How To: Get Audio Flashcards For Anki Using ChinesePod
Sep20

How To: Get Audio Flashcards For Anki Using ChinesePod

Audio flashcards are an incredible resource for learning languages. They turn listening and reading activities (which are passive) into active ones. Unsurprisingly, you need passive activities to improve your passive language ability (for example, your listening comprehension), and your need active ones to improve your active language ability (producing the language). The size of your your passive vocabulary can be very different from the size of your active vocabulary. I’m planning on doing a couple of posts in the next few weeks about how I use flashcards, and why. The first premise of my flashcard theory is that audio flashcards are the go. I’ll explain later. Don’t question it, just do. Here’s how to get them using ChinesePod (on Google Chrome) . Even if you don’t listen to many of their podcasts (which I don’t recommend – if you have a subscription, their podcasts and the ability to listen to dialogue only versions are extremely good) it may be worth paying for a subscription to have access to their glossary. Step 1: Go to the ChinesePod glossary page. Step 2: Put in your search (I recommend writing the characters, rather than the Pinyin). Step 3: Click the play button, then right click on the button and select ‘Inspect Element’ Step 4: This little box thing will come up. Click the ‘network’ tab. Step 5: Press the sentence’s play button again. You will see something like this come up in the box. Step 6: Click on the ‘rec’ one (not the other one). You should see a ‘Request URL’ that starts with http://s3. Select and copy this address. Step 7: Add a new card to Anki. Simply paste the URL into either (or both) card fields. Step 8: Copy the sentence from ChinesePod. Step 9: Paste the sentence into the deck. That’s it! Rinse and...

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How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language?
Sep13

How Long Does It Take To Learn A Language?

Hey guys! Today I wanted to address one of the most asked questions by language learners, and potential ones. This is, of course, the question of “how long does it take to become fluent in a language?”. I remember well that when I was learning my first language (French) I was constantly asking myself and everyone around me this very question. I would spend a lot of time googling things on the internet, or by annoying Luca Lampariello or Steve Kaufmann with emails. It’s strange, really, that there is such a burning desire among learners to have this question answered, when really this question can’t be answered (even by the most seasoned polyglot) with any certainty whatsoever. I received this email a couple of days ago: Hey Dan, I watched your French video on Youtube and was really inspired. I’m also a LLB/BA student, and I’m considering picking up French next year. It’s such a beautiful language and I’d love to speak it fluently one day. Do you think at 21 years of age, I can attain a fluent level of French if I start learning now? How long do you think it will take and what learning methods do you recommend. So, why can’t this question be answered? Well, anyone can give you an estimate fact or figure, but in reality it can’t be answered accurately because the rate you get fluent in a language is entirely contingent on: Your motivation. The more motivated you are to learn a language, and your ability to maintain that motivation and not lose interest is the single most influential thing on the success you will have. Exposure alone, in the form of classes or from being in-country, is not enough to learn a language beyond the basics. This is evident from countries like France, where the kids learn English from a young age, yet who after 10 years of study have little more than a feeble grasp of the language. The time you invest. In all honesty, it takes a lot of time in terms of raw hours in order to learn a language to fluency. It gets easier and faster the more languages you learn (Steve Kaufmann recently learnt Romanian in a couple of months), but your first one will take longer than the rest. The good news is that I believe that the time spent learning langauges provides a fairly observable return on investment, meaning that the more time you put it, the more you will notice yourself improving. I believe that as long as you reach a ‘threshold’ minimum amount of time per week, then fluency is an inevitable result (ideally you...

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