Best Language Learning Content of 2016
A little motivation goes a long way when learning a new language.
We can get this motivation from many different places: books, teachers, friends and family who speak the language we want to learn. We’re also lucky enough to live in a time when some awesome polyglots and language learners are kind enough to share their advice and experiences online.
Here’s a list of some of the language learning blog posts and videos that entertained and inspired us in 2016. Enjoy!
Lindsay Williams learns, teaches, blogs, vlogs, eats, sleeps and breathes languages. She was awesome enough to put together this extensive list of language learning podcasts (which must have taken her ages!) and we’re very grateful she did. Check it out!
Adulting is hard, but learning a language as an adult doesn’t have to be. With these five golden rules from polyglot Kerstin Cable, you’ll be ready to take on any language. It’s a great read with the myth that children learn languages better than adults elegantly put to rest in the intro: “Why? Because science.” ?
Olly Richards is the founder of I Will Teach You A Language and speaks 8 languages. He also has a podcast and YouTube channel where he shares his advice on successful language learning. This blog post on learning Spanish comes with a handy infographic.
If you’re a Spanish learner, you’ll want to check out Nacho Time. Written by Nacho, a man obsessed with teaching people how to get out of “Spanish Intermediate Purgatory”, the blog is a treasure trove of advice. This post provides learners with a three-step process to take their Spanish to the next level: from intermediate to advanced or from advanced to bilingual.
If you’re a Spanish speaker or learner interested in Italian, or vice versa, check out The Language Tsar’s post on the differences between these two Romance languages. It’s full of great info, like the fact that Spanish and Italian are over 80% lexically similar, that means four out of five words are similar.
Your “hidden moments” are tiny scraps of otherwise unproductive time you can apply to language learning, and in this post John Fotheringham shows you to put them to good use on your Japanese language learning journey. Arigatou, Fotheringham Sensei!
Want to learn a language that’s very different from your native language? A language that many consider to be tough to learn? Check out this video from YouTuber Loki. In it he discusses how he tackled “hard” languages like Arabic, Chinese and Turkish.
LingQ cofounder and in-house polyglot Steve Kaufmann is a big advocate of learning languages through meaningful reading and listening. In this post from his blog The Linguist he explains how to learn languages by reading and listening to content you enjoy, and how effective that can be.
Blogger and YouTuber Paul of Langfocus is a language fan on a mission to share his passion. His videos are well-researched and always interesting. This one focusses on the Portuguese language and is fact-packed as usual. Enjoy!
If you haven’t seen any of Moses McCormick’s videos, you’ve been missing out! His YouTube channel laoshu505000 is full of awesome content, but our favourites are always the “Level Up” videos. In them McCormick approaches people who speak languages he is learning/speaks and chats to them in that language. Seeing people’s facial expressions change from suspicion, to shock to joy is always fun to watch!
There are some questions that polyglots get asked time and time again, how fast can I learn a language is definitely one. In this post British polyglot Richard Simcott talks about the three most important factors when considering how fast you will learn a language: how much work you put in, how much practice you get and how much “free language” you get.
Another question polyglots get all the time is how do I actually go about learning a language? What’s the best process? Luckily polyglots like Luca Lampariello of The Polyglot Dream are kind enough to share what works for them.
We all love a good secret. This post by Fluent in Three Months’ Benny Lewis reveals some famous people you may not have known were polyglots (spoiler alert… Audrey Hepburn!), as well as what we can learn from their words, lives and experiences.
Ever heard of language learner’s block? It’s when we feel like we’re just not improving; we’ve plateaued. In this blog post The Mezzofanti Guild’s Donovan Nagel he shares how to easily overcome these language plateaus and continue striding forward in your learning.
When Kris Broholm spoke at the North American Polyglot Symposium (NAPS) conference in Montreal, Canada in June of this year, he shared an important and personal message: language learning is a good antidote to depression. Listen to his full presentation here.
Jangan bikin awak palak! This translates to “don’t annoy me” in Medanese slang, which is spoken in blogger Teddy Nee’s home city of Medan, Indonesia. It isn’t easy to find information on Medanese, so thanks Teddy for putting this list together!
In 2013 Scott Young started a project: The Year Without English. His goal was to spend a year speaking only languages he was learning (Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and Korean). It was an epic challenge that took him around the world. In this post he reveals what the process taught him about the most effective way to learn languages.
When Languages Unite Us and Divide Us
“Learning a foreign language is like learning to see the world through somebody else’s eyes. If everybody had that experience, then the world would probably be a better place.” Wise words from British polyglot Alex Rawlings in this post-Brext post on multilingualism in the UK.
We aren’t always able to take lesson in our target language and so miss out on the motivation and guidance a good teacher can provide. Shannon Kennedy has a solution: record yourself speaking in your target language. Listening back to the recording shows you what you’re doing right and wrong and gives you a sense of direction in your learning. She explains how she goes about it n this super helpful post.
If you’ve made it this far, you probably don’t need to be reminded why it’s a great idea to learn a new language, but this TED Talk form John McWhorter –linguist and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University – is so good we though we would just leave it here in case there was any doubt in your mind.
Here’s to more awesome content in 2017! ?