New year, new books on language learning

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January not only brought in a new year, it brought in three new books! First, I updated Language is Music with about 30 new tips on language learning using music, TV, radio, movies and other media and I added information from scientific studies about the relationship of music and language, bilingualism and language learning. Then my Russian publisher, published the Russian edition of Language is Music, Легкий способ быстро выучить иностранный язык с помощью музыки a week early! In this video, you can hear a short Russian radio broadcast in Russian on 18 January 2014 about how the book teaches people how to listen when learning languages: To make January not seem as cold as it is in the Northern Hemisphere, the Portuguese edition of Language is Music, Idioma é música, was published and brought some Brazilian sunshine to my life! Brazil is getting ready for the World Cup and Olympic Games and I want to help Brazilians learn other languages. If you read Portuguese, you can read these articles in the Brazilian-American press about Idioma é música: Livro mostra como aprender um idioma estrangeiro usando músicas Livro ensina como aprender idiomas através da música e mídia     Adding… Read more »

At what price, monolingualism?


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Fortunately, a scant few of us will ever be in a life or death situation requiring foreign language knowledge. However, Canetti’s example is not the only example of how a multilingual person in the Balkans used a language to save a life.

I’m co-producing the documentary, Saved by Language, with Bryan Kirschen about how Moris Albahari saved his life in the Holocaust by speaking in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) to an Italian Colonel and a US pilot.

Improving my Portuguese, one (lost) calorie at a time

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We’ve probably heard of people improving their conversation skills in a language over a meal. I’m reversing the trend. Portuguese vocabulary goes up and the inches melt away. (Let me be ambitious and count in inches which are longer than centimeters!) When I say “reading Brazilian books on a bike to improve my Portuguese”, is this the image that comes to mind?

Rediscovering Budapest and reveling in the Polyglot Conference

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Have you ever felt like traveling into your past while being marveled by the present? My trip to Budapest for the Polyglot Conference was both a trip to my past and a wonderful journey to be with others who are passionate about foreign languages. Before my trip to Budapest, I was in Mexico doing presentations on learning English for the US Consul General in Tijuana and I had no time to practice my Hungarian. Sorry Hungarians, but who wants to practice magyar when you can admire the stunning sunsets and sand animals at the tip of the Baja California peninsula instead? My Hungarian had once been at an A2-B1 level. But that was in the last millennium when Hong Kong had just been “returned” to China. Not exactly yesteryear and not anywhere in the forefront of my memory. The only person with whom I sometimes exchange pleasantries in Hungarian in California actually speaks less Hungarian than I do even though he spent twice as many months in the country as I had. When I reached home in Alta California (the US side) from Baja, I had four days to unpack, wash my clothes, pack, celebrate Mother’s Day, handle two media… Read more »

Vote for a language education start-up to get a $100,000 grant

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By Tyler Ulrich (guest blogger) Language education is competing against other industries for $100,000 The Loogla language and literacy project may be awarded $100,000 in a grant competition. Watch the video and spread the word! voteliteracy.com No logins, age or national restictions to vote. Please support language education through voting and sharing this video. About Loogla Not everyone has a gift for language, and many get a late start. Even the most well-intentioned and earnest late-bloomers often quit from frustration shortly after they plateau. The Loogla project, a portmanteau of Looking Glass Language in honor of Lewis Carroll’s contributions to the playful exploration of language, promises a way to try again and finally achieve their goals. Loogla turns any material on the web into activities and guidance contributed by an community of instructors. The intent is to empower learners to be active in their own acquisition process, without putting other aspects of their lives on hold. One of our simpler, but beloved, tools is Smart Syntax. For example, ELL students reading Create Your World Book could instantly encode this page with shapes and colors to make the grammar (gender, number, tense, mood) more intuitive. The page also becomes interactive and… Read more »