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I Will Teach You A Language | Weekly Motivation and Language Learning Tips to Help You Become Fluent in Any Language

Learning a new language? Get your language learning questions answered by polyglot Olly Richards, who speaks 8 languages and runs the popular blog - I Will Teach You A Language. Whatever's holding you back on the path to fluency, tune in twice a week to get your regular dose of language learning motivation, with Olly and other polyglot guests, such as Luca Lampariello, Richard Simcott, Alex Rawlings, Benny Lewis, Anthony Metivier and Jonathan Levi. Learn Spanish, Learn French, Learn German, Learn Italian, Learn Portuguese, Learn Arabic, Learn Japanese, Learn Chinese
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I Will Teach You A Language | Weekly Motivation and Language Learning Tips to Help You Become Fluent in Any Language
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

Joe asks: "I study so much, I worry that I'm being inefficient."

Episode Summary:

  • It's important to make a distinction between "study" and "practice"
  • What do you spend your time doing? There's a risk you are planted firmly in study mode, in which case wasting your time is a danger...
  • There's only so much new information your brain can take in in one day, so in that sense, you certainly do get diminishing returns after a certain amount of "study"
  • However, you can never spend too much time in the company of the language
  • I would suggest you experiment with spending no more than one hour a day on focused study, and instead try to consume French with real activities: speaking with people, reading books, watching TV
  • Create an immersion environment for yourself, based on the things you enjoy the most
  • You won't get the same sense of daily progress, but you'll be priming yourself for a transformation in your French abilities!

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 29, 2017

Paul asks: "What do you think of the ESL industry?"

Episode Summary:

  • I taught English as a foreign language for year, and enjoyed it immensely
  • CELTA is a wonderful course and I highly recommend it
  • There are a number of tensions between independent language learning and classroom teaching
  • The challenge for ESL teachers is how best to teach a classroom of 10-20 people who come for a few hours a week
  • Language learning ideology usually goes out the window when faced with the reality of a classroom and a language school
  • Nevertheless, you can have a hugely positive impact on people's lives, and enrich your own life at the same time

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 26, 2017

Syawal asks: "How can I give better presentations in a foreign language?"

Episode Summary:

  • With public speaking, you have to detangle the challenges of the presentation itself, with the language you use
  • Presentations in your mother tongue can ofter leave you nervous and rambling
  • It depends how much you want to prepare, and how much time you have
  • The problem is similar to writing in a foreign language, and relates to how well you can express yourself in more formal language
  • Method 1: Make sure you have a solid command of the specific vocabulary you need, then ad lib on the day
  • Method 2: Prepare word-for-word what you'll say in certain parts of the talk

Today's Quote:

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. - Napoleon Hill

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 22, 2017

Saud asks: "Do you use apps for language learning?"

Episode Summary:

  • Because technology is always being promoted as making our lives more efficient, many people are tempted to look to apps to speed up the language learning process
  • All my opinions about apps are formed in the light of the fact that I remember what language learning was like before the internet
  • Nothing will ever be as effective as you, a good book, a pen and a paper
  • The critical mistakes that apps make is to try to offer a new learning methodology
  • The role of technology in language learning should be to help you consume learning material more efficiently
  • The criteria for judging an app should be: "Does it help me do more efficiently something I was already doing?"
  • Before the internet: Hard to access texts, audio on tapes was inefficient to listen to, everything has to be stored manually on paper, native speakers inaccessible
  • After the internet: Texts are freely available, you can manipulate audio easily, you have data entry on your phone, native speakers readily available
  • There's a big risk you have to mitigate against when you use apps: Attention and focus
  • I use two apps: Flashcards Deluxe and Speater
  • I also use dictionary apps and Skype
  • Part of the reason I haven't used more apps is because I've been learning less common languages. However, if I want to pick up German, for example, I would go straight to a book, not an app

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

IWTYAL 051: Can technology help you learn a language? https://youtu.be/rM-N29vnYME

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 19, 2017

Miki asks: "How should I teach Japanese on iTalki?"

Episode Summary:

  • Firstly, be honest about what you are offering and your experience level
  • If you have no experience, you can still help Japanese learners a lot
  • Begin as a "community tutor" and offer conversation lessons so you can get experience
  • Have an honest talk with the student about what they're looking for an how you can help. Ask questions like:
    • What are you looking for?
    • How would you like me to help?
    • Do you want me to correct your mistakes, or let you talk?
  • The most important skill you have to develop as a teacher is the ability to listen
  • As the student is speaking, make notes of common mistakes, look for patterns - are they making the same mistake all the time?
  • Let the student talk as much as possible, and try to encourage them to speak (that's what most people want), make them feel amazing!
  • Every now and again, stop, and show the student what kind of mistakes they have been making (be selective), or opportunities to improve
  • At the end of the lesson, ask the student what you could do to improve.
  • "What would you like to work on next time" is a good question that allows the student to say what they want, without risking offending the teacher

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 16, 2017

Begum asks: "Should I learn Spanish or Japanese?"

Episode Summary:

  • What's your criteria for learning a new language?
  • Always choose the language you're most passionate about
  • Never learn a language because you think it will be easy...it won't!
  • Some questions I've been dealing with lately!

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

  • Check out the new intro and outro on the show! Huge thanks to Jorge de Lima for helping with those! (Find him on LinkedIn)

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 12, 2017

Charlotte asks: "What's your opinion on removing English from flashcards altogether?

Episode Summary:

  • Arguments for having flashcards entirely in the target language:
    • Avoid translation
    • Learn to think in the target language
    • Increased exposure to target language
    • "Learn like a child"
  • Arguments for having pictures on your flashcards:
    • Visual memory is stronger than auditory memory
    • Wyner: "It’s much easier to learn a word off of a picture card you’ve made yourself than off of a translation card you downloaded in someone else’s deck." = false equivalence

My response to this:

  • Translation is inevitable, and also very useful! (The more languages I acquire, the more I use contrastive analysis to learn faster.)
  • Parallels with learning like children are misguided - we're not children, we have study skills
  • Flashcards entirely in the target language are soon "learnt", thereby negating the benefit of any increased exposure.
  • Visuals are helpful, but are so time consuming as to make the creation of flashcards a burden.
  • Elaborate systems for flashcards misunderstand the purpose of SRS as a learning tool. Setting up flashcards with pictures and peripheral info in the target language, in an attempt to make them a kind of learning tool is not only highly inefficient, but also deprives you of time spent with the whole language

My thoughts on a smart approach to using flashcards:

  • Flashcards are for practising output, not input
  • In other words, flashcards are for practising the recall of stuff you've already learnt
  • The role of English in the flashcards is as a prompt - your task is then to recall the word or phrase in the target language.
  • Images are indeed powerful, but are best created in your mind (i.e. mnemonics)
  • It's vital for flashcards not to become burdensome - Keep it simple!
  • The potential for memory exists firmly within your mind - the extent to which you employ your brainpower and imagination when you attempt to learn new vocabulary determines how well you remember it.
  • To that extent - the spaced repetition build into flashcards offers you an opportunity to reinforce the associations you have already made, rather than the source of learning itself.

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

Related episodes

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 9, 2017

In this episode, I chat with Mark Pentleton from Coffee Break Italian about the UK podcast awards!

Episode Summary:

  • The UK podcast awards
  • Coffee Break Italian's nomination
  • Filming behind the scenes
  • How Coffee Break got started

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

https://youtu.be/vTgrwPliQmY

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 5, 2017

Quinton asks: "How can I prepare for my trip to China?"

Episode Summary:

  • What's the unique opportunity you'll have on your trip?
  • Most likely, it's speaking, and the chance to speak a lot to people
  • If you study characters, there's no particular benefit to being in China
  • Take iTalki lessons every day and build up your speaking muscle
  • Potentially find people to meet and practise with in advance

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

Start Speaking Today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

 

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

May 3, 2017

Meg asks: "How can I make my Russian sentences less English?"

Episode Summary:

  • The challenge you're facing is learning to express ideas the way a Russian would
  • It's not just a linguistic thing - it's a cultural thing. Compare: Good Morning / おはようございます
  • There's no shortcut to doing this - it's a long, gradual process
  • If you want to express yourself like a Russian, you need to spend a lot of time with Russian - listening, reading, speaking
  • The process you need to practise is how to take an idea, and construct a sentence the way a Russian would. In order to achieve this, any exercise that helps you slow down the process and get feedback on your efforts can be helpful.

Try:

  • Reverse translation (see below)
  • Your teacher can ask you: "How do you say ___ in Russian?" and then correct you
  • Talk to yourself in Russian as you walk around the house

But ultimately, a lot of listening and reading is the best policy!

Resources Mentioned In Today's Episode:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VXmDiBfzwA

Start speaking today:

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, visit: http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show! Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast! If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below! If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there! See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

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