The Blog

Thoughts about learning foreign languages. News about PhraseMix.com

Working at an English-speaking company is easier than you think!

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to work in a company where everyone spoke English? Do you imagine that you'd need to reach a really high level of English fluency to do that?

The truth is, you're probably closer than you think!

This week, I was talking with a friend who started a new job. She's not a native English speaker, but all of her new coworkers are. Naturally my friend was concerned about what her new coworkers think of her English ability. Although she's been living in the U.S. for years, she was still worried about whether her English was "good enough".

My friend's English is totally "good enough". And yours might be too.

Native English speakers, especially ones in big cities, are used to speaking with foreigners. In every job I've ever had, there have been several...


A new feature for the audio player

Today a new PhraseMix subscriber asked for a feature which I was able to create pretty quickly.

The PhraseMix audio player includes a "repeat" button. Until now, the "repeat" button would repeat the entire playlist, including both the lesson sentence and the situation. 

Image of the PhraseMix audio player.

But what if you want to listen to the example sentence again and again, for example to practice your pronunciation? Now all you have to do is click the "Sentence only" link on the bottom left. Then click the "repeat" button to repeat just the sentence.

If you're a subscriber, try it out on any lesson page. If not, you can try it with one example on the "Get Premium" page.

If you have any other features that you'd like to request, please let me know. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to add them immediately, but I...


The hard parts of understanding English conversation

This week, I met up with the blogger Adir Ferreira from Transparent Language Brazil. He was on his first trip to the U.S. and came to New York for a few days.

In our conversation, Adir mentioned that this was his first immersion experience in English. Although he had studied English for many years and even worked with English speakers, it was still a new experience to be fully immersed.

Adir told me about a party that he had gone to a few days earlier. He said that some of the conversation there was really hard to follow because people were using a lot of names of specific things, like the names of local supermarkets and neighborhoods in that city.

I immediately knew what he meant because I've run into that problem in my language study. We spend so much time preparing our general...


Considering a new format for the audio recordings

I've been thinking of adding a new section to the audio on each lesson for PhraseMix Premium users. It would be a version of the example sentence, split up so that you can hear and repeat the individual parts of the sentence. Here's an example:

http://www.phrasemix.com/split-files-test

Notice the "split" version at the end. What do you think of this format? Would it be useful for you? 

I split the sentence up based on functional pieces, instead of just breaking up the sentence in order. Do you like this method? Or would you rather hear it in order?

Would you like for each piece to be repeated multiple times?

Would you like it slower? Faster?

I look forward to your feedback. Thanks!


The three types of language learner

Yesterday, I shared a theory of mine that people learn English for a few reasons:

  • to get a job
  • to get into school
  • to make friends or relationships
  • to travel
  • because they like the feeling of accomplishment

As I started to think about it a little bit more, I realized that it's even more basic than that. I think that there are basically three categories of motivation for learning a language. Most people study a language because they want to use it for something, they want to experience something different, or they just like the feeling of learning. I call these three types the Pragmatist, the Adventurer, and the Accomplishment Junkie.

The Pragmatist

A "pragmatist" is someone who's realistic, practical, and efficient.

The pragmatic language learner studies a language because it's useful....





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