Language

A complete archive of all of my posts about language learning.

language

Guest: Highlight on Chris Kamp: Australian, Accredited Translator and Fluent Mandarin Speaker

Posted by on 1:31 am in Advanced, Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques | 2 comments

Guest: Highlight on Chris Kamp: Australian, Accredited Translator and Fluent Mandarin Speaker

My name’s Chris Kamp. I’m a student at the University of Queensland doing a dual degree in Law and Arts (majoring in Japanese, which I don’t speak terribly well). I started learning Chinese in 2010, before taking a year off to live in Harbin in Northeast China, where I learned to speak Mandarin while trying not to freeze to death. I now work part-time as a freelance translator. I’m also currently the Vice-President for Education of the Australia China Youth Association at UQ. If you’ve been learning Chinese (or any other language) for any...

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How To: Get Audio Flashcards For Anki Using ChinesePod

Posted by on 1:20 pm in Resources | 6 comments

How To: Get Audio Flashcards For Anki Using ChinesePod

Audio flashcards are an incredible resource for learning languages. They turn listening and reading activities (which are passive) into active ones. Unsurprisingly, you need passive activities to improve your passive language ability (for example, your listening comprehension), and your need active ones to improve your active language ability (producing the language). The size of your your passive vocabulary can be very different from the size of your active vocabulary. I’m planning on doing a couple of posts in the next few weeks about...

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How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language?

Posted by on 1:20 am in Chinese Learning | 12 comments

How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language?

Hey guys! Today I wanted to address one of the most asked questions by language learners, and potential ones. This is, of course, the question of “how long does it take to become fluent in a language?”. I remember well that when I was learning my first language (French) I was constantly asking myself and everyone around me this very question. I would spend a lot of time googling things on the internet, or by annoying Luca Lampariello or Steve Kaufmann with emails. It’s strange, really, that there is such a burning desire...

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On Comprehensible Input

Posted by on 9:25 am in Advanced, Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques | 1 comment

On Comprehensible Input

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been a little longer than usual since my last post – I’ve been extremely busy lately! Aside from being a full-time University student, I’ve also been running my own company (or trying to) and doing a lot of work for an organisation called ACYA (Australia-China Youth Association or 中澳青年联合会) for which I’m a Vice-President of the Monash University Chapter. In fact, I’m writing this post from the plane! I’m on my way home from the ACYA National Conference that was held in Brisbane. I met an amazing bunch of people, including...

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Speech On Language Learning

Posted by on 5:21 am in Chinese Learning | 0 comments

Hey guys! So a couple of days ago I had a great privilege of speaking at Suzanne Cory High School, which is a selective entry school form years 9-12. Selective schools are great environments (I went to one myself) and are inspiring places to be in. They seemed like a good group of kids. If you’re interested, give it a listen! Click Here to listen to the speech. Dan P.S. Let me know if that link doesn’t work for some reason, but it should...

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Your accent isn’t important. Your pronunciation is.

Posted by on 1:15 am in Learning Techniques, Mindset/Mentality, Motivation | 8 comments

Your accent isn’t important. Your pronunciation is.

The majority of hard-core, nerdy, nitty-picky language blogs on the net promote having an authentic-sounding or ‘native’ accent as being the ‘holy grail’ of language learning. I’m looking at you, Ramses. I’m not saying having a decent accent isn’t important, or that your accent isn’t worth working on, but it definitely isn’t as important as many of these other language enthusiasts make it out to be. To clarify, the distinction I draw between an ‘accent’ and...

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The Secret To Learning Foreign Languages

Posted by on 9:00 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques, Mindset/Mentality, Motivation | 14 comments

The Secret To Learning Foreign Languages

You lucky devils. Today I have decided to share with you all the one true secret that I believe is essential to learning a language. Sure, knowing this information alone won’t be enough to learn a language, but you also can’t learn one without knowing this rule. Surprisingly, it is quite logical when you think about it. However, I think that this secret is, unfortunately, largely absent from traditional language teaching in schools and the like, despite the fact that, unless they are native speakers, every language teacher knows...

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Why Simplicity Is Almost Always Better Than Complexity

Posted by on 12:43 am in Learning Techniques | 0 comments

Why Simplicity Is Almost Always Better Than Complexity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci So it’s been a couple of crazy, jam-packed weeks for me since I finished semester. I’m on holidays from University for a month at the moment. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this article, here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been doing with myself (apart from learning Chinese). I’m gonna take the liberty and pretend like you all care, since, like, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want! Working on my own business. Yep. In...

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Beginners: Chinese Tones Explained With Their English Equivalent

Posted by on 2:57 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate | 3 comments

Beginners: Chinese Tones Explained With Their English Equivalent

One of the most daunting aspects of the Chinese language are its tones. And, sure, if you explain them like most native speakers or self-impressed successful learners do, they definitely sound it! You may hear people say “in Chinese, if you change the way you say a word slightly, the meaning can change dramatically!”. Unfortunately, its statements like those that deter many people from learning about this great language and China’s long and rich history. But really, it’s just something that takes getting used to. And,...

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20 Things You Should Be Able To Say To Kickstart Your Conversation Skills

Posted by on 7:48 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate | 4 comments

20 Things You Should Be Able To Say To Kickstart Your Conversation Skills

Learning the most commonly used elements of speech in the language you are trying to learn can put you miles ahead, and can make you seem far more competent than you actually are. Sure, looking at word lists for the most frequently used words can be helpful, but knowing how to use fundamental structures such as who, what, why etc is essential to any meaningful conversation. Here is a list of 20 such things words and structures that you should focus on learning ASAP: 1) Who – Shuí   Tā shì shúi? Shúi pèng le wǒ de shǒujī? 他是谁?谁碰了我的手机?...

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