An Innovative Way to Practice Conversations

Today, I have accidentally discovered an innovative way to practice conversations. This approach has the following advantages: It is free It is purposeful (you don’t carry out a conversation just for the sake of carrying out a conversation) There is potentially unlimited number of topics to talk about You can converse with different partners all […]

Xie Xie, Mr Prime Minister

The Australians voted for a new prime minister this past Saturday. Kevin Rudd will become the 26th Prime Minister of Australia in about 2-weeks time. I don’t know much about the Australian politics, but one thing Mr. Rudd has caught my attention (and probably of many others too) is his fluency in Mandarin. Of course, […]

For the Sake of Conversation

Keith left me a comment on my previous post, asking why I would join so many language-exchange networks. In fact, I am not quite sure if I know the answer. May be they are free, or perhaps I keep joining new ones simply because none of them has met my expectations. When I look back […]

Language Web 2.0

I have joined so many language exchange networks in the past year that I have already lost count of them. Whenever people contact me for language exchange, I would ask them from which language exchange website they found out about me. Quite often, they simply cannot recall it, probably because they themselves have also joined […]

Scarier Than Halloween

I just delivered a Toastmasters speech on the past Wednesday, right on the Halloween. No, this was not the scary part. It was my first speech in 11 months. This was not that scary either. The real scary moment was when I received the recording afterwards, and I watched myself delivering my speech. Many people, […]

Mandarin Tongue-Twister

Last Friday, I went out for lunch with a few Mandarin-speaking colleagues. We went to an authentic Northern-Chinese Cuisine. We knew it was authentic because it was certified by someone among us who actually came from Harbin, China. At some point during the lunch, someone brought up a well-known Mandarin tongue-twister. Being the only non-native […]

Rebuking the Tarzan Approach

Most language learners out there should have heard about the How-to-learn-any-language forums already. You can find many experienced language learners making valuable contributions and advises there. Unfortunately, the forums are also overwhelmed with ridiculously amateur postings which just make me feel wasting my time even reading the subject lines. Frequently, you will see topics like: […]

Coalition Of The Willing

Naturegirl left a comment on my previous post, mentioning a common scenario, where you want to practice your target language, only to find out that the other person always responses back to you in English (or your native language). This is indeed an extremely frustrating experience. This could be by far the number one enemy […]

Language Guides for Travellers

I walked into the library the other day and saw a CD by Pimsleur. It was a French language guide for travellers. It had only one CD! I borrowed the ‘Pimsleur I’ (or part of it, I believe) from the library a few months ago. There were so many CDs to go through and it […]

Business Languages

Business people can often communicate without knowing each other’s languages well. A few months ago, I had a chance to talk to a retired business man, who was a friend of my father-in-law. He grew up in Shanghai, China, and started a successful printing business in Hong Kong many years ago. He recently sold his […]

« go backkeep looking »
  • Subscribe

  • Recent Posts

  • Posts by Categories