Akita

When it’s time to stop – German challenge weeks 4 & 5

  This is my last post about my German challenge. Here are the previous posts: Day 0 – Week 1 – Week 2 – Week 3.   Day 22 Session 1 15 min – Kompliziert. I recited the lyrics out loud. There were only two lines that I couldn’t remember at the beginning of the …

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How to memorize lyrics to learn German – German challenge week 3

  This post is part of my German challenge. If you want to learn more, you can read my posts about day 0, week 1, and week 2. I started the week following my usual routine. Until day 20, where things got interesting…   Day 15 Session 1 31 min – I reviewed Bye bye …

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Be boring and put in the work! – German challenge week 2

  It’s pretty boring in terms of exciting content. I just did my routine, everyday, with different songs. I don’t have much more to say. Just putting in the work.   Day 8 Session 1 – 1h I reviewed all my songs. I sang and I read the lyrics and their translations. I also started …

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How to use Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule to learn a foreign language

The 5/25 rule comes from a piece of advice that Warren Buffett gave to his personal airline pilot. They were talking about the pilot’s career when Warren told him to make a 25-item list of his professional goals. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s just a legend. But whether the story is real or not doesn’t …

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How to use Tim Ferriss’ fear-setting exercise to finally learn a foreign language

Tim Ferriss has an unusual approach when it comes to learning a foreign language. But that’s not what I want to talk about here. In 2017, he was invited to speak on the main TED stage. The name of his talk was Why you should define your fears instead of your goals. Tim has used …

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How I’m absorbing German – A minute-by-minute chronicle of week 1

I started absorbing German one week ago. And I decided to time everything. I’m singing a song? Time it. I’m looking for resources? Time it. I’m writing my first German lines? Time it!   And here it is in this post. Everything I did this week, minute by minute. I divided my days into several …

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How to finally master the guttural r (in French, German, Portuguese, Dutch, … )

Disclaimer: This post is not for the fainthearted. The guttural r is this nasty greasy sound that seems so weird to foreigners. You find it in French, German, Dutch, and Portuguese, among others. The goal of this post is NOT to make you sound like a native speaker of your target language. The goal of …

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How to finally trill your r’s

I used to believe native Spanish speakers had a superpower. I thought they could manipulate their tongue in a way kept secret to foreigners. Like a national treasure! Boy, was I wrong! When someone makes a trilled r, there’s no magic trick happening. She doesn’t have a super muscle in the tip of her tongue …

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How to find songs to absorb a foreign language

I love singing! Not that I’m a good singer or anything. It just puts me in a good mood. That’s one of the reasons why I crafted my language learning method around music. In this article, I tell you exactly how to find songs in a foreign language.   The translator Go to Lyrics Translate. …

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How to absorb a foreign language with music

I love traveling. And I love connecting with people I meet abroad. That’s why I love learning foreign languages. For me, learning a new language is not about textbooks, flashcards, endless lists of vocabulary, and weird grammar rules. For me, learning a new language is about communication. It’s about relationships, and meeting people you connect …

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How to find YouTube channels in your target language

The best way to absorb a foreign language is to get continuous exposure. Create an immersion environment. No problem when you’re traveling. But easier said than done at home. Where do you go to get into full immersion mode? My favorite place online to get immediate immersion is YouTube. Hours and hours of quality free …

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How I’m going to absorb German – Day 0

It’s time for a new challenge. German has been on my mind for a while now. I was born and raised in France, and Germany is one of our close neighbors. Yet I never got to learn the language. Three years ago, I completely failed at learning German. I started learning some vocabulary with a …

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How to maintain a foreign language

Language learning is a sport. And like any sport, if you stop playing for too long, you’ll lose your professional status, and end up as an amateur. Yet you don’t always want to play like a professional, at an intense level. Sometimes you just want to take it slow for a while. Sometimes all you …

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Audio + Repetition = Communication

My language learning method revolves around music. And I love it. In fact, I created it this way to make sure I enjoy the process of absorbing a new language. I love singing, and music makes your target language sticky. But I don’t think my method is perfect. I don’t think it’s the best (or …

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Own your craft – Slight accent vs heavy accent

Learning a language is not about writing and reading. It’s not even about speaking and listening. Sure, all these skills matter. But learning a language is about communicating. Learning a foreign language is about connecting with different people. It’s about discovering foreign cultures. No one cares whether you are fluent in subjunctive. Your goal is …

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Why you have an accent when you speak a foreign language – IPA 101

A team of scientists have shown that babies can distinguish any human sound. But then they lose this ability. Their brains build neuronal connexions only for the sounds of the language(s) they are exposed to growing up. Remember the last time you decided to start jogging again? Or when you started going to the gym? …

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How to plan your language learning routine

You may think that learning a foreign language takes time. And you would be right. But it probably takes less time than you think. All you need is some discipline. It starts with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Then you have to spend time every week, or even everyday, practicing your …

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Follow the white rabbit

Before you lie two pills. A blue one and a red one. Take the blue pill, and you will end up spending way too much money on useless apps, softwares, and textbooks. To be fair though, you might become an expert at conjugation patterns and other obscure grammar rules. But you will get nowhere in …

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3rd week of Brazilian Portuguese – Goal reached! w/ Dani Russo

You can read the post about my first week where I talk about this project and where I give a lot of resources. You can also read this page where I describe my approach, and this other page with a list of language workouts. And you can read about week 2 here. There’s nothing truly …

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5 tips to improve your French accent, with Hollywood actor Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is an American actor you may recognize from The Hangover. He later starred in Limitless, and Silver Linings Playbook. He also was in American Sniper, a Clint Eastwood movie who gained international acclaim. But we’re not here to talk about his movie career. What’s interesting about Bradley Cooper is the fact that he speaks …

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How to improve your Portuguese pronunciation with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is a soccer player from Portugal. He’s played for Sporting de Lisboa, Manchester United, and he’s now playing for Real Madrid. He’s one of the best players ever. His rivalry with Lionel Messi is considered as one of the best sport rivalries in history. Cristiano makes a lot of noise: You either love …

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My 2nd week of Brazilian Portuguese – Cruising with travel YouTubers Damon and Jo

You can read the post about my first week where I talk about this project and where I give a lot of resources. You can also read this page where I describe my approach, and this other page with a list of language workouts. For this new post, I’m just going to jump right into …

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How to improve your French pronunciation with soccer legend Thierry Henry

You may wonder: “Why should I care about the accent of a Frenchman?” Well, I’m glad you asked. The mistakes you make when speaking a foreign language are often caused by your mother tongue. You have a reference system attached to the language you’ve been speaking your whole life. That’s why you have an accent. …

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The Frozen textbook – Learn Brazilian Portuguese with “let it go”

When I’m learning a new language, I like to keep it simple at the beginning. And Disney songs are the perfect resources to get started. You probably know the rhythm and the tune. It’s made for kids, so the vocabulary and sentence structures are rather simple. For those of you who have been living under …

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How I’m learning Brazilian Portuguese – a minute-by-minute chronicle of my first week

I’m learning my fifth language, and I decided to document every minute of it. In this post, I describe what I did every day to learn Brazilian Portuguese (← I’m going to say only “Brazilian” instead of “Brazilian Portuguese” from now on). Disclaimer: I’m French, and I also speak Spanish and Italian. So I expected …

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Sark – a car-free paradise

There is a place on Earth where cars are banned from roads. Only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. It’s a small island next to Normandy, France. Not so long ago it was still a feudal system. So close to home (I’m from Normandy), yet I’d never heard about it! Funny anecdote: A French guy …

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The healthy language learning summary

I talked briefly about my condition in a previous post, and that I’m still looking for a diet that suits me. I just read How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, by Scott Adams. It’s a great book and a quick read. Scott talks about goals and systems, his entrepreneurial failures, and …

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French 101 with the Minions (Despicable Me 3)

There’s a scene in Despicable Me 3 where the Minions are comparing some pictures of Gru. The Minions’s voice is made by the director, who is French. It’s complete gibberish but if you pay attention, you can hear real words, mostly borrowed from romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian. One of my favorite sentences …

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Speed x1.5 on YouTube

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot with the 1.5-speed feature on YouTube. I’m now watching most videos in speed x1.5 in order to improve my oral comprehension skills with the languages I speak.   I’ve also tried this with Finnish, that I’m currently learning. I can’t understand a thing even in normal speed. But when …

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Dunkirk, by Nolan

Just saw the new Christopher Nolan movie: Dunkirk. It felt like watching something in-between Inception and Interstellar. Inception for the music and the mood. Interstellar for the shots. I was already a big fan of Nolan’s work. This movie has only made me even more in love with his movies.

On crutches in language learning

My religion is audio input, when it comes to language learning. Text input is useful, if not necessary, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Learning a language is like learning how to walk. You need your hands at first, or crutches after an injury. But the end goal is to walk without those. Just …

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Golf & language learning

Speaking a language is like a game of golf. Hit the ball too far left, and it ends up in the lake. Put your tongue too far forward, and you end up saying “beau cul” instead of “beaucoup” in French (“beautiful ass” instead of “a lot”). “Beau cul” in IPA is [boky], and “beaucoup” is …

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On perceived reality & language learning

This TED Talk talks about our brains and conscious reality. At ~6’00”, the speaker shows us an example of how we perceive reality with audio samples. It is very similar to how a language learner perceives his/her new target language. Remember when you’re hearing a phrase where you can’t distinguish anything, and it just seems like …

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4th month of Finnish – Clear the list, August 2017

The Clear-the-List challenge is hosted by Lindsay (from Lindsay Does Languages), Kris Broholm (from Actual Fluency), Angel Pretot (from French Lover) and Shannon (from Eurolinguiste). The goal is to share monthly goals and support each other while learning foreign languages.   Review of July Singing routine with LyricsTraining –> kinda. The first week I used LyricsTraining, but then I …

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How to increase flexibility in 30 seconds

I love sports, running and working out. But one thing I’m struggling with is flexibility. I’m convinced gaining flexibility will make me less prone to injuries, and give me a better range of movement. Here’s a trick I found the other day to increase flexibility in 30 seconds (and this is not clickbait): Stand straight …

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On diets (paleo, veganism, …)

I love reading. Last year I read 60+ books after starting the reading challenge on goodreads with my sister. And that’s when I started my quest for a solution. See, I’ve been living my whole life with bad allergies. I’m always sneezing, and I always need to blow my nose. Every f**king day. I started …

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Trump & women

I just finished reading The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump’s book. Recent events have pictured Trump as a sexist pig. So this one excerpt from the book made me smile:   “The person I hired to be my personal representative overseeing the construction, Barbara Res, was the first woman ever put in charge of …

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Drill, baby, drill!

Whether you want to learn how to work out, ride a bike or speak a new language, you will have to face repetition. Unless you’re a robot, you’ll need to get exposed to a new word or grammatical structure again, and again, and again. In other words, there’s no other way than drilling. Maybe one …

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My 3rd month of Finnish – Clear the list, July 2017

The Clear-the-List challenge is hosted by Lindsay (from lindsaydoeslanguages.com), Kris Broholm, Angel Pretot and Shannon of Eurolinguiste. The goal is to share monthly goals and support each other while learning foreign languages.   Review of June New routine (1 hour a day listening to songs and reading the lyrics’ English translations) –> check! I had some days off, but I …

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Learning Finnish with songs and English lyrics – Clear the list, June 2017

The Clear-the-List challenge is hosted by Lindsay (from lindsaydoeslanguages.com), Kris Broholm, Angel Pretot and Shannon of Eurolinguiste. The goal is to share monthly goals and support each other while learning foreign languages.   Today on the menu: A review of my goals for May & Finnish Trial-and-error approach and breakthroughs Goals for June Epiphany in French Future projects   Review of May …

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Learning Brazilian Portuguese & Finnish: clear the list – May 2017

The Clear-the-List challenge is hosted by Lindsay (from lindsaydoeslanguages.com), Kris Broholm, Angel Pretot and Shannon of Eurolinguiste. The goal is to share monthly goals and support each other while learning foreign languages.   Review of April talking to myself: I haven’t really done it. I wasn’t lazy or anything, I just forgot! week 4 video: I made a video where …

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Speaking Brazilian Portuguese after one month – Video

Yesterday I filmed myself speaking Brazilian Portuguese. I started learning a month ago. I’m not proud of how much I’ve learned so far. But I’m not ashamed either 🙂 Let me explain. I started very slow. The first week, I spent more time watching South Park (in English) rather than learning Portuguese. Then this last …

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Learning Brazilian Portuguese: clear the list – April 2017

Review for March I started posting regularly on Instagram, but then I stopped because I felt like it was forced and wasn’t that interesting. I won’t try to post regularly in April, we’ll see in the future if I can come up with something interesting to do on Insta. I joined Clear the List 🙂 …

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Learning Brazilian Portuguese: clear the list – March 2017

I’m joining late but better late than never. The Clear-the-List challenge is hosted by Lindsay (from lindsaydoeslanguages.com), Kris Broholm, Angel Pretot and Shannon of Eurolinguiste. The goal is to share monthly goals and support each other while learning foreign languages.   Goals for March 2017 I just started learning Brazilian Portuguese. My goal is to learn how to …

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How to read faster and comprehend more: increasing your reading speed by 200% in 30 Minutes

Warning: before reading this post and applying the tricks explained here, you must know that there’s a very low probability of your brain exploding during the process! I decline any responsibility if such an event were to occur…   Wow. I’m shocked. What I’m about to tell you just blew my mind! This is not …

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What Gary Vaynerchuk can teach you about language learning

Learning a new language is always a challenge. Even when you have already learned languages before. Sometimes you want to try a new method. But this method doesn’t fit you and it’s not working. You lacked self-awareness… Sometimes you want to learn a new language fast. Too fast. And you’re frustrated with your results one …

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The most spoken language in 2050…

English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese or even Hindi? Which one will be the most spoken language in 2050? According to a recent study the answer might surprise you.   Repartition in 2010 This infographics represents the situation in 2010: Mandarin leads the race, followed closely by English and Spanish. No very surprising given the fact …

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3 lessons from Arnold Schwarzenegger to learn any language

Mr. Olympia. Hollywood actor. Governor of California. Three different areas (even though we could argue that they are all related to exhibition and entertainment). Three huge accomplishments. And a lot of hard work. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in 1947 in Austria. He came to the US at the age of 21, speaking broken English. And …

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How to learn Italian online for free

Learning a new language can be tough. Learning a new language can be expensive. Learning a new language can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re just getting started. You see all these resources, all these apps and you don’t know where to begin.   Once upon a time there was a guy. An Italian guy from …

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