Kerstin Hammes is the outspoken author of the Fluent Language blog, Fluency Made Achievable, and The Vocab Cookbook. She is a native German speaker, but has reached a native level of fluency in English, and abilities in a number of additional languages, including French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Russian. She is a great language teacher with an infectious passion for languages and charming sense of humor.
In today’s show, I talk with Kris Broholm of Actual Fluency, an excellent podcast and blog boasting an impressive number of interviews with brilliant language experts, zany polyglots, etc. (over 50 episodes as of writing), including many of my heroes and a few guests who have been on the Language Mastery Show. In his own words, Kris is not an expert on languages, linguistics, or learning, is not a great student, and is not gifted at language learning. While I think he is certainly being humble, I love how he shows that anyone can learn a language regardless of one’s level of introversion, aptitude for learning, location, age, etc. Unlike many who come to language learning as just a hobby, languages helped pull Kris out of severe depression and transform his life.
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”).
Donovan Nagel is an Applied Linguistics graduate hailing from rural Queensland, Australia (the amazing soundscape you hear in the background of our interview) and the man behind the language learning site and community, The Mezzofanti Guild, and the Arabic learning site, Talk in Arabic. Donovan named the site after one of his heroes, Cardinal Giuseppe Gasparo Mezzofanti (1774 – 1849), a hyperpolyglot who Donovan felt a strong connection to given their mutual background in theology, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, and the fact that they both focus on learning via contact with real people.
Ellen Jovin is variously described as a “linguaphile,” a “language-crazed writer,” a “grammar freak,” a “former freelance writer,” and a professional trainer specializing in communication skills. On the first of July in 2009, Ellen began a impressive language and culture project called “Words & Worlds of New York” with the goal exploring the myriad languages spoken in The Big Apple.