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Going and Coming

Once I was talking with one of my English students about how we use the words "come" and "go" in English.  Our conversation brought up some really interesting points about these words.

If you were to invite someone out to watch a movie, how would you ask?  A few possible ways to ask...

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The Scrabble Method to achieving super fluency

In order to speak a foreign language well, you’re supposed to think in that language. We all know this. The idea is so widely accepted among learners that it’s almost a cliché. So why don’t we do it?  Why don’t we think in the language that we're trying to...

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Finding Good Learning Material, Part 3

One other aspect of finding good learning material that I wasn't able to touch on in my last post is the issue of variety.

Let's say that you've found a great, convenient study method for building vocabulary and reading comprehension. You've found a good news site that provides video clips and an...

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What a Japanese proverb taught me about learning English grammar

Don't learn; absorb

There's a phrase in Japanese that I love: narau yori nareru (習うより慣れる). 

You'll sometimes see this translated to English as "practice makes perfect", but what I like about this is the way that it's phrased. Narau (習う) means "to...

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The importance of collocation

One of the most-overlooked aspects of language learning is collocation.  Collocation is the pattern of co-occurrence of words. In other words, it's which words tend to appear together.

Take a word like “cease”: there are certain set phrases that we associate with the word, such...

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Japanese on tape - my fortuitous beginning

I think that I started learning Japanese in the best possible way.

I started in the 2-3 months just prior to moving to Japan. Without any really good reason or any idea what I was getting myself into, I had applied and gotten hired for a job with the now-defunct NOVA chain of English conversation...

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Welcome to PhraseMix!

PhraseMix is a way to learn languages.  It is based on the idea that memorizing phrases is the fastest way to learn.  Here's why:

  • Learning words leaves out so much information.  Some words are used in polite conversation, others only at a bar.  Lots of words occur in pairs or...