Me in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Over the last decade, I’ve been finetuning my method for learning languages through a combination of personal trial-and-error and collaboration with some of the world’s best polyglots and language teachers. Ultimately, while many different methods certainly help with learning languages, there are several key ingredients which I think can be boiled down into a series of 8 maxims:
1. Answer the question: “Why do you want to learn a new language?”
2. Do what motivates you to do more!
3. Be curious!
4. Don’t study, learn!
5. Revel in your personal journey with the language!
6. Don’t fear mistakes!
7. Identify patterns in the language!
8. Be persistent and consistent!
My personal approach to learning languages incorporates these maxims and applies them to my learning while focussing on building competencies in the following areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To which language and area I dedicate my time depends largely on my particular motivations at any given time. For example, if I know that I will travel on holidays to Russia and will need to speak a lot with local people then I will focus more on the speaking and listening elements of the Russian language in the lead up to the trip. On the other hand, if I know that I will have a job interview in German next week then I will focus intensely on that language and the scenarios for which I would use the language in the job interview. However, ultimately the capacity the use language is culminative and I aim to make consistent long term progress in all the languages that I learn. My challenge is not just to learn as effectively as possible but also to maintain what I have already learnt. Therefore, a multilingual lifestyle is preferable and this is what I have adopted (see About page).
I am passionate about travel and this complements my approach to language learning ideally as it facilitates my exposure to the language by traveling to countries where the languages I learn are spoken (see article on trip to Ukraine etc. or video with Jan in Odessa) and giving me further motivation to improve my linguistic abilities (see article on multilingual travel lifestyle and guest post from Jan or embed videos). Moreover, I integrate all my interests, like music, politics or sport, into my daily routine so that my language learning involves real life resources that I am genuinely interested (I use audio and textbook courses sparingly and only in the very beginning of learning a new language). This allows me to maintain essential input in my languages on a daily basis.
In the following pages, I will briefly outline the fundamentals of my language learning routine:
In these pages, I will briefly outline the fundamentals of my language learning routine. A more indepth description of these principles and their application to language learning will be published in a forthcoming eBook. So please subscribe to my mailing list (below) if you are interested in being notified of when this will be published and other important developments at Language Tsar before they are announced on my website or YouTube channel.