• Culture,  Language

    Language Without Culture is Like…

    Learning a new language can be an extremely rich and rewarding experience. It can also be drab, mind-numbing work. What makes the difference? I submit that culture is one of the greatest spices which add flavor to the language learning experience. Here are a few analogies to paint a picture of things. Language Without Culture is Like… Eating a burger without the meat (or, for vegetarians, eating a salad without dressing). Climbing inside a Ferrari, buckling up, putting the key in the ignition, and discovering the engine has been removed. Taking a Calculus class without knowing Algebra. Parents who still try to act cool around their teenagers. Napoleon Dynamite (or,…

  • Grammar,  Language

    Creating a Language Framework

    Trying to learn a new language can be a lot like trying to drink from a fire hose. As I mentioned in the Language-Time Conundrum, there is simply an enormous amount of information – culture, grammar, vocabulary, etc. – associated with language learning. It can be extremely daunting at first. One of the early keys to success in language learning is organizing the language itself into more manageable chunks. I’m here to propose to you some of those areas to help provide a framework for language learning. Think of your brain as a complex computer operating system. When first trying to save a document you must select a folder or…

  • Language,  Resources

    6 Free (or Cheap) Language Learning Resources

    Are you familiar with the word “miser”? I realized the other day that when it comes to learning a new language, I happily bear that title – a miser, a penny pincher, a stingy old goat. I see no reason to spend much money on learning a new language. There are so many free (or cheap) resources to provide the information necessary to learn a new language that paying a lot of money for a program doesn’t make sense to me. The only advantage I see with the expensive language programs is that they provide structure. But the problem is that it’s a one-size-fits-all structure that may or may not…