My first ever Portuguese video

As promised:

(again, I apologize for the captions. On the next video, they will be better synchronized)




After 12 days of studying Portuguese, I produced my first video where I speak only Portuguese. It is exactly what one would expect after studying a foreign language for only 12 days but I understand now that one must speak the target language right away. It is a magic that I cannot explain. Once you break that initial barrier, once you overcome that initial inertia, the language you’re studying becomes a living thing. It’s amazing.

Anyway, I will post a link to the video as soon as the captions are done processing. I just began messing with captions so they are not perfectly timed. My videos in the future should be better in that respect.

Another thing you must do when learning a foreign language, is find a group of like-minded individuals. It is an excellent form of moral support. I highly recommend you look for the #add1challenge by Brian Kwong on YouTube. The first challenge is a tremendous success, near 100 people signed up for it and Brian formed a special group on Facebook where everybody posts updates and such and other people encourage you and give you tips.

Unfortunately, due to some misunderstandings on my part, I had to leave the group and continue on my own but there is no doubt in my mind that Brian is onto something with the challenge.

So, I am excited to see where I am this time next year. I fully expect to be at a mid level with Japanese and be completely fluent in Portuguese. After December 31st 2013, I am going to tackle Italian and French in preparation for the Polyglot conference in October 2014. I have the feeling that I can add 8 languages next year and be at a least at a mid level by end of the year. I say this because at least 3 of the languages I’m shooting for are Romance languages (Italian, French, and Romanian) and one is a close cousin to English (German). After struggling with Japanese, I have a sense that other languages will be easier, mostly because I’ve acquired better learning tools throughout the process.

Thank you for stopping by!

The #add1challenge

Well, the first week since I joined the #add1challenge has come and gone.  The #add1challenge, in case you haven’t heard, was created by Brian Kwong and it is designed to bring together a bunch of people who are trying to learn or improve a foreign language for the purposes of supporting each other.

I have put in the work with Portuguese and I plan on making my first Portuguese video this weekend to post it in the FB group on Monday.

I was struck by how many people from Latin America are participating, especially from Mexico. Also, I think it’s interesting that many of the participants have been studying their target language for a long time and are seeking to apply themselves more to their studies. I think that the people who are starting from scratch are in the minority in the group.

It will be fun to see how every body does in their final update and how many people will consider their goal achieved.

I need to go through all the participants and reach out to all the Portuguese learners. It takes a village!

Thank you for looking.

No reading allowed

It strikes me how little is said about reading in the language forums and by the polyglots out there.

I read and hear about how polyglots will forget a language they don’t use much, and yet, I hardly ever read or hear about anyone reading on their target language.

I love to read. I have been a bibliophile since I can remember. One of the great pleasures that I await me is discovering Japanese literature. I can’t wait.

I believe that reading is a great way to keep your newly acquired language active and yet, this is not spoken of very much out there in the language communities and some polyglots go as far as to say they are not interested in reading in the target language.

I find that strange.

Benny put’s it in perspective!

I just watched Benny the Irish Polyglot‘s latest video where he announces that his next language mission is Japanese. I already knew from his tweets that he was tackling Japanese next but in the video he said something that flipped something in my head; He said that he was not going to study Japanese to speak Japanese at some point in the future but that he was going to study Japanese to get what he needed on a daily basis to aid in his conversations in Japanese!


That means that starting with the only three words he already knows in Japanese: ありがとう、さよなら、and 頑張って, (thank you, goodbye, and do your best, respectively) he will begin building his Japanese vocabulary but he intends to start speaking Japanese today!

Double Wow.

That’s an entirely different way of looking at this whole language learning gig! I have been studying Japanese on and off for a year now and I can speak very little. That’s because I have been doing exactly what Benny is not; that is, I am learning Japanese to speak it at some point in the future when I know enough Japanese.

Can you say “thesecretisoutandnowIcanlearnanylanguageIwantforrealthistimeandnotjustmessaround”?

And now that I think about it, that’s exactly how I learned to speak English! I started speaking the minute I landed here and all the learning I did in my English classes were to aid this speaking thing and not the other way around!


Just wanted to share with you!


I apologize but it had to happen

My first video in Japanese that is. I meant to shoot this unrehearsed, using only the vocab I have actually learned and the language rules that I actually know but as in the past, the minute the video got going, I went totally blank. That’s the reason why I have put off making this video for so long but I had to do it. Now the magic happens as my pride has kicked in and I have resolved never to embarrassed my mother this badly again!


Yeah, it’s been over a year since I decided to learn Japanese. I give myself a break however, because I stopped learning Japanese 4 months into it and was distracted by other languages. Recently however, I decided to really get into the study of Japanese. To help keep me focused, I registered to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test on December Ist of this year.

So now it’s been 11 days since then and I am still flopping around like a fish on a dock. To be sure, I have learned quite a bit of Japanese. It’s just that I haven’t learned enough. I can communicate quite a bit but I am not fluent yet and more importantly, I don’t feel like I know Japanese. Obviously, I need to study harder.

I feel like I am about to go into overdrive though, because of newly found inspiration: Both Benny the Irish Polyglot and Alex Rawlings have decided this very week, to learn Japanese. Now, these two guys are legendary polyglots with well established methodologies for learning languages, so I am not going to try to compare myself with them but, it makes me giddy as a school girl to be learning the same language they are learning. I know that in 3 months, these two guys will be in Japan conversing like natives in Japanese. I hope that in 3 months, I can say I speak Japanese as well. Heck, I may even run into them at the Polyglot Conference in Montreal next year and speak Japanese with them.

Wouldn’t that be something!

The pressure is on!

I just registered to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The test was designed in Japan to test your control of the Japanese language. For me, this is the big kick in the pants I need to get me to study the language seriously.

I opted to take the hardest level, N1 because, what the heck! I either know Japanese or I don’t. I have the feeling I will fail it but I tell you, I will go down swinging! This means that in the next 3 months, I will study ONLY Japanese. All other languages will be put on hold.  By December 1st, 2013, the day of the test, I will be able to understand Japanese in oral and written form fully. Yeah, sure. No problem!

To accomplish this herculean task, I will pull out all stops. Luckily, the test is designed to assess comprehension which is kind of my super power. Also, I now have a MUCH better sense of how to study and what I need to learn plus, I have tons of resources.

I feel tremendous pressure now. I did one thing one MUST do in a situation like this and that is, I announced to my friends and family that was taking this test. The people in these groups, family and friends, are the most over-achieving bunch you ever met! Doctors, professionals, writers, musicians, etc, etc. So it would be a HUGE disappointment to let them down.

Wish me luck!