There once were two girls who, not so long ago, have graduated from a university of linguistics.
So Landysh and Asya, the girls in question, decided to create a website and become at that time two (wo)man English language school on Skype – Lingvistov.
Instead of writing about boring grammar rules in dry academic language, they wrote about 15 most frightening stories in English or the best pick-up lines, recorded audio stories and made their cat explain sleeping idioms on Youtube. Instead of going with the standard theme for their website, Landysh, the doodle-artist in the family, created a cyberspace wonderland which, once stumbled upon, you wouldn’t want to leave till you’ve clicked on every button and checked out every doodle.
So when Asya and I came up with the idea of Lingvistov it was quite natural that we incorporated my doodles to create its unique style.
Gill: I know you majored in English and German, but your profile doesn’t say anything about a degree in Art. I read a lot of books on art history because I am fascinated by various artists and styles. Gill: Your website is such a magical place, a wonderland of creativity where the content and the graphic elements are in harmony with each other. We want to make our website a place where people can see that English can be incredibly versatile. Landysh: Until recently, our main target audience were Russian speakers who want to study English. But before leaving the house I also had to get dressed, put on make-up, choose a pair of shoes that would match my earrings, etc. Only a teacher who realizes the difference between your logic and the logic of a foreign language can succeed in teaching it. People who just speak conversational English and are looking for an easy way to make money will not do. Landysh: We have nothing against native speakers who can teach English, but we haven’t met those who would be able to do it well enough yet. While taking Chinese classes, I’ve realized it once again: even the smallest and easiest things are difficult to grasp if the logic of the language is different from what you are used to.
Gill: One of my concerns when I think about a non-native speaker as a teacher is pronunciation.
Some of our teachers have perfect pronunciation, some have good pronunciation, but all of them are great at what they do. Landysh: We correct pronunciation mistakes during regular lessons, but our students can also get special lessons designed to make them sound authentic.
Landysh: Of course, everybody has different abilities when it comes to learning a language.
There are two conditions of making a progress in leaning a language: system and regularity. Although it has limited choice of languages, if you’re learning English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Korean or Chinese, Siri will help you develop your listening and speaking skills and won’t laugh at you if you make a mistake. And the third common misconception is the belief that native speaking teachers are by default better. Gill: Prior to this interview, I asked my readers whether there is something they’ve always wanted to ask a language teacher. Our modern languages originate from a number of so called proto-languages and used to exist in the form of dialects.
As for the origins of proto-languages, there exist many theories, but all of them are based on assumptions.
There are theories that languages developed from gestures, as it was impossible to always use hands to communicate (in the dark, for example). There are also some constructed languages that were supposed to become universal and be used to achieve understanding between nations, like Volapuk or Esperanto. The hardest part of being a language teacher is to find an explanation that works for a particular student. Landysh: I’ve noticed that the more you learn both languages, the less problems you have with switching between them.
Gill: Maria asks: Has it ever happened to you that you felt being a multilinguist is a weakness? Landysh: I remember how once on a trip with a tourist group I immediately regretted mentioning to my fellow-travelers that I spoke several languages.
Most importantly, it adds to the quality of my life: I can enjoy literary and cinematographic masterpieces in their original language and talk to people from different countries learning about their lives and culture.
I do everything to make the lessons enjoyable and effective, and as far as I can judge, my students enjoy studying English.
While running a business together, it’s important not to think selfishly and to remember that you’re equal.
Landysh: Our relationship is based on the idea that we’re creating something serious which both our future lives depend on.
Besides, we are now creating a small social network within Lingvistov where people from all over the world can share their experience and expertise. We also have other projects in mind, and I think we have everything necessary to fulfill them: great team, creativity, strong will, and, most importantly, constant support of our students and viewers. I think the most interesting point of the entire interview was the perspective on native speakers v.s. Last question (before the curiosity kills the cat): What American name did you chose for yourself?
We, at GamesforLanguage agree that a little fun not only makes language learning less tedious, but also more effective. Being a mother of two kids, I’ve done my fair share of teaching, facilitating and encouraging over the years.
So I’ve been *really* learning about what I know lately since I have been aiming to teach, facilitate and encourage my readers in kickstarting their dreams.
Having to explain something really requires you to have a deep understanding of the subject. It made me wonder what a great world this will all be if we share our knowledge with others. I can really attest to the fact that sharing and helping really does leave you with a warm glow inside and I really do believe that what you put out in to this world will come back to you somehow.
By far the best way to learn a language is to become a better language learner, simple as that!
Without improving your language learning prowess, your progress will be limited to the level of your current language learning skills.
Take responsibility for your learning, and start finding and taking on some effective principles in language learning.
Continue with what you have been doing and almost certainly not get to where you want to go. That’s pretty harsh I know, but I have not seen cases, as yet, which has me see it differently. Finding classes and teachers who teach with these finer understandings sets you up for great habits in learning languages. Focussing on learning from situations, from conversations to movies helps you to hone your listening and attentive skills as well. By relying excessively on dictionaries ( especially bilingual ones) and grammar books, it is far less likely you will become laser focussed about the issues in front of you and learning to grapple with frustration. A second critical area that every language learner who wishes to become an unstoppable language learner needs to pay, at least some, attention to are their beliefs and attitudes.
Another ingrained belief that many people have is that it is imitation which drives language learning. By opening to yourself that there is more to imitation than what meets the eye, you in fact may start looking for what else there is. Maximising the opportunities you have to talk to people in the language you are learning is essential. It is not the amount of words you know nor how well you understand the grammar that will determine your success. Every language learner knows that it is the confidence with which they speak a new language which is the real test of their success.
If progress is not happening as we would like, it is important to review virtually every aspect of our approach to learning the skills that enable to improve our level. One way to do this is to adopt ways of learning that require you to be pro-active with what you do.
After you have tried one such change for a while, and start to find it doing it easier, try another change. Everyone wants to learn faster or better, but how many people like you are willing to take the time to find out about the best way to learn a language.


Check out this video clip where I have talked about some more ideas to get you on the road. Great article!  Interesting advice about writing translated meanings – will give it a try.
Testimonials I really appreciated all classes my with Andrew and they brought me a great enjoyment to attend his classes. In today’s world, it is more important than ever before to have at least some understanding of a second language.
If you have taken Spanish classes in high school or college, then you know that they can be confusing, boring, and at some point you fail to learn anymore. More and more people are turning to different types of language learning programs, such as those that are taught online or via audio programs.
The Pimsleur Approach is based on the theory that you will learn a language quicker by listening to it and speaking without the interference of the written language. One of the things that makes this type of learning so valuable is that it eliminates the frustration of reading and writing, and allows you to focus on the skills that are more important.
It is pretty clear when you read the reviews for Pimsleur Spanish that this is a more effective way of learning Spanish than traditional classroom programs.
There are many different reasons for learning a new language, and even though some people want to learn Spanish in order to travel, this is also a language that can be helpful here at home. In order to get the best buy on this unique language learning program, simply go to the official web site where you can currently get an introductory offer of four CDs that contain eight Spanish lessons. It seems as if this program, which is used by the FBI, many schools, and corporations, may be the best way to learn Spanish for individuals with all types of language learning needs. We had the pleasure of being on the Guardian’s live Q&A chat on “The best way to learn a language”. The majority of the panel agreed that learning a language to be fluent is not the best goal to have in learning another language as the term itself means different things to different people. The panelists agreed that reading a book in another language will have an enormously positive effect on overall learning.
It is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all method as people learn in different ways at different paces, and the most effective way may involve not one but a mixture of different techniques.
Donavan Whyte is Vice President, International Enterprise & Education, at Rosetta Stone.
I recently stumbled across a wonderful account of language from Stephen Fry and it got me thinking. In the historical centre of Naples, in Via San Gregorio Armeno, the art of nativity is a tradition more than 400 years old. One of the best things about learning new languages is discovering entirely new ways of saying things that don’t exist in your own language. Despite the fact that Greek food shares an exceptionally similar spice palate to Italian dishes, many of us don’t actually know a huge amount about Greek cuisine other than kebabs! Whether travellers are in Europe to learn a language or on holiday, everyone hopes to discover the “real” city beyond tour busses and museums. On Epiphany Eve, the night before the arrival of the three Wise Men, an old lady called Befana flies the skies of all of Italy to deliver presents and sweeties, or caramelle as we call them, to children who have behaved well during the year and leaves pieces of sugar coal if they were bad.
There’s so much to love about Christmas but one of the best things is wrapping up warm and going to a good old fashioned German Christmas Market.
It was a fascinating read and I could relate to most of the list having been born in the late Seventies, what got me though was the amount on the list that are not so different in 2014 in Cyprus, and how they did not seem so strange to me.
We’ve had some fun asking people we know to record some love phrases in their own language or accent, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
They used to work as language teachers and freelance translators, but one day, when the freelance site they used raised the tariffs, they decided they had enough.
My parents didn’t allow me that at first, but eventually gave up, and I could draw anywhere I wanted. Petersburg my dreams to enter the Academy of Arts were dashed by one professor who said, “Sorry, love, we need artists here.
But some of our English-speaking teachers offer professional Japanese, Russian and Spanish lessons. I could have my own English lessons and would then spend an hour studying German without leaving my desk to immediately resume my work after that. Our ideal teacher is the one who speaks perfect English, has university degree in teaching foreign languages, loves doing it, listens well, is empathetic, friendly, responsible and flexible. Can a non-native speaker be as good as a native speaking teacher with the same qualifications? I can talk to a foreigner, break his language barrier, but the grammar for me is a mystery – I will never be able to explain the simplest rules of this language to him.
Set the language you’re learning as a default one on your devices and social networks. At some point in the past these dialects became too different from each other and evolved into independent languages. Some think that languages came to being because mothers had to communicate with their children. In order to keep your Swedish and English on the same level without mixing them together you have to spend equal time mastering both: read, talk and write in them both as much as you can. They didn’t stop asking me to name every object they saw in English or German, which was really annoying!
It will be great if apart from his native language he also speaks English (and statistically speaking, the chances are not bad). As a teacher, you have to know how a student’s brain works, find a way to explain things specifically to him and adjust your lesson accordingly.
We respect each other – this is the most important thing in our business relationship. We’re opening Lingvistov online store, where people from all over the world will be able to buy our exclusive merchandise: T-shirts, mugs, magnets and notebooks with doodles as well as illustrated books and language video courses.
I won’t be able to study with a teacher if he has a horrible pronunciation, even if he holds the current first place in teaching in the world! So today, what I really want is to encourage you all to put what you have learned from me, (or somewhere else on this internet!) into another phase for you by opening up and sharing it with others.
And in all those 25 years my hearts desire has been to travel more, learn about the world, feel the winds, glide on the ice, paw the snow, absorb the rays, ride the waves and learn about spirituality. Well, ok, it might not be that simple to do that, but we need to look no further than that for an answer. I would say that most language learners experience getting stuck on a level without being able to move further.
This may require letting go of some beliefs you hold and doing things you may not be so comfortable with. Many of these have been addressed in posts on the this site.  Taking even some of these on board will surely change your learning for the better.
You can go to books or teachers to instruct, but if you leave it to that, your new language may well forever sound like it was book learned, devoid of real meaning, feeling and care. Studying from set courses, grammar books and bilingual dictionaries usually lead you in the opposite direction. These more formal tools are useful as a short term fixes ( occasionally necessary) but they ingrain poor habits for the long term.
Your beliefs can limit you if you allow them control what you think is acceptable or doable. Isn’t that a vastly superior stance than blindly imitating, hoping that somehow magically your performance will improve. Some attitudes may reduce our ability to entertain options, actions and thoughts that really are critical to becoming the language learner you hope to be. Excluding some people because their thoughts or actions are not in accord with yours is counter productive to your efforts. Of course that is complicated by whether we are talking about (in tennis parlance) club tennis, professional tennis or a seeded rank. It is not easy to do that by oneself. Of course there are the very few who manage to do it by themselves. The first few sounds or phrases we learned in a new language, took some energy and attention to master. Changes don’t usually come easily, so expect some resistance as there is more effort required and the rewards are not readily visible. Only do the changes one at a time and then you will be clearly able to see the improvements you have experienced and the source of them. He supported me and my fellow class mates to achieve the best we could.~ ConstanceAndrew is encouraging, inspiring and the most efficient teacher I have ever met.


Although you do not need to necessarily be fluent, having basic skills in Spanish can benefit you in many different ways.
The way that languages are taught in classroom settings are not always the best way, especially for people who are more interested in conversational skills than more technical aspects of the language. The Pimsleur Spanish English program has proven very successful for more than 40 years, and has been used by people all over the world. As a result, Pimsleur teaches Spanish and many other languages through the use of audio programs, so that you can refine your conversational skills without worrying about spelling or reading.
After all, once you learn how to understand Spanish speakers and interact with them, then you can focus on reading and writing later.
Whether you are interested in learning basic Spanish skills before you travel to a Spanish-speaking country, or you need Spanish language skills for work, this unique approach to teaching Spanish may be able to help you quicker than other methods. The two hour discussion touched upon the best approaches to adopt to reflect individual learning styles, how to stay motivated  when learning a language, and how to maintain a positive attitude through the common frustrations that are a part of the learning process. In business for instance, an individual may consider themselves fluent but may not be able to converse fluently in a specific area of business such as medicine, pharmaceutical or finance. This is because it exposes learners to varied vocabulary sorts, and normalises otherwise baffling and complicated grammatical structures. The panelists listed numerous myths such as: only young people can do it, you need to have a flair for languages, its expensive pointless etc. He leads the company’s regional institutional divisions in EMEA delivering online language-training solutions to businesses, universities, schools, and public sector organisations.
This new vocabulary gives you not just insights into other cultures, but also a new perspective on the world.
All around we begin to detect the scent of fresh flowers and – perhaps – the scent of chocolate!
It is only our web master Anton who helps us enormously to put it all together and make it work.
Maybe that’s why people relate to it – because it’s not a cold-hearted money-making company.
Maybe they attract students better than we do, but we want to be more than just a school of languages via Skype.
So despite my great desire to speak Chinese, I was spending all this time on lessons where I might or might not say a word. Something that may seem obvious to an English speaker can be mind-blowing for a Russian person. Come on, even the reporters of Russia Today can’t keep up their London accent perfect for more than two sentences! However, I am musical, so it is never a problem for me to imitate pronunciation of any language. Even if you don’t understand everything, you’ll get used to the melody of the language which will make it easier for you to reproduce it. I’ve learned German in half a year without attending a language course, but I see other people struggling for years with little progress.
For each student, we come up with an individual strategy, create individual course plans and measure the progress on the individual goals.
Read the news, books, comics in a foreign language or watch your favorite TV series in English with subtitles, for example. Also, the time it will take depends on many factors: your abilities and experience, your schedule, motivation, etc. So when I take care of a business matter, I know that both Asya and I will benefit from it.
I have this student who studies English with me (he is 13 but the age doesn’t really matter) and is absolutely enjoying the process and the progress is obvious.
Sometimes you can even make a great leap in your mind by connecting some dots and understanding something way deeper than you did before. The question is will they enable you to learn what you need to AND keep learning once you have put that book down or finished the course? We all have beliefs but by being less committed to them ways of learning may open up that before were invisible.
One example of that may be to do with not readily accepting people who are too different to you.
Becoming more accepting of others is not as straightforward of course as learning some new vocabulary! Going from one level of skill to another takes not just improved skills but usually new approaches, beliefs and attitudes. Every great language learner you will find is very switched on, fully engaged in and attentive to whatever they are doing.
Instead write full, meaning packed sentences using the word you are learning in the target language.
Stick with it for a while and you will see that your thinking will change, as the way you confront new vocabulary. In addition to Spanish, you can choose from fifteen other languages, and you will also get a discounted price on future lessons. A learning approach comes after realising the goal as people need true motivation to succeed. An interview with an English teacher and a co-founder of a language school on Skype Landysh Akhmetzyanova.
There is no social awkwardness, as you don’t even have to use your web camera, and you can take lessons from the best teachers in the world and not just those available in your small town. But the main action happens behind the scenes when you do exercises, revise the material, read, watch or listen to something, etc.
For 13 year old boys “being cool” or being around somebody cool is very important! Get to know what they are striving for, understand where they could do with some encouragement and HELP them! Talking about criteria like the fastest way, the most efficient way or the most economical way confuses the issue. They can hobble you because they can take away the need to be eternally attentive to what is going around you.
An example of that is to believe that bilingual dictionaries are a great way to learn a language!
Here is a great article on exposing just what infants do to learn as well as they do, and that is not imitation. One does not have to agree with what people do and say, but that is a very different to rejecting them and not talking with them. This is why all high level sportsman, business people or actors ( to name a few professions) employ coaches. All I need to do is to look at the poor rates of language learning success world wide and I can easily see. For language-learning students it’s an opportunity to explore similarities and differences in the words and expressions used to communicate the season, and to learn how other cultures celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring.
I like the short post, by the way, and I totally relate to working in small doses sometimes.
They will also need to have skills in understanding people and what they need to do with themselves to become successful. Once we can perform a skill without paying much attention to it at all, we can say we have habituated it. Skills are best learned by seeing them as games, something we can approach with as much anticipation and enjoyment as playing a game of Monopoly, chess or basketball. The reality is that sometimes not much change needs to be made and at other times many changes need to be made in many areas to find the way that works for a person. After realising the motive, learners then can look at how to learn best e.g reading, writing, group work etc. The thing is his mother used to be my student and at that time she asked me to talk to her son as if I were an American because for some reason although he was doing quite an intensive English course he was very reluctant to speak (in fact, she said he didn’t speak at all and always replied in Russian even when asked in English). Being able to deal with frustration and confusion in a positive way is the hallmark of an accomplished language learner. With each game there are some basic skills to learn, but then with each there are endless variations that give us a chance to practice our skills in an endlessly creative and non repetitive way.



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