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.
Randy is on a mission to learn a new language fluently every year. His current project is Italian, with Lithuanian as a side-project saved for weekend fun. Randy has his language-learning head screwed on tightly, and I firmly agree with his contention that learners can reach “conversational fluency” (the ability to talk with native speakers on a variety of topics) in a year if you spend enough time doing the right things. As we both have observed, most learners neither spend enough time nor do the right things.
Stever Robbins (a.k.a. The Get-it-done Guy), author of The Get-it-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, has featured my language learning tips in the June 7, 2010 episode of his popular productivity podcast!
In his own words, Dr. Orlando Kelm is “a lucky guy” professionally. Not only does he get to spend his time with two languages (Spanish and Portuguese), but he also the Associate Director of Business Language Education for the UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research, a part of the McCombs School of Business. In our interview, Dr. Kelm shares what he believes to be the 6 most important factors in effective language learning.