knew I wanted to speak it, but beyond that I was pretty clueless. Aside from my duolingo app and a few Youtube videos I had no way to practice. Shortly after I took my first stab at Spanish an acquaintance invited me to a Spanish language group that met through a local church. I saw this as an excellent opportunity and decided to check it out.

The First Meeting: Scary And Exciting

spanish meetup

The first meeting was quite an experience. I had never been in a room full of people who only spoke Spanish. It was scary and exciting all at once. I couldn’t understand much back then, but just being exposed to the language was a thrill. It was the first time I had heard Spanish spoken in real life with no English.

I went as often as I could and was able to practice the sentences I learned during the week. It was an immersion experience, but I hadn't even travelled.

I quickly befriended two awesome guys (one from Guatemala and the other from Mexico), who happened to be musicians and love rock music. At the time I was also taking up guitar so it was a natural fit. We started hanging out outside of the group sampling taquerias and talking about music.

Before I knew it I was texting in Spanish, ordering tacos in Spanish, and had Spanish posts popping up on my Facebook feed. The level of Spanish ability needed to do these things honestly wasn’t much, but I realized that a part of my life was now in Spanish, a small part, but a significant one nonetheless. I hadn’t expected it, it just sort of happened.

This was my first real world immersion experience. I had no idea that one meeting with native Spanish speakers could lead to so many other awesome experiences.

My Experience with Virtual Immersion

After a few months of new friends and real life Spanish practice, my job started requiring a lot of overtime each week and I suddenly had much less time and energy to devote to learning Spanish. This is when I started to get involved with language exchanges and online lessons with tutors.

Because my schedule was tighter I began using a mixture of paid tutors and language partners to practice in lieu of meeting up with the Spanish group and my friends, though I would meet up with them on the weekends when I could (most lived 45 minutes away past the other side of the city).

I found digital immersion to be great for weeks when I only had a few hours or so free each day. I didn’t have the time or energy to practice with my new friends, but I could easily set aside 1 hour or so each day to practice with a teacher or language partner via Skype.

Comparing The Two

Structure vs No Structure

One of the definite advantages of real world immersion: Delicious local food.

One of the definite advantages of real world immersion: Delicious local food.

What I love most about virtual immersion is that it allows to have more control over how and when you use your target language. If you want to practice language for exactly one hour you can. You can connect with a language partner or tutorand drill a specific aspect of grammar, or you can just have a friendly conversation. For me this is great. I enjoy being methodical and almost systematic with the management of my time and my language learning.

Talking with real people on the other hand is a lot less predictable. Outside of paying a personal tutor it is very hard to find people to practice with on a daily or weekly basis. When you make friends in another language it’s a huge favor on their part to “practice” with you, they’re your friend not your tutor and if they aren’t learning your native language it costs a lot for them to help you.

Learning a language with friends will flow from your natural interaction with them. You’ll have to make a conscious effort to use what vocabulary you know to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in.

Social Risk

Socially speaking, virtual immersion is easier, less risky, and insanely convenient. You can practice your language with a native speaker in your bed in your pajamas if you wanted too. You can also connect with speakers from around the world. You can literally pick and choose what country you want to meet people from. Virtual immersion is also more anonymous. You can always delete a skype contact or end a chat.

When you are surrounded in real life by native speakers you have much less control. You’re likely to meet all kinds of people in any number of situations, and you can’t just exit out of a chat window if something goes wrong. It’s also a lot harder to put yourself out there in the physical world versus the virtual one. On the internet you can be sure that the other person is a language learner and will be forgiving and understanding if you struggle. In real life you don’t have that guarantee. Before you initiate a conversation you have no way of knowing for sure whether or not the other person will be patient or receptive.

Rewards

Because virtual immersion is less risky and more controlled the rewards don’t go as far. Yes you get real spoken practice one on one with a real person, but you don’t get the cultural experience or relationship of an in person interaction. I can’t speak for others, but my main motivation for language learning is to make friends and interact with real people from around the world. I don’t want to learn Spanish just so I can talk to people on the internet all day.

It’s also hard to have a friendship over a text or video chat. You don’t get a feel for the body language and full personality of the other person (and you’re also probably 1,000+ miles away from them). You certainly aren’t going to know for their culture this way. That being said you can get valuable practice via virtual immersion. Talking to a real life human beats any other form of practice (at least in my opinion), even if it’s over the internet.

In-person immersion can be intimidating at first. The first time I ever spoke a language other than English to another person I was terrified. But it’s a great experience. As you learn a foreign language, foreign people seem less and less foreign. You really begin to see that you have more in common than what you thought, and You can appreciate the differences. You can make actual real life friends (that’s the dream isn’t it?). The internet will never be able to replace that.

Which is Better?

If I was forced to choose between the two I would choose real world interaction. For me that’s why I chose to start learning a language in the first place. That being said, I don’t think anyone will ever have to choose between the two. I think both offer benefits to your language learning.

In the end, it comes down to your language learning needs.

  • Are you working to become fluent or just functional?
  • Are you a world traveling polyglot, or working a 9-5 job?

Everyone has different goals and constraints on their language learning. So incorporate the real world and the internet in a way that makes sense for you.

I used both when I started learning Spanish and when I learn another language I’ll probably use both again. I found that you can bring a method and consistency to online learning that is best for reviewing and cementing the parts of the language that you’ve already learned. Real world immersion is better suited for being exposed to new aspects and uses of a language. I tend to split them into these two functions and use both accordingly.

##What have your experiences been with immersion?

Do you have a preference for the virtual or real word approach? I'd love to hear more from you in the comments below!

Guest writer Anthony blogs at Spanish Hackers and describes himself as "young at heart with a penchant for travel". He says: "I originally started learning Spanish because I wanted to visit Spain. A couple years and several adventures later, even though I'm pretty much fluent, I still find myself falling in love with the language and the people who speak it." You can connect with Anthony on Twitter.

Podcast Episode 43: Language is Everything: Talking Language Activism with Wikitongues

Our good friends at Flashsticks are back as podcast sponsors - go check out their awesome new app Flash Academy (it's free) and post-it notes in 8 languages at Flashsticks.com and claim 10% discount using code KERSTIN10.

"This is one of the most important things that we can do as humans - to constantly strive to learn about things that we don't understand."

An organization dedicated to raising awareness of language diversity.

We all know that language is important, but after listening to this episode you'll be amazed at the enormous variety of perspectives on this topic. Non-profit organization Wikitongues looks at languages from all points of view - as a metaphor for life.

Listen to the new podcast episode now to find out all about Wikitongues and how Lindsay and I are connected to their mission.

wikitongues

When a language is lost, the individuals in that community lose a part of who they are. Language death is both a loss of history and a loss of identity.

If you oppose racism, mysogyny, genocide and oppresion, you must support language diversity!

And if you thought language discrimination was a thing of the past, think again: Languages like Occitan and Cornish are experiencing it right now.

Some cool languages documented on Wikitongues:

Note for pedants: In the interview, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights was mentioned, but the speaker may have meant the Universal Declaration for Linguistic Rights. I researched this but could not find the exact quote in either one. If you know more details, go ahead and leave a comment or itunes review to help us out.