Recently-added language posts

How I Spent 700+ Hours on Languages Last Year

After publishing my Summary of 2014, a lot of people have been asking me how I managed to spend 749 hours on languages last year. This is my answer.

To achieve a goal like this, you need three things: tracking, obstinence and inventiveness.


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Duolingo: Esperanto coming soon!

Have you heard of the latest language-learning website that's sweeping the globe: Duolingo? It was founded by Luis von Ahn, previously best-known for creating Captcha, those boxes on the Internet where you have to type a mangled word to prove that you're human.

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7 Ways that Computers Changed How We Learn Languages

If you are learning a language today, chances are that your study sessions are looking vastly different than they would have even 10 years ago. This is a part of our daily life that has been radically transformed by the digital age.
The revolution came in 7 waves:

  1. digitalization
  2. multimedia
  3. auto-correction
  4. social integration
  5. personalization
  6. gamification
  7. computer language teachers

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6 Tips for Working with a Tutor

Skype language tutor
Spending a lot of time actively using your target language can do wonders for your progress. At the beginner level, a tutor is the best investment you can make. So without further ado, here are my tips for having a successful language tutoring experience:

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Which Language do Polyglots Choose to Speak Together?

This question came in on Quora just when I had spent three days with two of the greatest polyglots alive: Professor Alexander Arguelles and Richard Simcott. Both know more than 30 languages. We had also organized a polyglot dinner where people could speak 10 languages on average. All in all, I was in a unique position to answer this question and had a lot of fun doing so.

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The Perfect Language Course

What would your requirements for a perfect language course be? I have spent a lot of thoughts on this question. If I could dream completely free from the constraints of existing books and audio courses, here's what I would value:

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Who is in the Polyglot Community? Am I?

Polyglot group photo at the Polyglot Gathering
A lot of people refer to the Polyglot Community these days. I do, too, talking about the Polyglot Gathering and similar events. So who is this community?
It is certainly NOT just the 15-30 most popular polyglots who have Youtube channels or blogs...

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Bilingual Books

When you've finished a textbook, you're often at a strange stage where other textbooks are too easy but real materials (books and TV shows intended for native speakers) are too difficult. At that stage, I'd sometimes use easy readers, but the stories rarely manage hold my interest. A better solution I discovered are bilingual books, which allow me to read interesting texts intended for native speakers while skipping past many of the difficulties.

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Why do Computers Suck at Languages?

I studied Computational Linguistics, which is the part of linguistics that tries to teach computers human languages. It's a very interesting subject, responsible for machine translation, dictation software, text-to-speech tools, dialog systems like Siri and many more applications. If you want to learn a bit more about Computational Linguistics, what problems there are for computers to deal with human language and what the future looks like, you can now watch my intro talk from the Polyglot Conference in Budapest:

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How Many Hours to Learn a Foreign Language?

I'm often asked how many hours it takes to learn a foreign language, how many hours the asker should plan to spend on learning language X, (more rarely) how many hours it took me to learn a language. Here's an attempt at an answer.

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