Episode 6: I'm Not Dead Yet, So I'd Like to Keep Learning

In Episode 6 of the podcast, I’m talking to an everyday language learner. My longest-standing student Randy is our guest, and he talks about what it’s like to become a language person later in life and one tool that got him right through his first 6 months of learning: Rosetta Stone.

Review Podcast for Rosetta Stone Advanced

Randy and I have both been trying Rosetta Stone to test their new system, Rosetta Stone Advanced, and we decided to record our verdicts in a podcast for all of you.

So in this episode, you will hear all about:

  • The one event in Germany that motivated this all-American guy to start learning a foreign language
  • How Randy balances his busy career as a lawyer, his family life and his commitment to studying German every day
  • What starting a language at age 57 is REALLY like

“I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I could understand a little bit of this?’”

  • How the basic immersion system in Rosetta Stone works, and how we think the new online system is much improved
  • The most important differences between Rosetta Stone and Duolingo
  • What impressed me most about the system -- and where Randy sees the main drawback (say grammar and vocabulary!)
  • How to break through plateaus and come back for more practice again and again

“The answer is that I’m gonna gradually just get a little better as I do the work.”

  • How Randy committed to studying every single day in his first 6 months of learning German
  • The little frustrating things that everyone feels — and how to get over them!

“Under the theory that I’m not dead yet, I’d like to keep learning”

Randy’s Top 3 Tips for Language Learning

These tips are really simple: Be patient and committed, try out lots of methods until you find the right one for you, and don’t be afraid!

If you have enjoyed our discussion of the Rosetta Stone system and would like to try it out for yourself, here are some fabulous special offers for UK and US readers.

Important Links for Episode 6

What Makes a Language Attractive? in the UK Guardian

Through the Language Glass, book by Guy Deutscher on Amazon UK

What German Sounds Like Compared to Other Languages on Youtube

Free Trial on Rosetta Stone Europe

Episode 5: ...and Nobody Knows Where the Verb is


Hey everyone, welcome to podcast episode 5! The interview in today's episode was one of the most amazing and inspiring ones that I have ever recorded. I loved talking to André Klein, a fellow German native speaker and teacher of German. It is really a gem, there is so much in there just for you to take a new, fresh, alternative approach to language learning.

Fluent News

My books Fluency Made Achievable and The Vocab Cookbook are finally here, and you can buy them to really improve your language learning methods. There is a special discount for early buyers, available only until 31 July! Full info over at www.fluentlanguage.co.uk/book

News Article: 20 BBC readers who lost fluency in their language

When we find ourselves in an immersion environment, sometimes it can be hard to remain entirely at ease with the language we grew up with. The BBC collected stories and opinions from 20 readers who shared their own stories.

Examples include swearing in your native language versus swearing in a foreign language, saying "I love you" and losing your native dialect.

Here is a sound sample of Moselfränkisch, my fun German home dialect (does NOT sound like German)

Send me your own opinions to kerstin@fluentlanguage.co.uk

  • Have you lost fluency in your own first language?
  • Is immersion worth losing your languages over?
  • Do you fear this ever happening to you, or would it make you proud?

Main Event: Interview with André Klein

André is a writer, teacher, linguist and creator. He runs learnoutlive.com, a fabulous blog and learning resource for language learners AND teachers. What I love about André is how he innovates quietly, and in his own way. A total pioneer. His books are now read in schools teaching German, and students get to enjoy language learning much more!

An App shows you smiley faces, but if you don't go out and speak to someone you will never know where you are on the scale.
Stories help learners get the feeling of relating to the language as a whole, not just individual parts of it.
You can't torture people with the Konjuktiv 2 and sentences that go on and on forever and nobody knows where the verb is!
We must not treat learners as empty receptacles - go out and explore!

Main Points:

  • Which Language is André learning right now - and why doesn't he find stories to study with?
  • Why it's so tricky to speak to those native speakers!
  • André's surprising tip: What is the best genre for finding simple and engaging language learning content?
  • Where is the riskiest aspect in learning a language through reading by yourself?
  • André's amazing and innovative Choose Your Own Adventure Kindle Books -- and what happens when you misunderstand something in one of those
  • How has the internet changed language learning? Forums, Duolingo and exchanges, are they actually making learning easier?
  • How are Andrés self-published story books different from classic textbooks?
  • Why are we independent language teachers, writers and educators? Yes, we finish by talking about uncompromised freedom!

Great Links for Today's Episode

Learnoutlive.com, home and online store of André Klein Online

André's Twitter Account, the Learnoutlive Twitter Account and the German-focused account

A Fluent Review of Genowrin

Duolingo, an online language learning resource

Have you learnt a language through André's books? Do you use Duolingo and feel like it's missing something? Have you developed a feel for your new language?

Get in touch and let me know by email or in the comments below, and we'll discuss it in the next podcast. I would currently love to bring in a call-in line or voicemail facility, so if you know how this works please find me on Skype as "fluentlanguage".

With lots of independent greetings - can't wait to hear from you!



Learn German with YouTube's most popular high school teacher: Levi Antrim!

I'm so excited about today's article, which has a new format that I am trying out for you guys: It's a podcast (in your RSS readers this shows up as podcast, though no artwork or intro have been created yet)! The first interview features a great guest: Mr Levi Antrim from Learn German with Herr Antrim. Levi is a German teacher in a US high school, but he's doing excellent work with a brand new approach to the classroom.

Listen to the interview below:


Here's what Levi and I discussed

  • How this small-town American guy discovered a love and passion for German and started producing creative and entertaining videos for his classes
  • How the students in his high school classes have changed the way they approach German as a school subject
  • Herr Antrim's YouTube success and the new series he's working on - teaching with puppets!
  • How quickly you can really experience the full benefit of immersion learning in the country
  • How to deal with the eternal problem called "They all speak English to me!"
  • What Levi loves about Germany, and our shared love of the beautiful city of Berlin
  • Why you shouldn't use "Männer" by Herbert Grönemeyer in classes with under 21s
  • Levi's top picks for bands and videos to use while practicing German

Links to what we chatted about

Fluency MC and Mickey Mangan in the Fluent Language Interviews

Döner Kebab - the classic German (Turkish?) fastfood

The ASDF movies and Charlie the Unicorn in German

Herr Antrim's YouTube playlist of German songs

"Männer" by Herbert Grönemeyer

I need your comments - what do you think about a podcast?

As you can tell, I'm considering the launch of a whole Fluent Language podcast format featuring interviews, music and other excellent content that you can listen to wherever you are. As you can hear in today's recording, I think the improvements in my own speaking and microphone skills would be significant with regular practice, and I'd like to share the journey with you.  There are so many creative learners and teachers out there, and a lot of fun to be had - and what's better than hearing language as well as reading it?!

What do you think about a Fluent Language podcast? Are you as excited as I am? Please leave your reply in the comments today so the project can start with your support!