Podcast Episode 43: Language is Everything: Talking Language Activism with Wikitongues

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An organization dedicated to raising awareness of language diversity.

"This is one of the most important things that we can do as humans - to constantly strive to learn about things that we don't understand."

We all know that language is important, but after listening to this episode you'll be amazed at the enormous variety of perspectives on this topic. Non-profit organization Wikitongues looks at languages from all points of view - as a metaphor for life.

Listen to the new podcast episode now to find out all about Wikitongues and how Lindsay and I are connected to their mission.

wikitongues

When a language is lost, the individuals in that community lose a part of who they are. Language death is both a loss of history and a loss of identity.

If you oppose racism, mysogyny, genocide and oppresion, you must support language diversity!

And if you thought language discrimination was a thing of the past, think again: Languages like Occitan and Cornish are experiencing it right now.

Some cool languages documented on Wikitongues:

Note for pedants: In the interview, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights was mentioned, but the speaker may have meant the Universal Declaration for Linguistic Rights. I researched this but could not find the exact quote in either one. If you know more details, go ahead and leave a comment or itunes review to help us out.

Podcast Episode 40: Live From The Polyglot Gathering

polyglot gathering

This episode comes with a bit of a difference, as Lindsay and I were reporting live from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin.

We bring you reports and impressions from what's going on at the event.

There are opportunities to listen in to the fabulous language introductions. We had the opportunity to learn about all kinds of languages, from Indonesian to Greek.

It’s about people coming together and accepting each other for who they are. It’s a life philosophy, in a way. - Jordan

I also brought my microphone to several new people - hear the personal language learning stories of Tristan, Jordan and Stephen who are allEnglish native speakers learning over 5 foreign languages. It's possible!

The Polyglot Gathering is sponsored by our own podcast sponsors, so this time there's a double shout out for italki - you can get started learning languages with native speakers on there. Get started with a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" Offer at www.fluentlanguage.co.uk/italki

Strange Items That Were Part of The "Qu'est-ce que c'est??" Game

1) Che cosa è?

That one is easy

That one is easy

2) Was ist das hier?

What the...

What the...

The Kafka referenced after I heard Lindsay's story is "Die Verwandlung" (metamorphosis).

Languages heard on this show: German, Esperanto, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Greek, English...I think that's it!

Catch up with Lindsay's video blog from the Polyglot Gathering.

How Did You Like This Episode?

The live reporting format was great fun, but of course we want to hear if it worked for you! Would you like more episodes like this in the future?

You can get in touch with us and tell us what you thought by

1) leaving us an iTunes review by visiting our itunes page and clicking "Ratings and Reviews"

2) using hashtag #cllp on Twitter (I am @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages).

And once again, thanks so much to our sponsors Italki - please support our show by visiting that link today.

7 of the Best Language Learning Rules Ever

best language rules

Today I want to go a little bit deeper into the content of all our Language Book Club interviews from 30 January. As you saw last week, the event was truly epic and delivered some wisdom from no fewer than 11 multilingual people (polyglots! yes they are!).

Between me and Chris Broholm from Actual Fluency, we had the chance to interview a great bunch of people about writing, language learning and challenges on the day, so here are the most important things that Language Book Club taught us:

1) Forget Fluency

Fluency is not a word that most polyglots or language teachers love. Yes, we all call our blogs after it, but fluency is truly a concept that you need to define in more detail. It certainly doesn't help when you are working on your goals. Instead of aiming to define fluency, try setting short-term goals such as reading a certain book in the next month. I admit that I’m pretty pleased with myself for my own definition, which goes a bit like “if you can avoid communication breakdown and keep a conversation flowing, you’re pretty fluent."

2) Learn Vocabulary in Context

Flashcards and vocab are hot property, but there are lots of different ways of doing them. From detailed Anki interaction to paper-based systems like my simple Write-Look-Cover-Repeat system, the biggest key is in creating a rich context for whatever you are learning. In fact, you can develop this all the way to creating language memory palaces. Anthony Metivier believes that the memory palace is great for simple grammar principles and vocabulary, and emphasises that it is the most fundamental way of developing your memory (read here for my own mini palace attempt).

3) Don't get hung up on Accents

No matter where you go and speak a native language kinda badly, you'll still be welcome and accepted. this message was reinforced by Jared Romey and the girls from Russian Step by Step. Jared talked about how easy it can be to become disoriented even within the same language as he recounted his experiences of embarrassing Puerto Rican shopgirls. You might be feeling self-conscious or embarrassed when you step off the plane and have to open your mouth and “talk foreign” for the first time. But Jared says: “The most important thing is that you learn Spanish. Afterwards, you can adjust it, but don’t let dialects stop you."

4) Appreciate how big the World is

Language learning is not just about remembering words and grammar structures. It's about a whole different world view. Becky Morales shared the story of American high schoolers who met their first Mexican in their teenage years and enquired whether she had ever seen an orange. When you learn a language, she said, you become a world citizen and that's what really enriches your life.

5) Look Beyond the Idea of Hacking

There is no language hack and no single method of making language learning easier for all. From Benny Lewis and the emphasis on speaking and communication, to Gabriel Wyner's intense pronunciation focus, no polyglot can promise you the answer to getting things entirely right. Many share what works for them, and all of us hope that it will work for you too. In that sense keep trying, because you're not getting things wrong any time soon. Looking for a shortcut to better language skills is fine, but every one of our experts on the day has been a language learner for many years. The tips that you get are honed through years of experience, discipline and habit-building. What is the key to good language learning? Enjoy the journey!

6) See and Believe the Impossible

It's all right to be a fan boy! In Teatime with Chris, my Co-host Chris Broholm talked about his own journey of self-development and finding a purpose. It’s a pretty inspiring story and really does stand out as proof of how language learning as a personal challenge can help with even the biggest challenges. Chris started his own podcast as a means of learning from the people he admired. He says “It’s been such a big motivation for me when I see people doing things that didn’t even seem possible to me, and once you see what you think is impossible then it becomes possible."

7) Chill out at least some of the Time

When you feel overwhelmed, it's fine to slow down. Instead of trying every method of language learning all at once, just chill out and reconnect with your own preferences. Language learning is about what you do best. It has to be in sync with your own learning style. Not only did I discuss this as part of my own hour of Language Book Club Live, but I actually built this principle into the entire concept of The Vocab Cookbook. It's a cookbook: a collection of recipes to inspire and inform. Like with every other collection and every other blog, I want you to try out the ones that sound nice. You'll still get your time's worth.

Join Language Book Club

You can join Language Book Club on Facebook to stay up to date with news and discussions around language learning and books, and of course the updates on our next event when we make it happen later in 2015!

Get 50% Off the Fluent Box Set

If you haven't yet got a copy of The Vocab Cookbook on the day, don't forget that you can get the set of my 2 language learning guides, Fluency Made Achievable and The Vocab Cookbook together now.

These books are quick reads with a big impact, helping you boost your language learning skills instantly.

For you as a book club fan, I have created the special coupon code BOOKCLUB to give you my box set worth $20 for just $10. Get the huge discount right here - 100% Money Back Guaranteed of course. I just know you will love these.