The Worst Language Exchange Ever (And What I Learnt From It)

A few days ago, here in Hong Kong, I had the worst language exchange of my life. By all accounts, it was terrible. I walked out at the end feeling thoroughly depressed… an unfortunate mood that took me a couple of days to snap out of. But it wasn’t the fact I wasted half my […]

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Core Study Sequences: Lesson Preparation

Welcome to Part 3 in a series of articles in which I show you exactly how I’m learning foreign languages every day. In these articles I talk about how I’m using my Core Study Time – a 30-45 minute period at the start of every day which I set aside for intensive study. Before you read […]

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How to Use Vocabulary Lists to Instantly Improve Your Communication Skills

If you’re my age or older, your foreign language homework at school probably looked like this: “Here’s a list of 10 French verbs. Learn them all for a test next Tuesday.” Many years later, you stumble across blogs like mine, and you’re told something different: “Learning lists of words is wrong…use xyz fancy method instead!” […]

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12 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Language Teacher Online

Do you wish you had more opportunities to speak in the language you’re leaning? What would it mean for your fluency if you could simply speak more often? Well, whatever language you’re learning and wherever you live, it might surprise you to know that there is a small army of native speakers out there literally […]

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How to stop people talking to you in English

It really sucks. You’re learning a new language, and it finally comes time to try it out with some native speakers! So, you pluck up the courage, walk over to them, try your best to say something nice. They look at you… They think for a second… …and they reply in English! You want to keep […]

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Good Study Habits…For Lazy People

I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve read about good study habits, willpower, and getting things done. And yet I still find it so hard to develop a solid routine. (Although my crazy 5am routine has changed things recently!) Are there people in this world who just can’t stick to routines? Were some […]

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Is drinking with new friends the best language learning solution?

Language exchanges have been a core part of my language learning strategy since the very beginning. Sitting down with a real person and practising a new language over a coffee (or something stronger) is one of my favourite things in life. That’s why I welcome this guest post today from Santiago Montero, founder and director of […]

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5 study hacks that are working for me right now

I’m 3 months into my Egyptian Arabic project right now, so it’s high time to write a bit about what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been learning and what’s been working for me. Just to recap, my first month learning Arabic, before I left for Egypt, was spent with a variety of beginner resources. I […]

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How to start a conversation with native speakers

I recently received an interesting email from a reader asking how to start a conversation with native speakers on a plane. And that got me thinking. I’ve come to believe that if you’re learning a new language, randomly striking up conversations with people on the street (or wherever you happen to be) may not be a […]

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Unstoppable

Right now, I’m feeling unstoppable. Right now, I feel like I can take over the world. Right now, I’m riding on a wave of passion, drive and hunger to study that I feel like I can harness to achieve anything. With your permission, I’d like to tell you why. 3 weeks of nothingness Only last week I wrote […]

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28 Insane Japanese Conversation Starters

Many people who live in Japan report finding it difficult to strike up conversations with Japanese people. I did too, when I lived in Tokyo. Here’s why: I didn’t have the necessary language level  The Japanese don’t really have a culture of talking to strangers…at least not in the same way as we do in […]

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Learning Egyptian Arabic Grammar – Week 3 Summary

This is a summary of the 3rd week of my project to learn Egyptian Arabic. Until this point in the project I’ve avoided any study of grammar, choosing to focus on vocabulary instead. I have quite a laissez-faire approach to studying grammar, but curiosity finally got the better of me this week and I started […]

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13 Ways To Beat Your Fear And Start Speaking A Foreign Language

Speaking in a foreign language for me, is everything. Speaking and communicating with people from other countries and different cultures is what got me into learning all my languages in the first place. First, it was so I could chat to that lovely Italian girl in the café where I worked in London. Second, it was […]

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Making Language Exchanges Work For YOU!

You do language exchanges because you want to practise the language. Instead, the other person just ends up talking at you in English. You’re frustrated. It’s awkward to ask them to shut up. Do that and you kill the conversation! After all, they’re much better in English than you are in your new language so you […]

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Interacting with native speakers

It’s probably fair to say that speaking effortlessly with native speakers is the holy grail for most language learners. Who doesn’t want to saunter down a leafy avenue in Buenos Aires, stop off for a quick drink in a local bar and shoot the breeze with the locals? Here are some things to remember about […]

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