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#AskSteve

Over the years I have created a vast amount of videos and articles where I talk about language learning. Find them here.

For example, type "english" to search items about english.
  • First of all, the first thing I think we need to do to study effectively is to improve our reading skills. If we aren’t good readers, we need to become good readers, to read faster, to get better at acquiring information through reading, because reading is very effective, very efficient. It enables us to access so much information, whether in a traditional book or an ebook where we can look things up if we’re on an iPad or on a computer, being careful to avoid the distractions granted. So reading is super powerful.

  • The key to success in language learning is to engage with the language often and in ways that you find enjoyable. If you like doing flash cards, using spaced ...
  • We acquire languages gradually through input. Some people think we need to master certain basic concepts or vocabulary first as soon as possible. In fact, we ...
  • French was my first love when it comes to languages. In fact, there’s an expression in French: “On revient toujours a son premier amour.” It means you always go back to your first love. I love French; I love all the languages that I learn, but I have a special affection for French.
    I highly recommend learning French for beginners. There’s a whole world that you can access so much better if you speak French. The language is spoken in other countries like Canada.

  • Given that the fastest way to learn a language is to listen and read a lot, how do you begin a language from scratch, when you don't understand anything?
  • Neither "speaking from day one" nor "getting a good grammar book and dictionary" will enable a person to learn a language more quickly. These things can be ...
  • How I Learned Russian April 21 2021

    I was about 60 when I started learning Russian and my approach to language learning had always been that you shouldn’t focus on grammar. You need to get used to the language through lots of listening and reading. I had done that with Chinese, with Japanese.

  • A lot of language study takes place in schools. In the English language school system in Canada, very few school children outside of French immersion learn to ...
  • How to Study Effectively April 15 2021
    Reading is the killer app for learning languages, but also for learning other things. In order to study effectively we need to work on our reading skills, and that ...
  • Wie lange braucht man, um Spanisch zu lernen? Wie lange dauert es generell, irgendeine Sprache zu lernen? Ich höre diese Frage ziemlich oft und es gibt keine universelle Antwort darauf. Es liegt ganz an dir.   Das US-amerikanische Foreign Service Language Institut (FSI) hat einige Zahlen bezüglich der Stunden, die erforderlich sind, um verschiedene Sprachen […]

  • 中文和日文都使用汉字。 这样会使他们更容易学习彼此的语言吗?Chinese and Japanese both use Chinese characters. Does that make it easier for them to learn ...
  • People ask me how long it takes to learn a language, sometimes with reference to a specific language. I feel like asking them "what's the hurry?". Just enjoy the ...
  • What is the hardest language to learn? I think that’s a very difficult question because there are so many factors that enter into that.

  • How I Learned Russian April 1 2021
    Russian is not only a language rich in history & literature, it's also a gateway to other Slavic languages, which share most of the same grammatical challenges, ...
  • El aprendizaje de un idioma depende fundamentalmente de tres factores: La actitud del estudiante, el tiempo disponible y la atención que ponga éste en el idioma. Si asumimos una actitud positiva, razonable y una atención creciente hacia el idioma por parte del estudiante. ¿Cuánto tiempo tomaría en aprender un idioma?   El FSI, el estadounidense […]

  • 日本大好き!日本語ペラペラ!日本在住のドイツ人YouTuberマクシーに聞く一番のドイツ語勉強法とは? 0:00 - マクシーの自己紹介 1:16 - ドイツ語を勉強する日本人 ...
  • Are some languages harder to learn than others? Yes, think so. Some have less or more forgiving grammar. Some have unfamiliar or hard to learn writing ...
  • The biggest thing in a study plan is that you want to develop new habits. I’ve said many times that language learning is a matter of attitude and spending the time with the language. So we want to have habits that reinforce a positive attitude that give us a sense of success.

  • Ich werde immer von Leuten ermutigt, die andere Sprachen als Englisch lernen oder unterrichten. Zu viel Englisch in der Welt. ___ German in Tokyo: ...
  • In order to be successful language learners, it can help to have some sense of the learning process, what is actually going on in our brains. This can determine ...
  • Ser Vs Estar in Spanish March 18 2021

    Every language has some issues, often grammar issues, that cause learners difficulty. In the case of Spanish, one thing that gives people special trouble is the existence of two forms of the verb “to be”. Both ser and estar translate into English as “to be”. Ser vs estar, here’s how to get them straight.   […]

  • Three major East Asian languages, Chinese, Japanese and Korean share a lot of vocabulary, history and culture and yet each one is distinctive, and well worth ...
  • La adquisición de un idioma no se hace en clase, se hace en el cerebro, por ese motivo cualquier lugar es perfecto para el estudio: coche, casa, gimnasio…
  • Here I interview Yuzzy, a Japanese exchange student at a high school in England. I ask him what he finds most difficult in English, and he doesn't know.
  • Japanese, simply in terms of the vocabulary, the structure being very different from say English, if you’re an English speaker, is going to be more difficult. However, there are a number of things that make Japanese easier, in my opinion.

  • The Go Fund Me page set up by Moses' family: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-with-homegoing-services-for-moses.
  • Nunca foi tão fácil aprender idiomas por conta própria. Os recursos para aprender línguas mundiais estão em todos os lugares via Internet, e as novas ...
  • As people who speak multiple languages, polyglots like to use those languages; we like to see how we do. But there is an element of performance. Are you better than me? Am I better than you? For some people that’s fine. I think a lot of us are very happy, in fact, when we hear somebody speak better than we do.

  • How I Learned Spanish March 1 2021
    I don't worry about how well I speak Spanish, nor about the mistakes I make. I can't control how others react to my Spanish. I can only control how I feel about ...
  • 勉強しないと大損するって?なぜか知りたいですか?詳細はビデオで…! 0:00 - なんで英語勉強をやめたほうがいい 2:36 - LingQの使い方 5:09 - インプット 8:15 - 文法 ...
  • ***   This post is a transcript of a video on my YouTube channel.   Studying English? Here’s the transcript as a lesson to study on LingQ.   Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here. Today I’m going to talk about vocabulary, words, the most important thing in language learning. Remember if you enjoy these videos, please […]

  • Many people attend Toastmasters sessions to practice their public speaking skills, to practice a foreign language or to meet people. Here are some ideas on ...
  • Japanese can take longer to learn than some European languages, but it isn't inherently difficult. In fact, I found Japanese to be a forgiving language, one where ...
  • I hear all the time that Google Translate doesn’t work. It’s not accurate. It’s this and that. I think Google Translate is a tremendous resource and not only for language learners. It’s not 100% and it’s better for some languages than others, but I find it extremely useful.

  • Learning a language while sleeping is sometimes hopefully offered as an effortless way to learn languages. I have not seen evidence that this works, or is even ...
  • 英語話せるようになりたいけど。。独学でどうしたらいいのか分からない…そんな人はこちらのビデオをどうぞ! 0:00 大半の人は学校に行く 2:21 LingQで勉強します 4:50 ...
  • People learning all kinds of languages find them selves in a situation where they feel frustrated that they aren’t able to say more. And they feel that their comprehension is better than their ability to speak. So I want to talk a little bit about what we can do to improve our speaking skills with specific reference to English.

  • There's an abundance of academic studies about vocabulary, what words do and how they're acquired. But it's really quite simple: listen and read and your ...
  • What constitutes a good study plan for learning languages? Developing good habits, things you enjoy doing every day, is more important than any kind of step ...
  • How long does it take to learn Spanish? How long does it take to learn any language? I hear these questions quite often. There is no simple answer. It is really up to you.    The US Foreign Service Language institute published some numbers about how many hours required to learn different languages. For Spanish […]

  • We can improve our English speaking skills by speaking more. But if not surrounded by English speakers, the next best thing is to step up our listening and ...
  • インターネットがない時代に中国語を如何いう風に勉強できた…「どうやったの?」と思う方はビデオを見てください。 0:00 なぜ僕は中国語の勉強をし始めたのか。 3:39 漢字 ...
  •   ***   This post is a transcript of a video on my YouTube channel. Studying English? Here’s the transcript as a lesson to study on LingQ.   It doesn’t really matter whether you’re at a school or entirely on your own, to my mind, to be a successful language learner you have to be […]

  • BTS, the popular Korean pop group, has an appeal that represents a desire in the world for everyone to just get along and accept each other. Here I talk about ...
  • For all the languages that I have learned, I only attended school twice. However, in every case it was becoming an independent language learner that brought ...
  • Korean vs Japanese vs Chinese, ever wonder what the similarities and differences are between these three languages and how should we go about learning them? To what extent can learning one help you with the others? Let me share my experience in learning these three Asian languages.   How I Learned Mandarin, Japanese and Korean […]

  • Let me share a little bit about what I would like to see in the year 2021. First of all, in so far as learning languages, I’m going to continue with Persian and Arabic. And at some point I will refresh and try to get back into Turkish.

  • Good language learners notice what is happening in a language. They notice the sounds of the language, and the structure and the vocabulary. They notice as they listen and read. They notice when they use the language. How can we train ourselves in the ability to notice, in order to become good language learners?

  • Languages are for Exploring December 29 2020

    I’ve started reading about the history of Iran. Also at LingQ we have Sahra in Iran who has created a series of 26 episodes which I’m now going through. I’ve gone to episode seven of the history of Iran with circling questions. 

  • I often get asked the question, how do I maintain my languages? You know, I’ve learned so many languages, more or less up to 21. I don’t know them all equally well, obviously. So how do I maintain them?

  • In my opinion, the best way to memorize vocabulary is NOT to memorize vocabulary. I have always found that trying to memorize vocabulary is an extremely low-efficiency activity. No matter how hard you try, some words are going to stick and some words will not stick until much, much later.

  • I may not be aware of having changed, but then if I go back to when I started with Arabic, it was just noise to me. The writing system was meaningless to me, and now I’m able to read, I’m able to hear and understand a lot. So there is this gradual, almost imperceptible change.

  • Last week I wrote about the first four secrets to language learning success: spend the time, do what you like to do, learn to notice and words over grammar. Today’s post reveals the last three secrets.

  • People often ask me how I learned 15 languages. I will tell you what works for me; you’ll have to decide if this can work for you. Here are the first four secrets to language learning success…

  • So how do we get to good pronunciation in the language? Well, I think there are three elements. One is the attitude towards the pronunciation and I’ll explain that. The second thing is the most important things that we can do that will give us good pronunciation and the third thing is remedial things. If we have what we consider to be poor pronunciation, what can we do?

  • I believe that listening comprehension is an important skill in language learning. That is what you should drive for first of all. If you develop good listening comprehension, the other skills will come, the speaking will come, even your grammar, your accuracy.

  • My name is Olly Richards and I blog at a website called I Will Teach You a Language dot com. That’s where I kind of started this whole journey. Over the years, I have kind of shifted into teaching languages and creating books and courses to teach people. I have an approach that centers around stories. I call this method Story Learning. That’s how I’m kind of branding it these days. So to help people do that, I create books and courses which all have a story of the heart of it. So we’re giving people lots of nice, fun input at a good level, along with different kinds of instruction to help them learn.

  • A lot of this content, as in the case of our mini stories, has a lot of high-frequency verbs. You’re certainly going to come across the high-frequency words and verbs often and, therefore, it’s easier to get to know them. As you listen to this stuff whereas when you started everything was just noise and you think you’ll never learn this language, particularly if it’s written in a different script like the Arabic script, but with time all of a sudden you start to understand things. 

  • I’m not saying that I’m an expert on anything. I can only share with you my experience of language learning. I want to talk today about how we can make sure that we stay the course. The secret to success in language learning is to stay with it, not to be discouraged, so I kind of looked at some of the things that I’m doing. What is it that maintains my enthusiasm that keeps me going?

  • I’m driving up here with my wife and we’re listening to a podcast about the Byzantine Empire. So I’m enjoying the drive. I’m enjoying listening to the Byzantine Empire podcast. Why am I listening to a podcast about the Byzantine Empire? Because I’ve been learning Arabic, Persian and Turkish, so I’m kind of exploring that part of the world. I’ve read books now on the history of Persia or of Iran, on the history of Arabic countries prior to Islam, post Islam, the Colonial period and, low and behold, I read a book on the Byzantine Empire, which is something we learned so little about.