Why is it so Hard to Find Pop Music in Other Languages?

This podcast goes into so much detail - it's an exploration of pop music in languages and language learning.

  • Why does pop music matter for language learning?
  • What influence does the industry have for which music gets made and which doesn't?
  • Why is English such a convenient language for pop music?
  • How should you incorporate pop music into your language learning routine...or should you?
  • Where can language learners find music in their own target language?
  • Who are our favourite artists in other languages?
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Live From the Polyglot Gathering 2017 in Bratislava

polyglot gathering podcast

It's one of my favourite episodes of the year - the live clips are in, so you can experience the Polyglot Gathering in 2017 with the Creative Language Learning Podcast as we bring you interviews, impressions and fun from the conference floor.

Here's just a hint of what's inside:

  • Wonderful best wishes to you awesome listeners in German, Indonesian, Esperanto, Portuguese, Slovak, Korean, and more!
  • Slovakia Travel Tips and insights into their unlikely national sport
  • Fiel's call to arms -- how to bring more love into language learning
  • The special vocabulary and handy rule 15 of Esperanto grammar
  • What Gareth Popkins taught us about polyglotism...and what it has to do with your love life

With listening ears, ask questions. - Fiel Sahir

Come to an International Polyglot Event

If our episode inspired you to come and participate in a Polyglot event, check out the 2 big international conferences on the calendar:

"Polyglot" is nothing to be scared of - not anymore!

If this conference has shown me anything, it's that this community called "polyglots" is ever evolving and slowly becoming an ever more supportive, familial group. It's great to see what people of all ages and backgrounds contribute...and of course it feels so fun when you're back home and suddenly realize your phone keyboard now has a Swedish dictionary installed.

To learn more about smaller events near you, check out 8 Life-Changing Language Learning Events Around the Globe here on the blog.

Learning Languages at Intermediate Level: My Language Goals, Routine, and Progress in Detail

Feeling stuck on that plateau of "invisible progress"? Here's how to keep going! Here's a snapshot of how I make progress in my target language step-by-step, even after 18 months of study. You’ll learn about my goals for April 2017, and how I fit in learning 2 languages at the same time.

I use the Language Habit Toolkit, a study system I created for learners like me who are self-guided and want to track flexibly.

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What Gets Easier When You Study More Languages?

People often ask me how many languages I speak. But recently, I was asked one question that made me think more deeply about why and how learning more languages works for me:

Does it get easier when you are learning more languages?

The short answer is "yes". It definitely does.

Here are the things that are helpful, relevant, and different when you are learning your 7th language.

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How To Learn A New Language With Smart And Useful Goals

For a long time, I had a difficult relationship with goal-setting. As a fully-fledged questioner, I find it hard to take anything at face value, let alone the idea that I must have a goal to achieve anything.

When I was learning languages in full-time education environments like school and university, the goals weren't on my mind. My school sorted that out for me: turn up to classes, write essays, take exams. But since I've started working with independent language learners (and since I became one), goals have taken an entirely different role.

As an independent language learner, you need to know what to do. It's easy to think that you're already doing the work by stating what you want to achieve. But let me have an honest moment with you here:

Those goals don't help you do things.

smart useful goals

In this article, you'll learn about the two types of goals you need for language learning.

Goal Type 1: Vision Goals

Let's have a look at those language learning goals I see online again and again.

  • "I want to become fluent in Spanish"
  • "I want to have a 15-minute conversation in German" Or here is one that I set for myself last year:
  • "I want to speak Welsh at the Eisteddfod festival in August"

I am sure you have often heard about SMART goals. In many areas of life, our goals will only serve us if we make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

In my mind, these fail the SMART list on a bunch of counts:

None of this is a bad thing in itself. If you are motivated and driven by a vision of your future self speaking a foreign language without hesitating, then that is an amazing image to hold on to. It should be one of the many vague and inspiring concepts you hold dear, and in fact I would even advise you start visualizing your success.

But those visions aren't useful goals, because they just won't help you when it gets down to doing the language learning work. You need that vision.

And for times when you've carved out that half hour to get to business and really learn a language, you need goals.

Goal Type 2: Path Goals

In my Welsh studies, I've been completely independent from the start. I don't have that external structure of tutor, group class, exams, and it took a while before I found a way to use my time for language learning. At first, I tried ideas like "I want fluency" and even "I want to speak Welsh at the Eisteddfod in August". They worked as a motivator, but failed to give me a clear idea of the steps I wanted to take to learn a language.

My current path goals in Welsh

My current path goals in Welsh

I needed something that would help me know what to do when my study time comes. These goals are what I call path goals. They guide you when you're in study mode and mark the milestones on your path.

Here's what you need for making good path goals:

Structure

Structure is the thing that stops you from starting every study session wondering what you'll work on today. It's absolute gold for independent language learners, because you simply don't have the time to faff every single time. Decision fatigue is real, and it's going to paralyze you if you allow it.

  • Schedule the days when you're going to study your language, so you can treat them like any other appointment.
  • Use your path goals as simple "next steps" so you spend zero time deciding what matters.
  • Get some external structure. Follow an established course, work with a tutor, or use a textbook or online course. Even without that, you can be just as successful. Set your goals up to match the four core skills, and this should provide you with the sense of variety and progress you need.

Core Skills

The four core skills are the essential set of everything that makes language learning a success for you. You will want to focus on some more than others, but ultimately you need to put work into all four for becoming that inspiring future self.

The four core skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Structure your goals around improving in each one, and you're guaranteed to succeed.

There might be other areas you want to focus on too, such as improving your pronunciation and vocabulary. But if you've got the four core skills covered in your goals, I would advise you not to worry too much about any others. They will come naturally as you improve and respond to your needs in every situation.

Variety

Variety is a key component of the path goals you set for yourself. It's realistic to acknowledge that moods, motivation and focus can vary from day to day. So on one day you might be excited to crack open the textbook and work your phrases, but on another day all you want is speaking practice with a tutor.

Having varied goals (I recommend at least 4 to cover each core skill) allows you to pick from a short, focused list of tasks and make progress in every single study session.

Recap: The 2 Goal Types You Need for Learning a Language

So there you have it. Goal setting isn't the holy grail of productivity. But when you do it right and know your goal types, each step can give you the right support you need to progress today.

1. Set Vision Goals

You can call this an intention, a vision, a goal. This is the imagined, vivid image of your future self that will keep you going. Go deep with this, make moodboards (maybe on Pinterest?), be inspired. Blow that SMART stuff out of the water.

2. Set Path Goals

Path goals are not big visions, they are the structured next steps that will help you when it's time to work on studying. Your path goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. They should be anchored in what you can do now, and what you want to do next.

How to Structure Your Language Learning Routine

Do you want to follow the system I explained in this article and start to discover your ideal language learning routine? Then I recommend you check out the Language Habit Toolkit, my hands-on course to help you learn any language with personalized milestones.

--> Click here to learn more about the Language Habit Toolkit <--

Take Our European Day of Languages Quiz (Podcast Episode 50)

We did it! You guys stuck with us, listened and wrote in to 50 episodes of the show now, and we want to thank you and tell you how much we appreciate you for this. It's awesome to know that there are language geeks all over the world who enjoy our show.

In This Episode You'll Hear

  • Kerstin's story of creating her European Day of Languages video on YouTube with all of the strangers (did you know I knew nothing about Welsh?)
  • LIVE Good, Bad and Struggling with the Chatroom!
  • Of course, our Huge 36 Question European Day of Languages QUIZ
  • A bittersweet announcement about the show's hiatus after episode 52

 

Missed the Quiz?

Don't miss out! If you want to quiz along, listen to the show recording. We saved all the answers until the end of every round so you can guess along with the live audience.

And if you want a PDF of the Questions and Answers, simply hop over here and join the Fluent Language Cool Kids Club.

What is the European Day of Languages?

It is an annual celebration of the huge variety of languages that live in Europe. No matter if you were born in Europe or not, chances are that you’ve studied a European language at some point. On the European Day of Languages you can join thousands of language learners, teachers, translators, linguists and polyglots to celebrate languages.

Links From This Episode

Peace, Words 'n Harmony (Podcast Episode 49)

Hey everyone, welcome to episode 49 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast. This one is perfect for you if you have ever wondered whether language learning is the way to change the world.

Topic: Language Learning Can Bring World Peace

Language is a beautiful caress that can make strangers melt into friends, but la gusgen is also a verbal door that can be closed in the face of outsiders. (Eddie Butler)

We went for deep stuff, and discussed the many ways that language learning can improve the world. From individual peace of mind, via tolerance in your everyday life, to changing the outlook of your country.

We found it felt wrong not to talk about moving abroad. Considering what's happening in Britain this year, the discussion turned to migration. Do people miss out when something foreign is added to the community? Our discussion might surprise you, because as always all isn't quite what it seems. And yes, we did say the B-word: Brexit.

And what about language education in schools? If we believe that language learning creates world peace, should we make everyone learn as many languages as possible?

The Power of Language

Finally, we only need to give you one word that shows something very interesting: migrant. Even when you're not learning a foreign language, the way that people and media around us use language to shape opinions affects everyone's life.

We touch on the idea that language can send signals about all of us, and make or break peace.

In our discussion, Lindsay and I got as close as you can get to saying horrible words. But not all the way there.

We hope you have a listen to find out more, and get in touch to tell us where you stand on language and world peace.

The Good, The Bad and The Struggling

Routines lapsing for the summer, looking forward to September, and permission to half-ass online courses in this week's catch-up with Lindsay and Kerstin.

What's your Good, Bad and Struggling?

We'd love to hear from you guys on this one. If you want to share what's good, bad and difficult in your languages right now, send your feedback to us. We read every one and your language news could make it to a show intro in the future.

Simply do one of the following:

1) go on Skype and leave a voice message for fluentlanguage
2) or email us at podcast@fluentlanguage.co.uk - include a voice memo from your phone if you can, so we can feature your voice on the show