LMS S4 E4 – Hack Chinese Founder Daniel Nalesnik on How to Master Mandarin & Find the Fun in Language Learning

LMS S4 E4 – Hack Chinese Founder Daniel Nalesnik on How to Master Mandarin & Find the Fun in Language Learning

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.

Drops App Review: Does Drops Work? Will it Get You Fluent in a Language?

Drops App Review: Does Drops Work? Will it Get You Fluent in a Language?

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!

How to improve your listening, reading & spelling skills with Clozemaster

How to improve your listening, reading & spelling skills with Clozemaster

I’ve written before about whether or not you can learn a language well using smartphone apps. The short answer? It depends. Some language apps can help, but none can replace the primary tasks that will actually get you fluent: tons of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Moreover, most language apps teach languages indirectly and out of context. Not exactly a recipe for fluency. But there are a few apps that do a pretty good job of providing contextual, direct practice. Clozemaster is one of them. Instead of trying to teach you words in isolation as many apps do, the gamified app teaches you vocabulary in context through mass exposure to complete sentences. So how does Clozemaster work? And how can you get the most out the app and ensure that you aren’t wasting your time? After thoroughly testing the app, here now are my best tips for how to use Clozemaster and maximize its effectiveness.

Skritter CEO Jake Gill on How to Level Up Your Mandarin & Learn to Write Chinese Characters the “Write” Way

Skritter CEO Jake Gill on How to Level Up Your Mandarin & Learn to Write Chinese Characters the “Write” Way

Jake Gill (高健) is a Chinese educator, former “Teaching Chinese as a Second Language” graduate student, and the CEO of Skritter, an innovative language learning app that helps Japanese and Chinese learners master characters through active production (i.e. writing on the screen) instead of passive recognition. In the interview, we talk about how and why he learned Mandarin Chinese, why traditional language classes won’t get you fluent in a language, what he would do differently if he were to start learning Mandarin over again, the limitations of app-based learning and following “the golden path,” the importance of following your passion and curiosity in languages, how to learn to write Chinese characters the “write” way, Jake’s current language learning routines and favorite resources, and the importance of daily habits and focusing on process over outcome.

Can you learn to speak Japanese using smartphone apps?

Can you learn to speak Japanese using smartphone apps?

There is a lot to like about language learning apps. They allow you to squeeze in more language learning time throughout your day and allow you to outsource motivation to dopamine-driven “habit loops” that keep you coming back for more every single day. That’s the good news. The bad news? Apps alone will NEVER get you to fluency in Japanese. Read on to see why.

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