Cara Leopold is the founder of Leo Listening, where she helps “intrepid travellers and adventurous expats improve their English listening skills so they can better understand and better connect with fast-talking native speakers through their love of films.” In the interview, we talk about how she learned French and how to learn languages through TV shows and movies.
Steve Kaufmann is a hyperpolyglot who has learned more than 20 languages (!!!) and the founder of LingQ, an online language learning platform that helps you acquire languages using content you love. He was my second guest on the Language Mastery Show way back in 2009, and returns 13 years later to offer new insights and encouragement for independent language learners.
Jim and May describe themselves as a “gringo/Mexican international couple” on a mission to connect English speakers to the Spanish-speaking world. Their excellent podcast, YouTube channel, blog, and Spanish immersion retreats in Mexico help learners bridge the gap between learning and actually living in Spanish. In the interview, they share what they have each learned in their own language learning journeys, their best tips for learning Spanish, and favorite resources for immersing yourself in Spanish right at home.
Mikkel Thorup is a seasoned world traveler, entrepreneur, consultant, author, and the host of the Expat Money Show. Since he left Canada in his teens, he has circumnavigated the globe over 400 times, visited more than 100 countries, and lived in 9. In our conversation, he shares his best tips for traveling or moving abroad, learning languages, and making the best of the expat life.
Andrew Methven is the creator of Slow Chinese 每周漫闻, a weekly newsletter that helps Mandarin Chinese learners immerse themselves in authentic, colloquial language via interesting stories and news events handpicked from Chinese media, social media, and TV. Instead of learning the stilted and stuffy language of Chinese textbooks, Andrew’s excellent newsletter trains you to understand the way people really speak and write the language today. In the interview, Andrew shares how he first fell in love with Chinese, differences between Mandarin between Mainland China and Taiwan, and his top tips for language learners.
From full-time Mandarin immersion at Peking University and Shanghai’s Fudan University to years of independent study online, Daniel Nalesnik has spent the last 13+ years on a mission to figure out the most fun and effective way to learn Mandarin Chinese. The result? The creation of Hack Chinese, a powerful spaced repetition tool designed from the ground up just for Mandarin learners, unlike generic SRS apps that struggle to properly handle Chinese characters, tones, etc. In our conversation, Daniel shares the lessons he’s learned, what he would do differently if he started from scratch, and how new language learners can get started.
The short answer? It depends. It depends on your goals. It depends on your level. And it depends on how much time and discipline you are willing to invest.
Want to learn Japanese but don’t know where to start? Here five key steps you can take right now to begin your journey to Japanese fluency.
From its beginning as a lean, bootstrapped startup to its recent $50 million acquisition, Drops represents a seriously impressive origin story. But this is a blog about languages, not start-ups. So the question remains: Does Drops actually work? Will it help you get fluent in a language? That is precisely what I answer in the detailed review, over one year in the making!
Scott H. Young is a Canadian writer, programmer, entrepreneur and metalearning expert. He is the author of the best-selling book “Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career,” and has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, Popular Mechanics, Business Insider, and Lifehacker. He has applied and refined his principles in a number of accelerated learning challenges, from completing MIT’s four-year undergraduate computer science curriculum in just one year, to spending a year abroad in four countries with a “No English Rule,” to a one-month at-home challenge to learn Macedonian, his wife’s native language.
In this episode of the Language Mastery Show, I share three more tips for building the three foundations of mastery: 🧠 Master Your Mind — Realize that mastering a language is more about psychology than ability. ⏱ Master Your Day — Make language learning your primary focus. 📍 Master Your Environment — Decide not to decide by making your target language the default.
Mastering a foreign language is at once extremely complex and predictively simple. On the one hand, you have to learn the nuanced meanings of thousands of words, internalize hundreds of grammar patterns, and be able to understand and use these terms and structures at rapid speed. On the other hand, most of the complexity happens at a subconscious level. Our brains do almost all of the heavy lifting for us if we get enough exposure and practice. In essence, you just have to show up. But how you show up matters. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t learn languages by osmosis. Just being around foreign languages is not enough. Read on to see the 3 essential ingredients you need to ensure that this exposure will lead to fluency.
In this first episode of the year, I would like to experiment with a new format. I have some exciting interviews lined up in the coming weeks, but I’d like to kick things off with a new segment called The 3 Foundations of Mastery. If you already subscribe to my Language Mastery Monday newsletter, you will already be familiar with this framework. So what are the three foundations and why do they matter? 1) Foundation 1 is Mastering Your Mind, which means conquering fears and self-limiting beliefs that are blocking your path to fluency; 2) Foundation 2 is Mastering Your Day, which involves building better habits and learning more efficiently. 3) And Foundation 3 is Mastering Your Environment, which means creating your own immersion wherever you happen to live. Ready? Let’s get started! Listen to today’s episode to hear this week’s tips for mastering your mind, day, and environment.
Studying Linguistics in university changed my life. It lead me to travel the world and dive into the languages and cultures of far-off lands, including Japan, Bangladesh, and Taiwan. Linguistics also helped me develop a greater appreciation of my home language and culture, including the many regional dialects, accents, and linguistic varieties found right here in the United States. Perhaps the greatest lesson from Linguistics was learning the difference between “prescriptive linguistics” and “descriptive linguistics.” This critical distinction accounts for the vast majority of the language-related arguments I’ve had with friends, family, and internet trolls. So what is the difference and why does it matter? Read on to hear my two yen.
As Greg McKeown puts it in “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”: “The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. One of the most common ways people―especially ambitious, successful people―damage this asset is through a lack of sleep.” That was certainly true for me in my 20s and 30s, when I regularly burned the candle at both ends in a foolish quest for productivity. I now know that my chronic sleep deprivation (and all the coffee and alcohol I used to self-medicate) significantly impaired my studies and work. May it be acquiring foreign languages, writing books, or launching businesses, more sleep would have made me more productive, more effective, and more efficient. So what is an optimal amount of sleep? And what kinds of sleep do we need to optimally consolidate, encode, and recall new words, phrases, and structures? Read on to find out.