As I’ve interviewed dozens of polyglots (those fluent in multiple languages) for The Language Mastery Show, I’ve discovered that the world’s best language learners don’t succeed because of outlier intellects or unusual genetic predispositions. They succeed because they develop and stick to daily habits and routines that provide the input and practice their brains need to a acquire a language. And guess what? You and I can do exactly the same thing, whether we want to learn our first foreign language or our fifteenth. One of the most important daily habits I’ve observed is that polyglots are extremely efficient with their time, and find ways to sneak in a little language study here and there no matter how busy their work or personal lives may be. Here are three ways that polyglots squeeze in daily language practice.
We have been conditioned by well-intentioned mothers to believe that television will “destroy our brains.” This might well be true if one spends their time watching “reality” TV shows that don’t actually reflect reality, the sensationalist 24-hour news cycle, and tasteless drivel that neither entertains nor educates. But if you watch television in Japanese, this otherwise time-wasting and brain-wasting activity can become a constructive form of language learning that even mommy should be able to get behind! Video is also one of the best ways to create a fun, effective, foreign language immersion environment no matter where in the world you happen to live. Here now are my top ten favorite tools for using online video to learn Japanese.
Film is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a foreign language from afar, giving you valuable cultural and linguistic insights from the comfort of your couch. Below you will find my top ten favorite Japanese movies of all time, divided into three categories: 1) “Samurai & Fighting Flicks” for those who enjoy epic hero tales and aren’t squeamish of violence, 2) “Windows Into Japanese Culture” for those want to see different facets of life in modern Japan (some good, some sad), and 3) “Lighthearted & Humorous Films” for days when you need a good laugh. Limiting my list to ten movies was no easy task as Japan is home to prolific filmmakers and some of the best directors in the world.
The holiday season is upon us, a time of fun, family, gifts, and gratitude. But it can also be a time when our language-learning habits fall by the wayside. Travel, new environments, disrupted schedules, less-than-restful sleep, and some formidable hangovers can all throw a wrench in our plans to continue making progress in our target languages. Here are my three best tips for keeping up on your language learning even when your daily routine gets turned upside down.