How to Learn and Write in Chinese Characters

If you’ve just taken the plunge and decided to start studying Mandarin, you may have been looking at Chinese characters with a bit of apprehension up until this point. However, I often feel like this is an unnecessary reaction to what is actually a very interesting and unique writing system, and if you can manage…

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Adam Lark [Mandarin, Spanish, English]

Today I got the opportunity to chat with Adam Lark, a student from Phoenix, Arizona who is finishing up a year abroad studying Mandarin in Taiwan. He shares here his experience, both good and bad, as well as what made him want to study abroad in the first place. –   FTLOL: Tell us a…

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Teng Scott Vang [English, Hmong, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Cantonese]

Today I got the opportunity to chat with Teng Scott Vang to learn more about his journey learning foreign languages in the United States. Like many of us, he’s dabbled in more than just a few of them and he shares his experience here. –   FTLOL: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are…

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Language Catalyst: An Interview with Irina Pravet

I recently got the chance to speak with Irina Pravet, a Romanian Canadian living abroad in Finland who has learned a number of foreign languages through a combination of attending school, learning them on her own, and by interacting with native speakers. Here she shares her experiences learning six languages, as well as her TED…

How to Make Learning a Language Easier

Like a lot of people, you may have struggled to learn a new language. After all, the process is not exactly a walk in the park, but it can still be enjoyable… if you know how to learn it effectively. However, this often depends on the type of learner you are as an individual, as…

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How Much Do You Know About Spanish?

If you really pay attention, you’ll find that languages contain clues that tell you about their history, speakers, and culture. Spanish is certainly no exception! Español is full of intricacies that make it fascinating to study. So today, take a step back from practicing conjugations, and test your knowledge of the language itself. Check out the…

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The How and Why of Language Learning: An Interview with Luca Lampariello

I recently got the chance to speak with Luca Lampariello, a well-known polyglot and one of the leading online faces promoting foreign language learning. He has been involved with many projects and events in recent years, such as the organization of language workshops in different parts of Europe. In this interview, Luca shares some of…

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Not Quite Fluent: An Interview with Sydney Sauer

This week I got the opportunity to talk with Sydney Sauer, a 14-year-old high school student keen to learn as many languages as she can. She also runs the blog, Not Quite Fluent, which is updated regularly to record her language learning journey.    FTLOL: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and…

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Language Learning with the Iceberg Project: An Interview with Cher Hale

Today I got the opportunity to interview Cher Hale, founder of The Iceberg Project, on which she shares her love of learning Italian with the world. Her site is also expanding into Mandarin soon as well.   FTLOL: Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from and where do you currently live…

Tutoring and Blogging About Languages: An Interview with Lindsay Dow

Today I got the opportunity to talk with Lindsay Dow, a British blogger and language tutor. Besides learning languages, she’s currently focusing on e-course creation so that she can bring her language teaching to a wider audience.   FTLOL: Tell our readers a bit about your background. Where are you from and where do you…

Spaceteam ESL: Using Mobile Gaming to Develop Fluency and Listening Skills

Many language teachers agree that one of the key challenges in the language classroom is developing fluency. Students may be hesitant to use language in a genuine way, and despite the best efforts of teachers to provide interesting activities, it can be difficult to overcome this reluctance. This challenge was what motivated our efforts at…

How to Write the Basic Strokes of Chinese Characters

Although there are indeed names for all the individual strokes that are used to write Chinese, you can be rest assured that there are only a handful of unique types of strokes. That means that although you need to know about 3000-5000 characters to really read Chinese well, there are only 10 or so different…

How to Learn and Write in Chinese Characters

If you’ve just taken the plunge and decided to start studying Mandarin, you may have been looking at Chinese characters with a bit of apprehension up until this point. However, I often feel like this is an unnecessary reaction to what is actually a very interesting and unique writing system, and if you can manage…

How to Learn Chinese in 4 Easy Steps

According to many people, learning Mandarin Chinese can be a huge feat that takes many years of practice before you can start seeing any progress, let alone be able to converse well with native speakers. They say that the tones are hard, the writing is hard, and the pronunciation is hard. But I would beg…

Learning Languages at University: An Interview with Ed Blankenship

Today I got the chance to interview Ed Blankenship, a PhD student in Iranian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For more than 10 years, he’s studied a wide range of foreign languages, and has also recently returned from a research trip to Georgia and the Netherlands. He has kindly answered my…

3 Tips for Effectively Learning Mandarin

Today’s post is a guest article from the people over at LearnMandarinNow.com, in which they provide you with some tips and ideas for how to speed your Mandarin learning along, as well as a bit of research they conducted on how to better learn Chinese.   Finding the most useful ways to effectively learn Mandarin Chinese…

How to Use Chinese Characters to Write Japanese and Korean

Since China has over 5000 years of written history in one form or another, you can imagine that it has had time to greatly influence many of the areas in its immediate vicinity, areas such as Vietnam, as well as some of the “Northern Barbarians” such as the Khitan and the Jurchen who lived in…

The Advantages of Knowing How to Read Foreign Languages

There can be no denying the great advantages that come with being able to read something that has been placed in front of you. It would be almost impossible to otherwise function successfully in a society, or at least in most societies as they are currently designed. We take this for granted, not thinking twice about…

Teaching Cantonese at UBC: An Interview with Raymond Pai

In this interview, I got the chance to talk with Raymond Pai, one of the newest instructors to join the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Department of Asian Studies to teach Canada’s first Cantonese-language program available for credit at the university level. Raymond discusses why the program was created, how he approaches teaching…

A ChinesePod Executive Learning Languages in Japan: An Interview with Natasha Davis

Today I had the opportunity to interview Natasha Davis, executive project manager at ChinesePod. We discuss her experience living abroad and learning the Mandarin Chinese language, as well as Japanese, German, and Spanish, and also some of the useful tools she uses to keep her language skills strong.   FTLOL: Tell us a bit about…

An Italian Polyglot Teaching Japanese: An Interview with Luca Toma

Luca Toma is an Italian polyglot who spent almost two decades abroad working as a language instructor, with half this time spent in Japan. In this interview, he talks about his unique view on how to better learn languages, as well as his language coaching company for teaching Japanese.   FTLOL: Tell us a bit…

8 Reasons Why the Mandarin Chinese Language ISN’T Hard to Learn

A little while ago, an article was published by the Guardian about how British Prime Minister David Cameron wants his country’s citizens to learn the most popular Chinese language, Mandarin, but also about how, according to the article, this is apparently a task too complicated for the average person. It even lists eight reasons why it’s too hard….

A Conference Interpreter with a Passion for Languages: An Interview with Lýdia Machová

I recently got the opportunity to interview Lýdia Machová, a conference interpreter and PhD student from Bratislava, Slovakia. Here she shares her experience learning 8 languages, as well as some information about working as an interpreter. At the end of this interview, I’ve also included a video of a presentation that she recently did at the Polyglot…

How to Learn a Foreign Language: An Interview with Doug Barr

In this interview, Doug Barr kindly shares his experience using a form of ASL to work with deafblind individuals, as well as his interest in Aboriginal languages. He also provides some solid advice for how to make progress in a language, as well as what’s going on when your language learning plateaus.   FTLOL: Tell…

Thoughts on Learning Chinese and Korean in Asia: An Interview with Meng-Fang Wu

I recently got the chance to interview a former colleague of mine that I worked with when I lived in Taiwan last year, who goes by the name Meng-Fang Wu [吳孟芳]. Here he shares some information about living in both Korea and Taiwan, as well as his experience learning languages while abroad.   FTLOL: Tell us a…

Talk in Arabic: An Interview with Donovan Nagel

I’ve followed Donovan Nagel online for several years now, and he constantly seems to be traveling to some really interesting places, such as Sri Lanka, Qatar, or Egypt, as well as learning new languages along the way. In this interview, we talk about how he started learning languages, about his travels, and about his language…

6 Strategies for Language Learning Success

Today’s post comes from Alex Gentry, a recently graduated student with an intense love for languages and cultures. Although he’s studied a diverse range of languages, such as Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, and German, he writes here about his experiences with Mandarin, as well as 6 strategies to help you improve on the language-learning process….