After writing numerous comments under other people’s YouTube videos, the positive feedback from the YouTubers convinced me to start sharing my language learning experience and tips in my own blog. If this helps you, great! If not, there are plenty of similar blogs out there.
Over my lifetime, I’ve spent a lot of time studying seven foreign languages (plus English as my native language). However, Mandarin Chinese has been a real struggle for me, Korean has been a slow project, and German is my most recent language on the list. So, the only ones I can converse in are French, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. They’re only at intermediate levels so far, with French being my strongest foreign language. In addition, I taught English in South Korea (Busan and Gunsan) for two years and Japan (Nagoya) for three. I have a four-year college degree in French and a post-bac certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. I live in the US, on the West Coast, in the state of Oregon. I’m single–a loner, meaning I don’t get lonely very often, so I’m happy spending a lot of time by myself.
My preferred approach to learning a language is to start with a “honeymoon phase” when I just try to have fun with the language, get used to how it sounds, and start to fall in love with the language so that I’m motivated to study it more seriously. Then I use audio courses such as LanguageTransfer and Michel Thomas–or Pimsleur if they aren’t available. My next phase is to talk to myself in the language and practice listening until I feel capable of conversing with native speaker tutors. Then I practice conversation for at least two months–mostly with native speakers via Skype–italki tutors to be exact. Since I select the topics in advance and prepare for them, I improve in conversation quickly up to the lower-intermediate level. After that, I alternate between reading and listening phases and conversation practice phases.
In my blog posts, I’ll go into more detail on each of these phases, say what works for me, include a few how-to articles, and review language learning courses and resources. I make no money from the products I mention in my blog. And if you’re curious, the luggage tag in my photo is in the shape of Oregon, and the colors and design on it are similar to the carpet at the Portland International Airport.