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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...