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I speak 20 languages. I've been learning languages for over 50 years and I've tried all kinds of approaches. I talk about my experiences, my approach to language learning, what I enjoy about learning languages and all manner of other topics related to language. If you love languages, or think you would if you hadn't been discouraged by past experiences, this is the podcast for you. Anyone can learn a language. You just need the right attitude and the right approach!
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I spend most of my time listening. Listening comprehension is where the action is, in my opinion. If you can understand movies, podcasts, conversations, the other end of the conversation, you can eventually get to where you can hold up your end of the conversation.Steve Kaufmann
Improving in a language, especially in pronunciation, is a matter of technique, practice and attitude. Hadar knows this from her experience learning English, and becoming an actress in New York, as a non-native speaker.Steve Kaufmann
Reading is a vital activity in language acquisition. It’s how to build vocabulary. In today’s video I talk about my experience with both intensive and extensive reading and why I like to do a mix of both.Steve Kaufmann
I enjoy every stage of my language learning; when I start to explore a new language; when I go back again to something familiar that I don’t understand; when I start to understand more; when I understand most of it; and when I no longer feel I need to learn it.Steve Kaufmann
Some people say we need to “focus on the basics” when learning a language. However, we acquire various aspects of a language naturally, in an order that we don’t control. It is futile to try to master the basics, some of which will elude us for a long time.Steve Kaufmann
There may be many reasons why language learning, or bilingualism, is associated with a delay in the onset of dementia. Obviously, it is a form of exercise for the brain, creating new neural networks, but it also gives older people a strong sense of purpose.Steve Kaufmann
Do you enjoy answering comprehension questions about content in your target language? Many teachers and writers of language learning textbooks seem to think these questions are vital. I couldn’t disagree more.Steve Kaufmann
Challenge yourself in 2023 and start a LingQ Language Challenge. We have a 30-day and 90-day challenges as well as the Streak with Steve challenge. Stay on track, motivated and learn from content you’re interested in and you will make a breakthrough in your target language.Steve Kaufmann
We shouldn’t penalize people for getting things wrong in language learning. Maybe we congratulate them instead and encourage them to keep on getting things wrong, because eventually, with enough exposure, they’re going to get it right.Steve Kaufmann
I find it easier to learn things that are different from each other in a new language. Take colours for example. If I can space the colours or connect them to something else, like a plant or a shirt, and I come across them in different situations, then eventually I assimilate them. I start to learn them. But if I try to learn them as a list, I find…
Stefani is fluent in five languages, intermediate in three others and learning two more. She is yet another outstanding polyglot who proves that you can grow up in a monolingual family and become an accomplished speaker of many languages.Steve Kaufmann
To speak well in a language we’re learning, we need to speak a lot. This requires strategy. We need to first build up our comprehension and vocabulary. Then we need to find or create environments that are familiar, comfortable and meaningful.Steve Kaufmann
Have you seen season one of Wednesday on Netflix? Did you know you can create an English lesson with the episodes on LingQ? In the latest episode of the English LingQ Podcast Elle shows you how to do it and shares some fun facts about this awesome show. Study this video as a lesson on LingQ:…
Writing is a great way to improve your skills and comprehension, but particularly your ability to output, to speak. To write you need to look words up, so it’s an assist to get to speaking. Do you agree?Steve Kaufmann
Someone sent me a few video clips recently of Joe Rogan discussing language learning with his guests. There is something in the attitude in these clips that bothers me as a language learning enthusiast.Steve Kaufmann
I recognize that writing can be a way of improving your ability in the language, a way of getting to more output. For some people it’s important to their academic and professional aspirations. So what do I have to say on the subject of writing?Steve Kaufmann
Emotion is an important part of learning languages. Cognitive research has shown that we learn better when we have positive feelings towards what we are learning. This is particularly true when it comes to the culture of the language we are learning.Steve Kaufmann
Reward yourself for what you can do in your target language. Don’t criticize yourself for what you can’t do. There are moments when you feel disappointed. Ignore these moments of self-doubt. Give yourself credit for staying active with the language, a guarantee of eventual success.Steve Kaufmann
If you Google “Pareto’s Principle” You will find all kinds of examples of how a small number of any series of events will account for the lion’s share of the results of effects of these events. People say this also applies to language learning. In this video I question this.Steve Kaufmann
Pronunciation and spelling can both give problems to learners of English. They are connected. Unfortunately, however, the spelling is not a reliable indicator of how words are pronounced. It takes a long time to get used to this.Steve Kaufmann
If we engage in physical exercise, we have the feeling that we have done something, improved our fitness. We may even have tightness or soreness in our muscles. The same is not true with language learning. Often we don’t know if, in fact, we’re learning.Steve Kaufmann
Some people say they read well in a language, but struggle to speak. Solution: speak more, but don’t neglect reading. A wide passive vocabulary, best acquired by reading, enables you to engage in conversations with people on a wide range of content.Steve Kaufmann
Many people think memory in language learning refers only to words you are able to retrieve when you need them. A much bigger part of your memory are words that you once learned and have forgotten. They are in your reserve waiting to be rediscovered.Steve Kaufmann
Reading comprehension is crucial in language learning and in life. The faster we can read, the more quickly we understand what we’re reading, and the faster we learn. There are tricks we can use to improve our reading comprehension. I discuss them in this video.Steve Kaufmann
Some people worry about which kind of Spanish to learn, Mexican, Colombian, Argentinian, or the Spanish from Spain. In my view, this is not something worth worrying about when we start out in the language. Later on, once you are comfortable in the language, you can decide which accent or version you want to focus on.…
When we learn a language we focus on specific details at times, to get a clearer sense of the language. At other times we allow the language to enter our brain with less than perfect comprehension. Both help us grow in the language.Steve Kaufmann
An obstacle to acquiring vocabulary is our reluctance to accept forgetting, our vain hope to hang on to vocabulary we have tried to learn. Maybe we should just let go of new vocabulary, repeatedly catch and release, until it sticks.Steve Kaufmann
Language immersion sounds like magic. You go live in a country and once you are there you learn the language. In this video I explain why this isn’t necessarily the case, and what you can do to increase your chances of language immersion strategy success.Steve Kaufmann
Language learning is forgiving. It allows for errors and forgetting. We slowly become better by doing mostly top down, big picture learning, but sometimes we need to look at the details. We just shouldn't expect to remember them.Steve Kaufmann
A language teacher should first and foremost be a motivator. I don’t believe you can teach a language to someone not motivated to learn it. Motivating learners is, of course, easier said than done, but it should be the primary goal of any teacher.Steve Kaufmann
I think we should aim for authenticity in language learning. The language content we are learning from, the conversations we have, need to be as authentic and as meaningful as possible. That way we learn without noticing that we are learning.Steve Kaufmann
I hear people say they want to achieve native pronunciation. A more realistic goal may be natural pronunciation where the speaker and the listener both feel comfortable. To achieve natural pronunciation you may need at first to just let go and play act a little.Steve Kaufmann
Tetsuya of the YouTube channel Morite2 teaches test-taking skills for Japanese people taking TOEIC. We chatted about the state of English learning in Japan and his adventures in language learning.Steve Kaufmann
Tomorrow I will do a livestream with Dr. Stephen Krashen, linguist, educational researcher and activist, where we will discuss language acquisition.Join us at 11AM Pacific Time on August 24: Kaufmann
In English and other languages, certain words are often used with certain other words, sometimes to convey a special meaning. This juxtaposition of words is sometimes referred to as collocation. How do we learn to use collocations?Steve Kaufmann
To learn a language we need to look up the meaning of words. This means referring to dictionaries. Lately this has meant mostly referring to online dictionaries for me. Dictionaries are a necessary part of language learning as long as we use them effectively.Steve Kaufmann
For the last four or five days I've been focusing on a Persian podcast about the Islamic Revolution. I feel that this degree of focus and concentration has elevated my Persian. I explain in today’s video.Steve Kaufmann
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