I was greatly saddened to hear that American polyglot and YouTuber Moses McCormick—a.k.a. “Lǎoshǔ” (老鼠, )—passed away on March 4, 2021 from heart complications just shy of his 40th birthday. Though his life was brief, his profound legacy lives on in the millions of people he inspired through his popular YouTube videos, courses, and language coaching. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Moses in person or having him as a guest on the Language Mastery Show, but I have been watching his videos for years and have learned a lot from his practical, playful approach to learning new languages. Read on to see what I consider to be the three most important pieces of practical wisdom from Moses, teachings that can help you banish perfectionism, bust through fears, reach fluency faster, and have much more fun along the way.
In 2015, the Danish podcaster Kris Broholm joined me on the Language Mastery Show to talk about how discovering the polyglot community helped pull him out of depression and give his life direction. His podcast, Actual Fluency, is now one of the most popular language podcasts on the planet, with 166 guests to date! Though Kris speaks multiple languages, he sees himself not as a language expert, but as a “language learning journalist” who highlights the expertise of the world’s best language learners. In this special two-part two-way interview (which is also being shared on his podcast), we each talk about lessons we’ve learned in the last four years, patterns we’ve observed after talking to so many polyglots, and how our respective blogs, podcasts, and language businesses have evolved.
Aaron Myers is the man behind The Everyday Language Learner, a wonderful blog that aims to help the average Joe (and John, and Rosemary, and…okay, you get the idea) learn a foreign language in fun, effective, efficient way. Above all else, Aaron strives to empower learners by showing people how to learn, not just what. To that end, Aaron has written heaps of excellent blog posts, a host of useful language learning guides, including The Guide to Getting Started, Activities and Strategies for Everyday Language Learners, The Guide to Self-Assessment, and Stage: Before You Move Overseas. He also offers private language coaching for those who want more personalized help.
In our interview, we discuss: 1) Aaron’s daily language learning routine while learning Turkish. 2) The importance of practicing numbers spoken at real speed. 3) How to create learner-centric “Total Physical Response” (TPR). 4) The power of “Language Acquisition Projects” (LAPs). 5) Creating a corpus of comprehensible listening material. 6) Handcrafted text and audio materials. 7) How to maintain a language when you move back home. 8) The importance of preserving motivation. 9) The six pillars of learning a language: Accountability, Assessment, Encouragement, Knowledge, Planning, and Resources. 10) Why the imperfect method you stick with is better than the perfect method you quit. 11) How to be an independent language learner. 12) The power of “password phrases” (a.k.a. “power tools”).