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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.
  • CC subtitles available in: English, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese. I'd like to thank the ...
  • Do NOT Study Grammar June 16 2021

    Grammar basically describes usage. So since languages evolve over time, sounds in languages evolve over time, usage patterns evolve over time. Therefore the grammar which describes the usage will evolve over time. So how useful is it to attempt to teach people what the rules of usage are before the learner has had enough experience with the language?

  • CC subtitles available in: English, Swedish, Russian, Norwegian, Romanian, Vietnamese, Turkish, German, Dutch, Italian, Serbian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese.
  • I'm in the "Streak with Steve" challenge for both Arabic and Persian. I chose a minimal number of "LingQs created" in each language to make it easier to maintain ...
  • The last 15 years have brought revolutionary change to language learning. Amongst the most popular new opportunities is the possibility to connect with native speakers of the languages we are learning via the Internet, and specifically via Skype. We all take Skype for granted today, but the app was first launched in 2003, in Estonia.  […]

  • Do NOT Study Grammar June 7 2021
    Grammar describes usage in a language at any given time in its evolution. It's hard for us to learn these rules of usage without considerable investment of time in ...
  • Even a keen language learner like myself needs to be nudged from time to time. That is why I join the 90-Day Challenges at LingQ. I invite others to do the same, ...
  • ***   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.   Back in 1968, I was sent to Hong Kong by the Canadian government to learn Mandarin Chinese. I spent a year learning Chinese and then the idea […]

  • Pitch accent has received more attention recently, especially for learners of Japanese. Do I think pitch accent is important? No. Not important. Definition of pitch ...
  • I always emphasize input in language learning, getting the language in you through listening and reading. But how do you get started speaking? I offer some ...
  • The most important task in language learning, in my opinion, is the acquisition of vocabulary. If we have enough words, we can make sense of what we’re reading or listening to and we can somehow express ourselves. Vocabulary is much more important than grammar. The grammar you acquire gradually as you become familiar with the […]

  • Правда ли что чтение книг устарело? Почему просмотр видео никогда не заменит чтения? Когда стоит переходить от электронных книг к бумажным?
  • The Internet has changed how we learn languages. There are so many apps and so much readily available technology that it has never been easier to learn ...
  • ***   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.   We regularly see blog posts and videos where people provide advice on how to learn a language in a given period of time: one month, three months, […]

  • Learning Japanese, and living in Tokyo for 9 years, had a profound influence on my life, especially professionally. It wasn't necessarily meant to be. It came ...
  • Mistakes are an essential part of language learning, a chance to notice and learn. We should welcome our mistakes. Unfortunately school teaches us to be ...
  • If you really want to learn English fast, here is what you do. This advice is valid for other languages as well. The only difference between English and other languages is that most people learning English have had a lot of classroom instruction, which is not usually the case for learners of other languages.   […]

  • Talking, having meaningful conversations in the language we are learning, is not only a major goal for most language learners, it is a necessary part of getting to ...
  • We are often attracted by the appeal of 10 secrets to losing weight, seven tips for keeping your house clean, so why not 10 secrets to language learning?
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • ***   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 […]

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 […]

  •   ***   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 […]

  • 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…