Posted on January 4th, 2009 1 comment
The third Language Learning Grand Master that I bring to you here at The Language Learning Blog is my friend Steve Kaufmann. Kaufmann is another amazing language learner which isn’t a linguistic or an academic. When young, Kaufmann traveled the World, living in France, China, Japan, etc. After learning 10 (or more!) languages, he started working on a project for language learning, which resulted in his great website LingQ. LingQ is a complete system for language learning, where the ideas of Steve Kaufmann can be seen in action. At LingQ you can select texts from a vast library, listen, read and save words and phrases from the texts to further studies. You can also have you writing correct and join discussions with native speakers (although these features aren’t free). Free or not free, LingQ is great and you definitely should take a look at it.
However, if want to know more about Kaufmann and his ideas on language learning, I suggest you visiting both his blog The Linguist and his YouTube Channel. Although he sometimes seems a bit extremist, I agree with many of his ideas, like for example:
– language learning should be fun, you have to have interest on what you’re reading/listening to.
– you learn far more by reading and listening than by speaking and writing
– perfectionism isn’t good when it comes to language learning
– grammar and even pronunciation are usually overrated
Here are two video by Kaufmann: the first is a recent one where he talks about Stephen Krashen. In the second one he talks in different languages, which is very interesting.
Posted on January 4th, 2009 4 comments
After a short Christmas and End/New Year’s break we are back with our Language Learning Grand Master Articles. Today I bring you the communication consultant Stu Jay Raj from Thailand. Different from Stephen Krashen, Stu Jay is neither an academic researcher nor a linguistic. He’s, in my opinion, one of the guys farther away from the bulk of language researchers/teachers/linguistics out there. Farther away in the sense you can really learn a lot about language learning with him. As well as many great language learners out there, Stu Jay cares more about teaching how to learn languages than teaching the languages itself. It’s a tendency between polyglots and I believe it will grow up in the future, although it will for certain take time.
Stu Jay approaches language from a rather communicative, social, and interactive perspective, seeing language as a kind of social and interative skill, in a very practical and useful way. But, at the same time, not in a mechanical way. This may seems complicated, but as soon as you watch some of his videos you’ll get what I’m trying to say.
Stu Jay speaks more than 10 languages, and the interesting thing is that he speaks languages that I have never even heard about like Lao and Urdu. Maybe his different approach to language learning comes from the fact of he being from Thailand, living in a very different culture.
You can learn a lot about him and his ideas on language learning at his blog Behind The Curtain, and also at his YouTube Channel. But before leaving this blog, take a time to watch this two video where he talks about some of his ideas and approaches to language learning.