On August 28, 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., an American activist, humanitarian, and pastor gave what would become one of the most famous speeches of all time and a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. The masterful address, usually known simply as I Have a Dream, was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in front hundreds of thousands of people who had joined the “March on Washington.” If you’ve never watched the speech, or haven’t seen it in a while, please take a moment now to relive a bit of history and honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And for extra points, follow the links in the post to read the speech in Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish!
Benny Lewis is a fun-loving blogger, YouTuber, author, language hacker, and technomad from Ireland (hence his nickname “Irish Polyglot”). He is the creator of the most popular language learning site in the world as of writing, Fluentin3Months.com, and has authored five books. He has demonstrated again and again that it’s possible to reach conversational fluency in a matter of months, not years as most believe. Benny’s philosophy on language learning is right in line with my Anywhere Immersion approach, as exemplified in the following quote from his book Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World:
“…where you are isn’t what decides whether or not you’ll be successful. Attitude beats latitude (and longitude) every time. It’s more about creating an immersion environment, exposing yourself to native speakers, and doing everything you can in that language.”
Paulino Brener is educator, performer, social media manager, and one of the few people I know who has managed to successfully blend all of his passions (foreign languages, teaching, crafts, social media, and performance arts) into one. And get paid to do so! In our interview, he discusses creative ways to harness one’s passions in foreign language learning, whether as teacher or learner.
In my interview with Jason West, the creator of English Out There, we discuss the weaknesses of traditional English schools, methodologies, and materials, and how his approach aims to overcome them. I especially enjoyed his effective, no-nonsense approach to language learning, his efforts to bridge the gap between traditional classroom-based learning and independent study, and his willingness to share before-and-after speech samples of his students.
Arkady Zilberman, creator of Language Bridge and a former simultaneous interpreter in Russia, addresses what is perhaps the greatest impediment to adult language learning success: cross-translation to and from one’s native language. Few learners are probably aware this sub-concious process goes on at all, but Arkady’s extensive experience learning languages, interpreting, and experimenting on himself and other learners have proven that it does indeed occur. As he points out in our interview, even many seemingly successful foreign language learners still translate to and from their native language, but can just do so at such a rate that they can’t perceive the process.