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Traumatic Experiences with Language Learning Technology?

Tech tools can be fabulous tools for language learners, but not always…

Mark Twain Does German

Among the famous who recount their language learning adventures, we find Mark Twain. It sounds like German was something of a challenge for him. Here’s a literal translation of a speech he gave to a Press Club in Vienna, filled…
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1 Active Listening Strategy for Language Learners

Listening was once thought to be a passive skill. Anyone who has ever tried to learn another language knows this a bunch of hooey. You strain. You sweat. You rewind. You listen over and over. You say, “Please repeat.” Nothing…
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Using Google as your Corpus

Since the inception of computational linguistics, corpus linguistics has taken huge leaps forward. What’s corpus linguistics? It’s the process of taking massive amounts spoken or written language, putting it all in a searchable database (something Google does very, very well),…
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Strat Chat: Lean into language learning

Strat Chat, the Strategic L2 semi-regular newsletter, goes out today! In this issue, learn about the phenomenon of forgetting words in your first language. Ever happen to you???? Sign up here. More about language learning: Understanding Word Lists Finding and…
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What is global proficiency?

I was speaking with an English language learner the other day. She uses English semi-regularly for her job. We were having a friendly conversation and discussed work briefly, then moved onto other topics, to include family, the news … general…
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Want to know what the best language learning strategy is?

Okay, well I’m not sure if this is the BEST language learning strategy, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most useful. Here it is: Prediction.

New Workbook for English Learners: Conversation Club **FREE**

Dear Readers, Finally! It’s hear! Check out my newest book:

6 Reasons Why Your Language Teacher Makes You Work In Groups

Video produced by @Lsoandso Learn more about the IEI program here. READ MORE Characteristics of the Best Language Classrooms in the World Language Class and Motivation 6 Areas of Language Learner Knowledge

Understanding Word Lists

One of the biggest hurdles language learners face is memorizing vocabulary. Not all words are equal, however, and this daunting task is further complicated by figuring out which words are the ones worth learning. I was in a class the…
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What Does the Future of Language Learning Look Like?

What does the future of second language learning really look like? I picked up “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era” by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. For anyone who is thinking critically about the future…
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Not as good as you think you should be?

Learning another language is an interesting process. Imagine a racetrack. You begin at the beginning and move forward towards the finish line. The racetrack metaphor is fantastic for visualizing your language learning.

Intensive English Program at University of Illinois

Are you an English learner? Join us this summer at the University of Illinois for an intensive, academic English program! Read More on Intensive Language Programs Intensive Language Learning Programs and Learning Styles Intensive Language Course Pre-program Checklist What Is…
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How We Forget Languages


The other day a language learner asked about forgetting a language he’d already learned. How does forgetting work? What could he do to prevent this?

Using Dialang to Assess Language Skills


What’s a diagnostic? It’s a test that tells you (or a teacher – or even an employer) what you can and cannot do. For language learners, this means what you can and cannot do in your second language.

MUST KNOW: Essential language before traveling abroad?

Speech bubble

Based on a true story: You will be traveling abroad in the next few months. You have that nifty little phrase book or app you’ve purchased. What language do you really need to know?

Strat Chat Newsletter Goes Out Today!


Have you ever come to a point when you’re trying to do something in your new language and you just can’t?

Create Opportunities for Language Learning Success

Language learning websites and newsletters are filled with discussions about making language learning your New Year’s resolution. Awesome! I heartily support this resolution, but … let’s fast forward three months… Life happens. We all get busy. There are groceries to…
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Learning Styles: Controversial but Oh-So Compelling!

This past week I gave the following presentation to a group of colleagues:

The First Step to Become a Self-Directed Language Learner

I was working with an English learner from China the other day, and she mentioned that she was getting her driver’s license. In China, the first step in getting a driver’s license involves studying for and taking a 100 question…
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Are you a self-directed language learner?

So there you are. Sitting in front of your computer. You suddenly get the urge to learn Cantonese. Do you know what to do?

What’s wrong with language learner compensation strategies at the higher levels?

A common attitude held by language learners is that one course or a series of sequential courses will allow them to meet their individual goals. The reality of proficiency development is that while the lower levels breeze by for learners,…
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What is an individual difference? How to accommodate?

What are your individual differences? I was completing a book review the other day and I came across the term ‘individual difference’ for language learners. Then last week I was finishing an article with a colleague and we got stuck…
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Not Everyone Is A Master Language Learner

What’s the connection between culture, class (as in social-capital) and language? Check out this article from The Atlantic, the story of a mid-career, African-American professional enrolling in an intensive language program. Coates, the author, highlights not only what it means…
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